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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy New Year.

But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year-old habits. ~Andre Gide

This post is short and sweet due to a rather hectic end of the year, but I just wanted to share with you a few festive products and images for New Year's Eve. I am thrilled to have 19 countries plus viewing my blog, Please continue to stop by, I would love to hear from you. I want to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and peaceful new year!

New Years Eve Party Glitz And Glam Hats by Booptey Lu, $25

1700s Paris Inspired New Years Eve Printable Cupcake Topper
And Wrapper Set by PaperScissors Cake. $4.99

 I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. ~Anaïs Nin

Crystal champagne glasses festooned with 700 white and pink
diamonds, $400,000. (Yes, you read right!)
"Champagne...the wine of kings, the king of wines."
~ Guy du Maupaussant
Vintage lustre champagne glasses, $19
"three be the things I shall never attain: envy, content, and sufficient Champagne".
~ Dorothy Parker
Above left: Krug Champagne Clos du Mesnil 1.50L 1998, $2,124.00....a tad above your budget?  Mine too.  Above right: May I suggest this excellent value which was a most welcome guest at my own wedding: Duval Leroy NV Brut Champagne, $28.95

"too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right"

Mark Twain

New Year's Eve in Paris

"Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right". ~Oprah Winfrey

Times Square on New Year's Eve, 1950's

New Year's Eve ball, Times Square, NYC.

Vintage noisemakers, $19.00

Nouvelle année heureuse, mes amours!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Decorating for Dummies

This cluster of Belgian wig moulds (circa 1890) would look great on a console. $899

Make that decorating with dummies. Mannequins and dress forms seem to be quite the design fetish du jour these days as many interior designers seem to be utilizing them more and more in their projects  as unique accents and alternative works of art.  I confess to a personal fascination with them myself as to me, they represent existential manifestations of our alter egos. There is something so poetic about the stillness and muteness of these arresting human forms that seem to evoke a profound sense of vulnerability and fragility.  I can easily see why they have historically inspired artists to use them as poetic apparitions in order to relay social and political commentary.

Originally created for commerce, mannequins and dress forms gradually found an evolution into the art world. They were countlessly used as haunting metaphysical subject matter in many works of fine art and photography notably created during the Dada and surrealist art movements of the mid-20th century.  The most famous artists utilizing the subject of mannequins sometimes disfiguring them in order to relay an allegory of the human condition were Giorgio de Chirico, founder of the metaphysical art movement (pittura metafisica), Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp along with photographers Clarence John Laughlin and Man Ray, to name just a few.
"The Disquieting Muses"
by Georgio de Chirico
The current trend of using mannequins in interior design tends to elicit more of a light-hearted and humorous response rather than a philosophical or political one as a work of art might do. As the profession of Interior design most assuredly encompasses many aspects of fine art theory and philosophy, it differs in that it is a trade created solely for clients. It is another form of art, but in the end, dictated mostly by practical concerns. Having been originally been manufactured as decorative objects for commercial use, mannequins allow interior designers to insert a bit of whimsy and perhaps even a more quiet human statement into their designs.

Weathered mannequin
Dress forms and mannequins add a unique addition to any room, not to mention acting as conversation pieces. Much of the fascination of them lies in the fact that they exist both as utilitarian and sculptural objects. They can be placed in the bedroom, used to drape a beautiful shawl, fill in an unused corner to stand alone or maybe be grouped within a variety of differing sizes and shapes in order to make a unique design and artistic statement.
Elegant apartment in France
Isn't this fascinating that the wicker dress form and iron chair mimic and complement each other at the same time? They have been brought together as an odd couple to create a marriage of lightness and elegance offset by the charming vintage-style shoes.

Angel dress form, $145

Mannequin with cone and sphere by Man Ray

Vintage hat mannequin head.

Broken Mannequin, $13.95

 Flank these on either side of a modern
white sofa accented with black pillows.

Zig-Zag Dress form, $300

Mannequin hand, $275

I found this doll-like bevy of lovely vintage mannequin heads and small mannequin all for sale on Ebay.
Robert Doisneau, Paris, 1968

Manuel Abravo,
 "Mannequin with a Voice", 1930-35


1950's shop display mannequins, $499

  "Mano" Roubini rug.
 To the trade.

Mannequin cushion, 49 British pounds.

James Dean


Buster Keaton and twin friend
Mannequin and Sculpture, 1940's.
I love this photo. Possibly shot for a fashion publication, it is an exquisite example of alternative reality.  There is profound poignancy represented in this image as the seemingly perfect fashion mannequin seems to be the one full of human emotion. She looks to be ironically eyeing the fuller figured feminine torso with envy.  It's as if we can read her mind and she is saying: "If only I could be a real woman". 
This art mannequin
belonged to my father.

Edith Head

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bordello Chic

8 X 10 Deco image, $30

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Wallpaper by Zoffany. To the trade
When people ask me what kind of style best defines my work, I generally like to describe it as Eclectic and Transitional with a twist of the whimsical. Then again, I once told a friend that I love the look of "Bordello Chic"; a distinctively darker, sensual and more urban version of the once popular Shabby Chic style. Perhaps due to growing up around antiques and used furniture borrowed off of the streets of lower Manhattan, it was then that I cultivated an early fascination of anything old.

 Antiques are so alive in many ways because of their history and time warped existence; each piece having an interesting story to tell.

Are they vessels containing heavy spiritual presences and perhaps that accounts for why so many of us can relate to a shared fascination of the vintage and antique?
Dog (ahem) Kennel Buttoned-Bed by George Smith

" Bordello Chic" also known as "Speakeasy Chic" emerged as a very popular new design trend in LA in 2010. It reflected a renewed hunger amongst trend-mongers for the decadently extravagant decor reminiscent of palatial Robber Baron homes, gentleman's clubs, not to mention bordellos, from the bygone Victorian and Edwardian eras. It encompasses aspects of the Gothic, Rococo and regency styles updated with a modern sensibility and infused with a twist of danger. The element of the dangerous serves as a reflection of a sexually provocative present day subculture masked with a veneer of old world elegance.

Murano glass black chandelier

The HBO mega-hit tv series "Boardwalk Empire" pretty much sums up the current fascination for the vintage and the dangerous and the timing of the show's emergence is certainly no coincidence. Set in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1920's prohibition era, it has enjoyed widespread acclaim for the overall quality of the production not to mention it's historical accuracy. So if you want to get a glimpse of what an American bordello looked like in 1920, you might want to catch this show.  I will warn you that the sometimes violent content of the show is not for the faint of heart (myself included) but it is a great show and I am a big fan of Steve Buscemi.
HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"

Victoriana has a  decidedly prominent and heavier feel and is unarguably to most, an over the top style. Rich colors such as crimson red, deep purples, blues, golds and blacks were used to evoke an intensive atmosphere. Typical elements in Victorian salons included large tufted velvet furniture, heavily woven textiles like brocades and damasks along with large bullion fringes and tassels. On the walls a plethora of moody oil paintings might be mounted on red walls or purple flocked wallpaper. On the rich wooden or marble floors would be scattered several examples of exotic Persian carpeting and animal skins (Faux nowadays, please) These were just a few of the elements reminiscent of an elite and extravagantly insular world that existed from the late 1800's into the early 1900's.

Mirror by Maitland-Smith. Available through

Louis XV style vanity chair
Serena Screen

Laver Kirman, 9ft 3in X 15ft 8in

Euphrates Rug, $2,998

Louis XV Commode. To the trade

I espy ed this fabulous window displayed while out playing in NY's
Flatiron district. Take a look at the wonderful array of luxurious fabric and
furniture choices.
Victorian bust of a lady, $495
Kosta Boda Amazonas Sculpture, Gold, $2,800
Looking for Bordello Chic on a budget?  Here are a few flirty alternatives guaranteed not to break the bank: 

Ziegfield Follies

Bottoms up. Set of 4 wine goblets
made in Mexico, $79
 Have a drink at The Auction House, NYC

Damask velvet burnout curtain, $59.95
Faux leopard faux-fur throw pillow, $43.49
Round velvet pintuck pillow, $34
Popi Chair, $349
Double-sided canvas screen, $123

Crank up the phonograph, honey, and throw on some Rudy Vallee. Vintage phonograph from the Good Will auction site.

Black tufted headboard.
Dorsiere oval mirror in
glossy red lacquer.

The Back Room, NYC

Flocked pillows, $19.99

Alluring Mirror (very apropos name), $179.95

Vintage nudie postcards

Body polish, $8