Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Blue Fairy Book

 After following From Me to You, Francine  and I decided that it would be a good idea to make a gif (pronounced with either a soft or hard g, not sure which one). This, however, turned out to be a very difficult task due to google not really liking gif's. Anyway, after about 50 emails and much perseverance we (and by "we" I mean Francine) figured it out. My first idea for the gif was to have a book turning its pages on its own to look like magic. In my mind this looked beautiful and I thought it could be accomplished until I sat there posing for Francine and realized that something was going to have to move the pages of the book. Maybe it's just because I'm the person moving the book in this photograph, but I get a little bit tired when looking at myself move the pages over and over. However, I am not disillusioned with the whole gif thing, and I actually really love the result.
The Blue Fairy Book is one of my most treasured gifts from my late Grandfather. It is edited by Andrew Lang with illustrations by Charles van Sandwyk and was first published in 1889. The compilation includes some stories that we are familiar with such as "Little Red Riding Hood" while others seem rather obscure, with names like "The Brave Little Tailor." Interestingly, most of the stories have been translated by women. I wonder if that was a common form of work for women in the late nineteenth century? I should ask my friend Larissa, whose a bit of an expert at these types of things. I really enjoy just sitting and looking through the pages of this beautiful book, all the while thinking of my wonderful Grandfather. 
I'm wearing a lovely Nadinoo blouse in one of my favourite prints by Liberty of London and a black kilt by aa. The idea of the outfit, however, came from this amazing bow that I saw on Francine the other day. I basically told her immediately that I needed it for a shoot. Thankfully she was generous enough to lend it to me, and then take the photographs.
And I suppose that's all I have to say for today. Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nadinoo in the Spring

Well Toronto has had a bit of a snow storm today, and so I fear that spring is still a ways away. I have to admit I'm actually not that disappointed, as the snow seems to have given me a reason not to do anything productive today. I tried to get some errands done, but ended up just going to fabricland to get a pattern and then coming right back home. At the moment I'm drinking this amazing partridgeberry tea from Dark Tickle which is based in Newfoundland and I'm thinking about going to read Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but I may not even do that. 
So for today I'll have to show you something that someone else has done that is inspiring. I've chosen these lovely photographs from Nadinoo's blog. These lovely photographs are of Becky Filip from The Honey Trees taken by her talented brother Simon Filip. I think it's safe to say that Becky's brother enjoys taking photographs of his sister more than my own brother. She looks absolutely stunning in Nadinoo's Pixie's Adventure cape, Pixie's Plume mini, and Fleur's Penna dress. If you enjoyed these photographs as much as I did, there's more photographs and an interview of Becky Filip at Nadinoo. 
This fall in London I was very lucky to intern for Nadinoo, which is headed by the talented Nadia Izruna. It was almost a dream being able to go to London (I am a bit of an Anglomaniac if you haven't noticed) and work for one of the designers that I most admire. I could go on and talk about London for ages, but as even my mother has gotten tired of these stories I'm sure you won't be interested in them either. 

Even though there's nothing I love more than drinking tea in my cozy apartment on a cold winters day, after looking at these photographs I am excited to take long walks on warm spring days and watch the flowers bloom. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lady Glyn = Lady Gaga

Elinor Glyn 1936

Do you remember me discussing the amazing Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff Gordon (13 June 1863 – 20 April 1935)? As enigmatic as Lucy was, her sister Elinor Glyn (17 October 1864 - 23 September 1943) has an equally interesting life story. Elinor spent her younger years in Guelph, Canada before her mother and stepfather settled on the island of Jersey, just off the coast of Normandy. When Lucy left home at the age of sixteen Elinor was left alone to educate herself. Elinor took this as an opportunity to study only the topics that she found Romantic like the history of Rome and the Renaissance. A particular interest of Elinor's was the seventeenth century French Aristocracy that she seemed to believe she had some affiliation or connection to.  
Elinor in her bedroom named the Trianon (named after Louis XIV's house for his mistresses at Versailles)
At the age of nineteen she was sent out to visit different relatives in order to find a husband. Elinor, however, remained living on the charity of her friends and relatives until the age of twenty-nine. She seemed to enjoy the hunt of men, for she had many offers, but she never said yes until she met Glayton Glyn at the age of twenty-nine. Elinor may have married Glyn because she thought he was rich, or she may have because she thought she was getting old, but whatever her reasons were she married him with the false belief that she would thenceforth be financially stable. By 1907 however, Elinor could no longer depend on her husband because he had accumulated debts. Like her sister before her, Elinor set about finding an income and chose writing as it had been a hobby of hers. The only thing she had written was a novel called Three Weeks that her friends believed to be too scandalous to publish. It was considered reprehensible because in the story a woman, instead of a man, creates an affair that is on her own terms: she pursues, she dictates the course of the affair, and she conquers the male victim. As we all well know, scandalous rarely means failure, and when Elinor’s novel was published in 1907 it immediately became a sensation. She essentially created a genre of sensual romantic novels for women. 
Elinor (center) with John Gilbert and Aileen Pringle - a publication photograph for the film Three Weeks, 1923
In the 1920s Elinor left for Hollywood, where she began to write for moving pictures, signing a contract with Famous-Players-Lasky (which would later become Paramount). More than her sister Lucile, Elinor was able to create an image for herself and use it as a tool for her success. She began to refer to herself as Madame Glyn, and to the Americans in Hollywood she was thought of as an Aristocrat from Europe. She had bright red hair, wore fake eyelashes and painted her face white. Once she even came to an interview wearing her own pet cat as a stole. In short, Elinor was not only able to cause a sensation through her novels but also through her own personal appearance.
Elinor on the set of Knowing Men
Her first film in Hollywood was called The Great Moment, and Elinor fought her way into the direction of the film as well. She became sort of an expert on all things European, and in doing so, was granted more say in the production than other Hollywood authors. She became a great success in Hollywood for her ability to bring sex appeal into all of her films, something that is now taken as an innate part of a Hollywood film. However, Elinor managed her money poorly and was eventually forced to move back to England to avoid prosecution for taxation fraud. Elinor lived the rest of her life in England, continuing to write and to live as a celebrity there. She died quietly in 1943 at the age of seventy-nine years old, having lived the life of a French Aristocrat that she always believed she deserved. 

Works Cited

Etherington-Smith, Meredith, and Jeremy Pilcher. The It Girls: Elinor Glyn, Romantic Novelist and Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon,
       Lucile, the Couturiere. London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1986.
All photographs have been taken from Meredith Etherington-Smith and Jeremy Pilcher's The It Girls (1986)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hilary and Jackie

On Saturday night I was completely bored, and decided to search netflix in hopes of finding something that would pass the time. Fortunately netflix suggested that I watch Hilary and Jackie, which ended up being one of the most interesting and visually striking (the only thing I really care about) movie I've seen in awhile. Now this movie came out in 1998, so I apologize if this post is old news, but maybe your like me and you were busy watching Clueless over and over again when it came out.
It's a movie about the lives of the famous classical cellist Jacqueline du Pré (Emily Watson) and her sister Hilary du Pré-Finzi (Rachel Griffiths). It begins with both sisters playing their instruments, Hilary the flute and Jackie the cello, but Hilary is much better than Jackie. In order to get the attention that Hilary receives from her parents Jackie becomes entirely committed to the cello and quickly surpasses Hilary's skills. We then see the world from Hilary's perspective as she watches her sister become a huge success. She chooses to marry and have children in the countryside, playing only with amateur musicians as a hobby. Then the story returns to Jackie and we see the story from her perspective as her life is taken over by her cello.

I thought that this movie dealt with the theme of female competition in a truthful and very beautiful way. It begins with the sisters simply loving each other, but slowly the world begins to pit them against each other. From then on they struggle between their sisterly bond and having to compete with each other. Although I think that competition between women that love each other is often present, I'm still not sure if exploring this theme has a positive or negative effect on female relationships, but either way it was beautifully done in this film.
I also thought it was interesting how drastically the two sisters life choices were contrasted: Jackie's life is portrayed as glamorous but lonely, whereas Hilary's is simple but full of love. I think that life is full of negotiating what we want, and what people expect. It's just like Franny said in J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey: "I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody."

The End

Monday, March 7, 2011

Earl Grey

I had a really enjoyable weekend, but Saturday was especially nice. I planned on spending the entire day drinking tea at my mothers and doing crafts, but after two hours of lazing around I felt that I needed to photograph my outfit. The colours of my clothing just fit the weather so nicely, I couldn't resist. So I put off learning how to make silk flowers and tried to find someone who would take pictures of me in the cold rain. However, I quickly realized that no one would go out in the miserable weather no matter how lovely my outfit was. Fortunately my little brother Connor happened to be visiting from my home town, Thunder Bay, so I was able to force him to do this undesirable task.

I'm wearing a cape by Oh My Love, a shirt from American Apparel, a thrifted grey sweater, my favourite double sided velvet ribbon (made into bow tie) from Mokuba, and oxfords from topshop. Oh, and I bought this umbrella in London at this amazing shop called James Smith and Sons Umbrellas Ltd. that has been around since 1830! The umbrellas are also all manufactured right there. It was a really interesting place, and I suggest going there if you're ever in London.

 Connor was very kind to come and take pictures of me, but I have to say the entire experience was a bit of a disaster. We didn't have a good camera, so we had to use my old pink canon that only actually takes photos about half of the time that you press the button. Things went from bad to worse when it started to rain harder and the temperature dropped. To top it all off there was an actual professional photo shoot happening right beside me. So there I was posing (something I already feel ridiculous doing), while my brother attempted to take photo's of me yelling things like "uhhh this stupid camera doesn't work." And right beside me were two real models, a real photographer, and photographer assistants. Connor didn't have an umbrella, and the other photographer had someone to hold an umbrella over her head. It was too funny, I had to laugh at how pathetic I looked! However, in the end I liked how the photographs looked and I'm glad I put myself through the public embarrassment.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Caitlin Après Coco

I know that Coco Avante Chanel is totally old news, but I didn't have a blog when it came out, so your just going to have to suffer through another bloggers comments on the costumes. It is an understatement to say that I loved the clothing in this movie! I don't think that there's an outfit that Audrey Tautou wears that I wouldn't love to own. The greys, creams, blacks, navies, wine coloured lips and velvet bows, I love them all. I don't necessarily love everything Chanel, and I definitely do not love the Chanel suit, or even the quilted Chanel purse, but I do love the probably very historically inaccurate clothing in this movie. So here is my first attempt at re-creating it, and I say first because there will be many more Coco Avante Chanel inspired outfit posts in the future.

Allison and I decided to go to the most French place in Toronto that we could think of to match my outfit, which ended up being Madeleines. Madeleines Cherry Pie and Icecream shop specializes in cherrie pies, but also has many other delicious treats and gorgeous cakes. The shop features marble flours and a pressed tin ceiling, so obviously I love it. I had dark chocolate and a latte, and Allison ate a strawberry macaroon. It was all around a lovely afternoon. 

 I'm wearing an AA shirt (cropped by me), grey pants made by me, a vintage wool jacket, and my best hat, designed by the talented Karyn Gingras and purchased at her shop in Toronto called Lilliput. When I first saw this hat it was love at first site. I talked of nothing else for weeks on end. Finally my mother and my boyfriend both bought me gift certificates for Lilliput so I could buy it. I will have it and love it forever!

The pants I made didn't really work out the way I wanted, and I'll probably end up unstitching the waistband. I bought this top stitching thread for them that I thought would look nifty, but it ended up just looking weird. It's probably for the best because it will give me a chance to lower the raise of the waist. I thought I would never say this, but I think these trousers are too high waisted for me! Isn't the fabric lovely though? it's suiting fabric, and it makes me look like I'm a much better seamstress than I am!

Here's a close-up of my shoes that I bought while I was in London this fall from Russell & Bromley. I also wanted to show off the beautiful marble floors at Madeleines.
And I think that is the last thing I have to say about this outfit! So I will bid you adieu for now.