Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let's Go: Las Vegas Awaits the Fabulous You!

LET'S GO: LAS VEGAS AWAITS THE FABULOUS YOU -- If there's one place that we at Studio of Style love just as much as Hollywood -- it's Las Vegas!  No matter how many times one goes, there is still even more to see and savor -- and for those who've yet to go to this most unique of American cities, we have this advice for you: Let's go!  You might be thinking, "But Mr. de Ville -- I don't gamble."  And to this we reply: With all the shows, attractions, shopping and amazing dining at every turn, you'll be just as busy as any high roller.  So we're gonna give you a couple of pointers -- even if you have been there before, you just might have missed some of these, okay?  First of all -- where to stay?  Well, we've been at numerous hotels (and we loved every one of them), so just think about proximity to your entertainment and attractions and you'll figure it out.  One dining opportunity we never miss is Wolfgang Puck's Postrio located on St. Mark's Square in the Venetian Hotel.  First of all, you get to sit on the square and watch the gondolas go by -- and we are in love with the roasted pumpkin agnolotti with black truffle butter, toasted hazelnuts, Parmesan cheese and sage (!!) and the lobster club sandwich with apple wood smoked bacon (!!).  Afterward, we love to do our retail therapy at The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace where we always duck into Versace to check out what's new from Donatella and company. Or you can just simply marvel at the architecture, the fountains and sunrise-to-sunset lighting effects at The Forum and feel a bit European for a while.  Later, just for fun, when we can't help ourselves and want to overindulge, we chow down on one of the local food attractions: the footlong hot dog at (where else?) Footlong Hot Dogs at the Food Court at Casino Royale -- at $1.99 for 12 inches of guilty pleasure. If that works up a thirst, you can head for the Luxor Hotel to get one heckuva cocktail at Tacos & Tequila (T&T) where the signature margarita is made with Hornitos Añejo 100% de Agave Tequila, organic agave nectar and Grand Marnier -- all served on the rocks with a rim of the house salt mixture. And we never tire of the fabulous Egyptian-themed decor at Luxor -- especially in the grand lobby. For all of us art lovers (before you take in the amazing Fountains at Bellagio), there is the new exhibit "Claude Monet: Impressions of Light" at the Bellagio Hotel that runs through January 2013 where you can revel in 20 (!) works by this French master -- plus works by Pissarro, Corot and Boudin.  Long before social media and the internet (can you imagine that?), places like Las Vegas used to be promoted via travel posters -- and the king of that genre was illustrator David Klein (who we'll be featuring in upcoming posts, okay?).  During the 1950s and 1960s, Klein created dozens of posters for TWA (Howard Hughes' Trans World Airlines) and this stunning "night into day" poster shown above is among our many favorites depicting the exciting days of travel from decades past when people actually dressed up to fly and the great graphics by Klein excited people to do just that.  So, when it comes to Las Vegas and the many attractions it has to offer, you just can't lose!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Malibu Cool: The Architecture of Douglas W. Burdge

MALIBU COOL: THE ARCHITECTURE OF DOUGLAS W. BURDGE -- If anyone could be called "The King of Coastal Cool," it would very well be architect Douglas W. Burdge, AIA.  Not only is he a resident of that dreamlike seaside city of Malibu, California, but he has the distinction of having designed and built more than 100 homes in Malibu alone -- a feat unmatched by anyone else.  So entrenched is Burdge and his architecture in the lifestyles, mindsets and the mystique of Malibu, it is hard to imagine the present-day city without his touch. And the best part is that Burdge is a man whose vision encompasses a variety of architectural styles  -- from ultra contemporary to Spanish Mediterranean to rustic and Cape Cod-like among his repertoire -- and thus avoiding any type of "cookie cutter" approach to his homes, instead gearing each one to its setting and client's needs.  “I genuinely understand Malibu and resort living and am deeply committed to designing unique homes that reflect the very best attributes of the coastal experience,” says Burdge. “Malibu is about the great outdoors and the beauty of its unpretentious rustic nature, combined with distinctive yet comfortable contemporary architecture.  It has become the most desirable oceanside California community in which to live, whether for first or second home destinations."  The 14-person team at Burdge & Associates Architects includes architects, draftspersons, designers and project managers working from their headquarters on the famed and romantic Pacific Coast Highway just south of the iconic Malibu Pier.  Burdge has recently put his stamp on a new line of rustic-modern homes that truly reflect the unique flavor of Malibu, which he calls “Rustern.”  The name is trademarked - and not only is Burdge producing original country/contemporary homes that truly thrive in Malibu, but he is also producing a line of Rustern furniture, from dining tables to cabinets to pedestal sinks.   Rustern products feature the raw, highly coveted recycled barn wood that works so well in coastal environments, with a decidedly modern twist.  In addition to designing many seaside homes, Burdge recently completed a magnificent new structure for the venerable Bel-Air Bay Club.  He transformed the aging beachside landmark into a new fresh, decidedly upscale elegant Spanish-inspired piece of architecture for the enjoyment of the club residents.  Burdge is also designing the new and highly anticipated Trancas Country Market in Trancas Canyon on the west side of Malibu at Pacific Coast Highway and Broadbeach Road.  According to Burdge, “Trancas Country Market will be the ultimate reflection of the Malibu community, showcasing our special mom 'n pop retail destinations, an open air market environment, cafes, charming farm-to-table restaurants, one of our local favorite garden nurseries, with a children’s play area and petting zoo. The structures will reflect the rustic-historic setting that warmly reflects the timeless country vision of Malibu.  It is high time that we had a new, contextual shopping and entertainment destination on the western edge of Malibu.”  The project shown here on Studio of Style -- located on the prestigious Birdview Avenue on Point Dume -- is a perfect example of how Burdge integrates the indoors and out,  and reflects his collaboration with interior designer Tim Clarke and renowned clothing designer James Perse who provided the casual-yet-chic furnishings.
Photos courtesy Burdge & Associates 

Malibu Cool: The Architecture of Douglas W. Burdge

MALIBU COOL: THE ARCHITECTURE OF DOUGLAS W. BURDGE -- With the Pacific Ocean providing the ultimate backdrop, this seven-bedroom, nine-bath house completely remodeled by Burdge offers the true coastal living experience. The contractor Michael McDonnell is a former Hollywood producer/director and Burdge notes that the approach to this project was "like making a film."  The wood floors, the expansive ceiling to floor windows and the rustic nature of the fireplace surrounds heighten the sense of living both outdoors and indoors simultaneously.  Interior design and furnishings by Tim Clarke and James Perse.
Photos courtesy Burdge & Associates 

Malibu Cool: The Architecture of Douglas W. Burdge

MALIBU COOL: THE ARCHITECTURE OF DOUGLAS W. BURDGE -- Totally remodeled from stem to stern by Burdge, this house features a master bath whose tub offers perhaps the most serene view of all: seagulls and pelicans soar by throughout the day, while California gray whales and dolphins are spotted in the breathtaking ocean waters that become the most amazing infinity pool through this very window.  The master suite takes up 80% of the front of the upstairs level. Surfing, fishing, kayaking and beach-combing are understandably the most popular activities in Malibu.  And there are also trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking in the mountains which immediately flank Malibu to the east.  Paradise, anyone?
Photos courtesy Burdge & Associates 

Malibu Cool: The Architecture of Douglas W. Burdge

MALIBU COOL: THE ARCHITECTURE OF DOUGLAS W. BURDGE -- Majestic, modern and taking advantage of every view possible from a bluff overlooking the ocean, this 10,000-square-foot house remodeled by Douglas W. Burdge never reveals its 1970s bones.  The use of organic materials throughout is a Burdge trademark.  Clients of the architect include Howie Mandel, Mark Burnett, Dick Van Dyke and Brooke Burke-Charvet.  The home's location -- Point Dume -- is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Malibu due to its coves, cliffs, headlands and beaches integrated with a state preserve.  Landscape design by Jay Griffith who used native species, a neutral palette and an abundance of evergreens.
Photos courtesy Burdge & Associates 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Damask Redone: Patty Sloniger has her Way with Fabrics

DAMASK REDONE: PATTY SLONIGER HAS HER WAY WITH FABRICS -- At Studio of Style, there's nothing we like better than a good damask fabric -- be it woven or printed -- especially when the repeated pattern has a good sense of scale and balance. But what we like even better is when someone like Patty Sloniger of Houston does her own twist on this classic design by injecting the otherwise traditional floral medallion motif with something totally unexpected -- such as squid, butterflies, ikat designs, contemporary stylized flowers and skulls!  An illustrator, a fabric designer and a self-professed maker of "stuff," Sloniger and her clever stuff can be found on Spoonflower (fabrics), Society6 (graphics which can be applied to laptop and iPad skins and more) and Etsy (assorted fabric items), offered under the banner of her design company Beck & Lundy.  Sloniger's interests run the creative gamut from surface design to sewing, drawing, watercolors, reading and weaving (and she's a big fan of Masterpiece Mystery! on PBS -- us too!) which explains the fun, graphic appeal of her printed textiles in colorways that are cool and sophisticated at the same time.  And because these fabrics are custom-ordered on Spoonflower, you can specify them in cotton (organic or regular), poplin, voile, silk, canvas, twill and silk crepe de chine -- how fabulous is that?  Sloniger's "Ghostly White Squid" (shown above) with jellyfish and schools of fish swimming by is what caught our eye and we think it would look great as a slipcover or as drapery in a seaside abode (and would be a nice complement to her "Sketchy Seashells" fabric in blushing taupe); and her lyrical "Butterfly Damask" is one of the freshest nature motifs we've seen in a long time -- ideal for brightening up a room just in time for spring!
Images courtesy Patty Sloniger and Spoonflower

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Literary Bombshell: Marilyn Monroe & Her Passion for the Classics

LITERARY BOMBSHELL: MARILYN MONROE & HER PASSION FOR THE CLASSICS -- She practically devoured books -- and not just any old book -- but the kind of stuff that college courses are made of.  So we're gonna compare notes here, okay?  Marilyn Monroe spent many an hour reading scripts when she finally made her mark in Hollywood -- and along with those scripts, she was burning the midnight oil reading some of the heavyweights in literature that surprised many, given the fact that she often portrayed characters whose interests were bent more towards pleasurable pursuits than in the cerebral. Which is why we at Studio of Style have poked around her bookcase to sniff out the kind of reading material that interested our blonde bombshell when she was able to enjoy those precious hours away from the lights and cameras of Tinseltown.  In 1945, she was a member of the Westwood Public Library (Westwood is the neighborhood of L.A. that is home to UCLA) and during that time she opened a charge account at a local bookstore -- and in 1951 she was taking a night course "Backgrounds in Literature" at UCLA, but that didn't last long due to the distraction she caused in class (!).  "I restore myself when I'm alone," Monroe once said. And it seemed that immersing herself in books by both contemporary and time-tested authors was one way of restoring her mind -- and the book shown in the photo above (A) How to Develop Your Thinking Ability by Kenneth Keyes published in 1950 was a very popular "self-help" book that offered mental techniques for increasing one's thinking effectiveness (which probably came in very handy among Monroe's arsenal when employing her acting skills).  Before we delve into the books, let's look at a couple of items fleshing out her book nook: (B) A classic carriage clock (the first one was created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1812 for Napoleon Bonaparte!).  (C) Reproductions of scenes from the Sistine Chapel ceiling in Rome, painted by Michelangelo.  (D) A black Emerson clock radio.  Oh, and we love those button-up Levis jeans! Now onto the books: how many of these have you read?  You'll get 10 points for each one, okay? (1) Actors on Acting by Toby Cole and Helen Frich Chinoy, first published in 1949 by Crown.  (2) The Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  (3) The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, first published in 1933 as an episodic novella.  (4) The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky was a serial between 1868 and 1869 -- and considered one of the most brilliant literary achievements of the Golden Age of Russian literature.  (5) The amazing 1869 masterpiece War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy which (to top the accolades we just gave to The Idiot) is one of the most important books ever written!  (6) Nana, the story of a streetwalker's rise to high-class cocotte, completed in 1880 by French author Emile Zola.  (7) Dead Souls by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842.  (8) An Enemy of the Peoplean 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. (9) Death of a Salesman, the 1949 play written by Monroe's third husband, playwright Arthur Miller.  (10) The New Abridged American Dictionary.  (11) The Holy Bible.  (12) A Farewell to Arms, the semi-autobiographical novel by Ernest Hemingway, first published in 1929.  (13) The Little Prince, the 1943 novella by French aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  So, how many points did you rack up? We're not counting, of course, but we are curious!  And we're not taking into consideration the other authors that Monroe relished: James Joyce (Ulysses); Sigmund Freud (Psychology of Everyday Life); Shirley Jackson (Life Among the Savages); Edith Hamilton (Greek Mythology); Thomas Wolfe (The Web and the Rock); and, of course, Jack Kerouac and his influential masterpiece On the Road.  So there you have it, kids! Our advice to you: (1) You can always read more.  (2) Never forget that you're always a star here at Studio of Style! 
Special thanks to librarian Jared Burton for his tireless research.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting WET in L.A....again: Leonard Koren at La Luz de Jesus Gallery

GETTING WET IN L.A....AGAIN: LEONARD KOREN AT LA LUZ DE JESUS GALLERY -- L.A. has always been the epicenter of the creative arts ever since the first movie cameras began to roll in 1910 for D. W. Griffith's In Old California -- and that creativity has spilled over into every arena possible since then.  So it was no wonder that Leonard Koren was anxious to find his own niche in the world of the arts while growing up in Los Angeles during those colorful, mind-expanding 1960s when anything and everything was possible, not just in film (Easy Rider; The Trip) but architecture (Frank Gehry), music (The Doors, The Byrds), literature (Ray Bradbury; Charles Bukowski), fashion (Rudi Gernreich) and art (Ed Ruscha; David Hockney).  As a teenager, Koren designed and built a full-scale Japanese tea house out of scavenged materials, such was his desire to create at a young age.  Later he pursued experiments in photographic processes at UCLA and quit school in 1969 to co-found The Los Angeles Arts Squad (we love that name) -- a mural-painting group that executed large outdoor works, including a 500-square-meter "Beverly Hills Siddhartha" that was a year in the making. Now comes the real fun part: from 1972 to 1976, Koren created "bath events," plus unusual bathing environments and works on paper related to bathing, such as the fold-out book "17 Beautiful Men Taking A Shower" which was followed by (not surprisingly) the screen print "23 Beautiful Women Taking A Bath" -- which is how we get to WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing which made its debut in 1976 out of Venice, California (that wonderful haven of fabulous artists of all genres).  "I was making bath art," says Koren in the preface of his soon-to-be-released Imperfect Press book: Making WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing. "This involved getting people to take off all their clothes and then bathe, according to my detailed instructions—in either water, mud, hot air, or steam—while I took photographs. Afterward I assembled the images into more complex visual artifacts, usually lithographic and silkscreen prints. I sold these in galleries and through word of mouth." The story of the making of WET magazine is the subject of Koren's new book (he's already authored 14 books) where one is taken behind the scenes of one of the premier avant garde publications of the 1970s whose contributors included such promising young talents as Matt Groening and Matthew Rolston to name but a few who found creative outlets within the magazine's colorful pages.  The pictures and words in WET had a quirky, prescient editorial sensibility about them which helped catalyze new graphic styles that would later be known as New Wave and Postmodern -- such was the influence of WET. So what better place to have Koren's book release party than at the influential L.A. landmark La Luz de Jesus Gallery founded in 1986 by Billy Shire who has brought underground art and counter-culture events to the masses of L.A. -- enough so that one California art magazine dubbed him "the Peggy Guggenheim of Lowbrow."  Though WET ceased publication in 1981, the artistic legacy it left behind on the L.A. art scene is almost immeasurable -- considering the many talents that graced its pages and covers in its short, but impactful five years.  So stop by La Luz de Jesus on Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday, March 28 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to meet Koren and to soak up some local art culture....and get WET along with the rest of L.A.'s art scenesters, okay? 
Book image courtesy Leonard Koren / special thanks to Peter Shire

Gritty in the City: Daido Moriyama at LACMA

GRITTY IN THE CITY: DAIDO MORIYAMA AT LACMA -- Art alert! It's his first-ever solo museum exhibition in L.A. -- and he'll be appearing in person on April 7, 2012 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to discuss his gritty, often erotic photos depicting urban life in Japan.  For decades, Daido Moriyama has been fascinated with the "fragmentary realities of modern life" and the LACMA exhibition at the Japanese Pavilion (which runs from April 7 to July 31) presents a wide range of black and white photographs utilizing are, bureboke (grainy, blurry, out of focus) techniques, as well as the debut of recent color works taken in Tokyo.  The author of more than 40 books, Moriyama was first trained in graphic design before studying photography with the renowned Takeji Iwaniya; then moved to Tokyo in 1961 where he was an assistant to photographer Eikoh Hosoe.  It was during this period that Moriyama found inspiration in Andy Warhol's silkscreened multiples of newspaper images; revolutionary photographer William Klein's images of New York; and the writings of Jack Kerouac and Yukio Mishima -- all of which are mixed and mingled in his intuitive explorations of urban mystery, memories and photographic invention. Not to be missed is the talk on April 7 in which Moriyama will share a panel with architect Kulapat Yantrasast and Edward Robinson, LACMA associate curator of photography.  The talk and the exhibition are the perfect opportunities for anyone who loves contemporary photography to see up close and personal so many images from a man who has literally spent his life in pursuit of capturing the cultural contradictions of age-old Japanese traditions that persist within its modern society -- along with the effects that westernization and consumerism have in a land that is, admittedly, still very much a mystery to outsiders and which will always be a source of fascination on many levels.
All images © Daido Moriyama / courtesy LACMA

Monday, March 19, 2012

Making Scents in Venice: Strange Invisible Perfumes

MAKING SCENTS IN VENICE: STRANGE INVISIBLE PERFUMES -- “Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume," wrote French author Stanislas-Jean, Chevalier de Boufflers in the late 18th century -- and how right he was...and still is!  A great perfume can conjure up memories that last a lifetime.  And botanical perfumer Alexandra Balahoutis is creating fragrant memories at Strange Invisible Perfumes on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California through her distinctly unique, bespoke perfumes and eaux de parfum made from organic, wildcrafted, biodynamic and hydro-distilled essences. “Through the gorgeous vapors of botanical perfumery, Strange Invisible Perfumes serves the reality, not the dream, of luxury craftsmanship," says Balahoutis.  And nothing could be more real than the finest plants, flowers, seeds, woods and resin essences that she uses which are from sustainably grown or wildcrafted sources (not to mention the 100% organic alcohol base and eco-friendly packaging!).  The company offers bath and body products, limited edition pure perfumes and will custom-blend a scent especially for you during a private consultation in the "custom blend carriage" at the shop -- with the end result being "a scent that resonates completely with the one person who will be wearing it," says Balahoutis.  A native Angelino, she calls herself a "scent provocateur" and it was during her childhood growing up in the Hollywood Hills with its lush and fragrant year-round vegetation that her love of all things scented blossomed -- and later on in her young life, she contacted master botanical perfumer John Steele who became somewhat of a mentor to Balahoutis, sharing his vast knowledge and love of fragrances with her.  Now that spring is upon us, perhaps you might want to break out of the winter doldrums by adding a fresh, new scent to your sensual arsenal that might just be strange and invisible and create lasting memories of your own.  The scents shown above: Epic Gardenia -- an "impressionist rendering of the flower's humid, velvety scent."  Aquarian Roses -- wild roses mixed with marjoram and sandalwood!  Urban Lily -- a bouquet of flowers that capture the illusive qualities of the lily of the valley. 
Product photos courtesy Strange Invisible Perfumes

It's a Small World: "Intimate Immensity" at The Hammer Museum

IT'S A SMALL WORLD: "INTIMATE IMMENSITY" AT THE HAMMER MUSEUM: In the art world, it seems that there is a long-held notion that bigger might sometimes be better (something not exclusive to art, for sure) for the presentation and enjoyment of art of all disciplines. This might be due in part to the fact that we, as the viewer, have been "visually educated" for so long by seeing gargantuan works by such powerhouses as Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Willem de Kooning that we aren't aware of the other works that exist by these master artists which, though made on a smaller scale, could bring exactly the same kind of excitement to the viewer as their larger counterparts!  Stick with us on this one, okay? That is why we were so intrigued by the current exhibition at The Hammer Museum "Intimate Immensity" (which runs through May 6, 2012) that makes this point exactly -- and which you -- our always informer reader! -- might want to investigate if you are in or coming to L.A. Dedicated Hammer patrons Susan and Larry Marx created a private collection of more than 150 works of drawings, paintings and sculptures (which are promised gifts to The Hammer) featuring more than 100 international artists from the post-World War II era -- predominantly abstract expressionism and other contemporary art movements -- including all the artists mentioned above!  Shown here are some prime examples of works on a smaller scale that offer an amazing artistic impact when viewed in person: "E'ecole Buissonnière" by Joan Mitchell, 27" x 26" (top); "Untitled (Roman Note)" by Cy Twombly, 27.5" x 34 3/8" (lower left); and "Untitled" by Jackson Pollock, 17.5" x 22 1/4" (lower right).  Of interest also on display is yet a smaller Pollock -- perhaps 8" x 10" that exhibits a labyrinth of strokes and lines that one can easily get lost in (we certainly did!). Compare these sizes to such well-known pieces as Mitchell's 26-foot-long "Salut Tom" at the Corcoran; or Twombly's 53-foot-long "Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor" at The Menil Collection; or Pollock's 17-foot-long "One: Number 31, 1950" at MoMA -- and you'll certainly appreciate this Hammer exhibition all the more, knowing that you can see works that until now have not been fully appreciated by the public, while giving you a greater insight into how great artists can reign in the size of their works while still providing an "intimate immensity" as the show title promises.  Although we couldn't show you the images, we certainly want all you cat lovers out there (like us!) to be aware of five cat drawings by Warhol exhibited in this show that we instantly fell in love with -- especially one of Sam!! When you couple everything we mentioned above with the fact that there is always free admission on Thursday at The Hammer Museum, you can't go wrong with getting a generous dose of "small" art that leaves a big lasting impression.
Images courtesy The Hammer Museum

Sunday, March 18, 2012

It's About Time: Turning Coffee Cups into Clocks

IT'S ABOUT TIME: TURNING COFFEE CUPS INTO CLOCKS -- Most people in Britain (or anywhere else, for that matter) don't think twice about the environment when they discard their plastic coffee cups from vending machines or their yogurt tubs into the trash. But Brit Dan Dicker did think twice -- and even longer than that -- causing him to leave his job as a product designer and inventor at the British technology company Dyson Ltd. and pack off to the picturesque coast of Cornwall so that he could be near the sea, hence the name of his company ashortwalk, i.e. just "a short walk" to the Atlantic Ocean from his base in the seaside town of Perranporth (a former tin mining town now a family seaside resort).  It was here that Dicker (working from a small shed) began to design, manufacture and supply a broad range of useful, functional products geared toward saving the environment by recycling discarded plastic coffee cups and yogurts tubs and transforming them into house clocks, garden clocks, house numbers and signs, coasters and place mats -- as well as clocks that show tidal heights and times, and moon phases.  Pretty clever indeed.  So here's a quick tutorial on how it's done: 1) cups are collected, cleaned and shredded. 2) The shredded materials are heated and injected under high pressure into thin strips, then sliced in small pellets, and now they are ready for a wide range of uses. 3) Under high pressure, thousands of pellets are squashed between two very hot presses. After a short while the pellets have been fused together to form large flat workable sheets.  4) These sheets are then sanded, cut, cleaned and made into the company's clocks and accessories (the material is solid, heavy and feels very much like slate). In 2011, ashortwalk was a finalist in the UK's Green Business Awards that celebrates excellence in green practices, strategies and products; plus the company is a business member of the UK branch of the World Wildlife Fund. Ashortwalk's motto -- "do a little...change a lot" -- has paid off since its founding in 2003: they supply products for companies and retail outlets around the world. So the next time you toss that yogurt tub into the trash, think of how Dicker is making time and saving the health of the planet -- at the same time!  PS -- the "Retro" wall-mounted clock (top) is shown at its size of approximately 8" x 8". 
Clock images courtesy ashortwalk

Friday, March 16, 2012

From Art to Table...and More: Coastal Eco Decor from Wabisabi Green

FROM ART TO TABLE...AND MORE: COASTAL ECO DECOR FROM WABISABI GREEN -- We'd like to say that "she sells shells by the seashore," but that wouldn't be quite true -- however Jolee Pink does sell some fabulous eco-friendly home decor items from the seaside town of Encinitas, California through her company Wabisabi Green that she founded because of her love for the Pacific Ocean, its abundant sea life and the casual California coastal lifestyle that she enjoys to the max. Pink started her career as a graphic designer and eventually turned to working in clay as a way of expressing the natural environment in ceramic objects infused with a fun, organic appeal.  Around 2008 she began producing textiles for throw pillows which were designed especially for her modern ocean-themed living room (which ended up being featured in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle magazine!).  It was only a natural next step for Pink to create more items for the home and garden -- including placemats, napkins, napkin rings and ceramic tile art, sculptures and outdoor table art furniture. Pink uses organic cotton, hypoallergenic ecofiber, natural Kapok fiber and water-based inks -- plus she purchases from U.S. based suppliers with a sustainable approach to manufacturing and all her products are handcrafted in Southern California. But what we like best are the bright colors, bold graphics and playful charm that conjures up the sea in a modern, yet timeless way! The Blue Fish napkins and placemats shown here are our favorites -- making us want to throw a seafood dinner party for no reason at all other than to just enjoy the vibrant blue and white design that Pink has created.  And other sea creatures -- crabs, sea horses, rock shrimp, jellyfish, sea turtles and sand dollars -- are found in the tabletop and throw pillow offerings as well (not to mention the Happy Crab napkin rings and the Blue Fish spoon rests).  Plus, the company sells reusable "paper" towels made from organic Fair Trade cotton and reusable shopping bags -- and sponsors the Coastal Community Foundation "Healthy Day" fund which provides nourishing snacks to underprivileged school children.  On top of all this, the company is behind the upcoming Encinitas Foodie Fest on June 23, 2012 which will celebrate local artisanal and sustainable foods and eco-friendly gourmet-related products!  Amazing for a lady who was simply in love with the sea and wanted to share this love with others.  Such is the power of a vision and a passion! 
Foodie Fest:
All images courtesy Wabisabi Green

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Star-Crossed Stars: Franchot Tone & Joan Crawford, A True Hollywood Tale

STAR-CROSSED STARS: FRANCHOT TONE & JOAN CRAWFORD, A TRUE HOLLYWOOD TALE -- It's one of those Hollywood love affairs-turned into a marriage that has a very unusual ending -- and it wasn't part of any clever script or a dreamt-up stunt by an over-ambitious press agent, either.  What it does prove is that love -- even of the Hollywood variety -- is sometimes stronger and stranger and better than the plot of any movie.  But then, that is why we are eternally fascinated by showbiz affairs here at Studio of Style -- from the very beginnings of Hollywood itself to the present day -- so keep reading, kids, to see how this one finally comes to a bittersweet ending that demonstrates that even beloved icons such as the legendary Joan Crawford and the dashingly handsome Franchot Tone are ultimately human, just like the rest of us mere mortals! So, for now, just forget all the things you've heard about what Crawford was supposedly like and let's revisit this screen icon from another point of view.  Ready?  Good! The year was 1932 and Crawford (fresh from her divorce with screen idol Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) was having an affair with the other screen idol Clark Gable (!) -- and onto the set of MGM's "Today We Live" strolls the new kid on the block Franchot Tone (he had only one film under his belt "The Wiser Sex" with Claudette Colbert -- while Crawford was already riding high on such hits as "Grand Hotel, " "Letty Linton" and "Rain"). You could say it was sparks at first sight for the two extremely handsome actors (he with his deep voice, East Coast breeding and manners -- and she with her sensual mannerisms and goddess-like figure and stature). Though "Today We Live" bombed at the box office, the fireworks went off between them and they married in 1935 and between 1933 and 1937, they starred together in seven films.  By 1936, Crawford was the reigning queen of Hollywood and Tone was nominated for an Academy Award for his part in the classic "Mutiny on the Bounty." Behind the scenes, however, things weren't so picture-perfect. For Tone, heavy drinking, jealousy over his movie roles, on-set fighting and less-than-star treatment by the studios led to domestic abuse (Crawford often showed up on set with sunglasses trying to hide Tone's black and blue-inflicted marks) -- causing Crawford to seek comfort in the arms of her co-star Spencer Tracy during the 1938 filming of "Mannequin" for a torrid affair. Crawford "surprised" Tone on the set of one of his films one day -- only to catch him with an unknown starlet providing oral favors (some things never change in Hollywood!). It was the end of Tone and Crawford's relationship -- or was it?  They divorced in 1939. "If anyone catches me getting married again," said Crawford afterward, "they oughta give me a good sock on the jaw." (She must have gotten enough of that from Tone, one would think -- tsk-tsk)  So everyone goes their separate ways -- Tone would marry three more times; and Crawford twice more. As they grew older, Tone and Crawford rekindled their friendship and she would become a caretaker for the now-sick Tone (who would eventually succumb to lung cancer in 1968).  A reporter who interviewed Crawford in her New York City apartment was curious about the "old man" sitting quietly in a wheelchair throughout the interview. "Oh that's just Franchot," replied Crawford, which startled the reporter.  You see, kids, sometimes love runs deeper than the bruised egos and black eyes meted out in the past -- all can be forgiven (as it was between these two) and even the oft-maligned Joan Crawford showed she had a soft spot in her heart for what may have been the love of her life.  PS: On the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, you can find Crawford's star at 1750 Vine Street; and Tone's star at 6558 Hollywood Boulevard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Original Sister Act: Corita Kent and the Power of Love, Peace & Art

THE ORIGINAL SISTER ACT: CORITA KENT AND THE POWER OF LOVE, PEACE & ART-- She was one tough cookie and that's what everyone loved her for: her unyielding determination to bring about social justice and change through her art and her hope that love and peace would always prevail if given the opportunity. Her "Love" postage stamp in 1985 made her a household name, but long before that, Sister Mary Corita Kent (born Frances Elizabeth Kent) was an artistic activist during those turbulent 1960s when Americans took to the streets, rioting and protesting the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement for African-Americans and slogans of every type filled the air -- and out of this consciousness-shifting time for America came the brilliantly colored serigraphs of Kent that found their way translated into posters, book covers and murals.  In the 1930s, Kent entered the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her love of art found her taking classes at the Otis Art Institute (now the Otis College of Art and Design) as well as the famed Chouinard Art Institute.  Beginning March 17 and running through April 14, 2012, Otis will examine the impact of Kent's work in the exhibition "Purely Observational / Everyday Political: Artwork of and inspired by Corita Kent" curated by Otis faculty member Nancy Jo Haselbacher who presents the work of her students who participated in the "One Over One Printmaking" class and who were inspired by Kent's work to create their own politically-motivated art.  During her time in Los Angeles (before she moved to Boston in 1968 to pursue her art and live out her life until her passing in 1986), Kent had a legion of friends and followers, supposedly including Alfred Hitchcock, Buckminster Fuller, Saul Bass and Ray and Charles Eames to name a few.  The Corita Art Center is located in the heart of Hollywood (on the campus of the Immaculate Heart High School) and her work can always be found somewhere in the world -- currently Kent's work can be found in exhibitions in Paris, Washington DC, Philadelphia and West Hollywood (not to mention the upcoming show at Otis). Sales of items from the Corita Art Center support the ongoing charitable programs of the Immaculate Heart community, including classroom studies where children get to see how Kent used her art to help change the times in which she lived, i.e. showing the correlation between the visual and the historical. We at Studio of Style think that is just a wonderful legacy to leave behind, don't you? Bold, gutsy, motivated and filled with love for everyone. Let's face it, Kent was one sister act that has been a tough act to follow since.
Otis exhibit:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Art + Fashion at A+D = Celebrate: The Wearable

ART + FASHION AT A+D = CELEBRATE: THE WEARABLE -- It could easily be said that L.A.'s most fashion-forward crowd was found at the A+D Museum of architecture and design on Wilshire Boulevard this past Saturday night when dozens of fabulous fashions were on display for auction at the museum's annual fundraiser "Celebrate: The Wearable."  And what a night it was! Wearable creations by such art, fashion, food, design and architectural notables as Trina Turk, Richard Meier, Wolfgang Puck, Karim Rashid, David Hertz and his studio, John Baldessari and Jonathan Adler were among the many who took L.A.'s fashion scene one step closer to the future with a clever mix of materials, shapes, colors and intent.  With a live auction hosted by pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix and KCRW radio personality Frances Anderton (lower left), the event was the town's must-go-to party of the night. "Bloc Notes" by renowned designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (top photo) was a colorful play on a spiral notebook, rendered in two layers of crepe and silk. The mummy-like "dress" by BMW Designworks USA (center right) was an instant hit -- the model removed it and placed it over a sculptural armature in the center of the catwalk! The intriguing cantilevered collar by Suzanne Tick (lower right) had the crowd talking the entire evening.  Cameras and iPhones were working overtime trying to take it all in.
Photos by Greg Firlotte
Special thanks to A+D Museum and dubroWORKS

Art + Fashion at A+D = Celebrate: The Wearable

ART + FASHION AT A+D = CELEBRATE: THE WEARABLE -- Suspended animation: Visual artist Rebecca Niederlander's "Hoops and Loops and Humps and Jumps" outfit was one of the many hits of the evening with its lyrical jangle of plastic-coated copper conduit wire -- some of it found in the back of an old hardware store, and some of it "whisked" from a well-known home building chain store.  Says the artist, "Each element in the work exists as a place-holder, carrying a lifetime’s worth of experience and information to and from connected instances." The male model in the upper right photo was giving quite a show as well with a sandwich board outfit created by Belgium-born mural artist/designer Art of Chase who used the 19th century form of street advertising to convey his message: "the intent of my work is to promote dialogue, to provide affirmations or to cause a smile," he says -- and this outfit certainly caused many a smile, for sure!  The red plastic hat/wig (lower right) from Los Angeles architects Predock_Frane was clever in that it was moldable to create an array of looks for its wearer.
Photos by Greg Firlotte

Art + Fashion at A+D = Celebrate: The Wearable

ART + FASHION AT A+D = CELEBRATE: THE WEARABLE -- The "Metamorphosis" steel butterfly wings and vacuum-formed black leather dress by West Hollywood architect/designer Gulla Jonsdottir (top left) drews lots of oohs and aahs from the crowd when it made its dramatic entrance! The multi-feathered headdress provided the perfect crowning accessory.  Karim Rashid's futuristic print two-piece ensemble (top right) wowed everyone with its bare midriff.  A show-stopper, for sure, was the amazing origami-like dress (lower right) created by Kanner Architects which, as shown here, had people studying it for the entire night.  Taking all this in were fetish clothing and accessory designer Jason  Amirmajdi  of Le Bra Lingerie and Los Angeles fashion designer Elizabeth Michaels (lower left) wearing an outfit she designed -- they are standing in front of an intricately-constructed piece by architect David Hertz which attracted attention with its interesting use of architectural materials.
Photos by Greg Firlotte

Art + Fashion at A+D = Celebrate: The Wearable

ART + FASHION AT A+D = CELEBRATE: THE WEARABLE -- With music by KCRW DJ Raul Campos spinning in the background, food from Hollywood caterer Scott Roeb, a bar setup by PAMA and IZZE and live auction projections outside on the walls of the nearby Petersen Museum by L.A. Artist Collective (shown above), the event was a bonafide success. More dramatic fashions from Minarc Architects (top left); Syuzi Pakhchyan (bottom right) and architect Eric Corey Freed with his sensational "ClimateWear Daytime Helmet" (bottom left). Be sure to check out the upcoming A+D exhibition "Drylands Design" opening March 22 which will feature work by architects, landscape architects, engineers and urban designers responding to the challenge of water scarcity in the face of climate change -- a compelling show and subject indeed.  But then, that is what the A+D is about: compelling us to think about everything -- from what we wear, to the environment in which we wear it!
Upcoming A+D exhibition:
Photos by Greg Firlotte

Sunday, March 11, 2012

From Japan to L.A. -- The Stylish Tomato that has a Cult Following!

FROM JAPAN TO L.A. -- THE STYLISH TOMATO THAT HAS A CULT FOLLOWING:  Foodies, take note! We have to admit that we are thoroughly spoiled here at Studio of Style when it comes to tomatoes.  And we're gonna let you in on a true gourmet secret. You see, we've been eating the little-known "Momotaro" (Tough Boy) tomato for 10 years! And we've been buying them from the same hydroponic grower: Beylik Farms just north of Los Angeles who uses bumblebees to pollinate their eight to ten thousand plants! Sold only at select farmers markets in the L.A. area (Hollywood, Santa Monica, Silver Lake -- or you can grow your own), these tomatoes are snapped up first thing by informed foodies the moment the farmers markets open! We've seen people rush to the stalls and purchase upward to $100 worth at a time -- and we've witnessed people elbowing each other just to get at these gems before they're sold out!  About now, you're probably asking yourself what's the big deal about Momotaro tomatoes?  Developed by Takii Seed Company in Japan (and arguably the most popular variety in that country), these tomatoes start out pinkish-red and turn to a deep red over the course of several days (so don't rush them, never refrigerate them and check them daily for firmness; you don't want them to go mushy on you).  The sugars will develop and turn these tough boys into sweet fellas! At our farmers market, we meet the same group of people each week -- anxious to get their Momotaro tomato fix -- and we share stories about them too -- who knew?? Their sweet, juicy, firm qualities evoke thoughts of summertime and perhaps the "good ol' days" when a tomato used to taste like a tomato! With the taste of summer in mind -- here is Studio of Style's own twist on a grilled cheese sandwich: butter the outsides of artisan bread with mayonnaise instead of butter (it will caramelize nicely -- and we use Trader Joe's organic mayo).  Put the mayonnaise side down on a medium hot pan, then put the sliced tomatoes, a slice of Jarlsberg cheese (or any Swiss) and sprinkle a light pinch of crushed dried oregano over this, and then put on the top slice of bread.  Carefully flip it over -- and you'll have a taste of summer any time of year!  If you're not in the L.A. area where you can try the Momotaro tomato first-hand, you might want to ask your local organic or hydroponic vegetable grower if they want to give it a try -- and you just might have a tomato cult following in your area too! We never thought we'd reveal our secret to you (but you're worth it!) and never thought we'd go bananas over a tomato, but guess what...we have!
Farmers Markets in the L.A. area:
Photos & Food Styling by Greg Firlotte / Studio of Style has a fixation for Blue Willow dishes

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ethereal Substance: The Work of Amy Jean Boebel

ETHEREAL SUBSTANCE: THE WORK OF AMY JEAN BOEBEL -- It starts out as aluminum screen, but sculptor Amy Jean Boebel knows how to coax, bend, shape, mold and extract something from this most mundane and unassuming of building materials that somehow seems quite impossible -- and voila! -- it is transformed into works of art whose organic and often linear beauty seem to defy their origins. But such is the singular talent of Boebel that has been honed over the years regardless of the materials -- be they fabric, paper, glass or found objects -- there is nothing that cannot be pushed further ("as far as it will go," says Boebel) until it becomes whatever she has envisioned in her mind. Working from her space at the Santa Monica Art Studios complex (housed in an historic hangar at the Santa Monica airport -- and which will be open on March 17, 2012 as part of the Santa Monica Airport Artwalk), Boebel is most happiest pushing those artistic boundaries with the challenge being as equally exciting and important as the end result. Her hands-on love of rendering metal into art found its beginnings in the early 1980s, when she created large sculptures inspired by architecture -- with foundations laid during her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Tulane University School of Architecture and the University of Maryland where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Boebel has also created wearable art from such diverse and unusual materials as road maps, caution tape, wire, plastic and wire -- achieving recognition for her distinctive fashion as the recipient of two awards from the International World of Wearable Art Show in Wellington, New Zealand. In 2011, Boebel unveiled her most aggressively beautiful and awe-inspiring work "Billow" (top photo) at her Santa Monica studio -- a full room installation measuring 11 feet by 22 feet of aluminum screen transformed into floating "clouds" -- a work that must be viewed by craning one's neck  upward to fully absorb its dreamlike qualities, as eerie shadows from light fixtures above cascade down the walls.  Other works shown here: "Dream" (center); "Shred" (center left); "Brace" (center left bottom); and "Genesis" (center left top).  Boebel is shown manipulating "Inception" in the bottom photo -- a 2012 installation piece measuring eight by ten feet rising seven inches from the studio floor. There is something about this ethereal substance created by Boebel that begs that eternally-asked question when it comes to the making of art: how does she do it? Perhaps the best answer is to visit her studio on March 17 during the Santa Monica Airport Artwalk (or anytime for that matter) and ask Boebel herself. You might be surprised, enlightened or transformed by her answer -- and by what you see!
Santa Monica Airport Artwalk 2012:
All images courtesy Amy Jean Boebel

Friday, March 9, 2012

Muse of the Moment: Joan Quinn at Home

MUSE OF THE MOMENT: JOAN QUINN AT HOME.  Joan Quinn -- the ultimate muse (see story below) -- took on her role once again as photographer Greg Firlotte visited Quinn at her Southern California home where she graciously sat with tulip in hand, waving it about like a paint brush (tulips are not only Quinn's favorite flower of all time, but also that of her longtime friend David Hockney).  Firlotte was able to capture the many expressions of Quinn as she talked about her love of art, art and more art!  Quinn was in London recently for of all the festivities surrounding Hockney's exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts entitled "David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture" (which runs through April 9, 2012) and told Studio of Style about all the parties, dinners and events she attended in honor of her incredibly talented friend, Mr. Hockney!

Muse of the Moment: The Joan Quinn Portraits

MUSE OF THE MOMENT: THE JOAN QUINN PORTRAITS --  Joan Agajanian Quinn is probably the most photographed, painted and sculpted persona in the history of Southern California contemporary art, if not America.  More than 200 portraits in every conceivable media created over the course of decades have sought to capture the indominable spirit that is Joan Quinn.  For the first time ever, the public was able able to see those portraits in a specially curated show "Mysterious Objects" at Santa Ana College in Santa Ana, California last September which presented works by such world-renowned artists as David Hockney, Helmut Newton, Robert Graham, Ed Moses, Don Bachardy, Ed Ruscha, Robert Mapplethorpe, Billy Al Bengston, Jean Michel Basquiat, Matthew Rolston, Milton Greene, Alice Springs, Laddie John Dill, Zandra Rhodes, Mel Ramos, Ian Falconer, Jim McHugh -- and of course, the famous Polaroid of Quinn by Andy Warhol transformed into a painting by Warhol’s assistant Rupert Smith.  Though the Santa Ana show is long over, the buzz about it (and the hefty show catalog) still remains and we at Studio of Style are longing to hear where this unique collection of portraits will make its appearance next. While some people avoid having even so much as their photo taken at a family gathering or at that dreaded company holiday party, Quinn is ever so comfortable to be immortalized for all time under the direction of our generation's top artistic talents -- in fact, her website shows the names of all the artists who have portrayed her since 1953. So just who is Joan Quinn and why have so many artists transformed her through their unique visions? Many people know her through her years of art and fashion journalism and show-curating for magazines and galleries around the world, and for her long-running television show "The Joan Quinn Profiles." She became a household name in the art world through her stint as West Coast correspondent for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine during the 1980s.  “Though I’ve played the role of a temporary muse, I consider myself as merely the subject matter and I’ve always been fascinated to see how these incredible artists interpret what they see in me,” says Quinn to Studio of Style.  “And it’s not an ego-driven fascination.  In fact, I want to see the hand of the artist in their pieces -- not my own visage.  Therein lies the difference.” We doubt that there will ever be such a muse with such a collection of portraits in one lifetime -- so we're keeping our collective fingers crossed that the "Mysterious Objects" show will make an incarnation in one way or another here in L.A. so that even more people can see how one muse can generate so many different ways of looking at one person: the colorful Joan Quinn!  Artworks shown above: (top) 1998 watercolor and acrylic on paper by Don Bachardy; (top right) 1986 gelatin silver print by Robert Mapplethorpe; (top left) Charles Arnoldi describes his 1970s acrylic on twigs sculpture of Quinn; (center right) amazing original Polaroid of Quinn by Andy Warhol, reproduced and painted by Rupert  Jasen Smith, 1988; (center) 1980s photo by Milton Greene, best known for his portraits of Marilyn Monroe; (bottom left) 1991 Polaroid and Xerox collage by David Hockney; (bottom center) 1976 cast bronze, oil paint and gold leaf sculpture by Robert Graham; (bottom right) Quinn discusses her 1984-85 tempered glass and wood portrait with its creator, mixed-media artist Laddie John Dill.  PS: get the "Mysterious Objects" show catalog if you can -- it's a treasure trove of her portraits as well as vintage photos of artists and a mini-documentary of the Southern California contemporary arts scene as experienced by Quinn and her husband Jack Quinn!
Quinn Art Exhibit:
Photos of artworks by Ken Marchionno Photography / courtesy Joan Quinn
Photos of Chuck Arnoldi and Laddie John Dill by Greg Firlotte

Monday, March 5, 2012

Opera Alert Chicago: David Daniels is in Town!

OPERA ALERT CHICAGO: DAVID DANIELS IS IN TOWN! -- Yes, kids, we know that Chicago is a long way from Hollywood -- but we wanted all our Midwest readers to know that there are only five more performances left at the Lyric Opera of Chicago to catch our favorite countertenor David Daniels in Handel's "Rinaldo" -- and there's a good reason we're telling you too! (By the way, that's Daniels in the top right photo singing his heart out in "Rinaldo.") You see, we've checked in with Daniels' wonderful artistic management staff (thanks Sam!) and we've learned that (as of this time) there are no scheduled appearances on the West Coast for him for the 2012/2013 season --so that means those lucky folks in Chicago get to hear this masterful singer -- the man with the voice of an angel -- in a very contemporary rendition of the not-oft-performed Handel piece (which he's recorded for Decca with another acclaimed singer Cecilia Bartoli).  And the critics and audiences are loving  him in Chicago -- and they are so right! At almost four hours long, this revisionist production was hailed as "a winner" by the Chicago Tribune -- and as "a triumph" by the Chicago Sun-Times. And Lawrence A. Johnson of The Classical Review checks in with this opera as having "a rich majestic score with one knockout aria after another...including some of the most indelible vocal music of his (Daniels) long career." Wow! Yes, indeed, Daniels has countersung his way to the top over the course of his lifelong journey in song -- he was a soprano as a boy, then turned to tenor as his voice matured -- and became a countertenor during graduate studies at the University of Michigan with George Shirley.  But, kids, you must hear the voice! Admittedly, there is mostly baroque material in his recorded work -- however his "A Quiet Thing" album of songs for voice and guitar serve up some more popular, familiar tunes for folks not fully immersed into early classical music.  And we've learned from Sam back at Daniels' management HQ that there might be some new recorded work coming up (we certainly have our fingers crossed!). He made his professional debut in 1992 -- and that's a long time for any man to be singing countertenor and still be at the top of his profession.  But then, we're not talking about just any opera singer, we're talking about David Daniels.  PS -- check Daniels' website in a couple of weeks for a new update of coming appearances -- he just might be bringing his angelic voice to your town! How heavenly that would be!
David Daniels:
David Daniels sings Kander & Ebb's "A Quiet Thing"
Photo of Rinaldo production by Dan Rest / courtesy Lyric Opera of Chicago
Special thanks to Carrie Napolilli Krol at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Portrait of Daniels by Bernard Benant / Virgin Records

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Those Fantastic Flappers....the Real Deal!

THOSE FANTASTIC FLAPPERS....THE REAL DEAL:  The film "The Artist" was a winner, for sure -- but here at Studio of Style, it was a winner in our estimation for several other reasons.  First of all (and most importantly in our humble opinion) it showed how a bunch of "Hollywood outsiders" could make a film about one of the most important moments in movie  history (the transition from silence to sound), and that it took someone from outside of Hollywood -- French director Michel Hazanavicius who shot the film in Hollywood in seven weeks -- to show the "real" Hollywood just what made Hollywood so great in the first place (are you following all of this?  There'll be a quiz in the morning, you know!).  Secondly, it demonstrated what our beloved silent film queen Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson in the classic film "Sunset Boulevard") believed up to the last gunshot in William Holden: that all you needed was great faces ("We had faces," Desmond declared with defiance.)  With just music to listen to and facial expressions and body gestures on screen to watch, "The Artist" spoke volumes.  And thirdly, the film's Academy Awarding-winning costume designer Mark Bridges gave us a rich display of outfits that truly spoke of those late 1920s when the fashion world was going through a major shift in shapes, attitude, accessories, materials -- and all with a little bit of gender-bending for the ladies with their new "flat-chested" figures and the desire for boyish hips, boyish faces and short boyish bobbed haircuts (boy oh boy -- what a shift for the "manly" man to get used to -- looking at a lady who wants to look like a boy!). The shoe de rigeur was the "Mary Jane" ankle strap shoe and the absolute must-have accessory was the cloche hat with its turned up brim -- it firmly covered the forehead and made your short hair and bangs all the flatter against your head. The use of the makeup compact in public was all the rage and therefore compacts of the time were highly decorated just for flaunting in public!  The flapper look was universal across all the classes -- which meant that high-society ladies and working class girls could virtually look alike for the first time (prior to this, the upper crust wore heavily worked couture clothing while the rest of the crowd wore "store-bought" clothes made en masse for the masses) -- the flapper look sort of equaled out the classes to a degree, allowing women from all backgrounds to let loose and kick up their Mary Jane heels.  As we told you in an earlier posting (shown below) you can see the costumes from "The Artist" at FIDM in Los Angeles through April 28, 2012 to get a sense of how the clothes looked, hung on the body and were constructed -- even if just for film usage.  The high priestess of the flapper was none other than Coco Chanel who, if nothing else, made clothes that were actually comfortable and easy to put on and take off -- and during those crazy 1920's with all that jazz, dancing and new-found freedom -- that was exactly what the flapper needed to dance the night away and into the new century.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

MOCA: "The Total Look" is Totally Fabulous! Part I

MOCA: "THE TOTAL LOOK" IS TOTALLY FABULOUS! -- What can we say about last night at MOCA Pacific Design Center's special member's opening for "The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton" except to say WOW!!! We at Studio of Style joined hundreds of Museum of Contemporary Art members whose minds were blown away by this 1960s and 1970s fashion, film and photography extravaganza -- with special guest of the exhibition, model Peggy Moffitt in attendance (see photos below). So we are giving this event extended coverage (go to the MOCA link to read all about this amazing creative collaboration to learn just how wonderful things can be when a true collaboration blossoms and transforms the fashion realm). And we agree wholeheartedly with famed art critic and KCRW radio "Art Talk" host (and longtime friend of Studio of Style) Edward Goldman who concluded that the gowns at this year's Academy Awards were downright monotonous and could have used the inspiration of a Rudi Gernreich to "stir things up" once more on the red carpet!  Right on, Mr. Goldman!! That being said, we are advising anyone within driving distance to see this exhibition before it closes May 20 -- it's one of those things that we rarely get to experience in L.A. and it serves to remind everyone even remotely interested in fashion just how influential Gernreich, Moffitt and Claxton were in creating a look, a vibe, a style that still packs a punch to this day. And, yes, we too are asking the question: where are the hip, modernistic fashion designers in Tinseltown who are making the really exciting stuff? So, our hats off to MOCA and everyone involved in the MOCA Pacific Design Center show for showing us that "The Total Look" is always totally fabulous!
Read about the exhibition:
Images of Peggy Moffitt wearing Rudi Gernreich clothes © William Claxton. 
Images courtesy MOCA, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Edward Goldman:

MOCA: "The Total Look" is Totally Fabulous! Part II

MOCA: "THE TOTAL LOOK" IS TOTALLY FABULOUS! -- At last night's event: As you enter the ground floor of the gallery (before ascending to the second floor filled with even more couture!) you get to experience the first five outfits of the show -- including the famed "topless bathing suit" (shown in upper left photo) that started the whole thing!  And -- what a treat -- there are three screens showing non-stop films of Peggy Moffitt and other models in action, doing their grooviest '60s moves in those absolutely unbelievable clothes, makeup and hair!
Photos by Greg Firlotte

MOCA: "The Total Look" is Totally Fabulous! Part III

MOCA: "THE TOTAL LOOK" IS TOTALLY FABULOUS! -- At last night's opening: All eyes were on Peggy Moffitt, of course! Her every move, gesture, glance and who she was talking too and, if overheard, what she was saying about what -- everyone was entranced by this gracious lady. She held court in a sea of couture outfits created for her and it was beyond imagination to think that this lady wore all the outfits on display!  Her figure is still as lithe and modelesque as if the '60s and '70s were still upon us.  Oh! How we didn't want the evening to ever end!
Photos by Greg Firlotte