An (IN)DECOROUS Christmas

Happy holidays!!!

Clearly, I love sparkly crystal as much as the next person but I'm sort of sick of "elegant" silver trees. The Plaza has a tack-tastic, vomitous pink thing in their lobby (has anyone else seen it?) It had Betsey Johnson pink presents underneath it and I think it involved zebra of some variety.  It was radioactive, and so, I was taken with it for all of three minutes before I realized there were about three ornaments on it and the whole thing is plastic.  But kudos to them for going for in-your-face color. Enough about trees. Mine are always better.



Pantomime is best defined by its use of the object illusion... the illusions created are conventional objects we are all familiar with; rope, stairway, or door... The anecdotes make up the stories which can happen to all of us... The pantomimist ingeniously changes from one role to another, cleverly creating a world out of nothing.  The audience delights in seeing something that isn't there and is more than willing to give itself up to this world of make-believe.  This quality of magic and fantasy is pantomime's greatest appeal.
Actor-mime Leonard Pitt on miming as an art form

The latest crystal incarnation,  inspired by the stark and dramatic mime aesthetic.


Underneath all that Elegance

"...I knew I had discovered a man of fine breeding after I talked with him an hour.  I said to myself: 'There's the kind of man you'd like to take home and introduce to your mother and sister.'" He paused.  "I see you're looking at my cuff buttons."

I hadn't been looking at them, but I did now. They were composed of oddly familiar pieces of ivory.

"Finest specimens of human molars," he informed me.

Meyer Wolfsheim,   in the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

And this, I've made from the finest specimen of human hair.

Inspiration can come from many places; in this case it was in the form of a weave.  The entire piece looked so beautiful and bizarrely elegant hanging from the chandelier that I wondered why designers haven't explored this medium more thoroughly.  I realize it's remotely disgusting, but really, is it?  

Above photograph: Daniel Lehenbauer, modeling by Henrietta at Next Model Management, Hair & Makeup by Alice Malone.  Hair dress and collar, headpiece (IN)DECOROUS TASTE.



On Friday, I celebrated my birthday and so, hosted a little dinner for my nearest and dearest used it as a giant excuse to make a really unabashed tablescape complete with several things that probably should not make it onto a birthday table.  Like skull votive holders.  Honestly I would never subject a friend (unless equipped with a healthily sick sense of humor) to this sort of memento mori dinner ensemble, but...  It's my birthday and I can dress my table as the inanimate embodiment of Morticia Addams if I want to.

I took my cake very seriously!  All cakes should be at least as large as your upper torso. Rule of thumb.


Lady Diana Cooper

House and Garden, June 1988.  Love a woman who isn't too stylish to pull weeds.



I was cleaning out my closet earlier, extracting all of the winter woolens from the mix (I guess I'm finally willing to concede that it's no longer January?) when I realized that I don't wear half of these.  Possibly more.  Why?

Because I have a blazer-buying problem!  Here's the issue: In theory I think I like blazers, but when it comes to choosing an outfit for something that counts, I cannot stomach this particular garment.  Why?

It's not a lack of quality, or for that matter quantity or variety of style:  I've got wools and silks, linens, blends, white blazers, pink blazers, blacks and bouclés, gold buttons, zipper fronts, shoulder padded and shoulder moulded, "boyfriend" and sexy secretary.  I could pull of Annie Hall or 80s power-bitch with equal ease!

However, in those situations that induce real moments of self honesty, when I'm standing in front of my closet nervously tearing through shelf after shelf, both naked and late, I might not know what to wear, but it seems that I sure as hell know what I can't wear.  This higher Buddha-of-a-self that I seem to possess has instantaneous radar for any and all things that may cause me to feel ill at ease.  And on the topic of blazers, this smarter-me tells me the same thing every time: "@#$(*@#$& THAT SHIT!" Beautiful.  Alas, this wise creature likes to skip out on my shopping excursions, though, and therein lies the problem, and the reason that this is even a problem in the first place!

From time to time I'll wear them out, but only to undertake something like grocery shopping, and in situations where I anticipate minimal human interaction. Because this makes a lot of sense: "Oh, I should wear more of what makes me really uncomfortable!" Because that's style.

You know what I have to say to that? FUCK IT!

I like a challenge, but this is one challenge that just isn't worth it. Epiphany of the day: Personal style is a matter of being brutally honest with yourself.  And honestly? Blazers; they make me feel like a HUMAN CINDERBLOCK (okay, rationally it's ridiculous, so much for that).   In any case, I don't want to conduct my life feeling like a cinderblock.  Can I?  Yeah, sure.  But I don't want to, and I'm guessing that distinction is where "style" resides.  If you don't like it, ditch it.  That's style.

Do you ever feel like someone else in a particular style of clothing or interior?

Film Stills from The Great Gatsby, 1974.

John Singer Sargent, Fumée d'Ambre Gris, 1879-80

Dress, Hattie Carnegie

Dress, Madeleine Vionnet, 1914


Birds of a Feather

Givenchy Mens Spring Summer 2012. Love or Hate? People seem to be polarized on this one but I'm not, really. I'm into it, but not the plastic Jesus sandals, go figure.

Images via style.com


Wrapping it Up

"Every arrival [to the Fabergé shop in the late 1800s, early 1900s] was reason enough for a state occasion.  Sleighs noiselessly deposited their loads. By some quickened footstep, half-waltz, half-slide, the door-keeper raced the customer to reach the inner door, and always succeeded in getthing there first.  It was the prelude to what was to take place inside.  

Of the interior, one can only say there was nothing much of style about it, there was no scheme of decoration sufficient to distract from the purpose for which the room had been planned, namely to sell the wares of Fabergé. Imagine a straight line from the clock down the centre of the room, allot the portion on the right of this, as you look at the picture, to articles of jewellery and that on the left to articles of fantasy and you have the room divided for its work.

The rattle of the door has been heard and up jumps Carl Gustavovitch and takes a peep from behind the partition, to see who is coming in.  He inclines his head and takes the proffered hand across the counter.  One or two words of greeting, a joke maybe; the customer gives some indications what he wants— a flower, perhaps... The Craftsman turns about (he is standing just to the left of the clock as you look at it), slides opened a mirrored door, thinks a moment and takes out two white holly-wood boxes.

These he places on the counter with the catch towards the customer.  He opens one and waits a moment.  He opens the other and waits again... When surprise— which is the alpha and omega of everything that is 'Fabergé' — has been overcome, so far as is possible with the flowers nested in their boxes, and the customer has noted the fixed prices on the tickets, the Craftsman lifts from out of its box the flower which appears to attract the customer.  He holds it poised on the tips of his fingers and just far enough from his body to gain the full effect of exhibition, and his hand becomes the fulcrum for display, first to the right and slowly back again.  " from Peter Carl Faberge by Henry Charles Bainbridge

An enchanting description, right? I've been thinking a lot about the experience of purchasing lately, and so, working on my own packaging.  As a consumer, you're always told that in the end, it's the product that counts, and of course this is true on some levels, but there's something to be said for that magical fuzzy feeling of receiving something that's just beautifully wrapped and presented.  And, no matter how many times I'm warned against "paying for the packaging," (as if this is morally reprehensible?), if I can be completely honest here — I'm okay paying for it. 

The art of living "well", if that's something that matters to you, is often times (for a non-Rockefeller, at least) an exercise in living better than your means should afford you.  Enter the practical necessity of knowing where to buy, and how to recognize, things of quality and style when they're divorced from the bells and whistles of their packaging and presented in unsavory contexts (thrift shopping, prime example).   It's made my life a whole lot more stylish than it should rightfully be.

But sometimes, it's nice to throw caution (and wallet) to the wind and indulge in the whole experience, packaging and all.  After all, how much fun would Ladurée macarons be without the gilded lattice?

Bag and body harness from (IN)DECOROUS TASTE.


The Gin Habit

I've been using these gin bottles as candle holder — light reflectors.  They do a great job at creating a nice, bizarre blue glow at night, reflecting the candles (however, I hate that they're dripless!) in an old iron electric chandelier from which I removed most of the wirey guts.



Have you seen Ellen Rogers's beautiful fashion photography? I love the decadence and otherworldly-ness of her images, textures, and colors.

All images via Ellen Rogers .  Head crystal pieces by (IN)DECOROUS TASTE.


What's That You Called Me?!

Oh no they didn't! I just wonder what they thought this "Intercourse Taste" needed magnets for...


New 'Do

Just look at him! There he stands,
With his nasty hair and hands. See! His nails are never cut; They are grim’d as black as soot; And the sloven, I declare,Never once has combed his hair;Anything to me is sweeter
Than to see this Struwwelpeter.

Sieh einmal, hier steht er – Pfui! Der Struwwelpeter!An den Händen beidenLieß er sich nicht schneidenSeine Nägel fast ein Jahr. Kämmen ließ er nicht sein Haar.„Pfui!“ ruft da ein jeder: 
„Garstger Struwwelpeter“ 

From Der Struwwelpeter, a collection of German fairytales.  My (very German) grandmother used to read these cautionary tales to me when I was a child. And this one, is just the beginning...


Brooke Astor Says: DON'T STUFF

Sage advice.

Have I posted this before? I don't think so, but it's one of my favorites. Brooke was a corker.

Images from New York Times.


Head Augmentation

A quick stop to Sally Beauty and roughly $15 yielded this bizarre track of human hair.  (Disclaimer: the platinum one (on the table) is acrylic!  Woe to you who have naturally glowing locks. Disclaimer two! Do not under any circumstance wikipedia the process of harvesting these human hair extensions if you have even the slightest inclination that that sort of thing might make you squeamish...)

At first I wasn't quite sure what to do with it, because I really don't have confidence in my ability to sew, glue, weave, or otherwise attach this thing to my head in any permanent fashion.  So, I did what any industrious girl who has no intentions of looking like Paris Hilton does with fake hair, and  I ended up making a massive pony tail out of it!  Marvelous! It's huge! Like a full-on second head!

Designers and artists speak all the time of things like proportion.  Heads are not immune to these games of proportion.

And, just in case you have any desire to make it yourself (really? Let's be friends!) it's quite easy.  Just buy one of the tracks of hair intended for sewing, and a little bottle of weave glue.  Apply the weave glue to the tracks (the fabric-y part at the top) and fold the weave over itself in half, and then in half again, and again, until you have something that you can roughly manage to pin around your ponytail. 


From where?!

I used to be one of those people firmly against the idea of wearing sleepwear outside of the house, but here I am in my new silk jammies, without even the slightest intention of wearing them anywhere even near a bed.  How silly I was.

The funny thing is that they're from Victoria's Secret, past season, on eBay.  But they're silk and inexpensive (under $50.00 for the set? Just search "Victoria's Secret silk" on eBay), so no one's the wiser...

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