Thursday, August 20, 2009

Celebrate with Savoir Faire!

In celebration of the 100th post on Savoir Faire I have decided to celebrate with some champagne!

Of course we can raise a glass of champagne, however here are few different champagne like ways we can celebrate.

First we can douse ourselves in Caron’s Royal Bain de Caron. Originally launched in the early 20’s as Royal Bain de Champagne, the story goes that it was created for a Californian millionaire who ordered it so that it could be used as a substitute for the real champagne that he liked to pour in his bath. This order which could have been motivated by the excessive strictures of Prohibition is so Gatsbyesque that it reeks of savoir faire. So, if you would like to relive a Fitzgeraldean moment, pour some in your bath! One source mentions that William Randolph Hearst is the millionaire in question and that it was meant to be used by "his wife" whatever that might mean concretely (Millicent Hearst or Marion Davies?).

With the legal battle over YSL’s Champagne in 1993 Caron changed the name to Royal Bain de Caron, however it is still contained in the original Champagne like bottle.

Those damn champagne lobbyists take the fun out of everything!!

If you want to indulge and celebrate in another way this Lollipop is the ultimate extravagance, for those who have everything. It is made by hand with genuine 24 carat Californian gold flakes and flavoured with…. You guessed it! Champagne!

Then you could also listen to Sailor’s “A Glass of Champagne”. This is a real throwback to the seventies, and I just love it. With a bit of a stretch of the imagination I think that the piano in this was supposed to mimic champagne bubbles.

Feeling creative?? The Champagne Chair Contest run by Design Within Reach in Washington DC is an annual event to make the best miniature chair using only the foil, label, cage and cork from no more than two Champagne bottles. Displayed in little plexiglass cubes, the champagne chairs display some pretty impressive craftsmanship.

And for the ultimate champagne glass the Hoffman Series B champagne glass by Josef Hoffmann was first produced in 1912. The cup features clear mouth blown mat crystal with hand painted enamel. I can think of nothing better to drink my celebratory champagne out of, and of course I will raise my glass to all my devoted followers!

Savoir Faire Quote of the Day

" Fashion is what you adopt when you dont know who you are"

so said Quentin Crisp who knew exactly who he was.

Savoir Faire with Jacques Doucet

Earlier on I did a post on that wonderful arbiter of savoir faire, Paul Poiret, however where would Poiret be without Jacques Doucet. Doucet was practically a mentor to a young Poiret, and influenced him for the rest of his life, from his design aesthetic to what art he should purchase. Poiret had done ‘time’ with Doucet and remained a lifelong friend even after opening on his own.

Born in 1853, he was renowned for his elegant dresses of diaphanous, translucent materials in superimposing pastel colours. An enthusiastic collector of eighteenth-century furniture, objets d'art, paintings and sculptures, many of his gowns were strongly influenced by this opulent era. A designer of taste and discrimination, Doucet valued dignity and luxury above novelty and practicality and therefore gradually went out of popularity during the 1920s. By far his most original designs were those he created for actresses of the time. Cecile Sorel, Rejane and Sarah Bernhardt. All often wore his outfits, both on and off the stage.

A passionate collector of art and literature throughout his life, by the time of his death he had a magnificent collection of Post-Impressionist and Cubist paintings (including "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", which he bought direct from Picasso's studio, which Poiret subsequently bought and hung in his bedroom), as well as two libraries of manuscripts by contemporary writers. It could be said that Doucet was a catalyst for the beginning of the Art Deco period, when he decided to sell all of his classical collection of furniture through a huge auction sale that took place in 1912. This event was as large and as important as the recent Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Berge sale that took place in February 2009.

Legrain Lamp owned by Doucet.
Dubrujeaud Comode also owned by Doucet

He was one of the first to promote the new “art deco” style emerging in Paris after World War 1, and his new studio apartment was furnished by some of the best designers of the period. For example the doors leading into the main salon were Lalique! How fabulous is that?

Although in the 1920s he was aging and his couture house merged with another lesser firm, and eventually closed, he never lost touch with foreseeing the needs of the French luxury goods market.
While little-remembered today, in his time he was equaled to the likes of Charles Worth and Jeanne Paquin and even now is remembered by fashion historians as one of the great old masters of fashion design.
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