“I was born in 1940 during the second world war. I can remember being held up to the sky to see the doodlebugs, and drawing chalk butterflies on an air-raid shelter. We lived in Chatham, Kent. My mother apparently walked down from the hill to the hospital to have me in the middle of an air raid.” I don’t know much about Zandra Rhodes, but I’ve always respected her disregard for rules around print and colour. “More is more,” “anything goes” and “shrinking violets need not apply,” are her mantras. (I’m making all these up, but I doubt she’d object.) I remember being at a vintage clothing auction at Ritchies years ago, and missing out on a Zandra Rhodes dress. I didn’t even think about bidding. Today, I would. And I would wear it with a pink wig, just for laughs.
It’s not New Year’s Eve without a sequin or two. Whether you’re at home with a curry, or glitzing it up on a yacht in St. Barts, a little sparkle is a must. If Iole has her way, we’ll all be in ballgowns, (Jason & Antimo included) eating pizza and watching fireworks in Paris, London and Rome.
There isn’t an inch of house not covered in Lego. Those teenie, tiny pieces are everywhere. I find them in the bathroom sink, on the porch and under the sofa. I even find them in the fridge. Once the children are back to school, I’ll ziploc the whole lot, but for now, I’ll surrender to the ninjas. And the pirates. And any other lego thing that springs from their wonderful little imaginations.
Long before I met my Italian husband, Panettone was a staple at our Christmas table. Back then though, I couldn’t understand why anyone would go and spoil a perfectly delicious sponge by adding chunks of dried fruit to it. Eventually, I grew to love it, candied orange and all. The ultimate Christmas morning breakfast, is Panettone french toast. That, or Father Christmas’ leftover biscuits.
These chairs look like they are made up of plush pink savoiardi, the spongy ladyfingers in Tiramisu. I have no idea where this chic brasserie is –– maybe Paris or Berlin –– but I’d love to sink into one of those chairs with a glass of champagne and a bowl of frites. Pink velvet chairs that look good enough to eat, sign me up.
Update: I wonder if Sketch would notice if I walked out the door with a chair in my Goyard?
When I lived in Florence, my father bought me a pair of tobacco brown Gucci loafers from the city’s flagship boutique on Via Tornabuoni. I think that may have been my first, and until last week, last visit to Gucci. But these recent collections (since Alessandro Michele came on board) are too gorgeous to not see and touch up close. And yes, if money was no objet, I would snap up a least 20 pieces, including a watermelon pink blouse to wear with these embroidered white trousers. Too much? Never.
We have a house guest –– a sweet, young girl who may be as high-maintenance as Marlene Dietrich. Toffee, the school bunny arrived today, and already I’ve spent too much time sweeping up hay and pellets of poo. She eats kale and parsley, so mealtimes will be a cinch, but her bathroom etiquette, or lack thereof, is going to be a chore. But the children adore her, and as long as she doesn’t pee in my shoes, or nosh on the Christmas lights, we’ll get along just fine. Here is the fabulous Cecil Beaton, dressed as a rabbit!
When an opportunity presents itself to wear something on your head –– I say, go for it. Life is so much more fun with a felt beret or a paper crown on your noggin. The headdress that Marika Shioiri-Clark wore to marry Graham Veysey in Texas this August was nothing short of sensational. It’s just the sort of extravaganza I’d like to wear with a red pulley to Christmas lunch.
Julia Child is someone I would have loved to drink tea with. When I moved to Canada in my early 20s, my mother-in-law gave me a copy of The Way To Cook. It was a lovely gift, but perhaps a bit ambitious for a girl who stores her stilettos in the oven. It was never the cooking that drew me to Child, but rather the fabulous attitude that she brought to every botched brioche and pitiful pot roast. Her embrace of failure is what really inspired me. Indeed for every three collapsed soufflés, there was one gloriously golden winner –– a reminder to keep at it. Her home in the South of France is for sale this week, and the kitchen remains mostly original to Child’s design. Yes, to sit among her pots and pans eating “small helpings, no seconds…. a little bit of everything,” and listening to her talk, would be just splendid.
We brought home a beautiful Christmas tree on the weekend and covered it in lights, pompoms, shiny baubles, glittery fish and birds with hot pink feathers. “More is more,” is our mantra. While I appreciate the elegance and restraint of a tree covered in nothing but white lights, this is the time for colourful and kitsch. Some of our decorations are gifts, some we’ve purchased, and others, like the children’s great-grandmother’s vintage Eaton’s baubles, are festive heirlooms. Our tree reminds me of the trees I grew up with, also covered in a million decs, also playful and unpretentious. I liked white lights, my brother liked multi-coloured ones, so we alternated year-to-year. There were garlands of farfalle pasta, sprayed gold and silver, crystal stalactites that hung off every other branch and a somewhat disheveled looking angel at the top. Every year there were tears around the tree, (tangled lights, smashed baubles, and a massive fight with my brother in our late teens over who would dismantle it) but that only made me love it more. Yes, it was a fabulous tree.