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)

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 · style

Deneuve and YSL: Christie’s Auction Preview

Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. my single biggest regret of that exhibition was not allowing myself more time to  view the items; I also regret the fact that I didn’t go to the exhibition more than once.

However, as if my regrets have been heard by some benevolent force, I found out that Catherine Deneuve would be selling her YSL collection through Christie’s. Christie’s has graciously created a virtual tour so that potential shoppers and all appreciators of YSL design can view the items for sale.

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I’ve gone through this virtual tour several times, and it never gets old. I love Saint Laurent’s creative vision, and I love the relationship that he had with Deneuve. Their friendship is reminiscent of the one shared by the late Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy.

I’m sharing the link to the virtual tour here, so that you all may enjoy the items for sale. Please note that some of the items offered through Christie’s will be available via online auction, so you can own a piece of designer and Hollywood histories, too. The in-person auction occurred earlier today, but you still have a chance to own one of these beloved pieces if you choose to participate in the online auction. That online segment will accept bids until January 30, so don’t miss your chance to get one of these treasures for yourself.

I thought it would be hard to select just one item that I like the best. Fortunately for me, Deneuve’s sartorial choices differ from mine so I was able to narrow down my favorites to a few items. Firstly, I loved the black cloqué and black oyster feather jacket and black wool pant suit (Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Spring Summer 1996). This ensemble is so elegant and luxurious looking: the feather jacket is so unlike anything else on the market. I’d love it even more if it was in navy blue as opposed to black, but it’s still a fabulous outfit that I’d love to own.

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Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Spring Summer 1996, A black cloqué and black oyster feather jacket and black wool pant suit

Next, I really like the red wool coat and a burgundy jersey dress with leather belt (Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Fall Winter 1990-1991). I adore the large black buttons on the coat, and, while I wouldn’t pair the coat with this particular dress, I love both pieces and would enjoy wearing them separately.

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Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Fall Winter 1990-1991, A red wool coat and a burgundy jersey dress with leather belt

I encourage you all to check out the virtual tour as well as the online auction. These pieces are truly one-of-a-kind, as they were owned by the legendary Catherine Deneuve, and an opportunity like this may not come again for a very long time.

That’s all for today: I’ll chat with you all tomorrow!

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!

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

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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.

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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!

art · hollywood glamour

Celebrity Curators – Art’s Magic Bullet?

Happy Tuesday, beloveds! I’m enjoying these glimmers of summer that will be happening this week, as I’m still a bit resistant to the beginning of fall. I’ll get on board eventually, but for now, I’ll savor whatever warm weather I can get!

In the past, I did the Collector Conundrum series, where I considered different issues regarding the world of art collecting. This is a sort of addendum to that topic: not directly related to the conundrums discussed but a little something to consider. I recently read this article on Angela Bassett curating an art show for Band of Vices Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. I thought about the appeal of a major celebrity, personally selecting artwork that she found interesting, impactful, and meaningful. It occurred to me that the celebrity curator could be a magic bullet for some of what’s ailing the art world.

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Angela Bassett, actress and first-time art curator (photo courtesy of Instagram)

There will always be art collectors, enthusiasts, dealers, etc.,. However, the inclusion and integration of younger collectors has been challenge for some art institutions, especially in this age that emphasizes minimalism and location independence. With the prominent shift away from excess and a prioritization of living with less, art ownership is still prestigious but not as alluring to many young would-be collectors.

But the celebrity curator is a fascinating draw for museums and galleries: the collaboration can be good for the institutions as well as the celebrity. Institutions get a fresh vision from an individual that is probably very similar to many potential collectors (people that probably purchase art using their personal taste and amateur-to-intermediate level knowledge); celebrities get the chance to express themselves in a new way, meet new people that share their interests, and support cultural institutions in a substantial way.

Personally, I’m excited to see what other celebrity curators arise in the upcoming years. I’d also be interested to see how many galleries and museums see a rise in sales and visitors due to these celebrity-curated exhibits. This could be a great opportunity to leverage current tastes into museum and gallery success. I hope that these institutions explore and take advantage of celebrity curator opportunities in the future.

reading list

Reading List: August’s Book

Happy Friday, darlings! I hope you’ve got an exciting weekend planned or, if relaxation is what you need, I hope that you’ve planned some time to chill out and restore yourself.

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It’s time for August’s book!

I tossed around a few options for this month, because I was unsure whether I wanted (yet another) book focused on self improvement or something completely different. However, while looking through a few of my stacks of books, I came across one that I hadn’t read yet and was eager to finally dig into.

August’s book is Elizabeth Takes Off by Elizabeth Taylor. I don’t think I’ve read a celebrity’s autobiography in years, so this will be very different from my norm. I love Elizabeth Taylor (remember I did a post about her nearly a year ago?) so when I purchased this book, it was because I wanted the secret to her crazy-tiny waistline. Yeah, it’s superficial, but if she’s giving out the secrets, I want to be the first in line, with my pen in hand.

When I glanced through the book, I recalled that this is, indeed, a book about her diet, but it’s also a discussion about her personal life and career, so it should be a well-balanced, fascinating read. I’m looking forward to reading this one!

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: Sophia Loren

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Beautiful. Earthy. Intelligent. Seductive. All of these descriptors paint a perfect picture of the many elements that make the incredible Sophia Loren. I first learned of Sophia Loren many years ago when I came across her movie Houseboat with Cary Grant. Her hourglass proportions and sultry Italian accent dominated the screen every time she was in a scene. I wanted to look like her and even sound like her when I grew up!

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Sophia didn’t have a fairy tale upbringing. Her parents never married and she dealt with the stigma of being born out of wedlock. She also was poor and got teased for being skinny. She was always a beauty but it’s hard to see your own beauty when there are so many naysayers ready to tell you otherwise.

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Sophia took Hollywood by storm. After all, her physical presence fit in well with the Marilyn Monroe/Elizabeth Taylor aesthetic. Unlike Monroe and Taylor, Sophia was tall and statuesque. At 5 foot 9 inches, Loren was actually equal in height, and occasionally taller than, her male counterparts. She owned her powerful presence and used it to her advantage.

Inspirational sophia loren quotes Sophia Loren Quotes

What is most enchanting about Sophia Loren is her perspective on beauty. Her down-to-earth wisdom is a refreshing take on what really matters. Her emphasis on inner beauty is probably why she is still radiant as an octogenarian. Her love for her family and self awareness shine through in every portrait. We may not all be as physically beautiful as La Loren, but we are certainly able to take on her positive attitude.

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So here’s to the incredible Sophia Loren! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

 

(photos courtesy of AZQuotes, MemesandQuotesInspiration, EliteColumn and DebraSmouse)

hollywood glamour

It’s a Sheila Guyse Weekend for Me!

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A smile that could light up any screen

A couple of weeks ago, I threw myself into a Lena Horne movie marathon. I love watching old black-and-white movies because beauty, style and class are always worth watching.

A few years ago, I watched the movie, “Boy What a Girl! and I was captivated by one of the actresses. The actress that really lit up the screen was Sheila Guyse. She played Francine, one of the two daughters of the wealthy Mr. Cummings. She was a gorgeous and talented actress – it’s a shame that she isn’t well known today.

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Guyse as Francine Cummings, with Alan Jackson as Mr. Cummings

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Another photo of Guyse, this time with Betti Mays who played her sister, Cristola Cummings

In honor of Sheila Guyse’s birthday (July 14th) I’m watching three of her movies this weekend. Luckily for us, all of these movies are available on Archive.org and YouTube, so you can enjoy them for free.

A radiant Guyse in Sepia Cinderella

Boy What a Girl was my introduction to Guyse, but I’ve never seen the other two movies on the roster, Sepia Cinderella and Miracle in Harlem. I’ve added some stills from each of the movies, so you can see why she was a sought-after actress during her career.

Serving smoldering side eye in Miracle in Harlem

These movies are not only a tribute to Guyse, but a way for me to celebrate the book that I just finished! I’ll be back with fitness challenge updates tomorrow. Talk to you all soon!

 

Ending this post with a wink and smile (from Boy What a Girl)