July 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper decor post – a bit of a surprise considering my once-obsession with HGTV design shows – and I couldn’t think of a better way to re-introduce interior design into my content than by sharing some snapshots of my new bedding by Cindy Crawford! Up until this bed set I’ve used a very thin coverlet, partly for the shabby chic look I went for in previous stages, but also because it seemed like the most practical option to work with my IKEA bed frame. I can never stand the look of a bulky comforter squeezed between the rods of an unrelenting footboard. This comforter, though, is plush and actually worked out with the frame. Here’s a closer look at the full set…

(I realize I didn’t get a proper shot of the skirt, but you can get an idea of it here.)

I think, without question, the pillows help to complete the look. I’ve never really gone for the full multi-pillow effect, but I love it! The differences in the patterns add so much character and the quality is wonderful. The little white throw pillow was on back-order and just came in. I’m smitten. It’s such a cute little accent piece and really draws everything together. The curtains aren’t part of the set, but I love the extra pop of blue.

My impossibly heavy mirror, snatched up from HomeGoods during the shabby chic days, works so well with the bedding, too. The antiquated etching compliments the paisley print on the comforter. Because I’m such a fan of minimalist decor lately I especially appreciate little details like this that add charm to a space in understated ways.

You can browse the full Cindy Crawford bedding collection on sale at JCPenney. Tell me about your dream bedding design; rustic earth tones or cool sea breeze shades? I’ve gone from Tuscan romance to Hollywood Regency to Shabby Chic and beyond; there are just so many ways to express your personality in home decor!

You might remember seeing Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence on my summer reading list; I’ve had the novel in my collection for a while and after further recommendation from Bere of Sickening Beauty (who cites Rushdie as one of her great inspirations – enough said, right?) I decided that this would be the year I would finally turn my attention to it.

This was my first foray into the mesmerizing literary world of Salman Rushdie, so while there seems to be a severe contrast in opinions on this, his latest novel, I haven’t any of his other works to compare it to. Sir Salman Rushdie, of course, needs no introduction. It’s safe to say he’s as iconic a figure in our history as one of the men in the history that Enchantress takes us to: Niccolò Machiavelli.

Machiavelli is only one of the characters in history which Rushdie brings to new life in the novel, weaving real men and women with those of his imagination, real life with the unexplainable fictitious, drawing us into a world born of his own brand of magic realism. The story starts in a sweltering, sensual India where the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great finds himself with a Florentine stranger in his court, a man with a story that only Akbar may hear, a man who goes by many names and leaves us guessing at the reality of his identity until the last pages of the novel. As we hear the stranger’s story we experience the tumult of emotions in the great Mughal emperor, his fear and love, while at the same time being transported to Florence during the High Renaissance, to Machiavelli and his childhood friends Ago Vespucci and Antonino Argalia, and to the stories of their lives. The stranger’s tale is one of tragic romance, sorcery, war, treachery and friendship – a delirium of sumptuous scenes and settings – and as he tells his story he pieces together parts of Akbar’s history that even the emperor himself didn’t know were missing. That’s where the enchantress herself comes in, but I’ll let you read the novel for yourself to find out just who she is.

As contradictory as it sounds, I think The Enchantress of Florence requires a certain amount of detachment in the reading process in order for the reader – at least, the reader heretofore unfamiliar with Rushdie’s writing, as I was – to be drawn into the story to the fullest extent. It’s a thinker’s book, and yet there’s such a thing as over-thinking it. Rushdie in his genius shows us the extent of his research, years of which went into the writing of this novel, by including a plethora of names, places and words we may not recognize. He adds to the opulence of the novel’s detail – in a way almost exaggerating it – by giving even minor characters very important (and very full) names. It’s easy to think you have to study each one to avoid forgetting, but I found that every character who was recalled later in the book came back to me easily, no doubt a testament to the way Rushdie uses the art of writing as a tool alongside his immense ability as a storyteller. Likewise, magic and the power of imagination play a crucial part in the story and explanation is never given, so it requires a certain amount of letting-go of the natural improbabilities of reason.

In all, while I know a lot of people see this season as a time for novels of a much lighter fare The Enchantress of Florence was, to me, a fantastic escapist novel for summer. I loved Rushdie’s writing, his wit and wisdom, and was captivated by the intensity of the novel and the detail of its story. It was at times challenging and there were days when I knew I didn’t really have it in me to read it, but Rushdie has a way of goading you to understand, guiding you through his created world with such expertise and confidence that you find yourself beguiled by his talent. He’s something of an enchanter himself.

I’ll close out my thoughts with this interview Bere shared with me, in which Salman Rushdie talks a bit about the writing process and New York Times‘ Roger Cohen reads one of my favorite excerpts from the novel. Enjoy!

Buy The Enchantress of Florence: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books | Random House, Inc.

There has been so much happening within the world of blogging lately, so much to see and read and experience; I feel like I’ve fallen behind to some degree! So here I am to catch up with you all, just in case you missed any of these moments. I’ve had the great privilege of taking part in several wonderful blog events, first of all, so I’d like to talk a bit about those…

Fashion TalesFashion Lyrics: A Group Song

As part of her birthday celebration, lovely Madison of Fashion Tales created an event focusing on translating music through fashion and I was quite honored when she invited me to be a part of it. Our task was to take a favorite lyric or song title and create a visual interpretation of it in some way. As someone quite passionate about music as well as fashion I was, of course, thrilled by the opportunity. I decided to share an outfit because it seemed like an incredibly fun challenge. My song title of choice was George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue which has been a favorite of mine since before I can remember. As soon as I opened my closet doors I knew I wanted to incorporate this Oscar de la Renta tunic I scored earlier this year from a sample sale on Beyond the Rack. You can read all about my interpretation over here and see all the contributions to Madison’s event from the other fabulous bloggers: Ashley of Ashley3Emergy, Jamillah of Made to Travel, Kirstin Marie, Cheryl of Oh To Be A Muse and Lani of Mon Petite Chou Chou (who I’ve just met through the event and whose blog is absolutely divine, be sure to check it out)!

ForelsketNovel Days

My great friend Britta of Forelsket held her very first blog event this week and I’m honored to have been a part of it. “Novel Days”, as you may have guessed, was a celebration of the love between a girl and her favorite piece of literature. All the participants shared a picture and small write-up on either their favorite title or the book they’re currently reading. It was a pleasure to write about Jane Eyre, which, if you didn’t know, is my favorite novel. I’ve talked about how much I love it countless times, but for this event I really tried to delve into the whys of my passion for Charlotte’s great classic. I quite enjoyed reading about the selections from the other participants – among them Gabrielle of Cinderbella’s/Cinderbella’s Diary and Kristin of Bon Bon Rose Girls! You can read all of our literary musings at Forelsket.

Beautifully Invisible – We Are Women. We Are Beautiful. We Are Real: Part One, Part Two

This actually happened at the beginning of the month and I mentioned it briefly in a previous post. I regret that I didn’t give it more attention then because this series by the phenomenally inspiring B of Beautifully Invisible was an absolute triumph. If by some chance you missed it please do go read through both parts; B invited…27, I believe, of us lady bloggers to share a picture of ourselves that we thought represented our real selves as well as a write-up on our opinion on the term “real women”, what makes us real women and why we love being just who we are. Reading how proud each woman is of her real self was so moving. As for my pictures, I was torn between a few and in the end I left it up to B to choose for me (she’s nice like that). With these two I attempted to make a little statement: I remember years ago reading an article (I wasn’t searching for it, mind you!) on “skinny poses”, little tricks on how to stand for pictures in ways that will make you look slimmer. Amazingly enough, that odd splaying of hands across the stomach was one of them. It struck me that I’ve never seen anyone stand like that in my life, and how absurd the whole concept was. Jump ahead to Real Women: I thought it would be an apt representation of Real Me to show the difference between an uncomfortable, “shape-altering” pose and a much more natural stance: me just being me. You can read my musings on the adventure of body image acceptance in Part One of B’s series, along with thirteen other inspiring bloggers.

Thank you to the women who invited me to contribute to all these events. I’m so honored to be thought of among the great talents and inspiring ladies who make up this wonderful community of bloggers. I’ll wrap this post up soon, but I’ve a few more things to share first!

Beautiful bits from around the blogosphere…
- The Simply Luxurious Life – Why Not…Be Casually Elegant?
- The Loudmouth Lifestyle – MDFW (start at the first post and work your way up!)
- Dress With Courage – Become a Better Blog Writer: Part One, Part Two
- Kirstin Marie – DIY Floral Mary Janes
- The Simply Luxurious Life – To Think For Yourself
- Full Time Fabulous – Serenity Now
- Dress With Courage – Outfit Post: Why Fat Is Not a Feeling
- Full Time Ford – Interview: Tom Gets Personal on The Talks

Is something different on The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower?…
I’ve been tweaking the design here and there, if you happened to notice. The biggest job I’ve done is that of melding all the blog’s categories and pages into the top navigational menu. Clicking on the top tabs for Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, Books and Community will take you to the master category for each. As I attempt to broaden my content you’ll find sub-categories and related pages that drop down when you mouse-over the main ones. (Such as Blogging Tips, Guest Posts, Events and my wonderful, in-need-of-an-update Blogroll under Community.) My goal for several months now has been to find a cohesive way to provide all necessary navigational links in one place; I’d love your feedback on how well you think this set-up works and if there are any elements I might be missing.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend!

FarFetch.com works as a fashion portal, connecting consumers to a wide array of boutique clothing from retailers all over the world. Divided into three departments – Luxe, Lab and Contemporary – the selection on FarFetch caters to every desirable element of fashion for men and women. Among the bevy of exhilarating designer dresses from labels such as Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent you’ll also find designers of a more obscure appellation. Here’s a look at some who’ve caught my eye.

The look of Luxe: Wunderkind

Coin Detail Necklace, $1,008 | Patterned Dress, $1,576

Wunderkind is the current label of German designer Wolfgang Joop. His first Wunderkind collection debuted in 2004 and Joop has since shown at both the New York and Paris legs of Fashion Week. His designs for the label are magnificent in their opulence, flaunting excess with an edge while maintaining a very streamlined sophistication. Wunderkind is included in the Luxe department of FarFetch for its dedication to the highest quality and its strong reputation.

The look of Lab: Finsk

Pleat Detail Shoe Boot, $716 | Limited Edition Wedge Shoe, $675

Launched in 2004, Finsk is the brainchild of Finnish designer Julia Lundsten, a true visionary in the art of sculptural style. She cites an architectural inspiration which is all too apparent in the uniqueness of her shoes; from a wooden wedge to brilliantly mixed textures, her designs are always original. Finsk is housed in FarFetch’s Lab department alongside some of the most eclectic labels and experimental designers in the industry.

The look of Contemporary: Odd Molly

Dareme Wrap, $169 | Wunder Dress, $105

Karin Jimfelt-Ghatan and Per Holknekt created Odd Molly, a great favorite of mine, in Stockholm in 2002. The label visualizes sophisticated bohemia replete with charming details. I love the embellishments, from beading to lace, that add even more character to the earthy designs. You’ll find Odd Molly in the Contemporary department of FarFetch along with an assortment of casual and urban-chic labels.

These are just some of my favorite labels housed on FarFetch. I’d also recommend checking out Pero, Txell Miras, Tim Van Steenbergen, Ann Yee and L’Agence. Or perhaps start browsing for yourself; you may find your next favorite designer!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by FarFetch

“And I can’t be running back and forth forever between grief and high delight.”
- J.D. Salinger, Frany and Zooey

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an editorial; since January, to be exact. But it’s been that long since fashion photography has really stirred me in the way that stunning shoot from Blank did. I really can’t explain why Tilda Swinton’s feature in August’s W was the one to break my fashion-editorial silence, but it all started with this particular picture. It just amazed me. This is fashion as captured in the way that only Tim Walker can capture it: at once whimsical, cold, dark and enchanting. The fact that it looks so simply like one solid piece amazes me; Gucci, John Rocha, Eres, Rick Owens, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Hugo Boss – they’re all in there, all styled to absolute perfection by Jacob Kjeldgaard. Masterful, isn’t it? It looks like a flame, like a completely different element in the world, so foreign from itself. Take all of that, the alien flame of fashion, and put it in the middle of a frigid, desolate setting and you have an astonishing photograph. This is why I love fashion: just look at what it’s capable of!


The full editorial; click images for larger size*
*Opens in lightbox

Now, I know it’s not exactly glam in the usual respect. It is what fashion so often is: totally bizarre. I’m sure a lot of people aren’t exactly vibing on the whole ninja alien/Sith Lord thing going on in this set and I can relate. The first time I ever saw high fashion on the catwalk I knew it was called runway because it made you want to run away from the weirdness in front of you. I know a lot of people who still ask, What makes that fashion? Because nobody would actually walk down the street like that – and if they did I really doubt they’d get the kind of rapt appreciation in return that these looks get on the runway or in magazines. But fashion, I learned, is art. It isn’t always pretty and, ironically enough, that’s the beauty of it.

Thoughts, loves? How’s the ninja alien thing working for you? Can you feel The Force or should it return to planet crazy fashion?

Image credit: W Magazine