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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Igor Schwezoff’s Ballet La Lutte Eternelle

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

I was fortunate to studied ballet with the late great Russian ballet master Igor Schwezoff in Washington DC and New York City.

La Lutte Eternelle Choreographed by Igor Schwezoff to music by Schumann in the Version Premiered and Performed by the de Basil Ballets Russes at the Theatre Royal in Sydney, Australia on July 29, 1940

Today I found this photograph of one of his early choreographies and the accompanying description quite by chance while looking for a photo of the ballerina Tamara Toumanova. Very few photos of Mr. Schwezoff’s work are known to exist so I was very happy to locate this wonderful picture! This photo was posted on the blog  Kurt of Gerolstein as La Lutte Eternelle: a ballet by Schwezoff. The author apparently found it in a box or old news clippings and dance photos and says that, knowing nothing about ballet and caring nothing about it he thinks it may be of interest to somebody else! Thank you Kurt of Gerolstien! It certainly is of interest to me and will be to other people who worked with Igor Schwezoff! And I want to know what else was in that box!

Mr. Schwezoff was born in 1904 in St. Petersberg and trained in the Marinsky Theater School. In 1931 he defected from Siberia through Manchuria to Harbin, China. He then made his way to to Western Europe where he danced with Bronislava Najinska in Amsterdam and ran his own ballet schools in Amsterdam and London. While in Amsterdam he choreographed his initial version of La Lutte Eternelle to Schumann’s Etudes Symphoniques. While in London he wrote his biography titled Borzoi describing his early life in Russia and his harrowing escape to the west.

Mr. Schwezoff traveled widely and eventually joined the de Basil Ballets Russes in 1939 as a soloist and choreographer. He restaged his work La Lutte Eternelle for this company during their Australian tour. The Australian cast featured Georges Skibine  ( also known as Yura Skibine) in the role of Man, Nina Verchinina as Woman, Tamara Toumanova as Illusion, Sono Osato as Beauty, Marina Svetlova as Truth and Boris Runanine as Will. Other members of the cast were Slava Toumine , Paul Petroff and Oleg Tupine. The cast pictured in the above photo includes Nina Verchinina, Georges ( Yura) Skibine, Slava Toumine , Paul Petroff and Oleg Tupine.

The costumes and scenery were designed by the sisters Kathleen and Florence Martin of Melbourne. The costumes were made by Olga Larose, the company wardrobe mistress and the sets were executed by G. Upward. The press found the production work to be a first rate success which carried through the symbolism of Schwezoff’s choreography. One critic in Melboursne called La Lutte Eternelle  a ballet of wholly perfect dancing in which splendid movement is guided by great music. The Schumann score was orchestrated by Anton Dulati, the Hungarian conductor.

The ballet’s theme dealt with man’s progress towards an ideal beyond worldly things explored through allegory. The key roles included Truth, Illusion, Beauty and Will.

La Lutte Eternaelle was well received by both the public and the press in both the initial Amsterdam ballet school production and the professional revised world premiere staged for the de Basil Ballets Russes and premiered in Sydney at the Theatre Royal on the 29th of July in 1940.

Mr. Schwezoff notably performed the role of the Old General in the popular David Lichine ballet Graduation Ball during this 1937 – 1940 Australian tour of the de Basil Ballets Russes. Fortunately some photos of him and other notorious cast members in these performances exist in the records of the Australian Public Library.

If anyone reading this has further information about Igor Schwezoff or photographs of him and his works I would love to be notified as I am trying to complie all the biographical information I can about him. Please post a comment if you know more!

Mr. Schwezoff ultimately worked in major ballet companies all over the world and became one of the most important and influential teachers in New York City. His classes were frequented by many well known professional ballet dancers. He passed away in 1982 at the age of 78.

 

Touring Lamarelle’s Gallery of Delicious & Delectable Purses Curated by Lady Violette

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

This is a visual feast! These beautiful vintage purses have been artistically embellished  and reinvented by my dear friend and soul mate La Marelle. La Marelle is a designer who “coutures” vintage purses and other vintage items that she finds to create new works of wonder each as delectable and enticing as the incredible pastries in a deluxe French bakery. Every one of her designs looks good enough to eat!

This is the Purse I Carried to Tea in This Story

Last night I dreamed that I was having tea with Marelle in an elegant turn of the century tearoom in Paris named Pastisserie La Marelle; and these purses were actually little cakes that were brought out to guests to select from a pastry tray and served to actually eat on exquisite antique French flowered china plates. Elegant teas served in magnificent ornate tea pots and delicate vintage bone china tea cups and saucers, each one a unique design, accompanied the delicious purse cakes made of butter cream and chocolate and vanilla cakes and icings and filled with rich custards layered with tart berry souffles and layers of candied oranges and lemons. Some were embellished with cherries or peaches and nuts and other fruits, and some with sugared flowers and leaves. These miniature purse shaped cakes were wheeled out on an ornate antique pastry cart by child waiters dressed in tiny tuxedos with coat tails who asked guests with impeccable manners, ” Would you like to choose a cake Madame?” And of course we did! They came ’round again when you had finished one to offer you another.

This is the Purse Marelle Carried to Tea in This Story

Our little waiter was named Aubrey, after the artist Aubrey Beardsley. He was about six years old and he explained, “You can eat as many as you like because these cakes have no calories! They just look good and taste wonderful! ” Of course we chose another, and another, and another as soon as we had eaten the one that came before! Marelle and I feasted on purse cakes and talked for hours and at the end of the afternoon agreed that we must come here regularly, once a week, and do this again. We made a reservation to return for another tea and cake date next weekend.

Now let’s have a look at some of the delicious purse cake selections on the pastry menu and while you are visually feasting on these delectable designs keep in mind that these cakes are available as a real purses in La Marelle’s couture store. The details and location will be given at the end of this story.

The Lady Violette, a Divine Chocolate Cream Creation

There is my favorite, the Lady Violette, named after me, and our miniature waiter Aubrey expertly explains that is concocted of rich but light chocolate and mocha cakes layered with chocolate and raspberry butter cream inside and elaborately decorated with glace frosting in two shades of chocolate stripes, light milk chocolate and dark bittersweet chocolate, on the outside. It is then trimmed with a pure dark chocolate coin purse, a butter cream ruffle along the closure flap and an edible marzipan perfume bottle. The handle and strap are made of edible caramel and chocolate flavored strips! The gold and silver accents are made of edible metallic gold and silver dragoons. The label of the perfume bottle and the woman’s portrait face on the coin purse are made of almond flavored marzipan! He assures us these are not at all fattening saying, “We make these cakes without calories because this is a couture bakery and we know that our customer’s love to partake of elegant deserts and designs but must keep their figures in order to wear their couture ensembles.”

Red Cherry

Aubrey shows us cake purse after cake purse, each one as different and as interesting and intriguing as the one before. Each one looks incredibly delicious!

Chocolate Filagree

We ask how they have managed to remove the calories while retaining the integrity of these elegant deserts. He explains that this is a top secret scientific process! He also assures us that it is done without removing any of the taste you would expect from an elegant European pastry!

Petits Fours

He does tell us that he and his artist father developed it in their California cooking laboratories using all organic ingredients and the latest scientific baking methods, then brought these to France at La Marelle’s request.

French Vanilla

He further explains that they decided to unveil the results of their research in Paris because this was the home of the world’s best pastries and couture, and, if it was a success there it would ultimately become an international success. He had quite the business acuman for such a young man! We were very impressed!

Creme de Menthe

He also tells us that he has always loved international cuisines and teas and is able to pursue his other interests in the arts while working at this restaurant in Paris. He is studying sculpture when he is not working. We ask him if he is not a bit young to be living away from his parents and siblings and his home in CA and working in Paris?  As ladies, we have begun to feel motherly concern toward him as he is such a sweet and intelligent little boy.

Pistachio

He assures us that he is fine living in Paris and loves it here,! Plus, he says, his little sister, Madamoiselle Coco who really is named after Coco Chanel, will soon be joining him to study fashion design. He is a year older and wanted to come ahead to establish an apartment on the Left Bank and get everything set up for her before she arrives. We ask him how old she is. He tells us she is five years old! And he goes on to say that she is already well known for her fashion designs and styling capabilities in Southern California! She even owns a La Marelle Couture Purse which was personally made for her by the designer herself because she felt an instant report with Coco and wanted her to have it.

Coco's Purse ~ Cream Chantilly ~ Custom Design by LaMarell

Coco is the youngest fashionista owner of a LaMarelle Couture Purse that we know of. He told us that many people stop Coco on the street to ask her about her La Mareele handbag and find out who designed it. It has been quite the conversation piece! I am sure that happens to anyone who carries or wears one of La Marelle’s couture creations!

Bittersweet Chocolate

Again we express our concern that they are both a bit young to be leaving home, aren’t they? He assures us that their parents visit often because their mother loves Paris and their father is an artist who shows in modern art galleries around the world. Young Aubrey tells us he has helped his father set up his art in his shows all his life. He explains that that is one of his areas of expertise so he is always available when a show needs to be hung. He also loves to attend the gallery openings and explains that he would never miss one. He also explains that he himself loves to dress up in special attire to attend these events. We are charmed by him of course!

Lemon Cream

Young Aubrey assures us he is mature enough to handle this adventure, “Look at me he says, I have a job, I support myself, I am a specialist of sorts already.” We are quite impressed!

Maple Sugar

And he tells us he is ageless from eating many of these cakes! Aha we think! Women ( and men) will like that aspect of these delicacies as well! Will they not?

Black Licorice

He keeps showing us more and more cake purses and describing the ingredients and flavors with amazing baking expertise. Honestly, we are quite impressed by his knowledge! He also tells us we can eat as many as we like and that it will make us all the more creative, fashionable and colorful if we eat more of them. Wow!

I ask him, ” Is it okay then to be a glutton for both designer handbags and pastries?” “Yes, definitely!” he assures me,”It will make you very healthy and very beautiful!”

Sugar Icing & Florentine

As he serves us, pouring more tea whenever we need it without being asked, and assures us that he feels quite capable of taking care of his little sister after she arrives! He says, “We have always been best friends as well as brother and sister and I am eager to see her develop her design talents. She has always expressed herself artistically with her clothes. She does such amazing things that people stop us on the streets to give us compliments. She is a natural!”

Whipped Cream

“Where?” we ask, “is she going to study?” As we continue to daintily devour beautifully decorated and deliciously flavored ornate and tasty purse shaped cakes!

Molton Fudge

“Right here” he answers, “where I can watch over her with The Great Couturier La Marelle!”

I was quite surprised! I looked quizzically at Marelle, herself, sitting right across from me and asked, “Is this a dream or is this really happening?”

Time Will Tell Purse

And she smiled like the Mona Lisa and said in her charming voice,  ” You shall see! You shall see! Time Will Tell!”

~~~~~~~~

Then I woke up! And I wrote down the details of my dream immediately so that I would not forget this fantastic story. And who knows? It very well might come true! Parts of it already are happening for these delicious looking purses are already available to purchase and carry as real calorieless fashion design indulgences from La Marelle’s Shop Hopscotch Couture. And all the people cast in this dream story are real people with the real names and the real talents described and attributed to them in this story.

Here is where you can view more of Marelle’s work and purchase many of the purses featured in this post as well as others. Marelle is cooking up new ones on a regular basis. She is always whipping up some fantastic dreamy new frothy creation! Feast your eyes and visit her shop. And remember that these delicacies have zero calories! Just as the fantastic little waiter in his tux and tails described them!

Marelle’s work is so diverse and extensive – she currently has over 400 pieces listed for sale in her Etsy shop alone.

By the way, La Marelle means hopscotch in French, so Marelle named her shop on Etsy Hopscotch Couture. To visit her Etsy store and view the entire gallery go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HopscotchCouture.

Marelle sells her work in her online Etsy shop above and also accepts private commissions. She can be contacted  by email at lamarellegallery@aol.com or by telephone at (443) 825.6353.

Her work can also be seen on her website at LaMarelleGallery.com. There is a link on there that will take you directly to her Etsy store as well.

Read More about Marelle and her paintings and designs in this article from The Weekender at http://www.theweekender.com/stories/Marelles-Hopscotch-Couture-One-of-a-kind-finds,61685

The photos  in this post were taken by Marelle herself.

Be sure to search my blog to see recent past posts and return to view upcoming future posts featuring more pictures and descriptions of Marelle’s interesting and imaginative work. I know you will find it all very tasteful!

 

Meet LaMarelle ~ An Artist Who Coutures Her Own Gallery of Unique Designs From Treasures of the Past

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

HER TRUNK RUNNETH OVER! ~ A Still Life Assemblage by La Marelle Featuring a Grandiose Selection of Her Coutured Vintage Designs: photograph by Mike Burnside

 

I have a talented friend named Marelle, an artist and designer, whom I want to introduce to my readers. La Marelle loves vintage fashions and accessories as much as I do! I met her on Etsy where we both have shops. Marelle finds previously owned, loved and gently used vintage purses, handbags, hats, shoes, jewelry and hair ornaments and waves her magic wand over them to couture them into new transformed pieces using the original old piece as a base or canvas, on which to create a unique new piece of fashionable wearable art. She describes what she does to a vintage item to recreate it as one of her own the process of couturing it.

Every item Marelle coutures is different and one of a kind. She has tremendous range and creates items inspired by sources as diverse and varied as the contemporary rebellious youthful street punk scene, to the elegant era of the court life at Versailles, or the refined Victorian period. She is inspired to new levels of interpretation by each vintage piece she finds. Her imagination seems boundless! She is also a painter.

This photo is of a still life composed (by Marelle herself, of course,) of her handbags, shoes, collars, gloves, compacts, photographs, jewelry, perfume bottles and other objects d’art pouring out of a transformed vintage trunk that has been appropriated for a display presentation of her work for the photographer Mike Burnside when he visited her recently in her in her old four bedroom Victorian house and studio where she both lives and works in a small town in northeast Pennsylvania. I like this photo because it reminds me of a pirate’s chest overflowing with choice vintage treasures!

Marelle’s work is so diverse and extensive – she currently has over 400 pieces listed for sale in her Etsy shop alone ~ that I have decided to introduce her in today’s post, with the beautiful still life photo shown above; and follow up with several additional posts that showcase and describe in depth more beautiful individual examples of her work. In this way I will be able to lead you through an extensive  tour of La Marelle’s Gallery viewing and savoring one work of art at a time.

By the way, La Marelle means hopscotch in French, so Marelle named her shop on Etsy Hopscotch Couture. To visit her Etsy store and view the entire gallery go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HopscotchCouture.

Marelle sells her work in her online Etsy shop above and also accepts private commissions. She can be contacted  by email at lamarellegallery@aol.com or by telephone at (443) 825.6353.

Her work can also be seen on her website at LaMarelleGallery.com. There is a link on there that will take you directly to her Etsy store as well.

Read More about Marelle and her paintings and designs in this article from The Weekender at http://www.theweekender.com/stories/Marelles-Hopscotch-Couture-One-of-a-kind-finds,61685

The photo for this post was taken by Mike Burnside from Burnside Photographic, Harvey’s Lake PA,  www.burnsidephotographic.com

Be sure to return to my blog soon to see future posts featuring more pictures and descriptions of Marelle’s work.

 

 

Alexandra Danilova Was Champagne & What Was in That Tray of Gloves!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Arts
COLLECTIONS>FREDERIC FRANKLIN A wonderfully entertaining review with commentary of Frederic Franklin on Danilova ~ so worldly yet so utterly charmant!

DANCE VIEW; Alexandra Danilova: She Continues To Be Champagne

By Jennifer Dunning
Published: September 10, 1989

Alexandra Danilova is an indisputable legend in a time when legends in ballet are few. Recently named to receive a Kennedy Center Honor this winter, she soon will be presented with the Handel Medallion from the City of New York. In a career in dance that has spanned more than seven decades, from her days as a student at the fabled Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg (now the Kirov in Leningrad) to her teaching at the School of American Ballet in Manhattan, Madame Danilova, as she is referred to by many, has become an exotic institution in American dance and a link between very different eras.

There are new ways of thinking about dance today. Dancers are no longer so much the bearers of magic to a humdrum world as a part of the social fabric of that world, particularly in cities outside New York. But a century ago, ballet was represented in this country by exotic emissaries from foreign lands who settled in America to teach the art of chorus-dancing and deportment. There was the bewitching Anna Pavlova and her innumerable tours to every corner of the United States, as well as the Diaghilev company and the beloved Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo.

Madame Danilova is a product, of course, of the hardy yet unfailingly glamorous Ballet Russe. For many Americans, she personified the company, and box-office success was guaranteed by her partnership on stage with Frederic Franklin, the company’s English premier danseur. In his history of the company, ”The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo,” Jack Anderson, a Times dance critic, writes that a 1944 Columbus, Ohio, engagement by the troupe was billed as ”Mlle Danilova, Frederic Franklin and Company.”

There was a piquant radiance about Madame Danilova that is undiminished today, epitomized in her heart-shaped face with its large, heavily lidded eyes. She was famous for her slender, tapering legs and well-turned feet. She was known best for her portrayals of three seductive characters in ballets by Leonide Massine – the Cancan Dancer in ”La Boutique Fantasque,” the Street Dancer in ”Le Beau Danube” and the Glove-Seller in ”Gaite Parisienne.”

Madame Danilova’s Glove-Seller knew, as Mr. Franklin put it, that her tray of gloves contained ”all kinds of stuff – contraceptives, everything.” Seeing her dance the role in a filmed record of ”Gaite Parisienne” by Victor Jessen, a balletomane and camera buff, reinforces that observation. Here, too, is a performer who is as self-contained as she is abandoned, dancing as much, it seems, for herself as for her audience. Effervescent miming and her relationship with Mr. Franklin, her ardent yet gentle Baron, add to the fascination of her dancing.

She was a spirited Swanilda in ”Coppelia.” The role of Giselle was not her forte, though her Swan Queen was considered hauntingly sad. She was champagne, her admirers proclaimed. Her famous legs were described by Lincoln Kirstein as being like ”luminous wax.” She was gaiety and elegance and wit.

”She has by nature and by artistry a wonderful legato that gives to all the sharp accents and spurts of cancan steps that the part calls for a musical grace none of the younger dancers have learned,” Edwin Denby, the noted dance critic, once wrote of Danilova in a review of ”Le Beau Danube.” ”In comparison to her they seem to trust to luck for their balance, and so their dancing loses flow and sweetness. Danilova makes her temperamental vivacity count because the movements are so well placed. Where others look happy, she scintillates. But it is her feminine presence, her air of dancing for the delight of it, that captures the audience’s heart.”

But her legend goes back farther than the Ballet Russe. Madame Danilova developed as an artist at the Maryinsky or Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg, the cradle of 20th-century ballet and the leading interpreter of the ballets of Marius Petipa. She was also a participant in – and knowing observer of – the experiments in ballet that erupted briefly with the explosion of new art forms in Russia during the 1920’s. One of those experimentalists was George Balanchine, a fellow classmate at the Maryinsky, with whom she soon joined Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, thus becoming involved in another of the century’s formative artistic ventures.

It was all that experience that Madame Danilova brought to the School of American Ballet, where she taught dances from the classical ballets of Petipa and provided a vibrant connection to that hallowed but very distant-seeming past. To watch her in class at the school, where she has taught since 1964, was to see the transformation of coltish young American girls into dancers of distinctive style, often through the merest suggestion of detail.

That past is still vivid to Madame Danilova, but no more vivid than the world she lives in today. Though she retired from the School of American Ballet this year, she is still very active. Early next month, for instance, she will travel to Louisville, Ky., to participate in a seminar on the Imperial Russian Ballet, followed by a week of teaching master classes at Ballet Midland in Midland, Tex.

Ballerinas were dazzling public figures when Madame Danilova danced, and few were so conscious of their debt to the public. There is an edge of teasing to her charm today. Her conversation is laced with the gaiety and elegance of her dancing, its tart wittiness as well as its candor. There is a sense, too, of the aloofness, noted by Robert Greskovic in The New Dance Review, that is an essential part of Leningrad dancers. Madame Danilova is never less than a star, a prerogative maintained with graceful equanimity.

At 85, she has slowed her pace. But she has lost none of the sometimes poignant indomitability learned from a life lived in a world torn by revolution, war and the vagaries of her profession. It is a life captured with much of Madame Danilova’s spirit in ”Choura,” her autobiography, which was published in 1986, and in ”Reflections of a Dancer: Alexandra Danilova,” a 1987 documentary film by Anne Belle. A friend tells of a bad fall Madame Danilova had at home in June, in which she fractured her right knee. She was unable to summon help for many hours but finally managed to reach the friend, who took her to the hectic emergency room of one of New York’s hospitals. There, she waited again, in considerable pain. At last, a very young doctor approached her. ”How old are you?” he asked. ”Guess,” she answered. ”Are you 70?” he ventured. ”Close enough,” she said imperiously, winking at her friend.

Butter of London Made HRH Expressly for Her Royal Highness Lady Violette de Courcy ~ the Perfect Violet Nail Polish Colour

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I have been searching for the exact right shade of Royal Purple Nail Polish in the perfect formulation for literally years! Yesterday I stopped by Ulta because they were having a one day promo on Butter of London polishes. They actually had a two for one sale ~ very rare for Butter ~ at least in the US. I’ve never seen it on special purchase pricing before. Their goal was to get you to try it if you had been putting that off due to the fact that is costs twice as much as most other major brands. The colors are amazing. And the names are a lot of fun.

The minute I saw it I knew which one I wanted! The deep dark shiny and amazingly beautiful HRH purple one! It is the color of velvety dark purple petunia petals. And of the rare and beautiful purple precious stone Alexandrite. It is not gothic and it is not a vampy dark purple. It is more romantic ~ the color of very dark purple natural flowers and stones and shiny bird feathers and butterfly wings. It is the naturally risky natural purple color of the belle dona blossom and  the mysterious and highly poisonous monks hood flower!

HRH

I rushed right home and gave myself a manicure. It is so beautiful I just can’t stop looking at my nails! I recruited my friend to snap a quick picture of it this morning before running off to work so I could post it. I love it! I have never before been so excited about a nail polish color! I now feel as if I have a personal color ~ a personal trademark nail polish color! It is so perfectly Her Royal Highness Lady Violette de Courcy! There is no other purple nail polish like it. I have looked at every brand in every price range and bought and tried out many of them. None of the others even come close! HRH by Butter is, by royal decree, officially IT!

I had tried some other purple shades with disastrous results! I got a terrible allergic reaction to one that caused me to get horrendously split cuticles and rashes and itching hands and feet and become systemically really sick! I got terrible headaches and blurred vision. Yes, all that is possible from a nail polish! I am sensitive ~ like the Princess and the Pea. I am a perfect test case for cosmetic products because I will have an allergic reaction if anyone will! No kidding! I am a notorious dermatology patient! I am really careful about what I uses as a result! I was anxious to try Butter of London because I had heard it is nontoxic. I am happily wearing it reaction free! Which makes it even more beautiful! I do not feel beautiful when I am having an ugly allergic reaction or getting sick from a product.Nobody does!

The names are fun ~ This one  HRH, of course suits me perfectly! And there is another one called No More Waity, Katie! which is described thus ~  “A soft, elegant greige shade with a splash of lilac glitter is the perfect marriage to combine fashion and fun.” I was initially interested in this one because I like the new grey/plum shades and glitter, but it was sold out! I was very amused by the name too!

The Purple Alexandrite Stone in My Ring Looks Great with Butter of London HRH Polish

I chose British Racing Green as my second color. It is a dark hunter green and will be perfect with my winter tweeds and forest greens. And emeralds! Both HRH and this green are rich dark jewel tones which are perfect for me with my pale skin. I pulled out my Alexandrite ring too because it is a perfect match with the polish. There is too much reflection it the first photo above to see the color of the stone. It shows better in this one! I am a firm believer of matching ones nails to one jewelry! I love color and I love to paint everything. That is why I enjoy wearing nail polish and make up. I see it as artistic self expression. I enjoy people’s reactions to pretty color. It really seems to cheer them up. I had to do a few errands last night ~ go to the grocery store, my pharmacy, a book store, a local coffee shop for a meeting with friends ~ and everyone commented on my beautiful Lady Violette de Courcy nails. I was in these utterly mundane venues and people really did take notice. I was quite surprised because I could easily assume that no one in these places would ever take notice of what I was wearing on the tips my fingers! Because they did I am really convinced that this color is perfectly suited to me and I am meant to wear it. I have never gotten this kind of reaction to a nail color before!

If the masses notice it truly sets me, Lady Violette de Courcy,  apart as HRH,  a true Lady, a natural aristocrat! Everyone enjoys beauty. Not snobby fashionable intimidating beauty, but colorful, charming, enjoyable beauty. Like the beauty everyone enjoys in flowers! If one can achieve this she brings pleasure to the world. I got wonderful comments from people! They wanted to know what this color was, they were curious if the company made more colors, where to get them, how much it cost, etc. This kind of interest is good!  – it will get more people to take good care of their nails, try the polish, look for a signature color for themselves and express themselves!

Butter was getting their money’s worth from their 2 for 1 promotion sale through my exposure of their product alone!  In 24 hours I had at least 50 people ask me what nail polish I was wearing! That is absolutely amazing! And an experience I have never had with a nail polish before. I own more polish colors than I can count so this is really saying a lot! I am going to write Butter and let them know.  How else will they know unless a customer tells them herself? I imagine nothing is better that a real true testimonial.

My fun "Heirloom" Quality Synthetic Alexandrite Ring

Somebody said, I can’t do that, I don’t have beautiful hands like you do. I took a good look at her hands and told her she actually could. She just needed to choose a suitable personal nail polish color! In her case, because her complexion was dusky a medium rust colored wine would be suitable And, key, she needs to use hand cream several times a day and file her nails regularly.

I seldom indulge in professional manicures. I file my own nails religiously 2x every week and use hand cream several times per day. I always put it on before I go to sleep at night! I paint my own nails when I have the time to let them dry! As for pretty rings, I find rings in flea markets, and discount stores, and from artist’s booths. I love looking for artsy unusual rings in artist’s booths at art fairs and festivals. I have several very distinct ones. I have never bought an expensive fine jewelry designer ring in a jewelry store. Many beautiful high fashion rings make it to discount stores six months after they come out in major high fashion stores. When they make it to the discount stores they sell for approximately 1/3 of the original retail store price.

The beautiful ring I am wearing in the photo came from a small boutique and is a synthetic created Alexandrite. I looked at it for several months. I saw it and liked it, but initially waited and when I went back with a friend three months later it was still there. The little shop was going out of business and having a final close out sale. My friend also loved it! She agreed it was a Violette signature ring and that that was why no one else had bought it! She talked me into it! She said it looked like an expensive family heirloom and could easily pass for that. Her idea was, “Say it is a family heirloom and wear it as your only ring all the time! ” They had another version of it ~ the same exact setting with a synthetic created  Aquamarine stone ~ which she bought! She was on her way to Paris the next day. She wore her ring on the plane and every day she was in France for the next two weeks.  And it was a huge hit!  Everyone admired it and wondered where she had gotten it, how old it was, who created it!” We don’t know who made these rings! They are not signed and the store is gone!

I must confess ~ our beautiful “heirloom” Alexandrite and Aquamarine rings cost us very little each! We have both really enjoyed them. We also enjoy them because we both have one! That part is fun too! At that rate a girl can afford pretty colors of nail polish at $7.50 per bottle and gorgeous rings to compliment or match them. Oops! We were at the right place at the right time the day we got the rings so we got them on sale and I was in the Ulta store the day they were promoting Butter Polishes on a buy one get one free special. The normal price of their polish is $14 per bottle. I actually think it is quite worth it for the adventure of wearing it alone!

The rewards a woman receives in terms of appreciation and recognition for taking good care of herself and being colorful and entertaining and beautiful are well worth the efforts to do so! In fact looking great and having real style is often more about attention to details and creativity, knowing yourself and making the right selections than spending a lot of money!

I think it is a really good idea to paint your nails a lovely unique to you color for fall! It will give you a lift and make you feel happy. And you can get a lot of mileage out of one bottle of nail polish! You get about 30 full manicures out of one bottle of polish! That is very economical!

Tea for Two ~ Herbert Levine T-Strap Shoes ~ Designed by Beth Levine for Beth’s Bootery ~ circa 1970

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Here is a darling pair of classic T-Strap pumps  in black suede designed by Beth Levine for Herbert Levine shoes ~ circa 1970. This design was called Tea~for~Two, all her styles were given names ~ for fun and identification purposes.

Tea~for~Two T~Strap Pump by Beth Levine for Herbert Levine Shoes ~ Circa 1970

She produced this one for Little Shop Shoes as is printed in gold on the insole and it was sold at Nordstrom Best in Seattle, WA., where it was bought by one of my own family members! The shoes were too narrow for her, or any of the rest of us who followed, so they were never worn, just carefully saved, in their iconic red box neatly stored away! They are size 7.5 N and we all have real medium width feet.

Look Inside~ It says Little Shop Shoes!

However, Beth Levine was a personal friend, and we all knew she was going to be really famous! She has already won several Coty Fashion Awards. So it was logical for us to keep her shoes! And we were right! A couple of years ago a museum show was mounted in her honor which I attended in Bellevue, WA. And a book,  Beth Levine Shoes by Helene Verin was published around the same time to commemorate her work and the company she and her husband Herbert Levine owned. Of course we attended this and it was fascinating! If you love shoes, I recommend the book and the show if you ever get the chance to see it.

Little Shop Shoes were meant to be fashion forward for the younger woman. While the Herbert Levine Label shoes were more sophisticated. In fact as sophisticated as you could get! Here is an example, also in my personal collection, of a beautiful red patent Herbert Levine salon shoe purchased at Nieman Marcus. I have shown this pair on this blog before, but I wanted to put them together today.

Red Patent Pump with Grosgrain Ribbon Bow by Herbert Levine Shoes

Beth Levine designed all the shoes, but they named the company Herbert Levine Shoes because, at that time, all the other shoe designers were men. She had worked for most of them picking up her skills by osmosis, first as a shoe model and later as a designer. The whole story can be found in the book above.

What isn’t in the book is the story of Beth and Herbert Levine and me! I met them when I went to New York City to dance with the City Center Robert Joffrey Ballet. Their daughter was a student at the Joffrey Ballet School and we became friends. She introduced me to her father, the famous Herbert Levine, but I didn’t really know how famous he was! He just seemed really nice. Father and daughter took me home to meet Beth Levine and we all ended up going out to dinner. We got on famously. They were very interested in the arts and artists and, after a few get togethers they ended up inviting me to move into their Greenwich Village Apartment. Thus, I ended up living with them for several months, getting to know them and many of their friends and getting a first hand education from them on what made good shoes good shoes. Beth was high energy and extremely funny. She was also under a tremendous amount of personal pressure with the responsibilities of running her company and constantly coming up with new ideas and designs. I could see that the life of a famous shoe designer was not 100% glamor! It was a lot of really hard work. They were under an immense amount of pressure to come up with new ideas and stay on the cutting edge. She worked all the time. She seemed very tired a lot of the time.

Herbert Levine was a wonderful flamboyant man who wore a dramatic burgundy long cape overcoat as a trademark and literally swash buckled in it. He was very fashionable. He liked the theater and actors and always was attending plays. It is no wonder that their daughter eventually decided to become an actress. She is Anna Levine Thompson and has had a long and successful acting career in New York City in theater and films.

Photos by Fredric Lerhman.

Shoes from The Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Congratulations to me! Princess Wow! Loves the Performance Dresses I Designed and Made for Her!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I am really happy because I just received a call from Princess WOW! saying she received the two dresses I custom designed and made for her to wear in her concert and they fit perfectly! And she loves them! This is wonderful news because I made them from a distance working only from measurements! Everything turned out perfectly! This is the first time I have done this solely from measurements without try on fittings with the actual client! It was a bit of a risk! We measured very carefully, everywhere.  And discussed every detail over the phone and via emails. I was confident it would work, but now I know it did! Now I can relax!

Custom Design Dress for Princess Wow! The First in a Series of Performance Gowns by Lady Violette de Courcy

Especially for Princess Wow! The Second Custom Design Dress by Lady Violette de Courcy

 

Lady Violette’s Sewing Studio ~ in the Corner of the Kitchen! Where I Cook Up Gowns for Real Princesses!

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Lady Violette's Kitchen Corner Sewing Studio ~ Where Gowns are Made for Real Princesses!

This morning I was taking final photographs of the dresses I have designed for Princess Wow! before I send them to her in New York. Between taking pictures of the right side of this dress and shooting details of the wrong side, or inside, I snapped this photo of my tiny sewing area in the corner of our kitchen! It is a very tiny area and I rather like it! This picture reminds me of something from Victoria Magazine when it first came out years ago and was full of lovely photography of interiors, artist’s work spaces and romantic settings!

In this tiny space I have taken all the photos on my blog, done all the sewing and knitting I have shown, styled and photographed all of my recent scarf and shawl tying and styling demonstrations, styled and shot all the vintage clothing I have shown on my blog and sold on eBay and Bonanza, made adults and children’s clothes, made dresses for princesses of all sizes, made and photographed jewelry, written things and cooked every day! I have often been doing several of these things at the same time!

We also use this same space for reading, talking, visiting with friends, having tea and watching movies! Everyone who comes by the house heads for this corner first! And usually plops down on the couch, hangs out here for a while, has a cup of tea, talks, plans what is going to transpire next and eats something. It is very conveniently located right next to the tea cupboard, the teakettle, the stove and the refrigerator! I like it when friends feel so comfortable that they walk right in, ask me what I’m cooking, grab an apple or banana from a bowl on the counter, and make themselves at home. It doesn’t disturb me or my work at all! In fact I find it forces me to relax and take a break and afterwards I am able to return to whatever project I’ve been working on and be more productive.

Even I am quite amazed at what can be done with a small space if one is resourceful. It was all I had to work with and presented an interesting challenge. The more I experiment with using it the more I find I can do within the limitations it presents. Sometimes limitations and restrictions help you make good art because you have to begin by working within their confines. This photo is another humble little example of that fact!

Vintage Shoe of the Week ~ Exquisite Red Patent Herbert Levine Pumps

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Red Patent Leather Pumps by Herbert Levine

This is one of my favorite pairs of vintage shoes! I love the color and the style, and the Herbert Levine last fits me like a dream.

Plus, I had the pleasure of knowing Herbert and Beth Levine and their daughter when I was dancing in New York with the City Center Robert Joffrey Ballet Company. They kindly invited me to live with them when I first moved to New York City as a young ballet dancer on a Ford Foundation Scholarship . They were always interested in artists and very supportive of them. They were wonderful friends.

While living in their home I met many interesting people, including Henri Bendel who came to dinner once a week, the photographer Hiro, and Mr. Conde Nast who was a real person. They lived in a very modest and tiny two bedroom apartment on East 12th Street in The Village.

The notorious guests liked to come their to relax and eat their cook’s most amazing I have ever tasted crispy and delicious Long Island Duck. I wondered if it was the special duck that made it so delectable or the way it was cooked. It was the latter. On a trip to LI I asked Herbert which duck of a large gaggle of assorted types of ducks we passed was the delectable and famous Long Island Duck and he replied, “Any duck on Long Island!” They knew because Beth had grown up on a LI farm and told me she had plucked ducks as a girl for that recipe on the farm. Beth was a very down to earth talented woman who became a famous shoe designer and ended up winning the Coty awards and  hanging out with the rich and famous ~ but she retained her earthy qualities.

The Gold Herbert Levine Label ~ These Were Made for Neiman Marcus

Beth Levine actually designed the all shoes, but the company was named Herbert Levine by the couple because they were afraid buyers would not purchase shoes made and manufactured by a woman when they began. Herbert was the business brain behind the company and he was absolutely brilliant. He was incredibly supportive of his wife’s talent and promoted her endlessly. They had a fabulous partnership ~ both personally and as business partners. it was a privilege to know them. And I learned a lot about shoes from them!

These shoes are special to me because of my relationship with the designers as well as for their own beauty.

Beth Levine often said, “If your feet hurt, my feet hurt.” Her shoes were elegant and incredibly comfortable. There is not another designer’s shoes to this day that are as comfortable for me as hers. She really meant what she said and knew what she was doing.

Last year a retrospective show of her work was held in the Bellevue Art Museum near Seattle where I live. Of course I attended. It was excellent and I know the show has traveled around to museums throughout the country. I highly recommend seeing it if you have the chance.

The Famous Herbert Levine Red Shoe Box

I have collected a lot of beautiful vintage shoes, many of historic quality. I owe my interest in and knowledge about shoes to the Levines! They got me started and taught me to appreciate quality shoe design as well as appearance. I was exposed to the very best. Being a young ballet dancer I could not afford a lot of expensive shoes, but Beth saw to it that I was supplied. She gave me shoes so I would be properly shod at all times in New York City!

 

People ask me, but these shoes are not for sale! They are and will remain part of my personal collection!

Stuffed Friends Doing Their Important Job as Fur Angels

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Evacuation Center

Here is a very moving photograph taken inside an evacuation center near Fukushima showing the important work and comforting power of these beloved creatures.

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/31/japan-photo-inside-a.html

How to Tie & Style the Basic Beautiful White Silk Shawl Demonstrated by International Scarf & Accessories Stylist Tricia James

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

One Version of the Exquisite Finished Shawl Style Garnished With a White Silk Flower

One Version of the Finished Shawl Style Decorated With a White Silk Flower Corsage

Here is one of several of the beautiful decorated versions of this finished shawl style that I showed over the last two weeks. This one is decorated with a white silk flower corsage.

To create this basic tie and style Tricia used a white raw silk oblong scarf/shawl measuring 72″ long by 20″ wide ~ not counting the fringe on each end which is a nice extra touch and measures about two extra inches long on each end.

We have experimented and discovered that a pashima or a silk scarf of this approximate size will also work for this shawl tying/styling technique. You can use a solid color as we have done here, or an all over small print.

The longer the shawl is the more you will have to work with as you create your drape. We recommend the longer versus the shorter versions of these shawls for ease and success in creating this style.

 

 

Step #1

To Begin:

1) Drape the shawl over shoulders with Right side of scarf longer than the Left side ~ as in picture 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step #2

 

2) Bring the shorter Left side of shawl across your body ~ as in picture  #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step # 3

 

3) Drape it over allowing it to rest on your Right shoulder  ~ as in picture #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step #4

 

4) Pick up lower Right longer end of shawl in your Right hand and bring it up across the center front of your body to the center of your neckline ~ as in picture #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step #5

 

5) Then tuck it under your neckline and ~ placing your Right hand up under the shawl from below, take hold of the tail and pull it down and through the center front with your Right hand, ~ while taking the upper Left shorter end of shawl (that was resting on your Right shoulder) in your Left hand and pulling it upward ~ thus making a large soft center front knot ~ as in picture #5

Begin to pull on the two ends of the shawl simultaneously, creating a custom fitted shawl around your shoulders, thus preventing the shawl from slipping throughout the day.

As Tricia says, “A custom fit is a marvelous thing, Darling!”

We all agree with that, don’t we?

 

 

 

 

Step #6

 

6) Tuck Left upper end end behind your Right shoulder and spread the shawl out styling it attractively at both top and bottom. This is very elegant and attractive just like this! You can wear it plain and simply like this, unadorned ~ as in picture #6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or,

For added interest you can decorate this beautiful basic shawl shawl tie with a silk flower corsage, a brooch, a shawl clip, a hair accessory used as a scarf clip or anything else you can think of as Tricia demonstrated in several earlier blog posts. The styling possibilities are almost endless once your imagination sets in! I really encourage you to experiment!

Be sure to visit international scarf and accessories stylist Tricia James at her website scarfgenie.com to see other interesting scarves, scarf styling options and products she has to offer.

And come back to this blog, Ladyviolette,com often because I will be posting many more shawls and scarves and ideas on how to wear them on a regular basis.

I am a great admirer of shawls and scarves and feel they add amazing elegance and options to women’s wardrobes. A scarf can be a beautiful and unique personal statement and the way one wears it is certainly one of the loveliest of feminine art forms.  I am personally committed to demonstrating this and to finding out more about how to style and wear them successfully again. I say again because I think they were worn much more in elegant previous eras and I feel it is time to bring them back, research how they were worn in the past and learn how to tie and style them once again for our enjoyment in the present ~ here and now!

Additionally there are so many new contemporary ways to wear them.  And, luckily, I have my friend,  the modern current day scarf specialist, Tricia James to collaborate with me on this project!

Tricia brings her own artistic ability to styling and tying scarves and shawls along with 20 years past experience traveling around the world while training and working with her mentor Isabella Gardener. I will interview Tricia soon and post her incredibly interesting and exotic back ground story on this blog…

I also plan and look forward to sharing some amazing examples of vintage scarves and shawls I have collected with you here in the near future. Watch for this!

And, if you have historical information to add please share it with us as well. We would love to hear from you! After all, isn’t that is what the web is for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Confessions of a Head Turner” – or What Happens When I Wear a Beautiful Hat.

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

“Confessions of a Head Turner ” was originally  written by Lady Violette for Princess WOW! when she was primarily  known as Mindy Fradkin’s Important Hats. It was published in 1995 in Breukelen Magazine in NYC  with accompanying photos of  Lady Violette wearing Mindy’s hats. It still holds true and it is still fun, so we decided to bring it out for contemplation if you find yourself considering wearing hats again this spring and summer as we do. (We being Lady Violette & Princess WOW! )

Over the years we became good friends through out mutual love of hats and our design work together. It is also interesting to note that, years after I originally wrote this piece, Princess WOW! met her husband, artist Roland Mousaa, because he saw her wearing one of her hats while waiting in a line to be seated at a restaurant, just as I wrote happens when you wear her hats! A real adventure!

Now Mindy Fradkin is Princess WOW! and her main focus has changed from making hats to her work for The Smile Revolution but she still makes and wears her own hats in her concerts and performances and for private clients. Lady Violette has taken good care of all her Important Hats and still wears them regularly. We love hats! And spring is coming! A new hat for easter has always been a tradition! So, it has gotten me  thinking a lot about hats ~  Hats off to Princess WOW!  And a stroll down memory lane with ~

“The Confessions of  Head Turner”

I love to wear Mindy’s Important Hats. I never go without an Important Hat. I have two dozen of them. They make adventures happen.

I meet men. Men follow me. I feel mysterious, like a heroine in a novel. Like Zelda Fitzgerald or Greta Garbo. In an Important Hat you create an indelible impression… you become an enigma, unforgettable, memorable…

It’s evocative of romance and another time. A hat is an emphatic statement. Jewelry is more subtle, smaller, meant for close up. A hat can be seen across a street or restaurant. At a distance in a gallery or museum. It casts the wearer’s magic spell…

In giving up hats, women gave up coquetry. Mindy’s hats bring it back, but they are not vintage, not ingenue. They are totally modern & sophisticated, they’re history, too…

They’re true art, completely original form and construction. The simplest looking design transforms a face.

She is the Rodin of the sculptured hat.

When you wear her hats heads turn.

I began collecting Mindy’s hats if 1992. Now I can’t stop!! Each hat represents a different facet of my inner personality to the viewer. They allow me to express the different aspects of my character.

Together Mindy and I continue to discover more ~ a great talent in a designer for her client.

Thank you Mindy for presenting my many inner characters to me and to the the world… To love me you (I mean anyone,) must know me. Your hats project aspects of my inner soul to the outside world (when I choose to do so by wearing one.)

Lady Violet de Courcy, Ballet Dancer, Jewelry Designer, Writer and Mindy’s Muse

Mindy Fradkin-Mousaa, now The Princess of WOW! & renowned hat designer and comedienne performs using her hats, in shows and concerts and at “Hat Happenings” regularly around New York City. She currently works full time for The Smile Revolution raising conscious awareness for the healing power of a genuine smile. She is a singer, songwriter, and concert promoter but still creates wonderful extravagant hats for private clients part time . You can contact her at:

www.theprincessofwow.com

www.thesmilerevolution.com

I will photograph and post pictures of Important Hats from my collection soon…

What Makes The Picture a Good Portrait? About “Fur is Fabulous!” … Part 2

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

"Fur is Fabulous"

Continued from Part 1, published on 2/16/2011.

*As a portrait the picture “Fur is Fabulous” is good because it captures me as a unique person and tells a lot about me. I also like it and what it says about me. I look like an exotic French bird of some sort. It reminds me of a film still from an old black and white French or Italian movie from the 1950’s or 60’s, an era in film which I love. Several of the kinds of art work I do are shown in the picture – my vintage clothing restoration work, my sewing, my passion for creating and wearing hats. I have often worked as a hat model (for hat designing friend, Princess WOW! several others milliners, and several photographers,) – is that not obvious? (I say in jest!) As well! And I am wearing an antique black silk kimono which I love and am very comfortable in.

Then there is the “hat/sleeve” thing going on. There is a saying, “He is wearing his heart on his sleeve.” which refers to him showing his emotions, what is in his heart, very directly, upfront, not trying to conceal it in deep secrecy. He is being very open about what he truly feels. It just happened that I was admiring and appreciating the softness and Absolute Beauty of the luxurious black Norwegian fox fur cuffs and I put one on my head to try it out as a hat and suddenly I was wearing my sleeve on my head!” Which brings me around to the other reason this photo is successful.

The brain is the center of thought. It is located inside the head. If one calls attention to that which is deep in his heart – by wearing his heart on his sleeve – it follows that one is bringing her thoughts on a subject to the fore by wearing them on her head! As I said, “Fur is Fabulous!” I was expressing my deep appreciation for fur’s Absolute Beauty.

By Absolute Beauty, I mean in the deepest purest sense. As a work of nature, as the coat of a wonderful creature, my appreciation for the beautiful animal from which it came, for that animal’s soul, and for his freedom to live in our world and be himself – running free and exquisite. I was thinking as I stroked the long dark soft fur of the Norwegian Fox, that he must, in his natural habitat, be a shining silky black creature living in a beautiful white snowy place, with deep green fir trees laden heavy with snow …..” And while I was thinking about him out there, blissfully and innocently living his life, streaking swiftly and gracefully through the forest…

I was also thinking about, and appreciating, the exquisite work of the professional fine art furrier who had made these beautiful cuffs and designed the 70 plus year old vintage coat I was rescuing from abandoned oblivion. I was thinking about the old furrier’s skill at working with the exquisite shining black fox pelts and how this ultra-skilled profession is also coming to an end. How it is, sadly, dying out.

I was thinking about my lovely and wise 96 year old friend who was a life-long professional furrier. And was, also, a teacher, in a now closed down fashion institute, specializing in designing and sewing with real and valuable furs. We have talked a lot about her career in the fur industry in the old days and what she knows about furs. She too is a dying breed. Even more in danger of extinction than the animals on the endangered species lists. This too is sad! Is it not?

That is what I was thinking! I was thinking that I must interview her formally and write about her and her work before it is too late. She is healthy now, but she is getting on in years and I have to do this before it is too late.

Lastly, I was thinking about the fact that I was recycling an elegant old coat. I had cleaned it, relined it, changed the buttons as it was missing one, and cleaned and mothproofed the fur. In changing the buttons I had found appropriate vintage replacements from the same era. I was now in the process of putting the cuffs back onto the coat so I could wear it. I am very proud of my textile and clothing restoration abilities and of the part I am doing to restore and reuse elegant clothing from earlier eras. I resurrect it. I give it a new life. I wear it. I photograph and document it. It gets used, seen, admired, enjoyed, generally talked about. The artists and designers who made it long ago and were forgotten about are remembered. In a way, I make all of them, including the animals whose pelts are in the coats live again. I think this is far better for them than having them molder away into total extinction, long forgotten, in a damp closet or attic somewhere!

I feel that, when I am wearing these beautiful vintage clothes elegance is, on some small level, restored to our modern world. I get a lot of interesting comments about my clothes and how I look. It opens peoples eyes to what was done historically and to what is still possible if you care to put the time and effort into dressing this way. In fact, into every aspect of your whole life. If you choose to contemplate on it you will become aware of many more ways in which you can reclaim elegance from the past and incorporate it into the here and now.

Sometimes, when I am asked about my interesting clothes I get the chance to explain that I restore them and sew by hand and on old sewing machines. And that I also find and restore the old sewing machines and other tools of the trade that I use. I may get to explain that I am a major recycler. My entire house is filled with things I have found and gotten second hand. I have, for instance, a vintage Italian Pavoni Espresso machine. I use it everyday. I love it! I love the processes of doing everything from scratch. Doing things this way, by myself, pleases me.

I happen to have met the furrier I told you about because I responded to her posting on Craig’s list when she was downsizing and selling her Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine. I went to her home to look at the machine, she saw my clothes and my style, we began to talk and we immediately hit it off! Her name is Dorothy.

I did purchase Dorothy’s sewing machine. She told me she also had boxes of old vintage sewing patterns and would I like them? I said yes! As it turned out she gave me a couple of hundred old patterns – and she had made all of them herself at one time or another during her life. The dates of the patterns she gave me began in 1932 when she was 17 with the dress she wore to her high school prom. and extended through to 2008 when she decided to stop making all her own clothes. Each pattern was carefully labeled with the date she made it and what occasion it was made for. In many cases there was a sample of the fabric she had originally used attached to the pattern envelope.

Dorothy gave me the documented story of her life in her sewing patterns. I spent a lot of time listening to her stories which I find fascinating. And from which I learned a lot. She apprenticed with a fine furrier when she got out of high school and spent her entire life working for his firm. She was also married and socially active. She also became a professor at The New York Fashion Institute teaching furrier design, construction and sewing techniques.

She is the only person I know who is able to explain how an older style fur coat or hat was made and identify the unusual types of furs in some vintage pieces. She has an amazing personal collection of vintage fur coats and yes, she still wears them, regularly. Dorothy is a treasure.

The Peta people wouldn’t dare mess with Dorothy. She commands there respect. She is also for the most part, on their side. She loves the animals that produce the fur and wants to protect them. She does care.

Anyway, Dorothy has been a fascinating person for me to get to know. I think she feels the same way about me. She told me that she likes being friends with me because she doesn’t have many of her old friends left any longer. And we have a lot of shared interests.

I am so glad that I have met her! And that we have become friends. And it all happened because we appreciate fur for it’s Absolute Beauty. We both think, “Fur is Fabulous” including the animals it comes on!  Mostly for that reason, actually. And we have become friends because we share this deep appreciation.

Amazingly, all these thoughts were going through my head when I said “Fur is Fabulous” and my son was taking that picture. He only made one exposure by the way. It was a very spontaneous experience.

To be continued with Part III, of “Fur is Fabulous”

A Simply Beautiful White Silk Scarf Pinned with a Silk Flower! Exquisite!

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Scarf Styled by Tricia James

This is a large off white gauzy raw silk scarf. It is a 3 ft x 6 ft rectangle. It is artfully draped and tied by my friend, International Scarf and Accessories Stylist, Tricia James.

Tricia has endless ideas and techniques for using the accessory pieces you already have and those you might buy! She is an absolute wizard when it comes to tying scarves.

We are embarking upon documenting her styles in photographs and video. And we will be writing instructions on how to do it yourself. She created 6 looks for me out of this one white scarf!  She also showed me how to use other items I already have to accent it and create different looks. In this particular case – the white silk flower pinned to the shawl with a pearl headed corsage pin.

This is so light, airy and romantic! I just love it! Perfect Lady Violette Styling! It also reminds me of a romantic poet’s shirt! And that is a look I have always loved!

This week I will make 6 different blog posts showing this scarf in each of it’s different renditions. Tricia is returning on Wednesday and we will write instructions illustrated with photographs on how to wrap and tie this or any similar large rectangular scarf or Pashima to achieve  this stunning effect. You can try it then and let me know if it is clear to follow and works.

We are achieving these elegant photographic effects in my kitchen corner nook! The only place in the house with strong enough natural light! Sometimes I actually enjoy the challenge of seeing how nice I can make something look with the most limited or restricted of resources – such as a completely bare bones photographic set up or a very inexpensive item picked up in a thrift shop and made to look amazing, original and expensive.

In this case the white scarf we have used came from a thrift store. It was $2  and was completely clean. It looked as if it had never been used. The silk flower was $7.50 at my local sewing supply store. I believe beautiful items like this scarf end up in thrift stores because people receive them as gifts or buy them without understanding how to use them. Sometimes, as in this case, this becomes a lucky find for the clever thrift store shopper. That illustrates the thrill of the hunt!

Consider this photo a little preview of things to come! More scarves, more ideas on how to wear them, more technical advice on how to wrap and tie them. And more from and about the scarf styling expert! Tricia James is Scarfgenie.com

“To Be or Not To Be Gorgeous? That is the question!”

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Charming Dorothy Lamour with Her Beautiful Long Brown Hair!

Please Note: This is a true story, but I have changed the names to protect the privacy of the people involved.

My friend Sara, who was almost 7 years old, was visiting and we were decorating our own fancy paper to write letters on…She loved to come over to my house to make holiday cards and write letters, bake cookies for people, and wrap presents…and do all manner of  girly things like try on hats from my collection, sample perfumes, make her own jewelry, learn to sew, and one of her favorites, of course, dress up and experiment with clothes and hairstyles.

She has very long brown wavy hair. She lives with her dad and he is not the best hairstylist! In fact, he was going to cut her pretty hair off just so he wouldn’t have to detangle it. My father did that to me when I was about her age and it nearly caused my mother to leave him. They had a terrible long fight. I was certainly traumatized by the experience, but that is another story. I have always identified the experience with being scalped!

To avoid such a mishap in this little girl’s life I offered to teach Sara to take care of her own hair. She should learn to do this and she should understand that it is beautiful and her own unique asset. I showed her pictures of Dorothy Lamour too, so that she could see how one lady had kept her long brown hair as her trademark over her entire life. Their hair is very similar.

Sara thought Dorothy Lamour was very glamorous! I think it is good to introduce little girls to appropriate role models. Dororthy Lamour is one of my personal favorites! Keep in mind, this is Lady Violette speaking, and I like classic vintage style, so I identify feminine beauty with the actresses in old black and white movies. Do you not agree with me that they are quintessentially more glamorous than Mily Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan?

Sometimes Sara spends a weekend at my house. If so, in the evening, we wash her hair, comb it out, part it down the middle and let it air dry in it’s natural wavy patterns. It is thick and about three feet long. Isn’t she lucky? While her hair is drying we do crafts or watch a movie. She generally picks out the movies. Her favorites are The Adams Family movies, especially The Adams Family Values, which I also think is hilarious. My favorite scene is the one in Morticia and Gomez’s Favorite Bistro when Angelica Houston burns up the floor dancing the tango. Morticia also has long beautiful dark hair!

Sara likes to go into my closet and pick out something to wear. I like to just stand back and watch to see what what happens. One of her typical selections was a long white cotton and lace Victorian Style nightgown, a set of two very long flapper necklaces hanging down the front, and a pair of vintage purple satin high heels that were treacherously high and too long. All in all, the effect was mesmerizing! Especially because she later fell asleep in this delightful ensemble while reading a book in a big armchair with her feet, in the violet ballroom dancing shoes, propped up on a giant overstuffed footstool! A version of Sleeping Beauty!

Sara’s father doesn’t like me. He is not really a friend of mine, she is my friend. I met her through an adult girlfriend whose husband knows her father. When I heard about the situation my girlfriend and I decided to help this little girl out. Her father is an investment specialist of some kind. Young and apparently successful financially. He seems very rushed and very wound up all the time.

Apparently he was married to her mother, but that didn’t work out and he ended up taking the daughter when she was a baby! He has raised her, but he lacks skills in The Feminine Arts! He doesn’t see this as a problem. When women are around his daughter, they do! She is not learning the basic skills women learn from other women which they need in order to survive and succeed in this world. Her dad pooh poohs these skills saying they are valueless and she doesn’t need them. He says, “I’m teaching her other things, she won’t need those!” He implies that he means that he will eventually be teaching her to play the stock market and manage real estate, and plan corporate take overs and other things like that.

When I met Sara, at age seven, she had not learned any of that yet! Nor could she have cared less. I asked her where her dad worked and what he did and she didn’t know! She had never gone to work with him or anything. My girlfriend and I asked him if she might spend a weekend with us sometime, hanging out, baking cookies and the like. He emphasized that she didn’t need to learn that kind of thing, but he thought that would be okay. The fact is, and we know it, he sees us as willing to “babysit” his daughter for free so he agreed to let her come. The first time I picked her up on a Friday afternoon for an overnight, I had to search him down to return her on Sunday night at 10PM! I had offered to have her over for one night, but he left her and disappeared for the entire weekend. He didn’t call to check in and he didn’t return my calls – until he was ready! This was okay because she was safe, and she was not any trouble, but it was not the arrangement. I was having her over for her sake, not to help him out with childcare. However, his behavior made the fact that she needed it all the more apparent. He had such a sense of entitlement! He just expected I would entertain his little girl and take good care of her until he decided to show up to reclaim her. He didn’t call to check on her and see if she was happy or wanted to come home! Shockingly, he expected me to pay for everything too. She came with no spending money and no overnight supplies, or clothes, no hairbrush, not even a toothbrush. She just arrived. Remember, she was just a seven year old.

She was in desperate need of attention. She had not had a bath or shower for at least 3 or 4 days. Her long hair was dirty and tangled, her dress was wrinkled and limp and she had been wearing the same shoes, socks and underwear all week. Her fingernails needed trimming and filing. She looked bedraggled. Like a little waif! But she was really excited! This was like going to heaven for her.

I got her to my house, suggested she take a shower and we wash her hair and made that a part of getting ready to bake for the evening. I said we needed to be really clean for the baking process. That worked. I could tell she felt much better afterward. She was shy and self-conscious earlier. I could see that she felt insecure about looking so bedraggled.

My grown up girl friend who had introduced us came over after work and we did end up baking cookies that night. That good wholesome old fashioned activity that totally grounds you! We had a blast! And there was nothing cuter that seeing seven year old Sara standing on a wooden kitchen step stool, with an apron on, mixing cookie dough and happy as can be. She was laughing and cracking jokes and turned out to be hilarious. This was the first time in her life that she had ever baked! No one had ever done it with her before. Now, in my book, that is child deprivation! She loved doing dishes too! She hadn’t ever done that either! Somebody she has never seen comes into their apartment and cleans when she is at school and her father is at work. Wow!

That weekend in addition to hair washing and styling, and baking, we also watched movies, including The Adams Family, Adams Family Values, and Les Miserables, which she loved. We did our nails, and tried on vintage  hats, and made homemade cards and stationary with rubber stamps. She had never done any of these things! She also accidentally spilled almost an entire bottle of Violetta de Parma eau de toilette all over herself not realizing you only need a tiny dab to smell good!

By Sunday afternoon,  Sara  had been with me almost 48 hours. We still had not heard from her father. He was a full day late in arranging to get her back and he hadn’t even called. She was not a bit worried. In fact, honestly,  she probably was happy about it! I, luckily, was able to hang out with her and had nothing else scheduled. We were crafting with rubber stamps and I suggested we make some of our home made greeting cards for some people we mutually knew – a couple of grownup women friends of mine who were aware of this little girl’s situation and would be appropriately delighted to receive a card she made. She was all for this idea and we mutually decided to put some of the cookies we had made in little bags for them as well! Everybody likes to receive a gift of homemade cookies, right? This project took us the rest of the afternoon…

We were drawing and writing on cards when, suddenly, Sara looked up at me and asked me, “How do you spell Gorgeous?”

And I spelled it out ” G_O_R_G_E_O_U_S” slowly and clearly.

Then as she finished writing it, she said, innocently, “I don’t know how to spell it, I just am it!”

And she was right! Next card please!

She diligently thought of people who might want them and made cards and packages of cookies for another four hours! I taught her how to tie several kinds of bows.

Then we tackled her long hair again. We brushed it a hundred strokes and I braided it for her and I explained that it would not get tangled if you slept with it in braids and that doing so had the additional benefit of making it really wavy and pretty when you took them out in the morning! She decided she would try sleeping with her hair in braids that night.

She had been with me since 4PM Friday afternoon and her father finally called back at 10PM on Sunday evening! He wanted to know if he should come and get her? (Or what?) I said, “Yes!” really fast , not giving him a chance to suggest an alternative. He arrived about an hour later. By now she had been with me for 55 hours! It had been supposed to be a Friday night overnight with a Saturday afternoon end! He had not even checked in! I had left several messages on his service.

Of course she was very excited to show him what we had done when he arrived. She  dragged him into the kitchen showing him two plates of home made from scratch cookies sitting on the counter. She made him try them. She took him into the dining room and showed him the rubber stamping projects. She showed him the notecards and the cookie packages, now tied up with pretty little ribbon bows that I had helped her to make. She showed him the movies we had rented and watched. And she showed him my box of nail polish colors and her brightly painted toes and fingernails. She told him, but she really didn’t need to, that she was wearing violet perfume. She fluttered about giving him the full report of our girls retreat weekend and a full tour of my home. I might note she gave the tour as if it were now her home as well!

She made her dad wait in the living room while she went into the bedroom to put something on to surprise him. I wondered what that was going to be! When she came out she was wearing a vintage hat from I.Magnin! She had decided to model my 1950’s Italian Straw and Velvet Turned -Upside Down-Flower-Pot-Hat with furry pipe cleaner vines and velvet leaves, trimmed in a large pink silk rose! She came running out saying  “This is my favorite one! This is my favorite one!”  and laughing at how cute and funny she thought it was! And she added, “It is from Paris! And Ladies used to wear hats like this! ” She was bubbling over…

She was delighted and she was delightful! I was delighted too. We girls had had a great time!

Perry is his name, and he was not. He said, “That’s very funny, but it’s getting late and you should get your things together and we should go. Im sure Violette has other things to do.” (It’s getting late? What things? Where was he yesterday? He hadn’t sent her with anything! And I suddenly might have other things I needed or wanted to do with my time? Wow! Again!)

We had put her clothes through the laundry so she was wearing them clean when she left. And we had packed up her cookie and card gifts for people in a shopping bag with handles. And I had given her a few goodies to take home. She went off to get them.

Perry turned around to me and said, “Well, I see you have her wearing nail polish and perfume! Don’t you think it is a little early for that? As if I won’t have enough trouble with her doing that at the normal time they do those things when she is about 12 or  13! ”

I said, “That’s too late, It is normal to do it at this age for fun and to learn how. It’s just for fun, anyway.”

He replied, “Well, She’s my daughter and that is not how I am going to raise her. She won’t be needing any of that stuff with what I am going to teach her……..

I said,  “She will be best off if she gets exposed to both…”

He, “Her mother was like that and it was not a good thing!”

I wondered, “Was her mother a female female, who enjoyed being a girl? And then, perhaps, got married to Perry here, and got exposed to all his wonderful ideas and had a lot of conflicts and it didn’t work out? And he was very resentful, so he was taking it all out on Sara in this restrictive way? ” I could only surmise this, but it is, to be honest, what it looked like …

Anyway, he clearly hated people (especially women) like me!

They said goodbye, she gave me an enormous hug, I said I hoped we could do this again as I had had a great time, and they went home.

Perry never thanked me.

But he did allow Sara to come back as often as I was able to have her visit. And he always left her way over the agreed 24 hour time. I knew that would happen, as did my friends, so we tried to schedule her visits when having her for a whole weekend would not conflict with anything else. He never sent her with any supplies or provisions, spending money or gifts. He did send her to an expensive private school. He would drop her off there, in his black Mercedes, and leave her there all day, first for the school day, then with the after school daycare service, until they closed. He would pick her up, right at closing every day – about 6PM. She told me they would often eat dinner at Wendy’s or Jack in the Box. Then they would go home, to their apartment, he would sit right down to work on his computer. She told me that, the minute after they entered the apartment door,  he took off his coat, threw it over a chair, walked to the dining room table, pulled his computer out of it’s case, sat down, turned it on, plugged himself in, and checked out. She would do her homework, and get herself ready for bed. She said they didn’t talk much because he was always on his computer. She said he was very involved in it and she found it really hard to get his attention to ask a question or have a discussion. So, she left him alone and tool care of herself. Eventually, she would go off to bed and he would still be up, working (or whatever he did)  on his computer. She told me nobody ever came over.

This was one very lonely little girl and I vowed to have her over as regularly as I could to try to break her monotony and offer her some other other influences. I just wanted her to see there is other stuff out there!

About a year later, when she was eight, Sara gave me a beautiful snapshot of herself, at the beach, sitting on the sand in her little black tank bathing suit with her long wavy brown hair falling around her shoulders all the way to the sand itself! She looked like a little Ondine. in the picture! And her hair looked just as clean and long and beautiful as Dorothy Lamour’s. It is a really beautiful picture and I love it. Of course I have kept it.

Sara would be able to visit, and stay for entire weekends, because her father would dump her off to get rid of her. Sadly, he only saw us as a convenient and free childcare service. I say “we” because my sons were often involved. I was not going to say no if I could fit it into the rest of my life and make such a huge positive difference in someone else’s. I did this because I enjoyed doing it and I liked her. Of course she did not have a pet, so our dog Meko became the animal friend in her life. She loved him.

I eventually taught Sara to knit which she really enjoyed. Once she took it up there was no stopping her and she became quite proficient at figuring out more and more challenging knitting techniques on her own. She was a smart little girl. When I sent her home with knitting Perry was not enthused about it. He told me, “Knitting is a totally nerdy thing to do and a complete waste of time.” He would never finance knitting projects for her though he could well afford to. I provided her supplies and in spite of his attitude she became a dedicated knitter and worked at it almost every day. She was eventually making herself cute tams and scarves and leg warmers. And she loved to crochet lace edgings. This was just the creative outlet she needed and I’m sure it helped her deal with the stress of her home life. She had a lot of time to practice her knitting. And she was very focused. I have no doubt she will be a lifetime knitter.

I  hung out with Sara quite regularly about once a month over the next five years.  She was interested in the things any normal 11 to 12 year old girl is interested in. The last time I saw her we ran into each other at a Starbuck’s. She was with a girl friend from her school. She still had her lovely long brown hair. We talked quite a while. I did not get any indication that she was playing the stock market yet or interested in studying to do so. She did say she would like to take dance lessons. The friend she was with was doing that and she wanted to go too. Perry has not let her do that. He has reasons he thinks it is not a good idea. She also said she wished she had a bike. He had reasons not to get her one as well. I asked if she would like to get together and walk around Green Lake. She said yes, she would, and I said I would call soon to set up a time.

So a couple of weeks later I called her father’s office to arrange it. The weather was getting nice and I thought she might like to go to the lake with me and take a good long walk, have lunch, talk and catch up. I got one of Perry’s employees. I explained who I was and why I was calling. We had talked before, making arrangements for Sara’s pick up and delivery. She told me, “Perry sold the business. They’re gone.” I asked if there was a way I could get ahold of them. She said, “I talk to him now and then, I’ll tell him you called.” I said,”Okay.”

I asked who bought the business. She told me. It was one of the employees who has been there many years. A couple of weeks passed and I didn’t get a call back so I called the new owner and I asked her if she knew where they had gone.

She told me, “He moved, to the Cayman Islands and he took his daughter with him.” That was all she knew.

I haven’t received any return calls and I would be very surprised if I ever did.

I could only assume Sara was now living in the Grand Caymans with her father and, at age 12, (that preteen age he was so worried about! ), among other reasons, he has shunted her off there to get her as far away from all those things she won’t need to know anything about (like those damned Feminine Arts!) given all the practical life skills he is going to be teaching her….

I’d bet she didn’t know she would be moving there when we ran into each other that last time at Starbuck’s! Had she known she would have told me! I bet he surprised her with that news very close to departure time! Knowing him she wouldn’t even have had time to pack any belongings! I hope she’s okay…

But I am confident from what I saw at our last meeting, that, Dorothy Lamour and Lady Violette have had enough of a chance to have made a permanent impact! Sara is growing up to be a lovely young lady who, in spite of, Perry, has chosen to be gorgeous because she likes to be and she can tell that it is to her own best interest.

Perry emphasizes that he is an Investment Specialist and he values his financial prowess. I was investing in something else, her as a friend and as a person. I feel that the time I spent with her and the things we did together were worthwhile. I was making my kind of investment in her future.

I know my investment will pay off and Sara, in the long term, is going to be gorgeous!

Add Color to Your Life in the Winter – My Knitting Nook as an Example

Friday, February 11th, 2011

All the Colors in the Rainbow - The Kitchen Knitting Nook

It has been so drab and dark out lately that I’ve been redecorating daily to add color to my home environment. My local knitting shop closed suddenly and I decided to create my own perfect knitting environment at home. Hoping some of my knitting friends would like to come over to knit together as we did in the shop! This is an invitation to you guys!

It’s in the corner of my kitchen where I do all my creative projects, under the kitchen window, I have a black couch there and a glass coffee table, plain but allowing me to bring in elements of color for continual change. I thought it would be fun to show some of the various design looks I achieve! And where I make many of my things!

I knit and sew there. I take all my photographs there. It is the only place with enough light in the house for these activities. As kitchens are a social place for families I can be in the middle of all the activity while working on my stuff. I like the chaos, actually. It inspires me. Tea can be made easily as it is in the kitchen!

Here I have spread a crocheted afghan made of  yarns of all the colors in the rainbow against black – an instant brightener! And the wool texture as well as the colors creates inviting comforting warmth. I Knit a lot and love exotic yarns and fibers. This is a good way to show of one of my afghans and enjoy the visuals of projects in progress. I set up vignettes of “little helpers” to entertain children and inspire them to start leaning to sew, knit and crochet. I learned from my grandmother and mother when I was about 5 yrs old. Another one of those good old fashioned feminine arts that are so pleasurable and life enriching to know how to do. I will soon be blogging about teaching children to knit and sew and putting out my grandmother’s diary of hand sewing lessons for children. She actually wrote them down in a book as weekly lessons. Fascinating and still completely applicable today. I have taught several children to sew with them and it is time to get this information out to more people. This is an activity you can do with your child. You can learn to sew as an adult if you don’t know how through these lessons as well, as they will work for everyone. They are brilliant. Quite easy and no sewing machine is required. Watch for these. I am adding a tag for children as I will be writing things you can share with your child of all ages (that includes grown ups.) I was asked if I could teach a 24 yr old woman to sew yesterday and an 11 yr old girl today. Yes, I can! and I believe I can do it  this way. I have ideas for continuing into basic machine sewing as well. Watch for posts about sewing lessons coming soon.

An Inspiring Story About the Power of Hats and Friendship

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Mindy aka Princess WOW!

And of how Princess WOW! and Lady Violette became friends and how she became the princess she is today…

I have known Mindy Fradkin-Mousaa for nearly 20 years. We met in 1992 in NYC when both of us were giving trunk shows at Henri Bendel. Mindy was making and selling hats and I was creating jewelry and selling it. Mindy is very talented and generously shares her knowledge and contacts to help out her friends. She is full of energy and enthusiasm demonstrating the trait of extraordinary discipline to get the job done whatever she is working on well and on time. I had my first taste of seeing her perform with grace and determination under pressure when I helped her get out a big order of hats years ago.

She is a very dependable person. She can be fully relied upon professionally and as a friend. I have witnessed this over and over again during the many years of our friendship. Through the thick and thin experiences that life throws everyone Mindy has always managed to stay sane, loyal and funny! She is naturally funny in an innocent and disarming way. It seems to be in her DNA! This trait both charms and amuses those around her. At times it is a saving grace for all involved. Sometimes all you can do is laugh!

Mindy is a visual artist and also has the rare personality talent of being able to make people relax and smile and laugh while invigorating them with spiritual purpose to improve the world. These talents eventually led her to spearhead a movement called The Smile Revolution which raises awareness to the healing power of a genuine smile, which began in 2005. She was on the radio often as an occasional co-host on Doug Grunther’s Woodstock Roundtable, which led to her own radio show in 2006 on WKNY 1490 am.

She has become an inspiring performer and teacher. Her hats are now a part of her performance because they charm people and cheer them up, but her main focus has shifted from hats to smiles. Her main focus is now making people happy and teaching them to spread that happiness like a big huge smile wrapped around the world holding everybody close and leaving no one out.

She still makes hats, for her own use in her work and for an occasional client. They are one-of-a-kind creations at this time and are costly to produce in terms of time and materials as they are couture creations. We are hoping that she will eventually be able to produce her designs in multiples at more affordable prices and thus make them available to more people. I hope to eventually be able to assist her in this endeavor. Every one should have the experience of being able to wear one of the crowns that Princess WOWS! hats feel like when you wear them. It is a very pleasurable experience to be crowned as you go throughout your day in a beautiful chapeaux! She now makes hats under the label of Princess WOW! They are not available in stores at this time, but you can contact her personally if you are interested in having one custom made for you. I for one, will be ordering a new one for Spring 2011. And, in case you are interested for the historical record, Mindy’s Important Hats were sold, among other places, in Henri Bendel and at Nordstrom.

Mindy aka Princess WOW!, which is the professional name she now goes by, (and I will write about that soon as I have a great interest in names!) has found her life’s work through The Smile Revolution project which allows her to utilize all her artistic abilities and her considerable performing talents while raising consciousness for social reform. That is making people aware of the fact that they can have an effect on the lives of those around them by the simple act of smiling at each other and thus opening their hearts to give and receive good. Through this simple action they will begin to effect change, become more aware of each other, friendlier, happier and more responsible. Then they will go on to accomplish more important and substantial work. Princess WOW! also has her own band now. It is called Princess WOW! And The Smile Revolution Band. She and her husband, Roland Mousaa write and sing smile songs for children and the child within us all. Richard Barone, Mary Poppiins, Maureen Shames and Joe Johnson are in the band as well.

Princess WOW! Produces concerts for The Smile Revolution’s cause and has been developing a tv show for the networks to promote her cause. Joe Frankin, Pete Seeger, Robert Thurman and Sid Bernstein are all supporters of her mission.

Joe Franklin is presently helping her attain contacts in this industry and considers her his niece. What an honor! As he is a most interesting individual and a true gentleman! Mindy loves having him as her honorary uncle. Sometimes the family and relatives we acquire through living and loving in life are more wonderful and helpful, more in sync with us, than the one’s we are born with! I don’t have any real sisters, so I have adopted Mindy and consider her to be my honorary sister! As we are now both titled aristocrats in our own royal family, I am Lady Violette and she is Princess WOW! Please note, We did not choose royal status or names for ourselves. They were given to us by our friends in fun and as an honor and we are embracing that!

As for me, I am a jewelry and fashion designer, and a writer, and was a professional ballet dancer in New York City, San Francisco and Seattle for many years. I also became a dance teacher so that I could pass my knowledge and experience on to others. I have always been a lover of interesting people and beautiful things and have loved to collect both! To collect the people as friends and  to collect and wear beautiful fashions and accessories. I consider dressing beautifully to be an art form in itself. I love beautiful hats, among other lovely things. And I am very fond of vintage fashion as well! I have purchased and collected many of Princess WOW’s Important Hats, which they were called years ago. I wrote an article, The Confessions of a Head Turner, about my experiences wearing her hats that was published in NYC. I will find that piece and post it on my blog soon. I was living in Seattle then, but would visit her each time I visited NYC and I continued to order hats from her. I own about 20 of her hats! I can honestly say that I feel I have Princess WOW! with me as a friend whenever I wear one of her hats. And this is a very nice feeling because she is everything one could want in an ideal friend: loyal, trustworthy, generous, inspiring, dependable, amusing, entertaining, serious,and dedicated. That in additon to being a wonderfully, talented artist and a tireless worker who is instigating good and bringing out the best in others…..

You can find out more about my royal sister Princess WOW! and her work at these links:

theprincessofwow.com

thesmilerevolution.com