Helen Rose Vintage Runway Show

Designing Woman Helen Rose

Helen Rose (February 2, 1904 – November 9, 1985) – Photo courtesy of © 2018 Palm Springs Historical Society 

Though Helen Rose may not be a household name like her contemporary Edith Head, she was a costume design legend in her own right.

Lena Horne, Cyd Charisse, Deborah Kerr, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall , Esther Williams, Lana Turner, Judy Garland – They all loved to be dressed by Helen Rose.

She Made Them Beautiful

Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MARGARET HERRICK LIBRARY, ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES, WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
Photo: Tammy Preast. Elizabeth Taylor’s dress in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

Palm Springs Life presented a runway production of the Palm Springs Historical Society’s Helen Rose Collection donated by Barbara Marx (Mrs. Frank Sinatra) on Monday, February 25th.

I was among those who were lucky enough to have a ticket to her glamorous sold-out show.  Held behind the gates of the stunning private Thunderbird Country Club in Rancho Mirage, we sipped on champagne and ate a delicious lunch while waiting for her creations from classic films to come to life on the runway.

A brief history – La Vie en Rose:

A resident of Palm Springs, Rose won two Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, for The Bad and the Beautiful in 1952 and for I’ll Cry Tomorrow in 1955.  She was nominated a further eight times and was also very well known for designing famous wedding dresses of the era. She designed the famous wedding dress for Grace Kelly when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. She also designed clothing for Elizabeth Taylor in the movies Father of the Bride and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as well as Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding dress when she married Conrad “Nicky” Hilton. The show did not disappoint.  Susan Stein, fashion editor for Palm Springs Life Magazine, did a wonderful job as MC for this event. The models were as gorgeous as the gowns and outfits. Simply stunning afternoon.

Photo: d. king – Carol Channing’s dress and mink stole from Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.
Photo: d. king – Grace Kelly dress

Rose stepped in to do Lena Horne’s hair on set of the 1943 film Stormy Weather when the studio hairdresser refused to work on a black woman, and the star became her lifelong friend thereafter.

Photo: d. king – Audrey Hepburn’s dress from My Fair Lady.
Photo: Tammy Preast. Black strapless: Lana Turner’s ensemble from The Merry Widow
helenrosekathy2
Photo: Kathy Wright

 

Photo: Kathy Wright
Photos: d. king

These images are just a sampling of some of my favorites.   I met some very interesting women in that room.  Some I will see again for sure. In the meantime…

FASHION WEEK

takes place March 16-23rd – held at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert.  Tickets are on sale now https://fashionweekelpaseo.com/

MC Susan Stein, fashion editor of Palm Springs Life Magazine. Photo: Tammy Preast
Friend Tammy Preast. Dress by London designer, Karen Mullen. Shoes, Vince Camuto
Me with friend Kathy Wright

Food: Poke Please

First things first, it sounds like “Poh-keh”—not poki, not poke.

Photo: d. king

However you word it, the native to Hawaii food phenomenon is sweeping the country.  It’s like a sashimi salad with all the toppings.

I recently sampled a new place in Palm Springs called Haus of Poke and loved it.  Everything is behind a counter and you just let the server know what you want.  They have lots of tempting choices.  They certainly have a new customer.

Many people don’t know what Poke is exactly… so here for your information:

Photo: d. king

Fun fact: poke can be easily made at home.
Indeed, making ahi poke doesn’t require a fancy recipe: Get your hands on 500 grams of sashimi-grade tuna and cut it into bite-sized cubes. In a bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, a teaspoon of minced garlic, a handful of chopped green onions, and whatever other condiments you feel like. Whisk it all together and marinate the tuna cubes in it for an hour in the fridge, and voila! Fresh, delicious poke that you can serve over rice with some slices of avocado for good measure.

Sounds good to me!

Have you tried it?

 

Palm Springs Places: La Sarena Villas

The Getaway.  A serene escape in the center of town with a stunning mountain backdrop.  C’mon…can it get much better?

Photo: d. king

This is the second in my series of desirable places to stay, eat, drink and unwind in and around the Palm Springs area.

La Sarena Villas is an adult only, dog friendly, luxury boutique resort smack in the heart of Palm Springs. With only 18 secluded guest villas each with their own private patio, complete with a romantic claw foot tub, fire pit, and built in benches…it’s pretty much perfect.

Photo: d. king

Redeveloped as a luxury hotel in 2016 by award winning architect, May Sung, with all the modern amenities of a 5 star hotel.   Each piece of furniture, all materials and finishes have been carefully hand picked by interior design group, Avenue Interior Design.

I really love the Happy Hour at Sugar High, a special root top deck.  The bartenders know what they’re doing mixing up amazing cocktails.  Appies are good too.

Then there’s the restaurant Azucar which is dedicated to excellence, serving up modern contemporary cuisine with local ingredients.

Photo: d. king
Unique finds in the fetching little boutique. I can endure this. Photo: d.king

Let’s not forget Whispers Spa: A place of tranquil serenity to unwind and let go of the pressures from everyday life!  There’s also a lovely boutique with great finds.

They have bikes too. Photo: d. king

Yup; I’m hooked!

Available for private parties.  Check them out at:

https://laserenavillas.com/

 

Ahhhhh the life!  If you go please mention where you heard of this little gem.

KARL LAGERFELD – a fashion phenomenon is dead

“I would like to be a one-man multinational fashion phenomenon,” he once said.

Karl Lagerfeld, the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries and a man whose career formed the prototype of the modern luxury fashion industry, died on Tuesday in Paris.

He was extraordinary.  We would expect nothing less from a man who once said: “When I was four I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday.”

Mr. Lagerfeld in New York in 2002, when he received a lifetime achievement award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s 40th awards gala.Credit: Bill Cunningham/The New York Times

Vanessa Friedman for The New York Times wrote:

Though his birth year was a matter of some dispute, Mr. Lagerfeld, who lived in Paris, was generally thought to be 85. His death was announced by Chanel, with which he had long been associated.

“More than anyone I know, he represents the soul of fashion: restless, forward-looking and voraciously attentive to our changing culture,” Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue, said of Mr. Lagerfeld when presenting him with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards in 2015.

Creative director of Chanel since 1983 and Fendi since 1965, and founder of his own line, Mr. Lagerfeld was the definition of a fashion polyglot, able to speak the language of many different brands at the same time (not to mention many languages themselves: He read in English, French, German and Italian).

In his 80s, when most of his peers were retiring to their yachts or country estates, he was designing an average of 14 new collections a year, ranging from couture to the high street — and not counting collaborations and special projects. “Ideas come to you when you work,” he said backstage before a Fendi show at age 83.

His signature combinations of “high fashion and high camp” attracted admirers like Rihanna; Princess Caroline of Monaco; Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund; and Julianne Moore.

Mr. Lagerfeld with the singer Rihanna at a Fendi dinner in New York in 2015.Credit: Danny Kim for The New York Times

Mr. Lagerfeld was also a photographer, whose work was exhibited at the Pinacothèque de Paris; a publisher, having founded his own imprint for Steidl, Edition 7L; and the author of a popular 2002 diet book, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” about how he had lost 92 pounds.

His greatest calling, however, was as the orchestrator of his own myth.

A self-identified “caricature,” with his dark glasses, powdered ponytail, black jeans, fingerless gloves, starched collars, Chrome Hearts jewelry and obsessive Diet Coke consumption, he achieved such a level of global fame — and controversy — that a $200 Karl Barbie doll, created in collaboration with the toymaker Mattel, sold out in less than an hour in 2014.

He was variously referred to as a “genius,” the “kaiser” and “overrated.” His contribution to fashion was not in creating a new silhouette, as designers like Cristobal Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel herself did.  Rather, he created a new kind of designer: the shape-shifter.

That is to say, he was the creative force who lands at the top of a heritage brand and reinvents it by identifying its sartorial semiology and then pulls it into the present with a healthy dose of disrespect and a dollop of pop culture.

Not that he put it that way exactly. What he said was: “Chanel is an institution, and you have to treat an institution like a whore — and then you get something out of her.”

“I don’t want to be real in other people’s lives. I want to be an apparition.”

 

 

 

 

 

Feel-good Friday: pills, booze + sex

For many they go hand in hand. Nah…not really my thing – at least not the first one two.  

With Kathy Wright
With Tammy Preast

I was among friends Wednesday evening for an interactive cult classic “Valley of the Dolls” movie night here in Palm Springs at the Historic Camelot Theatre (newly re branded as the cultural center).  Along with cheating and cat fights…the evening offered up all the trappings of a controversially dated movie… or is it.? Cocktails beforehand.  Mine was a Long Island Iced Tea.  Bartender suggested something strong, stiff + straight up to get through the night.  The last time I had one was many years ago in Toronto after the Genie Awards (Canadian equivalent of Academy Awards).  My poor friend Margeaux had to pack my suitcase for me because we had a flight out the very next morning and I was in no shape to do so.  But I digress….

This is the second time since then but only because the bartender kept bragging about how perfect his L.I.I.T. was because he learned from the person who created it.  In Long Island no less.  But again, I digress….

As my friend Tammy mentioned – and this film goes to prove, fame & fortune do not a fulfilling life make.  Dolls (pills) help to ease the ups and owns of the reality of every day life.  Speaking of which I had at least two bottles to myself last night.  Actually they were candy. We were given bottles to rattle every time someone in the film grabbed a pill (which was a lot).  Also for the virgins (who hadn’t seen the movie before) we were given whistles to blow every time there was a scene with a train.  It was a really fun evening even though the movie itself turned out to be sad in the end.  And of course for other reasons because Sharon Tate was one of the stars.  And sadly, speaking of the trappings of success along with beauty, we know what became of her horrific ending.

photo a bit fuzzy – but so were we

The book was very popular in the 60’s.  Written by Jacqueline Susann, (she had a cameo as a reporter) I’ll never forget the cover.

Professional photos to come but I couldn’t wait to post these taken from various cell phones.  That was another thing...only rotary phones in the movie.  Remember them?

Have you been to one of these interactive movie/cocktail nights?  

 

 

 

 

Jill & Robert – Dinomite Rock Stars

Just Imagine

I sometimes wonder why I’m so drawn to certain crystals.  Maybe it’s because I love their simplistic down-to-earth beauty.  After all, they’ve been gracing the planet for centuries. I feel like they enhance my space. Even though I don’t know everything about them, rocks, gems and crystals have in varying degrees, graced spaces in places of my home for many years.  If they come with healing properties, all the more power to them! As I’m learning more about what they stand for it’s interesting to note that people seem to be more attracted to some stones over others. There might be a reason behind this.

Which brings me to this story.

Jill and Robert Carroll were recently married in Arizona. Robert is the son of my dear friend Lynda and I’ve been hearing about how fantastic Jill is for over a year now which is when they met. Jill and Robert reside in Boise, Idaho and run a very successful rock and gem business called Dinomite. This rock solid (pun intended) couple are constantly traveling to source new material for their ever growing company. What Jill started and accomplished is very inspiring to me and I was intrigued to learn more.  Especially since she coerced her husband to quit his banking job to work alongside her in this booming business.

Robert + Jill – taken from website

In Jill’s words:

Starting out as a lifetime hobby, in 2009 I decided to make this my career.
Investing all my saving and leaving a good paying job to start my own business turned out to be more rewarding then I could ever imagine. Not only do I get to meet the best of the best in mining around the world but I also get to speak with peaceful like minded customers every day to help them find the perfect crystal or stone. My husband left his “boring” banking job and now we get to work side by side everyday with our 4 employees including my best friend, my sister… oh and our dogs are always somewhere roaming the shop or rock yard.

Thank you for supporting our family run business. Jill Carroll

amethyst
malachite

We just returned from our winter buying shows. Our suppliers around the world have once again spent countless hours collecting the finest material for us. We are excited to bring you new inventory that we have hand selected ourselves.

SHOP Dinomite Rocks and Gems on ebay:  

https://www.ebay.com/str/dinomiterocksandgems

Like them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/DinomiteRocksandGems/

Just like them in generalReally; what’s not to like?

 

Tammy’s Wall Art

I’m inspired by other people’s choices of home décor including artwork.  Art tells a lot about a persons personality.

Artist: Michael Poitier from Montreal

My friend Tammy (who obviously has a penchant for champagne, dogs & Palm Springs) has invited me over for several really scrumptious dinners including the one where I first met Daniel (the artist) and his partner Karl.  In fact, this dynamic duo was responsible for re-designing Tammy and her husband David’s beautiful condo which is also situated on the same golf course.  There’s something tranquil about facing a golf course.  Tammy and David reside in Palm Springs for the winter preferring to escape the rainy (and now snowy) Vancouver landscape.

For this post I wanted to feature some of their artwork

by Gary Dorothy; Imageville Gallery  (this is in their hallway)
Will Alistair in the living room.
Pamela Masik original.  If you look closely you can find images of people + animals.
Artist: Connie Townsend
Artish: Connie Townsend.  Bichon pets Timbit & Lily Bella in a car that used to belong to Tammy. fyi: they weren’t really driving.
Tracy Verdugo

How about you? Are you inspired by other people’s artwork?

 

 

Monday Mood: MODERNISM

It’s that time of year again….Palm Springs hosts it’s 14th annual signature event featuring midcentury modern architecture, interior, and landscape design, art and vintage culture from February 14-24, 2019.

Photo credit: Bethany Nauert

Join us for modernist tours, talks, shows, exhibits, films, parties, and much much more.

Photo credit: Christopher Kennedy
Grace Home Furnishings
Photo credit: Lance Gerber

Tickets still available:

https://www.modernismweek.com/

I’m telling you folks….if you’ve never been….it’s something not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

It’s a Garbe Luxe Life

In a perfect world I would live only in Garbe Luxe

But life is never perfect…although it’s getting there because I’ve recently added a few more GL pieces to my wardrobe.  And I must say it’s not only because Natalia, the designer behind the brand is a good friend of mine. She is the best advertisement though…with or without even realizing it.

On a recent visit to Palm Springs we put on an impromptu mini fashion show in a hotel room with another friend and my sister.  And because the product is so well made (in Los Angeles no less; a rarity), and the fit is just right along with comfy quality fabric it’s a no-brainer…we of course wanted it all…even stuff that wasn’t for sale (like from Nat’s own wardrobe from last season) and a few items still in progress.  Didn’t matter – we still wanted it.

There’s always been a fine line to what is popularly coined “athleisure” as to whether you can wear it to places other than to and from the gym or running errands. But with this brand I would wear it for casual day wear any time.  It’s the missing link.  The replacement for jeans + a t-shirt for daytime for walking the dogs, meeting a friend for lunch, shopping, dropping kids to school (providing you have kids), here and there….also for the gym.  Some images from the Holiday Lookbook:

The missing link:

https://garbeluxe.com/