Archive for Stemware

And yet I’ve never been to Spain

The last time we looked in on Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, Princess of Asturias, spouse to the heir apparent to the Spanish throne, she was inducing apoplexy in some HuffPo fashion scribe for having the temerity to come out in public in flats. Not this time:

Princess Letizia wearing white before Labor Day

I include, in full, this write-up at GFY:

Ahem: “Princess Letizia of Spain receives organizing committee of the ‘World Championships Artistic Roller Skating’” !!!!!!!!! Why didn’t I watch that?!

How could you resist? And then she admits: “I am into these shoes.” Shall we take a look?

Princess Letizia's decidedly nonflat shoes

And I admit: the Palace at Zarzuela has some nifty carpeting.

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Now featuring a face

Yesterday I posted something about perceived invisibility, accompanied by a picture of someone who was “actually” invisible. This was, of course, motion-picture special-effects work; but for 1940, those were damned good effects. (In fact, John P. Fulton was nominated for an Academy Award for them.)

I was tempted to turn that in for a Rule 5 roundup — she does look good, to the extent that she looks at all, in that dress — but decided that might be a bit too hard to deal with, so here’s the visible Virginia Bruce (1910-1982):

Virginia Bruce at the beach

Really good shots of VB are hard to come by; I am indebted to Dr. Macro for this one:

Virginia Bruce not at the beach

So how does a Hollywood-pretty actress end up in a role where she can’t be seen? It went something like this:

Deadly serious fans of the Universal horror films have never quite come to grips with The Invisible Woman; somehow its screwball farce just doesn’t seem to fit into the rest of the series. They’re missing the point. Invisibility of any sort is bizarre; the original H. G. Wells story was full of weirdly humorous bits, and James Whale’s 1933 film, which launched Universal’s Invisible series, successfully translated that weirdness into visuals. Even the more formulaic later pictures in the series still contained scenes that inspire giggling, and not always by accident.

It was this sort of whimsy that, judging by her previous appearances (consider, for instance, The Shop Around The Corner), you might think would have appealed to Margaret Sullavan, Universal’s first choice for the role of Kitty Carroll. But Sullavan refused to take the part, which got her suspended by the studio, and Virginia Bruce was chosen to replace her. The actress formerly known as Helen Virginia Briggs grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, moved west as a teenager to attend UCLA, but wound up doing bit parts in pictures instead, graduating to leads shortly thereafter. She was thirty years old when she signed for The Invisible Woman. It’s not likely that she considered it anything more than a paycheck, but today it’s one of the roles for which she’s best remembered. Her last appearance was in Strangers When We Meet in 1960, playing Kim Novak’s mother; she died in 1982.

“Appearance,” he says. Haw.

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Not a serif in sight

Apparently I’m not the only person who thought Ariana Grande was a Windows font. She’s actually a young singer/actress who did three years on Nickelodeon’s series Victorious and has released one album, Yours Truly. She might look all of her twenty years — maybe — in this shot from Nick’s Kids’ Choice Awards last weekend:

Ariana Grande on Nickelodeon

The best track off Yours Truly, I think, is the retro-sounding “Baby I,” which supposedly was originally written for Beyoncé. Grande does well here, with only a couple of seconds of Mariah Carey-ish caterwauling.

Retro-looking, too, I suppose.

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She didn’t say “Look at me”

From the article just before this one:

It’s 1967. Sandra Dee has just seated herself in the chair beside your desk. Being the douchecanoe you are, you adjust the angle of the mirror just a bit, and the reflection gives you what you wanted: an unobstructed view of Miss Dee’s grade-A legs.

Late last night I stumbled upon a studio still of something resembling this scene. Behold:

Sandra Dee with George Hamilton

The prematurely orange fellow with the subtlety of a flying mallet is George Hamilton.

If you’d rather see her not harassed in person, there’s this:

Sandra Dee at the airport

Who’s that woman behind the curtain? I have no idea.

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Super iPerv 9000

It’s 1967. Sandra Dee has just seated herself in the chair beside your desk. Being the douchecanoe you are, you adjust the angle of the mirror just a bit, and the reflection gives you what you wanted: an unobstructed view of Miss Dee’s grade-A legs.

This scene actually appears in the otherwise uneventful grade-B flick Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding! And it had exactly the effect on this impressionable youth — I was 14 in 1967 — that you think it did.

But older and marginally wiser, I now feel compelled to warn you that This Could Happen To You:

Possible usage of Spy Cam Peek-I

There exists a crowdfunding effort to develop exactly this technology as an iPhone app, which as of the last time I looked had raised about eight times the original goal. The demand for this sort of thing by 14-year-olds of all ages is evidently substantial.

(Via this Avenging Uterus tweet, bounced into my timeline by Andrea Harris.)

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Perennial Elle

“There’s so much discussion surrounding health and fitness,” said Elle Macpherson to the Daily Express on the occasion of her 50th birthday, “but what I really aspire to is wellness.”

Elle Macpherson, highly stylized

Looks pretty well to me.

There is, incidentally, some disagreement over Macpherson’s age: some sources put her date of birth as 29 March 1964, which would make her 50 today, or 29 March 1963, which would make her 51. I submit that it doesn’t matter a whole lot one way or another, at least until she’s eligible for Medicare.

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A fool such as I

An operation called Grandiloquent Word of the Day came up with this polysyllabic portmanteau:

tibuloconcupiscent

A Facebook friend was kind enough to paste this on my wall, suggesting that it was right up my alley. I argued that “I’m just as interested in watching her take them off.” And besides, ZZ Top has already described this phenomenon more than adequately.

Morley, a famed British brand since 1795, was rebooted in 2011, though today they manufacture men’s wear only.

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Razor canon

Advice Goddess Amy Alkon draws a plaintive wail from a chap whose girlfriend has forsworn the blade for, um, political reasons, and explains why this is mostly bogus:

As for your girlfriend’s notion that the defurred look traces to “anti-feminist propaganda,” way back before there was Cosmo, there was Ovid, the Roman poet, advising women looking for love: “Let no rude goat find his way beneath your arms” (don’t let your underarms get stanky like a goat), “and let not your legs be rough with bristling hair.” Archeological evidence (including hair-scraping stones and an impressive set of Bronze Age tweezers) suggests that women — and often men — have been shaving, depilating, and yanking out body hair since at least 7,000 B.C. In the early 1500s, Michelangelo sculpted David (who would have been a hairy Middle Eastern dude, looking more Borat than baby’s bottom), making him look like he was too busy spending three weeks at the waxer to slay Goliath. And these days, male bodybuilders also remove their body hair, lest their admirers have to peer through the hair sweater to find the pecs and abs.

For my part, I contributed a verse of this track by The Pursuit of Happiness to the discussion.

And for the record, I have known a few women who were similarly disinclined to defoliate themselves, for whatever reason: there were times when I couldn’t tell without close inspection, and there were times when entering the room was more than sufficient. Since I wasn’t actually dating any of them, I considered it none of my beeswax.

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Though Minitel is not coming back

Fleur Pellerin has the clunky title “Minister Delegate with responsibility for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy” in the François Hollande cabinet. In that capacity:

“I would like to make France one of the top nations in terms of digital innovation,” Ms. Pellerin said during a recent interview in her office at the Finance Ministry, which juts out over the Seine in eastern Paris like a giant, modern version of a medieval river toll barrier. “If we don’t act in the next few years it will be too late.”

Pellerin, born and abandoned on the streets of Seoul in 1973, then adopted by a French family, is completing her second year in office.

Fleur Pellerin going to work

Minitel, which began operations in 1978, was a French videotex service that did a lot of things we think of as purely Web-based; it finally expired in 2012.

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In semi-living color

I’m pretty sure this ad came out around 1954; while I wasn’t in a position to notice, really, I don’t remember anyone around this time period wearing this shade of blue — indeed, any shade of blue — on her toes. (Heck, it’s not that common today.) Still, it’s sort of compelling:

Advertisement for Phoenix hosiery

Phoenix, despite its name, was based in Milwaukee, incorporated in 1897 as the Phoenix Knitting Works; their 1917 factory in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, long since converted to office space, changed hands last year for about $4.5 million.

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Zooeypalooza 20!

It’s about time, right?

Zooeypalooza 20!

Embiggenment via the handy CLICK method.

Paloozas of the past: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19.

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Fully locked and upright

You’re probably not going to see anything like this on our domestic carriers:

The meaning of “super mini” in this context is 15 cm (six inches) above the knee.

The Japanese government takes no official position on such matters, but:

There is no rule to regulate crew’s uniform under the aviation law, so the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism made a comment that they will keep their eyes on the campaign.

(Via Flight Club. Am I allowed to talk about Flight Club?)

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Time took a faster flight

Did you notice that Dakota Fanning just turned 20 a couple of weeks ago? I didn’t.

Still, it’s not like the poor girl is aging or anything like that:

Dakota Fanning in March 2014 Jalouse

In between things like posing for the French mag Jalouse, she’s still doing film work: Every Secret Thing, based on the Laura Lippman novel, will debut at Tribeca next month. Fanning is billed third (tentatively), behind Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks.

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Just after someday

Is it possible to get tired of ex-Bangle Susanna Hoffs? I contend that the answer is No:

Susanna Hoffs in 2012

This particular photo was part of a session to promote Hoffs’ 2012 album Someday. After the jump, the song “Picture Me” from that album:

Read the rest of this entry »

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What wondrous things they do with strings

Circa 1955, what the well-dressed harpist was wearing:

1955 advertisement for Flatternit hosiery

The old mill in Morganton, North Carolina, which dated to 1882 and which was no longer being used for textiles of any sort after 1995, was acquired by the municipality’s Redevelopment Commission and repurposed for mixed use; City Hall and the local cable company were the first occupants.

Morganton North Carolina former textile mill

The result for the community:

The community benefits from the reclamation of a derelict area. The 4.5 block area has spurred the influx of new stores, restaurants, banks and pharmacies. The result is a new neighborhood with a historic feel.

Cue the harpist.

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Your next Invisible Woman

Fox persists in its dream of making some money off the Fantastic Four, and in its next reboot of the series, due next year, Kate Mara will play Susan Storm. She will probably not wear anything like this:

Kate Mara from 3-14 GQ

Not that Reed Richards would notice, egghead that he is.

Kate is the older sister of Rooney Mara. Both Kate and Rooney have the same middle name, which is, um, Rooney. (Rooney’s first name is Patricia.)

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Insert resistance joke here

This is, you’ll remember, Washington’s birthday. Actually, the calendar read the 12th of February that day; the colonies, like the rest of the British empire, didn’t get around to adopting the Gregorian calendar until 1752, when George was twenty. Of course, this matter presented no issue to Jeri Ryan, born on this date in 1968:

Jeri Ryan at a Golden Globes party 2013

Since wrapping up her role as Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One, Ryan has kept busy; she was in a recent Helix story arc as the chief operating officer of Ilaria Corporation. I missed that, but I suspect some form of assimilation may have been involved.

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Supergirl gets a lift

Over the weekend I mentioned that Laura Vandervoort had been featured in the new Maxim, but did not include any pictures. After several hours of guilt and remorse, I decided to atone for this failing with one of Superb Wallpapers’ offerings, in which the actress occasionally known as Kara Zor-El stretches out in the back of an Audi A8L:

Laura Vandervoort takes a ride

Or, I suppose, this could be Lisa in the 2009 reboot of V — or her alleged twin sister.

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Not to be hemmed in

The fellow from the Telegraph was interviewing pianist Yuja Wang, in London for a concert series, and he brought up a distinctly nonmusical subject:

It seems as good a moment as any to raise her fondness for riskily short, clingy dresses, which have generated even more comment than her fabulous playing.

[A] certain determination, not to say stubbornness … shows in the exasperated shrug that greets my question. “It’s just natural for me. I am 26 years old so I dress for 26. I can dress in long skirts when I am 40.”

I’m betting she won’t. In the meantime, here she is in a Little Black(ish) Dress:

Yuja Wang in LBD

“Little” is evidently played sforzando.

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The J is for

Actually, I don’t know what it’s for, except to give her a last name of sorts: the Wikipedia article about Jessie J begins with “Not to be confused with Jessy J, Juicy J, or Jessie James.”

So there. Anyway, the Grammy-outfit roundup from neo-neocon brought this picture and a possibly dismissive caption. “Hot pants are back,” said neo. “The top half speaks for itself, or tries to:”

Jessie J at a post-Grammy party 2014

I tried to find out if this was typical of Jessie J’s garb, and stumbled upon this outfit, which she wore to the Royal Variety Performance last fall, attended by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. And if Chuck and Camilla were kind of formal, well, Jessie wasn’t:

Jessie J at the Royal Variety Performance 2013

In Jessie’s defense, she’s not exactly waving stuff in your face.

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Meanwhile, back in the flats

For some years now, tennis star Maria Sharapova has been designing shoes and accessories for Cole Haan; in this shot, she’s wearing the 2011 version of her ballet flats.

Maria Sharapova in Cole Haan ballet flats

I expect we’ll be hearing more about Maria in weeks to come, mostly because when she was two, her family moved from Nyagan to Sochi, site of the ’14 Winter Olympics, and the place where she first picked up a tennis racket. In Sochi this week, she launched her candy line, Sugarpova (yes, really):

Maria Sharapova introduces Sugarpova candy to Sochi, Russia

I imagine she doesn’t eat a whole lot of this during training.

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Not blocky

I honestly don’t understand this dress, but it definitely draws my attention:

Ming-Na Wen at the LEGO Movie premiere 2-1-14

Ming-Na Wen wore this to the premiere of The LEGO Movie. (In other news, there is a LEGO Movie.) There’s a definite air of “I’m fifty years old and I’ll wear what I damn well please” to it.

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Banker’s ours

I don’t actually have a Google Alert for “longest legs,” but if there’s more competition, I’ll be tempted to set one up. Meanwhile, with contestants from Britain and Russia already entered, we have a contender from the good old USA — from New York City, in fact:

Brooke Banker as seen in the New York Post

The New York Post claims credit for discovering Brooke Banker, twenty-six, born in Marine Park, Brooklyn:

The 5-foot-11, blue-eyed stunner with 47-inch legs was discovered by The Post, and while her stems are Amazonian, her life is more down-to-earth.

A former Penn State volleyball player who eschews heels for flats, Banker dreams of being a television host and says lanky legs are so common in her family that even her goldendoodle, Tuna, has uncommonly long ones.

“I’ve been around tall girls my whole life with volleyball, so I know my legs are long, but I never thought to enter a contest or get a title,” says Banker, lounging in a black leotard atop the 75 Wall St. condo, with its equally towering views of the Brooklyn Bridge and her native borough.

And, guys, she’s not spoken for:

As for the opposite sex, Banker is single. She grudgingly admits her friends tell her she’s intimidating to men.

“I try not to think about it too much. And I don’t want to sound creepy, but I get approached by a lot of really short guys or guys with fetishes.”

Not that I’d know anything about that.

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You too can be Zooeyfied

Amazing how these things find their way to my inbox:

To Tommy, From Zooey.

It sounds a bit like a love note, but is in fact something different altogether — the name of a new capsule collection designed by Tommy Hilfiger and Zooey Deschanel, the doe-eyed actress, musician and star of the hit TV show New Girl. The collection, which will mainly consist of flirty dresses, will make its debut at Macy’s this spring.

Well, this certainly seems flirty enough:

Dress from To Tommy From Zooey line debuting spring 2014

We will try to overlook the miraculous job they did of transferring every last sign of age from ZD to the steamer trunk.

The dresses will be priced at retail for between $98 and $199, and 14 of the 16 styles will launch at 200 Macy’s stores beginning April 14.

On April 21, the entire lineup is set to reach tommy.com and Tommy Hilfiger anchor and specialty stores in North America, Europe and Japan. Select Tommy Hilfiger stores will also carry Deschanel-designed jewelry and handbags.

Tommy has an outlet store here in Oklahoma City; I expect to see these dresses no earlier than Memorial Day.

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You can call me Al

Actually, you could call her Al, at least back in the Nineties: Christine Lakin played Alicia Lambert, familiarly known as Al, on the ABC TV series Step by Step, a sitcom about two single parents, each with three children, who get married. (Any similarity to The Brady Bunch was probably intentional.) When Step by Step started in 1991, she was twelve. In this picture, she is not twelve:

Christine Lakin in 2011

Lakin, who just turned thirty-five, has been quite busy lately; among other places, you may have caught her as Joyce Chevapravatdumrong Kinney on Quahog Channel 5 News.

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Down to earth, practically

After you’ve seen Sandra Bullock in a spacesuit, kinda sorta, you need something like this as a palate cleanser. This Lanvin wrap served her well at the Screen Actors Guild Awards:

Sandra Bullock at the SAG Awards 2014

Bullock, never taking herself too seriously, deadpanned to a correspondent from E! that she’d made it herself, after Lanvin sent over the fabric and a sewing machine.

I doubt, though, that she actually went to Taco Bell after the show.

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Future sexagenarian

As I may have mentioned somewhere along the way, Christie Brinkley is about to turn 60. (The actual date: 2/2.)

Lots of good red-carpet pictures out there, but I opted for this out-of-the-limo shot from earlier this week:

Christie Brinkley exiting limo at LAX

I have my reservations about the shoes, but it’s not like anyone needs to heed my wardrobe recommendations.

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Up to the sky

The Daily Mail has become the go-to place for odd commentary about body parts, especially female body parts, and while this sort of thing does nothing (usually) for readers’ body image, it does wonders for selling text ads to Brits vaguely embarrassed by topless Page 3 girls.

Alexandra Robertson, 20, a six-foot-one British model, gets her 15 minutes in the spotlight by dint of having what she says are 47-inch-long legs, the longest in the known world. (Photos perhaps not to scale.)

Alexandra Robertson photos

Robertson’s claim apparently was sparked by a Mail piece on 18-year-old prelaw student Anastasia Strashveskaya, who won a contest in Russia last week with 42-inch gams.

No word from Guinness, which supposedly conferred the World’s Longest title on Svetlana Pankratova after measuring her stems at 52 inches.

As penance, I will go look at pictures of five-foot-one Christina Ricci.

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Still not bogged down

Three years ago today, I noted that it was then Amanda Peet’s 39th birthday. Different picture, albeit from the same era, today:

Amanda Peet in InStyle

Besides, I liked the quote:

I feel like I should be in a Shakespeare play in this dress, but a screwy one — like Sid and Nancy do “Ophelia”.

Before that opportunity presents itself, though, she’s doing an 8-episode series for HBO called Togetherness.

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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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