art · beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · luxury

Opulence . . . Because We Deserve It

Here are a few images of the most opulent things I’ve seen in the past week. Just thought I’d share these divine Faberge eggs that I saw at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The eggs are exquisite works of art that capture the idealized beauty and fragility of the Russian monarchy. I love that these objects represent the intersection of history, art, and culture. Cheers to opulence and abundance!

beauty · hollywood glamour · style

Kibbe Soft Classic Chat – Marion Cotillard

Here’s the post that went up prematurely a few weeks ago: it’s all fleshed out and full of pics. Enjoy!

A couple of months ago, I discussed Grace Kelly’s impeccably elegant style, and I found it extremely helpful for my own style journey to apply an analytical lens to her style choices. It’s been a while since I did a Kibbe style chat, and this particular star’s style has been a favorite of mine for years. I figure that there is no time like the present to discuss another Soft Classic (SC) beauty, Marion Cotillard.

(Image courtesy of Archive.org)

The effect: Old Hollywood Revisited

Marion is an established actress, winning numerous awards for her portrayals. I find her fascinating, as she is often on what I consider the “outskirts” of pop culture. She is undoubtedly talented and popular, but she doesn’t appear on the gossip sites or other media outlets focusing on the shenanigans involving some A-listers. She’s “in the world [of Hollywood] but not of it”, for lack of better expressions. Marion has all of the perks of the A list but none of the embarrassing trappings. Clearly, she prefers remaining as discreet as her level of fame will allow. I admire her for this!

Marion’s philosophy of discretion over being outrageous for the public’s consumption is seen in her sartorial selections. She often keeps a simple silhouette with her hair, makeup, and clothing, though she occasionally takes chances with her appearances. Starting with her hair, it’s clear to see that Marion enjoys wearing her natural dark hair color. Her brunette locks perfectly complement her coloring, so she looks tremendously harmonious when wearing dark hair. Her hair is always quite glossy (which makes the color appear even more luscious) and is usually in a medium- to slightly-long length bob with a bit of curve. Her hair usually doesn’t have stiff curls, just a lovely curvature of the ends.

Marion with a slightly shorter crop but still very clean and classic lines (screenshot from video on Archive.org)

Sometimes she’ll do much longer lengths, which can give her an even more glamorous appearance. Her best looks are always very tidy, or, if slightly tousled, it’s a very calculated effortless look that doesn’t appear messy at all. What’s really fascinating is how “older” (more vintage inspired) hairstyles look tremendously modern on Marion. As a SC, she has a very balanced face that looks quite timeless, and the same hairstyles that looked marvelous on the SCs of yesteryear (like Grace Kelly, Merle Oberon and Donna Reed) look just as fresh and beautiful on Marion. In my humble opinion, the prettiest looks worn by Marion are the hairstyles that look like they are right off of the pages of a 1940s styling guide.

Marion as photographed by Studio Harcourt Paris, 1999 (edited by MaterialScientist)

Marion’s makeup tends to be quite soft and simple. She will occasionally experiment with more intense looks, but she looks effortlessly and polished when she works within the makeup recommendations as outlined by Kibbe. Marion’s most incredible looks use gently defined features, with eyes and lips matching in intensity. The “watercolor” makeup approach (as advised by Kibbe) looks marvelous on her, giving her features some distinction but doesn’t overwhelm her balanced overall effect.

Marion in her signature cosmetic colors (photo by Georges Biard)

Finally, let’s discuss clothing. Marion looks heavenly in symmetrical ensembles with soft touches here adn there (the best look for SC). What’s really cool is that she will experiment with looks that are better suited for other style IDs, presumably because SC clothing is often “boring” to the SCs that wear them. (Sidebar: as a SC, I understand how “boring” it can be to stay within the style recs for this ID. The trick is to add one element of different IDs while keeping the rest true to our ID.)

While regularly wearing SC clothing can feel “boring”, it is really the best canvas for seeing the naturally balanced features within the face and body. When Marion sticks to her ID, she looks heavenly. She looks incredible when she wears clothing that looks like they are directly from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Symmetrical silhouettes that fall anywhere from the knee to the ankles are smashing on her, though she occasionally plays with a mini-skirt ensemble (these look cute on her when the mini-skirt is a bubble style). Sheaths, shirtwaist dresses, and A-line ensembles are perfect on her, so long as there are soft touches that honor the yin in her frame. High quality fabrics that are neither too heavy or too flimsy suit her well, and wearing colors that are consistent (no fading) and an appropriate level of saturation (she can handle a bit of color intensity) are best.

Marion looks gorgeous in a simple dress that honors soft classic lines (screenshot from Archive.org)

For Marion, she would do well to ask WWGW: What Would Grace Wear? The most flattering looks I’ve seen on Marion look like they were plucked from the Princess of Monaco’s wardrobe. However, she should avoid using the same color palette of Princess Grace: Marion’s coloring looks divine with Soft/Cool Winter colors, while Grace is a Summer, which, funny enough, is the lighter side of Winter colors. Marion could literally replicate most of Grace’s ensembles, make sure the clothing is in the Winter coloring range, and it would look fresh and modern, while still giving a nod to classic roots.

Wearing muted colors that straddle the line of summer and winter palettes, but still looking beautiful. (Georges Biard)

The difficulty of modern celebrity wardrobes is that there are many stylists that don’t “curate” signature looks like the old Hollywood machine used to do for its stars. For that reason, I think Marion does a great job of creating a style profile that has way more “hits” than “misses”. I also appreciate that she enjoys having fun with her appearance and doesn’t stick strictly to the silhouettes that are recommended to SCs. Even if her style risks are occasional “misses” to the public eye, so long as she’s having fun, it really doesn’t matter if others disagree with her choices.

That’s all for my style analysis of Marion Cotillard. Do you like her ensembles? Let me know what you think!

beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · luxury · style

A Review of Emeraude (As Worn By Billie Holiday)

Recently, over on my YouTube, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of fragrances. I love the transformative power that can be experienced by changing the scent you wear: the right perfume can make you feel invincible!

I decided to research some of the fragrances worn by old Hollywood stars, and I was really excited to discover the fragrances worn by some of my favorites. I researched these scents and I found that some of them were extremely affordable. So I figured, “Why not?” and bought some bottles.

The first scent I purchased was Emeraude by Coty. This was the fragrance preferred by none other than Lady Day, Billie Holiday. The notes of the fragrance are as follows:

  • Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon and Orange
  • Middle notes: Brazilian Rosewood, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine and Rose
  • Base notes: Opoponax, Benzoin, Vanilla, Amber, Sandalwood and Patchouli
Lady Day herself, Billie Holiday (as seen in the movie New Orleans)
Emeraude by Coty, Billie’s fragrance of choice

This fragrance is peculiar to me: not in a bad way, but in a good way. The perfume is citrusy before and immediately after spraying, then it quickly diffuses into a soft but earthy bouquet, and dries down to a warm and slightly sweet essence. The peculiar part is, throughout all of this, the perfume retains powdery notes, which I didn’t expect. When I first read the list of notes, I figured this would be bright, spicy, and then mellow. So to have the essence of baby powder lingering while wearing it was completely unexpected, but nice.

I have more information about the scent in the YouTube video, which I’ll insert below. But, you can always pick up a bottle to try it for yourself: it was less than $12 USD (I’ve seen it sold for as little as $9) so it is extremely accessible and, if you don’t like it, you can probably easily resell it or give it away. Full disclosure: while this is powdery and rather soft, I find it does smell a bit . . . dated (the formulation is over 100 years old!). This is definitely for someone that wants a unique scent that isn’t syrupy sweet or overwhelmingly floral. Also, this is a cologne spray, so it won’t have the same longevity as, say, an eau de parfum. So if you love it, prepare to refresh your fragrance at least once during the day. But at $9-12 per bottle, using the product more frequently probably won’t be a huge issue.

That’s it for today! I hope you all are having a great week, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

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beauty · culture · hollywood glamour · international · luxury · style

Kibbe Soft Classic Chat – Grace Kelly

As promised in a previous post, I want to start exploring some of deeper aspects of the concepts that interest me, and that I’ve previously discussed on the blog. In particular, I’m very interested in understanding the intersection between art, design and life, as well as the ways we can use the arts to support us in living our best lives.

To start these discussions, I want to begin with one of my favorite topics: the Kibbe Style ID system. The Kibbe system has been updated by David Kibbe in recent years but the overall concept is the same: there are certain style “IDs” that people fit in, and these style IDs can give us insight into the kind of clothing, accessories and hairstyling we can utilize to best present our physical selves. The style ID category that I fall into is Soft Classic (SC).

I’m in good company with the SC category: quite a few famous beauties share this ID (if you are interested in some of the women that are in other Kibbe categories, check out this post). The most famous of the SCs is probably Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco.

Kibbe previously classified Grace as a Classic, but, after further consideration, he decided that a pure Classic category was too rare in nature to warrant its own group. Thus, Grace was reclassified as a SC. I won’t go into all of the features that make her a SC (you can undoubtedly find this information on numerous websites and YouTube). But I will discuss how her style and energy influenced her persona, and how she used fashion to mold her public perception.

A collection worth checking out: Grace Kelly: A Life In Pictures

The effect: The Eternal Princess

Even before she official became a princess, Grace had a royal look. This was, in part, due to her incredible bone structure and slim physique, but her styling played a heavy role in looking the part of a princess. The clothing she wore onscreen often featured fitted bodices in flattering colors, and these were often short sleeved or sleeveless (a perfect way to display perfectly toned arms). She didn’t often wear shorts or skirts with calves or knees exposed. This was partly due to the fashion trends of the time, but these also perpetuated the reserved image that is often seen in royal families.

SCs often look better in the structured and symmetrical garments favored during the 1950s/early 1960s (think Dior’s New Look era). Generally speaking, these items are feminine in silhouette but not overly embellished. Considering that Grace’s Hollywood career occurred during the New Look period, she was literally the right woman at the right time to wear these clothes. She has the perfect look for the clothing that was most popular during this time.

In addition to the clothes she wore, Grace also wore perfect SC hair and makeup. Her blond coiffure was always immaculately styled, with hair having rounded shapes but remaining sleek overall. She wore defined lips, flawless foundation, and gently enhanced eyes, allowing her facial balance to shine. This period was perfect for her look, as it occurred after the dramatically tweezed and redrawn brows and beestung lips of the 1920s and 30s, but before the heavily enhanced eye makeup and exaggerated hair of the 1960s.

The look of this period – reserved, elegant, structured but soft where it counts – are all traits that are often associated with elite women, specifically, royals. So Grace’s leveraging of these trends helped form the public opinion of her being queenly (indeed, she was considered an “ice princess” or “ice queen”, though her costars all agreed that she was quite the opposite [warm and friendly, by all accounts]). In many ways, Grace “dressed the part” of royal before she and Prince Rainier III ever crossed paths. Her sartorial assimilation into royal life in Monaco must have been fairly easy for her.

Book discussing Grace Kelly’s fashion: Grace Kelly Style by Kristina Haugland

My takeaways from Grace’s style aren’t new information, but I’ll still state them briefly: dress for the life that you want, and wear the designs that work for your unique style ID. We’ve heard that we have to “dress for success”, and success can be whatever you define it as. So, if you want the life of a royal, dress like one (within reason and your budget, of course). And if you know your style ID, experiment with the recommended silhouettes to find a look that works for you. After all, this whole journey is about figuring out what works, and discarding what doesn’t.

That’s it for this style ID/SC chat. I hope you all are having a fabulous February! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

(This post includes affiliate links)

art · hollywood glamour · life curation · luxury · relaxation · style

An Inspired Environment – Vintage Home Decor Inspiration

I mentioned last year that I wanted to start decorating my house in a style that reflected my personal tastes. For reference, I love old-fashioned decor, especially anything pre-1940s. The occasional mid-century modern touches are charming (my home was built during the mid-century period, so some of these features show up in its architecture) but I have a soft spot for Victorian, Art Deco and Art Nouveau interiors. There’s something so indisputably glamorous about the fabrics, textures, colors, and furniture used during these periods.

On a recent trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (one of my favorite places to go for creative inspiration) I saw a recreation of the bedroom of Arabella Worsham Rockefeller (yes, those Rockefellers). No expense was spared in creating a decadent room for Mrs. Worsham Rockefeller to retire. The room was originally set up in the Rockefellers’ New York brownstone, but was gifted to VMFA in 2009. The experts at VMFA painstakingly replicated the room, using as many of the original artifacts as available. The end result is a stunningly luxurious, elegant, and warm bedroom: just what I want to recreate.

Here are some pictures from the Worsham Rockefeller bedroom:

I was captivated by all of the fine details of this room: the ornate ceiling, the embellished door, the tasteful sitting area (I’d venture to call this a proper boudoir area, but it retains a certain formality that I wouldn’t expect in a French-inspired boudoir), the harmonious color palette of burgundy, brown, and gold . . . Everything about this room is so carefully selected and perfectly appointed.

beauty · hollywood glamour · life curation · luxury · relaxation

Review: The Harlem Candle Company

Happy Tuesday!

I love candles. I’ve never reviewed candles here on this blog, but I have quite a collection. It’s funny: something that is such a BIG part of my daily relaxation routine has never been featured here before. But, then again, I didn’t have any candles that completely resonated with my essence.

Until now. Recently, I came across some candles on the page of one of my Facebook friends. I’d intended to invest in more luxury candles, but other than Diptyque and The Clean Candle Company (I did a review of their candles here), I was stumped over which candle to purchase next. I’d planned to try Trudon’s Josephine candle, but the company has consistently sold out of the size I wanted to purchase. And so it goes: fate conspired to make me amenable to other suggestions.

Enter the Harlem Candle Company.

This company crafts candles themed after literary and cultural figures from the Harlem Renaissance period. And the candle that most intrigued me was Josephine, named after the bronzed goddess herself, Ms. Josephine Baker. I also purchased two other candles – Speakeasy and Ellington – in both the regular and travel sizes (respectively).

These candles are lush, complex and timelessly elegant. I love the fragrances that the company offers, as well as the charming backstories that explain the inspiration behind the scents. The company also ships their products quickly: it took me only a few days after purchasing to have my candles in hand. I enjoyed these candles so well that I made a YouTube video about it! Please check out the video, and give it a thumbs up if you enjoy it.

That’s all for today. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

beauty · hollywood glamour

Vintage Beauty: Francine Everett

A few months ago, I was browsing one of the many Facebook groups that I joined for photos of vintage fashion. While perusing some pics, I was quickly drawn in by one beauty that I’d never seen before. After a little digging, I confirmed that the lovely woman was Francine Everett, a Black actress from the 1930s and 1940s. Her career was brief, but she was a luminous and talented woman. I was so intrigued by her that I spent some time watching a couple of the movies that she starred in, as well as a few shorts that featured her.

Francine Everett (from Tumblr)

I want to discuss “Dirty Gertie from Harlem“, which echoed the theme of “loose” women being doomed to a tragic ending. During this period, female characters that were not traditional or conservative were almost always written as tragic figures. It’s fascinating to see how, less than 60 years after “Dirty Gertie”, shows like “Sex and the City” thrive on the premise of women being in control of their sexuality and not “doomed” because they refuse to marry and “settle down” with one man.

Screenshot of Everett in “Dirty Gertie from Harlem” (from MoMa.org)

I wish that Everett had more movies because she truly “lit up” the screen. I was impressed with her acting and I know that should could have been a star if she had only been born at a different, later time.

I hope you check out Everett’s movies, and tell me: do you have any vintage actor or actress favorites?

art · hollywood glamour · life curation · music

Andrew Lloyd Webber Loves Us . . .

I’m taking a break from “Fibro Friday” (I’ll be back with FF next week) to share some exciting news. One of the most heartbreaking things that has happened since the emergence of COVID-19 is seeing Broadway go dark. While I don’t intend to minimize the tragic loss of life during this time, I was still saddened to see the live theater tradition halted in NYC.

Untitled design (2)

But with every cloud, there is a silver lining. I’m thrilled to share that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals will be available to view for FREE on YouTube. The musicals started premiering today, at 11 AM on the YouTube channel “The Shows Must Go On“. The musicals will be available for 48 hours for your enjoyment. The first musical showing this weekend is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

This is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak experience. I hope you all take time to enjoy some amazing live theater in the comfort of your home this weekend.

Well, that’s it for this week. I hope you all are well and taking good care of yourselves. Much love to you all!

 

 

 

art · hollywood glamour

More Disney Princess Art

Recently I posted some fan art of my favorite Disney princesses depicted as film noir heroines. I was entranced with the beautiful depiction of the cartoon damsels, re-envisioned as powerful protagonists in their stories.

I was delighted to come across another article, which takes the “art” concept a bit further. Artist Heather Theurer has taken Disney characters and turned them into timeless oil paintings. Yes, you read that right: oil paintings. Behold!

Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 11.56.37 PM - Edited

Heather Theurer, Dig a Little Deeper (Tiana from The Princess and the Frog)

Screenshot 2018-11-04 at 1.08.00 AM - Edited

Heather Theurer, We’re All Mad Here (Alice in Wonderland)

These beauties are museum quality and they can be yours! Theurer sells her works on Wildstar Tempest, where you can check out her Disney themed oil paintings as well as her other works, including wildlife and fantasy paintings. I’m particularly fond of her fantasy pieces.

Screenshot 2018-11-03 at 11.54.38 PM - Edited

Heather Theurer, I Am

Theurer does an insanely good job of blending magic and realism. I’m so glad that Buzzfeed profiled this incredible artist! Please make sure to check her out on Instagram and support her work.

art · hollywood glamour

Disney Princesses as Film Noir Heroines

Happy Tuesday, friends! Before I left for my cruise, I had a few cool things that I wanted to share over here, and now that I’m back, I can finally write some posts!

I recently came across these amazing portraits of Disney’s princesses envisioned as 1930s/1940s film noir heroines. For those that don’t know, I love movies from this period of time, especially film noir. I’m also a huge fan of Disney movies. So seeing some of my childhood favorites portrayed as boss film heroines excited me far more than it probably should have, but oh well.

I’m sharing a couple of my favorite drawings with you all here. If you want to see more, be sure to check out the artist, Astor Alexander.

Pocahontas looks like the hero we all need but don’t deserve. I’d wear this outfit right now: it’s simultaneously vintage and current. Why is this photo everything I need in life?

Cunning, dangerous, gorgeous. Jasmine draws you in like a moth to a flame. That over-the-shoulder glance is EVERYTHING. And her signature teal ensemble hasn’t lost any of its allure in Alexander’s re-envisioning. Perfection!

My personal fave, not just because she’s a Black woman like myself, but because this drawing looks so much like the impossibly gorgeous Sanaa Lathan AND this dress is something I need in my wardrobe like, today. Tiana is the edgy seductress that I want to be when I grow up. Total goals.

Make sure to check out the rest of the princesses that Alexander has reimagined. You won’t be disappointed!