C'est Inspiré is simply that - what is inspiring. Where the words end, images continue to speak. Seeing all that is around us, we seek some aspect of something that is life enhancing... something that you would like to be reminded of - to revisit. Something to capture and bring into your world, not leave behind... . That is why I take a camera everywhere; have spent countless hours organizing images in scrapbooks and pouring over them later to revisit the place, the people, the memory.
So, C'est Inspiré may be a single photo - or it may be 50, it may mean one thing to me, another to you - the meaning isn't important. Did it inspire? Did it make you smile? Did it bring back a pleasant memory? One or all of the above will do.
During a brief period of his life, the legendary art historian Bernard Berenson kept diaries where he wrote about how to see - and what he saw. These diaries were published under the title The Passionate Sightseer and edited by Raymund Mortimer.
Anyone, anywhere, anytime can be a passionate sightseer - just look.
What a week!
Arrived in Aspen on Friday.
Over the weekend.
Worked on my next book, to be published this fall. A conference call with Monticello regarding the planning of our special Cabinet dinner with Alice Waters. Alice is planning the menu and will be working with the kitchen staff to create a dinner for 250. We can't wait.
A conference call with Dejuan Stroud, event planner and true Southern gentleman. Dejuan is styling the New York City Ballet Gala on May 10th. The evening 'a la Francaise' will be just that, from the ballet program to the decorations – a secret si'l vous plaît – and of course, the cuisine.
The weekend finished with a magazine interview about my new collection of furniture for the Century Icons Collection. We are getting geared up for our launch in Atlanta on May 2nd.
Continuing work on my book and taking breaks to check in on the preparation for our annual Southern Buffet — a feast worth the food hangover. I plan the menu, my husband selects the wine. Mark Sanne, the chef, has cooked for us for over 20 years. I can’t believe it has been that long, we have had a lot of fun in that period of time.
That night we had our dinner for 36. David and Denise Clark of FLORAL ART in Aspen outdid themselves once again finding the elements that are special to me. Most importantly, however, are their surprises…what’s available and looking fabulous. A pair of small mock orange trees for the mantel, huge lavender clematis blossoms to fill the creamware tureen in the middle of the table, and cherry blossoms in urns – all signs of spring.
Fly to Los Angeles for WestWeek. Land at LAX and meet Matthew at Delta arrivals. All the way to the hotel he brings me up to date on things and preps me for a video to be shot the next day. With a couple of hours before the evening's events off to what Beverly Hills has to offer – Etro, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, and Fendi.
Picked up two pairs of Prada platform sandals and a few other items.
That evening there were a lot of events. You can't do it all, but we did stop in at Rose Tarlow to say hello to Ralph Rucci who was there signing his latest book. Then to 'Hollywood At Home' and Peter Dunham's party for Newell Turner, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful.
A relaxing evening with friends over Italian food and a Barolo. We finished the evening at La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills.
To the Pacific Design Center at 8:30am to prep for the Editor at Large sponsored panel entitled “Take Five: Four Designers Talk About Influence, Fantasy, and How to Stay Inspired.” The panel started at 10am then we retreated to the Fabricut showroom for a reception until 1 PM. Me, David Netto, Suzanne Kasler, and Gaye Tapp all shared our inspirations with a very responsive standing-room-only crowd.
Shopping on La Cienega
Off to 'Hollywood at Home' and Peter Dunham (again – this time to work) where I made great fabric discoveries. A divine fig leaf print of Peter's and then Carolina Irving's 'Aegean Stripe.' At Lisa Fine I found 'Aswan' in indigo, 'Corcho' (cork) from Elizabeth Hamilton and a pink and orange print from John Robshaw. Yardage was quickly ordered and is on its way to Lee Anderson to make me a pair of lively summer pants.
On to Suzanne Rheintein’s HOLLYHOCK, where I always find beautiful things. This time, a large tole wall mounted samovar, a pair of photophares, placemats from William Yeoward, and a divine paper collage in a shadowbox frame by the artist, Robert Briggs.
Down the street, 'The Collection' is an antique collective cum virtual mash-up of objets from all walks of life and vintages. Decorative accessories and vintage jewelry are my usual bounty. This time Schiaparelli, YSL, and Robert Lee Morris earrings. They don't make them like they used to.
So many shops…so little time.
Back to the hotel for a much needed foot massage and to get dressed for dinner chez Wilkinson.
The 'attire,' a la kaftan, for a dinner party at DAWNRIDGE…could you POSSIBLY wear anything else???
Hutton and Ruth Wilkinson, hosts extraordinaire, to 24 guests, all of whom were trés vocal and animated the entire evening. Hot tamales and California wines flowed. We could have talked all night, almost did.
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A back up of 131 emails! How does this happen? Are we slaves to these little electronic creatures?? Another story, another day. Off to a 10 am meeting with a builder at a client’s home….PUNCH LIST….
I stopped in at Wanda Wen's 'Soolip' on the way to lunch. There I found an adorable baby gift, picked up some great cards for upcoming birthdays, some journals and other paper products too – all just irresistible.
12:30 lunch at The Ivy with Suzanne Rheinstein and Gaye Tapp. We sat in the sun outside along the picket fence backed banquette sipping Arnold Palmers amidst the roses, bougainvillea, and pelagorniums…catching up and talking (a mile a minute!) all things decoration, design, gardens and shopping in LA.
I always pop into INDIGO SEAS…next door. Lynn Von Kersting owns both. They have books, pillows, Porthault pool towels, all kinds of things to spruce up my house in East Hampton for the season.
Then, blast off to La Brea…
A few stops along La Brea in the time permitting…'The Way We Wore', Doris Raymond's vintage store. Chock-a-block with clothing arranged by period which allows you to focus right in on your search for colorful Pucci's for summer vacation, kaftans, and long skirts for entertaining, or some 70's “a go-go”…well…for girls on the go-go. Upstairs is where you will find all vintage designer clothing…Balenciaga, Gernreich, Courreges, Trigere, and more. The vintage shopping frame-of-mind requires you to be open-minded. Unless you are on the search for something very specific, being open to what is there can often result in what Diana Vreeland called, “What I never knew I wanted” (mas menus que mas). The treasure uncovered this time was a Paco Rabanne white pique two-piece wrap skirt and top, shot with holes stitched in red…dinner in Sardinia…that works. Back downstairs I found two pair of earrings and a round lucite clutch for the evening. After a brief discussion about what we would…could…should put in it, we all agreed that every little something must be beautiful, of course.
Two blocks down the street is Golyester, a different and totally unique experience. It is like an explosion of antique textiles, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and of course, clothes. I found fabrics to make a few numbers for summer, an adorable newsprint fabric, and one of trompe l'oeil bricks. Who knows?? But the decorator in me made me buy it. Sound familiar? I love their selection of vintage cashmere sweaters, remember the embroidered ones lined in china silk? I was drawn to a coral one embroidered in white beads and a navy Schiaparelli with red and white dots of various sizes. A small collapsible, animal hide clutch, perfect for traveling, two graphic print silk shirts and the piéce-de-resistance, a long chinoiserie silk coat embroidered in white…pagodas and palm trees for days. Of course, I plan on wearing it for years!
Back to the hotel to answer emails, a few phone calls and to prepare for dinner. On the way to OSTERIA MOZZA, Mario Batali's eatery I visited with another chef, Alex Hitz. I had a drink with Alex and my friend (his houseguest), Lisa Fine, on the way to dinner. Alex's successful BEVERLY HILLS KITCHEN and his show on HSN are providing delicious meals to thousands…including ME. How I love the ease of cooking that he has created…and the spontaneity that he has given a fabulous meal. From the freezer to the oven…it doesn't get any easier than that. But If you decide that you want to do more cooking…well, just wait for his upcoming cookbook, THE BEVERLY HILLS KITCHEN, to be published by Knopf this fall. It is “Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist.” I have had a 'sneak peek,' and I can't wait to get my hands on the recipes for his corn pudding, oyster stew, and peach ice cream.
Sorry Alex, I know the pineapple upsidedown cake must be good, BUT, nobody can beat my mom's recipe!!! Stay tuned…more later.
Dinner at Mozza was delicious and presented a wine unfamiliar to me. I find wine lists…the good ones, that is, to be seductive. Like reading a gripping page-turner. Consulting with the sommelier produced this smooth result.
Back to the hotel for a good nights sleep and an early morning flight.
Headed to East Hampton for some QUIET and to wrap up the work on my book….still at it…
April 5, 2012
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2298 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Smitten Ice Cream
432 Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
470 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133
March 15, 2012
A must visit shop in San Francisco is Claudia Schwartz’s boutique, Bell’occhio, on Brady Street. For twenty-one years Claudia has stocked her shelves with anything and everything that her heart desires – from decorative ribbon to beautifully crafted novelty and gift boxes. As the name suggests…her menagerie of objects are “beautiful to the eye.”
My purchases ran the gamut from antique French ribbon, a black canvas tool bag, hand painted monogrammed jute gift bags and artisanal chocolates. When you go to Bell’occhio you don’t go in search of anything in particular; but just to be there and let yourself be amused and charmed by new discoveries, that of course, have to go home with you.
10 Brady Street
San Francisco, CA 94103