brooklyn by gaslight and autumn leaves and #eastcoastportraits stephen

darlings

a treat.

yesterday we went on a small day-trip to the 19th century.

there were gas lamps a-flicker….

and ceremonial triumphant arches…..

and awe-inspiring dusky rouge stone edifices….

and trumpet-tooting angels on-the-IRT

 

and a lunch in a Venetian-inspired trattoriaoh!

*looks_shyly_at_the_figure_by_Prospect_park*

why, yes.

that IS Stephen Drucker.

if you are one of our friends from Oz or Tokyo or Berlin or Leamington Spa and looking curiously at the fine figure on the screen in front of you, with a twinkle and a questioning look, let us just say – subtly – this is one of our Most favo(u)rite people – not just for his stories of working at Vogue in the days that still recalled and worshiped fantasy and spectacle and then the achingly Chic and brimming-over with the-Knowledge-of-beauty that he brought to House Beautiful and Other Publications and the fact that he has the Supreme Eye of genius but also because he Knows.

you know.

what it is to be truly a man of elegance.

 

in fact, Stephen was the one that invited us to the 19th century, to admire the architecture and the View over the autumn leaves and the twinkling Fall day illuminated softly by gas lamps and cashmere-scarf-requiring-breezes. 

 

we used to work in the same skyscraper, once upon a time.

in fact our first meeting was a While ago and we started to talk about digital (you know – as who we-are-in-Real-Life) and he was kind and amused and wry………but then he sent us away with a test…..

the test?

he turned to us, half-towards the light refracting off the high floor of the glass-walled skyscraper, back shadowed to the Hudson, and murmured….

 “Why Don’t You . . . wash yourhair in dead champagne?”

and we responded:

but we’re not a Blond Child

and he raised (a very beautiful) eyebrow and smiled, slowly.

we knew we’d found a kindred spirit.

and now you have too.

haven’t you?

because we’ve been tempting Mr. Drucker with the sumptuous waters of the worlds of the interweb and instagram and other mysterious and international delights of ones-and-zeros and he has tipped a toe.

we can’t tell you where or when.

but we will when we get permission.

the world is about to get a lot more beautiful and Sophisticated over here when the truly talented get their hands directly on the keyboard and start talking to us themselves and opening up their worlds…..

glorious.

#deepSigh

for now, we’re going to leave you with something that Stephen Drucker wrote about his favo(u)rite things – because it feels instructive and glorious and we love a good List.

FLOWER: Poppies

SOFA SHAPE: Billy Baldwin Studio sofa by Ventry Ltd.

STATIONERY: My Gmail account and my iPhone

COMFORT FOOD: Grilled Swiss on white

LAMP: Pumpkin Globe Lantern,vaughandesigns.com

ALARM CLOCK: The sun

EVERYDAY DISHES: 1960s Wedgwood drabware from Tiffany

COLOR: Mouse’s back

COFFEE TABLE BOOK: Los Angelesby Tim Street-Porter (I wish I lived there)

ALL-PURPOSE GLASS: Orskov from General Home Store, East Hampton, NY

SOAP: Molton Brown Naran Ji

ICE CREAM: Rum raisin

TOWEL: Thomas O’Brien for Target

CHAIR: My antique English Regency library chair from Cove Landing, NYC

SCENTED CANDLE: Jo Malone grapefruit

WALLPAPER: Toiles (like these)

SHEETS: Any white cotton (I’m not a thread counter)

CLEANING SUPPLY: Renaissance Wax

TOOTHPASTE: Rembrandt (for the elegant white tube)

SHOWERHEAD: George Taylor Specialties to match my 1926 apartment

VACUUM: Dyson

LIGHTBULB: 25W incandescent

COFFEE OR TEA: Mariage Frères

KITCHEN GADGET: KitchenAid mixer

WORKHORSE FABRIC: Elizabeth Dow “Antwerp” on my new sofas

PEN: Pilot Razor Point extra-fine black

ARTIST: John Singer Sargent

 

 

 

 

 

the devastatingly di-vine diana vreeland #TheEyeHasToTravel

darlings.

we saw Diana Vreeland (the movie, alas not the divine DV herself, although we’re Perfectly Sure she was there, in spirit, shuddering at the clothing choices and being simply wondrous mingling in the audience afterwards) at a late showing at the angelika (because, as you know, we adore a chandelier and the art house in soho has a Delicious twinkling one all crystals drops like a large ballgown at Versailles).

it was perfect.

we were so surprised – in a really good way.

DV always made good copy, it’s true. and her eye was exquisite – so anything that featured the pages from Vogue and Harper’s BAZAAR was going to be a Visual Feast.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland is a great cineaste, a truly inventive filmmaker (and we can’t Wait to see what she does next).

the clips, the interviews, the sheet ingenuity of visual montage and ideas and allusion and animation and whimsy – a lovely story-teller.

quelle brilliance.

favorite/favourite/choicest bit?

oh yes.

this.

Joel Schumacher is telling us how they found out DV had never seen the movie Chinatown so they took her to Harlem to the one cinema where it was still playing – the place was packed – and this was Harlem, 1974 – they’d never seen anyone like Diana Vreeland (who has?) and she acts like it’s the Upper East Side or Paris because she was completely at home wherever she was – as long as it wasn’t Boring. And the movie started and there was Jack Nicholson and suddenly, in clear ringing tones, her arms outstretched (probably with Tons of Bangles) to the screen in a moment of spiritual gloriousness, Diana Vreeland proclaims:

“Isn’t Jack ATTRACTIVE?!”

a devastatingly glorious moment.

go and see it, we implore you.

we had such a down-in-the-dumps-day yesterday and it Completely blew away the cobwebs.

Diana Vreeland was an original.

just delicious.

 

diana vreeland’s address book and the beauty of insomnia

so, darlings, yesterday we took a stroll through greenwich village as the sun warmed the morning-after-the-night-before landmarks……

and then, later, as the sun set over the trees, coming home.

and in between there was a lovely conversation at the day job which involved us blowing bubbles against the manhattan skyline (after all the important Talking was done, of course).

and – Quite by surprise – we got the opportunity to see Diana Vreeland’s address book (there was an event to celebrate the documentary which, naturellement, we are seeing on Saturday)

 

Oh, darlings, how we Wish we could have peeked inside.

Can you imagine?

Probably lots of naughty little anecdotes and annotations in the margin by each person’s Home Telephone Number like:

wears awful hats.

and comments such as:

adores Chinese blue.

of course we do the same (but in a Much Kinder way):

has lovely long-haired golden labrador called Max

and Where we Met:

that dreadful conference somewhere outside San Mateo, 1999 – met in the elevator – talked about Auden.

doesn’t everyone?

we also note names of books published, gallery opening nights, pets, children, partners (hmmm, probably should be in a different Order, oh well).

and moments of kindness – especially noted. always.

on the subject of the beauty of insomnia (as promised in the Title of this post) – we have found it has its “upside” as the americans say.

we’ve read a Lot recently (and we read constantly as you’ve probably guessed)

and the apartment is Very Neat (that’s sort of tous jours anyway – we abhor mess and own no clutter as you know)

but we’ve also been so Tired during the day that we’re drifting through some painful moments with something like equilibrium (Very Rare) – not too exhausted to care – but in some beautiful netherworld of below the surface calm-ness-and-joy.

it’s odd.

but quite Lovely actually.

and this is manhattan (for now – we mean it will always be Manhattan – but we’re heading To The West by the end of the year or Very early next – or perhaps a tiny bit bi-coastal until we’re sorted…..) so there are places to hang out and talk to a friendly chef (we adore chefs) in the late hours while looking up from one’s book (we took Paul Auster with us – in paper-pages, we didn’t have the Actual Paul Auster with us, in corporeal form) to speak a few words of Italian (just a few but we’re Very Charming and lilting in our use of the ancient floral language of Venezia and the crime families of Sicily) and order a little more Pellegrino, grazie – prego – bene – amore.

it’s delicious.

reading – late night conversations with chefs – a little Italian – a long walk around the well-lit bits of soho to burn off some energy of-the-day and then, a soothing bubble bath, radio 4 – yes, still Awake…..so finishing Auster and picking up Rick Moody (again, metaphorically, darlings) and suddenly seeing words on the page that help one feel Completely Understood.

well – isn’t that the beauty of words and writers and ideas and the beauty of insomnia?

a deeper understanding.

empathy reaching through paper-pages, written years ago, perhaps not far from where we read (many writers live Nearby, we’ve heard and sometimes seen).

New York City, noteworthy for its insomniacs. Light upon all the insomniacs, across this city, metropolis of insomniacs. They are there, in the despair of another night, out on the couch in the living room to avoid waking their husbands or wives, or insomniacs are in the tub, and they are reading, or they are thinking, or the insomniacs are regretting at the instant of dawn. No one asks how they spend the middle of the night, no one who doesn’t suffer with insomnia wants to know. The insomniacs are the witnesses to the dawn, they are in the tub and looking out on the air shaft, through the one tiny window, where a tiny patch of sky is visible…….

Rick Moody, The Diviners P. 13 – 14

sod the insomnia – we have a new literary crush-ette.

divine.

(all we can say is thank Goodness for YSL)

 

 

 

late night spaghetti.

wanna know what’s great? Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… and ya know, it was my kitchen, it was my refrigerator, it was my apartment… and it was the BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I have had in my entire life

wendy in St Elmo’s Fire

we’ve been keeping strange (late) hours recently.

not sure why.

that’s a lie.

we do.

everything’s changing and so we can’t sleep – we’ll be leaving new york, exiting Corporate America, giving away the teapot, the Diana Vreeland framed print and the original Avedon shot (on the vinyl) of Barbra.

but. not. quite. yet.

it’ll all be happening shortly (depending on your notion of shortly – ours is fairly hazy) – but definitely leaving New York by the holidays (the one with a tree as a central design motif, not the pumpkin one).

and so (because we’re Very Sentimental, if you’ve just joined us and Didn’t Know that, darlings) we think about this every time we use a household object – especially when whipping up a plate of late night (whole wheat) spaghetti with a good olive oil sauce and a slightly sad looking plum tomato.

as we use the small french enamel saucepan or the red iron bottomed casserole (which we can barely lift – Julia Child must have had the most Awesome upper body strength) or the white plates (Conran, naturally) we have a running list (helpfully being kept by Jonathan) of To Whom aforementioned object will be given upon our leaving New York.

you see we like to travel lightly.

and there are things we have had to buy in New York (suit jackets, Lacroix scarves) that we won’t need in our new life in Los Angeles (black jeans, black t-shirts, espadrilles).

there are also things that we don’t want to ship – because we can replace at the other end – and buy things that will fit into wherever and whatever we find ourselves upon arrival – on another note – that’s the odd thing about moving – but not moving quite yet – we wanted to renew some subscriptions But We Don’t Yet Have An Address (an odd, slightly fuzzy in the stomach feeling that one – but it’s not our first time doing this moving thing).

the list has sentimental value: pictures we won’t need in L.A and that we know people like NmP will treasure and our teapot can go to KOC because we went to tea at his place the other day and he said he didn’t have one so we said “you can have ours” and he said, “then you can visit it!”

which is sort of the point.

like pollinating a little gloria-ous-ness back East when we physically will live on the Other Coast.

it can backfire, this leaving stuff behind.

we did it once in London and then – due to circumstances beyond our control (heartbreak) – we ended up living with them again at a friend’s flat while we tried to piece ourselves together sleeping-on-the-sofa and emigrate a few days later. the cups and bowls didn’t seem so delightful so early in their new household as we sobbed on the counter and ate more muesli than necessary.

so – the late hour of writing to you now – is also accompanied by Having A Cold (which Everyone in the office has had apart from us because we were on holiday) and so the Cold waited for our Return – voila – sneezing – but not serious but since you-know-what we are Very Careful with our battered immune system due to lacking certain glands and such.

and we’re eating spaghetti.

whole-wheat and – this makes us giggle – we were reading, in bed, and suddenly felt Hungry so padded to the kitchen (alcove) in our bare feet and thought “what shall we make?” and the fridge yielded nothing much (comme tous jours, darlings – this being New York and we work Late and so eat Out a Lot) and then we did something we’d seen in the movies.

we took the single (plum) tomato (almost off its game, to be honest) and some Good Olive Oil (from Portugal) and garden peas from the freezer (we did grow up in England, everyone has peas in the freezer there) and added excellent sea salt from the delicious herb store round the corner and whipped up a small gourmet feast – just like they do in fine novels.

 and here we sit, listening to the dulcet late-night-tone of Mark Lawson (from the BBC) talking about Shakespeare (which they do a Lot on Radio 4) on Front Row, eating spaghetti and wondering if we trust ourselves with a pot of decaf or whether we’ll pull out the wrong mason jar of coffee and be buzzy all night.

we’ve already called in sick tomorrow.

we need to sniffle and sleep and get better.

and keep making the list of where everything will go and to whom and you-know – late night thoughts that will probably seem Quite Different in the light of day.

even a monday.

or perhaps especially a monday.

it’s a strange life.

but an exciting one.

right?

 

sometimes you just need a decent lunch…@robertatMAD

it’s been a good day, so far – and we had a Very Interesting meeting – as you know, we always enjoy people with Good Taste:

so rare.

but there again there were some Very Fashionable People in that last meeting.

talking of Fashion – we’ve been invited to the private view at Staley Wise for Lillian Bassman (sigh, so sad she has departed this world)

and you know we adore a private view, darlings…

this week has felt Rather Long so we decided to treat someone lovely (can’t tell you who, forgive) to a decent lunch.

because a room with a view (take a look below – not so shabby, right, love?) and a light salad nicoise is always a good idea (we learned that from Noel Coward’s diaries – when sad moments during the War overcame him, during his diplomatic career in Paris, he would take the letters recently arrived from London and read them over a “decent lunch”).

so we can’t tell you Who we had lunch with but we’d like to tell you Where we had lunch.

it’s here: Robert at MAD

do click on the link – because it’s only fitting that the restaurant Robert plays Sinatra on the website.

Who’s Robert?

glad you asked (and yes, that’s the first thing We Did Too upon arrival)

The Robert who inspired Robert at MAD (museum of arts and design) is none other than the Fabulous Robert Isabell, event creator extraordinaire who once flooded Studio 54 (gasp + LOVE!) with glitter (oh, yes, and threw a few parties at the house-that-is-white).

yes, glitter.

no. we never met him.

we wish we had.

but we did meet Lillian, last year.

just briefly at an event where she spoke about fashion and design and models with necks like swans and Avedon and the good life.

our eyes met, just once.

and we smiled, quietly, to be in the presence of a legend.

wouldn’t it be Delicious to be a Legend?

what would one Wear?

perhaps this…

(but a pretend one, of course, darlings).

warpaint, potions and mentors from beyond the veil..

must be the effects of the synthroid…..

but we’ve been thinking a lot about warpaint and potions….

even those we meet during the course of our floating – one hopes elegantly yet productively – “Adding Value” as they say (shudder) through the Day Job have opened their make-up bags to show what treasures lie within..

like jewels or delicately flavored/flavoured/juicy-enhanced sweeties/candy/sugar-fest

mentors from beyond the veil surely had sweetness in their powder-pink satin lined clutches…

well maybe Jane Trahey just had a slim nut brown pencil and perhaps a vintage tin of vaseline for harsh winter lips. carrie donovan used mascara and a witty line to great effect behind those famous glasses. edith head would have a jar of brilliantine to slick down those bangs/fringe, carmel snow could apply a beauty spot to enhance a cover shot with a dash of daring, shirley polykoff had a stash of miss clairol for those touch-ups, and she may well have lent a box to mary wells and then there’s diana V

here we are this morning, asking DV for some guidance….

every woman needs a dash of daring, some mystery, a witty line, chutzpah, GLORIAousness and, sure, a cute make-up clutch.

we have one in the swimsuit bag too.

because exercise makes us feel powerful – and just downright delicious.

five times last week. pretty good, huh?

especially for someone who went through this not so long ago….

how was your day, darlings?

*interested_look_from_inside_a_skyscraper_in_manhattan*

#grin.

medical leave day 13: german films in the dark cinema while waiting for our glands to grow back (and the Divine DV)

the doorbell rang – not early – but insistently and suddenly there was a very nice man from the FedEx company with a parcel (as you know we Love a Parcel).this was from the elegant, erudite and downright delicious ABM (who has the most flowing script and writes a Very Good Card).

Oh! quelle delight! the package contained the new book about DIANA VREELAND!

we left a croaky (a little more voice everyday) and highly emotional (this cannot come as a surprise to you darlings) voicemail on his machine (which we suppose is virtual these days) to say thank you and will be writing a lovely card (we bought some more from the stationery shop yesterday and love to post letters as you know #smallsimpletasks) first thing in the morning.

divine.

DV.

is truly divine.

we hung the red ribbon from ABM’s parcel in ceremony on the Scavullo portrait (not the original – alas – but a Very Nice Print – well-framed) of Diana Vreeland (on a vivid red mat, naturally) in our main room (we hesitate to call it sitting room as we don’t sit a lot – we lounge and living room sounds silly when one lives in such a small and yet lovely apartment – plus we “live” in all our rooms).

two lovely visits – earlier today Jonathan (took us for a stroll – a lot further than before and happily the rain had stopped as we walked through Washington Square) and, this evening, K took us to UPS to pick up some post that was too big for the mailbox or something of that sort or needed a signature we can’t recall – our mind is a whirl (we’re secretly reading the DV book as we type, looking left occasionally and turning a page – yes! the multi-tasking brain is Back!) and then we went to supper by candlelight very close to the house. it was All Too Much being out as we faded (hopefully gracefully) and came home.

and now – hours later, of course, we’re Wide Awake.

oh – we forgot to mention – on the way back from our walk (like a small black labrador) with our lovely companion Jonathan – we thought we’d see if we were strong enough for the cinema. in the mid-afternoon there are very few people about and we are a tiny bit bored of our apartment as you can imagine after 13 days and so we ventured in, telling ourselves we could always leave if it got too much (the cinema is one of four about three blocks from our place).

we stayed. and we’re so glad we did. we saw Drei (3) (a Foreign Film, yes – we do speak a tiny bit of german) and enjoyed it immensely. the ending was a bit ho-hum to be honest. but the whole effect was a beautiful portrait of three, entwined, 40 (?) somethings who were lost and found each other and then themselves. plus it was european so very duo-chrome and stark and east berlin style housing and vintage paperbacks with curious covers and good art director glasses and unkempt yet well-cut hair and Very Intelligent People. worth seeing.

sitting in the cool darkness of the cinema we had this sensation of our glands growing (because, as you probably recall, they were removed during the 5 hour surgery as they were twisted and sore and destroyed by our tumours/tumors/Tobias and his sisters). it was kinda nice. the idea that while we sat quietly in the dark. bits of us are growing back. and soothing and healing and getting ready for what’s next. whatever that is.

***we DID write to you this morning, darlings. but “something happened” with the laptop. we’re not sure what it was. but it was sort of magical and made us giggle. you see we woke up in something of a Fury. and we made a cup of coffee (after a Decent Interval post the pills we have to take) and we wrote (and Cried a Bit) and wrote and wrote – quite furiously – all about the glass closet and corporate america and homophobia and immigration and sexism and Getting To Be Too Much and What Happened When and there was even some dialogue (very carefully disguised as to Person and Place) and our reaction and their lack of it and there was more. Lots More. and we took a deep breath and felt Very Proud for being all Out There (ahem) and revealing and So There and we PRESSED SEND and went off to run a bubble bath and listen to Radio 4………..

and when we got back there was an error message. the Post had not been Posted.

fancy that.

sometimes darling one Has to Say Something. But the world doesn’t necessarily Have To Read It.

too funny.

it’s never happened before.

we are protected by angels.

back in NY: dreaming of Vreeland.

darlings.

we’re back from the Other Coast to the land of ambition and verve (where it is raining and cold and required the removal of the slim black trench coat with slight military details from the hall closet #sigh).

but this just in: the lovely people at Know Wear (British, we believe) went to the premiere and have also just posted the trailer to the new documentary “The Eye Must Travel” – yes! the DIANA VREELAND movie. at last.

our cup runneth over.