Tuesday, July 31, 2012

René Lalique

René Lalique (1860 - 1945) was a French artist, glassmaker and jeweler. Going through everything he created in his life would become a very long post, so I'm only going to focus on his jewelry here. When creating his Art Nouveau pieces he took his inspiration from both the French countryside and the Japanese natural world. Lalique was a very innovative man and he incorporated many materials not often used in jewelry in his pieces, like glass, horn, enamel, ivory, semi-precious stones and pearls. When he used precious stones it was only for what they brought to the piece of jewelry, and not for their value as gems. Glassmaker Emile Galle called Lalique "the inventor of modern jewelry", and here follows some of his works.

Don't you just love that bird-collar in the next to last picture?!!! The last object is actually a diadem, shaped as a mermaid! In the future I know at least I will be searching for Lalique objects when I go antique-hunting!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Licorice Festival

Back in April I had been hired to model two different balloon-dresses at The Swedish Annual Licorice Festival at Münchenbryggeriet i Stockholm, to help promote the work of the amazing Maria "The Balloon-Princess" Byquist! I've been postponing doing a blog post about it because I'm still waiting for the photographer to send me pictures of the second dress. But since it seems they won't come, and I managed to find some photos of it on the net instead, I'll just do this post now anyway!

The evening before the two-day festival begun there was a press showing, and that's when Maria built the first balloon-dress directly on my body.

She uses special latex balloons that holds better than "normal" balloons, so I guess you could say this was the first time I wore a latex dress! I knew from before Maria could create almost anything out of balloons, but I was still astounded at how she just put this dress together, piece, by piece, on me! The bodice is weaved to a perfect fit with long, slim balloons, and inside the transparent balloons she put pieces of licorice, and even whole boxes of candy! For the press showing she wanted me to wear my pointe shoes too, to make me look like a balloon-ballerina!

Here you can see it from the back. The thin "ribbons" tied over my back are also - non inflated - balloons! When the dress was done and I walked out into the show room people gathered around me with their cameras like a pack of hyenas around a dead wilderbeast! And that was just a small preview of how the next two days was going to be...

Photo: Inger Bladh

For the first actual festival day I was able to wear the same dress as the night before. Maria just had to break it a little bit so I could get out of it after the press showing, and then into it the day after, and then mended it to look perfectly new again! The fabulous hat maker Marika Smith came by with a hat she had created for the event - with licorice on it of course!

For the second day Maria really outdid herself by building an even more amazing dress on me! It took two whole hours!

It had a fitted bodice going down into a v in the back, a huge skirt, and epaulettes made out of small licorice bags! 


To this dress she made me a licorice bag with a balloon-handle too. If you wonder how I went to the bathroom during the eight hours the festival went on both days, the answer is; I didn't...I couldn't even sit in those creations. But I kept from eating or drinking as much as I could to prevent ending up in a situation where I actually would have to do something indecent on the floor...

Maria had decorated more than me for the festival, and here you can see some of her other work. I love that little balloon-basket! After these days my cheeks were actually stiff from all the smiling to cameras a had done! I'm not lying when I say I was being photographed constantly during those eight hours a day! I guess girls in balloon-dresses are popular attractions...

Photo: Jinni

Here's me with Maria (on the floor), her fiance Mr Dannyman - who is a magician - and Jinni, holding one of Maria's other balloon-creations! I had two and a half tiering but amazing days, and at the end of the last day I had two persons with big scissors popping me out of that dress!

All photos (unless otherwise stated) by Annelie Elfsö.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fabergé Friday

And Imperial Easter Egg number fifty-one is: the "Red Cross with Triptych Egg", from 1915!

The simple look of this egg was because WWI had begun. The gold shell is covered in opalescent white enamel, and then decorated with a translucent red enamel cross on each side. In the middle of the two crosses are miniature portraits of the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, dressed in their Red Cross uniforms. 

The cross with Tatiana's portrait serves as a clasp, that opens the egg up vertically to reveal the surprise - a triptych. The center scene is depicting "The Harrowing of Hell" - the Orthodox representation of the Resurrection.

On the left wing is Saint Olga - the founder of Christianity in Russia - depicted, with the crown monogram of Tsarina Alexandra inscribed on the door.

The right wing holds a picture of the martyr Saint Tatiana, and the year "1915" inscribed on the door.

The "Red Cross with Triptych Egg" can now be seen at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, USA.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ancient Lingerie

It has long been thought that the undergarments we call "panties" and "bras" first came into use not so long ago. But during recent renovations of Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol something was found that "totally rewrites fashion history...Nothing like this has ever come up before", as fashion curator at the Museum of London, Hilary Davidson, says about the discovery. What they found - among 3,000 other fragments of clothing - was:

A bra...

...And a pair of panties! They must have been buried in 1480 when the castle was rebuilt, and then managed to stay in a pretty good condition because of the dry surroundings. Radiocarbondating tests has proven the findings are not a fraud. Before this it was thought that women didn't start wearing nickers until the late 18th century, and that they wore only a chemise or a smock as underwear during the Middle Ages. The two pieces in the pictures look very similar to modern bras and panties though, so I guess we will have to add a chapter to the history of lingerie now...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Shoes!

Yesterday, after the mini golf, something horrible happened! Fanny made me go into a shoe store... Anyone that brings me to such a place I consider evil...Of course I was just going to try to be good, and just look at them. But then I heard two tiny voices from one of the shelfs, saying; "Here Miss Meadows, look at us! Try us on!!!" Those little voices did not come from my own head, I can assure you! And when I saw how lovely the shoes that were calling to me were, I just had to try them on - and then take them home with me...

Just look how happy they look on my feet! Right?! The brand is Catwalk, and I bought them at Deichmann. I also have to add that even though I now know that underneath those pretty dresses Fanny is really evil, I still love her!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Outfit post

This outfit post takes place on a mini golf course! I had challenged Fanny to go play this game with me, and one day the sun actually shone when we woke up, so we decided to head for the course!

Fanny looked lovely - as usual - in a dress she had made herself, from vintage fabric!

My dress I bought in a little vintage shop in NYC last summer. Since I usually wear clothes from the 40s or 50s - sometimes even 30s - I felt extremely modern in this 70s dress! 

I love the mix of pastels in the print, and the fabric is light and flowy. Perfect for a hot day! The fact that my left arm looks completely retarded in this photo is another thing though...

Since neither me or Fanny had played mini golf for a long time, we were both surprised at how good we were at it! We both made two hole in ones each, but I was the one who won - with one point...We were a little bit annoyed that there were no butlers at the course though - serving cool refreshments and holding parasols over us while we played. But we managed to keep our spirits up, and not fainting, under the burning sun. Afterwards we sat down in the shade for some wine-sipping!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fabergé Friday

It's amazing how many Imperial Easter Eggs Fabergé made! The funny thing is that Carl Fabergé himself actually never physically made anything - he "only" came up with the ideas and designs. But now to this Friday's egg - number fifty - which is the "Catherine the Great Egg", or "Grisaille Egg", from 1914!

This gold egg was inspired by the interior of Maria Feodorovna's favorite palace - the Anichov Palace - where many of the ceilings are painted en grisaille. 

On pink enamel panels designer Vasilii Zuev painted miniature allegories portraying the arts and sciences - after originals by Francois Boucher - in cameo style. The egg is also decorated with rosettes of platinum-set diamonds and seed pearls, and is lined with velvet.

The surprise has been lost, but in a letter to Queen Alexandra of England Maria wrote: "Mr. Fabergé himself has brought me this most beautiful egg. Inside is a sedan chair carried by two blackamoors with Catherine the Great in it, wearing a little crown on her head. You wind it up and then the two blackamoors walk: it is an unbelievably beautiful and superbly fine piece of work. Fabergé is the greatest genius of our time."

This similar piece - also made by Fabergé - might give you a sense of what it might have looked like. It belongs to the Forbes Collection, and was for a long time thought to be the missing surprise. That idea was given up when it was discovered this automaton didn't fit into the egg though. 

Here is another example of how the sedan chair could have looked. Catherine the Great was a great  patron of the arts and sciences, and so fitted well into the egg's design.

The "Catherine the Great Egg" can now be seen at the Hillwood Museum in Washington D.C.

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