24 April 2007

Style in Print: Tomes for the Stylish Nightstand and Coffee Table

My H is the best H ever.

(That sound you hear is his chest puffing out with pride.)

1) He pushes me to go shopping when I need to.
2) He understands style (most of the time - "joke" Christmas gift of jean short shorts excluded, of course).
3) He's got an incredible memory - especially for things I like. (Yes, H, I just said you have an incredible memory. Take that one to the bank & hold on to it for dear life.)
4) He buys me presents just because.
5) Lots of other, non-vapid reasons.
6) He's mine.

The real reason I'm running on about him today, in particular?

He and MIL took a trip to Jersey & NYC this weekend (I was resting quietly at home; The Bean ordered me to). They hit The Met, and took along a wedding gift certificate from a family friend. It arrived just after our honeymoon last year, and we just haven't been back to check things out since.
So what did he get?

A gorgeous blue-swirled handblown bowl;* a replica of ones made in South Jersey (home territory for both of us) in the late 1900s. Its color is exactly the color we had for our wedding, along with the lemons (which, though we never started out having "wedding colors," inadvertedly ended up being so - cobalt and sunny yellow), and which somehow shows up in almost everything we buy for our home. It also pairs well with subtle lines of the Simon Pearce pitcher a dear, dear friend gave us as a wedding gift.**

But the real reason for this post is that H spent part of our gift certificate on the exhibition book from an exhibit we saw when we were on our honeymoon in NYC. The Anglomania book wasn't available when we saw it in July (it's the type of exhibit they have to photograph in place, then produce the book, rather than use photos of paintings or sculpture from previous exhibitions). The book is a paper tour of what we saw in July, with much appreciated detail shots of things we just couldn't catch viewing from behind the railing in person - like the pinup girl embroidered on the cuff of a Paul Smith shirt. The exhibit notes were lovingly detailed and woven with history, philosophy, and whimsy; the book reflects that, as well. I highly recommend going online & buying it. I'd put it in the top of fashion & style tomes.

While we're at it, also atop my list of favorite style tomes is Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli, the record of the roving exhibit's visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Schiaparelli somehow escapes the average style follower's notice, and if she makes it on the radar, it's in comparison to Coco (Chanel, that is). True, she was a contemporary of the woman many consider to be the grande dame of style, but she used architectural in her designs well before Dries van Noten or Donna Karan were even a twinkle in their grandparents' eyes. Her collaborations with some of the greatest fine artists of her time surpass anything we see today, in my estimation. Lastly, she has a color named after her - Schiaparelli pink. Any woman who pioneers a color shade is one to emulate.

True to their nature as exhibition records, Shocking! and Anglomania are lots of pictures accompanying a fair amount of words. If you're up for a little more of a read - something perhaps unexpected, when it comes to modern writings about style & fashion - try one of these:

A Guide to Elegance: For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions. (Geneviere Antoine Dariaux) Olsson's cites the classic as the "orginal what not to wear." It's a delightful read, and looks ever so pretty in a stack of books by your bed (which is, of course, a very good reason to buy a book).

My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes. (Justine Picardie) This gets a little deeper, wondering about what we wear, how our clothes define us (or don't), and how or why we attach so much meaning to them - all through the vehicle of her mother's wedding dress - a black cocktail dress bought in 1960.

The Classic Ten: The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites. (Nancy Macdonell Smith) Every girl should know the history. Need I say more?

*Unfortunately, no pics are available - it's beautiful, though, and you'll just have to trust me.
**I know Simon Pearce is overdone, but I get to like it, as it's made on the banks of the Brandywine River.

1 comment:

jaja said...

I just received my copy of "A Guide to Elegance: For Every Woman Who Wants to Be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions" and I am looking forward to reading this. This is a refresher...my mother pounded into me "be a lady" behaviour growing up. I thought I was being a rebel by trying to be a tomboy! Now, I'm glad I listened to her!