Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deep Glamour - Interview With An International Man of Mystery

Manolo - International Man of Mystery - Gentleman, Cultural Critic and Taste Maker

Deep Glamour has an excellent interview with one of my favorite fashion and all around bloggers - Manolo of Manolo's Shoe Blog.
Here's what he has to say on creating mystery and glamour
DG: Glamour requires mystery, something you know a lot about. Short of creating an anonymous persona, what do you advise people who want to maintain some mystery and glamour?
Manolo: The Manolo is convinced that it is almost impossible to make yourself glamorous, especially since you have no way of judging if you've succeeded short of being feted by the President at the Kennedy Center. After all, if you wake up one morning and say to your self, "Huzzah, I have achieved glamorousness!" you may be certain that you have not, and that are you are surely and unattractively self-deluded.
If you feel the need to talk, as the Manolo frequently does, keep your conversations glittering and light and witty. Avoid telling everyone about your difficult childhood, your terrible divorce, or the details of your recent colonoscopy.
However, it is always and forever the good idea to surround yourself with the little bit of mystery, and the easiest way to do this is by shutting your mouth. Strong silent men and mysterious women who say little will always be objects of desire and admiration. It is not necessary in ordinary conversation to reveal every detail of your life, so do not. If you feel the need to talk, as the Manolo frequently does, keep your conversations glittering and light and witty. Avoid telling everyone about your difficult childhood, your terrible divorce, or the details of your recent colonoscopy.
As for the glamour part, nothing we mortals can do will ever get us closer to glamorous than putting on formal wear for the evening-time event. If, like the Manolo, you are not possessed of physical beauty and great wealth or fame, dressing up in the tuxedo and going out for the fancy dinner and dance is perhaps the best simulacrum of glamour that can be achieved.
Otherwise, you should dress stylishly, wear excellent shoes, be confident and cheery, and treat others with courtesy and kindness. That may not be glamorous, but it is the Manolo's definition of super fantastic.
Here's a little more from Manolo
9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't

Madonna, George Clooney, Scarlett Johannsen, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl, and 99.97% of the people who are commonly considered glamorous, to include almost anyone seen in the most recent issues of Us and People magazines. Also, by definition, any person who appears in the regular network television series cannot be glamorous.

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized

George Washington. Tall, handsome, wealthy, mysterious, and possessed of real charisma. This is the test of true glamour: If your countrymen wish to make you king, you are probably glamorous. If you then refuse to be made king, you are indisputably glamorous.
As Glenn would say...indeed.
And if you are looking for some of the most amusing writing on the web visit the Manolo Empire and don't miss Manolo's Food Blog which is excellent.
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Around Town- The Kazanjian Red Diamond Event

Ian Balfour's Famous Diamonds - aka The Bible of Rare Diamonds

The Kazanjian Red Diamond - A 5.05 Carat Assscher Cut
Last week The Kazanjian Foundation hosted an exclusive private showing of the Kazanjian Red Diamond which is considered to be the finest red diamond in the world. The event was held at the perfect venue, the gemological wing of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.
Not only was the diamond spectacular to view, the history of the gemstone was fascinating to learn.
-Discovered in 1927 in South Africa
-Considered to be one of the rarest Diamonds in the world, of which Red is the rarest color
-Owned by the Oppenheimer and Asscher Families
-Represented by Tiffany in the 1930s
-Plundered by the Nazis during World War II
-Recovered in a salt mine near Berteschgaden by a U.S. Army General who mistook it for a ruby
-Rediscovered in 2007 by The Kazanjian Family
Ian Balfour, the world's diamond authority, has written in the latest edition of his book Famous Diamonds, an excellent history of the rare stone which will be on display at the museum from now until the end of the year.

Also on display at the event was the Kazanjian Foundation Collection of Celebrity Jewels and the Couture Jewelry Collection by Patrick Mauboussin.
And yes, elegant guests (some in beautiful Beladora estate jewelry), great food by Crustacean Beverly Hills, and lovely music by the Southeast Symphony...what can I say...the party rocked!
Oh, and in case you are looking for that special gift for this holiday season...the Kazanjian Red isn't for sale.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's In A Name?

One of a Wisdom of Wombats

There are so many ways to enjoy the richness of the English language in prose poetry and lyrics. I'd like to add zoological terminology to that list.

Just take animal group names.
A Kindle of Kittens
A Battery of Barracudas
A Flutter of Butterflies
A Crash of Rhinos
A Shrewdness of Apes
A Charm of Hummingbirds
A Bloat of Hippopotamuses
A Wisdom of Wombats
An Exaltation of Larks
An Obstinacy of Buffaloes

So, to add to your resources for completely trivial but interesting facts, here is the link to the list of Animal Collective Nouns.

Now to add to this list a lovely term that I found in the Durrell book
A Bewilderment of Women

Charming isn't it?
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Going For The Gunn

OK...the truth is out. I don't spend all my time going to the opera and reading 1000 page books.
Actually, when I have the time I love to watch fashion and style programs on TV, and my favorite is Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on Bravo.

While I enjoy watching Project Runway, I find the editing which emphasizes the snarky attitudes of the designers tiresome. The tone of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style is something completely different. It is respectful. Imagine that!

Each participant, regardless of her shape or personal style is treated with the utmost respect. Gunn and his fashion sidekick, Gretta Monahan, gently guide each 'client' to choosing the silhouette and color scheme that will be the most flattering to her unique figure and professional requirements. Some may find his famous list of fashion essentials constrictive, but I think that each item is appropriate for the modern urban woman.
While popular culture as represented by entertainment television has degraded to trash talking actual celebrities and wanna be know those disgusting Housewives of OC, New York and Atlanta, the talentless idiots on The Hills, and virtually everyone on MTV, Tim Gunn's respectful manner and erudite elocution are breath of fresh air.

Here is the link to Tim Gunn's book: Tim Gunn: a Guide to Quality, Taste and Style and a link to his interview with Time Out New York.

Carry On.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Savvy Shopping - Some Spring Bling to Forget Fall

While young Miss De Ville is languishing in the cold climes of Colorado where it is 28 degrees (but not yet snowing!), the rest of the De Ville clan is enjoying the lovely spring like weather in and about Beverly Hills. But, seeing that it is almost November, we can't keep dressing like its spite of our 80+ degree weather.
So here's a nice transitional look that fits this in between season.
This nicely tailored but rather serious Craig Muller suit from would be perfect with something a little whimsical like a little spring bling from on the lapel.

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Passamenterie - En Passant

Les Puces Butterflies
Fontainebleau Forrest

If, like me, you are too busy to travel yet long for a little European je ne sais quoi such a a walk in the Fontainbleau Forrest or a trip to Les Puces for some flea market fun,

take a quick trip to the Passamenterie - A Style Diary blog.

This blog is written by a very stylish young lady with an eye for photography and a love of literature. I love her photos and descriptions of her everyday life.

According to the OED
Passameterie = Decorative trimming consisting of gold or silver lace, gimp, or braid.

This blog is much more that decorative trimming.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Quincuncial Quintet

At some point about 10 years ago I basically stopped reading fiction. I had reached a point where I realized fully that my time was truly a scarce resource. With only a limited amount of it available for reading for pleasure, I spent that time reading primarily nonfiction, mostly history and biographies.
Now a decade later, my time is even more precious and I have to make decisions about how do I use it to my best advantage. Should I go for a hike or tend to my orchids, should I catch up on projects at the office or meet a friend for coffee, should I blog or exercise?
Lately, it's been all blogging and my increase in dress size will attest to.
But about 10 days ago I did something unusual. I delved into a serious work of fiction, The Avignon Quintet by Lawrence Durrell.
This book, or quincunx of five novels with interwoven themes and characters is a mere 1367 pages long. So far I've finished Monsieur, Constance and Livia. Can I slog through the remaining two novels, Sebastian and Quinx given that the OED and a French/English dictionary is required.

Having read Durrell's Alexandria Quartet about 30 years ago I thought that this book would be a fast read with its Oxbridge named characters, Aubrey, Hilary, Constance, Livia, Piers, Robin, Tobias and Pia and their pre WWII exploits in southern France.
What I read was something very different.
Here's the Wikipedia description:
The Avignon Quintet is a five-volume series of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1974 and 1985. The novels are openly metafictional and reflect the developments in experimental fiction following after Durrell's previous The Alexandria Quartet. The action of the novels is set before and during World War II, largely in France, Egypt, and Switzerland.
The novels range among multiple and contradictory narrators, often with each purporting to have written the others, and the thematic materials range from a feigned form of
Gnosticism[1], obsession with mortality, Nazism, and World War II to Grail Romances, metafiction, Quantum Mechanics[2], and sexual identity.
Missing from this description is psychoanalysis and poetry, Freud and relativity and other interesting themes.
I started this book thinking that I would only read Constance, the most well known of the novels for its description of life in occupied France. But now after reading some 900 pages I'm ready to finish the book.
Obviously, my orchids will have to wait a bit longer...
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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Celebrity Style Silliness

Not that you didn't already know this...but in our celebrity obsessed culture I always like to reiterate that celebrity status doesn't in anyway imply good taste or common sense.

About good taste:
OMG What Were They Thinking a photo montage of some truly terrible celebrity style.
Now, we know why they need stylists...

Take this photo of Diane keaton. I love the hat and Kathrine Hepburn-esque black turtleneck, but what's up with the mismatched brown belt. And...ladies of a certain age, please leave the leggings for the teenagers.
Diane Keaton - why cover lovely legs with leggings?
And for the common sense part, a delicious blog that points out celebrity hypocrisy
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Fashion Evolved Vintage Value Venture

Fashion Evolved, a style blog for the eco snob has a great post on buying vintage with the following tips.

1. Look for pieces that you can pair with your existing basics. Buy a pair of perfect jeans, or a pair of black dress pants and then find something extraordinary from a vintage shop to wear with them.
2. Take your time and be prepared to walk away with nothing. Consider vintage shopping to be a sport. Sometimes you win—BIG. Sometimes you lose and come up empty handed. It should be a relaxing and fun past time so don’t go if you’re in a hurry or if you need something to wear RIGHT NOW. The best way to shop vintage is to just go on a regular basis without any expectations. Allow yourself to be surprised when you do find something extraordinary.
3. Look at labels, but don’t make it a priority. If you fall in love with a piece, buy it and use it.
4. Try it on. Sizing varies widely from different time periods and from different manufacturers, so you can’t just go by the size on the tag. If you don’t want to try it on there, find out what the store’s return policy is.

5. Look for pieces that have detail: beading, lace, sequins, embroidery. If the workmanship is excellent, but you’re not crazy about the style, think outside the box and consider buying it and having it altered or made into something new.
6. Most vintage stores also sell belts, handbags, scarves, jewelry and hats as well as shoes that need some TLC. Find a cobbler and make friends with him.

Good advice all, but for those of you like me, who don't have time to go on the hunt from store to store, the internet is a great source for vintage fashion.
And, try to shop on the net with stores that have full return policies. I wouldn't purchase anything that requires a correct fit if it can't be returned.
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The Google Boys And Their Toys

So how do you amuse yourself when your net worth is billions of dollars because you brilliantly created a business with monopoly power that let's you dominate the entire internet?
You buy toys of course, and what better toy than a your own personal Dornier Alpha fighter jet to add to your fleet of flying stock.
Let's face it, the 757's, 767's and Gulfstream V's, that you already own aren't all that fun to fly.

Dornier Alpha Jet

Of course it was only a matter of time before the Google Boys, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, bought an Alpha Jet....After all Larry Elison already has already had a fighter jet to play around with.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Observations from the New York Observer

Celerie Kemble New York Socialite Vintage Vixen
A little Thursday reading from the New York Observer

Crashion, What to Wear to the Recession.

As the Dow jigs and jags into alarming mountain peaks and valleys, fashionable New Yorkers of all stripes are considering what, exactly, those things are. Shopping as sport—collecting one $1,500, gilt-strapped It bag in three colors, for example—is suddenly seeming very 2007 (the year Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs made $67.9 million). Nowadays, shopping is an activity to be undertaken cautiously, solemnly, with an eye toward the future.

Also the past: Socialite and designer Celerie Kemble, arriving at the Food Bank event with baby girl Zinnia in tow, is one of many turning back to vintage.

(so socialite Celerie Kemble is a vintage vixen...who knew!)

“Excessive shopping is out,” said Julie Gilhart, fashion director at Barneys. “There is way too much going on in the world right now to have to take the time to think about clothes.”

Ms. Beracasa suggested repurposing a summer dress, wearing a sweater under it, “with tights, belting it, making it appropriate for fall,” rather than rushing out to buy a new frock.
“Friends that I see on a daily or weekly basis, they’ll see me in the same thing over and over again, and maybe I’ll change the shirt or the scarf or the shoe,” said stylist and gal-about-town Kate Schelter.

And Greenwich Lean Time

“The face of Greenwich has had a bit of a lift,” said James Ritman of Newmark Knight Frank, another local broker. “The height of it was probably 2006, when most of the hedge funds were here, early 2007—that summer of 2007, Greenwich Avenue was as jammed as I think anyone’s ever seen it, and stores were packed. The hedge fund guys weren’t feeling it then.”
It being the credit crisis, of course, which is still yet to affect most employees of Greenwich’s most high-profile industry on the scale of fallen investment bankers such as Lehman chief Dick Fuld, who has a house here. But hedge funds took their biggest hit in 10 years last month; the asking price for Leona Helmsley’s 80-acre estate in Greenwich’s “back country” was recently cut from $125 million to a mere $95 million; and disgraced hedge funder Michael Lauer’s 7,300-square-foot mansion was just unceremoniously auctioned off by the I.R.S. for $2.5 million, the minimum bid.
Retailers admitted that things have been quiet against this backdrop—kind of.

The big money—or rather, the big new money—started arriving about 15 years ago, strapped to the backs of the hedge funds that started staking out Greenwich. Even if the hedge fund guys couldn’t quite crack the Round Hill Club, and were often kept dangling on the brink of Greenwich Country Club, they knew how to do one thing perfectly: build massive houses. And to accommodate last-minute baubles for the wife, Greenwich rung in the new millennium with a spanking new 6600 square foot Tiffany & Co., installed in an imposing historical building. Before long, advertisements for $20,000 Patek Philipe watches appeared on the train platform. “The diamonds got bigger; that would be the number-one change,” said Mr. Betteridge. “Watches became more exotic and expensive.” (He noted that his store has, on and off, been the biggest Patek Philipe retailer in the country.)

It’s a more diverse, international crowd than you’d think, according to nearly everyone interviewed for this article; a group united only by sizable (if shrinking) bank accounts and their desire to live where rich people in America have always lived, on prime waterfront real estate a quick train ride away from our greatest city; and to do the things that rich Americans had always done, like golf and sailing and tennis, only with better handbags. They came to bathe in the WASP-y glow of the Greenwich brand—a brand so aspirational and compelling that Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors and Coach and Lacoste and all those retailers that could afford to eventually followed.

Before the hedge funds, there were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and before that, Rockefellers, he said. The wealth stays the same (or increases, or decreases, but stays greater than that of almost any other town in America). But what if the wealthy of Greenwich shed their showy luxuries—in order to hang on to the house—and the marquee New York stores remain empty? “Will I dance on their graves?” said Mr. Betteridge. “A jig.”

Even with all the wealth in Greenwich...I think it would be a good time to open a vintage clothing consignment store. Even a hedgefunder's wife might shop there....
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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vintage Value Venture - Fuzzy Fedora For Fall

Audrey Hepburn - Chapeau et Coiffeur - Tres Chic

Some Like It Vintage Hat
Beladora Signed Marco Rota Earrings

OK...I admit it. I singlehandedly want to bring back the wearing of hats for women.
They are chic and frame the face when paired with the right earrings.
They keep the head protected in from too much sun.
They keep the head warm in cold weather.
They cover up a bad hair day.
And...if they were chic enough for my favorite fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn, they are chic enough for me.
Any questions?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kahn't Stop The Love

Ann Sinclair - Journalist - Wife of Dominique Strauss Kahn

Ann, just between us girls, I thought that this might be a good time to let you know about this important article that I found on Yahoo
Oh no Ann, please don't thank me...I'm just sharing the love!
BTW, love the earrings
and I think it's time for a little gift from your husband.
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DSK - Kahn't Get Enough

Dominque Strauss Kahn and wife Ann Sinclair
So now DSK is being linked to 26 year old intern from the IMF just days after we got the usual mea culpa after his relationship with Nagy became public.

Mr Strauss-Kahn said he regretted the problems the incident had caused for Ms Nagy, whom he praised as a talented economist.
"I want to apologize to the staff member concerned for my error in initiating this relationship," he said. "I acknowledge and regret the difficult situation this has created for her. I also apologize to my wife and family," he added.
Then of course his wife journalist Ann Sinclair had to make the "everything is alright" statement.
On her blog on Sunday, Mr Strauss-Kahn's wife said, "For my part, this one-night stand is now behind us; we have turned the page." She added: "We love each other as much as on the day we met."
Why is any of this news?
If you delved into the background of any French politician, Mitterand, Chirac, Sarkozy, et al. you're going to find a philandering husband and a wife who enables him....exept for Madame Sarkozy who stuck in long enough for the election and then bailed.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

In the IMF- If You Kahn - You Will

IMF investigates chief for abuse of power in affair
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2008 (Reuters) — The International Monetary Fund said on Saturday it was investigating whether its chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn abused his power in an affair with a subordinate who has since left the global institution.
The subordinate, Piroska Nagy, a former senior economist at the IMF's Africa division, was not given preferential treatment before leaving the IMF in August, her lawyer said.
The London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, where Nagy now works, was not aware of the IMF investigation, a spokesman said. Nagy was a highly qualified senior economist who worked on banking issues, he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Strauss-Kahn approached Nagy, who is married, in December 2007 and the two exchanged e-mails which led to the relationship early this year.

It said Nagy's husband, Mario Blejer, a highly regarded international economist and former head of the Argentine Central Bank and an advisor to the Bank of England, found e-mail evidence of the affair when it ended.
The investigation of the IMF managing director comes as several countries turn to the fund for financing to help ease the effects of the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression and politicians consider its role in preventing future crises. let me get this straight.....while the international capital markets are going through a melt down there is an investigation into the affair between Dominique Strauss Kahn aka DSK and senior economist Piroska Nagy, wife of the former head of the Argentine Central Bank.
How can any group waste money trying to make a case of abuse or sexual harassment out of the fact that two highly educated and powerful adults made the decision to send each other some sexy emails and have an affair. Besides, what would you expect from DSK....he's French!
Meanwhile, the real news in my opinion is the fact that DSK, ex Minister of Finance of France and prominent Socialist, is even the head of the IMF at all.
F.A. Hayek and Ludwig von Mises must be turning over in their graves....
Just another step forward on the Road to Serfdom....
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vintage Value Venture - Because It's A Jungle Out There

From her article Frugal Fall Fashion, in the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Saranow has reported on the trend for buying higher quality and less trendy clothes.

The economic crisis is changing Nevena Borissova's spending habits, but it's not crimping her style.
Ms. Borissova, the 33-year-old owner of the Curve clothing boutiques in Los Angeles and New York, decided early this summer to stop shopping at stores like H&M and Topshop, where she says she was spending easily $1,000 a season on trendy clothes that didn't fit her well and that she never wore.

Instead, this season, Ms. Borissova, who is also a personal stylist, is updating her look with higher-quality designer pieces, such as a Balmain tweed jacket and Preen blouse, as well as vintage clothes including a Halston animal-print dress and a Thierry Mugler jacket. Not only are such styles likely to last longer than cheaper clothes; they also are investments that might have resale value. "I have completely stopped buying disposable clothing," she says. "Everything that goes into my wardrobe right now is something of value."

Well Ms Borissova...I'd glad to see that style setters like you are finally coming around to the BHB way to shop.
I'm not going to be buying any Halston animal print dresses...but I'm seriously considering buying this beautifully tailored vintage 1960's Abe Schrader dress with matching coat from Dorthea's Vintage Closet. It is a steal at $225!

Dorthea's Closet Vintage 1960's Animal Print Dress
And Matching Coat - The Price For Both $225!!!
But what kind of jewelry do you wear with such an ensemble?
I think these vintage Seaman Schepps earrings in rosewood and 18K would nicely complement the outfit.

Beladora Seaman Schepps Shell Earrings

Here's a little info about Seaman Schepps From Antiques and the Arts Online

Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn, Doris Duke, Wanda Toscanini Horowitz and the Duchess of Windsor, as well as members of the du Pont, Mellon and Roosevelt families, were among his clients. His eye-catching jewelry not only appealed to the modern independent Twentieth Century woman, who found his pieces visually striking and fun to wear, but also to Pop Art icon Andy Warhol, who was an avid collector.

What makes the jewelry of Schepps so distinctive and memorable is the way he incorporated an astonishing diversity of natural materials such as seashells, sandalwood, walnut, Asian carvings and rock crystals along with traditional gem stones.

As with so many jewelers, nature played an important role in Schepps' designs: flowers, animals, birds, butterflies, insects, grapes, fish, shellfish, seahorses, turtles and shells appear time and again in his own inimitable style.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Savvy Shopping - Flight To Quality

Cartier Tahitian Pearl Jewelry from

From Jeanine Poggi's article in on Why Auctions Thrive in a Bad Economy
While the stock markets were tanking Wednesday, the opposite was happening at Christie's New York auction house. There, a jewelry auction was taking place, and from the bidding and final take, one would never know the economy is struggling.
"In a volatile market when the Dow lost 700 points in a day, nearly $30 million of jewelry and precious stones changed hands at Christie's in less than five hours, thus demonstrating the relative stability of the jewelry market and the long dependability of gems as a store of portable value," Rahul Kadakia, Christie's head of jewelry, said in a statement.
My take on this a little different. I think that across the board there is a flight to quality for consumers and a desire for buying classic pieces rather than trendy nonsense that will be out of style in a month, but....consumers want to purchase at reasonable prices, and that's where estate jewelry comes in.
Take this set of Cartier Tahitian Pearl jewelry from for example. The earrings and pearl strand together had an cost of over $80,000 at Cartier in Paris. Now, they are available for about 50% of the original price, and they come with the Cartier certificates and boxes.
The finest quality, a reasonable price, and always in style....savvy shopping indeed.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going John Galt?

Bailouts and Bankruptcies
Economics and Earmarks
Volatility and Valuations
Commodity Prices and Credit Spreads
Markets and Mortgages
Derivatives and the Dow

So much to worry about...

Dr. Helen asks "Is it time to go John Galt?"

Do you ever wonder after dealing with all that is going on with the economy and the upcoming election if it's getting to be time to "go John Galt." For those of you who have never read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the basic theme is that John Galt and his allies take actions that include withdrawing their talents, 'stopping the motor of the world', and leading the 'strikers' (those who refuse to be exploited) against the 'looters' (the exploiters, backed by the government).

Since I tend to be a "glass half full" person I'm not ready to go to Galt's Gulch.

Claudia Rosett from her article Counting America's Successes writes

And yet, despite the drum roll of crises above, America over the years has found ways not only to cope but to lead the world into an era of extraordinary opportunity and progress.

Let's hope that she's right.
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Hermes Heir's Hotheaded Havoc

Question: Does being born into a famous French family and given a privileged life of luxury with a beautiful wife and adorable children, a jet setting lifestyle of galas, garden parties and polo games give Mathias Guerrand-Hermes the right to not follow the rules on a transatlantic Air France flight?
Answer: Well, apparently he thinks that has some special entitlement that allows him to act like this....

The court complaint says the commotion Tuesday on Air France Flight 008 began when Guerrand-Hermes sat on a female passenger's armrest and ignored orders to sit down. The crew handcuffed Guerrand-Hermes until the plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
And seriously...crotch that the French way to fight?
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Une Autre Femme A Paris ou Avec Les Fashion Foibles

Givenchy 2009
Louis Vuitton 2009
Susan Tabac over at Chic in Paris has reported on the Paris shows.
While she has tastefully described the Givenchy and Louis Vuitton collections using such expressions (uh cough, euphemisms) as "how elegant a bit of rock'n'roll can be", and "Belleville, Piaf and the nightclubs of the 40's",
I can only use the descriptive words "totally unflattering and uninspired fashion foibles".
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Une Femme A Paris

Jardin Luxembourg - Photo by Deja Pseu

While some of us are slaving away at home trying to figure out what's going to happen in the 4th Quarter, others are off jaunting about in Paris.
As if strolling around the Jardin Luxembourg wasn't enough, she has to go shopping at Le Bon Marche and visit the Jacquemart -Andre and Marmotton museums.
So, if like me, you are not about to run off for a petite vacance a paris anytime soon, you can take a virtual trip with Une femme d'un certain age.
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Santa Ana Season

I love to wake up in the morning at admire the clear view when there are Santa Ana winds. From my window, on Santa Ana days, I can see the high rises on the Wilshire Corridor to Century City to Downtown Los Angeles to the mountains beyond.

Of course when my view is this clear it means that somewhere else in Southern California, someone else is looking at a view something like this.

Question: Seriously, does some part of Porter Ranch burn every year?
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Faith and Family Fraud

Thank God we've just had Wall Street's biggest up day!

I can finally stop blogging about the bailout and get back to the really important news.

So here we go with some more senatorial shenanigans.

West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.

The affair between Congressman Tim Mahoney and Patricia Allen began, according to current and former staffers, in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising "a world that is safer, more moral."

Here's the part of the story that I like best.

"You work at my pleasure," Congressman Mahoney told Allen on a January 20, 2008 telephone call that was recorded and played for Mahoney staffers. ABC News was provided a copy. Click here to hear the tape.
"If you do the job that I think you should do, you get to keep your job. Whenever I don't feel like you're doing your job, then you lose your job," Mahoney can be heard telling Allen.
"And guess what? The only person that matters is guess who? Me. You understand that. That is how life really is. That is how it works," Mahoney says on the call.

It makes we wonder that if our elected officials had paid attention to the state of the union rather than to their sorry sexual lives, we might have had some action from Washington to deal with the sub prime problem before it turned into full scale fiasco.

The extra added irony in this story is that Tim Mahoney replaced Mark Foley who had to resign after a sexual scandal of his own of texting naughty messages to the under aged congressional pages.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Shaken Not Stirred

And now...time for something completely different!
Look what I found at The Thoughtful Dresser.

Sean Connery, who recently turned 78, is modelling for Louis Vuitton.
Could this be the beginning of the end of the metrosexual male model?
We can only hope so.
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What's Cooking in Washington - A Recipe For Ruin

I find Ben Stein to be way out there when it comes to subject of science but with it comes to
How to Ruin the Economy he is spot on.

Here's his Recipe for Ruin

1) Have a fiscal policy that creates immense deficits in good times and bad, burdening America's posterity with staggering burdens of repaying the debt.

2) Eliminate regulation of Wall Street and/or fail to enforce the regulations that already exist, instead trusting Wall Street and other money managers and speculators to manage other people's money with few or no regulations and little oversight.

3) Have an energy policy that disallows producing our own energy and instead requires that we buy energy from abroad, thus making our oil prices highly volatile and creating large balance of payments deficits, lowering the value of the dollar and thus making the problem get progressively worse.

4) Have Congress mandate that banks and other financial entities lend money to persons they know in advance to have poor credit ratings or none at all.

5) Allow investment banks, insurers, and banks to bet their entire net worth and then some on the premise that borrowers known to be improvident will in fact repay those loans.

6) Allow the creation of large betting pools called "hedge funds" that can move markets and control the outcome of trading, thus taking a forum for savings and retirement for families and making it into a rigged casino game that exists primarily to fleece suckers like ordinary working men and women.

7) Have laws that protect corporate officers from being sued for misconduct but at the same time punish lawyers in the private sector who ferret out such misconduct and try to make accountable the people responsible for shareholder and investor losses. If one of those lawyers gets particularly aggressive in protecting stockholders, put him in prison.

8) Appoint as head of the United States Treasury Department a man whose whole life was spent on Wall Street, who became fantastically rich through his peddling of junk bonds at his firm while the firm later sold short those same sorts of bonds.

9) Scare Americans into putting up $750 billion of their hard earned money to bail out the billionaires and their friends who created the market for loans to poor credit risks (The "subprime" market) and the unbelievably large side bets on those loans, promising that such a bailout would save the retirement savings of Americans, then allow the immense hedge funds to make the market crater immediately afterwards.

10) Propose to save the situation by surtaxing the oil industry, which is owned by our fellow Americans, mostly in their retirement plans, thus penalizing Americans for investing in companies that efficiently and legally produce an indispensable product.

11) Insist that the free market requires that banks and insurers with friends of the Secretary of the Treasury be saved but allow other entities not so fortunate to fail, thus creating total uncertainty and terror among financial institutions, and demolishing all of the confidence built up in financial circles since the days of FDR.

12) Then have the Republican candidate say he would keep on the job the Treasury Secretary who facilitated the crisis, failed to protect the nation from the crisis, got the taxpayers to pony up to save his Wall Street buddies, and have the Democratic candidate, as noted, say he would save the day by taxing the stockholders of energy companies.

There, that should do it.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Have We Seen The End Of Bling?

Christina Binkley in the Wall Street Journal:
The Billion Dollar Question: Is Bling Over
How Luxury Executives are Handling the Crisis; Selling the Yacht

Francesco Trapani, chief executive of Bulgari Group, is cutting back on the fixed costs of his jet-setting lifestyle. The jewelry, luxury-goods and hotel magnate recently sold his 137-foot yacht, the "Christianne B," and he's holding off on buying any more homes. Even his bespoke Micocci shirt was slightly frayed at the collar last week -- a fact he acknowledged with an apologetic smile.
Wow...selling the yacht...not buying anymore homes....he's really cutting back there. Kind of reminds me of how Richard Fuld of Lehman Brothers is keeping his four homes but sending his art collection to auction....That's some serious economizing!

Not even the richest people are feeling untouched by our current financial crisis. In their personal lives, as in business, the purveyors of luxury are sizing up what it all means. Some of the questions: Is it unseemly to spend money publicly? Will people still shop for the all-important holiday season? Is this the end of bling?

Ralph Lauren Ricky Bag in Alligator $16,995

At the opening of its new women's store in Paris last week, Ralph Lauren upped the ante on its notoriously expensive Ricky bag: It will now be available made-to-order in 20 shades of alligator skin, including platinum, "vibrant cherry" or cobalt, and priced from $12,995 to $28,995.
But unfortunately for the Ralph Lauren brand, carrying a $30,000 handbag isn't just a question of money, it's become a question a good taste.
It's not necessarily a good thing to show up at the tennis club with a new $30,000 crocodile handbag when your friends' net worth has been halved and the Federal Reserve is spending billions to keep the banking system afloat.
The rising tide of anti-wealth sentiment could well affect how conspicuous the rich want to to be.
Let's face it, conspicuous consumption has become totally ingrained in our culture, from the luxury cars that we drive, to the handbags that we carry, to the clothes that we wear...with an increasing focus high end brands...why carry a $300 Cole Hahn handbag when you can carry a $3000 Nancy Gonzalez bag, why wear $20 Levi's 501 jeans you found on sale, when you can wear $200 Rock an Republic jeans... and on and on.
Is this the end of conspicuous consumption? I just don't know.
But, as the ultimate anti-conspicuous consumer and proponent of buying quality fashion for less money with vintage clothes, accessories and estate jewelry...I kinda hope so.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Banquets and Beauty Treatments with your Bailout

Just when I wanted to post something about about the new app for your iphone that will bring you photos of the latest runway fashions from had to come across this charming little piece of news.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Less than a week after the federal government had to bail out American International Group Inc. (AIG), the company sent executives on a $440,000 retreat to a posh California resort, lawmakers investigating the company's meltdown said Tuesday.
The tab included $23,380 worth of spa treatments for AIG employees at the coastal St. Regis resort south of Los Angeles even as the company tapped into an $85 billion loan from the government it needed to stave off bankruptcy.

So while we are working away at our day jobs trying to forecast what the next year is going to look like as a result of the financial crisis, the executives at AIG are getting spa treatments.
You can view the St. Regis bill for AIG here.
It is just me or does this seem like something out of a Tom Wolfe novel?
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Going for Galliano's Spring Jewels

I don't know why the John Galliano Spring 2009 Ready to Wear show this week in Paris needed to have models in over sized little bo peep hair and Napoleonic hats when some of the dresses were so very lovely. All that crazy accessorizing was superfluous.

Take these three dresses for example.

I love the rich jewel tone palate and the feminine silhouettes. Overall, I found this collection to be less over the top than his usual designs and except for a few pieces that were totally transparent, I found all of the outfits wearable.

In my dream Spring wardrobe, if I could only have this lovely long dress with the keyhole front... I would wear it with these 18 karat Etruscan style amethyst, zircon and yellow beryl dangle earrings from

I don't know how much these Galliano dresses will retail at, but I would bet that they will be at least twice as expensive as these earrings.
Well no matter....I'm sure that our current economic meltdown will be over by next know with the bailout and all the "Change" that is coming our way. Surely I'll be able to buy one of these dresses and the earrings too!

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bailout Balderdash

So a 3 page bill aimed at bringing some measure of immediate relief for the mortgage crisis and the banks that speculated on so much bad credit has now turned into a 422 page barrage of BS.

I'm not surprised that this Bailout Bill has turned into another Government Boondoggle.
Are you?

This bill, now signed into law, includes
from Cnet

millions in tax breaks and related pork for kids' wooden arrows, Puerto Rican rum producers, auto race tracks, and corporations operating in American Samoa. (The likely explanation for the latter: StarKist has a large tuna-canning operation in American Samoa. And StarKist's parent company happens to be located in the district of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.)

The bailout bill also gives the Internal Revenue Service new authority to conduct undercover operations. It would immunize the IRS from a passel of federal laws, including permitting IRS agents to run businesses for an extended sting operation, to open their own personal bank accounts with U.S. tax dollars, and so on. (Think IRS agents posing as accountants or tax preparers and saying, "I'm not sure if that deduction is entirely legal, but it'll save you $1,000. Want to take it?") That section had expired as of January 1, 2008, and would now be renewed.

There are also some Green - Tech measures in this bill that I don't necessarily disagree with...but they don't belong in this particular bill at this particular time.

The bill has become, in other words, something almost unrelated to the business of bailing out Wall Street. The Beltway term for this is a "Christmas tree bill," meaning everyone gets to hang their favorite spending projects on it--though by the time Congress gets it through, it more closely resembles a slop bucket.

And what about the potential loopholes?

Some loopholes exist. It's possible for a bank to buy $100 billion of bad debt--perhaps in the form of subprime mortgages that are becoming quickly worthless-- declare bankruptcy, and sell it to the Treasury Department for $120 billion, or $200 billion. In other words, although the Treasury Department is supposed to look out for the best interests of taxpayers, there's no law forbidding such profits in the case of firms involved in bankruptcy, receivership, or mergers.

Section 115 of the law says that the administration can, after notifying Congress and waiting 15 days, purchase and hold $700 billion of assets "at any one time." (It can buy and hold $350 billion without waiting.)
This, too, is a potential loophole. It permits the Treasury Department to buy up, say, $700 billion in 2008, sell those assets off gradually over the next year at a (probable) loss, and repeat the same process in 2009. Losses to taxpayers, in other words, could exceed $700 billion. Although the Treasury Department is instructed to try to avoid losses, yeah whatever...the text of the law does not forbid that scenario.

Now onto my basic bugbear: Executive Compensation
Section 111 is titled "Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance."
It does not include, however, any statutory dollar limit on how high executive salaries of TARP bailout recipients can be. Instead, it lets Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, come up with "appropriate standards." In addition, only the top five executives will have their golden parachutes limited; all the rest will remain untouched, even if their second-tier salaries and bonuses happen to be in the millions or tens of millions of dollars.

Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne made $61.3 million from selling his shares a day after the JP Morgan bailout. Daniel Mudd, CEO of Fannie Mae, was replaced last month; he made $11.6 million in 2007. Richard Syron was chairman and CEO of Freddie Mac from 2003 until last month. He made $19.8 million last year. Martin Sullivan was ousted as president and CEO of AIG this summer, and was paid a $47 million severance package.

Pigs at the trough indeed

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vintage Value Venture - Running with the Wolves

Do you ever look at the current Fannie and Freddie fiasco and ask yourself "What did you expect when you put the wolves in charge of the hen house"?
FRANKLIN RAINES was a Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Fannie Mae. Raines was forced to retire from his position with Fannie Mae when auditing discovered severe irregularities in Fannie Mae's accounting activities. .
Raines left with a "golden parachute valued at $240 Million in benefits. The Government filed suit against Raines when the depth of the accounting scandal became clear. The Government noted, "The 101 charges reveal how the individuals improperly manipulated earnings to maximize their bonuses, while knowingly neglecting accounting systems and internal controls, misapplying over twenty accounting principles and misleading the regulator and the public.
The Notice explains how they submitted six years of misleading and inaccurate accounting statements and inaccurate capital reports that enabled them to grow Fannie Mae in an unsafe and unsound manner."
Ya Think?
These charges were made in 2006.
And so here we are in 2008 and because now more than ever we need a Vintage Value Venture!
So why not a classic 1950's LBD from Suzy Perette.

And since the wolves are at the door maybe it's time that we show our own wolverine side with this vintage brooch from Beladora.
And yeah, that messenger bag that the wolf is sporting is actually full of the funds that he had to withdraw from of his bank...before it went under...obviously he's on the run trying to find a bank that's still solvent.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When Luxury Brands Collide

For those who just can't get enough Luxe logos,
Susan Tabac at Chic in Paris has posted on the new Bugatti Veyron Fpg par Hermes.

Named after the Hermes atelier on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris, designer Gabriel Penezzi brought the two worlds of luxury together without compromising the legendary engineering and unparalleled technology of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. Extremely rare, the automobiles exterior is unmistakably detailed with an Hermes monogrammed front grill, simply tasteful “H” logoed rims, and an engraved fuel filler marked with the vehicles sought after name.
Hermes’ impressive craftsmanship also characterizes the automobile interior with such features as classic Hermes trunk handles used for the inner doors, logo engraving into the black leather seats, Hermes leather upholstering that snugly fits a matching wallet in the front console, and a customized space in the trunk that fits perfectly an Hermes suitcase.

So...I guess that for some people it isn't enough to have the Hermes birkin, wallet and suitcase...they need to have the logo laden car as well.

My take on this is that when two attractive luxury brands mate, their offspring isn't necessarily beautiful.

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