Day 170

Scents and Scents-ability

Coco Knows best

Coco Knows best

There is nothing more powerful than the feeling a scent can evoke.  This was not the only scent my mother wore, but it was certainly one of the biggies.  For me, my mother will always be tied to a few key fragrances; Guerlain's 'Shalimar,' YSL's 'Opuim', Estee Lauder's 'Youth Dew' and of course, Chanel #5.  As classic fragrances go, these are all heavy hitters, (no pun intended.)  If I think about each of the fragrances, they are indeed, all really heady and intense.  They would get caught in a sweater or scarf and linger for days, weeks, years...I think about the fragrances I am drawn to,  I love light florals; Jo Malone's 'Orange Blossom', 'Antonia's Flowers' Robert Piguet 'Fracas', and yes, when I was I high school the whole family of "Loves" fragrances.  But as I am getting older, I find that even though I live in Souther California, I find myself reaching for deeper more intense fragrances, the kind that feel like they envelope you in warmth.

Not long before my mother passed away, my husband and I were visiting Portland, where I had gone to college.  I have always loved it there, and I felt very happy to be there with my dear friends.  We stopped in a lovely little shop that was selling fragrance oils hand made in town, that is where I found my favorite fragrance, the one that despite it's name  (Dark Wave) always brings me comfort.  If you ever run across it, give is a sniff, let me know what you think. Here's a link in case you want to know more about it.

http://olofragrance.com/collections/olo

Olofragrance "Dark Wave"

Olofragrance "Dark Wave"



Day 168

How flattering

Vintage Floral Gucci Peau de Soie Flats

Vintage Floral Gucci Peau de Soie Flats

Such sweet little flats, I am not sure of the circa on these, but I do know that this pattern was first designed in 1966 for Princess Grace of Monaco, and that in 2013, Gucci resurrected it for another round of spring/summer fashion,  Any way, these are perfect for Palm Beach,  Long Island in the summer, and of course for LA.

Here's a pic of the suit they did for 2013...I adore it!!!

Gucci 2013

Gucci 2013


Day 167

Pleats please

Vintage Silk Pleated Maxi Skirt

Vintage Silk Pleated Maxi Skirt

I am in love with this skirt, It holds that perfect place between formal and effortless, it is easily something that could be worn with stilettos and a strapless top, or sandals, a tee shirt and a denim jacket.  I did not even wait to send this skirt home in a carton, this went straight home in my hanging bag.  The hand of the silk is so incredible, very substantial, and yet effortless to wear.  So special.



Day 166

Roar!!!!

Vintage purple and gold leopard top.

Vintage purple and gold leopard top.

This is an eighties hidden treasure. The designer behind this peplum waist silk blouse is Ann May.  I have done a fair bit of internet research on her but with the exception of finding one or two vintage websites that have a top listed as hers, she is not a lauded designer, or one that I can find that much about.  So all I will say is this top is CLASSIC my mom.  Not only is it silk a leopard print blouse, but it is also in tones of deep purple and gold!  Huzzah!  It was as if the universe aligned to make her a perfect top.  I cinched it with my own belt, channeling the "Gap Girls" SNL skit, but mark my words, as all things in fashion cycle back, we are only a heartbeat away from shoulder pads, peplum and purple.  


Day 165

An homage...

Black St. John Knit cardigan circa 1970's

Black St. John Knit cardigan circa 1970's

Ah, the St, John knit.  If I had to narrow it down, I would have to say that St. John was probably my mothers favorite designer. My mother had a collection of these knits that I believe would rival that of the fashion house itself.  My mother began collecting them in the 70's and continued until her passing.  That being said, I have inherited a myriad of these pieces, including the St. John ensemble she wore to my wedding, which I may never be able to part with.  What I find interesting about this jacket, is what a striking resemblance it bears to a Chanel jacket.  I know that this was a piece from the 70's, and I am so intrigued about which one came first- the chicken or the egg?

I need to do more detailed research on the silhouettes, but I did do some research on the knits themselves, in case anyone was curious.  It is true, they are very easy to wear, and hold up extremely well. 

St. John In order to stretch her own limited wardrobe budget, Marie St. John made her first pure wool knit dress on a flatbed knitting machine in 1962. Her then-fiancé and salesman Bob Gray pitched her designs to department stores and got an order for 84 dresses on his first try. St. John Knits took off quickly, appealing mostly to a clientele of mature career women who preferred a classic look.

Later, Marie Gray wanted to use a new yarn blending wool and rayon and despite the mill’s warning that the blend wouldn’t take colour well she created a successful blend that was resilient and didn’t wrinkle. Her blend was called ‘Santana’ yarn and soon her garments were made of the new blend, eventually accounting for 75% of all sales under the St. John label.

Stay tuned, there will indeed be more from this oeuvre!



Day 164

Nina Ricci Ensemble

Vintage Nina Ricci Silk dress and jacket

Vintage Nina Ricci Silk dress and jacket

There is not much I can say about this ensemble except "wow"  mom, I don't know where you got this, or when you wore it, but I love it.  It is SO 80's french.  It still looks great today, and yes, this is a keeper!  xo

Day 163

Taking Liberties

Liberty of London Silk Scarf

Liberty of London Silk Scarf

Ahhh scarves, I believe my mother had a collection to rival that of Stevie Nicks in the scarf department.  All shapes, sizes, colors & provenance's.  This is a lovely Liberty of London, Fall color floral print.  I am wearing it with a ladies dress coat, which I will cover in another post.  I would also like to note that at the time this photo was shot, it was 88 degrees, 75% humidity.  The things we do for love....


Day 162

Dotty

Black and white silk polka dot  dress with matching jacket

Black and white silk polka dot  dress with matching jacket

This is a cute little number, with a pretty drape in back, and a sweet little cropped jacket. I love how timeless this dress is, and even if I did not keep it, I believe that I know several friends that this would look great on.  That is an option I have been thinking about recently as well, maybe sharing the love with my closest girlfriends.  I would rather some things go to people I know, and that I know would love an appreciate them.  After my mom passed, I asked one of her closest friends, that was almost my mom's size, if she would want some of her suits.  They look so great on my mom's friend, and I am so happy that she has them, and know that my mom would have been happy about that as well.  My mother was very generous, it's a lovely trait to have.


 

Day 161

Faux Show

Faux Emerald Solitaire

Faux Emerald Solitaire

It takes moxie to really pull off a big ol' fake ring like this and not look silly.  The truth is, I am not sure any one would view a ring like this and think it was real, unless your last name is  "Taylor"  But my mom really loved things like this, and why would you not?  It really is just pure fun, and would make anyone feel glamorous, and in her defense, she had some pretty good fakes.  I am sure this would have been worn with something green (she loved green) I know I will wear it when I want to feel like queen for a day.


Day 160

Birds of a feather

Vintage Silk Jersey Gown with Ostrich Feather cuffs

Vintage Silk Jersey Gown with Ostrich Feather cuffs

This is another amazing gown from the collection, I know it seems odd to photograph this in front of our dilapidated tool shed, but I actually like the juxtaposition.  This gown is so fun, and feels very silly to me, like something Phyllis Diller would have worn. Again, I have no idea where I would wear this, and yet, it is just too great to let go of.  This is I believe the definition of the term "an embarrassment of riches"  It seems so ungainly to complain about having all of these beautiful gowns, and yet, when there are too many to know what to do with, or how to store, it actually does become overwhelming.  That is why I believe this visual archive will be the best thing that I could do.  So that when it does become time to let go, I will still feel that I have some connection, and some way to remember.  

Ostrich cuff detail

Ostrich cuff detail


Day 159

The Bees Knees

Pale Blue Needlepoint flats

Pale Blue Needlepoint flats

What does one say about pale blue needlepoint bee motif flats?  That they are AWESOME!  I may have accidentally left these in NY, but I'll be back for them, mark my words.


Day 158

My compliments to the Chef

Mom's Chef Jacket

Mom's Chef Jacket

Yes, that's exactly what it looks like-my mom "brûlée-ing"  the top of one of her amazing homemade cheesecakes.  Of course my mother owned a brûlée torch, as do I.  Because if there was one thing my mother loved to do it was to cook, not only just to cook, but to create food that comforted, and delighted people.  She loved to open up her home and share a meal , and nothing delights and amazes quite as much as a fabulous desert.  Later on in her life, my mother became very involved in the slow food movement and became a charter member of the Southwest Florida chapter.  They were espousing what she had always taught me:  Use what is real, and the highest quality possible, (always Plugra butter NEVER margarine.)  Keep food simple and don't follow every fad.  Never underestimate the power of a roast chicken, and chocolate cake.  I feel very blessed to have inherited my mothers love of cooking, and I think of her every time I sit down to a meal with my family or friends.  In this post, I am wearing her chef's jacket, in her favorite color-chartreuse.  Even had flair when it came to wearing something simple like this.  I am proud to wear it.


Day 157

Celadon and on…

Pale Green duchesse silk and chiffon evening gown

Pale Green duchesse silk and chiffon evening gown

Rhinestone belt detail

Rhinestone belt detail

Oh this gown is so beautiful.  After looking at the picture of the back of the gown closely, I saw that the collar is meant to be fastened, but I kind of like how it looks open. This is in the yes pile, but truly-when and where am I ever going to wear this?  I need to get to an awards show stat!


Day 156

Floribunda

Silk Floral Halter dress

Silk Floral Halter dress

I'm pretty sure this jumpsuit may have been my grandmother's, as it pretty generous in the frontal area, or as I want to start calling it 'Cannery Row.'  My grandmother was an amazing woman, funny, loud, affectionate, and outspoken.  She was also what is called in yiddish "Zaftig."  I used to love to get caught in her arms and be on the receiving end of one of her "plunger kisses".  My grandmother has been a model for me of how I behave with my own children, and I tend to gravitate towards women like her (In fact, minus the boobs, she is my friend Sandy!)  My mother, had a different relationship with her, for many reasons, and that was not easy for either of them.  I know my mother loved my grandmother, but there was a complicated backstory that I did not learn until much later on in my life.  I don't believe that any mother daughter relationship is ever neat and clean and perfect.  And I know that there was indeed, tremendous love between them.  My mother cared for my grandmother until she passed away, and I believe that they sorted through all of their issues.  I will never forget my mom telling me, after she and I had had a tremendous fight, that fighting with her mother was one of her greatest regrets.  Recently, I was speaking to my youngest daughter about loving my mom, and she remarked "but you and Grandma used to fight"  And I said to her "It is one of my greatest regrets"  I know it's normal, and it happens.  But a piece of advice from someone that has lost both parents.  Try if you can to make your peace, in whatever way you can.  You will never regret it.  Time and distance and great loss, change people fundamentally at their core.  At least I know it has for me.  I look at people that fly off the handle about parking spaces, or perceived slights, or rumors, and I have to say, I don't have as much bandwidth to deal with that nonsense.  

I know this is overly dramatic, and sounds like Samuel L. Jackson's Pulp Fiction's speech, but truly I feel like I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and I have come out the other side......I'm trying really hard to be the Sheppard.  Now with that being said, yes, the Trader Joe's parking lot can still make me cry, and I do care what people think of me, and I am not a perfect person.  But I care a lot less about the small stuff than I used to, and I think I have a pretty good sense of what is important.   Family, friends and love.  Giving and receiving love.  That's the good stuff... oh and plunger kisses.  



Day 155

All suited up

Vintage Pucci Bathing suit

Vintage Pucci Bathing suit

This is a vintage Pucci bathing suit, I am so surprised that it has any elastic left in it at all, and as my husband said "It has more panels than Real Time with Bill Maher"  Yep, that's true, but hey I am a sucker for an artfully placed panel.  This is in the maybe pile, it's still in good enough shape  to trot out for photos, but certainly not ready for la playa.  Maybe with a cute with a jacket and a cute pair of pants? 

Day 154

Palazzo Pant ensemble

Years apart!

Years apart!

I truly love it when I can find old photos of my mom wearing something that I still have.  I know I am in a weird stance, but I was trying to show that this is no ordinary gown, this is a two piece palazzo pant silk ensemble, that's right these are pants.  Note to readers: I could barely zip these pants!  My mom must have weighed all of 98lbs soaking wet!  Another note, check out that wig she is rocking….the cutest!


Day 153

Terry Lilly

Terry Cloth Lilly Pullitzer Dress

Terry Cloth Lilly Pullitzer Dress

Aaaahh, nothing says summer more than a visit to the beautiful Lawrence beach Club.  It truly is a magical place, and I will be very sad when the time comes to say goodbye to those visits.   But as my husband so sweetly said to me:  "then we will go make new memories, in new places"  I know he is right, but It will still be a bitter pill to swallow.  Maybe we will have one more summer, maybe not.  In the meantime, I will take each day as it comes.   


Day 152

Best of times, worst of times…

32 year anniversary coin

32 year anniversary coin

This year we flew back to NY on July 23rd.  34 years to the day that my mother entered her final trip to rehab, the one that finally stuck.  I will never forget that day.  I am not going to go too deeply into the circumstances, because I believe it would hurt my mother.  She suffered so much regret about not being sober for the first 10 years of my life.  Now as a mother I truly understand her pain.  She was so deeply under the thumb of her addiction, which I also truly understand.  As a child it is hard not to think it is your fault, but there were bigger forces at work there.  Mom, I am so proud of that fact that you pulled yourself out of such a deep and painful hole, I feel so lucky for the many years we got to spend together with you sober.  I feel blessed that you survived on that day 34 years ago, I truly believe it was divine intervention.  I got to tell her this many times when she was alive, but it bears repeating. I have no regrets, I would not be the person I am today without going through the years of adversity.  And even in your darkest moments, I know you loved me. 

I am posting a photo below that is hard for me to look at sometimes, it was taken at the nadir of my mother's addiction, by her best friend Francis Cox.  We are both suffering in this photo, and I think only Francis could have captured this moment that clearly.  Mom is lost, and I am trying to reach her.

Day153Pittsburgh

In direct contrast, the photo below was taken (also by Frances) about a year or so into my mothers sobriety.  Sadly, there is damage to this photo, but I think the eyes say it all.

Day152Baltimore

Day 151

Wedded bliss

Mom's vintage Gay Boyer giraffe belt buckle

Mom's vintage Gay Boyer giraffe belt buckle

My apologies, because chronologically, this is one day out of order.  This is the outfit that I wore to to my sweet friend, Lizzy's wedding.  I have known her since she was a little girl, but the older she gets, the smaller the age gap gets.  I met Lizzy and her brother Alex because our mothers' great friendship, but as time marches on, we take over our own mantle of friendship.  I have been to many weddings-but this one was incredibly special, for so many reasons: namely, it was a gathering of some of my favorite people in the world, and clearly a wedding of two people that are absolutely perfect for each other.  That spirit was omnipresent in this storybook affair.  I thought about wearing a vintage dress, but decided against it in the end, because if there is one thing I LOVE about a wedding is dancing.  And devil be damned, I was not going to worry about tearing a seam. or ripping a chiffon overdress.  So I opted for a simple, yet pretty limited edition liberty print gown (for shhhh......Target!) embellished with one of my mom's fantastic animal belt buckles.  The one I chose was two giraffes, neck and neck on a linen belt strip.  She would have loved it.  My mom would have loved this wedding for so many reasons, and I felt so honored to be there.  Mom, I promise, i sent everyone love from you, and that I felt you right there by my side.