Shacked Up At The Chateau

March 25, 2010

Mini Anden

Filed under: Editorials,Fashion — shackedupatthechateau @ 6:38 pm

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I have followed the career of this beautiful, beautiful Swedish woman since from oh, the early 90’s and she has become more beautiful with age. I particularly love the contours of her face, the strong square set jaw, the tall forehead, the width of her face and those a-ma-zing eyes of blue. She has perfect symetry and wonderful bone structure. In the end it always comes down to the bones and underlying muscle, doesn’t it? I mean, it matters little how we fix our hair, apply makeup or what clothes we wear. Mini is now 31 years old and whilst her modelling career might be slowing down, her career as an actress is taking off. Good luck Mini. J’adore.

Here is Mini Anden in one of my all time favourite editorials with Tasha Tilberg. Le monde d`hermes s/s 2007.

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A few more from various editorials…

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March 20, 2010

L’Amant (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras

Filed under: Books,Film,Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 1:15 am

Marguerite Duras called “preposterous, self-obsessed, eloquent, unstoppable” (New York Times Review of Books), was one of the most widely read French writers of the postwar era. She authored 34 novels from 1943–1993, including her autobiographical L’Amant (The Lover), winner of France’s distinguished literary Prix Goncourt. She also penned the celebrated film Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Disliking others’ adaptations of her work, in the 1960s she began to direct—16 films in all. Her work is characterized by its self-reflexive nature; she often moved one story, or elements of a story, through genres: novel, film, play—even film to film. In her obituary, the New York Times lauded “her simple, terse writing style, as if language itself were merely a vehicle for conveying passion and desire, pain and despair.”

I speak of Madame Duras because quite recently I watched the film The Lover (L’Amant) with my hubby. Surprisingly he had neither seen or heard of the film or the book which I had read salaciously in Portugal by the hotel pool – my summer reading and my summer romance with the mind of Marguerite Duras was born then and continues to this day. The same as any young girl, exploring sensuality and sexuality I was greedy for the context of the pages and the words which all but spilled themes of forbidden love, longing, sex in foreign lands with strange men, strange scents and even stranger customs. L’Amant is a heart breaking novel and frankly one of the best romance books I have ever read. Of course, I am not an avid reader of romance novels so this in itself is no great compliment but still, this detail should not detract from the point that the book is damned good and should be read at least once in a life time.

The film version which aired in 1992 was scandalous. I remember watching it back then and listening to the furor it caused. It was a sensation. I read in some newspaper that Princess Diana, after having watched it at the cinema said something along the lines of feeling uncomfortable as though she were actually spying on two lovers in full throttle. The scandal centred around Jane March who played the Young Girl because people were speculating whether or not the two actors actually did have real intercourse on screen, it was therefore quite a back lash for March who at 18 having just made her first film debut, found herself the recipient of nasty name calling. One of those names stuck and unfortunately remains to this day – The Sinner from Pinner. For those who are confused, Pinner a suburb in the London Borough of Harrow in Greater London, England was the town in which she lived with her family. However, with all the dirt flinging that was going on, it is remarkable that none of it touched the pristine white suit of the films lead man Tony Leung Ka Fai. The film director Jean-Jacques Annaud did nothing at all to quash the rumours and March suffered a nervous breakdown. She did not speak to Annaud for ten years until he issued an apology. I believe she could have grown to be a good actress if the scandal had been addressed, if she had been better protected by those who readily used her innocence, youth and beauty for their own gain.

Today I wore my own version of the “hat”. A pale antique fedora, the colour of washed tan with a broad grosgrain black ribbon. It is in fact near identical to the one worn in the film and is still one of my most prized vintage shop finds. I don’t wear it as often as I used to, but whenever I do I cannot help but smile, remembering the youthful summer spent in Portugal so many years ago.

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March 19, 2010

Models Au Naturale

Filed under: Beauty,Models — shackedupatthechateau @ 4:19 pm

We have become so accustomed to seeing models in full hair and make up, contorting their bodies for photoshoots which in the end are more often than not digitally enhanced, that we forget that they too have their flaws. If like me you are one of the thousands of women who look in the mirror and fret over what is reflected, wishing certain features were smaller, bigger, sharper, rounder, more pronounced…whatever…whatever the ‘perfect’ unatainable beauty is that we alone see in our minds eye, then consider this post junk food for your vanity. Some of the industries finest walked for Louis Vuitton FW2010. Here they are sans makeup and hair.

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Help Me Find Shoes Like These

Filed under: Fashion,Shoes — shackedupatthechateau @ 1:15 am

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Chloe Silverado Ankle Boots.

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And I can’t believe I missed out on the Pierre Hardy for Gap line. What the hell was I doing?

March 18, 2010

Magda moment

Filed under: Fashion,Models — shackedupatthechateau @ 8:57 pm

Magdalena Frackowiak. The woman with square symetry. This face by all the rules of conventional beauty should not work. But it does. And how! Utterly gorgeous on second take, on first take impossibly captivating. I remember watching Fashion TV a few years ago, curled up on my sofa miserable at the rain for choosing to spoil my Sunday afternoon plans and…There she was on my screen. I was riveted as much by her face as her poise and natural ability to model. Those who are under the misguided notion that modelling is easy, well, you obviously have not tried it. Her body, her silhouette, her face, was made for this.

Kenzo Backstage 2010
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MaxMara Backstage 2010
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Louis Vuitton catalogue
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Shootthebreeze
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Karl Lagerfeld backstage 2010
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Chloe backstage 2010
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March 17, 2010

Hand Me Down

Filed under: Fashion — shackedupatthechateau @ 5:35 pm

I found the most ah-maz-ing second hand shop about 15 minutes from my home. When I was a teenager, around 14 going on 15, buying thrift shop stuff was not considered cool at all and you could really buy a lot of clothes for under £1, that would be something like 25-50 cents. We didn’t even call it thrift shop or vintage, it was just old clothes or second hand. Back then the Portobello Road in London was my mecca, so was the market on Petticoat Lane. I’ve got some great stuff that I still have and wear from those days and will probably never part with. Ossie Clark jackets, 1930’s silk bias cut slips, Biba trousers and dresses…

Anyway, this shop I found was nicely priced too, had some great bargains and I don’t think I will have to sew any of it in, which is rare for me.

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1970’s suede jacket with cutout detail and tie front $12.00
Teamed with bandeau bikini top by Rosa Chá and denim skirt by Miss Sixty
Jewellery vintage.

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Shirt $7.50. 1980’S leather skirt $9.75
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1960’s floral dress $5.00
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Sunglass $2.00

March 16, 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

Filed under: Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 8:19 pm

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“I was dancin’ with my darlin’ to the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see
I introduced her to my loved one
And while they were dancin’
My friend stole my sweetheart from me” – Roy Acuff –

*Betsy’s world came crashing down all around her like so many pieces of shattered glass falling from a mirrored ceiling. No one ever truly believes it when real life imitates art and so it was the case with my friend. One of her clients cancelled at the very last minute so, free from a day of reponsibility she sauntered home to her apartment which happens to be on the floor beneath mine. Her front door leads into a long hallway that despite it’s sharp twist actually carries sound pretty well. Almost from the entrance she was able to hear female laughter. Thinking her boyfriend had left the TV on, she took off her heels, put her bag down and went to investigate. The TV was cold and right away she knew. The levity at which she had entered her apartment was gone and in its place was a perfectly formed stone, heavy and weighty in the pit of her stomach.

The bedroom door was unashamedly left ajar and she could see quite plainly two people moving in rhythm on her bed. It was the boyfriend and judging from the unmistakeable cut of the sharp brunette bob, the woman in flagrante delicto was the friend she had shared a room with in college.

So it was somewhere around quarter past three in the afternoon I heard my door bell ring and there stood *Betsy shaking and crying. I held her without words at the same time wondering how our thin sparrow like frames could be of any possible comfort to each other. With little coaxing I was able to guide her into the kitchen where she sat on the comfy overstuffed chair by the window that looks down to the street below. Having spent most of my life in England, the english ways are now mine so it was by automation that I put the kettle on and threw two teabags in the pot. Finally, I asked “What happened honey? What happened to you?”

She relayed the story to me, as I have relayed it here only her voice carried the echo of betrayal that I cannot sum up with paltry words. When my friends are hurt, I feel so helpless. I want to fix everything, make everyone smile again. But over time I have come to realise that patience and stillness are far more comforting attributes in times of crises. So I listened, over and over as she replayed details in the shocked manner of someone in a daze, unwilling to accept the truth as it stands before them.

The maddening thing is, she still loves him. When we have real love for another human being, that love doesn’t go anywhere when it is hurt, it doesn’t flee into hiding withdrawing the warmth of its flame. It takes time to cultivate love and therefore only time can heal and so we must endure and draw as much wisdom from our experiences as we can. So we spoke of many things that afternoon, *Betsy and I, over endless cups of tea and our conversation carried through to the evening. My understanding husband in that quiet way of his made dinner for all of us and did the washing up, leaving me free to talk to *Betsy all night and into the small hours of the morning.

During the course of that time the boyfriend had sent close to a hundred text messages since she had refused to take any of his calls. I read some, they sounded apologetic and guilty but really, how much sentiment can one convey through sms? It is my guess that he was more sorry at being caught red handed in the act than he was at actually doing the act. This was not one of those situations that he could deny, make up a story for and stick to it come hell or high water until she believed the lie.

So we spoke of many things. Of her love for him and the question of whether to take him back or not. I told her she must take care of her own love first. Care for it and cultivate it and give it direction and allow it to grow organically. A forced love for a person because they are good looking, well connected or in this particular case semi-famous and some of the latter cannot grow harmoniously, instead it remains stunted and stooped under the weight of its own labour. Love might be free but it never was intended to be thrown away I told her and quite clearly this man does not respect the love she has chosen to give him. If he places no value on it, he obviously does not place too high a value on her either. Actions speak louder than words.

*Betsy brought up the point that everyone makes mistakes and if we were all shot down everytime we made one there would not be any people left in the world. True, I said, but what of that small moment directly before the mistake is made? That moment when everything hangs in balance and we are presented with a choice? Surely it is at this precise moment that we make and re-make ourselves on a daily basis. Life is not static, it grows and we grow inside it and so too should our integrity, decency, honour, respect and love for ourselves and each other.

Love is built on faith, without it there is nothing. We must be able to let go of the illusion of control and have faith in the one that we love. Believe that their love for us will not allow them to harm us in any permanent way. Faith and trust are sisters in arms and one cannot exist without the other. So I asked *Betsy to search her heart and ask herself if she could ever truly trust him again now that suspicion has been replaced by proof. She did not answer me directly and neither could she meet my steady gaze.

This leads me to the question: How much is too much?

At what point do we pack up his tired suitcase and throw it out into the street with the rest of the garbage? How much exactly should we take before remembering our own self-worth? For some of us this scenario is an endless nightmare of concentric circles that leads to an even tighter spiral of love/hate, anger and violence. Love is easy enough to get into but hard as hell to get out of especially if we treat love as an investment. My advice to *Betsy: Let go of everything. Give your emotions permission to be free and remind yourself that although you had him, you never owned or controlled his actions. He did what he did and now she must do what she has to do. Unfortunately love does not always make us into better people. Only we can do that for ourselves.

March 12, 2010

IRO ss/2010

Filed under: Fashion — shackedupatthechateau @ 11:51 pm

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Last years collection was incredible, no?

March 11, 2010

Paris to San Francisco Today

Filed under: Fashion,Life — shackedupatthechateau @ 5:57 pm

In a few hours the taxi will pick *Alex and I up from our hotel where we are busy packing, or rather I am blogging and he is packing for both of us. What a truly wonderful sweet friend he is, anyway, he is much neater than I am and my clothes and new purchases hot off the runway will arrive uncreased and in perfect condition.

Unfortunately for me, Paris do things a little differently than London FW, they seem to be a lot stricter so *Alex was not able to blag me into the shows the same way he was able to in London “stick close to me, act nonchalent, act natural”. However I did get to see Balmain, Isabel Marant, Chloe and Miu Miu and since these are amongst my favourites anyway, I really did not mind missing out on Chanel, Stella McCartney, John Galliano, Givenchy et al. It’s OK, there will always be another time. Don’t be sad for me. I am not sad at all. Really. Promise.

While *Alex was at the shows I got to re-introduce myself to the streets of Paris. Ah, Paris my darling how I missed you! I always miss London with a pain in my heart each and everytime I think of my home but I was not prepared for such feelings of nostalgia for a place I frequented only when there were sales on eurostar tickets. Just goes to show, you don’t miss your water until your well has run dry. What’s this? Two references to blues songs in the same paragraph! Oh my. Maybe I am  little sad afterall.

I had a superb organic lunch at Breizh Café on 109 Rue Vieille du Temple in the middle of the bustling marais. They quite simply make the best crêpes and galettes I have ever tasted, clean and flavourful. They were very accomodating to me once I explained in my halting french about my strict vegan/low GI/gluten free diet. If museums are your past time of choice, as they are mine, then this area is terrifically loaded. From here, you can spit in any direction and hit one…so long as the wind is at your back. There is the Musee Picasso and the Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature where I browsed for ages loosing track of time and light. I enjoyed stopping and buying postcards to take back home and frame.

A La Petit Chaise at 36, rue de Grenelle has the distinction I believe of being the oldest restaurant in Paris. This is no small feat and their standards are reflective of this honour. The waiters are impeccably attired and very dashing. I allowed myself to swoon just once at afternoon tea. I am married afterall and like to save all my swooning for my gorgeous husband but sometimes, you know, the swoons they escape, little buggers have a mind of their own.

I cannot wait to get back home to my family. This is possibly the first time I have ever referred to the Unites States as my home…very strange…however, I feel my home could be the arctic circle so long as my son and my husband lived there. Oh, mercy, taxi time already! Must dash. This has been a most exciting trip for me and a very expensive one. I still cannot understand why designer clothes insist on being overly priced. Pictures to come soon.

Homeward bound. Onwards, driver.

Lilly Donaldson leaving Louis Vuitton, Paris Fashion Week 2010
Bianca Balti
The greatest. Miss Natasha Poly
Monika Jagaciak

March 10, 2010

A Face In The Crowd

Filed under: Art — shackedupatthechateau @ 6:51 pm
A Face In The Crowd by me. Mixed media oils/acrylic/pastel on canvas.

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