Ok, I admit I feel a bit poorly about ranting on (and on, and on, and on....) about the whole eco-UNfriendly recycled vintage dress/gown controversy that I wrote about yesterday and a few weeks ago. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read about a much more "friendly" and well executed vintage gown makeover in the May issue of Vogue.
Elettra Wiedemann is one very fortunate (and beautiful) young lady. Daughter of the stunning Isabella Rossellini and granddaughter of the iconic screen beauty Ingrid Bergman, she found herself the heir of a trunk full of Ms. Bergman's evening dresses that had somehow been long forgotten (a vintage treasure hunters dream find!) She humbly admits: "My family is so amazing, but it's also so overwhelming and overpowering...I'd felt honored to be part of my family but also not sure what accomplishments were mine and what accomplishments belonged to someone else bigger than me." She also makes this insightful comment: "It's interesting how clothes can connect you to a sentimentality that can be very complicated sometimes." (I nod my head in silent agreement as I contemplate the part of my grandmothers wardrobe I've inherited...)
Ms. Wiedemann, in honor of her grandmother, has chosen to wear one of her gowns to the Costume Institute Gala (aka The Met Ball ) on the 2nd of May. The gown she chose was created for Ms. Bergman by the postwar Roman couturiere Fernanda Gattinoni, who also created the costumes for Ms. Bergman in the 1952 film Europa '51. Designer Prabal Gurung was called upon as the "cosmetic surgeon" for the dress, as there were a few issues with fit & fabric. Both heir & designer agreed that it was important to maintain the integrity of the dress and to pay homage to it's original owner, which, being her grandmother, would be of utmost importance to any grateful heir of such beautiful pieces of the past.
"It's still the same dress," says Wiedemann, "but it feels a little bit sexier, more contemporary, and younger."
"The beauty of this dress," Gurung adds, "is it's history."
I venture to say I'm probably the last middle aged woman in the USA who can say she's seen "Julie and Julia" starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci. I watched it tonight and have to admit it was above and beyond what I expected. Julia Child was often found in our house, chattering away on the TV (in black & white) while my mother sat at the kitchen table, sipping coffee, yacking on the phone with her sister (who lived upstairs from us, which left me, at a mere 5 years old, pondering the insanity of having to call her when you could just stand on a chair in the kitchen near the heat vent and hear what was going on up there just fine).
I don't remember ever tasting anything very divine at our kitchen table, which probably means my mother didn't really watch Julia to learn how to cook French food, but it was more about having another adult around in a sea of little people. (I understood that concept completely once I became a mother.) I, however, would sit about a foot away from the convex bubble screen of the TV and be mesmerized by her. Her accent, her laugh, that she didn't ever worry about one of those pans falling from above and clunking her in the head, and her food. Of course the swigs from the bottle of chianti always caused hand covered giggles, we would run into the kitchen and copy her, trying to outrun my mother as she screamed for us to "put that down!" These are my memories of Julia.
If you blog and are trying to live your passion, whatever it may be, this movie probably struck a cord with you as well. It brought back the trepidation of that first blog post~~of having the power to "PUBLISH" your thoughts, dreams, opinions, likes, dislikes, wishes, and words. If you are a writer, this was your chance to, at the very least, have that creative outlet that is as necessary as dancing is to the dancer. Powerful and terrifying at the same time. "No one is going to read this anyway" ~~ remember that? I still face that demon from time to time. And the supportive significant other....I'd venture to say that blogging and the narcissism it can foster (if allowed) has been guilty of, if not breaking up relationships then of putting a heavy strain on them.
The ups and downs of Julie's year felt very much like my last five years operating an online vintage shop and blogging about my love for vintage. As my 5 year Anniversary for Tales & The Shoe approaches, I realize that although The New York Times hasn't called, that I can count on one hand the blog posts that have had more than 10 comments and that I've never had readers send me gifts through the mail.....I am happy to report that I've "met" some wonderful people through my journey, that my husband has not left me over my vintage adventure and remains quietly yet constantly supportive, and my stats tell me somewhere out there are people who read my blog, or at the very least take a peek. And above all, despite the ups and downs and joy and tears, I still love it. And that's what Ms. Powell and I have in common.
I'm certain Julie Powell continues to create masterpieces in her kitchen...because that year changed her life and she embraced the change. And she has that adorable husband to cook for.
I'm certain I will continue to unearth vintage treasures.....because these last five years have changed my life and I have embraced it. And I have you adorable readers to write for and shoppers to shop for.
We've all heard the expensive news that "The Tourist" starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp was a box office bomb. I confess, I have not donated my $10.00 to the coffer yet, so I'm partially responsible, I suppose. But why haven't I seen it? I asked myself this question as I was reading an interview with Ms. Jolie in the December issue of US Vogue.
"...the knowingly high-Hitchcock look has Jolie wearing fabulous clothes (costume designer Colleen Atwood used an original Charles James day dress some people I know would kill for)." Vicki Woods
Charles James? CHALRES JAMES???? (This was when I asked myself said question.)
There are no words...absolute perfection, perhaps? (Find a similar vintage dress pattern here.)
Red velvet sofas covered in white satin gowns...
Meeting handsome strangers on speeding trains...
Antique wooden boats and cashmere stoles with Venice as a backdrop...
Antique diamond chokers and dancing with a man in a tuxedo...
Pearls, pumps and the iconic little black suit...
Call me shallow but this is EXACTLY why I will go see this film. So she's not unearthing some long lost priceless treasure. So he doesn't have green eye shadow on (which is a relief, personally.) We go to the movies to be entertained and, hopefully, inspired. If the only inspiration that comes from The Tourist is to wear something fabulous, well, I think that is a fabulous thing. Whatever it takes to stop the general public from wearing their pajamas out of the house, I'm all for it. And for those of you who hate her because she's beautiful, you're just jealous. Get over it and get out of your pajamas.
It was the road trip I looked forward to the most every year~~my grandmother would pile we three girls into the back of her 1970s Cadillac (which felt more like a ship) and off we would go, onto the Mass Pike, into Boston to spend the day shopping at Filene's Basement. She was so short she had to look through the steering wheel and the dashboard to see the road. She could park that boat as if it were a Mini Cooper. And she got us safely there and back every time. The trunk could barely close by days end . . .
"Voices From The Basement" premiering on WBGH Boston, December 9, 2010 at 8:30pm EST.
***Post update: Share your memories of shopping at Filene's Basement Downtown Crossing and enter to win a $100.00 G/C from Filene's Basement! Find the comment form here.