Flowers for Paris

Flowers for Paris


Jennifer de Bruyckere cardigan, 3.1 Phillip Lim blouse, TOPSHOP shorts, Ted Baker Heels, Isaac Mizrahi clutch, MAC lipstick Vegas Volt

Living life in black and white...

Living life in black and white...


Alexander McQueen dress, Guiseppe Zanotti booties, Sarah Angold Studio clutch, Rosita Bonita earrings, Kate Spade bangle bracelet

Jardin de Mystere












Jardin de Mystere
Manolo Blahnik pump, Hermes stole, Givenchy bag, Alexis Bittar Jardin de Mystere Necklace and Earrings

Coral Concentration

Coral Concentration

BGN short dress, Manolo Blahnik pumps, Rafe May Alice Ombre Clutch, Van Cleefs Arpels Coral Diamond Gold Earrings, Lele Sadoughi Sunshine Coral Ring

Of Love, Not Power

The Gloriana of the Ancient World, Hatshepsut is the kind of historical personality who demands stories to be written about her. Strong, bold, powerful, she was a breathing force of nature. A commander who oversaw the battlefield as her loyal warriors suppressed the foes of the Isis Throne. A savvy politician whose capable fingers plucked the strings of her court like a master musician plays a harp. An absolute ruler with a vision, with the determination to realize it. And at the same time a tender mother and passionate lover. A flame burning brightly ... a fire dangerous to those closest and dearest to her.

Stephanie Thornton isn't afraid to take on a challenge. The infamous saying, "Well-behaved women rarely make history" is her motto and that is clearly reflected in her composition. Unlike many other historical fiction authors she doesn't cringe away from showing the dirt and tarnish her characters collected along the path to glory and power. If you're going to tell the story, then tell it! And she does. Her previous portrayal of Empress Theodora was magnificent, gritty, and poetic, if not exactly lyrical. I was delighted to learn that she was working on bringing Hatshepsut to glowing, pulsing life as well.

Thornton's Hatshepsut is dynamic and impressive. Her thoughts are vibrant, a strong will reaches out to snatch at your mind. The commanding personality and the intelligence that had to fuel this ancient She-Pharaoh comes across clearly in this story. Sadly, though, it didn't exactly take center stage.

More than anything, this book was a love story. As Elizabeth I had her Robert Dudley, Hatshepsut had her Senenmut. It's one of the tantalizing bits of racy gossip from history that has survived to the modern day. The female ruler and her beloved, lusty architect. Is this scandal a whisper that was blown all out of proportion, or did the lowly-born Senenmut actually claim a place in the bed of one of the most powerful women to cross the world's stage? Who knows, there is no definite answer as it stands right now. There is only imagination, and that makes the tidbit of potential romance fair game for the pen-wielder.

While the relationship Hatshepsut and Senenmut came to share was very sweet and well-written, it came to overshadow Hatshepsut's personal story of trial, accomplishment, and an immortal victory against history. That isn't to say we didn't witness her loneliness and sense of helplessness during her marriage to Thutmosis, or the tension of her game of shadows against Mensah. Those episodes took a backseat, though. I have to admit I was disappointed.

Regardless, this is an excellent read and captures the world of the New Kingdom at the height of a Golden Age. The ending is an interesting explanation for the defacement of Hatshepsut's works, while also a fitting tribute to one who remade the world she lived in and conquered it for her own. Bravo!

An International View

An International View

Preston Chair, Heybridge Table, CB2 Peek Floor Lamp, Wool Area Rug by NuLoom, Big Fish Big Ben & Paris I Wall Art, Kathy Ireland 18" Pillow, Thomas Paul Pillow, Pier I Imports Pillow

The Power Company

The Power Company

A Postcard from Brighton Top, Levis Revel DC Skinny Jeans, Chinese Laundry Heels, Givenchy small 'Antigona tote

Madeleine Vionnet

Madeleine Vionnet



Madeleine Vionnet opened her own house in 1912. By then, she had already gone through a brief marriage and training with several dressmakers and couturieres. Madeleine Vionnet believed that "when a woman smiles, then her dress should smile too." A woman bound up in horse hair padding and whale bone corsets had no reason to smile and neither did her dress. Vionnet’s designs had none of that. She created designs for the natural female shape. She was influenced by Isadora Duncan and her modern dance movements.  Also, like Duncan, she was inspired by ancient Greek art where the garments appeared to float freely. Her apparently simple styles involved a great deal of preparation. It all started with cutting, draping and pinning fabric around miniature dolls. Then the design was redone in chiffon, silk or Moroccan crepe on models. Vionnet often used fabrics not commonly used in women’s clothing at the time such as crepe de chine, gabardine and satin. These were fabrics that, once cut on the bias, would cling and move with the wearer in such styles as the handkerchief dress, cowl neck and halter top. These were all part of the Vionnet repertoire. Madeleine Vionnet dominated haute couture in the 1930s, setting trends with her sensual bias cut gowns worn by such celebrities as Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo. In fact, the first nipple ever shown on the pages of Vogue was through a bias cut white satin Vionnet design in 1932. That’s definite foreshadowing of the trend in fashion.

Madeleine Vionnet

Madeleine Vionnet



Vionnet was innovative in other areas of business as well. She pushed for copyright laws in fashion. Each garment leaving her house carried a designed label bearing her signature and her left thumbprint. She instituted paid holidays and maternity leave for her employees. She provided day care, a resident doctor and dentist and a dining facility.

At the onset of World War I, Madeleine Vionnet had closed her house and reopened it 5 years later. She was again forced to close her house in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. This time, she did not reopen it. Madeleine Vionnet died at the age of 99 in 1975. She is considered to be one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. If you look at the collections of such past and present designers as Halston, John Galliano, Comme des Garcons, Azzedine Alaia, Issey Miyake and Marchesa, you will see her influence a sensual approach to women’s clothing and that lovely bias cut.

Vionnet

Vionnet



Madeleine Vionnet donated most of her designs to the archives of the UFAC (now part of the Musee de la Mode et du Textile in Paris), in 1952, including 120 dresses from 1921 to 1939.
In 1988, the Vionnet label was purchased by the Lummen family. There were no new fashion collections. The family focused on accessories and perfumes ("Madeleine Vionnet" in 1996 and "MV" in 1998). Then in 2006, it was announced that the family had a designer and would be reviving the label of Vionnet as a fashion label. The first collection was the Fall 2007 Ready-to-Wear with designer Sophia Kokosalaki. Her attitude was that “it has to be French, formal, and pure.” The reviews of the small collection were favorable. She did one more collection for the house and then Marc Audibe was appointed the artistic director. He did one collection for the house and then the house stopped revealing the name of its designers.
In early 2009, Matteo Marzotto acquired the label and moved the house to Milan. Marzotto had ties to a powerful textile group established in Italy since 1836. He also announced additional strategic collaboration with Marni. Rudolpho Paglialunga, formerly of Prada, was appointed the new creative director for the house. His first new collection showed at Resort in 2009 and then with a Ready-to-Wear collection in Fall 2009. His second collection was received a little better than his first by the critics. But he was showing his collection on mannequins. The Vionnet collection was all about movement. People wanted to see it on live models moving on a runway. And with his third collection, he gave them what they wanted. He put out a collection that was starting to have an identity of its own. It was identifiable with the Vionnet vision, but with modern lines, and this time on live runway models. The reviewers were appeased. However, in September 2011, Vionnet announced that Paglialunga was being replaced by twin sister designers Barbara and Lucia Croce. Their first show was the Pre-Fall 2012. They had been studying Madeleine Vionnet’s style and precepts. They designed a line using her ideas with a modern flair and it was very well received by reviewers. In their second collection, they continued with their theme and focused on daywear for the professional woman, including lots of pants. Not a single red carpet look in the whole collection. They finally got into cocktail and evening looks with their third collection, Resort 2013. But this would be the last collection for the house over which they had control.

Vionnet

Vionnet



In early 2012, Goga Ashkenazi purchased a majority share of the business and took full control of the label in November of that year. She replaced the sisters as designer in August. In October of 2012, she put together a celebratory collection for 100 Years of the Brand with a demi couture collection paying homage to the house’s signature design. She had been buying up Vionnet dresses and sketches as fast as she could get her hands on them. So she and her team had been doing their homework on the Vionnet styles and techniques. Technically they were ready. The questions in everyone’s mind were, could they translate it for today’s woman and compete in today’s market?

The reviewers were not impressed with the first offerings of the house under Goga’s leadership. Her second collection in Fall Ready-to-Wear 2013 was better, but still nothing the reviewers raved about. Her Spring Ready-to-Wear 2014 wasn’t much better. But the house was getting busy with an advertising campaign shot by Jean-Paul Goude and Ashkenazi had pulled in designer Hussein Chalayan to design the demi-couture line. So Goga’s Pre-Fall 2014 collection was getting the “yes, this was okay; no, this was not okay” from the reviewers; while Chalayan’s first collection was due to show in about a week. No pressure. And then the reviewers gave his collection the same treatment. Hussein Chalayan had decided not to revisit the ghost of Madeleine Vionnet, but to tread new ground. He used an industrial theme. Shelves and pipes might be a bit difficult to translate into women’s wear, but Chalayan tried. Some of it was successful, and some of it wasn’t. Some of it even seemed to relate to the Vionnet vision in spite of Chalayan.