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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Archive for October, 2011

Vintage Violet Makeup From Christian Dior ~ a Lady Like Halloween Look!

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Christian Dior ~ Paris ~ 2009

It is always fun to dress up somehow for a special holiday. I like trying out an extreme high fashion look for Halloween ~ something from a runway show that is too far out for me to sport in real life.

Not because I think it I too far out! Because the people I interact with would be too shocked. I live in a conservative area where you can only wear looks like this for holidays and special occasions.

This purple eye makeup and dark purple 30s inspired half moon manicure with deep plum/violet lipstick applied in a rosebud shape is great fun. It will give me a chance to actually use all five of the purple eye shadows in my five pan compact at the same time! I usually only use three.

So, I will be trying it tomorrow ~ for Halloween! To wear with a dark purple velvet slinky 1930’s evening dress.

The Dior 5 color eyeshadow palette used in this design is called Night Butterfly # 173 and the lipstick is called Decadent Plum. They are both from the Dior Jazz Club Collection for Fall/Winter 2009. The manicure is done with a beige for the moon and a dark purple for the main nail. More information on this exact makeup can be found on the Dior websites, but it is possible to achieve the look with similar colors from other makeup lines as well.

I really like the butterfly wing sweep shape of the eyes and I think it could be done in several color combinations ~ such as blues and teals, or blues and purples together. I love the idea of this design inspired by a butterfly’s wings and am anxious to try it in various colors ~ taking my inspiration from real butterflies. To me this photograph and design are just for inspiration!

For a fabulous tutorial on how to do the Dior’s 1920’s look check out this great tutorial.

The Lady Violette de Courcy Manicures at Christian Dior

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Lady Violettte Half Moon Nails From Christian Dior

A few seasons ago Dior featured pastel versions of the Forties Half Moon manicure. I happened across photos of purple ones today. I am so glad I did! Because I have been looking for a signature manicure to wear with my vintage clothes. I like this done in pastel shades or true colors to match one’s dress. These are commonly seen in red but in the 1930’s they were often done in lighter or brighter colors to match the wearer’s costume. Colors available then were lilac, cornflower blue, emerald green, pink, white, purple, red, even black! It was very important to match your nails to your outfit. So, as usual, with the latest fashions, the look isn’t new. it is just, in this case, revamped.Here are instructions on creating this look. You can do it with a white moon or a white moon and tip as shown in the photo at left from Dior.

The Lady Violette de Courcy Half-moon manicure step-by-step: Prep your nails as usual first and apply a good base coat. Then:

1.    Apply one coat of white over the entire nail and wait for the polish to dry thoroughly.
2.    Stick on a nail guide stencil or use a punched hole reinforcement circle available at office supply stores as a guide to block off the “moon”section of your nail. Also the tip if desired.
3.    Paint two coats of violet polish from the guide to the tip of the nail. Do this in three clean strokes, the middle, then down each side.
4.    When completely dry,(allow about 20 minutes) remove the your stencil or nail guide and finish with a glossy top coat over the entire nail.

The hands in the photo are not mine. They are those of a mysterious Christian Dior model! I’m going to try this look next week and I’ll take a photo and post my version. I feel that the white is too stark a contrast with the violet and I want to try a more subtle color combination. Perhaps palest lavender moons with deep violet as the main color. I will have to go shopping for polish to find a nice combination. It will be in violet shades though!

Dita Von Teese Wearing Violet ~ Dance Dress & an Evening Gown

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

A Fabulous Dance Costume!

Dita Von Teese Loves Purple and has been photographed in many fantastic purple outfits. Here she wows in a fantastic custom made purple and violet showgirl costume. Just beautiful isn’t it? Another of her gowns that I really love is this vintage 40s inspired evening dress by Gaultier. For Dita dressing is an art form.

Dita In a Gaultier Purple Couture Evening Creation

Suzy Parker’s Gorgeous 1950s Hair & How You Can Achieve It!

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Suzy Parker Shows Us Her Head Full Of Rhinestones Encrusted Pin Curls While Demonstrating How To Do a Classic Fifties Pin Curl Set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fifties hairstyles, like Suzy’ Parker’s, were usually achieved through the arduous process of a pin curl set. They didn’t have blow dryers. As demonstrated by Suzy one divided, rolled and pinned the hair, then sprayed it with good old fashioned toxic aerosol hairspray to hold the set. It was a very tedious process that took hours to dry at home. In salons one could go under a hood dryer to hasten the drying process. These were awful ~ loud, hot, and uncomfortable. You were sure to come out with a terrible headache. Most women set their hair at home when they knew they were going to be stuck there for a while. Some women could roll their hair up in pin curls very efficiently on their own. You were really lucky if you lived in a household with other women who could help you. I remember my mother and aunts getting together on Friday nights or very early in the morning on Saturday’s and rolling each others hair so they could get it done speedily. They would let it dry while they read, had coffee, put on their makeup, got the kids fed and dressed, and got ready to go downtown.

Diagram of a pin curl set

I do not remember them having a head full of jeweled bobby pins though! They used regular bobby pins. They had a few of these fancy jeweled ones for styling their hair after they removed the curling pins and brushed it out into soft fancy curls. It looked absolutely gorgeous when they were finished.I doubt that many women set their entire heads with jeweled pins because these were very expensive! You also would not want to spray them with hairspray (usually Aqua Net) because the chemicals in it would coat the stones and damage them very quickly. I think Suzy just used these dressy rhinestone bobby pins for the demonstration photos so that she could look as glamorous and pretty as possible while showing us how to do this.

Here she sprays the set!

You have to make sure your hair is completely dry before removing the pins and brushing out the set. If  you don’t your curls go flat immediately and the whole process has been a waste of time. If your hair took a long time to dry you would roll and set it the night before, cover the entire production with a sturdy hairnet and sleep on your pin curls or rollers. Attempting to sleep on rollers or pin curls was living hell. It was terribly uncomfortable and you got very little sleep. I have tried it and I cannot do it. As far as I am concerned it isn’t worth the effort! It hurt my neck as I wriggled around trying to get comfortable enough to sleep and I had terrible dark circles under my eyes in the morning from not getting adequate rest! I did not look beautiful after that experience. Thus I recommend doing this when you are going to be at home while the pin curls are doing their thing.

This is what she looks like after removing the pin curls and carefully combing out her hair,. Note that she is using one of the jeweled hairpins to hold it and accent the style.

During the Fifties some women (certainly not Suzy Parker & Dorian Leigh! who were far too elegant to do anything like this,) tied a scarf over their heads, with the pin curls or rollers underneath and went out shopping and doing errands. I suppose this can be done in a pinch or emergency if you really have to run out to get something or rescue someone. However, I think it destroys the elegant look I want to present by going to all this effort to run around town in the curlers. I advise against it.

When your hair is dry, you simply remove the pins, carefully, one by one so the curls don’t get tangled. I recommend spraying each curl again with hair spray to really hold the curl. Let the spray dry, then style your hair, and, finally spray it again to hold the set. If you are going to put a jewel or accent in your hairstyle do so at the very end and don’t spray the hair decoration. Spraying your hair accessories, bows, ribbons, combs, barrettes, will ruin them.

Your set should last a couple of days if:

1) you keep steam and water off your hair by wearing a shower cap when bathing or showering.

2) you sleep with a hairnet on, (not very attractive)

3) you avoid getting caught bareheaded in the rain. Remember those funny plastic rain bonnets they used to carry around in their purses and put on if it started to rain?

4) You don’t go swimming and get your hair wet!

I think these hairstyles were darling looking, but very restrictive. And so much upkeep!It required a tremendous amount of self-discipline to take care of your hair like this consistently. You also had to have it cut and colored every month. I read an interview with Vidal Sassoon who did Suzy’s hair for important shoots in the 60s. He said her hair was naturally stone straight. So she was curling it all the time. Literally, because she was never seen or photographed with straight hair.

I remember reading an interview with Suzy in a magazine that was done after she had married, retired, and had three children. She was living with her family in California. She was asked how she maintained her beautiful hair. It still looked exactly the same as it did while she was modeling. She said that she went to her local hair salon twice a week and had her hair washed and set by the same lady who had been doing it for years – ever since she moved to California which was sometime in the 1960s! She also maintained the auburn color throughout her life.

This was a woman who was truly incredibly disciplined about her hair! She also talked about her years of modeling in the 50s when the models were expected to do their own hair and makeup for all their jobs. She was perfectly adept at doing it herself. She certainly did a beautiful job! Her hair looked amazing throughout her career no matter who did it! Unlike the models and actresses today the professional models and many other women were very well dresses and turned out whenever they went out in public during that time period. They took their looks very seriously.

Traveling in Violet is Possible ~ A Beautiful Purple Airport Fashion

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Dita Glamorously Making Her Way Through an Airport

It’s always hard to know what to wear to the airport and on the plane these days. But traveling, even getting there, can be an event worth planning a fabulous outfit for. Just for fun or, who knows who you might run into in an airport? Or meet on the plane? There is always the possibility of the photographers and fans following you. Thus, as Dita demonstrates, it is a great thing to always be well beautifully dressed, fully made up and perfectly prepared.

Dita Von Teese loves to dress up! Today I found this photo of her in a gorgeous purple trench coat with a huge fur collar in an airport! Marvelous traveling clothes! And I love her huge sunglasses which appear to have purple tinted lenses in the photograph.

Dita lives glamor 247. She obviously loves it and has a great time doing it. I love seeing what outfit she is going to come up with next! I don’t know who designed her coat or whether it is new or vintage. I do know that it is lovely! I would love to have one like it!

It seems to me that surrounding yourself in cloud of hazy violet light like this while en route could take the grunge out of traveling and make it much more pleasant.

I think I am going to dress up in a really fancy vintage coat with a fur collar the next time I fly someplace. Thanks for the inspiration Dita!

” I advocate glamour every day, every minute. Glamor above all else.” Dita Von Teese

And The Bride Wore ~ Violet! The Lovely Dita Von Teese’s Violet Wedding Dress by Vivienne Westwood

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Dita Descending the Stairs in Her Gorgeous Vivian Westwood Violet Wedding Gown in Her 2006 Wedding

I loved Dita’s wedding dress! The photo is by Hammish Marsh for Vogue March 2006 in an article titled The Bride Wore Purple. The dress is by Vivian Westwood. Dita looked fabulous, as usual, but the groom? God! I’ve forgotten him already! So has she fortunately! I think she just wanted an excuse to wear this dress! And there aren’t many occasions in which to dress up these days, so, she had to create one. It was a magnificent publicity stunt!

She looks magnificent in purple which she wear often. I’m glad she came to her senses as quickly as she did and dumped the creep! I’ll be showing more of her beautiful purple gowns and vintage violet get ups soon. I just love Dita and her great clothes/ costumes. Wouldn’t it be fun if everyone dressed like she does?

 

Wonderful Mae West’s Vintage Viewpoint on Models! and Herself!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Lovely, Curvy, Self Confident Mae West

“I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing!” ~  Mae West

With all the controversy over models, their size, photo retouching and digital alterations to their appearances these days I loved this quote I found by Mae West.

Mae was no will o’ the wisp and she prided herself on being a real woman. Both men and women loved her earthy gutsy style. Mae was wonderful! And she had a great influence on fashion bringing back interest in the real female form after the 1920’s fad for the boyish flapper shape. Just look at those curves! Mae knew how to dress her body!

 

Revlon’s Ultra Violet Cosmetic Ad ~ Trick & Treat in Advertising & a Good Idea for a Halloween Costume!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Dorian Leigh in the 2nd Revlon Ultra Violet ad of 1946

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER OF ILLUSIONS IN ADVERTISING

There were two versions of the Ultra Violet ad I have been discussing lately made by Revlon in 1946 featuring Dorian Leigh. This is the second one. I love the way she looks and the colors in the ad, but I think some of the flowers are lilacs, not violets! Both types of flowers are purple so they are alluding to violets through color. Lilacs are tougher than violets and probably held up better under the hot photographic lights used on the sets in those days. They do appear to have used real flowers because you can see them drooping in places. They don’t seem to be holding up during the shoot as as well as Dorian did! The poor little things look like the heat from the lights was wilting them. Meanwhile, Dorian looks fresh as a daisy!

Also, I can tell that Dorian is wrapped in a violet colored sheet, not a beautiful designer gown. This disappoints me! I want to see her in an exotic creation ~ a dress or evening gown by Charles James or Christian Dior or Cecil Beaton for example. Cecil Beaton is the photographer here. I wonder why he wasn’t asked to make a special violet gown for this occasion? (Budget constrictions, perhaps?) She is wearing real jewels which were loaned out for the occasion by Harry Winston. She is every bit as beautiful as they are!

It is interesting to note, here, that Cecil Beaton was a costume and fashion designer par excellence and also created magnificent hats. He later did the costumes for the film My Fair Lady which included spectacular dresses and hats for the Ascot Races. He could have designed something magnificent for Dorian to wear in this campaign had Revlon been up for that! I’m sure it would have been worth the extra money!

Given that they had only a cotton sheet and a straw sun hat (again not a designer creation!) to work with for costuming, she and Beaton did a pretty good job of creating the illusion of glamor in these two photographs that made Revlon over $3 million dollars in 1946! Wow! On this one color alone! Ultra Violet was quite popular. Dorian was so elegant and charming that she could sell anything even wrapped in a sheet! They draped and tied it around her like a giant scarf, so this is an example of creative scarf tying and styling! Cecil Beaton was a master of illusion as a photographer, stage and costume designer. Between them, Dorian and Cecil were able to trick the female public into seeing this ridiculous set up as glamorous and treating themselves to the Ultra Violet cosmetics so that they could look just like Dorian.

Considering the amount of money Revlon spent on the ad campaign and the amount of profit they made back from doing it they should and could have sprung for a decent dress for their top model! Charles Revson was infatuated with Dorian and wanted to marry her. She turned him down repeatedly. I wonder why? Don’t you? I haven’t found out the reasons yet, but will post that juicy tidbit of information when I do. I suspect she may have found him cheap! Suzy Parker, Dorian’s sister, complained that Revlon paid them “peanuts” for modeling for these ads. The girls knew that Revlon was nothing without them, but Revlon hadn’t realized the value of its models yet. They didn’t until Lauren Hutten came along in the 1970’s and demanded an exclusive contract. That was the beginning of the big money for women who modeled in cosmetic ads.

This getup has gotten me thinking that I could make an Ultra Violet Girl costume to wear for Halloween! I always try to come up with a violet theme being Lady Violette. All I would have to do is apply my makeup like Dorian’s vintage makeup design in the picture; then, dye a white sheet violet in Ritt dye in my washing machine, artfully wrap and drape it as they have done in the photograph, pile on some costume jewelry, plop my big violet colored straw hat on my head and cover myself with artificial violets and lilacs which can be bought in garlands or individual stems at craft stores. I could even make myself a round box like the powder box she is holding, label it Ultra Violet, and hold it out for my treats! A little small for candy? I don’t want candy! I want big girl treats ~ some of those Harry Winston treats like Dorian’s will be just fine and should fit perfectly and discreetly in my little treat box!

 

Violet / Lavender Face Powder ~ Who Wore it First? John Singer Sargeant’s Muse, Madame X, of Course!

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Madame X by John Singer Sargeant 1884

It is always amusing to me to see who claims to have devised beauty treatments and colors first. I know for a fact that Revlon was not the first to come up with the idea of lavender or violet tinted face powder. Incidentally, both of these names refer to the same thing/color ~ a light purple. Whichever name is used is whichever appeals more to the creator of the face powder under discussion and works best for marketing it. The color and concept has been around for a very long time in France, England, Italy, Spain and the United States and there are many references to it in women’s literature and antique beauty manuals. Revlon claiming to have invented the color violet for face powder and cosmetic use in 1946 for their Ultra Violet campaign was simply a marketing ploy.

Lavender and Violet face powder ? … You may wonder, what is it’s purpose?

Well, originally it was considered an exotic makeup color, which it is, and it was scented delicately with violet or lavender perfume.

A Photograph of the Original Painting as Sargeant Displayed it in the Paris Salon of 1884 with Madame X Jeweled Strap Slipping Off Her Shoulder Which Caused a Scandal. He Repainted the Strap on Her Shoulder as We Know the Painting Now in an Attempt to Appease the Social Critics of the Time and Salvage His and His Subjects Reputations

Cosmetic and makeup specialists told women it would tone down a yellow complexion, making it much more attractive and desirable, giving it a more balanced white and pink look. Thus it was recommend as a color corrector. There is quite a bit of it available on the market today from various companies claiming to do this. Honestly, I do not know if it works. I cannot prove it by trying it out on myself because I do not have a yellow complexion. If someone out there has experience with this, please let me know how this works for you.

Study for Madame X

Next, it was marketed as an desirable colorful look in makeup as well as a delicate attractive floral scent. Honestly, I do know that this works! I have several violet and lavender colors of eye shadow powders, blushes, lip sticks and glosses, nail lacquers, and a luscious violet tinted loose face powder from Borghese which I love for its exotic color effect as a finishing touch to a violet themed face makeup.

 

 

 

 

I personally believe that John Singer Sargeant’s Muse, Madam X, who was Madame Virginie Amilie Avegno Gautreau in real life, used it this way and brushed it over her famous decolletage and white shoulders as well. I enjoy thinking about her doing that when I am applying the powder myself. I find the rituals of applying makeup very interesting and satisfying and filled with historical references. Women have always adorned themselves and I love getting inspiring ideas from history and literature on beauty and makeup. I have long been on the lookout for references in art and literature to use as inspiration.

Currently, purple, violet, and lavender is a very popular makeup color, and is offered in every conceivable shade and variation by many respectable cosmetic lines. These range from the most delicate hint of light violet to the darkest deepest almost black purple hue and every shade and variation of formula in between. Purples and violets and lavenders are made in nail polishes, lipsticks, eye shadows, blushes, mascaras, eyeliners, and powders of every imaginable type. I am always exploring these offerings because I love the color! The violet is my personal flower and violet is my personal color as well. As Lady Violette it is also my name, and it follows, of course, that violet should be foremost in my personal makeup palette.  And, as I have explained before having a personal flower and a personal color gives a woman a theme to explore in her dressing and grooming and the creation of her personal signature look. This is very useful as it gives one a starting point. I think Madame X would have loved all these modern purple these cosmetics!

Study for Madame X Sargeant 1883

Interestingly, there is no color on the current market that comes across as the ruby red infused with violet glimmer that Revlon’s Ultra Violet of 1946 claimed to be! I will be first to know if one comes out! And I’ll post that information immediately! I have not seen the 1946 Ultra Violet by Revlon in person. It came out way before my time! And I have yet to locate a vintage example, but I am looking for one! I deduce that the color so named was the color of the nail lacquer and the lipstick and the powder was a very softly, lightly violet tinted face powder sold to compliment the lips and tips that were done up in Ultra Violet.

 

Madame X Unfinished 1884

My own favorite wearer of this shade of face powder historically was Madame X ~ Virginie Amilie Avegno Gautreau, the Parisian socialite painted by John Singer Sargeant. She wore lavender face powder and prided herself on her appearance. Her use of this shade of cosmetic face powder was written about and documented as early as 1880. She was well known for wearing it in Paris. I doubt she actually invented it, or was the earliest person to wear it, but she became famous for her beauty and her use of this daring color was unusual at the time. Personally, I love Madame X and Sargeant’s drawings and paintings of her. And yes, I have seen many of them in person and they are masterpieces in my opinion. I am grateful to both the sitter and the painter for creating them. I am an ardent admirer of Sargeant’s art work and of Virginie Gautreau as a woman of great interest and beauty. I recommend seeing the painting in person if you get the chance. I also recommend reading about Madame X ~ there are several good biographies on her and several good books on Sargent the artist as well. They are both great inspiration to me ~ as people and as artists. I consider the great beauties of her type to be artists. Isn’t a beautiful woman, after all, a living moving work of art? A living sculpture? I think this way because I am a classically trained dancer and dancers are trained to think of themselves this way in relation to line, space, volume, form and color.

Madame X with champagne in an oil sketch by Sargeant

I, personally, first became consciously aware of violet and lavender face powder when I learned that Madame X had worn it so famously in Paris in the 1880s. Thus, for me, she is the person I know of who wore it first. When I ask the question, ” Who wore violet or lavender face powder first? ” her name immediately pops into my mind as the answer. So, you see, as far as I am concerned, just for me, she wore it first! Since no one really knows who dreamed it up initially, this answer will suffice for me! She is beautiful, exotic, mysterious and intriguing so her association with the color is perfect from an imaging standpoint.

Following is from the Wikipedia entry on The painting The Portrait of Madame X.

Portrait of Madame X

John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1884, oil on canvas, 234.95 x 109.86 cm, Manhattan: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Madame X or Portrait of Madame X is the informal title of a portrait painting by John Singer Sargent of a young socialite named Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, wife of Pierre Gautreau. The model was an American expatriate who married a French banker, and became notorious in Parisian high society for her beauty and rumored infidelities. She wore lavender powder and prided herself on her appearance.

Madame X was painted not as a commission, but at the request of Sargent.[1] It is a study in opposition. Sargent shows a woman posing in a black satin dress with jeweled straps, a dress that reveals and hides at the same time. The portrait is characterized by the pale flesh tone of the subject contrasted against a dark colored dress and background.

For Sargent, the scandal resulting from the painting’s controversial reception at the Paris Salon of 1884 amounted to the failure of a strategy to build a long-term career as a portrait painter in France.[2]

Background

Renowned for her beauty, Gautreau represented the parisienne, a new type of Frenchwoman recognized for her sophistication. The English term ‘professional beauty’, referring to a woman who uses personal skills to advance to elite status, was also used to describe her.[3] Her unconventional beauty made her an object of fascination for artists; the American painter Edward Simmons claimed that he “could not stop stalking her as one does a deer.”[4] Sargent was also impressed, and anticipated that a portrait of Gautreau would garner much attention at the upcoming Paris Salon, and increase interest in portrait commissions. He wrote to a friend:

” I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. If you are ‘bien avec elle’ and will see her in Paris, you might tell her I am a man of prodigious talent.”[5]

Although she had refused numerous similar requests from artists, Gautreau accepted Sargent’s offer in February 1883.[6] Sargent was an expatriate like Gautreau, and their collaboration has been interpreted as motivated by a shared desire to attain high status in French society.[7]

Studies

Little progress was made during the winter of 1883, as Gautreau was distracted by social engagements, and was not by nature inclined to the discipline of sitting for a portrait. At her suggestion, Sargent traveled to her estate in Brittany in June, where he commenced a series of preparatory works in pencil, watercolors, and oils.[8] About thirty drawings resulted from these sessions, in which many poses were attempted. Like the eventual portrait, an oil sketch entitled Madame Gautreau Drinking a Toast (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), shows the subject’s profile and bare arms against a dark background, but is of a more freely brushed and informal character.

Just as she had been in Paris, in the country Gautreau was bored by the process of sitting; here, too, there were social engagements, as well as the responsibilities of tending to her four-year-old daughter, her mother, house guests, and a full domestic staff. Sargent complained of “the unpaintable beauty and hopeless laziness of Madame Gautreau.”[9]

Execution

As in his previous entries to the Salon, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and El Jaleo, Sargent chose a canvas of dimensions large enough to ensure notice on the crowded Salon walls. The pose proved to be different from any of those tried in the preliminary works. It necessitated that Gautreau stand with her body facing the artist while her head was turned away, her right arm extended behind her for support, her hand on a low table; the result was to create tension in the neck and arm as well as to emphasize the subject’s elegant contours.[10] For painting the artificial tone of Gautreau’s pale skin, Sargent used a palette composed of lead white, rose madder, vermilion, viridian, and bone black.[10]

Even when composition had been decided upon and painting started, work progressed slowly. In a letter to a friend Sargent wrote “One day I was dissatisfied with it and dashed a tone of light rose over the former gloomy background…The élancée figure of the model shows to much greater advantage.”[11] On September 7, Sargent wrote “still at Paramé, basking in the sunshine of my beautiful model’s countenance.”[11] By the fall, Sargent’s interest in the venture was nearing completion: “The summer is definitely over and with it, I admit, is my pleasure at being at Les Chênes (Gautreau’s estate).”[12]

Description

There is an assertion and showiness in the expanse of white skin — from her high forehead down her graceful neck, shoulders, and arms. Although the black of her dress is bold, it is also deep, recessive, and mysterious. She is surrounded by a rich brown which is at once luminous and dark enough to provide contrast to the skin tones. Most disconcerting is the whiteness of the skin, an overt contrivance of “aristocratic pallor”; by contrast her red ear is a jarring reminder of the color of flesh unadorned.[7]

Sargent chose the pose for Gautreau carefully: her body boldly faces forward while her head is turned in profile. A profile is both assertion and retreat; half of the face is hidden while, at the same time, the part that shows can seem more defined than full face.

Sargent in his Paris studio, ca. 1885

The table provides support for Gautreau, and echoes her curves and stance. At the time, her pose was considered sexually suggestive. As originally exhibited, one strap of her gown had fallen down Gautreau’s right shoulder, suggesting the possibility of further revealment; “One more struggle”, wrote a critic in Le Figaro, “and the lady will be free”. (Perhaps unknown to the critic, the bodice was constructed over a metal and whalebone foundation and could not have possibly fallen; the shoulder straps were ornamental).

The image’s erotic suggestion is of a distinctly upper-class sort: unnaturally pale skin, cinched waist, severity of profile and an emphasis on aristocratic bone structure all imply a distant sexuality “under the professional control of the sitter”, rather than offered for the viewer’s delectation.[7]

Classical sources, such as the figures in a fresco by Francesco de’ Rossi (Il Salviati), have been suggested as inspiration for the pose.[13] The painting features several subtle classical references: sirens of Greek mythology adorn the table’s legs, and the crescent tiara worn by Gautreau symbolizes the goddess Diana. The latter was not contrived by the artist, but was part of Gautreau’s self-display.[11]

Reception

Antonio de La Gandara, Madame Pierre Gautreau, 1898.

While the work was in progress, Gautreau was enthusiastic; she believed that Sargent was painting a masterpiece.[14] When the painting first appeared at the Paris Salon under the title Portrait de Mme *** in 1884, people were shocked and scandalized; the attempt to preserve the subject’s anonymity was unsuccessful, and the sitter’s mother requested that Sargent withdraw the painting from the exhibition. Sargent refused, saying he had painted her “exactly as she was dressed, that nothing could be said of the canvas worse than had been said in print of her appearance”.[15] Later, Sargent overpainted the shoulder strap to raise it up and make it look more securely fastened. He also changed the title, from the original Portrait de Mme ***, to Madame X — a name more assertive, dramatic and mysterious, and, by accenting the impersonal, giving the illusion of the woman archetype.

The poor public and critical reception was a disappointment to both artist and model. Gautreau was humiliated by the affair, and Sargent would soon leave Paris and move to London permanently.

Aftermath

Sargent hung Madame X first in his Paris studio, and later in his studio in London. Starting in 1905, he displayed it in a number of international exhibitions. In 1916, Sargent sold the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, writing to its director “I suppose it is the best thing I have ever done.”[16][17] A second, unfinished version of the same pose, in which the position of the right shoulder strap remained unresolved, is in the Tate Gallery.[17]

Seven years after Sargent painted Madame Gautreau, Gustave Courtois painted her. As in the earlier painting, the portrait shows her face in profile. She wears the same style of dress, with Courtois’s portrait showing a bit more skin. The strap of her dress hangs off her shoulder much as it had in Sargent’s portrait. This time, however, the portrait was well received by the public. In 1897 Gautreau posed yet again for a standing portrait, for what would be her favorite version, by Antonio de la Gandara.[12]

Revlon’s Amazing 1946 Ultra Violet Ad with Beautiful Dorian Leigh Photographed by Sir Cecil Beaton

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The Lovely Dorian Leigh Photographed by Cecil Beaton for Revlon’s 1946 Ultra Violet Lipstick & Nail Polish Ad Campaign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything about this 1946 Revlon Ultra Violet ad is amazing. First the color was really unusual and new at the time. It was a ruby red infused with a heavy dose of violet glimmer. They made an Ultra Violet trio of lipstick, nail polish and violet tinted face powder. The ad featured luscious Dorian Leigh, draped in a violet colored sheet and covered with bunches of violets. It was photographed by none other than Cecil Beaton. But that wasn’t only the beginning!

Time Magazine Monday Sept. 23, 1946 published this report on the Ultra Violet advertising launch: Remember, as you read this that this was in 1946!

ADVERTISING: Such a Color!
Monday Sept. 23, 1946
Violets, who’ll buy my violets? Take these cupid eyes of blue. Let them lead you for diversion On a little spring excursion From the old love to the new. On the peculiar workings of the advertising mind—as represented in New York’s McCann-Erickson agency—this saccharine ditty from the 1926 hit parade recently had a cataclysmic effect. For weeks the agency had been searching its accounts for a product that could be used as a tie-in to promote a lipstick and nail polish called “Ultra Violet,” put out by Manhattan’s Revlon Products Corp. It had also been worrying over the same sort of thing for Columbia Recording Corp.’s Dinah Shore. Then several of its geniuses remembered the old song. It was a natch. Lyric writers changed the first line to ‘Who will buy my ultra violets?” and substituted “fall” for “spring.” Dinah Shore recorded it. Admen hastily readied a $100,000 campaign for Dinah which mentioned Revlon and a $500,000 campaign for Revlon which mentioned Dinah. Copywriters rose to inspired heights: ‘Words can but weakly designate [the color] as ‘an unearthly violet fired with rubies! . . .’ Never before—perhaps never again—such a color!”
Within a fortnight the ultra violets will burst into full bloom on records, on the air, in ads everywhere.
For Revlon, which sells more lipstick and nail polish (other products: powder, rouge) than anyone else, all this was just new gilt on an old lily. When they founded Revlon in a $25-a-month office in 1932, Brothers Charlie, Martin and Joe Revlon decided to capitalize on names, beginning with their own. They had another cardinal principle: a woman’s most important points, unless she’s in a bathing suit, are her eyes, lips, hair and hands.
They started with nail enamels, soon did so well that they moved into their present smoke-grey quarters on Fifth Avenue, where they now promote two different shades a year (Charlie first decides on the name of the shade, then tries to get a color to fit it).
The Ultra Violet campaign is the costliest that Revlon has ever launched, may swell the company’s 1946 advertising bil to over $3 million. What Revlon expects in return, like all other figures in the industry, is a closely guarded secret. But largely on the sale of dollar lipsticks and 60¢ nail polishes which cost the makers about 10¢ to manufacture, Revlon this year will gross “well into the eight-figure bracket.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,777163,00.html#ixzz1bafRkblG

The Lady Violette Look of Vintage Haute Couture ~ Dorian Leigh

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Dorian Leigh in Amazing Violet Ensemble

Today I found this vintage Revlon makeup ad and I fell in love with the Beautiful Vintage Violet Hat and Gown, the Jewels and the Makeup!

Isn’t this gorgeous! This is Suzy Parker’s glamorous older sister Dorian Leigh who also modeled for many famous Revlon cosmetic ads. I love everything about this Vintage Violet Garden Party Ensemble ~ the hat, the gown, the makeup, the amazing earrings, her hair, and her fabulous attitude! She has it down! It being the Lady Violette Look of vintage haute couture.

I think this ensemble would be fabulous to wear to a contemporary wedding or any amazing formal outdoor garden party.

And the makeup is, again, just beautiful. She is wearing violet eyeshadow. And take note, her natural nails are filed to almost points ~ very long and graceful nearly pointed ovals! I love the combination of the violet eyes and bright 1950s red lips and fingertips. And the matching “lips and tips” of course!

Gorgeous delicate technicolor influenced color overload! Revlon was incomparably sophisticated back then! Women strove to look like this! It was high maintenance, but so so worth the effort!

Dorian Leigh was a brilliant woman as well as a great beauty. She had a degree in engineering, was a math wizard, an award winning chef who opened several successful restaurants in Paris, an author of several books, and opened and ran a modeling agency in Paris. She lived to the ripe age of 91. Not only did she look like this, she was also extremely well educated and accomplished. Her biography is titled Th Girl Who Had Everything.

Suzy Parker’s Trademark Makeup Circa 1950s ~ How To Achieve Her Vintage 50s Look ~ Recreated by Lady Violette de Courcy Using Cosmetic Products Available in 2011

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Suzy Parker in Her Trademark Makeup Circa 1950s

Suzy Parker’s Trademark Makeup was gorgeous in the 1950s. In those days models did their own hair and makeup most of the time. I have the same natural coloring as Suzy so I have always wanted to recreate her look to the best of my ability using products available today. I achieved this successfully today so I am going to share how I did it and what products I used.

Pre~Makeup: Start with a clean, conditioned face. The exact steps and products I used follow:

1) cleanse ~ MyChelle Honeydew Cleanser

2) tone ~ Lancome Tonique Radiance

3) apply serum ~ Elizabeth Arden Bye Lines

4) moisturize ~ Lancome Absolue Pemium RX

5) apply eye cream ~ Lancome Absolue Eye Premium RX

6) apply primer ~ Smashbox Photo Finish

MAKING UP: Step 1 ~ 10

1) Concealer ~ Estee Lauder Smoothing Cream Concealer, color Smooth Ivory -01C, applied with brush, to cover dark circles under eye to lash line and innermost corner of the eye, then blend with fingers.

2) Foundation ~ Nars sheer glow liquid foundation in color Siberia (the lightest foundation on he market that I know of) pat over the entire face with fingers.

3) Powder ~ Chanel Plein Jour in color Daylight Perfecting Pressed Powder – dust over entire face with a Kabuki Brush ( This is in a compact which you can carry in your purse, 50’s style for touch ups!)

4) Blush ~ Paula Dorf “Tootsie” color blushing powder, apply to cheekbones (see photo) with a blush brush. Also brush a bit over chin, into hairline, and over earlobes.

5) Lipstick ~ Chanel #70 Rouge a Leveres Red Coromandel, apply carefully directly from the tube as they did in the 50s. You can do so, perfectly, with a little practice. I recommend learning to do it this way so that you can skillfully reapply your lipstick, using the mirror in your powder compact, in public, like they did in the fifties and 60s. This is such a charming feminine vintage gesture, fascinating to behold and it drives men wild! ( Practice at home until you get it down skillfully as you don’t want to fumble with all eyes glued to you in a restaurant! or other public place.)

A vintage trick to keep your red lipstick from rubbing off on your teeth: Apply a generous coat at home, blot with a tissue, then stick your finger in your mouth, pucker up, and pull your finger out of the center of your mouth dragging it over your lips to remove the excess color that would otherwise come off on your teeth. Like magic, you have removed the exact right amount in the right place to avoid staining your teeth! This really works and doesn’t remove the color from your lips! When you reapply your lipstick in public you will just be touching up. You don’t need or want to do this move in the public eye! It would look awful and you would have lipstick all over your finger too! It is necessary to clean it off your hand after this maneuver. This should only be done at home before you leave the house. You can blot, later in the day, in the ladies room, if necessary, never in public!

If you need to define your lips with a pencil or keep them from feathering you can use a lip liner to do so after applying the lip color via your lipstick. You can use a lip brush to soften and blend hard edges if necessary. It has become customary to use a lip brush and liner to apply dark and bright colors that require precise application over the last couple of decades. They did not do his in the 50s. They applied their color straight from the tube and managed to it neatly freehand. It is not hard to develop that skill and also allows you to eliminate steps from your routine which is liberating! I personally prefer to do it the old fashioned way, particularly during the day when away from home! Remember, practice makes perfect, and it takes only a few tries to get it down to a science.

6) Lip Liner Pencil ~ if you need one I recommend Christian Dior’s Holiday Red which has been around for literally decades, or Lorac 03 pencil. The Dior lip pencil comes with a brush on one end. I also like the Dior lip brush.They didn’t have lip gloss in the 1950s. If they wanted shine they used a tiny dab of Vaseline. This was usually done only for photographs as it made your lipstick stick to your teeth in real life wear ~ the thing we are trying to avoid when waring red lipstick to attain a charming vintage look!

7) Brows ~ Pluck your brows neatly the night before applying your makeup. Suzy’s thin, highly arched brows are tweezed thin, then filled in and drawn on in an exaggerated arch with extended outside ends using only one sharpend pencil in an auburn shade to match her famous ref hair. I have searched and searched and experimented a lot to get the right color and styling tool for these brows. The very best tool and color in the cosmetic business is Chanel’s Sourcils Brow Definer in Auburn. It has a great pencil in a great color with a great little comb/brush for grooming your brows and blending the color on one end. It is the perfect eyebrow tool. I have used it to create brows just like these on myself freehand for a decade now and I love it! Of course it comes in other colors as well!

The only other brow tools you should ever need are an old soft toothbrush to brush your eyebrows out, and a tweezer man slant edged tweezer for a little plucking and shaping as needed. If you have an unruly brow now and then smooth them down at night to train them while you sleep with a heavy coat of Vaseline , then comb them neatly into place with the toothbrush and in the morning they should be trained to behave themselves! The Vaseline soothes any irritation you might have gotten from avid plucking while you sleep as well. I love thin arched 1930s – 50s brows, but I am also the first to warn anyone about over plucking theirs. Be conservative and just do a tiny bit at a time. You can always get used to that effect, then do a tiny bit more if you need to. Take your time to get used to the look. And be a bit conservative. No need to rush! Rushing is not glamorous!

8) Eye Shadow: I used three colors ~ Paula Dorf “Sea Shell” on the lid, (It is a very light flat peach with no shine.) Cargo Tundra under the brow on the brow bone and in the inside corner of the eyelid, (It is a flat, mat white with no shine.) Shu Uemura P Blue 630 (It is a flat light pale blue) as a faint and delicate feminine accent of color above the eye liner line and moving into the Sea Shell color on the lid.

9) Eye Liner ~ I used two eyeliner pencils, both black. I used Lancome’s Le Stylo Waterproof pen to line the top lash line with a wide heavy line close to the lashes and upsweep at the outer lid edge as in the picture. Then I used Cargo’s Black pencil/crayon to line the lower lash line. I used two different liners because they each have different properties which I prefer on the different areas of the eye. The Lancome is soft and dark and doesn’t scratch the eye. And it is easy to control. The Cargo pencil can be sharpened to a nice point to line the lower lid very narrowly and also doesn’t scratch. I have a hard time with eyeliners irritating my sensitive eyes, so I am very particular about them!

10) Mascara ~ Black Lancome Defencils Mascara ~ coat the upper lashes only.

To finish Step back and look at your face from a bit of a distance in your wall mirror. If you need to up the volume on the blush with another brush full. Apply another coat of powder if you think you need to. (I sometimes find that I have become shiny just working on the rest of my face! Then I need to matte out my shine for a nice cool look with a light dusting of powder. ) Check to see if you are wearing enough eyeshadow ~ in your opinion!)

This look should be a bit conservative, very ladylike and refined, nothing is too dark. It should look very pale. Only the lips are bright.

I have used the currently available products that I like the best to achieve the look I wanted. Because I do not work for any cosmetic companies I can pick and choose the things I use without concern for brand representation. This is a lot of freedom that you do not have if you work for a particular cosmetic company or store. I know this because I worked for Christian Dior and Estee Lauder for several years about a decade ago. Personally I like to pick my favorite products and tools from a variety of different companies. That way I feel that I can take what each has to offer that works best for me or for the look I want to achieve.

In the Suzy Parker era it was the epitome of fashion to wear matching lips and tips (finger tips) which is one reason I chose to use Chanel’s Red Coromandel #70 lipstick. It also comes in a matching nail polish, the classic 1950s red Le Vernis nail color Rouge Coromandel #70 by Chanel.

Suzy Modeling Red Lipstick for Coty in 1957 ~ Their "24" Lipstick You Could Sleep in and Still Be Wearing Bright Red & Perfectly Applied Red Lipstick When You Woke Up in the Morning ! And Apparently All Your Heavy Eye Makeup Too!

Suzy Modeling Touch-and-Glow Foundation Makeup & Bright Red Lipstick for Revlon in 1954. This is the Classic Suzy Parker Makeup I Have Recreated for You to Try in This Post. This is a Great Front View of the Makeup!

Suzy Parker Modeling a White 1950s Suit with a Bouquet of Roses. She is Wearing the Same Beautiful Makeup Design While Posing in the Gorgeous White Afternoon Suit for a Fashion Magazine!

Suzy Parker Wearing Red Lipstick and a Catalina Swimsuit in a 1957 Catalina Swimwear Ad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that Suzy modeled for Coty and Revlon cosmetics. She undoubtedly used a lot of Coty and Revlon products herself as a result. Both she, and her sister, Dorian Leigh, were famous Revlon Cosmetics faces. I have displayed a few of these adds here. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and possibly before that time, Revlon was an upscale makeup and skincare brand sold in fine department stores and specialty cosmetic shops. It was not sold in drug stores as an inexpensive makeup line for women and teenage girls. The packaging was fancier than it is in the United States nowadays.

Interestingly Revlon is still a status cosmetic line in South America and Europe today. There it is sold in upscale shops and even has its own free standing stores selling the entire line of products. The beautiful contemporary Revlon ads we see in magazines are designed for those markets. In Brazil and Mexico I saw full scale billboards of the Revlon ads we see in US magazine towering overhead on busy city streets. There, the name Revlon is still associated with the same type of glamor it was in the days of Suzy Parker. I’m quite sure you could recreate her 1950s look today using Revlon’s cosmetics.  I mostly used products I had in my personal cosmetic collection already. I do have some Revlon products and I like them, but I didn’t have the colors I needed to do this look. It is interesting to note that the beautiful classic red color Revlon’s Fire and Ice that was modeled by Suzy’s sister Doria Leigh (Parker) is still being produced. It is still beautiful and the perfect red! I think I’ll get some for the holiday season. The great thing about Revlon nowadays is that you can get their high fashion makeup colors at very reasonable prices. For example the nail polish is $4.99 versus $30 for Chanel, $14 for Butter, $28 for Christian Dior, $18 for Deborah Lipman, $17 for Lancome and so on. The formulas are tried and true and traditional. I have used them and they look lovely and wear well. Many of the colors are gorgeous. The same goes for the lipsticks. They know what they are doing, after all, they have been at it for  very long time! Recently they have been using Julianne Moore and Susan Saradon as models and spokeswomen. The company seems to like redheads! They do consistently make a lot of colors that look good on them!

If you carefully study Suzy Parker’s photographs during the 1950s you will see that she used essentially this same makeup design throughout that decade no matter what she was showing and selling. She seemed to have found a look that worked for her, then stuck with it. It worked well on her in both black and white and color photographs. The other distinctive makeup design she wore was in another ad for Revlon which featured a deep beautiful pink on lips and nails. The ad reads, “Not Sissy Pink, Not Prissy Pink!” It was for a sophisticated bright deep pink for classic gorgeous women. I plan to recreate that look and post it soon as well. Later, in the 1960s she did a bright orange/coral lipstick and blush with bright orange/coral nails. She always matched her lips and tips, of course! She was the epitome of classy grown up sophisticated beauty. She always looked well groomed, sexy, feminine and glamorous! As these pictures prove her basic makeup, was perfect and appropriate for any occasion ~ modeling for magazines and cosmetic companies, sleeping, going out for a night on the town, shopping for flowers in the afternoon in a white suit, and heading to the pool for a swim, or a cocktail poolside!

Suzy Parker in an Amazing Violet Dress ~ Lady Violette’s Dream Ball Gown for the Upcoming Holidays

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Suzy Parker Modeling an Exquisite Violet Ballgown

Suzy was beautiful and glamorous in everything she put on and, modeling for all the top designers on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1950s and 60s, she got to wear some of the most beautiful clothes in fashion history. Because I love violet and ballgowns this has to be one of my favorites. I don’t know who the designer is. I have seen the photo several times and one place said it was done as an ad for Modess. If anyone knows who designed the dress I would love to have that information.

This is what I want to wear to my Holiday Party this winter! It is pretty elaborate so I am planning ahead! I will probably have to make myself a dress like this ~ inspired by this one is what I mean. Note the red lining in the little evening wrap! I love that touch! I already have jewelry that I can wear with it. If I get it together to make such a gown!

I’m going to start recreating Suzy’s makeup looks for myself. She wore this one through most of the 1950s and 196os as her basic pale clear skinned look with bright red lipstick and matching nails, highly arched eyebrows, light coral rouge, light blue eye shadow and strong black eyeliner turned up on the outer edges. The whole face was set with loose light colored face powder. I love this ulta feminine highly polished look!

I will post a blog on how I achieve the look using currently available products! That is, How to Create a 1950’s Look Using Products From 2011.

Suzy Parks hairstyles were achieved with pin curl sets and a great deal of hairspray. I recall having seen an article where she explained how she set her hair with line art illustrations of the set and photos of herself in pin curls. I will try to locate those as well. I will not be able to put my hair up in pin curls to practice her do until I get out of the cast for my broken arm! And make it through after surgery rehab. I realize she wore French Twists and Chignons in many of her photos as well so I may have to be satisfied with myself wearing such doable styles

Suzy Parker Inspires Looking Glamorous in Vintage Fashions After Car Accidents, Broken Arms, & Surgery in Elegant Long Gloves

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Suzy Parker at age 17 in 1950 Wearing Long Gloves in LIFE Magazine Photo Early in Her Modeling Career.

In the summer of 2003 I was doing research for an  article I was writing on the beautiful 1950s – 60s model Suzy Parker who had recently died. Before finishing that project I was in a very serious auto accident in which I was severely injured. I had to be cut out of the car by the jaws of life and taken to the trauma ward. I had many injuries, which resulted in multiple surgeries and scars. I  broke my left arm and had to have surgery on my right wrist, which left me with scars.

A Few Years Later Suzy on the Cover of LIFE Magazine Wearing a Red Sequined Dress by Norell and Long White Opera Gloves

I remembered that Suzy had also been in a terrible auto accident in which her father was killed and she broke both her arms. I also remembered she was in a second accident years later when filming an episode of the Twilight Zone. I looked terrible after my accident of course, and I thought of Suzy often as inspiration because she managed to come back, looking lovely and sophisticated, and working as a model and actress again after these accidents and injuries. She inspired me to keep going at times. I read in an interview that she had scars on her arms after this, but kept working because she learned to hold her arms to conceal them or wore gloves, which, luckily, were very fashionable during that time period. You can check out The Suzy Parker Glove Gallery for a collection of photos of Suzy wearing gloves.

Suzy Parker Modeling Crochet Gloves and a Long Flowing Scarf~ So Elegant!

Then, 3 and a half weeks ago, I broke my right wrist and arm in multiple places and ended up having to have a second surgery on my right arm and this time left the hospital with a metal plate and nine pins in my right wrist. I also have a nice neat surgical wound of several inches running up the inside of my right arm. This will become yet another distinctive scar on my right arm along with the other one on the side of that wrist.

Gorgeous Suzy Parker in a Stunning Cocktail Dress with Long White Gloves

Again, I thought of Suzy Parker. And the beautiful pictures of her wearing long gloves with almost every ensemble she modeled. I love vintage clothes, gloves and her look. Now, I’m in a cast/splint, enduring the tedious recovery process. and doing everything my doctor ordered, but this will take quite a while to heal. I’m thinking a lot about Suzy and her gloves and I want to incorporate gloves into most of my outfits when this is over. I already have a glove collection started. But now I am really inspired to acquire more! They are both practical and very elegant. I know I am going to have to keep this wrist and arm warm during the winter because injuries are always more vulnerable to cold. I’m going to wear gloves and think of Suzy when I’m getting dressed both casually and formally. Isn’t she beautiful and inspiring?

This last picture in the sequined evening gown was taken after she recovered and returned to work following the terrible accident in which her father was killed and both her arms were broken. She looks so elegant and beautiful because she was very professional and knew how to put herself together and carry on with life turning mishaps and misfortune into life experience and understanding that comes across in her photos. I find her grace and maturity appealing and glamorous. In the fifties and sixties women tried to look sophisticated and worldly. Personally, I like this look much more than the young looking models of today. It makes me happy with myself as I get older! I’m posting this in the hope other women will find it and be inspired by her as well! If you browse through the glove gallery of photos of her you will find many inspiring looks to emulate in makeup, hair styling, coats, suits, day dresses, cocktail gowns. evening dresses, furs and jewelry as well as gloves. Her photos epitomize 1950’s glamor! Enjoy!

Suzy Parker After She Recovered From Her Injuries Received in the 1958 Car Accident and Back at Work Modeling an Elegant Black Sequined Evening Gown With Long White Opera Gloves, Diamond Earrings & a Sterling Silver Mink Stole ~ If I Had to Walk the Red Carpet Today I Think I Would Like to Wear This Ensemble! I Think it is as Beautiful and Appropriate Today as When it was Originally Created.

Dates and some facts regarding Suzy Parker’s auto accidents:
On June 7, 1958, Suzy Parker аnd hеr father, George Parker, wеrе involved іn a horrific car-train collision. Apparently, nеіthеr Suzy οr George, thе latter οf whοm hаd bееn аt thе wheel, hаd heard thе oncoming train. George died οf hіѕ injuries аt thе hospital whіlе Suzy suffered several broken bones аnd embedded glass, though none tο hеr famous face. In 1964, whіlе rehearsing fοr hеr role аѕ Lana Cuberle/Simmons/Grace/Doe/Jane #12 іn Thе Twilight Zone episode “Number 12 Looks Jυѕt Lіkе Yου″ (1/24/64), Parker wаѕ involved іn another car accident. After that she said she retired to be the best possible wife and mother.

Making Art & Showing Your Unique Style in Every Aspect of Your Life ~ Customized Coffee Drinks made for Lady Violette de Courcy & Decorated with the Cordate Violet Plant’s Pretty Heart Shaped Leaf

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Customized Coffee Drinks Featuring Cordate Violet Leaves Created in Foam for Lady Violette de Courcy

I have a particularly talented and artistic local barista who decorates each of his regular customers coffee drinks in a personalized design. I recently discussed violets with him and explained that the violet plants have cordate leaves which are heart shaped.  He always remembers your favorite coffee drink and your idiosyncratic order. When I went into the coffee shop Sunday with a friend he created these beautiful coffee drinks for us as a surprise ~ featuring the cordate violet leaf created in foamed milk especially for Lady Violette de Courcy! Lovely, isn’t it? These delicious coffee drinks can be enjoyed at The Cafe Lladro in Edmonds, Washington.  This proves you can even express your personal style in your coffee drink and a barista can make art while doing his work ~ art can be found in every aspect of life can’t it?

My name, Violette de Courcy means violet of the heart or heart’s violet in French. The violet leaf is heart shaped ~ a cordate leaf. By chance my name associates me with both the the flower and the leaf of this plant.and I love the flowers ~ thus I made them , fittingly, my personal flower and my personal symbol.

Having a personal flower is a lovely thing and a lot of fun. Thus, I recommend it to everyone. How do you get one? You just study flowers and choose one you like and adopt it. There is no formal process.

A Cuff For Lady Violette de Courcy Made From a Vintage 1905 Whiting Violet Pattern Sterling Silver Spoon

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Sterling Silver Violet Cuff Made From an Antique Teaspoon in the Whiting 1905 Violet Pattern for Lady Violette de Courcy by Artist Nancy Harrington of Woods Edge Jewelry Studio

 

A lovely new friend has sent me the violet cuff pictured above, which she made from a sterling sliver teaspoon, and, today, her favorite quote which is wonderful. and I want to share them both:It is: “The Privilege of a Lifetime Is Being Who You Are.” and is courtesy of Nancy Harrington, Jewelry Designer .

I met Nancy when I discovered her work on Etsy where we both have shops. She makes art jewelry out of antique and vintage silverware.

I recently found out there is an antique sterling silver flatware pattern called Violet, made by Whiting and designed in 1905. It is just my style. Of course I wanted some! With the current high price of sterling silver I cannot afford an entire set of silverware, so I decided a piece of signature  jewelry made of it would be the way I could affordably enjoy a piece. Nancy made this cuff out of a teaspoon.

There is a tiny leaf at the base of the bowl of the spoon. You can see the back of it in this photo. She has pounded the bowl out to shape it to the wrist. Her design respectfully preserves the violet leaf so carefully and delicately placed at the base of the handle by the original spoon’s designer. This was one reason I selected this cuff over the traditional style spoon bracelet made with two pieces of flatware. In that type of bracelet the flatware handle is cut part of the way down in order to make a pieces short enough to make the bracelet. In that case the charming little violet leaf would be lost.

The violet leaf is an important part of this design, of the original artist’s work and of the violet plant. It is the leaf that synthesizes light to nurture the plant and create the little flowers. Being a gardener and a botanist I am interested in this. I am interested in much more about the violet than its flower! I knew Nancy was on the same page as a jewelry artist when I saw that she had retained the little leaf in her design.

Nancy has just shipped me the cuff. When I receive it I will take a picture of it on my wrist and post it. I’ll take several if I need to so I can show the flowers and the leaves in the silver pattern. I like the idea of a cuff in this instance because it seems more old fashioned to me than a spoon bracelet.

Cuffs were worn in olden times and I think that suits Lady Violette de Courcy, Plant Hunter and Adventuress, more than a spoon bracelet would. They were made popular, from what I understand, by hippies in the 70s. Lady Violette de Courcy’s family originated in the 1100s in France and a silver cuff decorated with the violet flower and the violet leaf seems much more appropriate to her history and her image. Her family’s coat of arms bears a violet flower centered inside the cordate (heart shaped) leaf of the violet plant.  I think this cuff will look beautiful worn over the fitted velvet sleeve of a formal dress or with a hunting or field jacket. Nancy and I discussed my name at length which is why she shared her quote with me. I don’t know who it is from, but I wrote her to ask. When she tells me I’ll add that to this posting.

Someday I hope to be lucky enough to own a set of silverware in this pattern. It would be beautiful with the eclectic set of violet patterned dishes I have been assembling for a long time. I have been collecting all kinds of individual pieces of china and glass decorated with violets for years. I can set a violet themed tea or dinner table now for up to eight people. Each place setting is unique. All the dishes are patterned with violets, but all of them are different. I have also found violet colored stemware and two beautiful old wineglasses from the 1920s hand painted with violets. It is fine that all the pieces are different in this circumstance. It makes for great dinner conversations! So will the quote, I imagine! And so will the cuff!

 

Dressing for a Wedding and Your Body Type ~ Lady Violette’s Design Advice to Nancy Shevell & Stella McCartney

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Nancy Shevell in her Wedding Dress Designed by Stepdaughter Stella McCartney and Her Too Big Vegan Shoes

 

This post was inspired by an indignant email message from my  friend and colleague, Lavande Lamour (the long-lost sister of writer, Louis Lamour),
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“Nice wedding dress for Nancy Shevell, especially with the Wallace Simpson influence, but I think it would have been much more becoming just below (or just to) the knees. I think Stella McCartney was going with a “young” look and paying tribute to Ms. Shevell’s slender figure, but knees just don’t belong anywhere near a wedding dress, in my opinion. Her knobby knees just kill the whole effect for me
.Also, I wish Ms. Shevell weren’t standing with her feet two feet apart. I swear, women have forgotten the art of how to present their legs in a dress these days. We see either the rugby stance (Ms. Shevell) or the pigeon-toed, slouchy stance (Scarlet Johannsen and many others). The basic ladylike principle of keeping one’s knees in nodding acquaintance with each other seems to have disappeared. Ah well….   Lavande
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And further Inspired, (yes really! ) by the comments below and at the end of my post.

Inspired……you mean copied, Stella McCartney is not a great designer, riding on the crest of her father’s fame……

– Steve Constantine, Noordwijk Holland, 13/10/2011 16:44

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2048237/Nancy-Shevell-wedding-dress-Stella-McCartney-inspired-Wallis-Simpson.html#ixzz1ajpRLWpA

Nancy Shevell looked like a beaming, beautiful bride, regardless of Stella’s ghastly creation. Fortunately, Nancy could make a bin sack look terrific. The happiness on the faces of Nancy and Paul made them seem like 2 delighted teenagers. I wish them a lifetime of bliss and contentment. They seem so well-suited to each other. But I would beware Stella, Nancy. I agree with the person who said the dress looked like it came from a 1960’s McCall pattern – spot on. Of all the bridal gowns to emulate, Stella picks Wallis Simpson’s? Is that the best she could come up with? It wasn’t a nice dress then, it isn’t a nice dress now. I have always maintained that the fawning over Stella’s designs is a classic case of the emperor’s new clothes. The McCartney name is the only reason she’s a famous “designer”. The shoes were ghastly and the dress too short. Is Stella trying to give Nancy a hard time, too? Sometimes I think Stella is more interested in her inheritance than her father’s happiness.

– underwhelmed, london,

13/10/2011 16:13

I thought that the wedding dress looked like one of the horribly ugly polyester dresses from the 1970s & it didn’t look good on the Duchess either….and my mother had one JUST exactly like it back then. So there is nothing about it that is unique or original at all. It’s a bad length for Nancy with her SCRAWNY pale legs, & she would have looked so much better in a longer length or a pantsuit. And what charity shop did they have to go to in order to find those awful shoes? They are so big & loose on her feet…they are either worn-out vintage shoes or she’s too skinny to fill those shoes up. PLEASE don’t tell me those shoes are coming back in fashion!!! – Ashleigh, Austin, Texas,

Nancy Shevell & Paul McCartney

Wallis Simpson & Her King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND NOW, some  CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENTARY by LADY VIOLETTE de COURCY  on Dressing for a Wedding and Your Body Type

First, I want to say, Nancy Shevell and Paul McCartney look to be a very happy couple and very much in love and that is the most important thing. I am happy to see them married and I liked the low key simple ceremony and small number of quests invited. Nancy Shevell looks like a lovely person and she has been low key throughout the courtship and wedding process which is fine, but she has married into British Rock ‘n Roll Royalty which is just about as big a deal to a lot of people as marrying into actual British Royalty. As such she has a responsibility, in my opinion, to live up to the fantasies and expectations of the Beatle’s fans of all generations. Sir Paul has made her his princess and she ought to do all she can to live up to the image. In short, she should look like a princess.

It is very important that anyone reading this realize that, I am not being negative about Nancy Shevell’s character, or her as a person, I am simply making observations about style and design and offering my constructive ideas on how she and Stella McCartney, who is one of the top designers in the world, might have dressed her and how she might improve her choices in dressing and personal presentation in the future. She appears to be quite a lovely person, actually, and I wouldn’t mind meeting her myself if I had the opportunity.

It appears to me that Nancy is quite conservative and understated in her dress, that she wants to be appropriate but not blatantly stand out at all. This is another reason why I should think she would want to subtly conceal her negative features and subtly enhance her positive ones. If she managed to do this she would simply come across as charming and understated.

So, let us analyze Nancy Shevell. She has a lovely face and pretty long hair. I found photos of her with a terrible shag haircut and blond hair, so she has learned, somewhere along the way that she should stick closer to her natural brunette color! She has a beautiful smile. Her smile appears to be much improved by having had her teeth straightened and veneered since her high school year book photos were taken!  These two facts lead me to conclude that she is not adverse to self improvement. She also appears to have had the size of her nose reduced.  She has definitely dramatically reshaped her eyebrows which used to be thick and bushy. I suspect she has regular Botox injections to keep her face young looking. She has the glow of happiness and being in love but also the advantages of her financial status for dressing attractively, self improvement and maintenance. I am all for this if one can afford it. In many ways she looks great and is doing a good job of taking care of herself.

She is tall and slender and this is obviously her natural body type. In her case this has it’s good and bad points. She needs to utilize every positive aspect of her face and figure and play down the unattractive ones. ( Everyone needs to do this, of course!) Any clothing designer who works with her should advise her accordingly and the fact that Stella McCartney didn’t do so is inexcusably unprofessional. We can safely assume that both Stella McCartney and Nancy Shevell have all the money they could possibly need or desire to enable them to create any impression, dress or ensemble for such an important event as a wedding no matter how casual they desire it to be. That said, I will express my opinion of the Stella McCartney wedding dress for Nancy Shevell to Beatle Sir Paul McCartney.

I dislike the dress. It is totally inappropriate for the woman wearing it and for a wedding dress. I would never recommend that she wear such a dress. So, here is where Stella McCartney failed. If she recommended such a dress it was a mistake. If she was asked to design and make such a dress it was a mistake not to refuse to do so. and suggest something much better using all her talents and training to the fullest extent. This short dress makes both the client, Nancy, and the designer, Stella, look bad. Stella is well educated in the world of fashion design and celebrity publicity. She should know that these issues will arise, that her new step-mother will now be photographed and watched by press and public alike and should be dressed to succeed in her inevitably public position as Sir Paul’s wife.

Many people in the public will be looking to Stella for inspiration in both personality and style and looking at her to critique her. Stella is in the unique position both professionally and personally now, to offer priceless advice and design services. Stella, not only as a world class couture designer, but as the daughter of a Beatle has been in the public eye her entire life and should have known that this wedding and this dress would be covered by the world press. She had a tremendous opportunity to make the bride look her exquisite best and to show the world her own design capabilities. Unfortunately, for both women, she didn’t!

Readers suggest that Stella doesn’t like Nancy and is trying to make her look bad on purpose. If this is the case it is very stupid of Stella because people will be judging her abilities as a designer as much as the appearance of her father’s new wife. I honestly don’t think this is the case. I believe that Stella just isn’t that good or experienced when it comes to analyzing and meeting the needs of an important client. Nancy is now an important client because she is now married to one of the most popular men in the world who also happens to be Stella’s father. This is a fantastic arrangement for Stella. which guarantees her constant free exposure and continual publicity. What an enviable position for a designer to be in! These two ladies should be buttering each other up. For the most part Nancy is pretty good lucking and will make Stella’s designs look nice if she wears designs that both look good on her and look good on someone her age. It can easily become a win win situation. Thus is is a shame it has gotten off to this bad start in the press at the beginning of the marriage,

To me this dress looks cheap and inconsequential. The first thing I see is Nancy’s legs. Miles and miles of bony scrawny, ugly, un~athletic looking, ultra thin and exceedingly unattractive legs! There is so much of her stick like legs showing that they actually over power her face and her smile which is really unfortunate because those are the most attractive and nicest of her features. Her entire upper body is covered up with the gathered bodice and long cuffed sleeves which look like a white blouse that might be worn under a conservative business suit consisting of a skirt or pants and a jacket. Under that is a plain straight way too short and utterly boring skirt! Did they run out of material? Or could they only afford three and a half yards of this white stuff bought on sale at some suburban fabric store like Joanne’s Fabrics?  It takes about 2 and 1/2 yards of fabric to make a blouse and about one yard to make a simple straight skirt like the one in this dress! Surely Nancy, Paul and Stella could have sprung for more fabric! And much more interesting fabric. Stella has access to the best and most beautiful fabrics in the entire world. And money is no object. Nancy’s height and thin figure make her an ideal fashion model for narrow or full length styles. Styles that would cover up her stick thin ugly legs and focus all the attention to her pretty face. Styles that would also make the designer Stella look really good because she made a beautiful dress for an attractive woman. Had Stella designed a long dress for Nancy none of the criticisms that have followed the wedding regarding Nancy’s dress or her super skinny legs would have come up! If I had such ugly legs I would be covering them up in any situation in which I could! Why should she do this? In order to look her best, put her best foot forward as they say, in order to protect her reputation and in order to focus attention on what a beautiful event this is and what a beautiful bride she is ~ rather than on what ugly legs she has! A long dress would have been elegant and would have covered her legs.

Then there is the color, It is stark white. Stark white is very difficult to wear. It emphasizes all the flaws in a person’s complexion – making imperfections glaringly obvious. In this particular case it draws our eyes to Nancy’s way too skinny bird-like legs and her dreadfully bony red knobby knees! She appears to be wearing bare legs and sandals! Her shoes are really terrible. She should at the very least have worn panty hose in an even skin tone slightly darker or lighter than her own skin to de-emphasize her legs and give her a more polished look. Then there are her bizarre shoes. They are flattish sandals with ankle straps. I think she should have worn a classic closed toe pump with at least a slight heel! And, in this case, no ankle straps unless she was wearing a long dress so we could not see them! These shoes look like they were purchased in the old lady’s department at K-Mart. She could have opted for some glamorous vintage pumps! Or Jimmy Choo’s, or anything from Paris or NYC! Her shoes could have been amazing! It is almost heart breaking, as a shoe lover, to see a woman of such privilege not take advantage of the opportunity to wear a fabulous pair of shoes to her wedding! How very very sad! I am sure hundreds of thousands of women are thinking the same thing. Here, again, Stella should have stepped in to advise. she also designs and makes shoes. She could have provided something better! Probably even at the last minute from her very own showroom! I read, after writing this paragraph that the sandals Nancy wore were vegan! They are vegetarians. That is no excuse for ugly shoes. Many beautiful wedding shoes are made of cloth like silk and satin and linen and decorated with beads or lace or silk flowers. Something elegant could have been found or custom made.

Nancy is supposed to be an heiress. She was apparently not sent to ballet lessons or finishing school. I deduce this from observing her stance. Her feet are wide apart, she does not hold her knees together and she holds her fingers in her opposite hand in front of her body in a most awkward self-conscious manner. In every photograph I have ever seen of her, she has stood awkwardly and looked uncomfortable.  Now that she will be followed by the press and constantly observed and photographed in her new position as Paul’s wife, I would advise her to get some training to learn to stand gracefully, to pose properly for photographs and to project an aura of comfortable self-confidence.  I do not want her to change her personality or become a different person. I just want her to acquire poise and self-knowledge so that she shines in her new position of privilege. She is wearing a $650,000 art deco Cartier black diamond ring! She should be doing so with pride and pleasure, not covering it up in a shy and embarrassed way by God, we cannot even see the thing on her hand! I would be getting a tasteful manicure and putting my hands out where they could be seen in a subtle manner. Nancy was wealthy and had the privilege of money before marrying Paul, but she is now privileged to be in his family and social circle and to share in the love his fans have for him and the Beatles. That is what I mean by privileged. He is also privileged to be marrying her. It works both ways. Its just that she wasn’t in the spotlight before. Now she has gotten the privilege to enter his spotlight. That is a big responsibility. His fans expect a lot from her. They expect the exact opposite of what his previous wife Heather Mills provided if you get my drift!! They want Nancy to make Paul Happy and be dramatically drama free! So far she seems to be doing a good job of that!

Hairstyles: Nancy has pretty hair. There are many salons in England that are really good. And the wealthy can afford to hire a good hairdresser for a special event. There are also hundreds of pretty ways to style long hair ~ from classic elegant up dos, through partially braided sections in the long hair, half ponytails, and softly curled but styled long locks Unfortunately, Nancy’s hairdo is just long and limp. It looks like she was going for a youthful look – which she and Stella interpreted to mean washed, dried, brushed out and embellished with one flower stuck in over the left ear. It is so casual that it covers her ears, neck, shoulders and a great deal of the front of her dress!  It ended up just looking limp as if she has spent a day swimming at the beach and is letting her hair air dry. She may have picked a lone flower off a bush on her walk home and stuck it in her hair for fun! This, Nancy, is a wedding, a special occasion! As the audience out here, in the land of the public, we would like to see you go to a little more effort to be really beautiful. You do have the potential! 100% We want you to live up to it!

As for the resemblance to the Wallis Simpson’s wedding dress!  I see only many small buttons and a gathered bodice and long sleeves. I don’t like Wallis’s dress either. And as far as the famous comment she made, “You cannot be too rich or too thin!” She was very wrong, you can be too thin. She is one example of that. Nancy Shevell is another. Neither of them have great bodies. Both look very un~athletic, way too thin,  and awkward. These qualities cannot be covered up by wearing expensive clothes. They can only be corrected and changed through physical training and self-discipline and diet. They both need to eat a lot more.  I am very thin by the way. I do not say this out of envy of how thin they are! I have been very thin all my life, but I have also danced and trained all my life so my thin body type is very different type. I am filled out and well shaped by strong muscles and consequently have strong powerful curves.

Wallis always looked severe and stern. When I have studied old photos of her I have deduced that she was an ugly woman who was beautifully dressed in very expensive jewels and clothes. I think she was actually hideous! Look at the great beauties of her time! They were extraordinarily lovely! I am referring to Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Marlena Dietrich (who had beautiful legs!) Nadia Paley, Moira Shearer, and many many more. Wallis couldn’t hold a candle to them in my opinion. I always wonder what her attraction was? It was not her intellect ( I have read some of her writing.) It was not beauty, so what was it? I am dying to know and hope Madonna’s upcoming movie will shed light on this topic and satisfy my curiosity!

In his Little Dictionary of Fashion, Christian Dior said, “There is no Key to Good Dressing. If there were it would be easy, rich women could buy the key and all their fashion worries would be over!  But, simplicity, grooming, and good taste – the three fundamentals of fashion – cannot be bought. But they can be learnt, by rich and poor alike.”

Both Nancy Shevell and Stella McCartney have led extraordinarily privileged lives. In Stella’s case she has even attended the best schools of fashion design and worked for the best fashion houses in existence. I have seen scant evidence of her talent. I just don’t feel that I am seeing it in the conservative and rather dumpy dresses she designs for her new stepmother, Nancy Shevell.

Look carefully a the wedding dress. If it were a solid dark color it would look like a business woman’s work dress. In a small dark print or jewel tone it would look like a 1980s – 90s librarian or school teacher’s work dress. One man wrote that he thought it looked like an old nurses uniform! From the 1940’s! It actually kind of does! Just put a winged cap on her and she would look like a nurse in a WWII hospital movie! She could throw a Navy Blue Red Cross issue wool cape over it and be ready for work in the field. Personally, I think the top looks like a conservative white blouse and the straight skirt looks like a straight white slip! The kind you might wear under a woolen skirt so it isn’t scratchy., or doesn’t tick to your bum and ride up! These are not images you want to have for a wedding dress.

Some alternative suggestions for Nancy: Suggestions I would have made to her for a small daytime wedding had I been her designer. I imagine Nancy did not want to wear a long classic white wedding dress because she is an older second bride. She probably did that already in her first wedding and didn’t want to go through that ordeal again. I imagine that she wanted something under stated and tasteful, and not overly dressy. I think Nancy could have worn an elegant suit with a longer skirt, or a long dress.

1) A Suit: It was common to get married in beautiful wedding suits in the 1940s and 50s. Look at the glamorous weddings in old Hollywood movies. The bride and groom often got married in daytime civil service ceremonies or small  daytime church weddings and the bride wore a suit. Consider an elegant 40’s style tailored suit in cream colored gaberdine with a fitted jacket with a wasp waist worn over a mid-calf length skirt with a sexy walking slit in the back. I would make this of fine cream wool gaberdine lined in lightweight silk and it would be worn with a beautiful ultra feminine cream lace blouse which would be beautiful worn on its own later, either with this skirt or another, without the jacket.  I would make the jacket double breasted and nipped in at the waist, then flared out gently over the hips, and close it with vintage mother-of-pearl buttons. I would suggest graceful T-strap shoes with 3 and a 1/2 inch heels of buff colored kidskin. If she didn’t want to wear leather in order to honor her new husband’s vegetarianism I would suggest a similar style shoe made in cloth of some kind of leather alternative. I would suggest cream colored silk stockings like they wore in the 1920-40s because they would look beautiful with this type of suit and fabric and greatly improve the appearance of Nancy’s legs. These stockings are extremely elegant and also make the ankles look a little thicker which would be a good thing in her particular case.

2) Hair and Hat: I would style her hair in an artful Chignon low on the back of the neck and if she liked the idea, top this off with a beautiful feminine hat custom made of fine cream colored Italian straw with a medium width brim trimmed with  ribbon and handmade silk flowers. This would be an elegant creation – a subtle, classic hat. It would call attention to the bride’s beautiful face, and flatter her. It would in no way resemble any of the hats worn to this years Royal British wedding! Her lush long hair would look beautiful in the back with braids entwined in the chignon at the nape of her long elegant neck. Because her hair would be pulled back her neck and face and shoulders would be shown to best advantage and the shoulders, sleeves, collar and neckline of the suit would be shown off to great advantage. I would keep her hair soft, but elegantly off her face and shoulders.This hairstyle would be lovely with the cream colored suit worn by itself or with a hat like I described.She would have the option of wearing or not wearing the hat and could even change her mind about that up to the minute she walked down the aisle.

3) Hands: She should not wear gloves because everyone will want to see her Art Deco black diamond Cartier engagement ring and the wedding band.

4) Flowers: I would suggest she wear a corsage on the lapel or at the hip of the suit. She carried a bouquet which she might have chosen to do so that she would know what to do with her hands. She obviously feels awkward about them and isn’t sure what to do with them. We would discuss that and practice several alternatives so that she could choose which she preferred. Some brides carry an evening purse, some a bible, or other book, some flowers, etc. I would suggest a spray of white orchids designed with tulle and ribbons pinned to one of the lapels  with an elegant vintage brooch. Nancy wore a tiny white flower in her hair. I felt so sorry for that little guy! It deserved to have a few more companions alongside at the very least! Wouldn’t she have done better to sweep a section of hair loosely behind one ear and place a comb with several flowers and a trailing ribbon attached to it in her hair? I am not suggesting anything lavish. I am just suggesting something more interesting and complete. It could still look subtle and not over power her. Nancy appears to be very careful in her fashion choices. So careful that she misses out on the beauty and pleasure to be had! She is probably just lacking in self confidence in this department.

5) Something old: This could be the brooch pin, the cream colored vintage silk stockings, the antique lace used in the blouse, or? That would be fun to figure out. I have heard no mention of any choice being made for something old in the ensemble she actually wore.

6) Biaanca Jagger wore a white suit by YSL when she married Mick. It was gorgeous and considered an unusual choice at the time, but, at that time, anything went (the past tense of anything goes!) It would have been interesting for Nancy Shevell to take her inspiration from Bianca Jagger instead of Wallis Simpson! It may have been a pantsuit, even, I will have to check that out.

7) A Bohemian dress, a long dress, please. There are many kinds of dresses in this genre that would have worked. A casual flowing bohemian flower child look could have worked. Then she could have worn her hair down and flowing, but hopefully a bit more artfully styled with more flowers intertwined in it.

8) A Grecian style long dress could have worked, with artistic draping and a skirt just a few inches above the ankles. This could have been worn with more elegant sandals if she really wanted to wear sandals. Its length would have concealed her legs from being the main focus. In this style dress her hair could be worn, again, in the type of loose chignon I describe above with a few strand escaping.I would have suggested this in colors other than white. Some ideas, pale blue, dove gray, buff, pale gold, pale silver, peach, pale lilac in muslin or light silk.

9) A simple bias cut Jean Harlow style 1930s gown could have worked. It would have fallen beautifully on her because she is so thin and has absolutely no hips. This cut dress adds a little meat to the frames of women like her. It would have helped her conceal her skinny legs and look curvier and more feminine. I would have suggested cream, the lightest dove grey, peach, or palest blue if she really wanted a reference to Wallace Simpson’s gown,. I would have suggested this style dress be done in a jacquard silk crepe in a sophisticated pale solid  color – so that it didn’t look like a wedding dress, but suggested an elegant cocktail dress from the 1930s Hollywood movies.

These are only a few suggestions to give an idea of how many there are! There are lots! I could go on and on, especially with the Bohemian dresses and the Empire influenced ones. Had I been Nancy’s designer I would have created a very memorable gown, with her input, that she would have been extremely comfortable and happy in. I would even have been happy to make her three or four of them so that she could actually try them out and decide which one to wear to her wedding.! The other designs, I am sure, she would find very useful and great to have on hand to wear for other occasions. All my ideas for designs for her would be wearable for events other than her wedding because none of them are “wedding dress” design ideas. They are dresses you could wear for a small casual, daytime wedding such as Paul and Nancy’s but could also be worn most suitably for many other times. Observing Nancy, from my position out here in the public, it seems to me that she didn’t want a weddingy dress.

I have read that she changed into a long plum chiffon number when she reached the house, also designed by Stella, which Barbara Walter’s really liked. Then,  after a while, she and Paul went upstairs and changed into blue jeans which I bet really felt good by that time! Don’t you?

The marriage of Paul and Nancy gave both Nancy and Stella a chance to showcase their fashion design and styling skills and their stylistic sense. I didn’t like what they came up with. I am not saying that casually either! I have really analyzed why carefully. I hope they will find and read my post! And learn from it.  I even welcome them both, singly or together, to contact me for consultation should they so desire.

Nancy, You have the rest of your life to show off your knobby knees. I am sorry that you did it during your internationally important wedding! I hope you don’t choose to do it in the future, but, should you, you will know and understand how one fan, of both you and Sir Paul, felt about it and advised you to do otherwise!

Finally, poor taste in dress withstanding, I wish Nancy Shevell and Paul McCartney my absolute best. I hope they will be happy together for the rest of their lives!

I just cannot resist adding other people’s posts that seem to agree with me! Here are a few more, just for fun!

The lining was shorter than the hem of the dress. I agree the dress was much too short for a 50 year old woman. And those tacky shoe!!! they must have been borrowed from Rose in Keeping Up Appearances:”>

– honey, Boston Ma USA, 13/10/2011 3:18

Lady McCartney’s wedding dress may have been “inspired” by Wallis Simpson”, however, other than it’s length, the dress was almost an exact copy of HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress from last April. Stella doesn’t seem to have been particularly inspired this time around.

– The Truth, Reality, 13/10/2011 2:05

Madonna has a film out about Wallis Simpson. Stella McCartney is a friend of hers.. dress gets people talking about Mrs Simpson?

– old fashioned girl, Lancashire, 13/10/2011 1:55

The Duchess of Winsor was SUCH an unattractive women.She always looked SO old.

– E S, ex pat, 13/10/2011 6:00

Unfortunately Stella doesn’t have an original thought in her head and wouldn’t have succeeded without the family name. The wedding dress looks like something run up from a 1960s McCalls pattern book.

– Philippa, Louth, 13/10/2011 0:34

It was a woeful dress, looked home made and draped terribly. Stella’s dress was as inspiring as her smile (or lack thereof). All the best though to Nancy and Paul. – Sheryl Osborne, Melbourne, Australia, 12/10/2011 18:15 Thank you, my thoughts exactly and a darn good laugh. Also, she could have used a small veil so that she would actually look like a bride. I think Stella runs a bit on the controlling side and probably trying to keep Nancy down a bit.

– Clarice, Hanover, MA, USA, 12/10/2011 19:09

I agree with Karen from Bournemouth on the comment about the dress should have been to the knee. The dress is okay over-all, nothing special. She has rather unattractive legs, and those sandals look like something my grandmother would have worn, coupled with the big feet, not a good look. And before anyone starts, I have huge feet. It’s just a fact, if you’re wearing a dress at a special occasion, you need a heel so you don’t look like Magilla Gorilla in the foot department!

I wore a dress very similar to Nancy’s for my wedding in the 71 but with an open collar. It looked better than this. I designed my own clothes taught by my mom who was a dressmaker back then. I am no fan of Stella McCartney and think this dress does not do the bride justice. Same with V Beckham with her metal zippers on the outside. Plain old poor workmanship and I wouldn’t be caught dead in one. This looked much better on Wallis. I wonder why she would want to imitate a woman so hated in the country she is adopting?

– Mary, LA, CA, 12/10/2011 17:46

I noticed the design influence but wasn’t the original dress pale blue? Also I suspect Stella McCartney planned for it to be worn longer and it was shortened rather badly at the last minute. I thought the change in colour made it look like a nightie – rather Brides of Frankenstein. I can understand the bride wanting a shorter length for a Registry Office Wedding but there is a recognised way of hemming that sort of fine fabric which has not been followed. Looks to me as if the Bride and the Stepdaughter didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye and some unskilled person was let loose on it.

– J Huxter, Surbiton, Surrey, 12/10/2011 15:12

Wallis was better dressed for her wedding than Nancy by far. You would never have caught Wallis with her skirt above her knees, no tights and sandals no woman past 30 should wear, let alone to her own wedding. She was no beauty but she was elegance personified – a quality very few women possess today – including the new Mrs McCartney. She looks passably nice but that’s all.

– Reubenen

The only resemblance I can see is the nose. The dresses are not the same at all.

Does any one remember the film King Pin with Woody Harleson? The older woman in the film who is romantically involved with him has legs like that. Yuck.

– James , UK., 12/10/2011 11:36

Thank you for your comment, Daddy Longlegs…..I’ve never understand why grown women stand all sprattled-legged or pigeon-toed when they know they are being photographed. Were they reared by wolves? Did their mothers never take the time to teach them how to stand & walk gracefully before their first big “dress-up” event like childhood banquets or proms? Thank you to all the mothers out there who showed their daughters how to stand with their knees together!!!!!!

– Caroline, Dallas, Texas, 12/10/2011 11:31

What’s with the shoes? Her feet are literally swimming around in them like they are 2 sizes too big & too WIDE!!!!!!!!!

– Caroline, Dallas, Texas, 12/10/2011 11:21

She has very boney legs and ankles :

– charley, Surrey, 12/10/2011 11:03

Wallis looks like an ironing board with an ugly head stuck to it. No amount of money could help her – she was always a very well dressed and very ugly woman.

– Sa6, Somewhere, Here, 12/10/2011 9:56

Looks like Stella was taking the p*ss. She obviously doesn’t like this one either but can’t say anything.

– Fiona, West Lothian., 12/10/2011 9:17

She looks dressed for a church pageant not a wedding. Drab and unpolished.

– Kitty, Dallas, USA, 12/10/2011 8:09

t’s nothing like Mrs Simpson’s dress! Who writes this rubbish? Too short for her knobbly knees and those cheap looking sandals. Yuk. I Like the top part though.- Kate, York, UK, 12/10/2011 8:06

OMG, the bride has ugly, skinny chicken legs.

– Mary, NYC, 12/10/2011 7:40

And the groom’s hair was inspired by Ken Dodd! Nancy should have worn a dress more like the original that covered up her sparrow legs. This heiress clearly didn’t go to finishing school – they would have taught her to stand like a lady, with her knees together!

– Daddy Longlegs, Planet Earth, 12/10/2011 7:05

Stella’s designs are awful, she needs a refresher course in dress designing as Ive only ever seen one or two outfits that have looked reasonable to wear.

– Kathy, Birmingham UK, 12/10/2011 7:01

Would have been so much more ‘classy’ if it had come just below her knees. Instead the hemline looks a little understated. Nobbly knees and no tights/stockings – all a little bit unflattering.

– MatildaUK, UK, 12/10/2011 6:2

Yet to see a decent creation from Stella, and the original was far better.

– jack., ashford.england, 12/10/2011 6:28

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2048237/Nancy-Shevell-wedding-dress-Stella-McCartney-inspired-Wallis-Simpson.html#ixzz1ajvcuqFR

Etoile de Violette ~ Violette Star ~ The Fall Flowering Clematis ~ Now The Official New Personal Autumn Season Flower of Lady Violette

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Etoile de Violette #1

Etoile de Violette #2

Etoile de Violette ~ Violette Star ~ Fall Flowering Clematis ~ The Autumn Season Personal Flower of Lady Violette ~ As I have previously explained I believe in having a personal flower, or several, if you find more than one to which you have a special affinity. Long ago I adopted the violet as mine and the violet colored rose as it was another of my personal favorites. I have also long loved these exquisite purple clematis which are definitely my colors and they bloom in the fall when the other two are through flowering ~ so I have decided, because I really need a special flower for each season, to officially adopt the Etoile de Violette Clematis as my Personal Autumn Season Flower. This beautiful fall flowering clematis is currently blooming on my front porch. It really is named Etoile de Violette which means Violet Star in French or, literally Star of Violet. I have two clematis plants intertwined and growing over a cast iron archway leading up to the porch. It is wild and free flowing and delicate and lovely. The flowers of the two plants are different, so perhaps they are different varieties of clematis, but the nursery labels on the plants called both of them Etoile de Violette. It is a lovely combination even if it is a bit accidental!

About Intrinsic Style & My Favorite Handbag from Bottega Veneta

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

A Favorite Precious & Beloved Vintage Bottega Veneta Clutch from The Lady Violette Handbag Collection

I have a beautiful black woven leather Bottega Veneta clutch handbag that is now over two decades old and too worn out to carry outside anymore despite the fact that I have sent it to the Bottega company for repairs and complete overhauls several times. They do a wonderful job of restoration but it is now truly too worn out to carry outside, it would fall apart! But I still use it inside ~ I keep favorite letters and special cards in it. It is my favorite bag I have ever owned. It was very expensive and well worth every penny I spent on it. I love it and it makes me very happy and because of my experiences owning it symbolizes intrinsic style to me in every way.

Today a friend named Nora complained to me about her daughter using the same bag, one that was getting worn out, all the time, despite the fact, that, she, her mother, had bought her several other very expensive well known designer bags in efforts to replace it. Perhaps it falls into her favorite bag category as I describe below, category number III. If so, I told her, you should cut her some slack!

So I decided I should write this for her and my readers. In my opinion there are three ways to look at bags!

I. There are special designer or collector bags that you keep very carefully, protected in their dust covers, for the majority of time and bring out to use and enjoy only when attending a special event or wearing with a special outfit. Thus you are very careful of them and they are seldom used or seen!

II. There are casual sturdy tough bags you can use daily or casually and toss about with careless abandon. These are very practical. Some become favorites and get a very broken in familiar look. I have nothing against this. It is very practical and I think that is where my friend’s daughter’s bag falls. Sometimes these look like hell, but that can also be OK if you don’t care.

III. Then there are the Special Favorite Bag Category bags, like my black Bottega Veneta black leather clutch as described. These are the type that are well made and classy enough to belong in Category I as described above, but they are so beloved and special and comfortable that you literally fall in love with them and become emotionally and physically attached to them! It is not always easy to recognize that a bag will be like this at first. (Just like a person in the same category!) If a beautiful and expensive designer bag makes it into this category it is truly well designed because it is useful and lovely and enjoyable all at once.

If you own a bag like this, you love it for your own reasons and no one else can, necessarily, understand them! It is very personal. And very special! And you, as the owner are very lucky to have it. I know that Nora’s daughter’s bag is one of these special Category III bags! She has lugged it through college and traveling, during her summer vacation, all over the world and now has two young children and continues to use it! Of course it is weathered and has character by now! In its own way it actually looks great – to people who understand this type of thing! I like it, myself. I can see the meaning in it and how useful and serviceable it has been. It is truly shabby chic. She is totally attached to it, carries her life in it, and will not give it up! She thinks it is wonderful and so do I! It is also sort of cool that her mother hates it, to tell the truth! That fact even adds to its sense of character! She also refuses to carry a wallet. She carries her ID and credit cards in a bunch held together with packing tape. She has also done this forever. (Her forever!) This also makes her mother crazy! Eventually her bag and her makeshift wallet will fall apart and she will probably be forced to acquire another one. Then, I predict, that she will evolve into using one of the other bags her mother has bought for her. One of the big problems is that the mother buys for her own age, life circumstances, social position and taste. The daughter, has her own style, situation and experiences and they are quite different.  These two women are of different ages and are in different stages. Frankly a conservative expensive bag that Nora would like, isn’t at all right for her casual diplomatic Bohemian daughter! The daughter is selling the bags her mother buys her in consignment shops. This upsets Nora, but frankly, she kind of deserves it. After all, the fact that she is trying to force her look, and her own sense of style, on her adult daughter is inappropriate if the daughter doesn’t like it or want it. She should let her daughter do things in her own way. Her style will evolve as she does and this handbag issue work itself out!

Here are my personal Lady Violette de Courcy handbag insights!

# 1) You do not wear a bag. You carry it. (courtesy of my mother who died at age 82 – leaving me a collection of fabulous retro bags.)

#2) You can have a lot of bags, but mostly use one – the everyday bag. The one you grab and go with because it is the most comfortable, you can find your stuff in it, it isn’t too heavy and you like the way it feels. That was where my favorite black woven Bottega fell.

#3) The way it feels – the leather, the way you can carry it, the shape, the weight, the lining, the security of the clasp, etc. – all make it special! When the favorite bag is sitting on a chair or table by itself it looks like a sculpture. It is a beautiful thing on it’s own. That is where my favorite black woven Bottega fell.

#4) The bag goes with you, not what you are wearing. You will know this because of how it feels and the fact that you never think about this. And the fact that you get a lot of compliments on it. A lot of “I love your bag!”and “What a cool bag!” That is where my favorite black woven Bottega fell.

#5) It is always best – always – if no one recognizes where it came from. (This is Nora’s one big mistake if you ask me!) The design should be so cool that it should develop it’s own character. This is where my favorite black woven Bottega fell. It is also a stated goal of the Bottega Veneta company!

#6) An example of my own. I bought a black woven Bottega Venetta Clutch when I was about 16 for myself. I spent a small fortune on it. I didn’t even know about the prestige and reputation of the name at the time. I just wanted a bag that fit all the above criterion. Obviously I had good taste!

You would think this would be saved for special occasions or dress up. But no! I used it every day. I used it every day for 22 years! I especially began to notice how I would throw it on the floor of the car, on the passenger side, when I was driving. As the Bottega bag got more and more broken in, softer and softer, ploppier and ploppier I loved it more and more. I could fold it under my arm and it was as comfy as a teddy bear.

I used it for every imaginable daily purpose. And I was not particularly careful of it – that would have spoiled it. What made this bag so great was the ability to enjoy it – which I must give myself the ultimate credit for! I was able to relax into my Bottega and carry it everywhere and let it become a part of me. And it did.

#7) People who recognized what it was were shocked that I used it like this. There problem, not mine! I had earned the money to buy it. I had found it for myself. I had broken it in. I was allowing myself to use it and enjoy it to its fullest extent and my fullest capacity. By doing so I was really treating it like the treasure that it was.

#8) Eventually it got a little worn out. So I sent it in for repairs. I only had to have it repaired twice! I sent it back to the company and it was returned in fine condition with the clasp fixed once, and the strap sewn back on where it had torn a bit the second time. It looked brand new when I got it back. By now it was 15 years old. It was becoming softer and more comfortable every year. I loved it.

#9) I used other bags from time to time – but that was always an effort. It was an effort to change the contents, whenever I did it, to another bag, And it was always an effort to carry it, and it just hadn’t become an extension of my body as the Bottega had. I always missed my black woven Bottega when I used another bag and changed right back to it the very next day! Thus I can understand Nora’s daughters feelings about her favorite handbag! Can you?

#10) The black woven Bottega clutch finally wore out. The leather got so thin and raggedy that I could not really use it safely. Amazingly the bag looked its most exquisite at this stage! But it had become very very delicate. So I retired it from carrying. I still have it, carefully tucked away in a desk drawer filled with special cards and letters from friends and family members that I also want to keep. I will never get rid of it. It is still beautiful and carries something very important –  many happy memories – the best of which is how perfectly naturally elegant using it made me feel. As I said, the black woven Bottega was very expensive, but I feel as if I got my money’s worth out of it in every possible way! I fully enjoyed it in very way possible for as long as I could get use out of it. And I still do. I get it out and look at it and feel it every now and then. I also learned, from owning and enjoying it, that buying yourself luxuries like this is totally reasonable deserved and justifiable. The bag was well worth what I spent on it and so was I! I get very annoyed with people who do not understand the real value of fine things. It is there if you understand it. This, of course, takes a certain level of exposure and education.An appreciation of fine design and good workmanship and, most of all, self knowledge and self love.

Interestingly, Nora does not understand any of his even though she is wealthy and can afford to buy nice things, but her earthy individualist casual well traveled daughter does! Through self knowledge and experience. She also knows her own style and is not going to allow her mother to shove her taste and style down her throat! Good for her! Long live independence! Really good personal style requires being independence and having self knowledge. And, again, an appreciation of fine design ad good workmanship and, most of all, self knowledge and self love. I realize I said this twice. I really want it to sink in!

I should mention that I have several other especially lovely and satisfying bags. But I have only had three during my lifetime that fell into the special loved bag Category III of the black woven Bottega clutch, I have a whole shelf of others, currently, but not a favorite, comfy one. They are very hard to find. I even have four more Bottega Veneta bags, which I love and appreciate, but which are not as special and unique as that particular one. I love them all dearly however.

#11) Incidentally, my mother’s favorite bag and shoes were Kelly green – and made of soft Italian leather. She wore this color accessories with navy blue Christian Dior silk suits and pale blue Dior silk blouses. This became her trademark look. Also a navy blue purse and shoes. She had multiple green shoes and bags. And multiple Christian Dior navy suits. She hand washed and ironed her light blue Christian Dior silk blouses herself. She was gorgeous. She accented this with a gold and green apple jade necklace, ring and earrings. All very light and delicate. She wore Diorissimo perfume and 22K gold Dior hairpins! She never lost one! This amazed me. And she carried a 22 K gold jeweled refillable Dior lipstick case. My uncle went to Paris several times per year and he brought the lipstick refills back for all the women in the family.

She only and always wore the color True True Dior red lipstick and matching nail color for special occasions. For day to day wear she wore Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow or a bright coral from Elizabeth Arden. She repainted her own nails every morning while having coffee and reading the The New York Times.  She was absolutely impeccable. She said you could tell a real lady by her hands and it was very important to take very good care of your hands and nails. She was very disciplined about her beauty routine.

She loved Christian Dior. If you are French you are born knowing who Dior is and wanting Dior. That is the way it is in France. For this reason they never had to advertise Dior in France. I now this for two reasons: as a child I was exposed to Dior by my family and, as an adult, I worked for Christian Dior for several years. As I said, people in France knew about it from birth and wanted it naturally, so advertising was unnecessary.  I had baby dresses made by Christian Dior. I saw Dior items and labels every day at home and heard women and men talking about Dior all the time. My uncle was a European buyer for Nieman Marcus and went to the shows in Paris to buy for the store several times a year. He brought us gifts every time he returned: French perfume, the newest colors of cosmetics, dresses, jewelry, and pretty unique accessories. We were an unusual American family in the minority having this much exposure and access to Dior style and products. About fifteen years ago, when Dior greatly expanded their shops and sales to markets all over the world they learned that not everyone the world over knew who and what they were and naturally wanted their products. They found out that they had to advertise, just like American designers do, to create desire for their designs.

My mother was absolutely impeccable. She was a redhead, She was 5’4″ tall and weighed 117 pounds her entire adult life. She was beautiful and glamorous. Her hair was as elegant as the rest of her – waist length, cut straight across the bottom, swingy and a lovely color. She wore it in a ponytail with a black velvet ribbon or in an expertly rolled chignon. People stopped her on the street to tell her she had beautiful hair until the day she died. It made her look young and suited her perfectly. She wisely understood that cutting her hair would have made her look older. Little girls always offered to brush her hair and she often allowed them to do so. It was perfect hair – texture, condition, color, length. She took very good care of her hair too. And she always did it herself.  She could make a perfect chignon. Maybe because she had those 24K gold hairpins from Christian Dior!

I am fortunate to have a couple of her navy blue Christian Dior suits and other items left. Interestingly the designs of the suits are sill beautiful ~ another example of intrinsic style and wonderful workmanship!  Elegance that will never go out of style. Still, truly, True True Dior. I actually came across a partially used old bottle of Dior nail polish in that color the other day while going through boxes in our house. I took it outside in the sun and took a good look at it. It is still a beautiful deep red. So I checked it out. It was the first red lip and nail color Dior made and it has always been their number one best seller! It is still available in Europe. there it is, once again, an example of intrinsic style!I thought my mother had good taste and was very stylish when I was a little girl. Finding out that her favorite color was such a longtime favorite from Dior supports that

I plan to photograph all these items soon as I am allowed to lift ad use a camera again. I have been slowed down on this endeavor due to breaking the bones in my wrist and arm last week,

 

 

Lady Violette’s Amazing Manicure Survival Experience Using Butter of London’s HRH Purple Nail Polish

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A Long Lasting Professional Quality Manicure Through Thick and Thin! This is Lady Violette de Courcy’s Amazing Survival Experience With Butter of London’s HRH Rich Royal Purple Polish! And how she did a manicure that lasted so extremely extraordinarily well!

My Butter of London pre-injury manicure using HRH color polish - in a rich royal purple shade - that lasted beautifully without a single chip or crack through this entire ordeal!

In my own words, of course, typed with my good left hand!

I recently bought 3 colors of Butter of London nail polish at Ulta. I loved it so much I went back and got 6 more, l loved them so much that I went back and got 12 more!
I bought them all at Ulta because they were having an amazing buy one get one free promotion! I have been longing to buy Butter for a long time, but it was very pricey so I was waiting for somebody to do this kind of introductory sale. The colors are amazing and very unusual. Many are truly unique to this company.

I read all the reviews on the Ulta website that people had written. This is what I concluded. Many of the writers don’t know how to do a decent manicure so they are not getting great results. I don’t think you can fail if you do it correctly! I did not buy Butter’s foundation or topcoat. (I do intend to soon!) I used the prep and finishing products I always have used with the many other polishes I own.

I am pretty experienced with polishes and doing my own nails and I own polish I love from the following companies: OPI, Essie, Revlon, L’Oreal, MAC, Christian Dior, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Nicole, Borghese, China Glaze, Orly and YSL. I have always bought polish from any company whose colors attracted me. FYI I get excellent manicure results with all these polishes too! I do not find the expensive ones to be a lot better than the others. I buy them for the colors! I have felt that all the companies make good products. I am sure this is because I have great manicure technique! It is really very simple. I think anyone can get professional results if they follow these steps and take their time. Drying time between each step is essential. So is thin even application. So is beginning with properly prepared clean nails. If you do all these things your manicure should last really well. Prepare to paint your nails as if you are preparing to make a great painting! I you do there is no way you cannot end up with nails that look like a work of art!

And, as I always say,”Rushing is not glamorous!” You must allow plenty of time, relax and pamper yourself!

When I was a little girl my mother had gorgeous natural nails. Every morning she redid her polish while drinking her coffee and reading a magazine or the New York Times. Reading allowed her drying time. She did her nails daily because she was a nurse and wanted them to look absolutely perfect and be very clean on the job. She was very concerned about hand sanitation. She put Christian Dior’s Creme Abricot on them every night. She had the longest, strongest, most perfectly shaped, and truly glamorous natural nails I have ever seen. She always wore red or bright polish colors: Christian Dior’s red called True True Dior or Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow were her favorites. She also liked a deep coral from Elizabeth Arden. She was so adept at painting her own nails that she could apply dark or bright red polish while leaving the white moons and tips perfectly exposed like a French manicure. She had seen this in an old Hollywood movie while she was in college and loved the look so she practiced it until she could do it herself. She never had a professional manicure. Being a nurse she was afraid of getting a fungus at a salon! She and her sister, who was my aunt, were home manicure fanatics. She kept a shoebox of nail polish colors in the refrigerator because she thought they lasted longer if cold!

Growing up in this atmosphere I was given great little girl manicures which consisted of filing and buffing and the use of clear pink polish. I was allowed to wear colored polish during the summer when school was out, but only light pink or white. They did not feel that the reds or the brights were age appropriate! When I grew up I cut loose! Many nail colors became available in every color imaginable and I had to try out a lot of them!

My Perfect Home Done Manicure Done As I Have Described Here

Here is what I do:

1) I begin with perfectly clean nude natural nails, file and shape as desired, wash hands again and dry thoroughly.

If you want to apply a strengthening product such as Grow Strong, Nail Tech II or Butter of London’s Horsepower do so on your natural nail before proceeding with the following basic manicure. Then:

2) I apply base coat ( any brand you have) and allow it to dry a few minutes.
This time I used L’Oreal Steel Stronger.

3) I apply two coats of nail color, I allow a few minutes to dry after each coat before the next step. I used Butter of London’s HRH a beautiful rich royal purple. Some colors may require three coats. I only needed two with this creamy polish.

4) I apply one coat of topcoat, and allow it to dry thoroughly.
This time I used Essie Good to Go

My manicure lasted 2 full weeks. Very unusual weeks as it turned out! The first week I had a normal life. Then, on Saturday night I turned my ankle and fell down and fractured my right hand, wrist and arm – a triple compound fracture, quite serious. The polish remained perfect through out! I was amazed!

I spent hours in the emergency room, I was examined, xrayed, sterilized with harsh hospital chemical agents, and put in a fiberglass splint and wrap. I went home until Monday when I went to see my hand surgeon who said I had 3! breaks and must have surgery immediately (the next day) and she would need to insert metal plates and pins to set the bones.

The next day, Tuesday, I checked into the hospital for surgery. My manicure was still perfect! I took nail polish remover and cotton balls with me and asked the doctor if I should remove my polish before the surgery. I thought they would want me to so they could see through my fingernails to check my circulation. But the color was so pretty and it was making me so happy I didn’t really want to take it off!

My doctor is a woman. She said, “You can leave it on! Why ruin a perfectly good manicure if you don’t absolutely have to? We can check your circulation by pressing the tips or sides of your fingers! By the way, what is that beautiful color?”

A Good View of The Color of Butter of London's HRH Purple Polish ~ I Now Consider This My Lady Violette de Courcy Signiture Purple Color & I Absolutely Love It!

I told her the name, HRH by Butter of London. She got a purple pen to match it, to sign her name to my right wrist and arm for the surgery! Only a woman doctor would do this! I was glad she was letting me keep my polish on and glad she liked the color so much!

When I came out of surgery and my anesthesia had worn off I was in a substantial cast wrap up to the elbow with only the ends of my fingers sticking out. And in a lot of pain! But my nails were sticking out of the cast at the end and looked really pretty and cheerful! And I could wiggle the ends of my fingers a little! and I could feel things with them! Yeah! What a relief!

I was amazed, honestly, that the manicure was still perfectly intact! The nurses all commented on how pretty my nails looked, too! They all wanted to know what brand and color I was wearing. Of course I told them, Butter of London HRH!

I’ve been home, recovering, for a week now. Today it was exactly 8 days actually.
I’ve had a really tough week! This afternoon I decided to change my polish because I had grown a little tired of the color and wanted to look at something else on my nails! I love the color HRH, I just want to try another one! I love purple and I felt it was time for me to try another of the Butter of London purple shades. I bought six of them and will photograph each one later so you can see what they look like on my hands.

I am able to use my left hand normally, but can only use my upper fingers on my right one. I wasn’t sure I could even do a manicure on myself! I was just terribly bored from having been confined all week! So I decided to attempt it.

I needed to remove my HRH polish. My first try was Studio -Tools acetone free nail polish remover on a cotton pad. I had a lot of trouble. I was unable to rub and apply enough pressure with my injured right hand to remove any of the polish on my left hand. This was discouraging. I thought, this polish has so much staying power it is hard to get off! Most of the time that is good! But with a broken hand, wrist and arm it was staying on too well when I finally wanted to remove it!

I was home alone with no one available to help me with this! I remembered that I had some Celine Polish-Off nail polish remover pads. I tried these. They are red pads saturated with non-acetone remover. Fortunately they worked and I was able to get the polish off by holding the pad around the nail for about a minute, then swirling it about to soften and finally remove the polish. This polish is long lasting which is what everyone wants! But when it comes time to remove it you have to have the time and patience to remove the polish – first by softening it so it dissolves the lacquer, then by carefully wiping it off. I held the red Celine Polish-Off pad against the nail for about a minute then swirled the pad around the nail to get the polish off. I had to do it really gently and carefully so I would not injure myself any further or disturb my healing process.

I got the polish off, then carefully washed my fingers which were sticking out at the end of the cast which could not be gotten wet! I used a washcloth so I could control the soap and water and where it went. I succeeded because I took my time and it worked out! I then towel dried my hands and took a rest! Everything takes so much patience and so much longer to do when you are injured! I succeeded at this because I was determined and I like a challenge!

I took a break and elevated my broken arm for awhile as I am supposed to do through out the day. Then I got up the courage to try to re-polish my nails. I was able to do my injured right hand by standing at my bathroom counter and propping it up on top of a kleenex box and using my left hand. I was actually able to do my my left hand by using the fingers only of my right hand to carefully paint them. I again used the kleenex box as a left hand support. I just took my time and rested a bit between coats which allowed my arm to recuperate and my nails to dry some!

A Close Up of the Very Royal Deep Dark Shiny Rich and Rare Looking Purple HRH Polish by Butter of London

I used a quick drying top coat from Essie this time called Good to Go because I was getting tired! I also find it works really well. I now have another beautiful perfect manicure!

I put a cuticle oil or cream on my nail beds every night. It keeps me from getting hang nails and my nails look absolutely perfect!

I am very limited by my right wrist, hand, arm injury! There are many things I can’t do for the next 8 weeks, then I will have to ease back into things and go through a lot of therapy. But, at least, I am relieved and a little happier to have found that I can paint my nails! I love painting and making art out of anything! I’m quite limited by this injury so it is good to know I have this way of expressing myself!

I have decided that I will try out lots of new colors and see how long I can grow my natural nails during my recovery time! Nail polish is a nice treat and I feel I deserve a few treats after going through all this! I see it as one of the lovely feminine arts! I am an artist and I enjoy painting my nails as a form of self expression. This injury is limiting me from making a lot of the art that I normally do so it is especially nice to have this colorful nail painting outlet at this particular time!

I am typing left handed by the way! And I keep my right hand elevated or in a sling I made out of a scarf while I do it!

Instructions for making a designer scarf into a medically functional sling and pictures on my pre-injury HRH Butter manicure are currently posted on my blog at ladyviolette.com. I cannot take a photo myself and my post-injury manicure, but I will get a friend to do so when somebody visits me and we will add it to this post!

I am so happy with the deep gorgeous purple of Butter of London’s HRH polish that I am officially making it my Lady Violette de Courcy signature purple shade of polish. I am also amazingly happy with its tough long lasting properties, no matter what happens while I am wearing it! This polish is no shrinking violet! Thus, I am officially proclaiming Butter of London’s HRH to be a fantastic formula all the way around ! In color, in durability. in fashion! It held up surprisingly well in my totally unplanned spontaneous testing experience!