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Leonardo Da Vinci Dec01

Leonardo Da Vinci

I’ve always had a very deep reverence for the great Leonardo da Vinci. I mean, who doesn’t – right? As a college art history major my primary focus was on the Italian Renaissance… I even took a seminar based solely on da Vinci’s oeuvre. Aside from being a masterful artist, da Vinci was also a crackerjack scientist, mathematician, and architect… among a myriad of other things. London’s National Gallery recently mounted the most extensive, most important exhibition of Leonardo’s work ever held. Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan opened on November 9th, and will run through February 5th. Inspired by the recent restoration of their own da Vinci painting, The Virgin of the Rocks, this exhibition primarily focuses on the work that he produced as court painter to Ludovico Sforza – a Milanese duke during the 1480s and 90s. For the first time, both versions of The Virgin of the Rocks will be shown together – as the Musée du Louvre has loaned their (later) version. Other highlights include La Belle Ferronnière, The Madonna Litta, and my favorite painting (perhaps of all time), The Lady with an Ermine – a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, mistress to Ludovica Sforza. I once wrote a 30 page paper on this woman. Let’s split a bottle of wine, and I’ll tell you all about her! If you’re an art enthusiast, and can get to London in the next few months – do yourself the favor. We’re currently planning a quick January jaunt across the pond… for the sole purpose of seeing this fabulous show. Nerd alert! The Virgin of the Rocks, c. 1483-1485   The Musician, c. 1486-1487   Saint Jerome, c. 1488-1490   The Lady with an Ermine, c. 1489-1490   The Madonna Litta, c. 1491-1495   The Virgin of...

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Sweetie, Darling… Nov16

Sweetie, Darling…

When it comes to true comedic genius, it really doesn’t get much better than the exploits and adventures of the deliciously depraved duo of Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone! Absolutely Fabulous (Ab Fab) had its original run from 1992 – 1995, but since then has enjoyed a number of periodic reboots. In recent months fans of the British sitcom have been eagerly anticipating new episodes – set to air during the holidays. But just last week Ab Fab creator, Jennifer Saunders announced that she will be working on a feature-length film, Ab Fab: The Movie – to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the show. Enjoy these photos (the first 6 in homage to Ab Fab, and the rest of Ab Fab throughout the years) – oh, and interspersed by some classic quotes from the show… ‘Sometimes you need a soupçon of guilt to make carte blanche depravity taste that little bit better.’ – Edina    ‘We’ve got some lovely cooking pots coming in from Somalia. I mean they don’t need them, they’ve got no food to put in them after all.’ – Edina    ‘The last mosquito that bit me had to book into the Betty Ford clinic.’ – Patsy   ‘Smoke can’t touch the baby, if it could, you’d have come out looking like prosciutto, believe me.’ – Edina to Saffy   Could Julia Roberts’ lips get any bigger? It looks as if she’s giving birth to her own head! – Patsy    ‘Why does everything you wear look like it’s bearing a grudge, darling?’ – Edina to Saffy   ‘I’ve spent a fortune trying to get in touch with my sexual being. Do you remember I spent that week celebrating my private parts, do you remember, darling?’ – Edina    ‘I know the kind of little play...

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Rouge et Rose Nov14

Rouge et Rose

Color-blocking has been such a huge trend this year, and my favorite example of this is the rather unexpected combination of reds and pinks. Aside from Valentine’s Day, it’s not a color combination that you see too often – but when it’s done right, it is oh so right! My favorite example of this trend, and the look that inspired this post is Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli. The colors play perfectly off of her alabaster complexion and auburn hair. So many designers have used reds and pinks in their recent collections – from Valli and Prabal Gurung to Katie Ermilio and J.Crew. Here are some examples of this trend – as seen in fashion, art and design. Enjoy! Emma Stone (in Giambattista Valli), Sarah Jessica Parker (in Prabal Gurung), Zoe Saldana (in Prabal Gurung)   Dree Hemingway, June Ambrose, Rose Byrne (in Bottega Veneta)   Rihanna, Rashida Jones (in Stella McCartney), Sarah Harding   Rihanna (in Sonia Rykiel)   looks from Katie Ermilio   looks from Katie Ermilio   looks from J.Crew   looks from Jason Wu and Ruffian   menswear looks from Tom Ford and Versace   Bottega Veneta advertisment   Alexander McQueen clutch   Hermès scarf   Cecily Brown painting   Miles Redd’s living room   another living...

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Lyons’ Den Nov12

Lyons’ Den

If you follow this blog you know that I have major love for Jenna Lyons (president and creative director of J.Crew) – and as any good design devotee will tell you, Lyons’ home is almost as fabulous as she is. Our first look at the beautiful 1880s townhouse was in the November 2008 issue of Domino magazine, and since then the spectacular home has appeared in countless magazines and blogs. Jenna and her husband (artist Vincent Mazeau) bought the Park Slope, Brooklyn townhouse in 2004 – and now with a divorce pending, have decided to put the house on the market. I’ve always been a Manhattan snob, but I think that I’d have to jump ship if given the opportunity to live in this gorgeous home. Anyone looking for a townhouse in the $4 million range? Check out the Sotheby’s listing, and enjoy the photos! Jenna in her master bedroom   Domino magazine, November 2008   the façade of the Park Slope townhouse   a view of the living room   another view of the living room   the dining room   the kitchen   another view of the kitchen   kitchen nook   looking down into the garden   another view of the garden   the master bedroom   the en suite bathroom   another view of the master bathroom   the terrace off of the master bedroom   Jenna’s dressing room   son, Beckett’s room   another bathroom   the foyer   the media / play room   entrance to the garden floor   the floor plans   Photos via...

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Pan Am Nov10

Pan Am

In the 1960s Pan Am was the largest, most prestigious airline in the world – with the most beautiful and most glamorous stewardesses. My favorite new show, and actually the only new show that I’ve been watching this Fall, is ABC’s Pan Am. It’s a super stylish, global look at this moment in time – a time when air travel and luxury went hand in hand. The 60s were positively rife with social and political change, and while this show certainly tends to romanticize the past, it’s still a lot of fun! Check out this video for a quick look at the show, and enjoy these photos from the first few episodes! Pan Am airs Sundays at 9:00 on ABC.                            ...

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Lovely Loulou Nov07

Lovely Loulou

The fashion world lost a true legend this past weekend – designer and Yves Saint Laurent muse, the lovely Loulou de la Falaise. A true original, Loulou appeared on Eleanor Lambert’s Best Dressed List, and was once referred to as “the quintessential Rive Gauche haute bohémienne.” De la Falaise began working for Yves Saint Laurent in 1972, and served as a muse to the designer for decades – helping to inspire a number of signature pieces including his “Le Smoking” jacket. Of Loulou, Italian Vogue’s Cesare Cunaccia observed – “She was cool, ironic, fragile and strong, imaginatively décalé, balanced halfway between following the rules and ostentatious originality, sophisticated and négligé all at the same time, and she caused a profound cultural revolution in YSL, opening up a new aesthetic dimension. … Her enthusiasm, her frivolity, her bold sense of colour – and even her relationships – became increasingly necessary to the couturier. Always positive, conciliatory and ready to laugh even in the most difficult moment, Loulou was to become the impetus for YSL to rethink and rediscover colour” Enjoy these photos of Loulou de la Falaise throughout the years… photographed by Avedon for American Vogue, 1970   photographed by Jean-Pierre Masclet   photographed by Avedon for American Vogue, 1970   lovely Loulou, 1975   photographed by Helmut Newton   lovely Loulou, 1974   with Yves Saint Laurent and fellow YSL muse, Betty Catroux   with Marisa Berenson   with Yves Saint Laurent and fellow YSL muse, Betty Catroux   with Yves Saint Laurent, 1991   à la Dietrich   photographed by Christopher Wahl   lovely Loulou   with Yves Saint Laurent, 2006   with Betty Catroux at the Toronto premier of L’Amour Fou, 2010   lovely...

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Valli for Macy’s Nov04

Valli for Macy’s

Last week one of my favorite fashion designers, Giambattista Valli unveiled his latest project – a collection for Macy’s. Valli’s collection marks the 4th in a series of limited edition capsule collections created exclusively for the retailer’s ‘Impulse’ department. Other designers have included Karl Lagerfeld and Matthew Williamson. And in January, CFDA darling, Doo-Ri Chung will join their ranks. It has been a big year for Giambattista, who, aside from the Macy’s capsule, a resort and 2 ready-to-wear collections, also showed his first couture collection in July. Since his days at Ungaro, GV has had a loyal following among the society set. “Valli girls” include Lee Radziwill, Margherita Missoni, and Olivia Palermo – all of whom favor his super chic, ladylike creations. Enjoy these photos of the Macy’s capsule as well as some looks from his most recent ready-to-wear collection. looks from Giambattista Valli’s capsule collection for Macy’s   looks from Giambattista Valli’s capsule collection for Macy’s   looks from Giambattista Valli’s capsule collection for Macy’s   looks from Giambattista Valli’s capsule collection for Macy’s   looks from Giambattista Valli’s capsule collection for Macy’s   looks from Giambattista Valli’s capsule collection for Macy’s   Giambattista Valli – Spring 2012 – Ready-To-Wear   Giambattista Valli – Spring 2012 – Ready-To-Wear   Giambattista Valli – Spring 2012 – Ready-To-Wear   Giambattista Valli – Spring 2012 –...

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Aerin in Aspen Nov03

Aerin in Aspen

When it came to decorating her new Aspen ski chalet, Aerin Lauder turned to interior designer Daniel Romualdez. Working with a restrained and neutral palette, Romualdez created a luxuriously aery home for Lauder and her family (husband, Eric Zinterhofer and sons, Will and Jack). To her, it “feels like a tree house”… a cozy and relaxed retreat from the hustle and bustle of their busy, New York lives. Reclaimed wooden boards and clean white walls create a warm yet simple backdrop for the plethora of special, mid-century furniture – while sumptuous cashmeres and furs lend an air of rustic sophistication to the gorgeous home. “Aerin was very clear that she wanted a very simple house,” says Romualdez. “It’s really just a ski house, very informal, with an open kitchen so she can make breakfast for everyone and chat. She chose to avoid the billionaire neighborhoods like Red Mountain and go for something more local and low-key.” Next year Ms. Lauder (scion of the vast Estée Lauder fortune) will launch her very own luxury lifestyle company – one that will include beauty products, accessories, tabletop, and housewares. To read more about Aerin’s Aspen home, as well as her latest venture, check out this article. In the mean time, enjoy the beautiful photos courtesy of Vogue. Aerin in a Burberry sweater and Daryl K pants   the living room features a Jean-Michel Frank sofa, and Hans Wegner chairs   the mudroom   Will and Jack in the game room   the library   Sledding on the toboggan run with her sons, Will and Jack   a bathroom   another view of the living room with a George Nakashima table   Aerin in Olivier Theyskens and a fur cap by The Row   an Andreas Gursky photograph in the master...

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Carmen Dell’ Orefice Nov02

Carmen Dell’ Orefice

Before there was Linda, Naomi or Gisele, there was Carmen. She graced the cover of Vogue 6 times, appeared in countless beauty campaigns, and was photographed by many of the greats – including Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Norman Parkinson, and Lillian Bassman. The veteran model and style icon celebrated her 80th birthday this past June, and as an octogenarian, continues to maintain a hectic modeling schedule. She regularly appears in pictorials, and ad campaigns, and even walks the occasional runway (as she did for Adrienne Vittadini earlier this year). And dare I say that she is more beautiful now than ever before! I’ve seen Carmen Dell’Orefice around town on a few occasions, and I truly cannot think of a more exquisite woman in all of New York. Her beauty and grace are absolutely arresting. With her shock of white hair, and those incredible cheekbones, she reminds me of a fairy tale queen – but one with a sense of humor. A few years ago Ms. Dell’Orefice told The Telegraph, “How many other ladies … can say that the snapshot on their senior citizen’s card was taken by Norman Parkinson?” Recently Carmen shot this short video / commercial for El Palacio de Hierro, an upscale chain of department stores in Mexico. The name of the video is “Plenitud” – which translates to “the prime of life”. How apropos for a woman who, 67 years into her career is still going stronger than ever!   Enjoy these simply stunning photographs (from past and present), as well as some fabulous illustrations from David Downton…                                                      ...

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Happy Halloween! Oct31

Happy Halloween!

Greetings friends! I know that things have been quiet on the John About Town front – it has been a super busy and hectic few months, and I have also been dealing with ongoing hacking issues on the site. But I’m excited to get back on track – and just in time for Halloween! I’ve always been big on holiday traditions, and when it comes to Halloween, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is EVERYTHING! If you missed it when it aired last week, you can watch it here. A lot of the Halloween parties and festivities were over this past weekend. Did you dress up? See any clever costumes? We were Angry Birds – not terribly creative, but definitely brought the laughs. If you’re out and about tonight, be safe – and have a Happy Halloween!    ...

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