30 April 2010

the strawberry box

"Every designer should take himself to the Natural History museum 
and look at the bugs and the butterflies and shells. 
Nature is still the best designer"
Van Day Truex

One wonders if Tiffany & Co. would have ever made this Vermeiled Sterling Silver Strawberry Box, if Van Day Truex had not been such a Visionary. Would there have been someone else with his unique take on design to give us this simple elegance. It's Unlikely.  An exact replica of the thin wooden berry boxes found in the grocery, Van Day Truex's genius is obvious here-not to mention his ability to read the desires of the rich. It seems that everything we see in our throw away culture is just that, perhaps we should look again.

the NY Herald Tribune said: 'When it comes to a question of taste he's splendidly opinionated, emphatically outspoken and dead right....Whether objects...are plain or elaborate,(they) are personal and look as though they were made for an individual rather than for the statistics on mass taste.' (December 8, 1960)

in John Loring's book Tiffany 20th C.Style- he likens the vermeil box to Dadaism and Surrealism. The work of Van Day Truex's remains highly individualistic- not to be likely to be repeated. Though the concept of taking simple objects and making household objects stylishly artlike is prevalent today, does anyone touch the modern genius of  Van Day Truex?

A Vermeiled Sterling Strawberry Box!
Wouldn't you like to have one-
-it is almost time for strawberries?

29 April 2010

post Spry


"One arranges flowers as the spirit moves you; to obey some inner prompting to put this colour with that, to have brilliance here, line there, a sense of opulence in this place or sparseness in that; to suit your surroundings, your mood, the weather, the occasion. In a word, to do as you please, just as, if you could, you might paint a picture."- Constance Spry

I am flying through the Surprising Life of Constance Spry, by Sue Shepard & Yes, I am surprised. A must read, You will be surprised too. and I am not giving anything away.(read my post here) I did run into Beverley Nichols. No surprise-He described the art of flower arranging as 'pre-Spry' and 'post-Spry.' saying of his friend- 'Constance has the supreme gift- which is really the core of all art and all invention- of seeing things for the first time in a new way, and seeing them whole and seeing the isolated from convention.' 

my intention in sharing a few quotes from the book have gone very much astray-but I think much more interesting because of the garden path.  When I asked to use the image of a beautiful painting Debra had in a recent post, she replied of Course. In her original post here on her blog PARIS ORIGINALS and excerpted here- (as I am trying to make this winding path one less turn) Debra writes about the painting:
' I was inspired by the flower paintings by Gluck, the butterflies of Vertes, and the paintings on foil by Jose Marie Sert. This painting is oil over white gold leaf on wood  ( a flower Icon).I finally had it framed this past month, I hung it in honor of Spring's reappearance. The frame is simple white.However; I  wish I had an original "Gluck Frame"!

Hannah Gluck- Gluck to you- painted & in 1932 when she met Constance Spry she began painting flowers. They were beautiful and Spry quickly saw the potential for using them in the homes of her noted clientele.

 blogger Debra Healy who writes the blog Paris Originals comments:
'There is such profound power and magic in Mrs. Spry's arrangements even through they are transmitted  to us through time via photography. I fell under her spell in the 1980's when I found her book Flower Decoration. She trained my eye in a new way.I was better able to look at photos of vintage interior's, and understand her Impact.'

 Gluck's Cactus Flower from Christie's here

 Debra continued:
'Gluck also fell under her spell. Gluck, never would have put the butterflies in a painting, or have painted on gold leaf. She was the Annie Proulx of painting, precise, eloquent, and almost  austere. She destroyed most of her flower paintings when her friendship with Mrs. Spry ended. Gluck tried in vain to buy the Vernon Picture back. (the Gluck calla lilies were commissioned for Lord Vernon in 1937)
I have studied her paintings for years. I love this period for its coolness.'

 Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Society it is titled
The Vernon Picture.1937,  it is in a private collection.

This book has more in store for me-as I am sure reading these additional things will benefit you-
terrific information about Constance Spry here
read about the GLUCK frame from An Aesthete's Lament here
& here
I hope your comments will keep the path open, and long winding.
I hope you read the book too.



 "some old HOGG-I don't know who."
along with other paper treasures, pear shaped objects
and African lacquer boxes.

don't we all have our heroes? mine tend to be less caped and masked- and more well draped, swagged or spoken. One, greatly admired, is MIN HOGG. Her WORLD OF INTERIORS  magazine is coveted by designers and design aficionados. Though she is no longer editor-WOI will always be hers. Imagine, when I went through The English Woman's Bedroom by Elizabeth Dickson, with beautiful photographs by Lucinda Lambton, and found MIN's 1985 flat. Yes, it was 25 years ago- and no doubt things have changed,( WOI published her London flat in 1996-i think, but have yet to get my hands on a copy), but still, it is MIN & the chapter on her flat is a treasure. She airs her original ideas about home, House Freaks (her words) and her craft.

What did MIN have to say? Amusingly ,MIN, as she writes about her flat- admits the cozy decorations Lambton photographed are now under major renovations. Sadly she sat in a rented one-pinning  away for home, longing for the beautiful bedroom-that was being sacrificed- in hopes of building improvements. Since the inception of WORLD OF INTERIORS in 1981, travel was mandatory for MIN HOGG. She, like many, found herself longing for the comforts of home-"pictures, sheets and above all bed-springs."

 MIN - a quick change artist with the headboard fabric,
switching it out often. Collecting textiles-an addiction-
Not to mention talking on the phone (2 phones sit to the right
of the bed) Dinner, staying at home nights find MIN
tucked IN &  command central is bed.

She goes on to "confess a chronic capacity to clutter things up," a habit starting in art school. She carried her clutter with her to "a secluded garden square within spitting distance of Harrods." Here she indulged in making her bedroom the centre of her living space. One potential inspiration for her digs was F.W. Elwell's The First Born- a painting she considers the definitive cottage bedroom.

for your own inspiration-
The First Born
(image from here), Elwell's painting is tucked into
bottom right(center) of some old HOGG"S frame in the
1st picture of this post

MIN also confesses to being a procrastinator-(we are sounding more and more alike ), but lacking a "half tester bed, no rose chintz, no suitable ottoman or rush seated chair-let alone a fresh faced young father by my side," the lady moved on!  

"The walls were painted one shade, the ceiling another, woodwork and doors a combination of all three. Although in no time the subtleties of my three toned room had merged into what looked like a single colour, I have never regretted that pink. Good by day and, with shiny pink card lampshades, good by night."

The dressing table is a long wallpaperer's trestle with shortened legs a gathered skirt in red and white striped sari cotton, made by MIN's Mom.

Clever, simple beautifully laid out bordered dressing table

MIN holds court, as it were, in her robe- television, telephones, a drink, newspapers, magazines and books are right at her fingertips- her writing of articles is done in bed too. She entertains here too-there are complaints-"but on the whole it is rather a lark. When the present building work is finished  and I can return home, far from branching out into a spanking new kind of decoration, I expect I shall put it all back exactly as it was."
today's MIN HOGG
image from here

From th Independent uk (1997)
Ms Hogg was quoted as saying that, "it's bloody hard to find exciting new houses in Britain." Yes, but magazine editors, all of them bloody fussy, are not easily turned on. "Oh dear, what a pity about those dreadful lampshades," they might say, when presented with snapshots of a proud home owner's sterling efforts in the interior design department. "Mmm, we might just get away with it with a bit of styling .
from a 2007 Telegraph uk story: "Given her reputation and noted expertise, it came as a shock to the interior design world when Hogg announced last November that she was resigning as editor of the magazine that she launched from these very rooms in 1981. Although the upmarket publication sells a modest 65,000 each month, its influence is enormous and its ideas and concepts are much copied."..."A visionary editor of the old school, Hogg always refused to have anything to do with focus groups or marketing ideas and her abrupt voluntary departure seemed as unlikely as the Queen Mother suddenly announcing she didn't want to be royal any more. Despite protestations from her Conde Nast bosses Si Newhouse and Nicholas Coleridge, Hogg - who says that she is in excellent health - was still determined to leave."
& just a note on World of Interiors, 2001 here
I find wonderful articles in CORNUCOPIA written by MIN HOGG, one of her favourite magazines
her Canary Islands house was published in WOI as well as that elusive flat-

27 April 2010

woe to Vogue & style.com

selected by style.com

 image from here
the much followed Style.com has a feature just up that accompanies the upcoming MET- American Woman Fashioning a National Identity The exhibition, on view from May 5 through August 15, 2010 (preceded on May 3 by The Costume Institute Gala Benefit), will explore developing perceptions of the modern American woman from the 1890s to the 1940s, and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition will reveal how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation  from the met site

style.com breaks the American Woman into SIX categories (yes this is too few-but-I indulge) by the way,style.com is VOGUE magazine. the THEN ORIGINAL, and the NOW.
(no there is no Raving Bitch, Xanax Housewife, Working Girl,)

the editors seem to have some luck with the ORIGINALS/ THEN(as they refer to the dead) but 
OH, WOE to the NOW ! sure there were so many to select from-but some of their NOW selections can hardly boast changing perceptions of feminine beauty, style, independence, etc. etc.

their Original Heiress is none other than CONSUELO VANDERBILT, running through her source of wealth, her style, her wifely duties and her preferred designer (WORTH). for the NOW HEIRESS- IVANKA TRUMP.
Trump is a valid choice,certainly the most exposed (in the best way)  HEIRESS other than infamous PARIS, overexposed. Ivanka is smart, wealthy, a business woman, jewelry designer, fashion maven (designer of choice for her bridalwear- Vera Wang) & Yes,
Ivanka is lovely- 
so there is the NOW HEIRESS.



 image from here,
see this gorgeous painting of Irene here
 the GIBSON GIRL, I suppose this may have been one of the first feminine images I saw as a child. There were a few framed GIRLS in my little bedroom (which was darling by the way). IRENE LANGHORNE was THE GIRL. She married Charles Dana Gibson, and so inspired by her beauty, Gibson began to paint his love and she sold! The images of the Gibson Girls are truly Iconic. there were other Gibson Girls-but Irene was the Original.

Yes, it is true-One must "into it"  popular culture, starlets, fashion models, reality tv-that is, the works-but...

Our NOW GIBSON GIRL is JESSICA BIEL, do you know who she is?

GIBSON GIRL? style.com's pick

FYI: of BIEL "Being named Sexiest Woman Alive (twice—by Esquire in 2005 and Stuff in 2007) is nice, and an Oscar or, hell, Golden Globe wouldn't go amiss down the line, but the real evidence you've arrived? When the hardworking interns at antivirus software manufacturer McAfee ascertain that a search of your name is most likely to infect a user's computer with spyware, adware, and other malicious Internet entities."  her credentials? Biel is also presented walking her dogs, on a magazine cover, on the red carpet. can you name one of her movies? my favourite for the NOW GIBSON GIRL is RACHEL FEINSTEIN CURRIN. How perfect!  don't you think some of the success of the Gibson Girl was the romance of the artist and subject?

(my Gibson Girl)

& here at INTERVIEW

Artist, Muse to husband John Currin and to designer Marc Jacobs, Rachel appeared in Marc Jacobs print adverts. Socialite, Beauty. the ideal of feminine Beauty -independence, personal fulfillment, epitomized the Gibson Girl.

The quirky BOHEMIAN is up next- the THEN BOHEMIAN the ORIGINAL, RITA LYDIG. "a clotheshorse so devoted to shopping that she sometimes bought up to 20 examples of the same garment."   doesn't sound much like a BOHEMIAN to me, but- Rita Lydig was hands down a fashion whore in the most wonderful way. Her clothes, style, her image (painted by Boldini two times) according to the article, her Hangout-the RITZ, Again not too Bohemian, what do you think?
the ORIGINAL BOHEMIAN, selected by style.com

so much for the ORIGINAL BOHEMIAN- my pick is ,MILLICENT ROGERS, oh so wealthy- YES, but, who better- this was the Heiress that moved to Taos, her home, Turtle Walk, was a converted adobe fort to mansion  , and she dip dyed velvets in her kitchen dressed in authentic Navajo blouses, full velvet skirts and petticoats, and turquoise jewelry.

my pick for the real ORIGINAL BOHEMIAN

not Zelda, or Millicent

but for the moment let's examine the NOW BOHEMIAN- ERIN WASSON, yes she is a beauty- True.she has been photographed by the Selby, attends Coachella-all according to the writer- important requirements for the NOW BOHO. "Multisourcing than model/stylist/designer Erin Wasson. In the May issue of Teen Vogue, she defines her idea of happiness as "sitting on my front porch in the Hill Country of Texas watching the sunset with an iced tea in my hand after having just ridden a horse." Boho, Silver, away!"
OK then.
selected by style.com

my pick- talk about multitasking- again, RACHEL FEINSTEIN CURRIN (see GIBSON GIRL)
or KIM GORDON of Sonic Youth and besides I like it that she is nearly 57- an ORIGINAL BOHEMIAN.

KIM GORDON on everything

image of Gordon here

the ORIGINAL PATRIOT, yes, in full agreement, no arguments here -
style.com selected

& no arguments about the NOW PATRIOT from me-

style.com's pick


"She is so very Manhattan. Very young. Exquisitely hard-boiled. Her black eyes and sleek black hair are brilliant as Chinese lacquer. Her skin is white as a camellia. Her legs are lyric." (a quote from Photoplay). so gorgeous, and so current. there are few images of LOUISE BROOKS that don't look like they were taken in 2010- the bob, the dropped waists, bound breasts. Louise was the Hollywood flapper- the Starlet flapper.

ah! but ,the ORIGINAL FLAPPER was ZELDA. her husband wrote about her in Bernice Bobs Her Hair-
F. Scott married the debutante, the fragile, volital, crazy Southern belle. Scott denied that he originated the "flapper," of course he would, but his wife was undeniably- One.
the one. Zelda was young, wild, sensual, daring- right one the edge.

 (Shelley Duvall played Bernice divinely, Blythe Danner played Zelda equally as divinely-must see cinema)

 another bonafide FLAPPER


well, KIRSTEN, she is a darling. she certainly looks like a flapper.
now- to the aforementioned- PARIS HILTON, Heiress, and oh she is so a FLAPPER.

enough said

what's left? SCREEN SIREN of course, there are oh so many, ANNA MAY WONG is the ORIGINAL. Anna May was more than just a siren, she was a ground breaker. born to Chinese American parents the first Asian American to become an international star she encapsulates all the great Iconic American Sirens.

Hurrell photograph

 "Temptress, vamp, spy, killer…With 60-plus films to her name, Anna May Wong had her fair share of juicy roles. Yes, most of them played on confining stereotypes, but Wong prevailed in spite of her characters' limitations."

MEGAN FOX , style.com's pick

no, that is not Angelina Jolie. Megan is 23, a Tennessee girl,one of her fan website's calls her the Queen of Sci Fi

Angelina, too- is a Screen Siren, but she is 34. Obviously this style.com is put together for the teen vogue crowd, not the vogue Vogue crowd-but I didn't know.

 but I do know-

I watch that one.


now why isn't there a category for MODEL turned MOGAL?
& HEIDI KLUM just became an American citizen in 2009.
oh wait, & there's Tyra Banks, Lauren Hutton, Cindy Crawford, Kathy Ireland, Cybil Shepard, Christy Turlington, Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz...

more about the MET benefit here
article quotes from style.com are all hilighted in this text

Love at first sight

& still, I love.
oh, how I love this fabric.
my first foray into the Dragon was in the colourway featured in this CH advert.
on a little slipper chair, it was the one got away when I was selling some of my beloveds.
(just look at that perfect job the upholsterer did with matching pattern)

read my DRAGON EMPRESS post here 

26 April 2010

Horst StillLife

House and Garden July 1969

creating a beautiful life,
still life by Horst

25 April 2010

Horst Studio

Still current, the 1969 Horst Manhattan studio, pied a terre. A sometime home away from home, Horst decorated his studio in black and white. Reminiscent of his photography, Horst used houndstooth, zebra, and a cartoonish free form design to connect the dots of his studio.  A vintage luxury ship ad poster glides along over the concealed desk area. Horst added a necessary daybed for overnights, a table/desk in colour blocked red and patterned zebra. Slashes of red adds more drama to Horst's already smashing studio.

Horst and Veruschka

"All forms, inventively used, can be diverting. Cost is secondary. "  


"It is an exercise in decorating with forms, and also an exercise in economy. It cost very, very little."

Horst and Perry Ellis

Horst elaborates on the design process: 
"Because the ceiling was so high, the room seemed to soar right up through the roof. So I tailored the perspective with a false molding of black paint. It stops the eye. Then I amused myself by seeing how much variety I could give the walls by cutting them into geometric patches with wallpaper, paint and mirror. I didn't want to jangle, just diversion, and I think I have it. It's a harlequinade, claimed down by that big photostat I took years ago of a stature in Rome. The abstract and the classic can be very nice bedfellows, and in this case, that's exactly what they are."

Horst studio images House and Garden July 1969
Horst photographs-- Veruschka , New Yok 1962, Perry Ellis ,perfume advertisement, New York, 1982 (from Horst)

la infanta


Velasquez's Infanta don Margarita de Austria
Hans Silvester.

bal masque


the aching Beauty of Hans Silvester from his book, Natural Fashion:Tribal Decoration from Africa

remains of the day: Iris



    Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas
    Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats and pease;
    Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep,
    And flat meads thatch'd with stover, them to keep;
    Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims,
    Which spongy April at thy hest betrims,
    To make cold nymphs chaste crowns; and thy broom -groves,
    Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves,
    Being lass-lorn: thy pole-clipt vineyard;
    And thy sea-marge, sterile and rocky-hard,
    Where thou thyself dost air;--the queen o' the sky,
    Whose watery arch and messenger am I,
    Bids thee leave these, and with her sovereign grace,
    Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,
    To come and sport: her peacocks fly amain:
    Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain.

    (Enter CERES)


    Hail, many-colour'd messenger, that ne'er
    Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter;
    Who with thy saffron wings upon my flowers
    Diffusest honey-drops, refreshing showers,
    And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown
    My bosky acres and my unshrubb'd down,
    Rich scarf to my proud earth; why hath thy queen
    Summon'd me hither, to this short-grass'd green?


    A contract of true love to celebrate;
    And some donation freely to estate
    On the blest lovers.


    Tell me, heavenly bow,
    If Venus or her son, as thou dost know,
    Do now attend the queen? Since they did plot
    The means that dusky Dis my daughter got,
    Her and her blind boy's scandal'd company
    I have forsworn.


    Of her society
    Be not afraid: I met her deity
    Cutting the clouds towards Paphos and her son
    Dove-drawn with her. Here thought they to have done
    Some wanton charm upon this man and maid,
    Whose vows are, that no bed-right shall be paid
    Till Hymen's torch be lighted: but vain;
    Mars's hot minion is returned again;
    Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows,
    Swears he will shoot no more but play with sparrows
    And be a boy right out.


    High'st queen of state,
    Great Juno, comes; I know her by her gait.

   ( Enter JUNO)


    How does my bounteous sister? Go with me
    To bless this twain, that they may prosperous be
    And honour'd in their issue.

   ( They sing: )


    Honour, riches, marriage-blessing,
    Long continuance, and increasing,
    Hourly joys be still upon you!
    Juno sings her blessings upon you.


    Earth's increase, foison plenty,
    Barns and garners never empty,
    Vines and clustering bunches growing,
    Plants with goodly burthen bowing;
    Spring come to you at the farthest
    In the very end of harvest!
    Scarcity and want shall shun you;
    Ceres' blessing so is on you.


    This is a most majestic vision, and
    Harmoniously charmingly. May I be bold
    To think these spirits?


    Spirits, which by mine art
    I have from their confines call'd to enact
    My present fancies.


    Let me live here ever;
    So rare a wonder'd father and a wife
    Makes this place Paradise.

    Juno and Ceres whisper, and send Iris on employment


    Sweet, now, silence!
    Juno and Ceres whisper seriously;
    There's something else to do: hush, and be mute,
    Or else our spell is marr'd.


    You nymphs, call'd Naiads, of the windring brooks,
    With your sedged crowns and ever-harmless looks,
    Leave your crisp channels and on this green land
    Answer your summons; Juno does command:
    Come, temperate nymphs, and help to celebrate
    A contract of true love; be not too late.

fleeting, but oh so beautiful.
the iris



Related Posts with Thumbnails