Thursday, May 31, 2012

David Bowie's Glam Rock Anthem "All The Young Dudes" Turns 40!

DAVID BOWIE'S GLAM ROCK ANTHEM "ALL THE YOUNG DUDES" TURNS 40!  Okay kids, it's time to get out the glitter bombs!  But not in protest or defiance -- oh no, we'd never do that! We're talking about celebrating those days of glitter and glam from the 1970s when all things "camp" and -- especially -- all things androgynous (!) filled the streets, clubs and bedrooms of rock n' roll youth in England where David Bowie ruled the eyeliner set with a look that had parents asking, "is it a boy or a girl?" But it didn't matter...and that was the best part! (The film Velvet Goldmine with the oh-so-exposed Ewan McGregor (!) captures the era as best as any film, for sure!) As rock music staggered from the 1960s into the '70s, kids in the UK had angst in their pants (to borrow a line from the band Sparks!) and along came the elfin songster Mark Bolan and his two-man band T-Rex who hit the British TV show Top of the Pops in 1971 all dolled up in satin and glitter on his doe-like eyes and face -- bolstering the then-rising singer-songwriter David Bowie to take this new look to an even bigger and more glamorous place than anyone could imagine! (Glam would have a lasting influence far past its heyday with such musical acts as Kiss and Motley Crue piling on the makeup and teasing up the hair!)  It was in 1972 that Bowie was anxious to help floundering British rock act Mott the Hoople by offering them one of his songs "Suffragette City" (a landmark rock song if there ever was one!) but, alas, the band turned it down.  So the ripe-with-song Bowie supposedly plunked himself down on the floor in a room on Regent Street in London and proceeded to write what would eventually become the biggest song of the glam rock era, "All the Young Dudes" -- but the song wasn't meant to be an "anthem" for the era at all -- just the opposite!! There was actually a darker message in the song (but no one cared about that because the melody was so infectious!). Bowie was depicting an apocalyptic time -- and the "news" that the "dudes" were carrying was that Earth had only five years left -- the same message Bowie wrote about in his song "Five Years" on his "Ziggy Stardust" album.  In July 1972, "All the Young Dudes" (which Mott the Hoople recorded instead of "Suffragette City") was released in the UK, reaching number 3 on the charts there -- and later number 37 on the US charts in November of that year.  The song became so popular over time that it has been featured in many films: Clueless (1995); Juno (2007); The Wackness (2008); Cemetery Junction (2010); and it has been used for at least two British TV commercials. Even better is the fact that Rolling Stone magazine placed it at #253 as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time; and it's one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 songs that shaped rock and roll!  Not bad for a song of "doom and gloom" that actually cheers people up when they hear it! So, dig out the eyeliner (we're talking to you guys out there!) and step into those platform boots, kids, 'cos we're gonna carry the news about those dudes who have stayed forever young at heart -- thanks to David Bowie and Mott the Hoople!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Perfect Bottle, The Perfect Perfume? Chanel No. 5 Still Reigns.

THE PERFECT BOTTLE, THE PERFECT PERFUME? CHANEL NO. 5 STILL REIGNS.  How can it be that a bottle and the perfume within it can mesmerize one generation after another -- and never lose its enchantment?  We realize that this is probably a rhetorical question because, after all, the bottle and perfume in question is the quintessential of all bottles and perfume: Chanel No. 5.  What magic is at work here?  How is it that no scent has ever captivated one's senses decade after decade such as this one has done?  Both men and women fall under its spell -- from its ylang ylang, bergamot, neroli top notes to its middle notes of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley and iris, to the heady sandalwood and vanilla, amber and patchouli base notes -- and there is almost nothing one can do once under that spell but to be in love, think in love, act in love.  It was the summer of 1920, and master perfumer Ernest Beaux with A. Rallet & Company located near Cannes in the South of France was busily working on a new fragrance "Bouquet de Catherine" -- which morphed into "Rallet Le No. 1." Somewhere in this fragrant mix were a number of formulas -- one of which would actually be selected by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel (it was labeled #5 from a series of bottles numbered 1 through 5, and another group of bottles numbered 20 to 24 for Madame Chanel to select from).  As far as the bottle is concerned, the one first produced in 1919 is not the one which we know today -- it was originally much smaller, more rounded in profile, and the glass much thinner.  Numerous modifications -- especially to the stopper -- occurred in 1924, in the 1950s, and later in the 1970s and then in 1986.  As Madame Chanel herself would later say, "Yes, that is what I was waiting for -- a perfume like nothing else." Style Tip: Why not create your own crystal palace at home by gathering lots and lots of glass bottles and accoutrements for tableaux, shelf arrangements and window displays to capture the exquisite transparent nature of glass? Mix different heights and shapes in a single row for a dining tablescape.  Final Note: Look again at your collection of perfume and cologne bottles and really appreciate them!  Hold them often, feeling their shape in your hand.  Enjoy them as the objets d'art that they are! PS: Studio of Style keeps a bottle of Chanel No. 5 parfum nearby at all times -- after all, you never know when it will be needed to work its magic!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cover Story: Annie Kelly & Tim Street-Porter!

COVER STORY: ANNIE KELLY & TIM STREET-PORTER! -- L.A. certainly has its share of "power couples" -- and author/decorator/magazine editor Annie Kelly and her husband, the masterful photographer Tim Street-Porter is certainly among the most inspiring, loving and most gracious that Studio of Style continues to have the pleasure of knowing over the years.  Together in that rare chemistry found among "artistic" couples, Annie and Tim bring together words and images in the perfect combination  (she writes, he shoots) for their collaborative series of books -- six for Rizzoli (love it!!) and one for Stewart, Tabori and Chang -- that have created a style vocabulary all their own and which have been referred to over and over by both the design community and just plain lovers of elegant design (that would include all of us!).  Tonight (May 22), we caught up with Annie and Tim -- shown in the above photo -- at the Hollywood at Home showroom on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles -- just minutes before Annie's book-signing for the new "Rooms to Inspire by the Sea" got underway! (We love the wonderful textiles and furnishings created by the showroom founder Peter Dunham.  Be sure to stop by the shop and pick up a copy of the book, okay?)  Annie's design projects and the feature stories she's authored have appeared in the who's who of magazines around the globe -- and Tim's own series of books on the architectural and design landscape of Los Angeles have long been admired by the architectural community worldwide. The couple's circle of friends reads like an A-list in the worlds of literature, art, photography, acting and style -- but it's all of those A-listers who regard Annie and Tim as being the celebrated ones! Generous and giving in all that they do, we at Studio of Style applaud this dynamic duo.  PS -- the best part about the book-signing tonight at Hollywood at Home is that we arrived early enough to see just Tim and Annie alone on the sidewalk -- Tim with camera in hand, snapping away at Annie alongside her announcement signage in front of the showroom -- a true L.A. moment that we got to savor!!
Photo of Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter by Greg Firlotte

New. Art. Now. Made in L.A. is Almost Here!

Who's hot? Emerging? Unknown? The L.A. art scene has the eyes of the art world upon it -- and Studio of Style will give you all the insider info that you've come to expect in an upcoming report. But in the meanwhile, watch the video about this must-see event sponsored by the Hammer Museum in collaboration with LAXART.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Always Dressed for Success: Diane von Furstenberg

ALWAYS DRESSED FOR SUCCESS: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG -- Was there ever a time when Diane von Furstenberg wasn't the most fabulous woman around? Just look at that photo (top) of her poolside in Geneva, Switzerland at age 18 -- and you know that, yes indeed, she was fabulous even at 18 in 1964, the year she met her prince -- Egon of Fürstenberg (the eldest son of German Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg) who she would marry in 1969.  From falling in love with a prince to falling in love with prints and the woman's signature piece of fashion -- the dress -- it has been a long and stylish journey for the Belgian-born Diane Simone Michelle Halfin -- who is now known around the world as DVF for the amazing fashion empire that she started with $30,000 and a vision filled with determination. You remember the '70s, don't you?  It was such a wild and crazy time -- especially in New York where von Furstenberg arrived in 1970 with a suitcase filled with 12 jersey dresses that she had made in Italy at the textile factory of her friend Angelo Ferretti -- and even the New York Times ran a profile on her that year, an auspicious start to her fashion career (with encouragement coming from such fashion heavy-hitters as Bill Blass, Kenneth Jay Lane and Diana Vreeland!).  At first, she worked out of her dining room/office in the Gotham Hotel and presented her first show there.  Come 1972, von Furstenberg started her own manufacturing company with help from friend and entrepreneur Richard Conrad -- and with a loan from her father, opened a showroom on Seventh Avenue.  Not long after introducing the iconic wrap dress in 1974, her sales went soaring past $1 million -- and the fashion world has never been the same. "Attitude is everything," von Furstenberg once said -- and is she ever right on that one! How can you not assume an attitude of style, grace and ease and ultra-femininity while wearing one of those sensuous wrap dresses? From 12 jersey dresses in a suitcase in 1970 to becoming one of the most admired women in fashion and for her many philanthropic causes, Diane von Furstenberg is certainly at the top of Studio of Style's Style list. “Building a wardrobe is like building a circle of friends your whole life…Your own beauty is to be yourself, but of course we need tools and accessories," said von Furstenberg at the debut of her collection on the QVC network in 1992 -- at which time she sold $1.2 million in wrap dresses and shirts in two hours -- you gotta love that!!  And how true her words continue to ring, in that von Furstenberg's beauty emanates from being herself over the decades which have seen trends and fads come and go.  In recent years, she has created a home collection, luggage, fragrances and designed suites for Claridge's hotel in London -- not to mention expanding her fashion showrooms around the globe.  She would have been amazing at whatever path she chose -- but luckily for us, Diane von Furstenberg has chosen to bring color, ease, elegance and attitude to all of us who can't get enough of DVF's fabulous POV.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Turning Stars....into Stars! The Genius that was Kevyn Aucoin

TURNING STARS....INTO STARS! THE GENIUS THAT WAS KEVYN AUCOIN -- You gotta love that crazy world inhabited by the celebrity!  'Cos just when they think they're a big star, there's always a star even bigger looming over them -- doncha just love it?  So we're gonna play a guessing game -- which we at Studio at Style just love to play (especially when it comes to blind items, gossip and who's "seeing" who in Hollywood!).  Can you figure out who's impersonating a bigger star than themselves in the photos above?  Let's start with Marilyn Monroe (shown at top). Who's portraying her in this fabulously-styled pic? Well...she's the daughter of a King...and she married another King (not many people can say they've done that!).  And what about that rebel with a cause James Dean (shown above left)? Let's see...the person portraying Dean here was once engaged to a major Hollywood hunk (and we mean major!) and later married the lead singer of one of the hottest international bands today!  And we all know that Elizabeth Taylor (above center, as seen in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof") had a lifelong penchant for the most amazing clothing and jewelry.  And in a strange, very strange way, so did the lady shown here portraying Ms. Liz -- but our mystery poser had her felony charges reduced to misdemeanors -- and she stayed on probation until December 2005!  We have always loved the opera diva Maria Callas (above, right) -- and the lady portraying her in this photo also doesn't usually share the spotlight with anyone -- such is her power as a first lady of song!  And then there's the eternally beautiful actress Julie Christie (lower left) who radiated throughout the entire film Doctor Zhivago.  Our mystery poser radiated as well in a famous red dress in one of the most popular films of the 1990s which made her a household name!  And where would we be without the fragile beauty of Audrey Hepburn (bottom, center) -- and an equally fragile actress shown here strikes a classic Hepburn pose! So who are these mystery imposters??? Before we reveal their identities, we have Kevyn Aucoin to thank for creating these marvelous portrayals -- as seen in his book "Face Forward" from 2000 (one of four books he wrote on the art of makeup).  Perhaps the most famous of all makeup artists of our time, Aucoin's work was true genius.  During the 1980s his work blossomed from boy-from-Louisiana to the most sought-after makeup artist in fashiondom -- doing work for Vogue (who discovered him) to Harper's Bazaar, Allure, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, Mademoiselle, InStyle and so many more -- and not to mention creating beautiful faces for the top A-list celebrities in show business (he did Cindy Crawford for her first Vogue cover -- and he did Gwyneth Paltrow's makeup the night she won an Academy Award -- and he was one of Oprah Winfrey's favorite makeup artists!).  "Life is too short to spend hoping that the perfectly arched eyebrow or hottest lip shade will mask an ugly heart," Aucoin so brilliantly noted.  He knew only too well that beauty came from within; that his artistry only enhanced and brought out what was already there, but we all knew that his work was truly transformative -- which is what "Face Forward" and his other books were all about! So, now let's name names and reveal the identities of the celebrities shown above, okay?  Did you guess Lisa Marie Presley as Marilyn Monroe??  Wow--we love that one, for sure!  Or Gwyneth Paltrow as James Dean?  Ha!  Got ya there!! Or Winona Ryder as Elizabeth Taylor? Or Celine Dion as Maria Callas?  Or Julia Roberts as Julie Christie?  Or Calista Flockhart as Audrey Hepburn?  Pretty cool, huh?  Before Aucoin passed away all-too-young in 2002, he had changed the world of makeup, taking it to new and beautiful artistic levels.  His signature collection of products -- Kevyn Aucoin Beauty -- continues the legacy begun in childhood: a boy in love with making people look and feel beautiful, who took this love to the world and made it a more glamorous place for all us devotees of style!  We'll leave you with this quote from Aucoin, "To forgive yourself your differences and cherish them instead is incredibly liberating." Fabulous!!
Images courtesy Kevin Aucoin Beauty

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer: Forever the Queen of Disco...and our Hearts!

This is a post that we did back in February -- so we thought we'd bring it back in memory of that wonderful First Lady of Disco: Donna Summer

DISCO DAZE PART II: QUEENS, CAMP & COVER SONGS -- By popular demand, kids, we've dug deep into our dusty vaults and uncovered a mixed bag of disco delights (and then again, maybe not!) for your aural pleasure (you like that, don't you??). As with any musical genre, hits and misses abounded in the disco world -- so let's begin with an item that qualifies as probably the single biggest misstep heard on any dance floor, anywhere (but we're gonna be easy on the gal, okay?).  The queen of Broadway song-belters -- Ethel Merman -- will always be immortalized by such trademark songs as "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" -- but, unfortunately, no one had any business producing (much less releasing) Merman's disco album.  Her heart was certainly in the right place -- seeing as how everyone was jumping on the disco bandwagon back then and Merman was so adored by the gay club-goers that it seemed as if the concept would be a slam dunk.  However, the tacky (and we've never used that word here!) arrangements simply sunk every tune to the depths of the Hudson River.  In fact, the songs actually cleared the dance floors almost every time they were played (and that's a feat in and of itself in any gay club!) -- but Gold bless her, Ms. Merman sang her heart out and we'll let you be the judge when you hear that Broadway chestnut "Everything's Coming Up Roses" a-thumpin' and a-bumpin', okay? Speaking of musical chestnuts -- Abbe Lane (that glamorous 1950s singer/actress who was voted "too sexy" to appear on TV and was "forced" to cover up parts of her voluptuous body!) took a crack at that timeless tearjerker "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and transformed it into a dance floor hit in 1980 on her "Rainbows" album that had other disco hits as well as remakes of some of her familiar tunes.  Cher -- oh dear -- where do we begin?  Naturally she, too, climbed upon the mirrored ball and came up with the hit "Take Me Home" -- but what would Cher be without those costumes that defy description (we'll try, okay?).  The peekaboo Flash Gordon-meets-Viking Valhalla outfit is probably what really sold this LP, because it really didn't fare too well for the all-disco-driven Casablanca record label and it appeared Cher was "gently persuaded" to go disco (a phase which didn't last long for the highly independent Cher) as she was ready just to rock out instead!  The LP cover is constantly on the "worst" list of many a record cover aficionado.  We can't recall any folk song that made it to the disco dance floor -- but Gordon Lightfoot's classic tune "If You Could Read My Mind" sounded so natural with a disco beat that even grandma loved it!  And the version served up by Viola Wills (who passed away in 2009) is so classy -- just like the lady herself!  Many of the disco kids were too young to remember Gordon singing it, so Wills' version was taken by many as a product of the disco era without any problem!  And now, kids, the moment you've been waiting for! The winner is.......Donna Summer the all-time queen of disco (and our hearts!) with her over-the-top, going-for-the-gold 1978 version of "MacArthur Park"!! First released in 1968 by actor/singer Richard Harris (best known for playing King Arthur in the 1967 film "Camelot"), this former hit on the pop charts became a dance floor mega-hit -- sung ever so brilliantly by Summer at what some would say was the perfect peak of her amazing voice (and it still is!). It went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- and rightfully so!  Perhaps no other disco song has ever been so lushly produced, reaching one musical climax after another and sending club-goers into a kind of heavenly ecstasy during its 18-minute musical medley which included two other songs in the center of it all.  So there you have it, kids!  In our next installment, it will be the guys turn-- and, oh boy, we'll have some fun with that one, okay?  Until then, keep dancing!
Ethel Merman, "Everything's Coming Up Roses" --
Abbe Lane, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" --
Viola Wills, "If You Could Read My Mind" --
Donna Summer, "MacArthur Park":
Studio --
Live 1978 --

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Great Stars have Great Pride: The Real Sunset Boulevard!

GREAT STARS HAVE GREAT PRIDE: THE REAL SUNSET BOULEVARD!  Wow, kids! Just when you thought you knew everything about one of the greatest Hollywood flicks of all time, you find out that there are still layers beneath the layers regarding all the Tinseltown shenanigans that went on behind the scenes just to get the incredibly stylish motion picture Sunset Boulevard into the theaters -- so that "those wonderful people out there in the dark" (that's us!) could revel in it for all time (you thought we'd never end this sentence, didn't you?).  And, of course, we could talk almost forever about those amazing performances by Gloria Swanson (shown above, as Norma Desmond), William Holden (top photo, as Joe Gillis) and Erich von Stroheim (as Max von Mayerling) -- but what about the equally amazing "performance" by Billy Wilder (shown in the two lower photos) for "Best Juggling Act" who brought us this classic gem? Now that alone deserved an Oscar (though the movie did receive Academy Awards for its screenplay (co-written by Wilder), art direction and score) -- but sadly not one for the dramatic leading lady Swanson. The scene from the film shown above (where Norma Desmond tries to commit suicide over Joe Gillis for seeing a girl on the side) contains those great lines -- Gillis to Desmond: "It sure would have made attractive headlines-- great star kills herself for unknown writer."  To which Desmond replies (with wrist done up in bandages): "Great stars have great pride."  And it was having "great pride" that put the kibosh on the leading lady role for several Hollywood greats: silent film star Mary Pickford was horrified while listening to the reading of the script by Wilder and co-writer Charles Brackett -- and they ended up apologizing to her! Another silent film star Pola Negri had to be nixed because her Polish accent was just too darn thick to understand. And then Norma Shearer rejected it because she found it "distasteful"; and then Greta Garbo declined it all together.  As for the male lead, Montgomery Clift broke his contract two weeks before filming; Fred MacMurray rejected it because he didn't want to be a gigolo; Marlon Brando was considered -- but then the producers thought "he's too much of an unknown"! And MGM wouldn't loan Gene Kelly out! And Wilder wasn't really impressed with William Holden at the time -- so go figure!! And because the film was such a damning portrait of Hollywood, Wilder used the code name "A Can of Beans" while in production -- later, at the preview screening at Paramount, Louis B. Mayer humiliated Wilder (in front of a star-studded crowd) by ranting that the director should be "tarred, feathered and horse-whipped" for bringing such disgrace to the movie industry -- to which Wilder replied (now kids, plug your ears!) a quick "f*** you!" to Mayer! My, my!! Never mind that -- did you know that the "Alto Nido" apartment building (which is still on Ivar Street in Hollywood) that was home to character Joe Gillis was supposedly one of the places that Elizabeth Short (the "Black Dahlia") lived before she was brutally murdered? And that legendary director Cecil B. DeMille did his cameo in the film for $10,000 -- and a brand new Cadillac? And that William Haines (the silent film star-turned-interior decorator) declined a part in the film as one of Norma Desmond's bridge-playing partners? And that Erich von Stroheim (who played the chauffeur/butler) never drove a car in real life? Or that Greta Garbo later regretted allowing her name to be used -- because she was mentioned in a past-tense context? (Remember we talked about "great pride," eh?)  Or that Gloria Swanson stayed in her Norma Desmond character off the screen as well -- talking and acting like the character even at home in front of her daughter and mother during the entire filming? Now, that must have been quite the performance -- if only the cameras were rolling for those scenes! And did you know that the character name "Norma Desmond" is a combination of silent screen actor Norma Talmadge and silent film director Norman Desmond Taylor (who was shot in his Hollywood bungalow in 1922 and his murder was never solved?)  See -- we told you there was layer after layer to this one, kids!!  At the end of the day, Sunset Boulevard did receive Golden Globes for Best Picture; Best Actress (Swanson); Best Director; and Best Score -- plus Best Picture and Best Actress from The National Board of Review -- and it's on numerous lists for best film of all time.  So there ya have it!  We at Studio of Style always tell aspiring writers or actors that if they want to see and hear a great script, to watch Sunset Boulevard -- over and over!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hot Stuff! New Candles...and Video...from John Saint-Denis

HOT STUFF! NEW CANDLES...AND VIDEO...FROM JOHN SAINT-DENIS -- We don't know what's hotter -- the four new candles from L.A.-based design professional John Saint-Denis (lower right photo)...or the video (top photos) that he just launched to promote it!  And yes, we're being a bit naughty showing you a bit of the shower scene.  And yes, he steps out of the shower.  And yes....there's more!'s all actually very nice in the end....because there are four distinct scents to choose from.  First of all, there's "Thermique" (Spa) with its blend of citrus, daisies, musk and marine salt -- for a cleansing spa experience, inspired by the thermal baths of Northern France, where Saint-Denis' family roots began (more about that in a second!). And then there's "La Provence" (Lavender) that truly evokes those lavender fields and the simple, handcrafted soaps from the south of France (our favorite part!) filled with color and sunshine.  Next up is something truly unique "La Cheminée" (Fireplace) which is an amazing recreation of that heady, smoky scent from those immense roaring stone fireplaces found in chateaux in the Loire Valley of France where Saint-Denis studied as a child one summer long ago. And then there's Studio of Style's favorite "L'Eglise" (Frankincense) -- an exotic communion of frankincense, sage and myrrh that conjures up visions of the East and the West -- and not surprisingly inspired by Saint-Denis' service as an altar boy in a French church in New England.  You see how the smells experienced by one's youth are so powerful that they last a lifetime? Saint-Denis brings these wonderful memories to these candles (they burn for 100 hours and are comprised of essential oils and soy wax).  Studio of Style stopped by the Gina Berschneider showroom on La Cienega Boulevard yesterday in Los Angeles to sample these scents -- and you should too when you're in the area!  Saint-Denis brings more than 20 years of experience in the worlds of marketing and consumer goods to his own furniture lines, and now candles. His father is French and his mother is from Italy's Amalfi coast -- so you can imagine the influence his heritage has had in his upbringing -- having lived and studied in Paris, Lyon and Italy -- hence the French names of his candle collection.  The art film (directed by Nino Mancuso and starring Peter Calandra) showcasing these candles is meant to stimulate the senses as much as the candle scents themselves -- which is a combination that we at Studio of Style never tire of -- and we mean never!  So, light up your life with these candles from Saint-Denis and create a movie moment of your own! And who knows, we just might feature your film on Studio of Style too!
Gina Berschneider:
Images courtesy John Saint-Denis / Candle photo by Greg Firlotte

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cinema Style: Design Cues from Dark Shadows! Part I

CINEMA STYLE: DESIGN CUES FROM DARK SHADOWS!  From Gothic to Gothic Revival, Regency, Victorian, Edwardian -- with touches of the Baroque and some 1970s hippie-moving-into glam rock thrown in -- the new Dark Shadows movie is a visual delight every minute of its 113-minute running time!  Set decorator John Bush really brought home an eerie feeling that evokes a timeless atmosphere for Collinwood Manor, the ancestral home of vampire Barnabas Collins (portrayed by Johnny Depp) found on the misty coast of Maine.  This melange of styles is appropriate too, considering the family has continually lived in this mythic manor since 1752 -- and with the film taking place in 1972, the added bonus of a psychedelic/glam rock music poster-strewn room for young Carolyn Stoddard (portrayed by Chloe Grace Moretz) brings a colorful visual relief to the otherwise wonderfully gloomy interiors. So, let's begin to transform your abode into something equally timeless, filled with this and that from a wide range of sources, both highbrow and low (which is really the secret for creating memorable spaces!).  1) A George III knife box is a lovely find from yesteryear -- you can have lots of fun scouring antique stores and auction houses such as Christie's for these decorative but still functional boxes.  2) Well, well -- who'd thought that we'd come up with the (most likely) inspiration for the fabulous ship in a storm painted mural found in the Collinwood dining room? At Studio of Style, we leave no ottoman unturned to bring you -- our stylish reader -- the insider scoop! Russian-born artist Vladimir Bibikov will be most happy to create the "Storm Ravaged Ship" painting, measuring approximately 41" x 28" in those wind-tossed sea colors of greens and blues. 3) Hailing from the '70s, this orange Fire King coffee mug made by Anchor Hocking is almost a close match for the one on the Collinwood dining table! Resale shops, yard sales and Ebay are the places to look for these -- and what fun they add to today's contemporary/retro place setting. 4) True to the period of the film, Mrs. Butterworth's pancake syrup was a big hit in the early '70s, mainly for its shapely bottle -- and its original TV commercials featuring the voice of actor/comedian Cliff Arquette who used a falsetto voice to say "Hello, Mrs. Butterworth here!"  We love old men who impersonate women, don't we??  5) French ormolu candelabra -- like these late 19th century ones by Bardedienne of Paris, found at Christie's -- are still a great way to light up the night! Why not mix several pair in different heights and number of lights for a really unique look?  6) Speaking of a classic look, you needn't go any further than the bistro/cafe Picardie tumblers, such as these which were introduced by Williams-Sonoma more than 40 years ago and have remained popular since.  You can drink anything from them -- hot or cold, day or night! 7) We knew that when we brought these herringbone linen napkins by Anichini to you back in December 2011, that somehow they'd be back in some form on Studio of Style -- and lo and behold, we spied a rolled-up green linen napkin on the Collinwood dining table!  We said that you'd use them for every occasion, now didn't we? Also shown in the photo above: a carved, gold-gilt serving console and a simple, but handsomely proportioned chair rail.  Keep reading below for more.....

Cinema Style: Design Cues from Dark Shadows! Part II

CINEMA STYLE: DESIGN CUES FROM DARK SHADOWS!  When the sun starts to set, the light begins to play tricks with your eyes -- is it blue, is it green, is it cream, white or gray on the walls of Collinwood Manor?  That's why we love the fabulous range of unique paint colors from Farrow & Ball (1), a company that handcrafts their paints in the Dorset countryside of England (about 186 miles south of Liverpool -- where Barnabas Collins and his family set sail from in 1752 to come to Maine!). Luscious "Cook's Blue," "Castle Gray" and "Cornforth White" (shown here) are a great combination to start with in transforming your interiors into something much more interesting, shall we say? And only 194 miles from Liverpool, you'll find the quaint seaside town of Bournemouth where Nancy Beardall, proprietor of 19th Century Tailoring (2) (formerly for Sutlers) has spent the past 12 years researching, replicating, designing and making authentic uniforms and costumes -- and she creates a wide range of striking period clothing, indeed.  You'll note that Johnny Depp's Inverness Cape in the photo above is a bit tattered (after spending all those centuries in a coffin, no doubt!) -- but Beardall will fashion a spiffy Triple Cape Coat (shown here) just for you that will make Barnabas envious of its genuine detailing and materials.  And we've searched high and low for an heirloom quality frame for that mirror or family portrait -- and we voted for the completely hand-carved, burnished silver leaf Borghesi mirror (3) from Phyllis Morris in West Hollywood -- it's massive and it weighs a ton (we like that!) and it can be customized in any way you'd like (goth it up completely!) -- a keeper for generations of vampires and mortals to come! Perfect for showing off while you take that promenade around the manor grounds are the Barnabas Collins onyx ring and alpaca silver cane (4) that will make you feel timeless and ageless. Don't tell anyone (and we know you always keep a secret!), but we at Studio of Style bought a Barnabas Collins ring many years ago -- and it's fun to take out of its box every now and then and slip it on the index finger of our right hand (that's a must!).  Keep reading below....

Cinema Style: Design Cues from Dark Shadows! Part III

CINEMA STYLE: DESIGN CUES FROM DARK SHADOWS!  There's nothing that says "stately manor" more than the rich feel and look of damask fabrics -- and as you can see in this movie still from the new Dark Shadows film, a fabulous settee is upholstered with a wonderful soft satiny Art Nouveau-like damask and a snakelike stretcher beneath which accentuates the settee's back profile.  We like the big bold damasks  from Michael Miller Fabrics (1 & 2) -- particularly "Dandy Damask" in Bloom (left) and "Dainty Damask" (right) in brown and black.  You can also do your walls in a contrasting damask in a completely different colorway -- why not?  Notice how the lighting throughout the sets of Dark Shadows is a mixed bag from different eras -- such as the fringed Victorian lamp (3) with its bronze base and deep rich shade that adds soft, subtle drama to a room.  Antique shops, yard sales and online auctions are where you'll find these gems.  The floors in this great room at Collinwood Manor are paved with custom-cut grey-blue slate tiles (4) which impart more rusticity than marble.  As in any teen household from the '70s -- gothic or otherwise -- you can't stop the young ladies in the manor from reading those Donny Osmond-filled teen magazines from 1972 (5) as you can see by the reading material on the floor -- while the young master of the house, David (portrayed by Gulliver McGrath) plays with his dinosaur toys (6) that were all the rage during the '60s and '70s.  And if you look throughout Collinwood Manor, there are caryatids (7) everywhere -- which is a good thing, because we love them! Caryatids, ornamental brackets, corbels, molding, plant stands, chair rails, wainscoting and wall-mounted candle holders are great ways to imbue interiors with that extra touch to help flesh out otherwise barren wall and ceiling space.
Film still courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Maggie London on Vidal Sassoon: "A True Genius"

MAGGIE LONDON ON VIDAL SASSOON: "A TRUE GENIUS" -- When Studio of Style heard about the passing of the master hairdresser of all time, Vidal Sassoon, we immediately contacted our dear, dear friend -- model Maggie London (above, photographed recently in Los Angeles).  "They don't make men like him anymore," Ms. London said -- and she should know. It was the Swinging Sixties in London town, and the time was ripe for all things bright, fresh and young -- and there was Vidal Sassoon in the midst of the youthquake with his revolutionary take on hair styling -- and along came bright, bubbly model Maggie London who (along with fellow model and friend Grace Coddington) became Sassoon's go-to girl for his truly original geometric cuts! "He was so meticulous," recalls Ms. London, "and I would sit for hours as he created those bobs on me.  It was an amazing time and I had never met such a kind, kind man.  He was a friend to all -- and he was always there for everyone too.  That's what I remember the most about Vidal."  As you can see by the two vintage photos of Ms. London above sporting bold hairdos, Sassoon had an ideal mannequin for his vision -- and long after the Sixties had faded, the two remained close friends right to the very end.  Studio of Style remembers many a conversation with Ms. London that started with "I just had lunch with Vidal today...." or "I just came back from Vidal's house...." -- such was their impenetrable friendship that surpassed trends, fashions and all of life's comings and goings in-between.  Many people recognize Ms. London from the landmark film of all time 2001: A Space Odyssey (see photo at bottom left)  from master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick -- or remember her from dancing the night away with Ringo Starr (photo at bottom right) in that other landmark music flick A Hard Day's Night from 1964.  Did you know that Ms. London is the mother of actress Olivia D'Abo (yes!) and Ben D'Abo from her marriage to Mike D'Abo -- leader singer for the British band Manfred Mann?  So not only does Ms. London have Sassoon adventures, but also stories about Kubrick, The Beatles and other show business names from the '60s, '70s and '80s!  Today's conversation with Ms. London was tinged with sadness at the passing of a true friend -- and also filled with fun, wonderful memories of a life well-lived and touching on so many moments throughout Pop culture history.
Photo of Maggie London (at top) by Greg Firlotte / other photos courtesy Maggie London

Sunday, May 6, 2012

That Fabulously Mad Hatter: Philip Treacy Comes to Town!

THAT FABULOUSLY MAD HATTER: PHILIP TREACY COMES TO TOWN -- Wow!! Where do we begin when the world's most famous milliner Philip Treacy (above, lower right) comes to the West Hollywood showroom of Christopher Guy to put a fantastic cap to that most British of all events to happen each year in L.A. -- BritWeek!!  Last night, hundreds of incredibly stylish types filled Christopher Guy's spanking brand new uber-chic showroom for the BritWeek Design Award Ceremony (see more below) where a panel of judges selected a winner and a runner up.  The award ceremony was followed by the most amazing fashion show of Treacy's hats that had the entire audience oohing and ahhing and craning their necks and weilding their iPhones and cameras as the dazzling parade of hats wound their way through the press of flesh -- and what glamorous flesh it was too!  With Architectural Digest as the lead sponsor, you know that the event was designed to put everyone over the moon -- and it certainly did! Veuve Clicquot champagne flowed all night and sleek, shiny Jaguar automobiles lined the curb in front of the showroom.  More photos below....
All photos by Greg Firlotte

That Fabulously Mad Hatter: Philip Treacy Comes to Town!

THAT FABULOUSLY MAD HATTER: PHILIP TREACY COMES TO TOWN -- Va va voom!!  The sparkling champagne, camera flashes and the sizzling sexy crowd all added to the heady mix of glamour and fashion at the Christopher Guy showroom in West Hollywood where Philip Treacy presented his hats to hundreds of L.A.'s most stylish! Perhaps the most glamorous couple of the evening was super-hot actress Sofia Milos and clothier Jerry Bakhchyan (above, lower left) who turned heads and cameras wherever they went. Shown here, they're obviously enjoying an iPhone moment -- and we'd love to see those pics, for sure!! And how can you top Treacy's Fred Astaire hat, or that glorious crystal bowler???  Love it!!  More photos below....
All photos by Greg Firlotte

That Fabulously Mad Hatter: Philip Treacy Comes to Town!

THAT FABULOUSLY MAD HATTER: PHILIP TREACY COMES TO TOWN! -- We at Studio of Style couldn't go two steps last night at the Christopher Guy showroom without bumping into somebody all decked out in their stylish finery! The man himself -- Christopher Guy Harrison (top left) -- was all smiles and rightfully so, with his brand new showroom on Beverly Boulevard as the venue for milliner Philip Treacy's show of hats. Among the crowd, the ever-sparkling Bobby Trendy (above right) with an admirer. Treacy (above left) stands alongside Karolina Kurek (in a white flowing gown) who was the winner of the second annual Christopher Guy BritWeek Design Award.  Kurek, who is a student at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, will be going to the Singapore offices of Christopher Guy for a one-month internship and will also visit the company's London operations.  Standing next to Kurek in the photo above is the absolutely marvelous interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard -- known for his glamorous designs for global clientele ranging from rock stars to royalty (love that velvet jacket, Martyn!!). And representing event sponsor Architectural Digest was Ruth Casey Tooker (above lower left) in polka dots (love it!), flanked by (from left) her husband Steve Tooker and Bill and Joan Vogel -- all sipping Veuve Clicquot of course! As L.A. marketing executive Susan Ducey commented, "It's all fantabulous!" -- and everyone agreed!
All photos by Greg Firlotte

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mrs. Peel....We're Needed! The Avengers TV Show

MRS. PEEL...WE'RE NEEDED! THE AVENGERS TV SHOW -- When suave, debonair (and always the gentleman!) John Steed -- portrayed by British actor Patrick Macnee -- called out that timeless appeal: "Mrs. Peel...we're needed" to his fellow crime fighter, the ever-lovely Mrs. Emma Peel -- portrayed by fellow Brit Diana Rigg -- we knew that all of us in TV land were in for a rollicking good time through merry ol' England!  From 1961 to 1969, millions of devotees of crime and British style (yes!) were glued to their TV sets (that what they used to be called!) for The Avengers, the longest continuously-running espionage show that mixed science fiction, fantasy, surrealism and lots of eccentric British charm from days of yore into a show that has never had an equal since. Macnee provided the perfect anchor with his dashing character -- with three lovely ladies (Honor Blackman, Rigg, and Linda Thorson, in succession) who were tough and beautiful in equal measure. And he was always perfectly tailored from head to toe in his Saville Row suits, bowler hat and that British necessity, the umbrella (which served many purposes, of course!). Did you know that The Avengers was the first British series to be aired during prime time on U.S. television -- for a groundbreaking $2 million for 26 episodes?  Yes, indeed, kids!  That's how popular it was back then.  When Rigg jumped aboard in October 1965 (replacing Blackman), she was an instant hit with the fans -- and who could resist her?  Rigg and Macnee were the perfect TV partners, bringing a rare chemistry to their roles that made the TV screen almost too hot to touch!  Swingin' London was in high gear in the mid-sixties -- and Rigg's mod, mod world outfits exemplified the era perfectly. Along with Rigg in 1965 came the show's new theme song written by Laurie Johnson, which has become one of the most recognized (and beloved) theme songs of all time -- every time we at Studio of Style hear it, we want to pop a bottle of bubbly and go in search of action and adventure! Today, Macnee is a youthful 90 years old and lives in the warm glow of the Southern California desert.  As for now-74-year-old Rigg, in 1994 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her long contributions to theater and film.  Together, Macnee and Rigg have made an unforgettable contribution to the happiness of millions for their many theatrical and film roles -- and for their unforgettable style!  John Steed and Mrs.'re always needed at Studio of Style!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Peace, Love, Posters and Peter Max!

PEACE, LOVE, POSTERS AND PETER MAX!  To today's generation, Pop artist Peter Max is probably best known for his vibrant depictions of the Statue of Liberty, the American flag, hearts, sports figures, flowers and angels -- but to another generation, he was the artist that brought psychedelic colors and imagery to the mainstream in the late 1960s, filling college dorms and hippie shops (or head shops, as they were called) with fabulous posters that galvanized the youth movement around the themes of love, peace and the environment in a way that had never been done before!  The poster medium was at its height during those days, being a common visual denominator for every social issue, allowing for the easy dispersal of whatever message needed saying.  Poster shops were everywhere -- offering vinyl records, beads, incense, fashion paraphernalia and such -- and Peter Max was the king of poster artists (the main purpose of posters, for many, was for something to stare at while you indulged in some recreational substances -- not that we ever did any! -- or to meditate upon as you burned sandalwood incense and listened to Ravi Shankar's hypnotic music!). Max's amazing color sense, his love of Asian art, Buddhist philosophy and astronomy (i.e. anything cosmic!) all came together at the right time -- and as the sixties gave way to the seventies, Max was in the perfect position to become the darling of the media. His work was suddenly everywhere! From 7-Up television commercials to his appearance on the cover of Life magazine (yes!) to the 1970 exhibition "The World of Peter Max" at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco (an appropriate city for his work -- the birthplace of the psychedelic culture!). By 1974, Max became even more popular with the issue of a ten-cent postage stamp that commemorated Expo '74 -- the first World's Fair with an environmental theme.  As with all artists, Max's style changed and morphed to encompass many other subjects and the all-mighty poster was eventually replaced with other forms of media, plus product merchandising with licensing from at least 72 corporations at one time -- making Max one of the most successful American Pop artists of all time.  He still makes appearances (check his website for those) and his love for the environment as well as human and animal rights has never wavered over the decades.  And so now we savor those '60s moments all the more in their psychedelic glory. And, of course, we at Studio of Style have never given up on peace and love as the best solutions for the world's ills and ailments. And we've always believed in color therapy -- starting with the colorful work of Peter Max to always make us feel fabulous!
Images copyright and courtesy of Peter Max
Groovy collage of Peter Max artwork by Greg Firlotte