Friday, September 30, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Marilyn's Diamond-Encrusted Ring

Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe at San Francisco City Hall on their wedding day, January 14, 1954

I read in the L.A. Times the other day that the wedding ring Joe DiMaggio gave to Marilyn Monroe will soon be up for auction.  The couples' marriage was tumultuous and short-lived; they were married for only 274 days.  It was known that DiMaggio was uncomfortable with Monroe's image as a sex symbol -- one such example is when he became irate and jealous on the set of The Seven Year Itch while she was filming the famous scene with the white dress (the dress sold earlier this year in an auction for $5.5 million).

From the Times:
Calabasas-based Profiles in History, the company organizing the auction, describes the piece of jewelry as "a platinum eternity band set with 35 baguette-cut diamonds (one diamond missing)," and estimates it to fetch $300,000 to $500,000. 
Other Monroe items will be up for auction along with the ring around December 15-17 -- just in time for Christmas.  It should be interesting to see how much it goes for.  Despite their rocky relationship, DiMaggio remained loyal to Monroe after her death in 1962.  He arranged the funeral and for the next two decades, until his own death in 1999, he sent roses several times a week to her grave in Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Pretty Prints

Tennessee Thomas and Alexa Chung in palm tree-printed attire from the Alexa Chung for Madewell 2011 launch party

Alexa Chung's Fall 2011 Madewell collection was a hit, but I suppose I wouldn't expect any less from fashion's darling -- although she recently described herself as a "cookie-cutter hipster."

Chung and her frequent partner-in-crime, musician/DJ/occasional model Tennessee Thomas, both wore fun palm tree prints from her collection at the launch party this month at the Chateau Marmont: Tennessee in the Valentine pajamas (top, $200; pants, $200) and Alexa in the Desert Sessions Dress ($115), which are both sold-out online.  Chung said she drew inspiration from "girls in bands who live their looks," as well as ice skaters, schoolgirls and garbage men (aka "bin men" or "dustmen" in Brit speak).  I really like the palm tree print -- to me, it's reminiscent of fun prints from the 1950s, like Suzy Parker in a Jean Patou leaf-print taffeta dress or Givenchy's Chinese-print dress.  The inspiration board below shows ads and photo shoots from the '50s.

Photo Sources: These wonderful sites --, Elegant Musings, Coletterie, Dovima is Divine

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fashion Flashback: London Fog

My London Fog Knightsbridge Satchel paired with a Coach scarf

I recently purchased the London Fog Knightsbridge satchel from and it far exceeded my expectations for the relatively inexpensive price.  The satchel is a beautiful color and classic shape and the perfect size to take to work -- and it didn't break the bank.  I'm suddenly having flashbacks of the day I dropped $600 on a Michael Kors bag -- never again!  Well, never say never...let's just say not anytime in the near future at least.

My dad first introduced me to the brand when I was a kid -- even then, I was fascinated by clothing.  I remember two of his outerwear pieces: a gray leather bomber jacket and a classic London Fog trenchcoat.  London Fog is best known for its raincoats and has a history dating back to 1923, when it was originally called Londontown Clothing Company.  In the 1930s, the company made waterproof coats for the U.S. Navy during World War II, and in the 1960s, they went public and branched out beyond just raincoats.  Christina Hendricks was the face of their campaign last year and everyone from Kevin Bacon to Gisele Bundchen has endorsed the brand.  Their classic looks never go out of style.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Goldie Hawn

Sixties Sweetheart: Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn was on Good Morning America today discussing her new book, 10 Mindful Minutes -- about how to reduce stress and anxiety and achieve a happy, balanced environment for your children and yourself.

She's come a long way from her days on the sketch comedy show "Laugh-In" in the '60s and '70s, going on to win an Academy Award for Cactus Flower and starring in some very memorable films, including Overboard and Private Benjamin.  I think she's a brilliant comedic talent -- my personal favorites would have to be Foul Play and Butterflies are Free.  She has always exuded an effervescent, free-spirited quality, and I love old pictures of her and her very Twiggy-esque mod style.  I see the same effortless style in her daughter Kate.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Through the Lens: The Gangster Squad

Here's Lookin' at You: Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone on the set of The Gangster Squad.

I'm so excited for The Gangster Squad, the crime drama set in the 1940s starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Nick Nolte and Emma Stone.  The plot revolves around an LAPD squad whose goal is to keep the city clean of East Coast Mafiosos, such as the notorious Mickey Cohen (played by Penn).   Pictures from the Los Angeles set have leaked on the Internet, and Ryan and Emma look amazing in their '40s-era costumes.  Can't wait until there are official production photos; I am sure they will be amazing.  I wonder if this movie be like a film noir -- some of my favorites of the genre are The Asphalt Jungle (with Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest roles) and The Maltese Falcon.

According to, the illustrious Mary Zophres is the Costume Designer for this film.  She's worked on such notable films as Catch Me if You CanNo Country for Old MenFargo and The Big Lebowski, to name a few.  It'll be something to look forward to.

Clockwise from left: Veronica Lake, Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Mary Astor, 
Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Tierney, Jean Hagen

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Through the Lens: Elizabeth Olsen in W

Little Lamb: In Etro’s wool jacket with lambswool collar.  Photo by Alex Prager, Styled by Lori Goldstein.

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Olsen, younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley, is breaking out on her own, already establishing herself as one to watch with the buzz her independent thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene generated at Sundance and Cannes.  The film centers around Olsen's character, who escapes from a cult and attempts to return to a normal life with her sister and her sister's husband, but cannot seem to shake her past and the abuse she suffered, experiencing flashbacks, paranoia and delusions.

Olsen spoke of the film and her blossoming career with W magazine and was recently photographed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, by Alex Prager (more on Prager's work here) for the October 2011 issue.  The wool sweaters, mohair coats and orange and brown shades of the fall have a retro vibe to it -- some images seem more '20s film star while others are more reminiscent of the '60s or '70s (think Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver).  Prager is great at capturing seemingly flawless beauty in a haunting way.  Her subjects often appear almost mannequin-like.

Read the full interview with Olsen here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Style Inspiration: The White Lace Dress

Delicate Beauty: Annie Monroe photographed in Hollywood, CA.  Photo by Megan Mack.

Singer, actress, model, DJ and fabulous style icon Annie Monroe was photographed recently in a beautiful lace dress by the Australian fashion label Lover.  I love white lace dresses, whether worn in a classic way, or more rugged and unexpected, like paired with an olive green utility jacket.

Europeans incorporated lace into their fashions dating back to the 16th century.  An excerpt from Pat Earnshaw's Lace in Fashion:
It was the highlight and sometimes the most expensive component of the garments worn by rich and powerful men and women; from European royalty and aristocracy to leaders of the Catholic Church, and, later, those in search of the fabled status that lace imparted. 
Both traditional and modern wedding gowns are also known for their incorporation of lace.  In 1840, Queen Victoria popularized the use of white lace in wedding gowns.  She wore a white satin gown and veil of hand-made Honiton lace (named after the town in England that was known for its lace making).  Back then, brides normally wore an everyday outfit to their wedding, and blue was the color of purity, while white symbolized wealth -- Queen Victoria changed all of that.

Modern lace dresses can be sweet and summery, fun and whimsical, long or short, edgy or classic. Some of my favorites include Ashley Olsen's Magda Berliner dress (seen below) and Marilyn Monroe's billowy summer one.  The inspiration board shows styles dating from the 1800s to 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Style Inspiration: Nora Zehetner

Safari Chic: Nora Zehetner at the premiere of Gia Coppola's short film at Mister H.

Actress Nora Zehetner was recently photographed out-and-about at various New York film and fashion premieres and after-parties, including one for Calvin Klein at ABC Kitchen, the Missoni for Target collection launch and a fête at Mister H at Mondrian SoHo for the premiere Gia Coppola's short film, What's Up.

Nora is probably best known for her roles in films like Brick and The Brothers Bloom and TV shows such as "Heroes," "Mad Men," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Everwood."  She has a look that is reminiscent of film stars from the '20s and '30s, and a great sense of style that is both fun and sophisticated.  She often complements clean, classic pieces with accessories -- usually a statement necklace.  She never seems overdone and is effortlessly chic.  I also like that she experiments with her hair, from pixie cuts to loose, short curls.  Below are some of my favorite looks.

At the Calvin Klein Collection dinner at ABC Kitchen

In Vena Cava at their spring 2012 collection dinner party at MPD
In Missoni at the Target Collection Launch

In colorful floral print and a bold necklace at World Oceans Day

In a Calvin Klein color block shift dress

In Calvin Klein at the Tribeca Grand Hotel for a screening of "La Dolce Vita" 

At a Harry Winston dinner

Friday, September 16, 2011

Music: Mr. Blue Sky

The Delgados were Alun Woodward, Stewart Henderson, Emma Pollock and Paul Savage

Some time ago, I stumbled upon the Delgados' cover of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" from the BBC's Peel Sessions and it remains one of my favorite covers.  The Scottish indie band formed in 1994 and disbanded in 2005. Their most famous release was their debut album, Domestiques, from which they released two singles and caught the attention of BBC DJ John Peel.  However, their music remained rather under the radar for the span of their career, despite the ongoing support from Peel.

Bassist Stewart Henderson, who was the first to leave the band, posted on their official Web site: "Physically, emotionally and financially I found it increasingly difficult to pour so much of my energy and time into something that never quite seemed to get the attention or respect I felt it deserved."

Download the song: The Delgados - Mr. Blue Sky mp3

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Michelle Williams in Vogue

A Quick Study: Michelle as Marilyn in a J.Crew cashmere cardigan and wool houndstooth capris.  Photo by Annie Leibovitz.

Actress Michelle Williams channeled Marilyn Monroe in an Annie Leibovitz photo shoot for Vogue.  Williams plays the film icon in the upcoming British drama, My Week with Marilyn, based on memoirs of the same name by filmmaker Colin Clark, who documented his time spent with Marilyn and Sir Laurence Olivier on the set of 1957's The Prince and the Showgirl.  According to Clark's 2002 obituary in The Independent, he "had a talent for organising as well as flattering temperamental female film stars," including Monroe and Vivien Leigh.

An excerpt about Williams' transformation into Marilyn, from the Vogue article, by Adam Green:
Her turn from indie waif to Hollywood sex goddess involved working with a choreographer to perfect Monroe’s walk and gaining weight to approximate her curves. “Unfortunately, it went right to my face,” she says, puffing up her cheeks to illustrate. “So at some point it became a question of, Do I want my face to look like Marilyn Monroe’s or my hips?” (She opted for the former and filled out the latter with foam padding.) In the end, she says, “it felt like being reborn. It felt like breaking my body and remaking it in her image, learning how she walked and talked and held her head. None of that existed in my physical memory, and I knew I needed as much time as possible to make it part of me.”
The film, which also stars Kenneth Branagh as Olivier, Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark and Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller, will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival in October and will be released in the U.S. and UK in November.  You can read the rest of the article here.

Photo source: Vogue

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fashion Flashback: The Hermès Kelly

An Hermès Vintage Kelly bag

Mad Men designer Janie Bryant is the featured guest curator for Amazon's private sale Web site,, and the collection includes some pretty amazing items -- including an Hermès Vintage Kelly bag for $10,500 (which is already sold out... jealous!).

Here are the specs from the site:

  • "The Kelly bag is a girl's best friend--so stylish and great to bring with you everywhere," says Bryant. Named after the actress Grace Kelly, each Kelly bag is hand-stitched by a single craftsperson. Original box and dust bag included. This vintage product has been previously owned. To speak with a luxury specialist in member services, call 1-877-343-2939
  • Material: Colorblock leather
  • Lining: Leather
  • Dimensions: height 9.5", width 13", depth 4.5", shoulder drop 3.5"

Hermès has a long history, dating back to when the company was founded in 1837.  The company produces luxury goods, from leather goods to scarves and neckties and of course, handbags.  Before it was known as the Kelly, it was the Sac à dépêches.  The story goes that a 1956 photo of Grace carrying the bag in LIFE magazine resulted in its popularity in the States, and was dubbed by the public as the Kelly, which caught on and the bag was officially renamed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Erin Fetherston S/S 2012

Erin Fetherston's dreamy '60s-inspired S/S 2012 collection

If Erin Fetherston had to liken her Spring 2012 ready-to-wear collection, Erin by Erin Fetherston, to her ideal film, she says it would be "like [Franco] Zeffirelli directing A Midsummer Night's Dream that stars Mia Farrow" -- and I can totally see echoes of Farrow's pixie charm from her Rosemary's Baby days, with the bold and colorful A-line and shift dresses and floral prints (reminiscent of the beautiful Pierre Cardin floral sequin dress from the film).  The model in her lookbook even sports a cropped pixie cut like the one Vidal Sassoon gave Farrow.

Fetherston tells the NY Post:
"I always try to design very modern clothing...The clothes are not era-centric." And even though her clothes did jive to the '60s vibe, she claims her starting point was an image of Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow. "She wore a beautiful butterfly mask, that was so chic and so modern, with great pixy quality." (Source)

You can see more of Erin's S/S 2012 looks here.

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