diana vreeland: the vogue years

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there has always been air of dignified mystery around diana vreeland. a certain je ne sais quoi of how she turned a simple society magazine into the raison d’etre of the fashion publishing industry.

well now, thanks to her adoring grandson, alexander vreeland, part of her veil has been lifted through the new book diana vreeland memos: the vogue years. the book – a collection of over 250 personal correspondence pieces – is a fashion-fueled journey of creativity, prescience and an unwavering dedication to originality.

perhaps what is more interesting, is that the memos give detailed insight into how a she managed both creatives and the creative process.  notes to richard avedon, cecil beaton, cristobal balenciaga, coco chanel illustrate the nuance with which she operated, delicately cajoling these luminaries into producing some of their best, most illuminating work.

her notes share hints of that special sauce, that ideal formula, the one all we aspiring editors, wannabe game-changers, and deprived fashion writers crave to hold in our back pockets. she seemed to understand that perfect balance between sass and entitlement, between inspiration and execution, and through it all getting exactly what she wanted.

some may see it as ennobled coffee table book, though those who look more deeply (and you know, don’t mind following in vreeland’s footsteps) will see it is a guide for greatness.

be frisky, be direct, be original. be diana.

 

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oh, slim darling

on this cold, blustery morning, i find it absolutely ridiculous to work and entirely acceptable to dive into a slim aarons photograph. his work is truly brilliant, imaginative and oozes luxury from every shadow and flash of light.

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his life work spans from decorated war photographer (purple heart anyone?) to “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” like, let’s just talk about life dream.

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he effortlessly captured the 60s in all its hedonist glory (i suppose it’s not hard when you solely work with attractive people, hedonism and beauty go together like bread and butter…hence why i belong). he made hollywood, seem like hollywood.  palatial pools, never-ending beaches, doe-eyed woman clad in chic bikinis and silk robes. it’s a luxury wanton’s fantasy. and i want a part in all of it.

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even if that means settling for his coffee table book or a print hanging on my bedroom wall.

oh, slim darling…take me away.

fashion as fine art

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annie leibovitz’s “alice in wonderland” – vogue, 2003

art versus fashion. fashion versus art. a question of the ages. an argument as old as david and goliath.

ok, well not quite, but as art and fashion become increasingly more democratic, the two titans of aesthetic industry seem to be crossing paths more than ever.

while schaparelli might have started the conversation and designers such as hussein chalayan have kept it going, it is not until the past decade – with exhibits such as mcqueen at the met and a louis vuitton/marc jacobs retrospective at les arts decoratifs in paris – that art has truly given fashion a much-deserved spotlight. thus angling the designer’s cultural perception far more toward artiste than garmento.

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irving penn’s “harlequin dress” 1950

however now, a whole new medium comes to light. not from stitches and revolutionary draping, but in the form of the fashion photograph.

case and point? a lecture at this weekend’s annual photo la exhibit in santa monica, lead by vogue’s director of photography, ivan shaw. while 40 galleries from around the country showcased snapshots of time, emotion and experience, a panel of the industry’s foremost imageologists (this may or may not be a made up word) waxed poetic about the changes in fashion photography and the commodification of the editorial image.

according to the panel it is not so much that the fashion photograph of yesteryear didn’t meet the standards – just look at any shot from herb ritts, irving penn or lillian bassman – but rather, it seems as if one day the common man (and by common man i mean the overly wealthy, i-dont-know-where-to-spend-my-money collector) woke up, opened his wife’s vogue (most likely annie leibovitz’s alice in wonderland story – because if you are unmoved by that, you probably don’t have a soul) and decided “hey, this looks neat, i will call it art and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it.”

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steven meisel’s “a walk in paris”

why this notion took so many years for the collecting community to catch on to and the art world to support is beyond me. annie leibovitz, the proverbial moses of the group, has inconspicuously and quite possibly subconsciously, been shepherding this movement since her days of whoopie in a white tub. she might not have said it out loud, but you knew – this is a statement, this is art.

however, the panel gave a more likely and less romanticized reason as to this newfound art-world acceptance – the fashion photographers of today, are not just one-dimensional camera clickers, but aesthetic wunderkinds with a list of never-ending talents – lagerfled, tom ford, hedi slimane, poster boy geniuses of the slasher (i.e. designer/photographer/direct/writer) generation.

that being said, the rise is still a slow one, and while herb ritts and avedon are finally getting their day at getty, the collecting community has only just began to dip their big toes in the editorial pond. just think for the price of $83,000 you can get your own steven meisel’s “a walk in paris” to hang in the foyer. from what i hear that’s a real steal in the art world…

i want to be a chow

arss-michael-chow-empire-02-hi need to be a chow.

they have single-handedly mastered the art of inconspicuous conspicuous consumption.

since the birth of mr.chow’s in the swanky london district of knightsbridge in 1968, michael chow and his growing clan have seamlessly permeated every aspect of popular culture, collecting restaurants, art and films as one would a set of stamps.

papa chow – the industrious ring leader, rich playground purveyor, preeminent art collector, and interior designer savant.

mama chow – aka eva chun – illustrious counterpart, tiger-mom, cfda designer, and muse to some of the best regarded artists in contemporary culture. she is a well-styled, more ebullient version of morticia adams, nimbly floating from industry to industry brokering some of the biggest cultural introductions of the 21st century.

the kids – a formidable trio of well-coifed elegance. clones of their designer-clad parents with agendas and cultural ambitions as thick as an encyclopedia britannica.  (you’re beginning to see why i belong, yes?)

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the chows have managed to carve out a unique space between notoriety and anonymity – surreptitiously adding their midas touch to many a gala, store, restaurant, and foundation without the added paparazzi flashbulbs.

they walk the streets (and by streets i mean rodeo drive) with us, yet don’t be fooled. their matching emerald gucci suits bely the truth – last night they had dinner with jeffery dietch, a night cap with sean penn and the youngest chow played a cello concerto for andre balzas and hockney. (p.s. totally what my tuesday night looks like too.)

they are luxury personified. elegance in caricature form. and i would fit in divinely.

i recognize i may be a bit late on the whole adoption thing, and marrying for culture/money unfortunately still has a negative tinge in society (sigh), so this is my public plea to the chows – take me in. 

i am fully-house trained, occasionally witty, make a mean pork chop, and play the trombone. granted it is not quite as elegant as the cello, but we all must do with what we’ve got.

look forward to your call.

sincerely,

tj

cruise me the right way

going on a carnival cruise is a lot like going to vegas.

there are a lot of people in all shapes and sizes, eating all sorts of foods that turn them into larger shapes and sizes (myself included), gambling, yard-long drinks in varying shades of azule, too-tight dresses with too many sequins (i may or may not have also fallen into this category. no judging please), toddling toddlers, pimply teenagers, and crocs. lots of crocs.

of course it didn’t used to be like this, or so i am told.

not that long ago, when crocs were still reserved for doctors and chefs (and even then they are questionable), cruising – on any ship – was the highest form of luxury.

staterooms appointed in the finest linens. four-course three-hour meals with white-gloved garçons, and ten-piece orchestras.

naturally once we docked i found it absolutely necessary to research if some such cruises still existed. they do. and instead of a cuddly towel animal at the end of your bed, it’s a bottle of dom perignon or a massage therapist named sven (and sometimes even both).

well naturally it is now my singular life goal to go on one-such (or many such) cruiseships, beginning with the below (future husband take notes)…

seabourn sojourn – an 11,400 sq-ft spa? i think yes. and maybe some more yes. some suites even feature solariums. i don’t even know what i do with a solarium, but i know i want one. and like most seaborns the menu in the avant-garde designed restaurant is curated by foodie darling, charlie palmer. can you say yum?
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the paul gauguin it sails where gauguin painted. if that isn’t pretentious enough for you, know that the ship is tailor-made for the shallow waters of french polynesia, so you can get your snorkel on without having to worry about those banal tender boats which are so déclassé. finished snorkeling?  enjoy some butler service (yes i did say another round of beluga), or sun tan on one of their seven decks. going topless is about the only thing you can’t do on this ship. pity.
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river queen – okay so it is a river boat, but i assure you huck finn and jim never found themselves on anything like this. with an art deco flair and a sheet count that far exceeds the number of guest rooms, the ship puts some of europe’s finest hotels to shame. and to make the deal even sweeter they offer complimentary bicycles and nordic walking sticks for any excursion. i mean really, who can say no to a nordic walking stick.riverqueen

and last but not least, which apparently can not be called a cruise ship, but rather a a residential yacht, is ms the world.

the expression the world on a string comes to mind as the world is constantly at sea, stopping for 2-5 days at ports as diverse as baffin island (a game of golf on the tundra anyone?) and as close as santa barbara (probably considered the applebees of their visits). twelve marble-encased stories are devoted to 250 full-time residents. the yacht boasts a movie theater, a spa, 6 restaurants, a grocery store, library, a learning annex, and of course residences that are double the size of my current apartment.mstheworld

but before you start counting your scheckles keep in the mind the ms world has a strict financial policy – residents must be worth at least $5 million dollars to be considered (rude) and monthly dues hover around $20,000 (double rude).

well, clearly that is out of my budget range for at least another 6 years. until then you can find me on carnival cruise ships, i’ll be the one happily sipping champagne out of a plastic mug and playing spot-the-mullet.

cheers.

against humanity

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 3.32.44 PMi am normally for humanity. i find it enriching, fuzzy and gooey, yadda, yadda.

but let’s face it…inside we are all a little (or in some cases completely) terrible, awful, disgusting people.

it’s the reason the word schadenfreude exists. and movies such as the hangover.

and because schadenfreude is just a fleeting moment of completely mal-intented glee, some really screwed up people created a game called cards against humanity.

self-described as “a free party game for horrible people,” its apples-to-apples gone wrong. very, very wrong.

the game is extremely simple (which makes it an even better drinking game). each round, one player asks a truly deep and probing question from a black card, such as “why am i sticky?” or “what did vin diesel eat for dinner?” and everyone else answers with their funniest white card: “a micropenis,” “glenn beck screwing a donkey,” “ghandi,” or “powerful thighs.”

completely pc and family-friendly.

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 3.26.01 PMthe more liquor you add the better and entirely incomprehensible the answers become. and the more people’s truly horrible inner-thoughts (autocannibalism anyone?) come out.

AND it comes in spanish, italian, german, Portuguese, polish, french, hebrew, dutch, estonian, danish, AND pirate. (i know you were worried.)

so as we ring in the new year, full of hope and ambition, i will salute my friends and wish upon them a year filled with “oompa loompas,” “toni morrison’s vagina,” and “super soakers full of cat pee” in plenty.

happy to new year to all, and to all a humanity filled night.

http://cardsagainsthumanity.com

national disappointment

Sandy-Hook-Connecticut-school-shooting-23-jpgit’s disappointing that gun control and mental illness only serve as floaters in our collective conscious until an unspeakable act of violence occurs.

it is even more disappointing that certain bieber fans thought it was more important to watch their beloved on ellen rather than coverage of the events unfolding in connecticut.

but chief amongst the disappoints is that a bill passed in michigan last thursday regarding gun control has not been repealed in light of friday’s events.

senate bill 59 would allow people with a state concealed pistol license to earn the right to carry a gun in what are currently pistol-free zones. more specifically it means that openly carrying guns is not permitted on school properties, however people who have completed advanced training (whatever that might be) with concealed pistol licenses are allowed to carry concealed weapons… in schools and public arenas.

tea party darling, rick perry, takes this one step further when speaking of his beloved texas, commenting that anyone with a concealed handgun license in the lone star state should be able to take guns on public property – including schools.

or we could even jump on board with virginia governor bob mcdonnell who is promoting discussion around arming school officials. because there is no way teachers could suffer from mental illness and/or potentially do something harmful.

so, say a potentially undocumented mentally ill person (even possibly a teacher) – can apply for a concealed handgun license, get some “advanced” training – and boom (pun intended) they are now allowed to gallivant around logical gun-free zones with (concealed) glock in tow.

well yeah, that makes LOADS of sense.

now i am not saying just because someone is mentally ill and has access to a gun they will shoot up a town, nor am i naysaying the 2nd amendment. in fact i believe in it. what i don’t believe in however, are the laws and methods surrounding the amendment.  case and point above.

when is it ever okay to carry guns onto a school campus? have there not been enough school shootings, enough accidents where kids bring daddy (or mommy’s) gun to school and shoot a classmate? and to now allow it as long as it is concealed – that seems like not only a giant leap backward, but a cruel slap in the face to the grieving parents and families of sandy hook.

rick perry, is rick perry. he is a bonafide lunatic and hopefully will disappear into an elephant’s arse sometime soon. but snyder, he still has a chance. he has yet to sign the bill.

one can only hope that snyder sees the detriment a bill like this could have, on not only gun control, but also the morale of a community. as obama said, it is time we take “meaningful action” to prevent killings, and the action starts here.

 

the dirty wordy

Screen shot 2012-12-10 at 4.25.38 PMmoist.

i hate that word. it crawls under my skin and makes my whole body recoil.

i don’t know the etymology behind it or where the shift in word culture happened, but according to huff po and a continuing and entirely unscientific case study of my peers, i am not alone.

in fact, there is a word for my visceral repulsion to moist: logomasia.

(the fact that the word to describe a strong dislike for a particular word, sounds like a horribly deforming venereal disease is a cruel and probably hilarious joke between the linguists who created it.)

according to the language log, reactions to words, such as logomasia, can be attributed to the relationships between language, emotion, memory and something equally gross-sounding, called “mouthfeel” or the way a word feels in your mouth (for wordy people they sure lack creativity).

to a degree it makes sense, the mouthfeel around moist (which is quite possibly the grossest sentence i’ve ever written) is awful. the rounding of the “m”, the “oi” in the middle and the crusty sounding “st” at the end…i actually FEEL gross saying it.

this brings up an interesting point though. what about the mouthfeel of other questionable words? words, for example, that sound or feel dirty but actually aren’t.

words like conch.

tell me you don’t hear that word and giggle. it feels dirty. will you pass me the conch? have you ever blown a conch? you’re such a dirty conch. loofa is another great one. i saw her loofa. what’s up with your loofa? have you cleaned your loofa lately?

and my recent favorite, penetrate. it is the perfect dirty non-dirty word. let me elaborate. penetrate be defined in the sexual sense or as successfully forcing a way into or through something…for example a brand in retail store. which brings me to why it’s a new favorite: my boss. without fail he uses the word penetrate two to four times a day. “what’s our penetration ratio today?” “did we penetrate that bloomingdales location yet?” not only does he say it in meetings, but he will animatedly yell it across an entire cubicle area…without the slightest hint of humor. i can’t help but erupt into a sophomoric snit of giggles…EVERY TIME.

as time evolves (and conch becomes an actual dirty word…just you watch) it will be interesting to see what other words stray into the nether regions of english lexicography (like gesticulate, it’s right on the cuff). until then, the biggest question remains what word will etymologists come up with for non-dirty dirty words. if logomasia is any indication, the word will be filthy.

and you will like it.

a collection: cathy daley

due to work i have had unexpectedly and quite happily had to take a deep dive into the art world. one quickly learns that art, in it’s many forms, is a rabbit hole. you can’t simply start with one artists or genre, and let that be. one painter begets another, which begets another gallery, which begets another genre, and so forth. and before you know it four hours have flown by, you still feel you know absolutely nothing, and your boss is asking where the document is that you promised him three hours ago.

oops.

though you are now rushing to finish said document and have irritated your boss, there is consolation in the fact you probably found some incredible new artist,  a little discovery that you can treasure, put as the background to your iPhone and someday showcase in your house.

today my consolation prize is cathy daley.

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reigning from toronto, cathy has been exhibiting since 1980 and remains a canadian tour-de-force, with her work taking up residence in some of the country’s most renowned institutions.

i am not going to pretend i know the sure-to-be femininst-heavy symbolism behind her oil pastel tutus and protruding can-can legs, but i do know they are filled with wit and loads of satire, and even if i don’t know quite what that satire is, i know i like it. and would probably also like what it stands for.

until them, enjoy and yes, cathy’s untitled legs now grace my iphone background. whatever, i know.

(all images from cathy daley’s website.)

a new order from yale

working in pr/marketing you get bombarded with a billion things you just HAVE to read/see/hear everyday. granted i do the same on behalf of the fashion brand i work for, but my e-mails are totally less annoying…probably not.

i digress…

while the majority of what i receive can be categorized as varying degrees of rubbish, every once in a while something actually interesting floats by and grabs my a.d.d-laden attention span.

case and point: out of order magazine founded and run by the students of yale university.

cast away any and all preconceived notions of what you think a college magazine might look like. OOO is not your average student-run publication, then again, yale is not your average university.

executed with the same pomp and circumstance that is attributed to it’s alma mater, the magazine and website are clean, aesthetically-striking and almost elitist in style (but in that this-just-may-be-too-cool-for-you way).

pretension aside, the content seems to keep up with the tome’s shiny exterior: fashion interviews with ellen von unworth, reviews on the newest warhol exhibit at the met, op-eds on the convergence of rap and fashion, film reviews, street style galleries, and an androgynous lifestyle section housing everything else (food, where to party in nyc, basement nightlife…the usual).

then of course there is the to-be-expected section…student interviews. but hold the phone, instead of spotlighting that kid from your 8th grade homeroom who just won his 4th consecutive science fair (tool), these students are making albums, showing at galleries and producing noteworthy films. not bad for college seniors.

so while i go wash off the stench of being less accomplished than a twenty-year old, you should go enjoy out of order. it’s refreshing, engaging, and the perfect amalgam of cultural fodder to keep you procrastinating all week long.