Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Savoir Faire 2001

Since it is the 40th anniversary of man’s landing on the moon, it is apt that a mention of it is made on Savoir Faire. Before man had actually landed on the moon Stanley Kubrick had built a whole community on the moon, in “2001 A Space Odyssey”. Instead of the International Space Station we had a Hilton Hotel, serviced regularly by Pan Am rocket, and video phones were a part of everyday life. The most surprising part of all this is, that Kubrick had hired the Queen’s dressmaker Hardy Amies to dress us all in this groundbreaking science fiction movie.

An odd choice and many wondered whether Hardy was up to it, but design he did and the costumes are wonderful! Sir Hardy shook up his traditional image when he created the futuristic costumes which today are instantly recognisable. When costuming the movie there were several challenges involved. One scene had direct political undertones as this was the height of the cold war. When the American’s meet the Russians in the lobby of the Hilton Space Station, Amies made the Russians wardrobe appear as drab and shapeless as possible (which must have killed him) to comment on the social aspects of communism in Eastern Europe in the late 60’s.

Amies’ costumes blend in perfectly with the set decoration of the movie to create an overall concept of what we could expect of the future. Who can forget Kier Dullea in that wonderful spacesuit that has so much more panache and style than the current versions by NASA?

Pan Am’s hostesses in those wonderful almost cat like suits that were not only designed for practicality and comfort but looked good as well.

So to celebrate our landing on the moon and Sir Hardy’s birthday last week, we salute you Mr. Amies, for stepping out of your comfort zone with some savoir faire.

* Suggested reading Sir Hardy’s autobiography “Still Here”.

Breakfast Savoir Faire

Ok, I admit it! I am a creature of habit, and there are some things I do everyday, and having breakfast is one of them. Nutritionalists tell us it is the most important meal of the day and I am up there with them on that.

So what china do I eat my breakfast off? Villeroy and Boch’s Acapulco! This is definitely a breakfast service. I wouldn’t serve dinner on it as I think food would get lost in the patterned dinner plate, but for breakfast it is perfect.

The Acapulco pattern was inspired by colourful Mexican styled prints, with the birds and flowers originally used (to great success) by the company in 1977. This was so indicative of the 70’s and I think would have been quite at home even in the 1960’s. I love the bright colours and the stylised plant and bird motifs used, and they are a great start to any day. The overall shape is one of paired down simplicity, which allows bowls and cups to be stacked on top of each other as cylinders, saving on storage place in your cupboards.

Of course with changing times and tastes the pattern fell out of favour and Villeroy and Boch re issued it in the early 90’s with the colours somewhat muted which was not a success. They have since changed the shape completely and enlarged the patterns. My only comment on this is “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it”

So start eating breakfast and do it with some savoir faire on your favourite china!
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