Thursday, August 13, 2009

Savoir Faire Italian Style

It's impossible to think of people with savoir faire without giving mention to Marella Agnelli, Tall and lithe, with classical features, Agnelli was one of the BP's (beautiful people) often found in Diana Vreeland's aristo-chic Vogue. Admitted to the International Best Dressed List in 1963, she eventually became a Hall of Fame member.

.In 1953, Richard Avedon shot and hand-altered a famous portrait of the half-American, half-Neopolitan princess to emphasize the extraordinary length of what renowned fashion illustrator Joe Eula called "the most gorgeous neck in the world." She was also a member of writer Truman Capote's elite colony of society "swans." Comparing Agnelli to that other rare bird, Babe Paley, he said with characteristic tartness, "If they were both in Tiffany's window, Marella would be more expensive."

Wagon Lits Faire

The weekend is nearly upon us and alas I am staying put here in Toronto. Now if I was going somewhere, in Europe I could think of no other way than to go overnight by train in a Wagon Lits carriage. Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (International Sleeping-Car Company) was the only way to travel last century especially between the wars. In Europe, the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits first focused on sleeping cars, but later operated whole trains, including the Simplon-Orient Express, Nord Express, Train Bleu, Golden Arrow, Sud Express and expanded to markets outside of Europe with involvement in the Transsibérien across Russia. Trains criss-crossed Europe, not only carrying the idle rich, but more down to earth travelers and have inspired countless authors such as Agatha Christie and Graham Greene.

Of course advertising for these trains and Wagon Lits was of an exceptionally high standard employing the best graphic artists such as Cassandre to entice the travelling public. Through this we have some of the most iconic images of the twentieth century. This is advertising at its best conveying in single images the speed and savoir faire of the various trains involved.

There is something exciting about travelling overnight by train cocooned in your own special compartment. Of course standards have changed in this modern day era; however we can still travel by sleeper on many trains throughout the world, especially in Europe.

If we hanker after the days of old, there are a many trains de-luxe throughout the world that will re-kindle feeling and savoir faire of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express”!
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