Today Helen Gurley-Brown, THE woman… the woman behind Cosmo magazine, the woman who told many many generations of other women that it was ok to enjoy being single…that it was ok for women to have sex without guilt, has died. All I could think about today though, was the luminous Natalie Wood, who starred in the movie based on Helen’s famous book, “Sex and the Single Woman.” The book was written in 1962, and if you are a fan of Mad Men, then you already know how it was for women in that pre- feminism era.
In retrospect, maybe the movie doesn’t have the impact or importance of the book. The incredibly beautiful Natalie is a “Sex Therapist”; she is a working woman- an educated woman. In the end of course, the inevitable happens and she falls for Tony Curtis. I haven’t seen it in a long time, so I can only reflect on these two thoughts… the death of a important cultural icon and feminist Helen Gurley-Brown, and the incandescent and unforgetable Natalie Wood. (Tony Curtis – meh!)
Rest in Peace, and thank you Helen!
In French, “window shopping” is translated literally as “licking the windows” (leche-vitrines) as in, Je adore faire du lèche-vitrines pendant la période de Noël (I adore window shopping at Christmas time.) But after taking a break from my blog (and work) to have an extended stay in the City of Light, I can tell you that they have the BEST window displays there, bar none. You WILL want to lick the windows. The most amazing little stores, remarkably small and perhaps largely unnoticed, design a small feast for the senses for those who take the time to stop and look. It’s just how they do things in France (I never thought taking art education out of the public schools was a good idea. Ask the French about it!)
One late Sunday night (yes, I said Sunday) around midnight, I was walking back to my apartment in the 6eme and I saw a women, working alone late in her little hat boutique, designing her new window display for the following week. She would make the most incremental adjustments of the hats, then walk in the street to take a look, then go back and move things a teeny bit more. It was very late, but apparently, very important. That is why it is worth “licking the windows” in Paris! Thank God the French don’t like to change!
Here are just a few of the windows I photographed; mostly I was focused on photographing small Parisians scenes to embellish for my store. Take a look, they will be added soon!
And here is a photo of the flowers in bloom at the Jardin du Luxembourg (in October, no less) that will giving me endless inspiration for happy, joyous color.
Last weekend I caught “A Place in the Sun” on Turner Movie Classics. Of course, anything with Elizabeth Taylor in her prime is retro glamour heaven, especially when the movie includes her good friend Montgomery Clift (or James Dean.) It seemed a lot more melodramatic and over-acted than I remember- my how movies have changed! Oh well, they were very earnest and worked hard, and it was a good movie in it’s day. However now, it is a Old Hollywood Classic, and I love them all! The gowns by Edith Head were amazing, the black and white chiaroscuro lighting, the lovely and delicate Liz, the handsome Monty. I particularly love the bright pop-art orange and yellow movie poster.. so cool! A little Gone With the Wind-ish, don’t you think? Just more fodder for inspiration! I Love Turner Movie Classics!
I was reading an article about moving the entire Philadelphia Barne’s Foundation Art Collection to a new location. The collection is valued at 25 billion dollars, and is chock full of works by Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir etc. I found myself intrigued by a complimentary article of the Greatest Art Heists of all time, perhaps the most iconic being the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa by Vincenzo Perrugia from The Louvre, Paris. (He only wanted to return it to it’s native Italy, where he was considered a great patriate for his efforts!) This picture of the recovered Mona Lisa, two years later, really got to me.
I couldn’t believe people were just holding it in their hands! Because if you have seen DaVinci’s masterpiece, you know that she is thoroughly ensconced, protected by bullet proof glass, and kept far far away from her adoring viewers, comme ça….
Here’s the empty spot where she hung in 1911, so temptingly easy to be lifted!
DaVinci’s sublime, eternal work is one of the worlds most-loved paintings, but in some ways I am happier that she exists as a cultural statement about wonderful, glorious Art than as a masterpiece made by a master during the Renaissance. For without “The Mona Lisa” (and all that she means), we would not have had Marcel Duchamp’s 1919 “Mona Lisa With a Mustache” or Andy Warhol’s silkscreened triptych “Mona Lisa, 1963″ or Richard Pettibones 1965 “Andy Warhol’s Mona Lisa 1963.”
Art is always inspired and informed by the art and culture that went before, and that makes me VERY happy! Long live pop culture!
I love to watch TV5Monde on cable. If you don’t know it, TV5Monde is France’s TV channel for the US. In my l-o-n-g struggle to learn to speak adequate french, I find I pick up quite a bit from watching old movies, French sit-coms, and even the news. It is quite interesting to see how global the news can (or can not) be, and particularly nice to see what is happening in other parts of the world.
The other day they were showing “Les Trois Glorieuses” with THE most fabulous glamour photos of three beautiful french actresses from the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s. I had heard of none of them, and yet they were as strikingly beautiful as all the other well-known icons from that era, like Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo. I wasn’t able to sit and watch it attentively, so I will re-watch it at another time. They have a extraordinary story and are quite lovely and charming today. Here is a bit about them that I deciphered from a French blog. Don’t you just love them, then and now?
110 films for Danielle Darrieux, 110 films for Micheline Presle, and 70 films for Michèle Morgan. These three actresses began their careers at hardly more than fifteen years of age, and reigned over the French cinema during the thirties to the fifties. Michèle Morgan was known as “de beaux yeux” (the beautiful eyes.) Michele and Micheline even shared the same husband for a time! They all tried their success in Hollywood, but they were never cast in anything other than French roles and were not able to attain worldwide stardom.
I think they are definitely the brightest of stars, and très très glorieuses.
I received an email from the Los Angeles County of Art that Roger Vadim’s cult classic “Barbarella” is playing today. It stars Jane Fonda, in the era of her best-ever Brigitte Bardot incarnation. Roger Vadim was married to Brigitte Bardot (before he was married to Jane) so he did a nice job transforming her into a facsimile of the Fabulous BB. The publicity stills from the film made me think of the recent Super Bowl Half-Time show featuring the Black-Eyed Peas. Check out how similar Fergie’s costume is to Jane’s 1967 Barbarella outfit designed by Paco Rabanne!
I was so excited to see it, because I’ve never seen the entire movie, only bits and pieces. Alas, my honey has planned a wonderful pre-valentine theater event at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood, California, of the Neil LaBute play “The Break of Noon” which I am very excited about! I can always rent “Barbarella.”
I had to share with you the original theatrical trailer…it’s SO hilarious! Enjoy!
We continue to have glorious weather here in Los Angeles, so I thought I would post another art piece that I just added to my trolleyla etsy store.
This one is kind of pastel piece…I can’t seem to stay away from color for too long. I have definitely a surfer-beach theme going that feels good and I want to spend time on. I’m feeling a retro nostalgia for all things “Gidget.” Or maybe it’s “Moondoggie.” (Was that his name? What does that mean, anyway?) And I can’t surf. And the sun is bad for you!
Another great article from The Wall Street Journal, “How Video Art Inspired a Runway Sensation.” Narciso Rodriguez, who gained fame after designing Caroline Kennedy’s wedding dress, tells how he was inspired by Jennifer Steinkamp’s video art. (I saw her work at the “Artist’s Museum” show currently at MOCA Grand Ave. here in Los Angeles.) If you’ve never seen her work, I urge you to go to a museum near you when she is part of the show. Absolutely beautiful!
Here’s a still image he was inspired by:
And the dress:
A video of Steinkamp’s work:
Of course, I don’t own, have never owned, and probably never will own, a $2700.00 dress! But this is a great example of how art and fashion are entwined, and you can see that a high end dress from a creative designer can be an art form. Rodriguez explains that he developed special weaving techniques, using extravagantly fine silk and master weavers from Italy. The company, Lorma SRL, has been weaving for five generations. “Lorma prides itself on creating new fabrics… they own a loom that can ‘weave’ without repeats”, producing the equivalent of a painting of fabric. “Without repeats” means that the pattern is never repeated, as it is in mass-produced fabrics, so the result truly is a “painting” on fabric!
I think the result is truly beautiful, as are the Steinkamps video projections. Sometimes a dress isn’t just something that costs a lot of money!
Here are some new images I’ve been working on. I quite like them.
As always, visit my etsy store to purchase these. I hope to get my store page filled out here soon.