Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Provence Collection By RH

Restoration Hardware has undoubtedly produced another timeless collection in the Provence Collection. Overall the look is southern France Mediterranean. The well groomed shrubbery, unfinished wood, iron, and wicker set the natural tone of the elements in the line. I have selected three of my favorite sets to showcase.

The image above features an aluminum Greek Klismos table set. The sleek urn base of the table showcases its unique pedestal details along with the curving legs of the chairs. Ivory cushions contrast with the charcoal gray aluminum. The pot of succulents provides structured greenery that looks as tailored as the hedges.

I am drawn to the natural wicker and neutral upholstery in the photos above and below. The simplistic attention to detail is shown in the clean lines and x motifs especially in the planters in the image below. The table looks like something that has come from an antique shop as the quality and solid craftsmanship are apparent. Over sized lanterns create warmth and enhance the vintage classic Provencial feel. Stone pots holding bits of wild lavender are placed in the center of the table for a subtle hint of color. Pea gravel is used commonly in European courtyards and is replicated here.

In the poolside setting the wicker is used again and upholstered in the same tones. The lanterns are present just in case of a midnight candle light swim. The small but very visually appealing pool is balanced on each side by two chaises and flanked at the head of the pool by a cozy daybed. The neutral color palate is accented with green shrubbery and purple lavender blossoms. The design here is simplistic and tasteful to contemporary Provencial design.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Toto, We're Not In Kansas Anymore....Oh Wait, Wrong Movie

Tim Burton is known for oddities, hiring a revolving door of the same cast members (Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter), and has directed the latest adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, in theaters now. I went into the theater last night prepared for his version of madness to be paired with Lewis Carroll's timeless tale of ludicrousness.

Happily, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It's star shines brightly in Mia Wasikowska as Alice. She is a bit of a curious and dreaming girl but grows into her own stronger sense of self as she throws off the mantle of the conforming and traditional woman of the times. She can make the impossible a reality (especially when she realizes she isn't dreaming).

The ever shifting balance of proportion was more than amusing to watch as Alice shape shifted from a towering giant to the size of a mouse. In the original animated version, Alice's clothing shrunk and grew as she did but this was not the case in this film. She was constantly having to have new outfits tailored for her through out the show. I was delighted to see what came next.

Classic characters such as the Cheshire Cat were more of a special effect character but proved to be as tricky and squeezable as he was in the original film. With his over sized and toothy grin he seems not to be trusted yet when he twists and turns in the air and kneads his claws he is fuzzy and quite authentically catlike.

It only seemed quite natural that Alice should be the champion of the film and don the armor (which made her resemble some sort of Joan of Arc character - strong, yet feminine).

Another outstanding character was the white queen played by Anne Hathaway. I couldn't get enough of her darkly stained lips, black eyebrows and dark eyes all paired with alabaster skin, hair, and clothing. She was stereotypically graceful and comedic at the same time. Seeing her mix the special potion with the rancid list of ingredients was amusing to say the least.

See the film and try to look past all the over used faces and you will find a gem of a film with amazing special effects. It is filled with crazy, over the top characters that we all remember from the animated version but have been dramatically altered with fantastic results.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Temporary Couture

Tattoos have been around for centuries. They are thought to have originated as a form of acupuncture to alleviate pains in ancient cultures. Over time they evolved to have a more ornamental purpose and became things of beauty. Or eyesores, which ever your preference.

The Egyptians have a long history of tattoo culture where tattoos were status symbols and designs were sex specific. Lines and dots were the basis of their inkings.

In Japanese culture, tattoos had a mystical or religious significance. Oddly enough, it is thought that the 1st full body tattoos originated there. The trend reemerged and became popular once again for circus performers in more modern times where the number and multiple colors of tattoos the bearer had made them quite an attraction.

Celebrities and models have become quite popular for their choice of tattoos. Perhaps one of the most famous tattooed celebrities is Angelina Jolie. Her coordinate tattoos of her children's birth places seem to be one of the most touching tattoos I have seen. My favorite model, Freja Beha has words of inspiration written in various tastefully chosen locations on her body. I frequently see images of her on the runway without makeup covering them.

Chanel has released a line of temporary tattoos to add to their ever growing collection. This past January they hit the stores; $75.00 for 5 pieces of fleeting couture. The basis of the tattoos are ropes of draped layers of pearls adorned with bird and Chanel's double C charms. Lace also prevails and adds to the naughty yet feminine appeal of the body applique.

The tattoos the models are wearing around their neck and shoulders seem the most appealing to me and the charm appeal increases when you see the little birds twining them gracefully around her neck. While the thigh and leg tattoos seem to give the image of a cheap prostitute. Otherwise they are quite beautifully designed. I would be much more inclined to wear a removable tattoo than a permanent one with my ever changing perceptions.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Light, Color, & Energy

"Painting, for me, is about translating the activity and movement of the outside world into a vocabulary of paint and line. Light, color, and energy are reflected in a fractured window view of the underside of a live oak or in the curls and folds of an elephant ear. Each painting experience becomes a challenge to push aesthetic decision-making aside, in favor of drawing in the moment. The best paintings occur when I succeed in letting action dictate form." - Amanda Talley

I have been very stubborn in regards to my taste in art. I can't say that a lot of modern art speaks to me but Amanda Talley's work has a feminine softness of line. The New Orleans artists creates swirls of color with flourishes and washes of subsequent color. Her work is so beautiful. I am drawn to her black and white paintings. Especially the ones with a hint of neutral hues.

She makes painting look so easy to accomplish but if you look closely you will see a multitude of colors that make up the piece that you did not recognize before.

Amanda's paintings would be ideal in a multitude of rooms and can be informal and formal. The tightly wound circles in the image above are very edgy and have a depth that makes them appear to be in motion. Other more loose and vapid swirls as in the formal living room pictured above have a quiet yet bold simplicity that make it a rather surprising focal piece for such a room.

So I have a strong desire to purchase pots of paint, brushes, and a canvas with Amanda Talley to inspire me). Maybe I'll find my own style or else I'll comission a painting from the artist herself.

Images are from the following links: link, link.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Vampire Love Affair

I have always had a thing for vampires. I remember the 1st time I was drawn to them (as fictional characters of course), I was flipping through the channels one day and stopped when I saw a man overcome with grief. Immediately I was drawn to this and couldn't take my eyes off his face. His revenge for the death that made him weep was quick and severe. This was Interview with the Vampire. At that time, I did not watch the entire film but was struck by the Gothic romance and raw emotion portrayed by Louis. I devoured the book and watched the entire movie afterwards. I then went on to read all of Anne Rice's novels.

Louis, I thought was so heartbreakingly romantic and dangerous in his self loathing. Lestat was cunning and lethal but I loved him as well. I liked that they were evil but they held onto their humanity not only to blend in but for vanity's sake, as in Lestat's case. They will always be my favorite.

Tom Cruise was phenomenal as Lestat and I don't think that his performance can be compared to anything else he has done. Kirsten Dunst was such a little adult as Claudia. She impressed me and I couldn't help but feel her rebellion against her child self. She was quite the convincing, conniving little woman. Brad Pitt was ripe with grief and sorrow but could not help himself against what he was. Quite decadent.

Then Buffy the Vampire Slayer came along and caught my attention in the late 90s. Every week I would be sure to catch the newest episodes of Buffy kicking the asses of big bads! The series struck a strong cord as I could identify with its teen heroine and the real life situations that popped up between vampire slayage. It has been a very long time since I have watched the series and now I have returned to it. Over the years, as life got busier, I stopped watching and did not get to see the last 3 seasons. Now it is time to revive my love for BtVS as I pick it up from the beginning.

I'm not looking for closure really as I'm sure I will feel a bit of loss once I am through watching all 7 episodes. I wished when I was younger that I could have had all the adventure Buffy had! Except for all the death and bruises that followed every episode.

I realize how much I still adore Buffy and how much of an influence she was to me growing up. As I am re watching the 1st season, I remember why I liked the show so much. Xander is the comic relief and I find myself laughing at his humor and awkwardness. Buffy is vivacious, a bit blonde, witty and always has something clever to say to the baddies just before she plunges mr. pointy into their chests. She is fashionable and manages to fight in all those short dresses and tall boots. (How she does it I don't know.) Willow seems to always be trying to find herself and reinventing her love lifestyle. Angel...well he was beautiful, soulful, and Anne Rice esque....sigh...

So it's like coming back to long lost friends. Ok...I'm starting to sound weird but I'm happy so who cares. If any one close to me is reading this....I want the complete 7 episodes box set for Christmas! Let's just say if I had that I would be really really happy.

So much for these Twilight vampires. I have to admit that I am not impressed by this genera. In my opinion, stick with old school Anne Rice and BTVS if you want vampires. There is something about Edward that creeps me out.

Images are from the following links: link, link, link.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Boot Debacle

I'm going through a bit of a shoe crisis. I really like so many of the styles of boots available this fall that it is so hard to choose which ones I want. The Flosand gray boot from Aldo is one of my favorites. Last year I had them in black. Now they have them in this beautiful shade of gray that suits my neutral color sensibility. AND....they are on sale.

Then there are these lovelies from Free People. The Vamp is just that with its over the knee and slightly blouson silhouette. I adore the pleats/tucks at the opening cuff. I am a short 5' 2" and can't quite decide if I would be able to pull them off or not. Something to think about.

I really really think that these Bentley flat over the knee boots from Free People are so unique with the studs on the cuff. I just know that these paired with leggings and a fitted tunic would be so comfy. I like the height I get with heels but sometimes your feet need a break. I just need to find my suede footwear protector treatment.

I did order these little ankle boots! This is Raleigh from Madden Girl. They look so feminine yet you could wear them with a leather jacket. I am picturing wearing them with skinny jeans right when I receive them! I hope they fit. I have been seeing a trend of ruffles on shoes. They are on anything from boots to sandals.