Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lacqured Savoir Faire

Who could pass up these wonderful lacquered panels from that Art Deco lacquer master Jean Dunand? Master artist, decorator and craftsman, responsible for some of the major rooms on the Normandie, I will let these speak for themselves!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ancient Savoir Faire

The ancients sure knew how to adorn themselves with savoir faire. There is something also to be said for less is more. All these are deceptively simple but boy do they create an impact!

Greek Necklace
Cypriot Necklace

Egyptian Necklace and Earings

Persian Ring

Greek Bracelets

Monday, June 21, 2010

Around the World with Savoir Faire

Remember when around the world trips were practically de rigeur for anyone in the know? Whether by train, plane or ship, one travelled in style without the hustle and bustle and the general blah of travel these days.

Airlines, hotels and shipping companies would take your luggage and paste or attach a brightly coloured label on to it signifying where your luggage was going or where it had been. Nowadays we get a computer generated tag with a bar code which looks just as exciting as a receipt from a supermarket.

Hotel labels remained on a suitcase as a testament to where we had been, much to the envy of our friends. Years later vintage luggage would turn up at a variety of flea Markets and second hand stores plastered with labels and one could only wonder of the travels the original owners had had.

Labels were mini artworks created to convey the exotic and the luxury of travel. One was proud of the assortment and variety of labels on ones luggage. So bring back the label, so that even if we are not somewhere exotic, we can look at our luggage and plan our next trip.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jet-Set Savoir Faire

For the perfect weekend away in the jet-setting 60’s nothing could have been more perfect than spending the weekend by the pool at the Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut. The pool was said to have the best displays of bikinis in the Mediterranean in the 1960’s.

Although not the same style of today’s modern hotels and resorts, the Phoenicia was the place to be and to be seen. Designed by American architect Edward Durell Stone with Middle Eastern Influences especially on the façade of the hotel, this was a 600 room oasis for the rich and famous.

I love the pure architectural symmetry of the modernist architecture which is reflected in the colonnade which ran along the pool deck. The marble used is pure white and immediately looks cool and inviting. This was a modernist masterpiece! Unfortunately due to the civil war and the subsequent refurbishment of the hotel this area is virtually unrecognisable.

I am going to sit back, and remember the jet-set with a gin this weekend, and hopefully run into an Onassis or two.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Step Out With Savoir Faire

Before there was Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and Louboutin there was Charles Jourdan! The iconic shoe maker of the 70’s and 80’s has supposedly made a comeback; however I can find very little information on this, not even a company website!

I remember back in my formative teenage years and early adulthood that every girl I knew lusted after a pair of Charles Jourdan shoes or Sergio Rossi’s. They were always cutting edge, with heels so wonderfully high and sometimes bizarre, so that you wondered how women could walk in the things, however walk they did. Somehow you could always pick a pair of Jourdan’s. Also the thing that I liked most was that they had a male line as well. Although not as fashion forward as the female line, the men’s shoes were superb!

Designing since the 1920’s the company became known for design and fabulous workmanship, creating shoes for Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin. The height of his fame was in the late seventies with ad campaigns created by the likes of Guy Bourdin that emphasised a rather racy image that was in perfect keeping with the times and Jourdan’s clientele.

Unfortunately after the death of Charles Jourdan in 1976, and subsequent leadership by his sons, and numerous investment bankers, the company declined, filing for bankruptcy in 2002. Roger Vivier seems to have made a successful comeback, so will Charles Jourdan be able too as well? So Savoir Faires, has there been a revival????

The shoes below are supposedly from the new collection. They still retain the Jourdan trademarks of colour and design, and are perfect!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Presidential Savoir Faire!

Considering that Australia was considered somewhat of a backwater in the late 1960’s early 1970’s the country certainly had its fair share of controversy in the fashion world at the time. First we had Jean Shrimpton at the Melbourne Cup wearing a dress deemed insulting to the establishment, and then we had Sonia McMahon wife of then Prime Minister William McMahon wearing “that dress” at a White House dinner hosted by Richard Nixon.

Sonia McMahon was the stylish much younger wife of William McMahon, prime Minister of Australia from 1971 -1972 and also mother of the actor Julian McMahon. Being much younger than her husband she was sure to raise a few eyebrows wherever she went. However eyebrows nearly flew off people’s faces when she attended a dinner at the White House hosted by then President Richard Nixon in honour of her husband in 1971.

The daring dress created by Melbourne designer Victoria Cascajo, was made from synthetic crepe, and had thigh high slits down both sides and with see through slits down the sides of the bodice and sleeves, held precariously together by bands of rhinestones about 2 cms apart. The dress created headlines around the world.

Mrs. McMahon never expected the dress to be so controversial and selected it to wear purely because it was “different”.

She said: “You had to wear so many long frocks to dinners all the time in those days, just one after the other, in all sorts of countries. And I was just sick of the normal frilly, frothy things”.

The Washington Post said the dress was one of the most talked about costumes to be worn to the White House. The fashion editor of paper at the time described it as "absolutely smashing. I think the dress is a breakthrough for fashion and a blow for women's liberation."

*Above Powerhouse Museum Sydney
Again like Jean Shrimpton the dress seems incredibly conservative by today’s standards however it pushed the boundaries on what was considered “decent” at the time! Both women dressed for comfort and ease. Unfortunately dressing for comfort and ease these days, entails all sorts of fashion travesties, which I am afraid just don’t cut it. Jean and Sonia appear elegant and polished, compared to today’s unkempt looks and the profusion of black tights which get teemed with everything. You can still show some skin and have lots of savoir faire!
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