Thursday, 30 September 2010

Narry a whisper

Madame Schlumberger photographed by Eric Boman

Bob Colacello's The Wow of São has seemingly sparked little or no interest in cyberspace. Not one of the ravinshing details created by decorator Gabhan O'Keeffe has been swooned over or glommed onto. Surely the readers of the two or three remaining interiors magazines are the same audience as that of Vanity Fair? Perhaps Madame Schlumberger's rooms were simply too grand, too foreign, and too quixotic...

....nothing shocked Paris—a city where taste is everything—more than her over-the-top new apartment, on Avenue Charles Floquet in the Seventh Arrondissement. Conceived as a neo-Baroque fantasyland by the London decorator Gabhan O’Keeffe, it set São’s contemporary art and 18th-century furniture in a series of rooms that combined France with Portugal, Scotland with Persia, and Egypt with Hollywood. The pièce de résistance was the Andalusian-style terrace, with the Eiffel Tower rising directly above it. Dinner-party debates over whether O’Keeffe’s creation was “innovative” or “abominable” got so out of hand that at one soirée a pair of socialites had to be pulled apart before they came to blows. “It’s simply hideous,” said one visitor, “but totally fabulous!”

 She had more than taste. She had audacity. - Pierre Bergé

Eric Boman for Vanity Fair, October 2010

 The grand salon  photographed by Jean-Louis Garnell for Nest

Mme Schlumberger was living proof that there is more to being a Medici than simply money and influence.

Now playing:  Frank Sinatra - The Lady is a Tramp

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Broken by Paola Navone for Richard Ginori

Clever and modern, yet charming.

Now playing: Annie Lennox - Walking On Broken Glass

Monday, 27 September 2010

Like sands through the hourglass

So are the gays of our lives.

On the far right, the most original eye I have ever known.

Now playing: Peter Gabriel - This is the Picture

Thursday, 23 September 2010

I know it when I see it

Like charity, I believe glamour should begin at home. - Loretta Young

Now playing: Suzanne Vega - Solitude Standing

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

South of the border

Oval serving dish with a hand chased finish by L. Maciel

Tri-footed bowl with a flared serpentine rim

Serving tray by Sanborns

Down Mexico way, there is treasure to be found in silver. Even 20th century pieces have an old world feel and glamour to them.

Now playing: María Luisa Landín - Somos Diferentes

Monday, 20 September 2010


American Late Victorian Mahogany Bombe Desk
Fourth quarter 19th century, the front with a kneehole flanked by a bank of drawers to each side and raised on turned legs, h. 29-1/2", w. 48", d. 30".

Found this wonderful desk in the current sale catalogue at St. Charles Gallery and could not stop thinking about how much it reminded me of the Pushmi-pullyu from Doctor Dolittle (1967). Talk about distant voices.

Now playing: I've Never Seen Anything Like It

Saturday, 18 September 2010

It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco.

So said Oscar Wilde.'s been 20 years since series anchor Mary Ann Singleton left her family and headed to New York. Maupin's San Francisco is comforting in its familiarity, and the gang is (mostly) all here, older, wiser, and settled in: Michael "Mouse" Tolliver is married to Ben; Shawna, Mary Ann's estranged daughter, is a popular sex blogger who is dating Otto, an enigmatic professional clown; and grand dame Anna Madrigal, once landlady to Michael and Mary Ann, is still kicking in her late 80s. Into this milieu returns Mary Ann, who ditched her husband and the young Shawna for a career in television. Now, nearing 60, she's back with news she can't bear to tell anyone but Michael. From the haven of his tiny garden cottage, Mary Ann regroups and confronts some uncomfortable chapters in her past.

The character of Mary Ann Singleton brilliantly played by Laura Linney

Now playing: Scott McKenzie - San Francisco
Fantastic clip - Mama Cass Eliot introduces McKenzie at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival

Friday, 17 September 2010

Never mind about the six feet, let's talk about the seven inches

Myra Breckinridge (1970), the screen adaptation of Gore Vidal's 1968 novel. Starring Mae West as Leticia Van Allen, John Huston as Buck Loner, Raquel Welch as Myra Breckinridge and Rex Reed as Myron Breckinridge. Directed by Mike Sarne.

Fabulously bizzare from start to finish.

Mae West sings You Gotta Taste All the Fruit to a go-go beat

Now playing: Cameo - She's Strange

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Less may indeed be more...

Late spring's white peonies

Early summer's yellow and deep cerise peonies

High summer's dahlias

Last of the season's dahlias and a little tweek

But I find more is more, far more pleasing. And when the walls are finally done I shall be even more pleased.

Now playing: Madness - Our House

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Explaining the manner of things

Gauguin: Maker of Myth - Edited by Belinda Thomson

Tate Modern
30 September 2010 – 16 January 2011
The first major Gauguin exhibition in Britain for 50 years.

I shut my eyes in order to see. - Paul Gauguin

Women of Tahiti, 1891

Teha 'amana has many parents, 1893

Two Tahitian Women, 1899

Now playing: Bali Ha'i

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Women behind the wheel

Ulla Procopé (1921 - 1968), one of the unsung heroes that contributed to Arabia's golden age. Hired in 1948 to work in the factory's design department she proved herself in the development of ceramic forms. When in 1951, owing to ill health, she had to stop using the potter's wheel Kaj Franck included her in his product design team. Her interest in the design of utility objects now had to be focused on mass production. The GA teapots (1955–72) and the AL marmalade jar (1953 – 67) are among her best-known pieces.

GA teapot (1955 - 72)

Ruska (1960 – 1999), the extremely dense and solid stoneware service that had over thirty different pieces. Its toned glaze ensured that no two pieces of the service were exactly alike. This distinctively rustic, earthy and practical service came to be regarded as typical of Finnish ceramic design and became a huge export success.

Valencia (1960 – 2002), originally conceived as a fruit service consisting of a tray, plates and two candlesticks. Gradually the pattern was expanded into a complete dinner, coffee and tea service. Undoubtedly, the jewel in Procopé's crown.

Now playing: She Drives Me Crazy 12"mix - Fine Young Cannibals

Monday, 13 September 2010

Mrs Thadeus White

The 2008 biography of the enigmatic highborn Eurasian author (Two Years in the Forbidden City being the best known of her seven books) who served as translator and lady-in-waiting to China's Empress Dowager Cixi.

Der Ling was a fascinating human battleground of warring identities, a victim of the hallucinogenic effects of too much publicity, much of it prompted by Der Ling herself, and a figure whose life provides a glimpse into one woman’s experience of living not just between two cultures—that of China and the West—but among many worlds: social, religious, moral, political.
- Grant Hayter-Menzies

Now playing: China Girl - David Bowie