10 January 2017

chasing away the winter blues

actually, I should say chasing away the winter whites.
we in the northern part of North Carolina (along the Virginia border) had 10 inches of the white stuff over the weekend.
I do love it and while it freezes activity for the most part, my dog Zetta is worse than any kid in the snow.
She adores it.
In and out—I wipe her paws and belly up and she settles, then and hour later she wants Out again.
As I get older (?) I may be less fond of the SNOW and COLD.
I admit 2 degrees is a bit chilly.
By Thursday this week and Friday the temp promises to be in the 60s.
Yes, it should chase away the winter blues—Snow.
One Hopes.

On to the new year and all of its promise.

(the inspiring work of Lartigue. Biarritz 1905) 

31 December 2016

starting fresh with David Monn

Celebrating at a New Year's Eve party planned by the extraordinary David Monn would be otherworldly— for the fortunate few who might be doing so, Happy New Year. For US we are voyeurs into Monn's The Art of Celebration, a new book with his wizardry for setting the mood, published by Vendome Press. Happy New Year!

Anyone who has ever struggled with a paltry budget for a worthy charity event fortunate enough to be in charge of decorations will drown in Monn's lush and exquisite party orchestrations. 
Dream On.

David Monn, hands on, using lemon trees in for a dinner for 250 in honor of Ellsworth Kelly held in the Granaries—part of the Hotel Cipriani.

I remember David Monn from years ago in a feature, I think in Town and Country, where he and his longtime friend Gayfryd Steinberg had created the most beautiful nut topiary, trees, swags and wreaths for Christmas. At the time, Bergdorf Goodman sold some of them and I acquired a pair of topiaries that I still use in my den during the holidays. Still quite lovely, they along with other "nuts" I've gathered over the years hang, and sit on tables in the room all winter. (Steinberg's wedding reception is included in the book)

A Michigan Fiftieth Anniversary celebrated with caviar in an ice carved bowl with the cavair surrounded by grapes.

For all the incredible stories Monn's parties tell, one of his hallmarks is his original eye. A freshness that is rare in party planners. Yes, of course they should all be creative, they must be, but Monn's ability to "play" with traditions is unmatched. It's not just lavishing flowers everywhere—& there is that in The Art of Celebrating- but it is his fresh approach that is evident in the over 350 pages of the weighty book.

A baby's breath wreath surrounds a convex mirror in the Neo-Gothic rooms of the High Line Hotel New York for an international wedding.

The elegance of simplicity, and whimsy were incorporated in a Monn planned Bar Mitzvah. 

"Beauty is a necessity, not a luxury." -David Monn

The book's cover— beaded flowers in a silver epergne, truly exquisite, sita on a mirrored table surrounded by Murano glassware. The endpapers are a detail of Hiroyuki Masuyama's painting Storm. Monn has a triptych by Matsuyama based on Turner's paintings in his dining room. The entire book is an exercise in elegance.

Featuring 26 events David Monn has orchestrated in his twelve year career, The New York Times calls him "the Architect of Style," Maestro might be more appropriate. His memorable designs are meant to be "shared, lived, and felt." His three favorite words: Authenticity, Scale and Detail are quickly recognized by readers within the pages of The Art of Celebrating.

Clam shells and wooden candlesticks were added to the Venetian console in the only palazzo in Venice still lit exclusively by candlelight—the Palazzo Pisani Moretta.

A winter wedding reception at the Pierre Hotel with centerpieces styled to appear as if carved in the manner Georgian master carver Grinling Gibbons. Real fruits were painted in grisaille to look like bisque.

The altar decorations at the High Line Hotel in New York.

As if Monn's work wasn't enough, the book includes his on home—never before published. His 5000 square foot home near his offices in the Flower District, and in never doubted Monn-style his approach is pure, refreshing, Zen-like yet steeped in period design, and of course it is ultra-elegant. I can only compare it in terms of appearance as having a bit of the Blass effect
It's really quite brilliant. 
Monn's career one time career in decoration and interior design awaits him—but why would he? His calendar is full—no doubt in 2017, and the years to come.

I hope for all— the best in the New Year— we certainly need it. 

21 December 2016

stars and angels


“Love came down at Christmas; love all lovely, love divine; love was born at Christmas, stars and angels gave the sign.” Christina G. Rossetti

Angel, Emanuel Ungaro in Vogue Paris-  January 1971,


19 December 2016

that dress~ GWTW

December 15th, 2014 marked the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind's premiere in Atlanta Georgia, 1939. The movie centers around the Civil War city of Atlanta and the countryside near Tara and Twelve Oaks. Recently in an interview, Anna Wintour called Scarlett O'Hara the most well dressed character in literature-vis a vis the film.

Walter Plunkett created this dress for Vivien Leigh's Scarlet to wear during Christmas at Aunt Pittypat's house in Atlanta. Scarlett went to grieve there (get closer to the action) -for her first husband Charles Hamilton, Pittypat's nephew. Her wedding dress to the ill-fated & feckless Charles was pretty fantastic too-(& not a hoop in sight).

Ashley, married to Melanie- Charles' long-suffering sister, comes home from the war on furlough and Scarlet gets another taste of the bitter pill-unrequited love, though no one could deny the dash of her bonnet, & the sprig of holly pinned to her green dress. Suffer she must-but that's no need for becoming a dowd.

Scarlett fights her way through the Civil War with  pluck-ultra, and 40 wardrobe changes- A Civil War "fashionista." It had to hurt as she watched from the parlor door Melanie & Ashley drift off to their bedroom clinging to one another.

 As Ashley leaves to return to battle, Scarlett waylays the poor man to give him a ridiculously fashionable sash for his uniform- vaguely reminiscent of her own white one, but in buttah yellow.

It is hardly worth mentioning that the gift gets her an embrace & kiss-I could care less-for being mesmerized by that dress with its darling ruched bodice trimmed out in red & adorned with a tasseled cameo, and Aunt Pittypat's extravagant curtains of silk & lace.
No, these are not "portieres" (a curtain that hangs in the entryway to a room that with no door), as referred to incorrectly in the movie.

Along with that dress, Aunt Pittypat's design aesthetic gets full marks- minus the antimacassars.

I love the Victorian pieces upholstered in Chintz. While we think of them in tired old antique Velvets, rethink your Grandmother's-or Aunt Pittypat's in a bold chintz with painted frames lacquered in red-violet-or green-even white would do. Consider an Indian cut work Lace to update Pittypat's windows, Schumacher has one I've used over & over.

And for Christmas supper, drape yourself in a fur stole, get an instant lift with a blue bow tied tightly under your chin, keep the Christmas tree small ( on a table near the windows), keep the table decorations low & simply chic (candles & holly sprigs), decant the port yourself...

& raise a glass to 75 years, and 40 costume changes!
If you haven't read Margaret Mitchell's GWTW, or seen the movie- "GOD'S NIGHTGOWN!"


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