Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How To Wear Estate Jewelry or Not Your Grandmother's Pearls

Pearls, as we all know come in a variety of sizes.
So...what is the correct size to wear?

Our favorite pearl expert at  Passage des Perles blog addressed this question today
She likes her classic pearl strand in size 9 mm and larger,
and agree with her that larger sizes are appropriate for women of a certain age
like me.

I like all pearls, the classic single, double and triple strands as well as opera length.
Who doesn't?
Some my find them boring, but I don't.
But that's not to say that I don't also adore pearls used in edgier more contemporary jewelry designs
such as this Tahitian Pearl negligee pendant necklace

Here's the close up

The necklace is designed with faceted fancy colored diamond beads from which two large Tahitian pearl drops (16 mm), hang unevenly and thus the name negligee...as if this was the base of a bow tied loosely.

Totally wearable or over the top...
What do you think?
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Millicent Rogers Style - It's All In The Mix

In case you haven't read this article from last week's Wall Street JournalThoroughly Marvelous Millie
Life and style lessons from the rebellious, glamour-to-the-gills icon Millicent Rogers
Biographer Cherie Burns gives us a how-to on living like the over the top Standard Oil heiress
Wear what you love. Millicent Rogers was known for mixing it up and bending the rules in the days when fashion was dictated by editors and designers. When she liked a simple local style, whether it was a Tyrolean look or the squaw skirts she saw on Native Americans in New Mexico, she still relied on good tailoring to pull it off. She bought or sketched the item and then sent it to her couturiers—often Charles James, Elsa Schiaparelli or Mainbocher—to make a version to her measurements out of fine fabrics. When she liked the lines of an Italian truck driver's jacket, she had it recreated down to the bright orange lining, but as a ski coat. Then she added a red fox collar.

Buy in multiples. Ms. Rogers ordered four dozen nearly identical Charles James blouses.


Make the most of accessories. Ms. Rogers altered the buttons on dresses to achieve the look she was after. She always wore gloves a size too large. She added her own monkey muff to a navy wool suit and eschewed popular cloche hats for Tyrolean toppers with feathers. She dyed a moleskin cape, muff and hat bright red.

The magnificent Millicent had money, tons of it, or should I say oil wells of it, and she wasn't afraid to spend it on multiple men, mansions and mainbochers.

This is a woman who did things her own way, especially when it came to her sartorial style.
She was considered one of the best dressed women of her time and pulled off an traditional Tyrolean dirndls when she was married to a near do well Austrian aristocrat as easily as she wore Southwestern get-ups in her adobe home in Taos.

Accept for maybe Daphne Guinness, we don't see trendsetting heiresses like Millicent Rogers anymore.
I love the way that never did anything in a small way, whether it was decorating her houses, amassing her art collection, travelling with her seven dachshunds or piling on the turquoise bracelets.

Millicent set her own fashion standards and easily mixed Southwestern silver jewelry with her formal silk gowns making her the boho chic fashionista of her age.
I like her style
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Weather Miscellany and a Walk On The Wild Side

You might think that it is always sunshine and blue skis around here
like in this photo of Rodeo Drive
This is what it actually looked like this week
only a mile or so west of Beverly Hills in Brentwood

Fog blanketing Santa Monica and Brentwood as seen from the 25th floor
How heavy the fog can get here in Los Angeles

And, when we are not braving le brouillard
we are fighting off wild beasts

Yes people, that is a wild bobcat drinking from a swimming pool in Bel Air
The photo was taken last Friday and posted on the Bel Air blog
OK...so maybe we haven't suffered from Old Testament style weather and conditions...like some people...but the more that we encroach on mother nature, the more that she reminds us that we aren't the only animals in this urban jungle.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Stories and Garden Galas

Over the summer I like to take a break from serious reading.
What about you?

Here are some of the books that I've read in the last month.

The George R.R. Martin series starting with the Game of Thrones.
If you like an epic story with political intrigue among competing clans, characters with unbridled ambition who are willing to destroy all in their paths in their lust for power, kind of like Washington D.C., these books are for you.
Consider them to be a sort of a Lord of the Rings type fantasy, except darker, much darker.
Jill, has read these books too and she's as anxious as I am for the final book to be released.
The 19th Wife, is the story of Eliza Young, the apostate renegade wife of Brigham Young who publicly denounces polygamy, cleverly interwoven with a murder mystery involving a contemporary 19th wife of Fundamentalist LDS cult member.  Ebershoff combines the development of Mormonism in 19th Century with the cult's bizarre behavior in the 21st Century. Of particular interest to me was the history of "hand cart" migration of European immigrants.  Their treatment was deplorable.

If you enjoy well written historical fiction you will like Cleopatra's Daughter.  Did you know that Roman women worried about stretch marks from pregnancy?  I didn't either.

I'm a huge fan of the New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva.  He writes amazing international thrillers centered on a main character who is an artist and art restorer.  I recently finished The Rembrandt Affair and Portrait of a Spy. If you like thrillers, I highly recommend these books, but start from the beginning of the series because the story and the characters evolve with each new book.

When not reading it's been all fancy pants parties and soirees for me.
Well not really but I was happy to attend the 100 anniversary gala for the Friends of Virginia Robinson Gardens.  It was a beautiful event held in the gardens of Viginia Robinson's home, the first estate built in Beverly Hills in 1911.
Look how pretty the tables were under the lights suspended above the lawn.  And I loved the way that pink shawls were provided for all the ladies because it was a little chilly after the sun went down.
The guests were treated to a water ballet as pre-dinner entertainment which I thought was charming until the silk chiffon of  the hem of my dress sopped up water left by the swimmers on the brick path next to the pool. Luckily, no permanent damage was done, because I really loved my dress.
You might think that my gown was a little too 'mother of the bride-ish', but I thought that it was rather Edith Wharton-ish.

My peeps from Patrick McMullin liked it too...and why will they only sell hard copy prints instead of digital jpegs?
I thought that the french blue color of my dress was perfect for this suite of moonstone and diamond jewelry as you can see from the before photo.
And here is the after photo...specifically after a couple of glasses of wine photo. 
The jewelry looks good but what's up with my shiny forehead?

We've been busy buying at Beladora and hopefully I will be able to show you some awesome Art Deco pieces soon.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Starting Off September With A Sofreh

So September has finally arrived
and so by the way, has Summer.
Finally, we have what I have longed for, hot sunny days and evenings so lovely that you can sit out doors comfortably without a sweater.
Of course this late summer heat has had its drawbacks too with the power outage that affected large parts of San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties.  That's millions and millions of people without air conditioning in temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s.  But as one blog commenter wrote, the power outage was taken in true laid back Southern California style. Instead of riots in the streets, neighbors came together for barbecues and beers.

Well anyhoo, getting back on topic, I had the pleasure to attend a full on Persian wedding last weekend.  It was amazing and kudos to Mariam, the mother of the bride, who organized this lovely event.  Layla, the bride, a school friend of my daughter, was lovely.

Obviously, the wedding was very different than a traditional Catholic or Protestant wedding that I am used to so I wanted to share some photos, but do forgive my lousy photos from my iphone. So instead of the bride and groom standing before and alter they are seated next to a dressed up table with the traditional Persian sofreh which holds specific symbolic items. 
The wedding ceremony was conducted in Farsi and I have no idea what was actually said. An interesting element was when the female relatives held a lace cloth over the bride and groom and did this thing with large cones of sugar which was meant to sweeten the marriage.
So after the approximately hour long wedding ceremony I made my way up to the bride and groom to congratulate them and to check out all the ceremonial stuff which sits before the mirror which symbolizes bringing light and brightness to the future.

The table was decorated with lots of frippery and frou frou

So here are the contents of the sofreh.
  • A specially baked and decorated flatbread "Noon-e Sangak" with blessing "Mobaarak-Baad" written in calligraphy on it. The writing is usually with either saffron "Zaffaron", cinnamon, Nigella seeds, or glitters. This symbolizes prosperity for the feasts and for the couple's life thereafter. A separate platter of this flat bread, feta cheese and fresh herbs are also present to be shared with the guests after the ceremony, to bring the new couple happiness and prosperity.

  • A basket of decorated eggs and a basket of decorated almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in the shell to symbolize fertility.

  • A basket of pomegranates and/or apples for a joyous future. Pomegranates are considered heavenly fruits and apples symbolize the divine creation of mankind.

  • A cup of rose water extracted from special Persian roses "Gol-e Mohammadi" to perfume the air.

  • A bowl made out of crystallized sugar "Kaas-e Nabaat/Shaakh-e Nabaat" to sweeten life for the newly wed.

  • A brazier "Manghal" holding burning coals sprinkled with wild rue "Espand" a popular incense. Wild rue is used in many Zoroastrian ceremonies, rituals and purification rites. It is believed to keep the evil eye away and bring on plenty of health.

  • A bowl of gold coins representing wealth and prosperity.

  • A scarf or shawl made out of silk or any other fine fabric to be held over the bride and bridegroom's head throughout the ceremony by various happily married female relatives (mostly bride's close family members).

  • Two sugar cones "Kalleh Ghand" made out of hardened sugar to be used during the ceremony. These sugar cones are grinded together above the bride and bridegroom's head (over the scarf held above their heads) throughout the ceremony to shower them in sugar (symbolizing sweetness and happiness).

  • A cup of honey to sweeten life. Immediately after the couple is married they each should dip one pinky finger in the cup of honey and feed it to the other one.

  • A needle and seven strands of colored thread to figuratively sew up the mother-in-law's lips from speaking unpleasant words to the bride! The shawl that is held above the couple's head throughout the ceremony is sewed in one corner by the needle and threads.

  • A copy of the couple's Holy Book is placed on the spread. For Christian couples, it would be the Bible, for Zorastians Avesta, For Muslims Qur'an, .... This symbolizes God's blessing for the couple. Some couples use a poetry book such as Khayyam's poetry collection or Hafiz poetry collection instead of a religeous holy book. Traditionally "Avesta" the ancient Zoroastrian holy book was used by the majority of Iranins and Bible by the Iranian Christians during the ceremony and readings were made from it. Eventually Qur'an replaced Avesta for most wedding ceremonies after Iran was attacked by Arabs and forced to accept Islam.

  • After the wedding there was a hour long reception with hors d'oeuvres served and then the guests moved into the dining room.  The tables were set simply except for the elaborate flower arrangements.

    After about another half an hour, the bride and groom entered and did some kind of Persian-ish  dance thing and then they had their traditional first dance. And so commenced a few hours of dancing to both Persian and American music.  (FYI, I love Persian music and dancing.  It's so sexy.)

    Meanwhile, the bride and groom worked the room and greeted their guests.
    Here is the lovely Layla with my daughter.
    I loved her emerald and diamond necklace and earrings.
    (Did I mention that not only is Layla lovely, she is super smart too and just took her medical boards)
    Persian women dress to impress and we did too...or at least we tried.
    What can I say, we are joiners.
    My daughter wore a long bronzy-gold gown with a jewel toned silk shawl.
    And gi-normous diamond jewelry.
    Unfortunately, I was utterly under dressed in my blue silk suit
    and I hate to say it but even my sapphire and diamond jewelry was understated.
    Next time I will know to pull out all the stops when it comes dressing up for a Persian wedding.

    And speaking of dressing up...I sashayed around Rodeo Drive a bit on Thursday night for Fashion's Night Out.  Bvlgari, Breguet, Cristofle and Etro hosted special receptions for the Beverly Hills Women's Club and I managed to make it to the Bvlgari party, then it was off to dinner at Mortons. Every once in a while, it's great to go to dinner at some place traditional like Mortons....don't you agree?

    Personally, I think that the whole Fashion's Night Out concept is a little lame.  What do you think?

    Tonight, I'm off to the gala dinner for the 100th anniversary of the Virgina Robinson estate and gardens in Beverly Hills. 

    Tomorrow will be a quiet day at home, god willing, with plenty of down time for remembrance of those we lost a decade ago.

    What are you up to this weekend?

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