Thursday, February 28, 2013

2013 Oscars Recap

Here it is, Thursday, and I’ve made you wait until know to hear yet another Oscar recap. My apologies but let’s get right to it and start at the beginning. Literally. From the moment Seth MacFarlane opened in his mouth I was left wondering, ‘how much did he pay someone to get this gig’ because the show seemed largely to be an opportunity for him to sing and dance and exercise what appears to be a puerile and sexist sense of humor. Oh, I know, it’s Hollywood and they are puerile and sexist but an entire song and dance number dedicated to the premise that actresses only win an Oscar when they bare their breasts? That’s not camouflaged—that is in-your-face sexism and demeaning to every woman in the audience who had won Best Oscar. Also, it reminded me too much of that childhood song about three fishermen which culminates in a chorus using the word ‘dam’ which to a kid is as good as ‘damn’ and meant that you were screaming the word by the time you got to that point in the song and feeling like a real rebel. So, Seth got to say ‘boob’ two hundred times. Really? That’s funny? Again, it’s kind of sad and for me, the show went downhill after that. Even after the dreadful dance numbers, the scripted chatter from presenters made me wonder, ‘Is there a writer’s strike?’ I finally gave up and only tuned in at the end to see Argo win. 

In a different way, the female finery disappointed as well. Not the dresses as I saw plenty of interesting looks which I’ll share but overall, the styling was off, mainly in hair. Nicole Kidman is a classic (if Botoxed) beauty so messy hair doesn’t work and we’ve been visually abused for years by Jennifer Aniston’s “beachy” hair so why not try something else? Kristen Stewart, aside from her I’m-either-stoned-or-bored look had hair that looked like it had been through a blender and for all the lovely ladies (Kerry Washington, Sandra Bullock et al) who went with stick straight hair it just looked limp and unfinished.

Enough verbiage, here are my takes on Oscar fashion.
This has been beaten to death so I will only say that it is bad darts and a poorly constructed gown which is saying a lot considering it is Prada. It looks like a 4-H sewing project and even a gorgeous Tiffany's necklace can't help.

I chose Helen Hunt as my second picture as a counterpoint to the Anne Hathaway debacle. This dress is from H&M, a retail chain known for low prices, and yet, Hunt looks amazing. So there's no embellishment- that's why you have diamonds! Glam all the way around- including hair which was welcome this year.
This is about as classic and perfect as you can get in fashion. The dress is simple but impeccable (this is the bodice Hathaway wanted- exquisite) and with her short sleek hair and diamond encrusted wrists, Charlize Theron nailed it.

I don't know who's Jennifer Lawrence's stylist but they're good. Like Charlize, she's wearing Christian Dior Couture and they were the designer to beat. This photograph doesn't show the dress to best advantage but, again, we have a perfectly fit bodice, with the only embellishment being the textures fabric and the fact that the gown is actually white with an inset layer of soft pink. More great styling- soft hair, smoky eye, nude lip, and minimal jewelry.
Discounting Kidman's hair (ugh) these are two of the metallica looks that were prevalent on the red carpet. Naomi Watts is the clear winner in Armani Prive with a stunning asymmetrical neckline that was chic not costume-y. Her entire look is elegant and modern. I also like Kidman's L'Wren Scott dress with it's wet-look sequins and perfect fit. She's just not working it.

Sandra Bullock also went with the smoky eye, nude lip look but it's a bit off against her straight hair. A brighter lip might have helped. Her Elie Saab dress got mixed reviews but I thought it was a nice mix of sexy and restrained. There is no doubt that Renee Zellweger is working out and eating right but her face looks pained. The dress is Carolina Herrera and another example of outstanding craftsmanship. With it's liquid metallic fabric, it would show every flaw and yet Zellweger looks as if it was poured over her.
I couldn't pass it up- and this is one of Kristen Stewart's more engaged expressions. Her hair is a mess and the dress looks like it's going to fall off. There is effortless and then there's not even trying and Stewart is the latter.

Zoe Seldana's Alexis Mabile dress was one of my favorites. Simple form but with just the right amount of embellishments including the tri-tone fabric in the hem. She looks graceful but with an edge.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Oscars: Robin Roberts

Don’t fret- a post with all the details (good and bad) from the Oscars will follow soon but as I was going through the photos and my notes from last night I realized I could not just drop this person in amongst all the other fluff. One year ago, at the Oscars, Robin Roberts felt unusually fatigued. Later she would learn she had a very rare form of bone marrow cancer that leads to leukemia. She took an extended leave of absence from ABC, underwent a bone marrow transplant, and only returned to work last week. 
This is a woman who has faced death, struggled with pain, uncertainty, and fear and yet exudes an effortless grace and charm. She is, without a doubt, my favorite look of the night. Her Marc Bouwer dress is gorgeous- the fabric has beautiful drape, the color is rich, and the style timeless. While she accepted well-wishes, she made it clear the night was not about her- which extraordinary in and of itself. On a night when the best of Hollywood was swathed, cloaked, and bejeweled she was the classiest act in town.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February GIVEAWAY!

Happy weekend, everyone! If you’re faced with impending bad weather back east or anxiously awaiting Fashion Week (which could be impacted by the bad weather) I have something to cheer you up. As next week is scheduled to be Fall 2013 Fashion Week in NYC—which will actually make sense if they have snow, I thought I’d offer a stylish giveaway for one of my readers. Recently, I reviewed The Style Mentors and Lessons from Madame Chic, two new, charming yet very practical looks at style—what it means, how to find yours, and how to integrate it in your life. Nothing too hoity-toity, mind you, just really good and useful light reading. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with tons of photos of well-dressed, famous fashionistas with tips on how to cultivate your own style? Or, a look at how Parisians view style and live by it? If you want to read more about either book click on the title link for my review.
If these books sound like great reading (and they are!) then you’ll be happy to know that for a minimum of effort you could win both! I’m even giving you a number of options for winning. Pick one (or more, nothing wrong with that!), then leave a quick comment so I know you entered.
  1. if you love books and haven’t already you can subscribe to The Gilmore Guide to Books. It’s blessedly pain-free: you’ll only get an email when I post a new review. Go to my site via the link above and enter your email address in the box above the Subscribe button.
  2. Join me on Facebook. Again, you won’t be deluged with status updates and kitschy stuff (OK, there may be a few adorable photos of cats and books but only a few). Go to your Facebook account, search The Gilmore Guide to Books and when my page comes up, click on the LIKE button.
  3. If you’re on Twitter and wouldn’t mind a bit more varied chatter from The Gilmore Guide then go to twitter and follow me: @GilmoreGuide. Again, I’m not posting about what I had for breakfast (unless it was REALLY good or ended up on my sweat pants) but my tweets are a bit more off the cuff and combine my interest in books with fashion, pop culture, food, Portland, and wine. Nothing too onerous. 
There you have it! Three ways to win two fabulous books for free. Given the hinky weather, upcoming romantic holiday, and other vagaries I’m going to pick one random winner on the 28th. That gives all of you time to enter and gives me time to get my Spring Fashion trends, picks and pans, as well as favorite collections pulled together AND means one of you will have something to look forward to in March. Enter now!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Dale Chihuly is a master craftsman, artist, and pioneer in the world of glass. His pieces can be seen in exhibitions and installations around the world. His work spans three decades and has changed the craft of glassblowing forever.

Recently I was in Seattle and had the chance to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. It was a typical Pacific Northwest day- completely overcast and threatening to rain at any moment, but was perfect for viewing these pieces as the subdued light made the glasswork stand out more. It was a magical afternoon, walking amongst gigantic but delicate sculptures of glass. 

A spiky cactus tree and enormous grape rock candy greet you in the garden (they're glass, of course, but it does look like candy, right?)
An outdoor walkway of fantasical chandeliers
Mauve (my favorite!)
Beautiful sunny flowers in contrast to the rain outside
The flash destroyed the effect, but the ball is lit from underneath and so appears to glow. Mystical
 Monet's Water Lilies or a glass bowl?

This feels like an orchard. Like the picture above these bowls were achieved by rolling a globe of molten glass over small shards of multicolored glass which then melts. The effect is serene and one of my favorites.
 A lovely cornucopia with bowls nested inside, in a Native American motif and colors.

Chihuly's first works were of glass painted with Navajo blanket patterns. He owns a large collection of blankets some of which are on display at the museum. 
Like an ocean wave this piece captures the texture and motion of water. With the lights and camera flash it is hard to convey the subtlety of colors flowing through a piece this size--from the softest blue to an almost purple at the base and inner pieces.

Close-ups of the conch shell and starfish from the ocean piece.

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