Archive for Stemware

Hemline news

It has long been a tenet in these parts that the legs are the last things to go, and further, that women are generally aware of this. To illustrate this premise, here is a 1988 appearance in Esquire by Meredith Vieira, who was then working on the CBS news show West 57th:

Meredith Vieira in Esquire magazine

At the time, she was thirty-four. Compare to this shot from March of this year, when she appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson:

Meredith Vieira on The Late Late Show

This fall — she turns 61 in December — she’ll be hosting her own daytime talker, distributed by NBC Universal. And the keyword here is “daytime,” which pretty much guarantees that they won’t stick her behind a desk.

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Greece is the word

Celebrating her 31st birthday today, Her Royal Highness Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark:

Princess Theodora

She comes by this complicated title naturally: she’s the younger daughter (fourth child) of former King Constantine II of Greece and Anne-Marie of Denmark. Constantine, as it happens, is connected to the Danish royal family on his own — he’s a lineal descendant of Christian IX — so the abolition of the Greek monarchy did not diminish his royalness in the slightest.

Theodora, born in London, attended Brown University under the name “Theodora Greece,” the same name she’s used for 52 episodes (so far) of the CBS soap The Bold and the Beautiful, playing Alison Montgomery.

Princess Theodora

She’s also dipping a toe into feature films.

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The Lively set

Robert Stacy McCain, having found her name in a fiskable article, wants to know: “Who is Blake Lively?”

Being the generous soul I am, I will tell him, and you, that Blake Lively is an actress (Gossip Girl, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and occasional celebrity cook. She’s twenty-six. And he, and you, should know this up front:

Boobs Legsly: A nickname for Blake Lively, originating from the period of time when Blake would go out of the house wearing cleavtacular outfits that also showed a lot of leg, in opposition to the traditional advice to show either boobs or legs but not both. As of this writing, she seems to have reined in this habit, but she also proudly does not use a stylist, so anything could happen.

For instance, this happened at a Lady Gaga-related event in the spring of ’11:

Blake Lively at Gaga's Workshop in New York

Which takes care of the first name. Now the second:

Blake Lively at 12/12/12 Benefit

Last I looked, Lively was filming Adaline in Vancouver: she and Michiel Huisman play a Romantic Item.

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While she knocks you into the dust

The tallest woman I ever met — I mean, in person, face to, um, chin — was a hair over six foot two. She was perhaps not a great beauty, but it didn’t matter: were she anywhere in the room, she was the one you noticed, no matter who else managed to show up.

I’ve never met Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones and who stands somewhere between half an inch and two inches taller than that, but I suspect she has the same sort of effect:

Gwendoline Christie in a limo

This week she was signed for the next Star Wars film, playing a Wookie who’d been dragged through the River Nair tall person.

Being incredibly tall, it would appear, might not confer upon a person the ability to make the finest judgment calls, fashionwise:

Gwendoline Christie at the Game of Thrones Premiere 2013

Said Fug Girl Jessica: “I love you, and I know you are like six foot four, but THIS IS TOO SHORT.”

At least she’s not sitting down in it.

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Plum delight

How did I miss this? Angie Harmon, at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April, in a delightfully tiny Roberto Cavalli:

Angie Harmon at 49th ACM Awards

The usual question — Rizzoli or red carpet? — remains tantalizingly unanswered.

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Pretty fly for a White girl

Priscilla White became Cilla Black purely by accident. A featured vocalist with several Liverpool bands, she’d managed to work herself up to a mention in Mersey Beat, about which founder/publisher Bill Harry recalls:

I remember going down to the State Ballroom one evening when I was putting the first issue together and asking Cilla if she had the fashion column she promised me. She was with her mate Pat Davies and Cass & the Cassanovers were on stage. When I got back to the office I began working on the copy of the first issue and then began to type out a story on Cilla. When it came down to putting down her surname, my mind went blank. I knew it was a colour, but forgot which one. I took out the piece of paper with Cilla’s fashion column in it, but she hadn’t signed it. The column was all about colours in fashion and went from white to black. Looking at it, I decided on the black. I was wrong. Her name was Cilla White! After Mersey Beat was published, Cilla came into the office and told me I’d got her surname wrong — but she liked it so much she decided to call herself Cilla Black from now on!

Her career managed by Brian Epstein, her records produced by George Martin — for Parlophone, natch — Cilla became a major star in Britain and a television fixture.

Cilla Black on British television

Lots of middle-Sixties pop stars were on the wane by the end of the decade, but not Cilla. Her 1969 album Surround Yourself with Cilla was ostensibly so titled because it was never issued in mono:

Surround Yourself With Cilla

Or you might listen to the final track:

Her last UK chart item was a 1993 duet with Dusty Springfield titled “Heart and Soul” — not the Tin Pan Alley standard — which, like all her records, went largely unheard in the States, except for this one:

“You’re My World” crept onto Billboard at #26; the follow-up, “It’s For You,” a Lennon/McCartney (of course) number, died at #79.

Cilla Black is 71 today, and still all over British television. Meanwhile, her 1960s self abides: ITV is shooting a three-part TV series about her rise to fame, which will star acclaimed actor Sheridan Smith.

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Meanwhile at the beach

Somebody told me Molly Sims was 40, and I reacted as though someone had told me that Bud Light had won an international beer taste test: it’s possible, I suppose, but you can’t make me believe it.

A nice Miami Beach shot from December:

Molly Sims at Miami Beach December 2013

And a nifty swimsuit by Shoshanna.

Oh, and she’ll be 41 tomorrow. I need a beer.

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Hello, Aunt Zelda

Beth Broderick is best known to some of us as Zelda Spellman, one of the aunts keeping watch over Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, which ran for seven years as part of ABC’s TGIF lineup. I stumbled across this picture, with the caption “Bad Dates,” and, well, it had to be here.

Beth Broderick in Bad Dates

Bad Dates is a hilarious play by Theresa Rebeck; I saw it locally at CityRep in ’06, starring Stacey Logan. It’s easy to imagine Broderick in this role. (And yes, there’s a reason she’s holding a shoe.)

More recently, Beth’s done an episode of Melissa & Joey, reuniting her with Sabrina herself, Melissa Joan Hart.

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Birthday royal

All that, and an orange dress too! This is Queen Máxima, wife of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who acceded to the throne in 2013 when his mother, Queen Beatrix, abdicated in his favor. At forty-seven, he’s the youngest monarch in Europe.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, forty-three today, was born in Buenos Aires; she has a degree in economics and has worked as an investment banker. Apparently at first she knew him only as Alexander, some guy she met in Spain; he did not mention that he was the Prince of Orange and heir to the Dutch throne. Even before Beatrix’s announcement of her abdication, the Dutch parliament was divided over whether Máxima should be given the title of Queen — typically, she would be given the title Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau — and eventually decided that yes, she would be considered the queen consort. Her Majesty and her husband are bringing up three very lovely girls.

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All kinds of kinds

A few days back, I tossed out a casual description of country singer Miranda Lambert as “slightly squarish.” Shortly thereafter, perhaps as a rebuke, this showed up in my inbox:

Miranda Lambert in W Magazine 2012

Okay, not so squarish. Then again, she is married to Blake Shelton, and they do live in idyllic Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

(Photo apparently from W Magazine, June 2012, by Santiago & Mauricio. Great American Country has a few more images from that photoshoot.)

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The Hendricks effect

This might seem an odd pose for Christina Hendricks, whose birthday is today (she’s thirty-nine), but it’s consistent with her recent irritation with people who obsess over her because of her shape, though there are more, um, traditional shots in the photoshoot.

Christina Hendricks in The Edit magazine 3-14

In the accompanying article (in The Edit, March 2014), she reveals how she’d like Mad Men, or at least her role in it, to end:

“I want Joan to do the Thelma & Louise thing. Just go out with a bang.”

The last season was split into two sections, so we won’t know for sure until next spring.

(Photo by Yelena Yemchuk.)

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Not a high-beam in sight

We are told, over and over and over again, that women are being objectified to sell us stuff. The proper response to this, I submit, is “You’re just now noticing?”

From 1919, an ad, illustrated by the redoubtable Coles Phillips, intended to move automotive electrical equipment:

1919 advertisement by Coles Phllips for Autolite

Careful, mister, you wouldn’t want to hurt that sweet young thing in the short(ish) dress.

Coles Phillips (1880-1927) is probably best known for his negative-space illustrations. This isn’t one of them. Autolite (now a single word with a single capital) today makes spark plugs and wires under the auspices of Fram.

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Not really turning away

Rihanna on the cover of Vogue Brasil May 2014Barbadian singer Rihanna — I mention her origins mostly out of delight at having discovered that there’s a proper demonym for folks from Barbados — is on the cover of Vogue’s Brazilian edition for May. This was perhaps inevitable, given her international sex-symbol status and her tendency to mix up her wardrobe: slightly squarish country singer Miranda Lambert has said that she’s a great admirer of Rihanna’s style, though she adds that “I don’t necessarily get inspired by the whole no-bra thing.”

I don’t really blame Miranda for that. And besides, this is about as whole a no-bra thing as you can get:

Rihanna in Vogue Brasil May 2014 wearing damn near nothing

Rihanna’s 2012 album was titled Unapologetic. She apparently wasn’t kidding.

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Suits her

Suzette finds a smidgen of redeeming social value in the inevitable Clinton presidency:

I can think of a blazing bright side right off: I am almost positive that we’ll never see her exposing her 70something bare legs.

The key word, though, is “almost”:

She is a Democrat after all and their prime directive does seem to be the degradation of standards wherever possible.

The YouTube channel known as ShePolitico has a couple of dozen videos (if “videos” describes a series of still photos with occasional zoom) of women in politics, concentrating on their legs (is anyone surprised at this?), and yes, they have a 90-second overview of the Hillarygams, though I must note that, atypically for ShePolitico, there are no drooling close-ups.

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Wyler than thou

In this scene from the 1955 Broadway run of Cole Porter’s Silk Stockings, Gretchen Wyler demonstrates that first, you have to get their attention:

Gretchen Wyler as Janice Dayton in Silk Stockings

As Janice Dayton, America’s Swimming Sweetheart, Wyler is attempting to persuade Russian composer Peter Boroff (Philip Sterling) to work his magic on her next picture: a musical version of, um, War and Peace.

Wyler, born Gretchen Patricia Wienecke in Oklahoma City in 1932, was also Chita Rivera’s replacement in Damn Yankees. Appropriately, the first track on this 1959 LP is “Whatever Lola Wants”:

Gretchen Wyler on Jubilee Records

She died in 2007 from complications of breast cancer.

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Still rhymes with “Gosh”

Upon Nina Foch’s death in 2008, I recalled a scene from An American in Paris:

Milo (Foch’s character) has invited Jerry (Gene Kelly) to a party; Jerry is not sure about this sort of thing, but Milo reassures him that there will be an “extra girl” on hand, so it shouldn’t be a total loss for him.

And then he arrives, and:

Jerry: Where is everyone?
Milo: Here.
Jerry: Downstairs?
Milo: No, here in this room.
Jerry: What about that extra girl?
Milo: That’s me.

At the time I first saw this film (late 1960s), I was startled at this sheer demonstration of forwardness on her part, although in retrospect it occurs to me that the only startling aspect of it was that I couldn’t imagine anyone coming on to me in such a way.

And it’s not like Milo didn’t have anything to offer:

Nina Foch circa 1951

Foch was twenty-seven at the time; I suspect they made her look Just A Tad Older to provide contrast with the object of Jerry’s fixation, played by 20-year-old Leslie Caron. This is what he was turning down:

Nina Foch late-1940s photo

Incidentally, the “Foch” pronunciation was probably an invention of Hollywood: her name at birth was Nina Consuelo Maud Fock. In 1954, she married James Lipton, he of Inside the Actors Studio; the marriage lasted five years. Her last role was in 2007, in an episode of The Closer.

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Not a flower girl

Eliza Doolittle — this Eliza Doolittle, anyway — is twenty-six today. I think of her as Amy Winehouse without the pharma, Adele without the drama. And in this shot, she looks, well, maybe not twenty-six:

Eliza Doolittle on stage

“Walking on Water” is the third single from her 2013 album In Your Hands, and it goes like this:

Weirdly, her Twitter account appears under the name “Eliza Fancies You.” Not me, she doesn’t.

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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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