Archive for Stemware

Reverse that scoop

“Graphic necklines,” said InStyle (2/14, page 100), and asked “Are you ready to dip?”

This is evidently the inverse of the classic sweetheart neckline:

Dakota Fanning in Valentino

Valentino has worked well for Dakota Fanning over the years, but this may be overdoing — or pretending to be overdoing — that whole “modesty” bit.

God (or Saks) only knows what the dress (from the fall ’13 collection) cost, but the shoes, also from Valentino, can be had for a mere $895. Stylebop says it’s a kitten heel, but if so, that’s a damn big cat.

(With thanks to Because I Am Fabulous.)

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We are never ever getting snacks together

And here’s Taylor Swift coming out of Ralphs with her fifteen items or less — all alone:

Taylor Swift at Ralphs in West Hollywood January 2014

Time from seeing picture to coming up with title: 0.09 seconds.

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Never one to desert

We have here Swinging London icon Marianne Faithfull at her 60s, um, 60s-est:

Marianne Faithfull in the mid-1960s

In her 67 years (as of tomorrow) she’s seen several lifetime’s worth of experiences, including a liaison with Mick Jagger (which may or may not explain why she has a writing credit on “Sister Morphine”), a spate of drug abuse in the Seventies (which may or may not explain why she has a writing credit on “Sister Morphine”), a tremendous comeback album (Broken English, 1979), and recordings right up to the present day.

My favorite Faithfull recording was, and is, the 1965 single “Summer Nights,” heard here in an “alternate/rare version” which is actually the US 45. (All the greatest-hits packages have a stereo mix with a different vocal track.)

“Summer Nights” is sweet. My second-favorite Faithfull recording is “Why D’Ya Do It,” the ferocious last track of Broken English, heard here in a 1993 live recording that isn’t even slightly safe for work.

Oh, and she’s the current Baroness von Sacher-Masoch.

(Lots of photos, early and late, at Faithfull Forever.)

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Bite your tongue and hold your breath

From Andy Crossett’s Celebrity Legs Gallery, the winner for 2013:

This year Katy Perry is the winner of the Best Celebrity Legs title. It’s her first win after several years of near-misses. She pulled into the lead literally in the closing hours of the contest, so I’m sure she worked up a nice glistening sweat. I’m pretty sure it was her turn as a sexy jungle girl in her “Roar” video and performances that put her over the top.

An image from the aforementioned video:

Katy Perry in Roar video

I can’t say I’m displeased with the selection, but just once I’d like to see a candidate from way outside the entertainment industry — say, Canadian author Sheila Heti, who is vastly more interesting to listen to. Not going to happen, though.

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Shoes for European industry

While gathering material for the Rule 5 piece on Helle Thorning-Schmidt, I happened upon these shoes of hers:

Shoes worn by Helle Thorning-Schmidt to a EU convocation

Couldn’t find any identifying material on them except for this:

Great shoes from Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels. European Union leaders meet in Brussels ostensibly to agree on ways to find more jobs for the young, who’ve been disproportionately punished by years of crisis and recession. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

And I did find a shot of what she wore them with:

Outfit worn by Helle Thorning-Schmidt to a EU convocation

Well played, Madam Prime Minister. (This photo by Georges Gobet.)

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Helle breaks loose

A case study in side-eye, as taught by the First Lady:

“That girl,” it turns out, is Helle Thorning-Schmidt, forty-seven this week, who for the past two years has served as Prime Minister of Denmark under Queen Margrethe II. A Social Democrat, she has pursued policies which these days are considered centrist; she’s married to Stephen Kinnock of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Obviously not just someone who caught the President’s eye. In fact, they’ve met before:

Helle Thorning-Schmidt with Barack Obama

And like the rest of us, she puts her shoes on one at a time:

Helle Thorning-Schmidt exits her car

Commentary has ranged from snarky to really snarky, with this tweet perhaps summing it up:

Michelle’s death stare is the distilled rage of a million black women losing the attentions of their men to white blondes.

Beyond that, deponent saith not.

Addendum: Well, maybe something more about the shoes.

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Where she had to be

As a general rule, women named “Chanel” don’t drive forklifts. (Not that I have anything at all against women driving forklifts; my daughter used to drive a forklift.) A more likely destination:

Chanel Iman Robinson, known commonly today as simply Chanel Iman, is the youngest and most successful African-American High Fashion Model of her time. The Victoria’s Secret “Angel” is well-known for having positive energy and endless legs that have walked countless runways around the world.

“Her time” began in 2006, when she was only sixteen. (She turns 23 tomorrow.) Herewith, an example of positive energy, followed by an example of endless legs:

Chanel Iman as DJ

Chanel Iman wearing Max Mara

For those worried about Absolute Percentages, Ms Iman is one-quarter (on her mother’s side) Korean.

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Twice as Swift

Here we have singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, first Showing Off, then Not (Quite) Showing Off.

Taylor Swift for Victoria's Secret

Taylor Swift hiking in Franklin Canyon

The latter was an excursion by Tay and Ed Sheeran to Franklin Canyon Park, on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains. Ed, of course, has been opening for her on the Red tour, and they’ve written and recorded a song together, which of course doesn’t mean that some day she won’t sit down and pound out something called “Bite Me, Ed.” I’m thinking that for now maybe Ed’s helping to keep her grounded, which is probably a Good Thing if you’re a superstar at a couple of weeks short of twenty-four.

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Meaningful dimensions

Every now and then, someone comes into Y!A with a question along the line of “Will I fit in a [make and model]?” My answer is always the same: try it on for size. This is mostly because I’ve been burned by the one-size-fits-all statistics they always give out: fiftysomething cubic feet up front, maybe forty in the back, and legroom figures that assume everyone’s the same five-foot-nine person above whose head Consumer Reports measures headroom.

On the other hand, I can see this Toyota Yaris in my mind’s eye with superior resolution, thanks to the descriptive powers of Jack Baruth:

I … used the little Toyota to take a friend to dinner, said friend being a young lady approaching six feet tall and possessed of a thirty-six-inch inseam. Remember that, it’s relevant later, I promise. Finally, I tossed the car seat in the back and obtained my son’s opinion on the thing.

Oddly enough, both my four-year-old son and six-footer friend said the same thing about the Yaris: it’s not roomy. The two of them wouldn’t have been able to coexist in the thing; moving the passenger seat far enough forward for my scion (as opposed to the Scion, which this Yaris emphatically is not) to be able to fit his legs between the end of the child seat’s thigh support and the back of the front seat would have rendered said front seat completely uninhabitable for the Dutch girl. But even with the front seat moved all the way back, it was impossible for Miss Thirty Six Inch Inseam to cross her legs in the car. She was forced to sit flat-footed and upright in the thing. “Not,” she pronounced, “as roomy as my Civic.” Well, that’s okay, it’s a class below the Civic.

You couldn’t get that into a Road & Track data panel, I suppose.

Disclosure: While the sheer length of my lifetime has made it possible for me to have known several women who met most of this general description — “Dutch” is a data point I did not obtain — I have never been able to lure any of them into any car I was driving, let alone get them to cross their legs therein.

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No sneakers involved

This dates to about 1953, and Phil Knight, then fifteen years old, wouldn’t be making athletic shoes for another decade or so:

Advertisement for Nike hosiery 1953

I didn’t find where the Cunninghams of Kilmarnock wound up, though apparently the burgh was celebrated for both textiles and heavy industrial production — and for Johnnie Walker, which was bottled there until 2012.

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Melissa displays it all

I have occasionally expressed discomfiture over the appearance of Hervé Léger’s Bandage dress, which to me suggests really stylish mummification. On the other hand, Melissa Joan Hart seems to grasp the Zeitgeist here, and by “here” I mean at the premiere of Disney’s Frozen:

Melissa Joan Hart in Herve Leger

Or maybe she’s the only one who managed to get it in the correct size.

Random stumbled-upon biographical bit: Apparently MJH is named for an Allman Brothers song.

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Second tour of duty

Melinda May, according to the current ABC/Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has been here before. Says Ming-Na Wen, who plays the role:

“[She] needed to be saved. She returned to S.H.I.E.L.D. out of loyalty to [Phil] Coulson, but there’s a part of her that remains reluctant. She still gets her pissed-off face. If it weren’t for his intervention, she’d still be down in that dark, dingy room stapling things.”

This is not her pissed-off face:

Ming-Na Wen at TCA panel for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ming-Na Wen’s first TV role, back in 1985, was as a Royal Trumpeter in two episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She turns 50 tomorrow.

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DF the VJ

Someone asked the other day if anything good had happened in Cuba since the rise of Fidel. I was not quite quick enough to come back with “Daisy Fuentes was born in Havana,” which is certainly true and, to my way of thinking anyway, very good. If you haven’t seen her lately, well, here’s a shot from last fall’s New York Fashion Week, where she’s on the front row at the Carlos Miele show:

Daisy Fuentes - New York Fashion Week 2012

Not sure who her friend is.

You can’t tell from this shot, really, but Fuentes is one of the few celebrities who seems to have retained her fondness for the toe ring; in fact, she’s generally seen with two of them.

And this tidbit from her Wikipedia bio actually caused me to do a spit take:

Fuentes learned to speak English while watching I Love Lucy episodes.

Which is more, you know, than the late Desi Arnaz ever did.

Daisy Fuentes turns 47 tomorrow. “How is this even possible?” wails the guy on the cusp of 60.

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Candidate for replacement

Opportunity: Gorgeous actress on red carpet. In Italy, no less, and wearing Balenciaga. Difficulty: Utterly preposterous outfit.

Solution: Set it up correctly, and then find a snarky quote about it.

With that in mind, here’s the Wikipedia synopsis for the Spike Jonze film Her, opening Real Soon Now:

Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson), a bright, female voice, who is insightful, sensitive and surprisingly funny. As her needs and desires grow, in tandem with his own, their friendship deepens into an eventual love for each other.

I am required, of course, to see that, if only because I wrote this.

And then you wonder: whom did Twombly give up for this disembodied voice? It was his wife Catherine, played by Rooney Mara, and if she was wearing this, he might actually be better off:

Rooney Mara in Balenciaga at the premiere of Her

Oddly, Mara’s attending a screening of Her, in, yes, Italy. For the snark, I turn to the lovely and talented Fug Girl Heather:

There is a hideousness to this which defies description. It looks like a bad joke: “A Gap t-shirt, a Vegas wedding dress, and a pair of L’Eggs from Planet Gargantua walked into a bar. The bartender said, ‘What can I get you?’ And they said, ‘A concussion.’”

Still, she’s a material girl, which the Scarlet Johansson character isn’t. I have yet to decide for myself whether that’s a problem.

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It’s okay to shoot the moon

It seems that ninety-something percent of photographs of singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, forty-three today, show her in Intense Musician Mode, concentrating on the flow as it goes. Then there’s this one, from the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival:

Susan Tedeschi in blue

Still, this is an anomaly, as such things go.

In 2010, both Tedeschi and husband Derek Trucks — he’s the nephew of original Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks — put their individual touring bands aside and formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Watch her face, and watch his fingers. Better yet, just listen:

It’s a familiar theme: A goes on the road, B remains behind and cries into the night sky. It’s perhaps the most morose song John Sebastian ever wrote; there’s something almost reassuring about seeing an actual married couple pulling it off.

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Wielding the shield

After paying entirely too much attention to Paris Hilton over the past decade or so, I have decided that her true strength is her ability to appear thoroughly detached from whatever it is she’s supposed to be doing. Consider this Halloween garb:

Paris Hilton as a gladiator

For all I know, she has a Blackberry tucked into the edge of that shield.

The single “Good Time,” featuring Lil Wayne, is out now — warning: several F-bombs, mostly from Wayne — and it’s a bit less cerebral than, well, almost anything in existence. Still, her ability at 32 to decorate a set is still pretty formidable, and her “Honey Bunch” (!) clothing line is decidedly on the cute side.

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Definitely all that

How is it possible that Gabrielle Union just turned forty?

Then again, she was still clinging to 39 when she showed up in this teensy Zac Posen number for the BET Awards in late June:

Gabrielle Union at BET Awards 2013

And what color is that, exactly? It’s not really orange, but it’s something distinctly different from your garden-variety red.

Being Mary Jane, her series for BET, bore the working title Single Black Female, which kind of gives away the premise. The pilot episode aired in July; the regular season begins in January 2014, but BET apparently has already committed to a second season.

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The Doctor is in

R. Griggs Group, a British shoe manufacturer you know better than you think you do, has just been acquired by European private-equity firm Permira for £300 million.

The Griggs family has been producing shoes since 1959, based on a design by Dr. Klaus Märtens, first sold by Märtens and old friend Dr. Herbert Funck in 1947. The shoes still bear the Dr. Martens name, albeit de-umlauted. Griggs’ first version was designated Model 1460; it’s still sold today, and we see a pair here on Jessica Alba:

Jessica Alba in Dr. Martens

Why 1460? The shoe was introduced in Britain on 1 April 1960.

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Some dazzling albedo there

Last time out, I had occasion to mention a late-Eighties advertising campaign by Hanes — the ever-popular magpie functionality, you’ll be pleased to note, is running flat out — and after looking at a few of the articles in question, this one, I decided, was the silliest:

Hanes Silk Reflections advertisement circa 1987

I’m not entirely certain that this beachlike setting is the ideal place to show off one’s hosiery, but then, she’s been up the Nile and down the Mississippi and around the world and across the nation and up your street, so Claire, who seems vaguely manic-pixie-dream-girl-ish here, can pretty much do as she darn well pleases.

Oh, and the bird with the short attention span reported, as I was typing that last paragraph, that “Claire” is Zooey Deschanel’s middle name.

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Deneuve, of some people

It’s Catherine Deneuve’s 70th birthday today, for which we flash back briefly to her younger days, when Yves Saint Laurent assumed responsibility for, um, dressing her. Here she’s actually sitting in the YSL showroom in Paris:

Catherine Deneuve in the YSL showroom, portrait by Giancarlo Botti

Very much a Sixties icon. In her own sixties — well, here’s the photo Vanity Fair ran with her Proust Questionnaire in January 2006:

Catherine Deneuve for Vanity Fair

Nobody ever looked bored quite as excitingly as Catherine Deneuve.

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The girl next door

About five years ago, New York’s Nassau County decided to pitch itself as “The Island Next Door,” and appointed several tourism ambassadors, one of whom was singer/songwriter Ashanti, who was born 13 October 1980 in Glen Cove and grew up in Roslyn. This is what she wore to the announcement ceremony:

Ashanti back home

Not sure which is brighter: her smile or that dress.

Ashanti has also done a fair amount of acting: she joined the cast of Lifetime’s Army Wives for its seventh and final season (2012-13), playing Latasha Montclair, spouse of an Army corporal.

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Virtuoso serious

The OKC Philharmonic, to promote an upcoming concert, posted this picture of violinist Jennifer Koh to their Facebook page:

Jennifer Koh

(Photo by Juergen Frank.)

Jennifer Koh String Poetic artworkNow I admit that I adore that dress, but this is definitely a few clicks away from the way she usually looks, which is perhaps a bit more soccer-mom-ish than glam. See, for instance, the artwork for String Poetic, a collaboration with pianist Reiko Uchida, which won a Grammy nomination for Best Chamber Music Performance in 2009.

Jennifer Koh will appear with the Phil on the 19th of October; she’ll be playing Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. Later this month, a new album:

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Still I believe in wonder

Taking it easy on the not-so-high sea is singer Zlata Ognevich:

Zlata Ognevich taking it easy

Born in 1986 in Murmansk, Zlata grew up in Ukraine; in 2010 and 2011, she sought to represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest, but did not make it through the competition. In 2013, she did:

Ukraine finished third in the final, behind Denmark and Azerbaijan. Interestingly, the three top songs were all in English.

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I’m being followed by a rose shadow

Gül Gölge is a Turkish model/actress/TV host, born on this date in 1981 in Izmir. Here we find her involved with Western culture, sort of:

Gul Golge in a Starbucks

At 5’11¾”, she is seriously tall. The Turkish edition of InStyle Home put her on the cover last spring:

Gul Golge on InStyle Home

There exists a brief backstage video made in connection with the magazine cover story. Again, she seems rather Westernized.

Then there’s that name: “gül gölge” means, more or less, “rose shadow.” (Google Translate suggests “pink shade.”) And no, she’s not actually “following” me in any sense: her Twitter account is private, and anyway she’s been married for six years.

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A little something more

“Luxury,” says this vintage advertisement, “is that which completes the enjoyment of life.” Which is undoubtedly why we (for certain values of “we”) seek it out.

Advertisement for Prestige Hosiery

The manufacturers of the Prestige brand learned a hard lesson about market positioning. Prestige Ltd, based in Australia, had started up in 1922 as a manufacturer of top-quality goods; the company’s bankers and certain members of its board wanted a downmarket line for higher volume, and got it. In less than two years the company was foundering. Founder George Gotardo Foletta, who’d given up his seat on the board in protest, came back to mend their ways. The brand would survive until 1978, five years longer than Foletta did.

And once again, I contend that these old drawings have a distinct personality that fashion photography often lacks.

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Like sisters

There was much gushing in the tweetstream Sunday night when Kerry Washington and Diahann Carroll emerged as presenters at the Primetime Emmys, mostly along the lines of “Dayum, girl, but you do look good for 80!”

Actually, Diahann’s only 78. And if you’d been paying attention, you’d have seen this shot of the two of them, which came out earlier in the month when they were added to the presenter list:

Diahann Carroll and Kerry Washington


I’ll happily refer you to previous shots of Kerry Washington, while I produce this oddity from the Annals of Time, or at least of Dynasty:

Read the rest of this entry »

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I think they’re stretching it

InStyle (October ’13) is reporting the results of an online reader poll: fully 53 percent of respondents said yes, at least once they’ve shaved their legs at the bathroom sink.

This sounds implausible to me, for one of the following reasons:

  • I don’t know the grooming habits of very many women;
  • I have a very small and/or ill-placed bathroom sink.

Or possibly both.

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Time to Sherawat

Last time we looked in on Mallika Sherawat was two years ago, and, well, as is no secret, I have a soft spot for some of our finer Bollywood imports.

At the time, she was attempting to advance her career beyond India, and she made a couple of American indie films, most notably Politics of Love, set in 2008, in which she plays a low-level operative for the Obama campaign who falls hard for a chap working for John McCain. (This, boys and girls, is how you know it’s fiction.)

What I did not know was that she’d also done a Hong Kong martial-arts film, The Myth, opposite (yes!) Jackie Chan. Herewith, a sticky scene therefrom:

Apparently this picture was taken at a photocall before the premiere:

Mallika Sherawat in 2005

Oh, she plays off Bruno Mars pretty well, too.

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Play or be played

Opening later this month is a film titled Runner, Runner, about which Vanity Fair interviewed female lead Gemma Arterton:

She plays Rebecca Shafran, the right-hand girl of nefarious poker-Web-site owner Ivan Block (played by Ben Affleck), who is forced to contend with Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), a Princeton student who has lost his tuition money on the site. Embroiled in the billion-dollar online-gambling industry, Rebecca “finds herself trapped and in too deep in a world of crime she doesn’t really enjoy,” Arterton says of her character. “She is the only female in the movie, so I had to make her earthy and give her a lot of substance,” Arterton adds. “I made her a little more female — she was a man’s idea of a woman before I brought some of my ideas to the writers.” As for the plot, it’s when Block takes Furst on as an apprentice, and Furst and Shafran fall in love, that, she says, “it gets messy and complicated.”

We’ve seen that concept before: “a man’s idea of a woman.” Any similarity to an actual woman is a coincidence and not intended.

Then again, I seldom get to see actual women wearing Donna Karan New York in NYC townhomes, so:

Gemma Arterton in repose

Complicated, perhaps, but not the least bit messy.

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Totally tubeless

One of many attempts over the years to make “support” hosiery look a little less clinical:

Mid-1960s ad for Vyrene fiber by Uniroyal

Yes, that’s the same Uniroyal that makes tires, though they’re now owned by Michelin. As U. S. Rubber, their one big success in apparel — you never see Vyrene anymore — was the casual shoe once known as U. S. Keds, now simply Keds. (Stride Rite, a Wolverine subsidiary, currently owns the brand.)

As for the lovely Valma Valle, we find her here sporting a Beatle ‘do.

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