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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Lady Violette’

Marlene Dietrich in a Fabulous Fur Hat ~ “Fur is Fabulous” Isn’t it?

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Marlene Dietrich in a Fabulous Fur Hat!

“Fur is Fabulous” is my personal favorite quote ~ I made it up myself for myself ~ and tonight I came across a great photo of Marlene Dietrich in a fur hat that I want to share with you. I suspect this might actually be a fur muff that she plopped on top of her head like I did to create a fur hat during a photo session. Anyway, I like it!

Fur is Fabulous~ photo by Leigh LeDare

Just for fun, here is my own Fur is Fabulous picture of me wearing my black fox fur cuff spontaneously plopped on top of my head during a photo session as a hat.

Fur is Fabulous ~ As Demonstrated by These Very Young Fashionable Ladies

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Tiny Turn of the Century Girl in Fluffy Fur Collar and Muff

It was important to dress your child warmly in days of yore for two reasons ! To keep her comfortable in winter and to show that you could afford to do so! In fact, it was important to a man’s success in business and society to show the world, via his wife’s clothes and jewelry, and of course his child’s as well, that he was doing well financially. You would buy your wife an expensive fur coat if you could afford to do so and she would wear it publicly to show off her beauty, it’s beauty, and your success. Your adorable children would follow in her footsteps.

A Tiny Girl From Chicago in Her Sleigh Stroller Wearing a Darling Fur Ensemble

Here are the daughters of some very wealthy couples dressed in head to toe fur ensembles at the turn of the century. Muffs and fur collars were obviously in vogue for the very young. I think girl number one is wearing long curly lamb and the girl in the sleigh is wearing ermine.

They certainly make an impression! Fur is fabulous at any age! And my mommy Daddy can afford to dress me this way!

An Esquisite Irish Crochet Dress From The Turn of the Century Featuring Roses and Shamrocks in the Hand Crocheted Lace Medalians

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

A Linen Dress Featuring Irish Crochet From the Turn of the Century - in its Original Condition as I Found It.

I have just picked up a real treasure. I love finding such lost beauties. With a lot of restoration work it appears to be salvageable. The style is from the the early 1900’s. The embroidery on the linen is known as eyelet embroidery and was very popular at this time. The lace edging on the sleeves and the narrow inserts are crochet lace. This has been confirmed by lace collector and expert Shirley Whitcomb whom I asked to help me identify the laces and techniques used in this dress. She also suggests the lace book suggested below should you want to learn more about lace. I assked her to recommend some sources to me so I could better educate myself as I have suddenly become lace fascinated!

Close Up of an Irish Crochet Lace Medallion

The larger medallion inserts are Irish Crochet that was inspired by the 17th century Gros Point needle lace-like my wedding gown. (I will post pictures of this soon.) Only all of this lace is handmade crochet lace. You can identify Irish Crochet lace by the shamrocks and the multi petaled roses.

Note the Shamrocks and the Roses

An excellent guide to lace identification is “Guide to Lace and Linens” by Elizabeth Kurella. She has written a number of very good books on the subject.To purchase it go on www.lacemerchant.com.  It is so amazing to hold some of the older laces and feel the love and patience that went into each stitch. It is a very under appreciated art form- probably because it was made by women.

The Back is Fastened With Metal Hooks and Eyes and is Pleated to Accommdate a Bustle

This dress has pleating in the back to accommodate a  bustle. There has already been a lot of repair work done at one time in its history. This project appears to have been abandoned before it was completed because the dress is currently in rough shape: unable to be fastened up the back, no hem or fabric left on it for a hem, just a torn and frayed edge where the hem border and fabric about three inches deep was removed

Note the Carefully Repaired Areas Under The Arms! A Sewing Lesson in Themselves!

The areas under the arms have been patched quite expertly and the original hem has been taken out – probably to get matching material for repairing other sections. I will have a lot of patching and extending to do to bring the dress back to life…

Much of the dress is originally constructed by hand and will have to carefully stitched back together by hand. Areas of broken crochet thread will have to be invisibly redone. And the hem will have to be repaired by attaching a new piece of fabric where the original one was cut off and used to restore the underarm areas.

The Bodice Heavily Decorated with Crochet Lace.

Here is a close up of the bodice. These photos are my before photos showing the original condition of the dress when I discovered it.

We will eventually be able to compare them to my restored version when I get it put back together.

To be continued!

 

 

 

Lady Violette ~ Erte Inspired 1920’s Style Hand Knitted Cloche With Pearly Vintage Accent

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Lady Violette's Rambler Spiral 1920's Cloche Hand Knitted in Cashmere and Silk

Another of My Recent Creations in the 1920’s Mode is a Hand Knitted Rambler Spiral Patterned Forget~Me~Not Luxury Fiber Flapper Style Cloche Hat With Pearly Vintage Accent. I am currently exploring making and wearing elegant knitted hats as feminine fashion pieces as they did in the 1920’s ~ 40’s. Versus the knitted granola hat destined for the ski slope, skate board park or shapeless grunge fashion accent  There are so many beautiful yarns out now that I cannot resist making something gorgeous out of them to put on my head!

I had to attend a 1920’s themed party so I made this little Erte inspired hat to wear with my blue 1920’s vintage dress of the same color rayon brocade combined with a darker blue velvet. I also wore many pearls so I trimmed the hat with a vintage pearly and blue trim piece that I had. I love the way this turned out! And I am already in process making it in two more colors – a dusky berry and a woodsy brown. I have two other stitch variation in mind to try out as well.This is such a cute shape I want to make several of them in many colors ~ perhaps a full bouquet! I am fantasizing about opening a drawer full of them overlapping each other in a rainbow of pretty yarns in many colors!

I used Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran 10 ply yarn from England and found the basic cloche pattern in  Sublime’s Aran Hand Knits Books. You can use the basic hat pattern with any stitch variation you like. Like all vintage British patterns this one is written to be knitted flat on straight needles and seamed together down the back in finishing. It fits perfectly and looks adorable on. It required 2~50 gram balls of Aran weight yarn but I’m sure I have enough left over to make a knitted flower corsage to pin on one side of the hat. I think that will make a nice accent ~ instead of the pearl piece – when I want a different look. This is definitely a pretty hat design one can wear in the summer!

It’s still snowing here! And very dark outside! When I have the corsage finished and the snow has melted I will get a friend to photograph me wearing the hat and post pictures of it again. I wore it to the 1920’s themed party and it was a hit.

The pearl accent piece is not a vintage brooch. It is 3 vintage buttons wired together in the back and meant to be sewn onto something as an accent. It is a great idea to wire any number of buttons together to make such a “garnish” which is what I have decided to all it. You could also do the same thing with clip earrings. You can untwist the wires anytime to use the buttons as originally intended too! Such a garnish could be used on a coat, jacket, hat, dress, stole, even in your hair! The idea is probably something women came up with during the mend and make do era when they needed to whip up an embellishment in lieu of a jewel to trim an outfit before going out. It is very clever and a great use for pretty vintage buttons.

You can visit my site on Ravelry to find out more about my knitting and see more of my projects. I am ladyviolette on Ravelry. I post photos of the item, yarn and pattern information there so that you can find it if you want to create the same or similar article. If you are a knitter or interested in knitting I urge you to visit Raverly. It is a terrific resource for people with interests in knitting and crochet.

Lady Violette Design ~ Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I know, you have been wondering where I am and what I have been up to. I haven’t been idle! Here is some of the stuff I have been doing!

I have been working really hard on knitting and designing hats, mittens and gloves over the last three weeks. This is a new discipline for me. I have never made gloves or hats before January 1, 2012! And I made a New Year’s Resolution to do so this year! As I mentioned yesterday I am taking classes in these subjects. And, as it is my best personal mode of learning, I am just jumping in and doing some designs of my own at the same time. I feel ready to share a few of them now. So, starting tonight, I’ll unveil one to show you!

Lady Violette's Design ~ A Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper

Voila! I created this hat which I am calling my ” Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper.” It is hand knitted of hand dyed 100% alpaca which is incredibly soft and warm. Pure Luxury!

I designed and made it to attend an art museum opening of Edward Hopper’s paintings. I wanted to make a hat in the style of the ones the women in his paintings wore. I also wanted it to look like a proper 1920’s ~ 30’s formed felt hat, rather than a knitted hat so I made it very thick and sculptural with a turned back rim and graduated shaping. I made a very thick sculptural bow to cover the left side of the hat. It comes down over the left ear and has the added benefit of being like a very warm ear muff! You could place the bow over the right ear instead if you preferred to do so.

The Overhead View of the Crown of Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper

This hat is very thick and warm, but I may have to try making one with my trademark earmuff bow on both sides now! I’m thinking of ways to keep even warmer on my 4th day of being completely snowed in! And it is still snowing out! We are in the middle of a huge snowstorm in Seattle and I am taking advantage of using this time to post my designs and knitting projects and related stuff on the knitting website Ravelry! (Honestly, I would rather be knitting!)

I’m really happy with the way this hat turned out. I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was doing as I made it but it is perfect and exactly what I had in mind. I am considering writing the pattern so I can offer it to other knitters who would like to make one, but, to do that, I must make another one and carefully write down the steps as I go. I think I should do it in a lighter color so the details really show up. As usual I kept copious design and construction notes on this one, but nobody but me can understand them! I always work the initial design out that way, then redo it for a final run through and perfection test to be sure somebody else can understand and follow them. I probably should point out that this hat requires good technical sewing skills as well as knitting skills.

I wear this one with a vintage navy blue 1930’s coat in wool gaberdine and a purple wool dress. The outfit is totally inspired by the women in Hopper’s paintings who are always dressed in strong clear distinctive colors. I get a lot of inspiration for my clothing from painters. I like to recreate the moods, styles, and colors of the paintings in the way I dress.

Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper ~ Viewed From the Front ~ Features Deep Sculptural Horizontal Ribbing, a Turned Back Brim for Double Thick Forehead Warmth, & Her Trademark Thick Earmuff Bow

My “Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper” also reminds me of Dorothy Parker, the brilliant writer, who also dressed really well. She was known for her feminine suits and adorable accent hats like this one. I just know she would have wanted to wear one of these! Do you English majors out there who are interested in fashion agree with me?

I can also wear this hat with a deep purple wool crossover wrap and tie coat with a big ruffled collar. This is more of a 1970’s look, but also very successful. It looks great with this hat. In fact, once I finished the hat I found quite a number of interesting things in my closet that I could use it with. So many I want to go out! I am feeling so horribly house bound! I haven’t been able to get out to go anywhere since last Saturday night. I’d love to get bundled and dressed up in my purple and blue winter ensemble and go to some elegant cafe wearing my “Portrait Cloche.” As soon as I can get out of here I will and I’ll get someone to take a proper photograph of me in the Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper in the right atmosphere worn with the right era vintage clothes. This may still be a few days off as it is still snowing like mad! The airports are closed and the streets are blocked off! My classes have all been cancelled.

We only get snow like this in Seattle once every 2 or 3 years. It is inconvenient, but I also love it! I like the opportunity to stay home because I must and get some other things done. And I love the cold and the whiteness and the excitement in the air that the snow brings with it. A lot of people get very upset about their busy schedules getting interrupted, but I don’t. I see it as an opportunity to slow down and get a few things done that I normally do not have time for. Like making a couple of new hats! And setting up my Ravelry knitting site – which is a hugely time consuming project.

And, of course, get back to posting on my blog. So, back to the blog, as I promised and back to the “Portrait Cloche” : Let’s look at some pictures of it from all angles so you can really see what it looks like.

A Profile Shot From the Right Side of Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper. Here I have turned the hat and placed the bow on the right side and toward the back to show a different way to wear it!

I used Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye from Plymoith Yarn to make this hat because I happened to already have two balls of it in the perfect colorway of Blue/ Purple. I had hoped to get the hat and big bow out of one skein, but no such luck! It took about 1 and 3/4 altogether. Thus the yarn for this hat cost $40 plus sales tax! Expensive for a hat! But worth it to me. It is very stylish, warm and soft. Alpaca yarn is very luxurious and not at all scratchy. Even people with wool allergies can often wear it successfully. It is important to select non-scratchy or itchy yarn for a hat. I have made the mistake of using 100% wool that caused my forehead to itch and gave me a rash after a half hour. That quickly ruins the hat I spent hours making for me!

I plan to use the small amounts of left over alpaca yarn to decorate the violet tweed gloves I am currently making with little bows to co-ordinate with this hat. That should be really feminine and appropriate to the era that inspired me. And the gloves will be beautiful with the two ensembles I have described above. Here is a picture of them now as works in progress. I am finding it really interesting to construct them on the tiny tiny needles

Violet Tweed Five Finger Gloves With Bracelet Length Cuffs. This is the first pair of Five Finger Gloves I have ever made!

I am going to try to find another suitable yarn to make a spring/summer version of this hat – hopefully using one ball of a nice looking yarn and costing under $25 to make. I want to offer beautiful patterns that can be made up in affordable yarn. Anybody have any good suggestions? This one needs to be really bulky!

I keep trying to make hats out of one ball of yarn but I keep running out and needing to get a second one. This has happened on the Noro Spiral Beanie hat I am currently making as well. (See my work in progress in Noro Silk Garden in pastel colors and gray. I’ll post a picture of that here tomorrow.)

I am about to begin writing up several of my personal knitting pattern designs so other knitters can make them. I know cost of yarn and supplies is an issue for many people so I am planning to suggest several types of yarns in different price ranges so people have a choice. I am always making new things out of old ones and creating new things out of found fabrics and supplies – so this issue is always on my mind. I’d love to hear suggestions from readers of alternate materials you think would work as well. I’ll seriously consider them.

Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper Folds Flat For Convenient Packing

I will be writing out the design and instructions for making Lady Violette’s Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper Soon. When it is done & available I will post it here and on Ravelry. Check back if you want the pattern. We could even do a supervised knit along to make it here on my blog if a few people are interested.

If you are  interested in making this hat let me know.  It is not hard to make. In addition to the ability to read a knitting pattern, you only need  these basic knitting skills:

1) Cast On

2) Knitting,

3) Purling

4) Decreasing

5) Binding Off

6} Sewing a straight knitted seam together in mattress stitch

7) Picking up & Knitting stitches

8) Steam Blocking

About Ravelry. It is a knitting and crocheting social networking website, like Facebook for knitters and crocheters. In order to access it it is necessary to join it, even if you are not a knitter or crocheter or other needle worker. However, it doesn’t cost you anything to join. It is am amazing resource and I feel it is well worth joining even if you  currently simply enjoy looking at what other crafters and fiber artists are doing.

It is also the last word on finding information and sharing your work.  I am ladyviolette on Ravelry.

If you visit me on Ravelry you can view all my current projects in these areas and see pictures and read about my past work in those disciplines.

I’d love it if you come by and see me sometime. So will you, I guarantee it!

 

The Lady Violette de Courcy Manicures at Christian Dior

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Lady Violettte Half Moon Nails From Christian Dior

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 24th, 2011

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER OF ILLUSIONS IN ADVERTISING

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Madame X by John Singer Sargeant 1884

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

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

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

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

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

Study for Madame X

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

Study for Madame X Sargeant 1883

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

 

Madame X Unfinished 1884

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

Madame X with champagne in an oil sketch by Sargeant

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

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

Portrait of Madame X

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

Studies

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

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

Execution

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

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

Description

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

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

Sargent in his Paris studio, ca. 1885

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

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

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

Reception

Antonio de La Gandara, Madame Pierre Gautreau, 1898.

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

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

Aftermath

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

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

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

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Suzy Parker in Her Trademark Makeup Circa 1950s

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

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

1) cleanse ~ MyChelle Honeydew Cleanser

2) tone ~ Lancome Tonique Radiance

3) apply serum ~ Elizabeth Arden Bye Lines

4) moisturize ~ Lancome Absolue Pemium RX

5) apply eye cream ~ Lancome Absolue Eye Premium RX

6) apply primer ~ Smashbox Photo Finish

MAKING UP: Step 1 ~ 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 17th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 14th, 2011

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Friday, October 14th, 2011

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

– underwhelmed, london,

13/10/2011 16:13

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

Nancy Shevell & Paul McCartney

Wallis Simpson & Her King

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– The Truth, Reality, 13/10/2011 2:05

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

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

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

– E S, ex pat, 13/10/2011 6:00

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

– Philippa, Louth, 13/10/2011 0:34

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

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

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

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

– Mary, LA, CA, 12/10/2011 17:46

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

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

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

– Reubenen

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

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

– James , UK., 12/10/2011 11:36

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

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

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

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

She has very boney legs and ankles :

– charley, Surrey, 12/10/2011 11:03

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

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

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

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

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

– Kitty, Dallas, USA, 12/10/2011 8:09

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

OMG, the bride has ugly, skinny chicken legs.

– Mary, NYC, 12/10/2011 7:40

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

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

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

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

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

– MatildaUK, UK, 12/10/2011 6:2

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Etoile de Violette #1

Etoile de Violette #2

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

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

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Perfect Home Done Manicure Done As I Have Described Here

Here is what I do:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instructions for Tying the Grace Kelly Hermes Scarf Sling for a Broken Arm ~ by Lady Violette de Courcy

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Having broken my Right arm, and wrist, for real, last Saturday night, and had surgery for a compound fracture with metal plates and screws inserted on Tuesday, I have learned a lot about slings over the last few days. This is my Left handed typing too, which is getting pretty good, pretty quickly! This is a serious injury and actually quite painful. And, of course, I have to keep my arm elevated. It also feels like it weighs a ton!

I am small and the two slings I was issued from the hospital, one from the ER and one after my surgery, were both way too big and slipped all over the place and were, consequently, inadequate! They were both terribly uncomfortable and would not stay in place at all! I  found this very annoying!

I immediately remembered Grace Kelly using her Hermes scarf as an elegant sling in a similar situation and got right down to trying it. There is nothing unusual about using a square piece of cloth or a scarf for a sling! It has been standard emergency medical practice forever. I found quite a few how to directions online. One instructed actors as well as injured people on how to make a proper sling until you could get professional medical attention.Being an actress I wondered if Grace had studied this in acting classes? It was easy to follow so it is the one I decided to use and link to. How to Make a Sling Out of a Scarf Instructions. This is from eHow Trusted advice for the curiuos life.

They didn’t give specific Instructions for Tying the Grace Kelly Hermes Scarf Sling for a Broken Arm or Hermes or Other Scarf Sling Size Instructions so I will. They assume many scarf shapes or sizes will work.  And they probably will with experimentation. I was interested in what Grace Kelly used and how she did it. So here is that specific information.

Instructions for Tying the Grace Kelly Hermes Scarf Sling for a Broken Arm

And Hermes or Other Scarf Sling Size Instructions

by Lady Violette de Courcy

1). Grace Kelly used a 35 inch square Hermes silk scarf laid out on a flat surface and brought the opposite corners together folding the scarf in half in a triangle. She then tied the diagonal corners into a secure knot.

2) Grace then placed  the knot over her head so that the scarf draped down over her chest in a loop and the knot rested on her shoulder just to the side of her neck. (Not directly on the spine as that can injure the neck and or spine.)

3) She then gathered the Hermes scarf loop together and pulled it up in front of her injured arm. She positioned her scarf with the wide striped outside border to the outside (her shoulder side) as you can see in the top photograph.

4) Then Grace slowly slid her injured hand and injured arm into the scarf loop. She continued to gently slide the injured arm into the loop until the entire forearm was tucked inside.

5) Grace then tucked her elbow and hand into the loop ensuring that her entire arm was protected within the sling. The Hermes scarf was large and she had excess fabric on the end of the elbow. She folded this excess fabric over the front of the arm and pinned it to the sling with a large 24K gold safety pin, concealed discreetly inside the folds of the Hermes scarf for extra support. This last step kept her elegant Hermes scarf sling from slipping and held her injured arm secure and close to her torso.

I followed these instructions to the letter with a friend’s help tying and pinning my 35 inch square Hermes scarf the first time because it was impossible for me to do it alone with a broken arm! I am quite sure Grace Kelly had to have help as well when her arm was broken! However, once we got it sized and adjusted and perfectly tied to fit it stayed that way and I could slip it on and off and slip my injured right arm in and out of it quite easily and safely all by myself! I, incidentally, used a sterling silver pin, instead of a 24K gold one! And it worked just perfectly!

I made note of the fact that Grace Kelly had also broken her right arm!

It is perfectly fine to use a Hermes scarf or any other strong scarf, vintage or new, designer or not, to make an elegant, secure custom fitted sling! The point is to make it out of a scarf you like and to have a tidy fit that will be secure and stay put while your injured arm heels safely.

Thank you Grace Kelly for this wonderful stylish idea that makes me feel better both physically and psychologically while recovering from an unpleasant injury! It helps!

 

 

Safe, Sound, Stable & Elegant Purple Hiking Boots! A Search by Lady Violette de Courcy

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I am now determined to find a very stable ankle high hiking boot for walking and hiking safely for exercise without the risk of twisting my ankle on a small piece of gravel and turning my ankle as I did with my notoriously unstable Dansko clogs. Note, I did not injure my ankle, I injured my right wrist when I intuitively reached out to catch myself as I  fell. While recovering from my broken wrist/arm I have time to look for some options. Thank God for the Internet! I can research this from home while recovering. I had surgery yesterday for a compound fracture and now have steel plates and pins in my wrist and arm. I  want a safe and stable ankle high boot to run around in this winter! Here are a couple I have found so far! (It has to be beautiful & stylish too, and purple if possible!)

Women's Adirondack Boot II

Here is one. The Adirondack Boot II in Blackberry Wine! By UGG. I found this one online.

 

Women's Ahnu Montara Boot

Here is another: The Ahnu Montara Boot which I found in REI in Seattle.

A Friend took me to REI to see what might be available. The sales people said nothing, but I  looked upward and saw this boot gleaming on the highest shelf and saying, “Lady Violette, try me. And, Lady Violette, buy me, for I am perfect for you & I will not let you (fall) down! Please try me!”

It was impossible to resist that! So we got them down to take a look and try them on. They felt good. Even able to use only one hand (which will be a problem for me for weeks while I am heeling from this break and surgery,) I was able to get into them quite easily. The high tops are soft and pliable while also supporting the ankles firmly ~ something my Physical Therapist in London was recommending. The soles of these shoes are considerably wider than the upper on the heel and the front part of the shoe which creates a strong stable base to stand on. They were one and a half inches wider than the street shoe style ankle boots I worn into the store! They are also fairly light weight for a hiking boot which is something I need because my ankles are hyper mobile and very heavy shoes and boots actually pull on my tendons and ligaments and stretch my ankles out even more which could make them even looser and more prone to twisting over time.

I am looking for the boots to use on walks in the city or wear on easy to medium grade hikes. And to support my ankles in exactly the kind of situation in which I got hurt this weekend so this wont happen again!

I have excellent heavy duty strong high hiking boots for rough terrain already. They are great for use in the mountains, but are too hard, too high, and too difficult to lace and tie in my current injured situation. They have steel toes, are made of very strong hard leather, have tough leather laces and lots of grommets that require a lot of pulling and strength to tighten, wrap ’round the ankles and tie securely. They are heavy duty to say the least! I need a softer gentler more ladylike boot in my current situation.

I noted that these boots are a soft gray lavender purple, like the lavender plants flowers! The color of purple that bumble bees like! It is a water proofed soft suede upper surrounded by waterproof oiled leather along the sole. The shoe is designed for breathe ability and to have excellent traction.

No one said anything in the shoes or the literature on them about their color combination, but I noticed that it is the soft lavender, soft black, gray and accents of yellow ~ the exact favorite colors of bumble bees and why they are attracted to lavender plants and flowers! When studying up on what flowers and plants to put in my garden, to attract the most bees, butterflies and birds, I learned that lavender ones were naturally the most favored flowers of all by these little creatures! This is because purple flowers produce the best honey! I noticed this right away about these shoes and it made me like them! In the same way a bee might! This instinctively seemed like a good sign too!

I did a search for one handed methods of shoe lacing and tying online and found several tutorials which I tried with success, although they will require practice to become really efficient.

This boot is soft and comfortable around the heel and ankle and the heels are really snug and narrow on my feet which is unusual to find and a real plus as I often have trouble with heels of sportif shoes being too wide and slipping up and down with every step making my socks slip down and bunch up around my heels. The soles are Vibram which provides extreme durability and traction and is well known for its safety and stability ~ features that I really need right now!

This seems to be the Cinderella’s slipper of hiking boots! It seems to be made for a lady, particularly Lady Violette de Courcy ~ from its color through its lightweight construction through its design elements! The fact that it is royal purple in color is its crowning glory! There are very few purple hiking boots on the market! In fact you are looking at the only two pairs of good quality that I could find online!

The bee has always been a symbol of French royalty as well! Thus, the subtle color references to the bee ~ the black, the yellow, the dark gray and the lavender of the bee’s favorite flower are another subtle and distinctive plus! These hiking boots seem to be made for HRH Lady Violette de Courcy.

The fact that this shoe is purple is an added bonus, because all its other features are also exactly what I need and want in my current circumstances! The color is like the lavender flower in nature attracting the bee to the source of honey so they can find what they need to survive. The purple color acted as a lure to draw me to this particular boot, to make me look it over and realize all its other positive characteristics!

I brought the Ahnu Montara boots home to try out in the house ~ REI allows you to return merchandise if it doesn’t please you completely after you try it out at home. Putting them on and learning to lace and tie them one~handed is a good thing to practice while stuck at home over the next few days! And I will be able to test them out for stability and comfort over true in~house terrain ~ carpets, hardwood floors, stairs, linoleum, etc. This will be a real life in~castle use test ~ thus a good hard and realistic analysis of this boot! If they pass muster I will wear them outside walking on the cement pathways, sidewalks and streets and into my hand surgeon check back and hand therapy appointments on Friday! I am really hoping they work out! I love their look for a casual hiking and walking boot.

By the way, the hand therapists asked me if I wanted a black or a white splint which I get to wear after 10 days! (I am in a white one after leaving the surgery clinic!) I chose black because it seems so much more streamlined and elegant.

There are still a few fashion and style choices you can make during hand/arm surgery and recovery! I can picture myself wearing all black, including my black splint and arm wrap which you make out of your own dark colored tights or socks by cutting them. Wearing all black I think I can accent my look with my purple Ahnu Montara boots, and a scarf with a purple print tied up for use as an arm splint as Grace Kelly did when she broke her arm! I tried a few methods of splinting over the last few days. I’ll report on that soon!

I also just happen to already have an REI sun protective hiking shirt in the exact same shade of purple cotton as the boots! They go perfectly together! And it looks great with black. Yet another sign these boots were meant for me, isn’t it? And I can get my ring with a purple amethyst stone onto my left hand for a bit of a jewelry accent! It has been a noticeable drag not to be able to wear jewelry over the last few days! You aren’t allowed to wear any metal during any Xrays or while in the hospital. And, of course, no perfumes, lotions, cosmetics or haircare products. I  normally do wear them automatically without really thinking about the fact that I am doing so! I am programmed from years of being glamorous!

This is an amusing and amazing tidbit though! I had given myself a manicure with Butter of London’s bright purple polish called HRH right before I broke my wrist! The doctor liked it and wanted me to leave it on! She marked my wrist for the surgery with a purple pen to match! I had a woman doctor! Male surgeons have always required me to remove my nail polish! “So we can see your circulation in your fingernails.” they said! This doctor, and her nurses, said that it was not necessary to remove nail polish and they can see your circulation through the sides and tips of your fingers. And she said, ” Why ruin a good manicure just because you are having surgery if you don’t really need to?” So I got to leave my Butter of London HRH bright purple nail polish on and it really did cheer me up throughout this dismal process of wrist and arm surgery! Amazingly the polish is still perfect on the right hand! There is not even a chip! I’ve had to use the left hand a bit more and it is barely starting to wear and chip off, but I am amazed at the durability of this polish given the circumstances it has been through! Do they even have rating systems for polish in situations like these? Once again I am convinced that Butter of London ‘s HRH bright purple is my personal signature nail polish color!

 

 

Lady Violette’s Wrist, Hand, Arm Surgery A Success So Far!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Just a quick update here. Had surgery today, so far, so good… now have my first metal plates and pins in my body!

So I can look forward to setting off alarm systems in airports, court houses, and stores, etc! The Bier block hasn’t worn off yet and that is a horrifying feeling! I do not like not being able to feel or bend my arm at will. And it feels heavy as lead! Which is awful! It is supposed to wear off in the early AM ~ about 5AM.

Need to lie down and elevate it, so that’s all for today!

From Violette, herself!

Update, Lady Violette is Having Wrist/Arm Surgery Tomorrow!

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Lady Violette has three bad breaks and a shifted bones in her wrist. Must have surgery tomorrow with metal plates and pins put in. It is the Right wrist and hand. It hurts like hell! Surgery tomorow, Tues. at 3 PM.

Thus, there will be a slight break in the blogging schedule for a while! I’ll be Back as Soon! as I can! And I’ll keep you posted!

XXOO ! Lady Violette!

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!