Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Valentino: Themes and Variations

Valentino: Themes and Variations -- The name Valentino has been synonymous with high fashion for almost fifty years. Based in Rome, Valentino is only one of two couture houses recognized by the French government outside of Paris. His exquisite designs are coveted and worn by young Hollywood and high society the world over. On the occasion of his last couture collection, presented in Paris in the spring of 2008, this landmark book celebrates forty-five years of Valentino’s remarkable career. Published in association with a prestigious exhibition at the Museé des Arts Decoratifs’s famed costume department in Paris, this volume focuses on Valentino’s haute couture creations, highlighting the most important and iconic creations of his half-century in fashion through recurring themes in Valentino’s work—variations on the ideas of volume, line, and texture as well as motifs such as geometry, pleats, and flowers—through new photography, sketches, fabric samples, and commentary on the dresses by Valentino himself. In addition, unprecedented photography by François Halard of Valentino’s last fittings and backstage of his runway show reveals Valentino’s private world for the first time. "Valentino On Valentino," a chapter of first-person accounts of the designs of these iconic dresses, along with Valentino’s commentary on his fashion, will make this publication unique in the study of Valentino as a cultural and artistic icon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Widow Clicquot

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It
Release Date: 10/28/08

The story of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, showed the world how to live with style, and emerged a legend

Veuve Clicquot champagne epitomizes glamour, style, and luxury. But who was this young widow—the Veuve Clicquot—whose champagne sparkled at the courts of France, Britain, and Russia, and how did she rise to celebrity and fortune?

In The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life—for the first time—the fascinating woman behind the iconic yellow label: Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin. A young witness to the dramatic events of the French Revolution and a new widow during the chaotic years of the Napoleonic Wars, Barbe-Nicole defied convention by assuming—after her husband's death—the reins of the fledgling wine business they had nurtured. Steering the company through dizzying political and financial reversals, she became one of the world's first great businesswomen and one of the richest women of her time.

Although the Widow Clicquot is still a legend in her native France, her story has never been told in all its richness—until now. Painstakingly researched and elegantly written, The Widow Clicquot provides a glimpse into the life of a woman who arranged clandestine and perilous champagne deliveries to Russia one day and entertained Napoléon and Joséphine Bonaparte on another. She was a daring and determined entrepreneur, a bold risk taker, and an audacious and intelligent woman who took control of her own destiny when fate left her on the brink of financial ruin. Her legacy lives on today, not simply through the famous product that still bears her name, but now through Mazzeo's finely crafted book. As much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered woman, The Widow Clicquot is utterly intoxicating.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ode to Babar

Babar is my very favorite elephant...Adam Gopnik writes about the Babar series of children’s books in the The New Yorker, drawn by Jean de Brunhoff and his son, Laurent. “The happy effect that Babar has on us, and our imaginations, comes from this knowledge—from the child’s strong sense that, while it is a very good thing to be an elephant, still, the life of an elephant is dangerous, wild, and painful,” Gopnik writes. “It is therefore a safer thing to be an elephant in a house near a park.” Click here for a portfolio of Babar illustrations by Jean de Brunhoff.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Carrie the Kid

David Foster Wallace Is Gone—Did He Leave Some 'Larger Thing'?There’s an episode of Sex and the City, about halfway through the first season, in which Carrie learns that Mr. Big used to be married. His ex is a publisher, and Carrie decides to check her out by scheduling an appointment with her under the pretense that she has a book to pitch. When she gets to this lady’s office, Carrie realizes that she only does children’s books, and finds herself having to improvise. After stammering for a second, she makes a half-hearted pitch for a book about a girl who has magic cigarettes that let her “go anywhere in the whole wide world, like Arabia or New Jersey.” “It’s a children’s book … for adults!” Carrie explains when Big’s ex suggests that maybe this wouldn’t be totally appropriate for kids.

Art, meet Life; Life, Art. You two should really get to know each other, because Candace Bushnell, whose mid-’90s New York Observer column was the basis for Sex and the City, has signed a deal with the children’s division at HarperCollins to write a young adult novel about Carrie Bradshaw’s high-school years. Hello!

Publishing the book—and the sequel—are Alessandra Balzer and Donna Bray, stars in the children’s book world who created an eponymous imprint at HarperCollins this past spring after spending 12 years together at Hyperion. According to several people in the children’s industry, Ms. Balzer and Ms. Bray are two of the most well-regarded editors in the game, and are responsible for a stack of award-winning titles for kids and teenagers, such as Avi’s Newbery Medal-winning Crispin: The Cross of Lead and National Book Award finalists The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich and Sold by Patricia McCormick.

According to Ms. Bray, Ms. Bushnell’s book will be set partly in New York and partly in whatever suburb Carrie is supposed to have spent her childhood.

“It hasn’t all been resolved yet,” Ms. Bray said. “I think she’ll come here the way Candace did, with her friends, to hang out in the city on the weekend, and have a lot of social interaction there, and then eventually she’ll come to college here, as Candace did.”

Asked if Ms. Bushnell was planning to write about Carrie losing her virginity, Ms. Balzer and Ms. Bray said they weren’t sure. Pub Crawl checked it out, though, and there’s a story for the telling. If the universe of the books is consistent with the universe of the show—and it very well may not be—readers should anticipate a scene featuring an 11th-grade Carrie sharing “half a joint” with one Seth Bateman and then doing it with him on the Ping-Pong table in his “smelly rec room.” At least this is how Carrie describes her origin story to Charlotte in episode 38, “The Big Time.”

“I mean, the kids will be doing what teenagers realistically do, but it’s not going to be provocative for the sake of that,” Ms. Balzer said. “I would never put something in just to put it in. But if it was organic to the story and it was something that felt real, then it would be in there.”

The book will be called The Carrie Diaries, by the way, unless they think of something better before the fall 2010 publication date. (May we suggest Sex Ed?) Ms. Balzer, who will edit Ms. Bushnell, said she’s confident it will be a crossover hit, appealing as readily to the teen audience it’s ostensibly written for as it will to older fans of the show who “love [Carrie] and just want to know more about her.”

Ms. Balzer said that the idea for the book came from Ms. Bushnell herself, and that she learned about it from Ms. Bushnell’s agent over lunch.

“[Her agent, Heather Shroeder of ICM] said Candace has been thinking of doing a teen project, and my eyes just lit up and I said, ‘Oh, really!’” Ms. Balzer said. “She said she’s always wanted to explore what Carrie would have been like in high school, and I was just so thrilled and saw immediately, you know, that the possibilities are endless, and we just jumped on it and immediately made an offer and kind of scooped everybody.”

I love this comment:
We already know what Carrie was like in high school - it was called "Square Pegs"...

{via NYO}

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tahari/Vogue Party for Gilding Lily

Check out the party photos from Tatiana Boncompagni's book party! Fabulous. Even Tinsley was there :-) I highly recommend picking up a copy of Gilding Lily asap!

Photos via Guest of a Guest (click link to be redirected to the article and more photos!)

Friday, September 5, 2008


Audible was having a sale recently so I purchased the following - unfortunately I haven't had 2 minutes to even start them yet:

Don't You Forget About Me: A Novel -- At thirty-eight, Lillian Curtis is content with her life. She enjoys her routine as a producer for a talk show in New York City starring showbiz veteran Vi (“short for vibrant”) Barbour, a spirited senior. Lillian’s relationship with her husband is pleasant if no longer exciting. Most nights she is more than happy to come home to her apartment and crawl into her pajamas. Then she’s hit with a piece of shocking news: Her husband wants a divorce.

Blindsided, Lillian takes a leave of absence and moves back to her parents’ home in suburban New Jersey. Nestled in her childhood bedroom, where Duran Duran and Squeeze posters still cover the walls, she finds high school memories a healing salve to her troubles. She hurtles backward into her teen years, driving too fast, digging up mix tapes, and tentatively reconciling with Dawn, a childhood friend she once betrayed. Punctuating her stroll down memory lane is an invitation to the Bethel Memorial High School class of 1988 twenty-year reunion. It just might be Lillian’s chance to reconnect with her long-lost boyfriend, Christian Somers, who is expected to attend. Will it be just like heaven?

Lillian discovers, as we all must, the pitfalls of glorifying the glory days, the mortification of failing as a thirtysomething adult, and the impossibility of fully recapturing the past. Don’t You Forget About Me is for anyone who looks back and wonders: What if?

Nice to Come Home To -- Though she's methodically navigated 36 years by making lists and plans, D.C. resident Prudence Whistler's carefully constructed life is about to get shaken up. She's let go from the nonprofit job that never did much to fulfill her in the first place. Then Rudy—who she's finally decided will suffice as The One—condescendingly dumps her. But before she has too much time to stew, her loved ones rally 'round: catty, coupled college friends; her younger sister, Patsy, the unmarried mother of a two-year-old; and John Owen, the in-divorce-proceedings diner owner Pru first encounters while schlepping Rudy's television out to the curb. This crew's the catalyst for a series of adventures and lifestyle shakeups that has retail-addict Pru wondering whether her love for fashion could deliver more than the latest Marc Jacobs dress. And then there's the ongoing coffee klatch at John's diner that inspires the big question: is Pru in the market for getting-each-other-through-a-bad-time-love with John, or is it time to stick her neck out for real-love love? Readers may find Pru's early bad luck streak contrived, but as her lovable friends and neighbors spring into action, the well-written story rounds out and rolls toward a satisfying finish.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More on Gilding Lily

“It’s not like I was raised to the manner born,” said the socialite and author Tatiana Boncompagni on a recent afternoon as she lunched at Bottega del Vino in midtown.

On Sept. 9, Ms. Boncompagni will publish her first novel, Gilding Lily, about a simple girl from Nashville named Lily who is embraced by New York society when she marries a millionaire, then dumped by her fancy friends. Ms. Boncompagni’s publisher, HarperCollins, has marketed her as a descendant of Italian nobility and 16th-century Pope Gregory XIII, but she insists that her background is closer to that of her character’s, as she grew up in South Dakota and Nashville with a mother who left her noble roots behind when she married Ms. Boncompagni’s father, a Jewish man from the Midwest. (Ms. Boncompagni says her mother decided to give her children her last name because she thought it would be easier for them to then get Italian passports.)

“It’s always allowed me to see things from an outsider’s perspective,” said Ms. Boncompagni of her upbringing. “And the big thing with me has always been to figure out my desire to belong.”

Ms. Boncompagni, 31, has dark brown hair, olive skin and big brown eyes, and wore slimming white jeans, a white tank top and a red cardigan. After Georgetown, she was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal; she has also freelanced for The New York Times’ Styles section. At 25, she married Maximilian Hoover, an heir to the vacuum cleaner fortune whom she met through friends, thereby initiating her into New York society.

Nevertheless, Ms. Boncompagni claims that her protagonist is more of a society girl than she ever was. “I would never attempt to say that I had It Girl status,” she said. “[Lily’s] fall from grace was different because she came from a much higher place than I did.

“My first introduction to it was all good,” she continued. “I had my picture in Women’s Wear Daily, we won a trip to Venice at the annual Venice Ball, and I had this gorgeous fiancé.”

But then the combination of having her son, Enrico; tensions with her mother-in-law, actress Camilla Sparv; and having a few society gals spread unpleasant rumors about her made Ms. Boncompagni feel excluded: “There I was in my husband’s boxers and an old Hanes T-shirt, with my son nursing off of one of my gargantuan breasts.”

A party on Tuesday celebrating her book will be hosted by socialites Tinsley Mortimer, Lydia Fenet and Jennifer Creel; Gilt Groupe vice president Christian Leone; and the actress Emmy Rossum.

“New York is a totally different animal than, say, Nashville society—it never becomes as vicious as it does here,” she said, though she hastened to add that she did not include the friends throwing her the party in this characterization. “These girls are very ambitious. They want to be famous and they want all the power that goes along with being famous.” Ms. Boncompagni added that she has been accused of being a social climber; there were also rumors that she was planting items in gossip columns.

Ms. Boncompagni’s novel may seem like another socialite book about the inner workings of privilege and class—think Plum Sykes’ Bergdorf Blondes or Holly Peterson’s The Manny—but she hopes her story will seem more “thoughtful.”

“As a writer I’m motivated by exploring the human condition,” said Ms. Boncompagni, who cites F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton as influences. “I wanted to investigate why anyone would want to belong to this group of catty women. I was definitely sucked in by the desire for fame and status, and wanted to explore why a character would.”

Ms. Boncompagni’s husband tends to stay out of the limelight. “He’s such a private person, and it’s just not done to put yourself out there in articles or books like I have,” she said. (She is working on another novel, titled Hedge Fund Wives.)

“But this is how society is changing. You used to just see the picture of the beautiful girl in the beautiful dress,” she said. “But now you see these tremendously intimate profiles and girls courting that. Ivanka Trump on the cover of the New York Post—10 years ago that would be a scandal! But of course now it’s like, ‘She’s a smart girl, she’s very real.’”

{via The New York Observer}

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Dress Doctor

The Dress Doctor: Prescriptions for Style, From A to Z
To be released 10/7/08 (you can pre-order from Amazon by clicking the above title)

I think I have an original edition of this one but I am loving all these re-issues with the updated jackets/covers!

Long before celebrity stylists became as renowned as the Oscar-winning film stars they advise, the legendary costume designer Edith Head was dressing Hollywood's most fashionable women and men on screen and off—and lending her sartorial wisdom to women across the country on radio and television. In 1959, she published a best-selling memoir and style guide, The Dress Doctor, in which she shared tips on style and dozens of entertaining anecdotes on Hollywood's A-list with her fans. Now, The Dress Doctor has returned in this special edition of the original volume, an alphabetical romp through the art of getting dressed and dressing Hollywood, with specially commissioned illustrations and the best advice and stories culled word for word from the original book.

From Audrey Hepburn to Zooture, The Dress Doctor is filled with Head's timeless tips: her expertise on developing a personal style, dressing to flatter one's figure, building a wardrobe, and judging quality. Her prescriptions for dressing properly for various activities from archery to house cleaning to roller skating are a charming mix of perennially chic and, now, with the passing of time, tongue in chic. Fashion illustrator Bil Donovan's stunning re-creations of Head's most famous gowns, along with illustrations of myriad other stylish ensembles, bring the designer's work vividly to life again, along with Hollywood icons Grace Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Cary Grant, and many others.

This irresistible, elegant volume is a unique treasure for those who love film, style, and the glamour of Old Hollywood.