Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Am Addicted To "HOUSE MD": A Shamed Confession

DAHLINGS -

As mes fidèles lecteurs aimant know, I do not watch television, except when it is necessary (the Academy Awards, for example). However, because you know everything about moi (my life is an open book with only some of the pages torn out), I feel I must throw myself on your mercy and confess:

I have become completely addicted to the television programme "House MD," starring Hugh Laurie. Last night I even pleaded a headache to an important event so that I could stay home and watch the latest episode! I have NEVER done that, dear readers!

For an intimate evening, yes, but never for television.

I became aware of Hugh Laurie on television as the idiotic twit Bertie Wooster (along with Stephen Fry) in the delightful British series "Jeeves and Wooster," based on the P.G. Wodehouse stories. In fact, I only saw Hugh Laurie playing idiotic upper-crust twits, in the many variations of "Blackadder" starring Rowan Atkinson, the gentleman leering at the top.


So it was a complete shock to see him, with stubble and gruff American accent, playing Dr. House. So much so, in fact, that it took me over a year to be able to watch the programme without giggling whenever Hugh Laurie spoke, and not because of the wit of the dialogue. He seemed so deeply miscast.



Although he is a huge improvement over Alan Alda, who annoyed me in "M*A*S*H*", as a child, the few times dear darling Mama let me near a television set. (She disapproved and preferred that I read elevating books or fashion magazines.)

But then a close friend, who felt sorry for my isolation while I am engaged in my literary endeavors, gave me the first three seasons on DVD. Dear readers, I watched him. And soon I was, as they say, hooked. I will not be writing about it much in this blog-thing, because for one thing my assistant can hardly contain her snickering--

CUT THAT OUT, YOU BLOODY FOOL! IN THIS ECONOMY THERE ARE A MILLION OTHER PEOPLE WHO WOULD LEAP AT THIS JOB!

Excusez-moi. As I was saying, I will not be writing about it here, because I am already embarrassed enough, and this is a place to discuss Fashion In The True Sense. Medical shows do not have much of that (particularly with all of that blood--ugh). However, I will opine that Lisa Edelstein's wardrobe is particularly lovely, and for a slender woman she does have a divine bosom.


Dieu merci, they keep that skeletal Olivia Wilde in a hospital coat much of the time. In any event, last night's episode had me on the edge of my divan, and I look forward to more.

I feel so cleansed. Merci, dear readers. (And one hopes that Dr. Taub does indeed commit suicide, as they keep hinting, although that seems a tad obvious.)

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Friday, March 27, 2009

How Did Jane Austen DO It??

DAHLINGS -

Get your minds out of the gutter at once!

What I mean, of course, is how did she manage to write so many books? How did her BRAIN keep up the sheer stream of creativity??

As you all know, I am currently penning a deathless tome of my own, and let me tell you, it is more than hard work. It is sheer AGONY! If I'd had any sense, I would have hired one of those ghostwriters who penned Madonna's children's books or Ethan Hawke's poetry...

The details, the dialogue, the blank computer screen pulsing like the spectre of DOOM...maybe I should combine a Jane Austen novel with mine, the way that fellow did with the newly published "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies."

Mine could be "A Diary of Sense and Sensibility and Exquisitely Good Taste." Hm, without Zombies, it lacks a certain--panache, shall we say. But if I call it "Diary of A Mad Zombie," that would change the plot SO much.

And to be honest, I have never liked eating brains. Even poached in wine.

Back to lashing the Muse...pray for me!

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Magic Of Vintage Jewelry!

DAHLINGS -

I have an array of vintage costume and fine jewelry on my sites, and it behooves me to share some of my riches with you! Nothing makes me happier than diamond earrings, unless it's a pair of vintage Coro rhinestone danglers that practically hit my shoulders! Who gives a fig if they're faux as long as they are fabulous? Not I!

Over on (ugh) Ebay, this adorable Napier goldtone and faux pearl brooch:


















Straight from the 1960s comes this on-trend chunky necklace, made of faux amber and black beads:





















Another chunky necklace, this one all in goldtone and quite elaborate (and ending soon!):



















For those of you who require the real thing, here is a large 14k gold Victorian ring with a cameo in a Navette setting--truly spectacular!



And another cameo, this one a shell cameo brooch set in 800 silver, with a gold vermeil wash, that can also be used as a pendant, also from the turn of the century and probably Italian:


You can find all of these at http://stores.ebay.com/Elisas-Bodacious-House-of-Style.com

Over at the Mad Fashionista's Plus Size Boutique on Fashiondig, we have this beautiful Royal Doulton porcelain brooch and earring set:


The link is to your right, so please do go shopping and buy yourself some pretties!


Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky The Wonderdog

Friday, March 20, 2009

Snow In New York City On The First Day of Spring!

DAHLINGS -

This is nothing less than an outrage! I awoke this morning, parted the curtains of my bedroom, to be confronted by a BLIZZARD!

Isn't this supposed to be Spring? I feel personally offended, mon cher lecteurs, because I have been planning to break out my open-toed shoes, my peep-toe pumps, and my slingbacks. Yes, I have a car and driver so I don't exactly have to walk that far anywhere, but there is still the risk of stepping into a puddle and ruining my custom-made footwear! (As I have mentioned, I have the misfortune of having size 11ww feet...it goes with being extremely tall.)

Speaking of large feet, you can find these beautiful lilac Thai silk pumps in my (ugh) Ebay store, in size 13M:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=230181858687

And like many of the items in my store, they are 15% off! Have a browse around and take advantage of the savings.

In the meantime, I must rethink my footwear plans. Damn Mother Nature!

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Meghan McCain vs. Laura Ingraham In The Weight Wars

DAHLINGS –

Your faithful correspondent generally avoids the topic of politics because:

a) they tend to be divisive and fights break out at cocktail parties (during the election, a food fight broke out at a soiree I was hosting that involved a large toasted Brie…I still shudder at the memory).
b) in my case, they cause Deep Thoughts, which tend to give me pounding headaches.

A disclaimer: some of my best friends are Republicans, and some of them are Democrats. And during my recent sojourn in Washington, DC (cf. earlier entries) I helped women of both parties get ready for the "new glamour"(sic) coming to the White House.

However, I am addressing the topic this morning because it involves one of what one might call one of my “causes,” which is loving one’s beautiful, bountiful body. Meghan McCain, Senator John McCain’s 24-year-old daughter, wrote an excellent column in The Daily Beast about that lunatic extremist Ann Coulter

(who has, by the way, used her physical image in no small way to get media attention) and how Coulter’s extremist politics alienated the people of Meghan's generation.

McCain was blasted by Republican “pundit” Laura Ingraham not for criticizing Coulter, but because she was "too plus-sized to be a cast member on the MTV television show The Real World." (Ingraham has also parlayed her physical appearance to become, as one website suggested, "an official Republican babe.")


McCain accurately characterized Ingraham’s response as petty, juvenile and off-topic, and asked the question: why are we still judging women by their size? McCain is voluptuous and extremely beautiful .




Ingraham, of course, did not answer, but instead lashed out on her radio station's website: "Now the Left is seizing on one satirical line from our show to paint Meghan as the victim of a right-wing hate crime."

Uh, no, Laura, you have gotten it all wrong. Judging women by their body size is neither left-wing nor right-wing, it knows no politics. It only knows convenience, hatred and opportunity.

To answer Meghan's question from a politically non-partisan view: because judging women by their size is more rampant than at any time your faithful correspondent can remember. The paparazzi simply cannot wait to publish pictures of celebrities sporting double chins, “baby bumps,” or being caught in the act of…gaspeating.

There are entire ongoing feature columns on some websites devoted to showing how famous women have gained weight, and those columns are NOT meant to be flattering. Occasionally a man makes it into these columns, but only if he is a sex symbol who has happened to develop love handles. All famous women, on the other hand, are fair game. Look at the flack JLo had to take at the Golden Globes because of her supposed “back fat”!

Yes, I also confess that I comment on models and other gaunt women in a less-than-flattering way. I believe strongly that they are part of the problem.

At the Edward Steichen exhibit, the fashion models were real women, with real bodies, as were the movie stars. (These days "real women" is often used as a euphemism for "fat," have you noticed?) One could imagine them dieting and exercising, but hardly to the point of having colon cleanses and working out five hours a day, as Madonna does. And yes, some women are meant to be extremely thin. But not that many.

Characterizing us by our bodies removes our personalities, intellects and politics from the equation. Women become nothing more than those—pardon me for the vulgarity—but we become nothing more than full-page vaginal shots in pornographic magazines (yes, I’ve seen them).

Both celebrities and ordinary women in private life are affected by this obsession.
Yes, we have always expected movie stars to be attractive, but not to be perfect. This unreal, elusive and dangerous demand for “perfection” of size and appearance diminishes and distracts all women in America.

I think I might have been a size 10 once in my life (detailed in an earlier entry) through a combination of starvation and bulimia, so I like to think I have a wee bit of expertise in this area. By embracing the voluptuous body I was meant to have, and not the body society thinks I ought to have, I am free to concentrate on more significant matters.

Fortunately, not politics. This might sound mean-spirited, but I do hope Laura Ingraham chokes on the Splenda she stirs into her black coffee.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and do have a green beer for me, dahlings!

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Edward Steichen: In High Fashion And On Display

DAHLINGS –
If you find yourself in Manhattan, you simply must hie yourself to midtown to the International Center for Photography’s Museum for
“In High Fashion: Edward Steichen
The Conde' Nast Years 1923-1937”.


Below is the catalogue for the show.
(All images by Edward Steichen, courtesy of the Conde' Nast archives)


(And no, I don't know why that satin thing is bulging to one side.)

It is a wondrous chronicle of this brilliant photographer’s work, originally organized by the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, in conjunction with the International Center of Photography. The exhibition opened here in January and will run through May 3rd. It is part of the International Center of Photography's 2009 Year of Fashion.

It features over 150 examples of the finest of his fashion and celebrity portraiture. Steichen accepted the position of chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, both Conde' Nast publications, in 1923. One does not have to be as worldly and well-educated as yours truly to appreciate what beautiful pictures these are. Although it helps. Steichen's artistic development can be traced as he moved from romantic pictorialism in the 1920s to the crisp lines of Modernism in the 1930s. For instance, this is an iconic portrait of silent star Gloria Swanson, taken in 1924.



Contrast that photo with this one of young Joan Crawford, taken in the early 1930s.

And here is an atypical picture of a very young Katherine Hepburn from that same period.


Note the rather odd composition of the white hat on the chair and what seems to be a lamp in the background.

Already famous, he only added to his fame with his spectacular work. This photo is one of my very favorites, with the Manhattan skyline in the background and the dresses--ah, the dresses!



The clothes are by the top designers of the time: Lanvin, Chanel, Agnes'. Besides fashion to swoon over, there are portraits of great writers and politicians of the day. There is also a room entirely devoted to color photography, as well as a fascinating silent film of Steichen at work. One could spend hours there, as I did.

The exhibitions on the upper floor, "Weird Beauty" in particular, do not live up to the sheer greatness that is Steichen, but then, what possibly could?

You can take a look at this link:
http://www.icp.org/site/c.dnJGKJNsFqG/b.4783341/

And again, if you are in Manhattan and have any feelings about fashion and fashion history, you owe it to yourself to wallow in all of this beauty!

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm Writing A Book, Dahlings!

DAHLINGS -

Your faithful correspondent is finally taking the advice of her many thousands of admirers and--writing a book!

As wonderful as soft covers feel, it will be so wonderful to be between hard covers! Or even on an Amazon Kindle, whatever that is.

What sort of book, you ask? Well, since it is being written by moi, it is a fabulous book. But more than that, I shall not say. This is simply a tidbit to whet your appetite, my pets.

Have a wonderful night, everyone!

Ciao,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Vintage Auction Ending Today - Plus Size Tops!

DAHLINGS -

I need to let you know that in coming weeks I shall be listing a number of wonderful blouses in silk, cotton and other materials in my (ugh) Ebay store, as well as on Fashiondig (links to your right). Ending in a day or so, I have an auction of eight vintage blouses, all from the same estate, all XL (busts 42-46). My mannequin, Bodicea, is six feet tall with a 44 inch bust, and all of these tops fit her beautifully! Here is a selection from the auction to whet your appetite.

First, a mint green sweater in a shimmery cotton blend knit, covered with sequins:


Next, a Lord & Taylor silky blouse in a Pucci-esque 60s print:


Perfect for Viva Las Vegas, a rockabilly mockneck red and white polka dot top:


A 1950s linen blouse, with each seam done in openwork embroidery, as well as embroidered trim in every conceivable place:


And four other beautiful pieces, at the ridiculously low starting price of $9.99! You can find them all at: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=390035266097

Coming soon, this Bonwit Teller silk button back blouse:


And this lovely white and black cotton striped top:


Have a lovely Sunday, dahlings, and enjoy the time change! Remember to change your clocks! (At least my American readers.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

From Project Runway to ELEVEN MINUTES: Jay McCarroll's Bumpy Ride

DAHLINGS -

Rabid fans of “Project Runway” who have followed the show since its inception will certainly enjoy ELEVEN MINUTES, the story of how first season winner Jay McCarroll went on to design and show his first independent line at Fashion Week at Bryant Park two years later. For others, however, the appeal of this small exercise in cinema-verite (directed and produced by Michael Seiditch and Rob Tate) may seem puzzling.

For one thing, McCarroll, a rotund, baby-faced man with a goatee and an endless supply of flamboyant headgear, has charm but is not deeply compelling enough for us to want to follow him for the film’s 103-minute running time. In fact, the first third seems meandering and pointless. However, as one of my viewing companions put it, McCarroll has no subtext—whatever his subtext is, it comes right out of his mouth unedited. “I’m the fucking poster boy for angry insecurity!” he yells at one point in the film, and tells interviewers that his collection inspiration is “vaginal discharge.”

Unlike most conventional documentaries, ELEVEN MINUTES contains no flashbacks and almost no back story, other than the stated fact that after McCarroll won “Project Runway,” in his words, “the cord was cut.” The film stays completely in the present moment from start to finish, during the eight frantic months it takes Jay to design and prepare his fashion show.

Once the actual planning, etc. starts, the film gains momentum, as we watch Jay’s friends (all working for free), and see how truly enormous the creative process behind a show like this is. Unlike reality TV, with its scripted conflict and contrived setbacks, this is reality; where conflict arises from exhaustion, frayed nerves, and no money. The setbacks are genuine (will the shoes arrive in time for the show? Will the factory be able to make the dress he designed that has 140 individual pieces of fabric?). It also exposes the enormous cruelty within the fashion business on every level, from model selection (“she’s old!” Kelly Cutrone says of one candidate) to seat selection for the show. There are the “Front Rows” and behind them, the “Who Gives A Shits.”

McCarroll is caught between worrying about the mass production of his designs, and worrying about how that affects his design aesthetic. (One thing McCarroll must be applauded for: as he says, "No emaciated models! I want one with a boob!" ) The showing of his collection, called “Transport” after his obsession with hot air balloons, is the eleven minutes the film refers to.



The majority of documentaries about creative people are about genius, and extolling that genius (for instance, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, although nobody will ever convince me that Johnston is a talented musician). ELEVEN MINUTES, however, is not essentially about the ecology of creativity; it is essentially about the ecology of business. Jay McCarroll knows that his personality/notoriety is a more marketable commodity at this stage than his actual design talent. As he says at the beginning, “I have a short shelf life.” For this niche film, there is definitely an audience in the fashion world. But for the general public, this shelf life might have already passed.

Sincerely,
Elisa & Bucky the Wonderdog

Official website: http://www.elevenminutes-jaymccarroll.com/