Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Reading - The Complete Claudine

For some reason, I'm not sure why, I've never seemed to get around to reading anything by Colette.
So, I recently started reading Claudine at School, the first book in The Complete Claudine.
Unfortunately I find every character in the book, and most importantly the main character Claudine,  totally unsympathetic.  In spite of the fact that I'm not enjoying the read, I will slog through the book because I find 19th Century and Belle Epoque history interesting.
As for Colette herself, I would like to read a well written biography. Can anyone suggest one?  Ms. Cavendish perhaps? Forget the lesbian affairs, what I would really like to know is why she seduced her 16 year old step son when she was 40 and continued the affair for 5 years.  Yes I know, how very French.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Sharing the LOVE


And what's not to love?
Go over to Fashion's Most Wanted and share the love with Christina for Love Magazine
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Mid-Summer Musings About Travel

Since it is mid-summer and I have this on my mind


I thought that I would share with you this article from the WSJ
When Mr. James is checking into a hotel, he always makes sure he's nicely dressed. Typically he'll show up in a suit or slacks and a jacket. "If you look the part, you'll tend to get looked after a little bit better," he says.
I tend to agree with this advice as I've found from many years of travelling.  Certainly the better I am dressed, the better I am treated. So for me no shorts, t-shirts or flip flops for travel attire.

This summer I can't get my act together for a trip to the south of France but the gorgeous (and talented in a DIY way) Tabitha has posted about her swanky sojourn at the Eden Roc, Hotel du Cap and more. 

And as for travel attire, do not miss James Andrew's posts about his recent trip through Italy.  I particularly love what he wore to La Sireneuse. He must get incredible service. But I wonder, with all his fabulous clothes, how many suitcases does he travel with. Check out his What is James Wearing blog.

What do you wear when you travel and do you think that it makes any difference at all in how you are treated?
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jewelry Biz- Stephen Webster Will Open 1st US Store on Rodeo Drive





 Jewellery brand Stephen Webster is opening a flagship US store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
From Retail Jeweller
The retail space design will mirror the London and European mono-brand boutiques, which incorporate Stephen Webster’s signature style of glamour with a rock and roll edge. The space will combine Webster’s love for traditional craftsmanship with his passion for contemporary music, fashion and art to produce a modern, unconventional retail aesthetic for showcasing his collections.

“The store on Rodeo Drive will be our first flagship in the US,” said founder and creative director Stephen Webster. “Over the past 10 years we have built strong ties with the LA community including the world of entertainment based there. The opening of this store is set to be extremely significant in our development.”

He added: “This project is very exciting to me and my team who feel that the Stephen Webster brand is shifting to become an all encompassing lifestyle experience”.

Well, I'm not going to make my usual snarky 'well there goes the neighborhood' comment about this.  We welcome all retail jewelers to the neighborhood.  The more jewelers on the street, the better for our business.

Besides, I love Stephen Webster's whole glam rock vibe and his crystal haze jewelry.  God knows that Loree Rodkin needs some local competition.
Plus...now that we have the new Tom Ford store about to open a couple of doors away, we might as well have Stephen Webster on the block too. 
And just think, soon we will all be able to go up and down  Rodeo Drive and experience, boutique by boutique, each all encompassing lifestyle experience!



Or, we could skip all the retail 'lifestyle' hype and just buy our jewelry online from Beladora.com.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to Wear Vintage Animal Brooches


A couple of days ago I wrote a post about blogger Jane Aldridge and her menagerie of vintage animal brooches.  It's one thing to wear a discreet little grouping of bee brooches on your lapel, it's another thing entirely to wear an entire zoo on your jacket. 
So here is how I like to action (verb totally stolen from FF) a vintage animal brooch. 
Wear one quality statement piece, like this gemstone fish, for impact
and leave the menagerie at home.

Right now I'm loving this beautiful brooch in mother of pearl, pink tourmaline and diamonds in 18K. This is one of the prettiest animal brooches that I have seen in a long time with each piece of mother of pearl and pink tourmaline cleanly cut to fit the design.
(Not to mention that I like wearing a tropical fish on my on my summer LBD because it is the closest I've gotten to a beach vacation in ages....and I'm desperate for one.)

Not too big...not too small, but certainly impressive with 3 plus carats of bright white diamonds.
So what do you think, would you wear this vintage brooch?
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Twisted Prep or How to Wear Your Hilfiger Duck Boots

Tommy Hilfiger's tailgating ad campaign is continuing to get play in the blogosphere, with Look Muffy An Ad Campaign For Us! at Habitually Chic.  Perhaps for me there is more nostalgia for the vintage 1980's Jeep Wagoneer than excitement about the actual clothes themselves.  Still, now that I see Hilfiger's OTK duck boots in action in this photo, I'm becoming more partial to them.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Christy Turlington by Steven Meisel and Karl Templar - Modern and Classic Indeed



If you haven't already picked up the latest edition of Italian Vogue...go out and spend $18 to buy it right now!

The Christy Turlington cover story photographed by Steven Meisel and styled by Karl Templar is one of the most beautiful fashion editorials that I have ever seen.  (and I'm not just saying that because Beladora was asked to provide jewlery for the shoot, which they didn't use but was fine with us because the jewlery was barely noticable)  Each of Turlington's looks were wonderful, from the big hair to the fabulous frocks to the gorgeous gloves to the stylish shoes, and she has never looked more beautiful.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Vintage Brooches - When Too Much Actually Is Too Much

Usually when I get dressed up I pile on the jewelry.  In fact when it comes to estate jewlery our office motto is "too much is never enough".  But sometimes wearing it all at one time is better as an idea than a reality.
My case in point Jane Aldridge of Sea of Shoes
the society/vintage/her mother has a huge closet/debutante blogger
I've blogged before about how much I love vintage brooches...especially animal brooches
but really, this is out of control.
Now, if you can get beyond the over-brooched photos of Miss Aldridge she links to the incredible website of photographer Douglas Friedman who shoots portraits, interiors,celebrity homes and architecture.
Here's an example of his work
I have no idea where this celebrity home is...but I want to live there
And I'm just loving this pool in the middle of what looks like an olive grove.  Very nice.
Check out his website.
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Milan's Master Hatter


From the WSJ an interesting article on the demise of craftsmanship

Today, Mr. Borghi is 70 years old, but he can still be found working in the shop from dawn to dusk at least six days a week.
He mostly works alone, relying on his wife and a friend for help when the orders pile up. He has no apprentice, and past attempts to teach younger generations have proved unsuccessful. "The first thing they ask is 'How much are you gonna pay me?'" says Mr. Borghi. "Then they ask 'Do I have to work weekends, too?'"
He doesn't say it, but the contempt is clear in his voice and expression. While it is tempting to dismiss Mr. Borghi's critiques as simple intergenerational mistrust, it is equally difficult to imagine the young, iPhone-equipped Italians lounging around in the piazza nearby spending their days as the septuagenarian maestro does, hunched over an ancient wooden desk, struggling to get this fold just right or adjust that feather to the correct height. "The hardest part is finding talented hands," he says. "I could teach the rest."

I find it interesting that in a high fashion city like Milan, a master craftsman can't find good help.  Aren't there fashion students who want to learn the skill of bespoke hat making and maybe be the next Philip Treacy?

Luckily, his and other Italian master craftsman's skills are being documented on film.
Recently an Italian company called Valore Italiano, or "Italian Quality," began filming Mr. Borghi and other artisans like him as part of an initiative to create a visual documentary of their skills that can be used to teach future generations. "These master craftsmen are national treasures," says Mario Pirolli, president of Valore Italiano and artificer of the initiative. "We have to try and salvage what we can before their knowledge and experience are lost for good."

Excellent, because fashion wouldn't be as much fun without great hats
Don't you agree?
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jewelry Biz - Chopard's New Collection At The Frick

From the WSJ
The Celebration for Chopard's 150 year anniversary at the Frick Museum in New York 
with lots of sparkling stuff from their new animal themed collection

Although I'm not quite sure what I think about this diamond kitten necklace in the $700,000 range

or this diamond parrot necklace for $1,000,000 or so.

A couple of years ago it was all about sea themed collections
Now it's all about animals
go figure
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sharing The Love - In Appreciation Of Baltic Beauty

I bet that you thought that I meant this kind of beauty


Well no actually, as much as I appreciate Live Ullman and Bibi Andersson, I meant the beauty of the landscape and seascape of Ingmarso Sweden
and the art and design of Finland. 

There is wonderful post at Privilege with lovely photos from her vacation in Sweden.
And, please don't miss Metscan blog for fabulous art and interior design from Finland
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Getting Out The Vote and Sharing The Love With The UK Blogger Babes

If you haven't done this already, please click over to Kate Battrick's Make Do Style and congratulate her on her well deserved master's degree.
And then go over here to vote for Kate's film "Dress Up".
She needs your vote today.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How To Wear Estate Jewelry - Mad Men Premier Party - Beladora Style

Keeping with our Mid-Century meme
Here is Mad Men's ravishing red head, Christina Hendricks, wearing jewelry from Beladora.com
at the LA Premier Party

Christina Hendricks at LA Mad Men Premier in Beladora diamond earrings
(photo Huffington Post)

and jadeite and diamond cocktail ring



We couldn't be happier
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Jewelry Biz- Bahia Emerald In Play

There is plenty of news out there in jewelry land this week.
The Dodd-Frank gold provision would require that companies using gold as well as the minerals coltan, cassiterite and solframite file annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding the source of those materials. According to JA, compliance with the gold provision would likely require that companies hire a third-party firm to audit and validate their gold-sourcing reports.

If a company's gold or minerals did originate from one of the 10 African countries included in the bill, then that company would have to show what steps they took to trace their materials back to their source. The provision also dictates that materials information be placed on a company's Web site for public review.
Jeweler to the Stars, Neil Lane is partnering with Kay Jewelers for a collection of bridal jewelry
The US Federal Court rejected an anti-trust deal for De Beers
In a drive to end antitrust and monopoly claims brought against it, De Beers reached a $250 million settlement over price fixing of gem quality diamonds and in 2005 established a $272.5 million fund for indirect purchasers of its diamonds.
and the story that I'm all over right now is
Tussel over 840 pound emerald back in court
Los Angeles--The long-running dispute over who owns the 840-pound Bahia Emerald rough that was unearthed back in 2001 could be resolved by the end of the month.
Multiple people claim ownership of the gemstone. According to an Associated Press report, it was discovered in Brazil and valued at $400 million and then traveled through New Orleans, Idaho and Las Vegas before being seized by authorities.
Thomas, a gem trader, claimed he is the rightful owner of the emerald because he purchased it for $60,000 from the Brazilians after it was first discovered back in 2001, media reports said.
Can someone please tell me how an object that sold for $60,000 can be valued at $400,000,000 a mere nine years later?
And finally,
Gold Coin Sellers Angry By New Tax Law
Amendment slipped into Health Care Legislation would track, tax coin and bullion transactions
So every time a member of the public sells more than $600 worth of gold to a dealer, Piret said, the transaction will have to be reported to the government by the buyer.

Pat Heller, who owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., deals with around 1,000 customers every week. Many are individuals looking to protect wealth in an uncertain economy, he said, while others are dealers like him.
With spot market prices for gold at nearly $1,200 an ounce, Heller estimates that he'll be filling out between 10,000 and 20,000 tax forms per year after the new law takes effect.
Well it's certainly good to know that the Federal Government is getting their hands on yet another thing to tax!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Channelling Mid-Century Style or A Brooch In The Hand


LA fashion blogger Deja Pseu at her Une Femme D'un Certain Age blog wrote a lovely post on channelling
Mid-Century...in a good way...you know what I mean....by adding some Mid-Century elements to your look.  She also discusses some of the drawbacks of that period which most of you are waaay too young to remember, such as a whole world of careers that were not open to women.
Luckily, female Trads like me can appreciate the style of the Mid-Century and still be thankful to have come of age after feminism opened many of the doors that were closed to my mother.
Well, back to the fashion angle.  Pseu points out some of the elements of this style that you can incorporate into your look including wearing vintage pearl brooches.  She chose these three from Beladora2.com and I thought that since the photos from the website don't always show the scale of the jewelry, that I would give you another look.
Anyhoo...her post is great so go take a gander.
Hint:  we will see more of this look coming up in Fall fashion magazines because someone has been sending this type of jewelry to fashion shoots...
PS:  guess who, at this very moment, is provinding jewelry for one of the Mad Men stars for tonight's Mad Men premier...
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Playing With Polyvore - Fantasy Vacation in Cabo San Lucas

Guess what's on my mind...

Craving Cabo San LucasFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hilfiger Style - Twisted American Preppy

I'm all for classic American style like these boots from LL Bean
But I was wondering if Tommy Hilfiger was taking the style a step too far with these boots


Check out Couture Carrie for these over the knee boots and more

Also, the Preppy Princess has given us her take on Tommy Hilfiger's new Fall 2010 ad campaign featuring his all American twisted preppy faux family
Tailgating with a twist.  I like it.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Around Town - A Summer Dinner at Osteria Mozza


For month's I have been wanting to try Mario Batali's restaurant Osteria Mozza but because it is located in Hancock Park, which is basically mid-town Los Angeles, I haven't bothered to go.  I don't mind the drive, it's the traffic that I can't take...and I typically won't drive east of Beverly Hills unless there is special reason for it.  Well, I  finally decided that my son's birthday dinner merited a trip to Mozza, so off we went.
Osteria Mozza and Pizzaria Mozza are both pretty casual, in design and ambiance, so I opted to wear a summer dress and some casual jewelry, citrine dangle earrings, a citrine ring, a peridot ring and a bunch of skinny gold bangle bracelets.

Mozza was busy, in fact we had to take a 6:15 reservation just to get a table. Luckily we all get up early in the morning so we didn't really mind the early dinner. 

One thing that the restaurant does well is offer a large bar that serves food as well, so that if you can't get a table, you can always have dinner at the bar.  While waiting for my son's girlfriend, the lovely Laura, we waited at the bar which was fine.  But I'd love to know why is it that restaurants won't seat you at your table until every one has arrived?

Luckily, in spite of traffic we all arrived within a few minutes of each other and were seated a nice table tucked away in a corner amid the wine bottles.  Here is my pretty girl and my handsome son. (I'm not sure what's up with his glow in the dark RayBans...)
I would love to report that the food was stupendous...but it wasn't. It was certainly good, but not awesome.   Perhaps I ordered incorrectly.  I opted for the mussels on the waiter's recommendation for a first course, but I probably should have stayed with the burrata.  Then the sea bass for the main course was just OK.  Stephanie and Laura had meat dishes, grilled lamb and grilled hanger steak, and those dishes were certainly better than the fish.  The four of us shared a pasta dish that was also competent but not incredible.
Luckily the sommelier suggested a very good wine that was appropriately priced (for my budget) below $100....because I was totally lost when looking at the wine list where many wines were $600 and above.  I wonder, who goes to Mozza and orders a $975 bottle of wine?

Overall, we had a lot of fun celebrating Alex's 27th birthday in style.


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Busy With Blogging and Beladora Business

Thanks to Jill, I clicked on the Bochic Vintage jewelry sale on Gilt Group and was totally blown away by the prices.  If there is something that is actual 'vintage' about this jewelry, please do enlighten me because it looks to me like it was all manufactured in India yesterday.

These turquoise and diamond earrings, for example, were priced at $4,629 with an original retail price of $14,000.  Yeah, you read that number correctly.  These earrings are described as 14K with a total diamond weight of 3.87 carats.  (people: note here that these are Indian rose cut diamonds...not D flawless goods and perhaps the color is enhanced in the photo because these diamonds are not high color)
How they justify these prices I just don't know but plenty of Bochic Vintage items have sold on Gilt.


Here is the Beladora alternative:  Turquoise and Diamond (Indian rose cut diamond) earrings in 14K for $2950. Obviously, on these types of earrings the diamond weight is estimated so we conservatively estimate 2.00 carats, there's probably more in actual carat weight. 
All of this makes me wonder, is it the point of sale that matters, rather than the actual merchandise?  Do sites like Gilt merit premium prices?  Anybody have an opinion?

BTW, just to clarify. I am not an affiliate of Beladora.  In other words, I don't earn commissions on Beladora jewelry sales.  If you click through BHB and purchase something using the BHB discount code, I won't earn anything on that sale.

But you can be an affiliate.  You could put a link on your blog with your own individual discount code, for example Jill's code could be Stella or Pseu's code could be Femme.  Then, if any item from Beladora or Beladora2 is sold with your specific discount code, you will get paid a commission on that sale.  All of this could be done without going through Commission Junction or Linkshare.

Do you have friends and contacts who buy estate jewelry? Why don't we put together a trunk show, in your city and invite those lovely people. Belador brings the jewelry and picks up expenses. Do you support a particular non-profit group? Maybe a portion of the proceeds from a trunk show could be donated to the group?  The client would be happy, the non-profit would benefit,  It would be a win-win all around.
Anyone interested?

Oh...and if you aren't already, please become a fan of Beladora on Facebook.
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day!


Sorry... but I just had to post a little humor at expense of the French
On the other hand I give you
10 Hot Frenchmen Who Make Bastille Day Worth Celebrating

Celebrate with a
French 75
1 1/2 oz gin

2 tsp superfine sugar
1 1/2 oz lemon juice
4 oz chilled Champagne
1 slice orange
1 maraschino cherry
In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, sugar, and lemon juice. Shake well. Pour into a collins glass. Top with the champagne. Stir well and garnish with the orange slice and the cherry.

Vive La France!
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Complemented on Comments

Super Comments Award

This week when I checked in on one of my favorite blogs to catch up on the chic life in the Welsh wilderness at Life The Universe and All That's In It, I was so pleased to read that Ruth had kindly nominated me for this award.  Thank you Ruth!
The rules are ....
Post it on your blog
Thank and link the person who gave it to you.
Answer the ten questions that come with the award.
Nominate some of your favourite blogs.

Why do you blog?
I started this blog to write about Beladora.com and why you should invest in estate jewelry.  Also I wanted to share my shopping philosophy which comes down to 3 principles:
'friends don't let friends pay retail'
'friends don't let friends waste money on costume jewelry'
'smart women invest in assets with long term style (estate jewelry), not trendy fashions'
Obviously three years later my BHB blog has morphed into something else entirely because I have opinions about all kinds of stuff, and this is where I express them.
What are your three best memories?
Taking my horses out on the beach, and into the ocean, on the coast of Carpenteria.
Skiing with my children in the French/Swiss Alps resort, Avoriaz.
A vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
If you had to change your name, what would it be?
There was a time when I would have liked to have changed my name from a simple English two syllable name with a diminutive 'y' on the end, that was once described in a book as a "maid's name", to a stronger European multisyllabic name like Cassiopeia, Alexandra, Genevieve or Brunhilde.
I've also secretly loved masculine/feminine names like Sydney and Whitney.
Name five things you couldn't live without?
My family, my friends, my job, sunshine and a sense of humor.
Four best books that you have read?
How can I pick just four great books when there have been so many.
For non-fiction
'Modern Times' by Paul Johnson.  I separate the world into those who have read the book and those who haven't and anyone who hasn't read the book should.  I also love all of Johnson's history books including 'Intellectuals' and 'The Birth of the Modern'.  (Like Wendy B, I love Barbara Tuchman's history books as well) 'Mistress to an Age' by Herold, 'The Road to Serfdom' by F.A. Hayek and 'Journey into the Whirlwind' and 'Within the Whirlwind' by Eugenia Semenova Ginsburg, 'Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World' by Young-Bruehl and all of the books by economist Thomas Sowell.
For fiction
The works of Zola. 'The Magic Mountain' and 'Buddenbrooks' by Thomas Mann, 'Foucault's Pendulum' by Umberto Eco, 'Daniel Martin' by John Fowles, 'Possession' by A.S. Byatt, and the works of Edith Wharton.
Tell us a unique and interesting fact about yourself?
A picture of me was once on the cover a specific sports magazine with the tag line "Is it a sport or an addiction".
What do you love best about yourself?
The fact that I am no longer naive
What is the best movie ever made?
Oh come on....this question is impossible to answer.
If you had a "Freaky Friday" experience, who would you change places with and why?
Germaine de Stael because that bitch was everywhere and met everyone of importance of her era from Goethe to Tallyrand to Pitt
or Hannah Arendt because of the legacy that she left.
What is the best part about being a woman?
The best part about being a woman is getting older and not taking yourself so seriously.

Well Ok then....questions answered.
and I further nominate
Bourbon and Pearls
Kimmystyle
Privilege
Metscan
Admiral Cod - obviously change the gender in the 10th question

BTW, if I haven't made myself clear about this before, I do so appreciate all of you who have taken the time to leave a comment or multiple comments on BHB.  I love reading your thoughts and opinions.  I do my best to comment on all of your blogs as well....I wish there were more hours in the day.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Film - I Am Love



I finally got around to seeing Tilda Swinton's 'I am Love' last weekend and I enjoyed it, perhaps more for the wardrobe, sets and music, than for the story line. 'Madame Bovary' it was not. Still, in spite of the fact that the film ran for 2 hours, and was desperately in need of editing, it was definitely worth seeing.
In fact any movie with Tilda Swinton aka 'The Swinton' is worth seeing, don't you agree?

The story is of a bourgeois wife of an Italian industrialist, who emerges from her repressed inner life by falling in love with a young chef, Antonio.  Food is the catalyst for her stepping out of her uber elegant yet cold life in her Milan palazzo and into the country life and raw nature, an Eve finding her Garden of Eden with her primal Adam, if you will.


Anyone who has watched this film will see her character's transformation physically represented in the changes in her overall look. With a wardrobe created by Raf Simons of Jill Sander, the story begins with her character Emma (yeah, we get the nod to Madame Bovary), wearing sleek  monochromatic outfits in cooler colors of blue, grey, plum, etc. 


In the key scene where Emma has lunch at the chef's restaurant in Milan, and falls in love with the Antonio with each bite that she takes of her food, she wear red.


Later, when she follows the chef to his country property, high up in the Ligurian hills, the color palate of her wardrobe changes to warm colors. I could go on and on about Romanticism and the reversion to nature and the correlation of nature and sex that are all big themes in this film, but I won't.
I'd rather say something about the jewelry.
The long strand of multicolored Tahitian pearls, the single statement gold bracelet, the ball pendant (just like this one by Chopard at Beladora), and the all important double strand of white South Sea pearls, added the extra luxe detail to the polished look of her character.
Also, the score was by the brilliant composer, John Adams.  The music was so beautiful that it added emotional depth to the lushly filmed scenes.
I definitely recommend this film.  It is worth seeing for the wardrobe, the music and the architecture and interior design of the Milan palazzo alone.
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Things To Do In LA - Gérôme At The Getty

When the sun refuses to come out...which it has for weeks
The Gérôme exhibit at the Getty Museum
And why Gérôme?
Because he painted amazing Orientalist paintings
and portraits
and pure cheesecake
From the Getty website
Through most of the 20th century, however, Gérôme's critical reputation was tarnished by his alleged commercialism and his stubborn opposition to the triumphant avant-garde movements of Impressionism and Postimpressionism. The first comprehensive exhibition of his work in almost 40 years, this exhibition offers the opportunity to reconsider the variety and complexity of Gérôme's masterful oeuvre.

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