Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour: On the Night

Earth hour began eight hours ago locally...
All lights were turned off, including the television!
[But a camera flash was used.]

Some views from my window...The city lights weren't turned off unfortunately.

I thought Van Gogh's Starry night was amusingly appropriate...

Sleep was considered, darkness is condusive after all.

And some candlelight...
Happy earthhour for those of across the globe, good luck!

Wedding Bells New York style

This precious glass featured in New York Weddings attracted my immediate attention so lets start with gifts first shall we?

This beyond beautiful 'Golden Sprig Glass' comes in a set of six from Michele Varian.
'The gold flecks in your eyes sparkle as brightly as...'

A walk in the park...with old hollywood glamour. The gown beaded with Swarovski crystals ensure you outshine everyone else, literally. A cultured freshwater pearl strand necklace adds that touch of class.

Fantastically witty and so practical [no worries about a threateningly fragile stem should anyone get too sloshed] this 'Inside Out Champagne Glass' can be found unsurprisingly at the MoMA Design Store.

This Monique Lhuillier silk organza dropped-waist gown with peacock feathers ensure you are the Belle of the Ball. Paired with a complementary bouquet of white dendrobium orchids and white ostrich feathers, a not-so-simple look but no less sexy.

Bluebell Boutonnieres at Jamie King & Jessica Zimmerman's May wedding.

According to the bride, this lovely picture was taken in front of orchid curtains that their designers "spent hours stringing, some from hundred feet up."
For an extra touch of magic, the couple washed their wedding rings in salt water the night before and left them to dry in the moonlight, so they’d be spiritually charged... le sigh

Of course an Oscar de la Renta gown and rose-cut diamond necklace by Tiffany & Co could be pretty magical too.

But what was Vera Wang thinking when she designed this 'empress pouf' dress? Shouldn't the acclaimed bridal designer know that no woman wants to go down the aisle thinking "God I hope my butt doesn't look too big in this!"

Giambattista Valli however made this perfectly right. Its exquisite scalloped trim ensures the gown is demure but far from boring. People will be staring for all the right reasons.

The bride may not be blushing but these rose coloured macarons add a Parisien flair and better yet avoids the fussiness of a towering cake so that you can make that get away so much quicker.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Julian Schnabel

Where do we even begin? Artist, film director and interior designer. Born in Brooklyn in 1951, Julian Schnabel became famous for his paintings on broken plates.

'Portrait of Olatz', named after his beautiful Spanish wife whom he apparently wooed by executing a series of paintings prominently featuring her name.

This painting is one of a series that was supposedly based on a picture of a blonde haired girl he stumbled upon while visiting a thrift store. He deliberately left out the eyes because he wanted people to focus on the whole picture instead of just that feature.

Schnabel's "Christ's Last Day" exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. It featured paintings inspired by a box of X-rays chanced upon while working on his award winning movie 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' in France. The picture above from the LA Times really gives you a true sense of how large the works are.

“I’m as close to Picasso as you’re going to get in this fucking life,” he famously said earlier in his career.

After having won the Best Director award at Cannes however, he describes his range of interests in a comparatively modest way - "I’m like a crop rotator. One season is carrots, one season it’s potatoes. There must be part of my brain that is restored.”

The film was adapted from a memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the rakish editor of French Elle who had a stroke at the age of 43. Left paralyzed, with only the ability to move an eyelid, he learned to communicate by blinking and through this means managed to write his book which was published days before his death in 1996.

Art with a touch of Asia

The grand yet inviting lobby of the Gramercy Park Hotel which Julian Schnabel had a hand in decorating. Unsurprisingly, it boosts more than a few of his own works but also works by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Richard Prince, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst.

The Hotel on New York's Lexington Avenue is described as "rock n roll baroque" by owner Ian Schrager, "If there’s a message here it’s about individuality".

Old-fashioned luxury inflected by a modern art collection, many pieces so large that art movers had to roll out and restretch canvases that couldn't fit through the door in their frames.

Julian Schnabel's "Suddenly Last Summer (Picasso Painting No. 2)",
"Blue Japanese Painting No. 3" and "Teddy Bear’s Picnic" accompanied by Warhol’s "Rorschach" and Cy Twombley's "Bacchus" are some of the undeniably eye-catching pieces that transports guests into an Art Musuem without even having to leave the comfort of the Hotel.

If you can't get a room reservation on your next trip, the bar's still a definite place to visit!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Travel bug

{To travel is a glorious indulgence and a necessity all at once}

A handy notebook is as essential as my passport! A place to scribble down my thoughts, write down wicked snippets of on dit inadvertantly overheard, directions offered by kind strangers, amateur sketchings when I'm feeling inspired at the Art musuems and reflective musings which may or may not make complete sense a few years on...

If only we could all look so impeccable while waiting for a nostalgic steam engine to chug along...

Vuitton's Damier canvas, a perfect companion.

Pack a luxurious cashmere bonnet to keep those ears warm

A cheery 'Arc en Ciel' umbrella in case of unhappy skies

A handy 'Poche toilette' for make-up and little trinkets

All packed? Don't be late for that flight...
but don't forget fashionable, fun footwear! Wedges seem more forgiving than stilettos for all that running around. Alors, Bon Voyage. Bisou bisou!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shop Topshop

Perfectly dressed for:

Indie Romance - kick of your shoes and go dancing

Classy Cocktail - jazzy music and champagne in hand

Party girl - "It's my birthday I'll wear pink if I want to"

Casual fridays - Denim never looked so elegantly demure.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nick and the Candlestick

"Nick and the Candlestick" by Sylvia Plath.

I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears

The earthen womb

Exudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airs

Wrap me, raggy shawls,
Cold homicides.
They weld to me like plums.

Old cave of calcium
Icicles, old echoer.
Even the newts are white,

Those holy Joes.
And the fish, the fish-
Christ! They are panes of ice,
A vice of knives,
A piranha
Religion, drinking

Its first communion out of my live toes.
The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,

Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryo

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses.
With soft rugs-

The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,

Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,

You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Plath & Hughes

Yesterday it was reported around the World that Nicholas Hughes the son of Poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes committed suicide after having battled with depression for some time. He hanged himself at home in Alaska, 46 years after his mother put her head into a gas oven while he slept in a room next door. He was 47, an evolutionary biologist and professor of fisheries and ocean sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for more than a decade. A year ago, he resigned to concentrate on his interest in pottery.

Nicholas Hughes was only a baby, barely 9 months when his parents separated and Sylvia subsequently took her own life in February 1963. Six years later, Assia Wevill, Ted Hughes’ lover, the wife of another poet and the woman he left Plath for also committed suicide in a similar manner, gassing herself and their four year old daughter.

A few months before her death that fateful February morning, Sylvia Plath wrote about her feelings for her child in the poem Nick and the Candlestick published in her posthumous collection Ariel. Plath’s fragile mental state during the harsh winter as a single mother preceding her suicide was the period considered to have invoked a final burst of creativity during which she wrote many of her finest poems. Later, Poet Laureate Ted Hughes wrote of how, after Plath’s death, their son’s eyes “Became wet jewels, The hardest substance of the purest pain. As I fed him in his high white chair”.

In 1998, Ted Hughs released Birthday Letters, a book of poetry that he dedicated to his children. The best-seller unveiled a series of 88 poems examining his life with Plath and his reaction to her death. The collection of deeply personal poems was awarded the 1999 Whitbread Book of the Year award which he did not live to see having died of cancer the previous October.

All over Paris

After watching the more recent 2 days in Paris where it was basically a whirlwind of madness in rapidfire franglish, I finally got around to watching the much loved Before Sunset. I haven't yet watched Before Sunrise but I most certainly will, eventually. Anyway, rather unsurprisingly I was quite enraptured. The dialogue kept with a constant momentum, never losing speed, both actors maintaining the rhythm seamlessly all the while strolling through Paris at midday.

The great interaction conveyed very efficiently the fact that these two people hadn't seen each other for nine years and had so much to catch up on, so much to say to each other, so much they long to know yet so many questions are left unasked, so many things left unsaid or blurted out but quickly taken back or shrugged off as a joke so that the other is never really quite certain whether it was indeed a joke or an unguarded moment of sincerity.

There are so many what ifs that makes the story so real, all the doubts that we feel, the opportunities we may have missed, all our insecurites coming to the fore. How we want so much but sometimes aren't brave enough to lay it all out and open ourselves to the possibility of being rejected or hurt.

The characters aren't perfect, she's charmingly neurotic, he's perhaps a little staid maybe even slightly boring but together they make an interesting pair. But I think what Celine said just before they arrived at henri quatre is true, if they had met in Vienna as planned, they probably would have drove each other mad or ended up hating each other before long. Their brief interludes are like little vignettes in life, everything's exciting and perfect but not meant to last.

Regardless, I really enjoyed it and the movie ended too soon. I can't believe I absent-mindedly bought two copies of the DVD at different times over the past few years but took so long to finally decide it was time to watch it. Did you know the director Richard Linklater would only shoot scenes during mid-late afternoon in Paris because he felt it would add to the hyper reality of the film as that's the time during which the film plays out. Of course, the fact that Paris is bathed in the the most flattering and romantic rosy glow just "before sunset" also adds to the wonderfully nostalgic atmosphere.