vendredi 31 août 2012


31 August 2012

I was quite happy with my today outfit: golden skirt, black shirt and a huge coral brooch until a colleague came and told me that I shouldn't buy coral because the world reserves are endangered. 
This is my dilemma. I am trying to be ethically and politically wise when I buy things. For example I do not buy ivory because I don't want to be part of creating a higher demand which may lead to an increased hunting of elephants. I don't patronize any company I know about that treats badly its employees. But I have these coral jewellery and I found out the most of the coral used today comes from the time the reserves were not depleted. Still...

Like Origami

This is what you can see at the South Street Seaport Museum of New York through September 16. I love the structural geometric lines by Ja Yoon Park, like a delicate Origami work.

mardi 28 août 2012

Emulation and Conspicuous Consumption

I fell in love with this picture posted in Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Age blog, and I tried to replicate it with what I had on board. Emulation without conspicuous consumption.

Years ago I was sitting in a small park close to my office building, reading Veblen's book The Theory of the Leisure Class where the term of conspicuous consumption comes from. I had an exam to prepare. It was fall, the leaves in the park were falling to the ground and a tall young man whom I took for a halfwit was sweeping them away. Suddenly he bent towards me and said "This is a difficult book. It took me three weeks to read it". Maybe he was a student who had a part time job, or maybe he was just joking; or maybe I dreamt it all.

vendredi 17 août 2012

FIT stands for Fashion Institute of Technology. Many years ago I was an adjunct assistant professor, thinking to go towards an academic career.One day I got a last minute offer to teach at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. The person who taught the course didn't show up on time and they had no news from her. Of course I was  thrilled and I  started preparing my course immediately. Unfortunately, the evening before my first teaching class the Chair of the department called. She was sorry to inform me that the person showed up and will start teaching the course the next day. They had a strong Union at FIT and the Chair didn't dare oppose it, even if she recognized that it not was fair to me.
And so my life took another turn. I found out later that I didn't really like to teach, at least not Freshmen, and probably what I did later suited me better. I cannot avoid, however, having a very slight regret for not being able to work in an area I like so much.

Here are some outfits exposed at the wonderful FIT Museum, from 1960s and 2000s.

                                                                Christian Lacroix 2004

                                                                        Courreges 1961

                                                                       Dior 1963

                                                                Dries Van Noten 2004

Mila Schon 1968

Noritaka Tatehana 2010

                                                                   Rodarte 2008

                                                                 Yohji Yamamoto 2000

Yves Saint Laurent 1968

Source: The Museum at FIT

mercredi 15 août 2012

Julia Child's 100th Anniversary


Today Julia Child would be 100 years old. While I do not have many role models in my life (I don’t know whether this is a blessing or a shortcoming) she was for me an inspiration. I did not so much learn to cook from her. Years of living in France, some very gourmet and gourmand people in my life and my own penchant for good food made me an acceptable cook of French cuisine. I am not however content with the level I reached and I still hope one day to have the time and money to follow a whole cooking course somewhere in France. Nevertheless while I cook reasonably well I used and still use several of Julia’s recipes from the books I have and I always watch with pleasure her cooking classes on DVD.
It is her personality that inspires me.

 A very bourgeois young lady from Pasadena she fell in love and was influenced by her artistic, open minded and unconventional husband who encouraged her to do what she wanted the most. At a not very young age she went to study cooking and then for more than ten years she wrote what became the reference book for French cooking in America. Her diligence was incredible. What she wanted was not to publish just an additional book on French cuisine, but to adapt this to American conditions, so that for the middle class American woman cooking French would become as easy as cooking any staple American dish. Grams became cups, some ingredients were replaced with local ones but the sophistication and probably taste of original recipes was preserved. She tried every recipe several times, balancing quantities, tasting ingredients until she reached what she wanted – a French recipe do-able in the US. I respect and admire her for determination and love of perfection.

You’ll find here an  article in New York Times, and here a recipe of poulet basquaise.

 I wrote before on her here

Sources: The New York Times, CHOW

vendredi 10 août 2012

Visionary Knits

I learned to knit as a little girl. Everybody was knitting in Romania maybe because there was not much choice of beautiful pret a porter knitted outfits during that time. Anyway, I knitted a lot and as a young student I had some popularity because some pastel coloured silk and wool  pullovers I made ( I was very romantic at that age). After I left Romania and got acquainted to the consumerist society of the West, my knitting faded out. Why waste time when you can buy so many ready made beautiful things? Now , however, I kind of miss it. The long winter days watching the snow falling with a skein of wool in my lap; looking in Burda magazine, one of the few I had access to, for a pattern; the un-doing of a knitting  mistake. All these had a kind of peaceful feeling that may determine me to start again.

I got lost in these sweet memories after watching the work of the  artist  Ragne Kikas. Aren't they stunning?


jeudi 9 août 2012

La blouse roumaine

The Romanian Blouse is the name of a famous painting by Matisse. He was friend with George Pallady, a Romanian painter who lived in Paris, and so he got acquainted with Eastern European folklore


For decades folkloric patterns inspired designers. Here is Adrian Oianu and his T-shirts and dresses.

  Queen Mary of Romania also liked to wear this type of folkloric blouse.


mardi 7 août 2012


These are some more Ikat patterned outfits I dream off. But even watching them in their virtual form gives me a lot of pleasure.


Source: Polyvore

lundi 6 août 2012

Monday 6 August

Back from holiday, back to work. I realize now that I had a similar outfit here, not so long time ago. It means that I really like my blue Ikat  skirt from Old Navy and that my immediate memory is failing. Maybe I need some more holiday.

Monday 6 August

samedi 4 août 2012

Silk and Mystery

I bought these beautiful scarves in Phuket. They are made of Thai silk by Jim Thompson Company. Qualitatively they are comparable to Hermes scarves ( I plan to write a post about Hermes scarves as they are my favourite) at a fraction of their price however.

Before coming to Thailand I had no idea who Jim Thompson was and how he got into the silk business. I found out that he was a former OSS staff (OSS became later the CIA) during the Second World War. After the war he settled in Thailand were he discovered   the  silk articrafts specific to this country. The silk industry and craftmanship was however in dire straits at that time. Through his enthusiasm and skill Thompson contributed to successfully relaunch the industry and make it a world wide known asset for Thailand.

Thompson disappeared mysteriously from the house of friends one afternoon in 1967 at the age of 61. His body was never found and no information surfaced about his whereabouts. Some times after his disappearance his sister was assassinated and her house searched,

There are several hypotheses about his disappearance:  that he continued working for the  CIA and that the silk business was just a cover up; or that he had powerful enemies in his business. Until today the mystery remains unsolved.