Monday, February 28, 2011

Ah Miuccia!

Mrs. Prada never fails.



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Home (première partie)

 (my mother's records, sitting in a chair in the sunshine, picnics in the park, the east coast wind, grass in the springtime, the streets of montreal...)


Shoot.  Someone bought this table already.  It would have been such a nice birthday gift for my friend Gregory:

Italian Beidermeier table, signed Magiorelli, c.1828

Jens Quistgaard flatware, Finland, 1967

Chinese latticed doors, Shanxi Province, c.1850

Galvanized table, England, c.1930
This I want.  In front of a window, laden with plants (scented geraniums among them, the spicy kind) with baskets underneath.

Pair gilt-steel lanterns, France, 1940s

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What the Dog Saw

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a riveting essay for the New Yorker about the Dog Whisperer ("Cesar Millan and the movements of mastery").  I think this essay is what launched my obsession with CM.  Here is an excerpt from somewhere in the middle.  JonBee is a dog.  Suzi Tortora is a dance-movement psychotherapist.
JonBee was investigating Cesar, squirming nervously. When JonBee got too jumpy, Cesar would correct him, with a tug on the leash. Because Cesar was talking and the correction was so subtle, it was easy to miss. Stop. Rewind. Play. "Do you see how rhythmic it is?" Tortora said. "He pulls. He waits. He pulls. He waits. He pulls. He waits. The phrasing is so lovely. It's predictable. To a dog that is all over the place, he's bringing a rhythm. But it isn't a panicked rhythm. It has a moderate tempo to it. There was room to wander. And it's not attack, attack. It wasn't long and sustained. It was quick and light. I would bet that with dogs like this, where people are so afraid of them being aggressive and so defensive around them, that there is a lot of aggressive strength directed at them. There is no aggression here. He's using strength without it being aggressive."
"Timing is a big part of Cesar's repertoire," Tortora went on. "His movements right now aren't complex. There aren't a lot of efforts together at one time. His range of movement qualities is limited. Look at how he's narrowing. Now he's enclosing." As JonBee calmed down, Cesar began caressing him. His touch was firm but not aggressive; not so strong as to be abusive and not so light as to be insubstantial and irritating. Using the language of movement—the plainest and most transparent of all languages—Cesar was telling JonBee that he was safe. Now JonBee was lying on his side, mouth relaxed, tongue out. "Look at that, look at the dog's face," Tortora said. This was not defeat; this was relief.

Cesar Millan & pack (including the one missing an eye, see)

Gladwell is a fabulous writer.  And Cesar Millan is the man.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Air Travel

You know how these days you get to choose your seat from an online diagram of the plane before you fly? Well, I've decided it's way too much freedom for me - like a page right out of Sartre. I'd just rather not have the burden of thinking "damn, if only I'd clicked on 26B, I'd be sitting next to that nice old lady instead of this creep." Am I the only one who feels this way about it? Anxiety resulting from an excess of freedom?  

More travel adventures with Larry David here.

Resolution + Fashion Week

I made a minor resolution to wear ONLY colour for the next month.  No neturals.  No black, no brown, no grey, no beige.  And the brighter the better.  It turns out this is a really hard thing to do, but totally worth the effort. 
Speaking of which, it's Fashion Week and I hate to say it, but New York is a total drag. Like this:

Behnaz Sarafpour

Calvin Klein

Derek Lam

Anna Sui

The models look dead, the clothes are mostly boring and there is barely a non-neutral in sight.  Of course there are exceptions but the exceptions are getting lost in the piles and piles of boring.  The list of New York shows is now enormous and by the time you've hit Marc Jacobs, you're thinking can we just fast-forward to Milan already?

Here is an exception (thank god for Isaac Mizrahi and poodles):

Isaac Mizrahi.  All images

Thursday, February 17, 2011

L'Air de Rien

Winter appears to be relinquishing its hold. This morning, in celebration of the warm-ish air and dripping eaves, I rummaged through my fragrance samples for something exciting to wear.  Miller Harris' L'Air de Rien turned out to be a perfect match for a day of melty walks in tall boots.

The backstory is that the fragrance was created for perfume-hating Jane Birkin by reinterpreting the scents of her childhood (father's pipe, floor polish, empty drawers, whatnot) and turning them into a non-fragrance with a certain edgy je-ne-sais-quoi. But what's more fun are the hilarious reviews that have sprung up around it.  Like this one from a certain Cillar, Recluse on luckyscent:

"All right, who put the old lady in the oven - heavily peppered and dusted with foot powder? Allow me to cyberslap you, Miller Harris. How dare you let loose such a fetid stench on this good green earth. How dare you, Sirs. What did Jane Birken [sic] ever do to you? Did she describe to you a geriatric hospice with the thermostat set at a steady 84 degrees, rife with the reek and fog of Shower to Shower and the hope that you would capture that, in her memory, to her honor, for all the world's horror? Beasts."
Who then proceeded to give it five stars (maybe that was an accident).

And of course, Luca Turin's glib "If, having lived the late sixties to the full, you cannot remember a thing about them, this will jog your memory.  It smells of boozy kisses, stale joss sticks, rising damp, and soiled underwear.  I love it."

Anyway, this is a fun fragrance for days like today, and a sample costs three dollars, so why not.

Birkin & Gainsbourg

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Keetra Dean Dixon

Layered wax reminds me of my mom.  When we were little, she used to make cards, some out of wildflowers and ironed wax paper, others from melted bits of wax crayon. 
They were beautiful and such an immediate expression of delight.

Keetra Dean Dixon makes beautiful melted wax things.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am the dog whisperer

And this is my new haircut.  I don't think the dog was really into it.


DREARY day here.
Time for some cheering up.  Hot chocolate with Bailey's and.... the Charleston.


In school we're always being pressured to be orignial and have some kind of wild concept for everything. I constantly have to remind myself of the exquisite beauty of simplicity

 For example, I love these curtains tied back with ribbon in the film Amélie.  It reminds me of my first apartment where I hung an old lace tablecloth from the window in the kitchen using two nails.  Utterly simple and the loveliest thing in the world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Honouring Winter with Spring

We are SNOWED IN here.  It's magnificent.  If you're in the middle of a winter storm too and want to feel especially fancy, you should try this: Take public transit to the nearest DIPTYQUE retailer and get a sample of Ofrésia (peppery-earthy freesia by Olivia Giacobetti).
Ride home. Once you're nice and warm, spray some of this liquid springtime on your sleeve.

It makes for a curiously glorious juxtaposition.


The Internet, as we all know, is a magical place where you can over the course of 30 minutes end up far, far away from where you started without knowing how you got there.

In one such instance, I ended up on this blog, where I read:
“Son, if you want people to think you believe in yourself, walk like you’ve got a cape on.”
Which I thought would be interesting to try.  Next morning, on my way to work, I pretended I was wearing a cape.  And it works.
In a Dog Whisperer kind of way. 

Just as I was feeling mighty invincible (and sort of like Larry David) I got on the subway and took a seat across from a woman wearing a leopard print cape. A real, honest to goodness cape.  Which somehow ruined the whole experiment.


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