Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Have you seen the Macbeth's lately?

They are quite changed.

Savoir Faire is always enamoured with modern day interpretations of the classics. Whether the adaptation is in the form of a movie, play, opera or any other form of visual art, I am always excited to see what people have come up with.

Even before Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet producers were putting there own spin on things. From epic costume dramas to minimalistic shows, we have been served a visual feast of the Bard from Stratford’s plays.

The plays of Shakespeare are no exception. I would imagine that ever since they were first performed, producers, actors and actresses had their own ideas of how they should be portrayed. Macbeth has been one of the most performed and now ranks as one of the most recognised, which makes it an ideal candidate for new adaptation.

Here are a few examples of the modern day Macbeth’s. In my opinion they haven’t looked so good. One can not away from the violence and malevolent undertones in the play and these modern day adaptations have capitalised on this perfectly, with just the right notes of seduction.

Just wondering what the man himself would have thought of these?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meaty Savoir Faire!

All my life the local butcher’s was practically the centrepiece of the shopping centre of any Australian town. My small town of 1500 people where I grew up had 2. They always had people in them and it wasn’t only a place to buy your meat, but somewhere to catch up on the local gossip and in my case as a child we used to bundle up newspapers and sell to the butcher, for them to wrap the customer’s purchase in. With the advent of the modern day supermarket these are rapidly closing not only in Australia but across the world. I was disappointed when arriving in Toronto after moving from Australia, that the stand alone butcher shop is practically non existent.

However the butcher’s of my childhood was nothing like Victor Churchill Butchers Sydney. This is high end, the best quality and of the most fabulous design. You could be forgiven that when walking into the place, that you were entering into anything else except a butcher. More like a ritzy gallery with the meat on display like works of art, this gets all the senses moving.

Window shopping at a butcher's might seem a little strange, but be prepared to stop and drool over all manner of meats. Not only will you be looking at the meat, but the store itself. The owners engaged Sydney-based Dreamtime Australia Design who’s many restaurant, bar and resort projects around the world combine traditional and modern elements in a deliciously layered and multi-textured way.

Gone are the traditional refrigerated cabinets and parsley dressed meats, replaced with a store infused with European style and modern, cutting-edge design elements. Rich timber wall paneling, timber beamed ceiling and Italian Calcutta marble stone floor, and Himalayan salt brick walls create the new interior of shop. Meat is interspersed with other objects such as those found in a clothing boutique or wine store to create a tableau that is constantly changing. Behind a glass wall on real wooden butcher blocks, the butchers cleave their way through the best cuts of meat, creating a performance show of sorts

So if you are in the mood for a piece of prime rib…….

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Perfect Dinner Companion

I can’t remember who once said “that the perfect dinner companion is a good waiter” and I have to agree sometimes, so here are a few to help you enjoy that perfect dinner!

These waiters come courtesy of Palace and Grand Hotel’s in St Moritz!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Good Sensible Savoir Faire!

Savoir Faire is just loving these classic easy to wear pieces by design house Daniel Hechter. The combination of colours with the slate grey and the pops of fuchsia are just wonderful, and create just the right amount of impact. Good quality at a sensible price, you can’t go wrong, and for me they are just perfect for the office!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Savoir Faire en pointe

In the world of ballet especially in the formative years at the beginning of the 20th century, all male dancers were judged against one man alone. No one matched him for his virtuosity and the depth and intensity of his characterizations. His ability to perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and his seemingly gravity-defying leaps were legendary. No one matched him and it seemed that no one ever could. Inexplicably linked with Sergei Diaghilev together they set the ballet world on fire.

Vaslav Nijinsky was clearly extraordinary for his time. What made him extraordinary was most probably his charisma and skill in mime, as the feats with which he astonished his contemporaries are now second nature to any male dancer. In epicene roles such as the god in Le Dieu Bleu, or the favourite slave in Scheherezade he was unsurpassed.

Born in 1900 in Kiev he joined the Imperial Ballet School where he studied under Enrico Cecchetti, Nikolai Legat, and Pavel Gerdt. The company's Prima ballerina assoluta Mathilde Kschessinska (Mistress to Tsar Nichols II) selected Nijinsky to dance in a revival of Marius Petipa's Le Talisman, during which Nijinsky created a sensation in the role of the Wind God Vayou.

Even this early in his career Nijinsky had the charisma and also savoir faire to do things entirely how he wanted to do them. His partnership with Tamara Karsavina, of the Mariinsky Theatre, was legendary, and they have been called the "most exemplary artists of the time".

A turning point for Nijinsky was his meeting Sergei Diaghilev, Nijinsky and Diaghilev became lovers for a time, and Diaghilev was heavily involved in directing and managing Nijinsky's career. Diaghilev created his famous company the Ballets Russes with choreographer Michel Fokine and designer Léon Bakst. The Paris seasons of the Ballets Russes were an artistic and social sensation; setting trends in art, dance, music and fashion for the next decade.

During a performance of Giselle at the Mariinsky Theatre, he was dismissed for appearing on-stage during a performance as Albrecht wearing tights without the modesty trunks obligatory for male dancers in the company. The Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna complained that his appearance was obscene, and he was dismissed. It is probable that the scandal was arranged by Diaghilev in order that Nijinsky could be free to appear with his company, in the West.
Nijinsky took the creative reins and choreographed ballets, which slew boundaries and stirred controversy. His ballets were L'après-midi d'un faune based on Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune), Jeux, and Till Eulenspiegel .

As the title character in L'après-midi d'un faune during the final tableau he mimed masturbation with the scarf of a nymph, and caused a scandal. This was probably his best remembered role and has been copied widely since.

In The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps), with music by Stravinsky, Nijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety. For the first time, his audiences were experiencing the futuristic, new direction of modern dance. Unfortunately, Nijinsky's new trends in dance caused a riotous reaction when they premiered in Paris.
During a 1913 Ballets Russes tour of South America and free from Diaghilev’s supervision, Nijinsky married Romola de Pulszky in Buenos Aires. When the company returned to Europe Diaghilev is reported to have flown into a rage, culminating in Nijinsky's dismissal.

During World War I, Nijinsky was interned in Hungary. Diaghilev succeeded in getting him out for a North American tour in 1916. During this time, Nijinsky choreographed and danced the leading role in Till Eulenspiegel. However, it was around this time in his life that signs of his schizophrenia were becoming apparent to members of the company. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1919, and his career effectively ended. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and taken to Switzerland by his wife He spent the rest of his life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and asylums. Nijinsky died in a clinic in London on April 8, 1950.

No film exists of Nijinsky dancing. Diaghilev never allowed the Ballets Russes to be filmed. He felt that the quality of film at the time could never capture the artistry of his dancers and that the reputation of the company would suffer if people saw it only in short jerky films.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grumpy Savoir Faire in St Moritz.

Since it is practically winter up here in Canada, thoughts are racing towards how much snow we will get and just the inconvenience of it all. Personally I do like all seasons and the snow is still a bit of a novelty to me since moving up here.

Poor old Brigitte Bardot and Gunter Sachs do not appear to be enjoying the delights of the winter playground of the jet set, St. Moritz. A playboy in his early years, Sachs was married to Brigitte Bardot from 1966–1969.

Maybe this photo was taken towards the end of the marriage as they are not happy campers. Or maybe Brigitte is realizing that some cute furry animal has died to make the trim on her parker?

Who knows? Whatever the reason for their grumpiness, they are still doing it with Savoir Faire!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up in the Air with Savoir Faire

There is another side to Savoir Faire which a lot of you do not know. I am a confirmed aviation buff. From looking at my blog one wouldn’t even consider that aviation was something I would be interested in, however I am. I look forward to all commercial aviation announcements whether they be airplane or airline related.

While the below proposal might seem far-fetched, it is one of a number of plans being considered by engineers at Airbus, the European aerospace giant.

Airbus wants to build a passenger plane with a completely transparent fuselage. At the push of a button the captain would a send an electrical pulse through a hi-tech ceramic skin making the main body of the plane see-through.

The extraordinary design would allow travellers to look down on cities and landscapes thousands of feet below or gaze up at the heavens, giving them the sensation of floating unassisted through the sky.

"Passengers in an airplane like this would experience flight in a completely new way," Airbus' head of research and technology, Axel Krein, told Der Spiegel. So if you have a fear of flying I don’t think that this would be the plane for you.

Funny thing is Airbus have not given us any drawings of what this might be like.

Other developments envisaged by Mr Krein's team include an aircraft skin that can repair itself in the event of cracks or breaches and streamline engines that are embedded in the plane's fuselage rather than attached to its wings.

The company claims nano-materials could also be used to enable seats to be 'self-cleaning'. 'In the future each passenger will feel he or she is sitting on a brand new airplane about to take off on its maiden flight’ Now that would be a bonus, maybe we should have the same technology for all public seating.
The report also suggests that 'morphing' seats will be able to adjust to the shape of the passenger for a snug fit and that holographic projections could be used in the cabin to create virtual decors. “So imagine, if you will, stepping in to your pre-selected themed cabin, relaxing into a perfectly clean, ecologically grown seat that changes shape to suit you and looking up through the transparent ceiling at the Milky Way in all its glory,” at an altitude of more than 32,000 feet, the company writes.

"We told our engineers to give their imaginations free rein. What emerged were completely realistic visions of flight in the year 2050," Mr Krein said.

"Our people are grounded in reality, after all. And most of the necessary technology already exists." Maybe all this is just up in the air we will just have to wait another 40 years or so to see!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Bettinas

Initially when starting this post I thought that there was only one Bettina, and was becoming frustrated as I was not getting the information that I was hoping for. I was only aware that Bettina was a top model in Paris in the 1950’s and one of the muses of Jacques Fath. I was a little puzzled when I cam across this quote from Bettina Ballard who dismissed Fath as "a good-looking child prodigy…with slightly theatrical fashion ideas not worthy of the hallowed pages of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar.” I thought “how can this be”. Here is a model who largely owes her fame to Fath and she said that about him! As I delved further I discovered there were two Bettina’s. Bettina Ballard and Bettina Graziani.

BallardBettina Ballard was the American editor of Vogue and really the Anna Wintour of her day. Her lasting legacy was her book “In My Fashion” being her memoirs of life in the fashion world. After working for the fashion bible in New York, Bettina became a Voguette in Paris during the years between the wars before returning to New York. The glamorous tale includes anecdotes about a cast of characters including Chanel, Schiaparelli, Christian Berard, Babe Paley. And sorry people that was about it. Not having read the book I really cannot find much else about her.

However there are lots of photos as there should be. From what I see, she was no great beauty, however she had presence. Extremely elegant she always seems dressed to perfection. She looks to be a force to reckoned with and I don’t think I would like to get on her bad side.

She was definitely ahead her game after viewing Christian Dior’s New Look collection in 1947, when she was quoted as saying ‘I was conscious of an electric tension I had never before felt in couture...We were witnesses to a revolution in fashion’.

Born in Laval, France, she was given the name Bettina by the designer Pierre Balmain. She was a favourite of Balmain, Lucien Lelong, Jacques Fath, and Christian Dior, but most importantly with Givenchy, for whom she worked as a model and press agent. Hubert de Givenchy named his first collection, which debuted in 1952, after her; one of its designs, the Byronesque "Bettina" blouse, became a fashion icon in the early 1950s.

She was then married shortly to Gilbert "Benno" Graziani, a French photographer and reporter. Later she was the fiancée of Prince Aly Khan, She retired from modeling in 1955, after meeting Aly Khan. In 1960, Bettina, then pregnant with their child, survived the car accident that took the life of the prince; the shock of the accident would later result in a miscarriage. After Aly Khan's death, Bettina wrote her memoir, Bettina par Bettina .

Still active today, she is regularly seen at all the shows in Paris and friends with all.

As to Bettina Ballard, I have no idea!

I am sure that the two would have crossed paths in the course of their respective careers, and I wonder what they thought of each other?
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