14 March 2017

one of sixteen—fashionably formidable

The month of March is whipping by—the winds are high here and Wednesday promises of more to come. Fast approaching is the first day my book How They Decorated will be "out." I hope to reintroduce these sixteen wonderful women to my readers, along with a new generation of young aesthetes from all walks. Anyone reading or delving into rooms to solidify their own design tastes will truly appreciate the book. At least 1 of the 16 will be intriguing to them,  and to you...

Steering away from too much of a sneak peak, one of the women (along with many of them) was absolutely the most glamorous women in the world for decades. Helene Rochas's tastes develop over those decades adjusting tweaking, and always staying on-trend, not trendy—and always staying ahead of everyone else. Her husband's design label ROCHAS provided her with any frock from the day she married and afterward even though the label retired after Marcel Rochas's death in 1955 to concentrate on scent alone. The label was revived in 2001 to great success, reintroducing a new generation to Rochas themes.

ROCHAS 1934 above, & worn by Helene Rochas in 1954.

 ROCHAS 2015, reinterpreting Rochas 1934

06 March 2017

Song of the South in the South about the South & the Written Word by Southern Authors

My 10 Favorite Songs of the South on the South sung or played mostly by Southerners. I've been thinking about this post for years. I've lost the thread of writing with intent. This is an attempt to get it back. To start again. To mean what I say as write here.

If you don't Know these songs Listen. I've not provided links but—
They're all out there— & along with these quotes by venerated Southern writers Listen and you might Hear something new, amusing, different—
Listen with a new ear. 

Favorite Things ~ John Coltrane 1961 jazz, no words necessary
"So you stomp the blues away. You don't stomp the blues by turning your foot into a sledgehammer. You stomp the blues by snapping your fingers, tilting your head a little on the beat, and snapping on the after beat. The more elegantly you move when you're dealing with the blues, the more effective you are. That's art." Albert Murray 1996

Rainy Night in Georgia ~ Brooks Benton 1969
"May, June and July and the best part of August I've squatted and sweltered on that damn back porch without an ounce of screening." ~Truman Capote 1945

Young Gifted & Black ~ Nina Simone 1958
No one questions the deep pathos of our sorrow songs sung in a minor key, the feeling tone of our religious and gospel music, the melancholy note in our blues, or the rhythmic syncopation of our jazz; but what most white America still does not know is that our literature reveals how we have transmuted suffering into song and heartbreak into compassion." ~Margaret Walter 1970

A Change is Gonna Come ~ Sam Cooke 1964
"A change will come out of this war. If it doesn't, if the politicians and the people who run this country are not forced to make good the shibboleth they glibly talk about freedom, liberty, human rights, then you young men who live through it will have wasted your precious time, and those who don't live through it will have died in vain." ~William Faulkner 1943

Don't It Make You Want to go Home ~ Joe South 1971
"Even today, the South is quirky, quick to take offense, fanciful: it has an attitude, a frame of mind. It prefers the flowery to the plain, likes its own jokes, its own rhetoric. It can laugh at itself at home, but it is immediately riled at any snicker from outside." ~ Eugene Walter 1971

Strange Fruit ~ sung first by Billie Holiday 1939 & by Nina Simone 
It was a strange land, amphibious, and whether water-covered or grown with jungle or robbed entirely of water and trees, as now, it had the same loneliness. He regarded the great sweep—like steppes, like moors, like deserts (all of which were imaginary to him); but more than it was any likeness, it was South. ~ Eudora Welty

Hard Times- written by Stephen Foster ~1854
"You have to push as hard as the age that pushes against you." ~ Flannery O'Connor

Ode to Billy Joe Bobbie Gentry ~1967
"Love is big. Love can hold anger, love can hold pain, love can even hold hatred. It's all about love." ~Alice Walker

Carolina In My Mind James Taylor ~1968
"Home is where you hang your childhood." ~Tennessee Williams

Melissa ~ The Allman Brothers 1972 written by Gregg Allman in 1967
"Respectable ladies in those days were not supposed to rouge; rice powder was as far as you were thought to go. Aunt Julia used to nibble slightly at a petal and rub a delicate bloom onto her cheeks, and would remark on occasion that she had always had color, that was her phrase for it." ~Stark Young 1951

& 1 of GOOD measure
Blue Sky ~ The Allman Brothers 1972 written by Dickie Betts
"I don't think serious people, no matter where they live, hold it against any other person for where they come from." ~Eudora Welty 1978

Most of these songs originated during the 60's and early 70's. My older brother was the influence here-6 years older, he was spinning the tracks in my ear. In 1968 I was 9 years old, so I got these memorable songs at home from his room next door, or down in the Alapaha River house one summer, and later on the radio where he spun his tunes over the wires.
The songs stuck.
Why? I don't really know.
But they are the songs of my life— and they still move me with memory, with longing, and with hope.

19 February 2017

Millicent Rogers in Columbia SC

The esteemed auction house Charlton Hall in Columbia South Carolina will be auctioning pieces from the Arturo Peralta-Ramos Collection March 2, next month. Within the collection, there are a number of pieces of furniture and decorative pieces that once belonged to his mother Millicent Rogers. With homes in Switzerland, New York, Virginia and lastly New Mexico, Rogers accumulated countless possessions for extremely different homes procured with her sharp, sometimes idiosyncratic eye.

photographs of Rogers in New York by Richard Rutledge

As I looked at the items that were once hers, I wonder about her thought process. Was it to fill a spot, love at first site, or fondness for an artist?  Whatever it was, I can only admire it.

Here are some of my favorite lots from the sale.

Lots 46 & 47 by Louis-Leopold Boilly (French, 1761-1845) 
PORTRAIT D'HOMME EN REDINGOTE ET CHEMISE BLANCHE (46), PORTRAIT DE FEMME (47) These two Boilly portraits are pictured hanging above her desk published in Vogue March 15, 1945.

Lot 42 James Meikle Guy (Connecticut, 1909-1983) 
UNTITLED (Social Surrealist figural scene) 

Lot 38 Jean Francois Raffaelli (French, 1850-1924) 

Lot 225 -A Everett Shinn (New York, 1876-1953) 

American bronze bust of Millicent Rogers early 20th century

Lot 215 Pair Paris porcelain urns 19th century

Lot 19 French Empire bronze-mounted mahogany commode-secretaire first quarter 19th century,

One of a pair of was photographed at Millicent Rogers' Claremont Manor in Virginia in 1940. (pictured below)

Lot 17 Neoclassical ormolu-mounted and inlaid birch lit en bateau, attrib. Joseph-Marie Benard circa 1825. The bed is said to have belonged to the Countess Walewska, Polish noblewoman and mistress of Emperor Napoleon I. It once resided in Millicent's chalet in St. Anton, Austria.

all lots can be found on the Charlton Hall Auctions site here.

12 February 2017

counting the months


"What do I care if Mrs. Harrison Williams is the best dressed woman in town?" Cole Porter

When you start writing about people suddenly you are scouring ebay for photographs of them— I obsessed a bit. It's 2 months till my book is finally released, April 11th. Cecil Beaton's portrait of Mona and Harrison Williams is on the cover. Here's one of my Mona photographs, c1937- February 10, by the way! Quote: copy should read- Mrs. Harrison Williams acknowledged to be the world's best dressed woman, accompanied by William Taylor, arriving at the Colony Club in Palm Beach Fla., where they are vacationing. (Credit line Acme)

Plans to be in NYC, Houston, High Point, Raleigh, and Charlotte are underway now.


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