Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Weekend on Fire Island

A view of the harbor in Fire Island Pines from the Top of the Bay shop. (click on photos to enlarge)
TD and I had a wonderful summer weekend on Fire Island, courtesy of our friends David and Gary who invited us to their handsome and comfortable home. It was lovely to spend time with them and also to be on Fire Island again. Fire Island Pines is a beautiful spot where we have had many great times over the years. Four years ago, this blog was born in the Pines. And, most importantly, TD and I met there over Labor Day weekend...wait for it...27 years ago. Our anniversary is coming up. And so Fire Island Pines has a special place in our hearts.
On the ferry boat ride from Sayville to the Pines, this traveler was carrying a chic purple J. Anthony weekend bag which is instantly recognizable by its simple lines, timeless design, and leather placket for monogramming.

Note to self: look into a T. Anthony bag.
At David and Gary's house, we enjoyed their gracious and easy-going hospitality which included some fantastic meals prepared on the grill. David had the butcher butterfly an organic chicken, which he then marinaded and grilled – I think it was the best chicken I ever had.
The pool at their house is long and wide and encircled by a deck – perfect for hanging out in the water or at its edge.

Wispy clouds floated by overhead

while a butterfly enjoyed the nectar of the latana in the nearby flower box – do you see him in the center?

There are little shops to visit in the Pines like Top of the Bay where I took this picture overlooking the harbor below.

Down at the beach, the sound of the waves and the ever-changing ocean are so soothing.

The weather was spectacular – we lucked out with sunny, hot, crystal clear days.
On the beach there is a never-ending parade of strollers


and volley ball players.

The light at the end of August takes on a silvery hue so everything shimmers late in the day. It really is heaven on earth where one tries to linger a little longer.

At the end of the weekend we were back on the ferry headed to the main land and "the real world" as fashion designer Peter Som said to me en route.

Many thanks to our hosts David and Gary for a beautiful, relaxing weekend. It was a relief for me from a sadness – my mother was diagnosed a few years ago with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease of the lungs which has no cure, and which is getting progressively worse for her. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers, dear reader – my mother was been the biggest supporter of this blog and was the first to instill in me a love for beautiful things.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

About Face: Supermodels Then and Now, on HBO

A group shot of the original supermodels -- photographs are by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and from HBO.
I recently enjoyed watching on HBO a documentary called About Face by photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders in which he interviews top models from the '70's and early '80's – the first supermodels. In fact, I plan to see it again, as HBO is running it through August. Greenfield-Sanders gathers up a stellar group to talk to including Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs, Jerry Hall, Karen Bjornson, Lisa Taylor, Beverly Johnson and Kim Alexis. I remember a lot of these women on the cover of Vogue when I was growing up. They perfectly captured the energy and beauty of American fashion and style which was exploding at the time with the likes of Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Bill Blass. The documentary offers a fascinating look into modeling and the world of fashion, and for me, who has a tender spot for that era, it was kind of like seeing old friends again.
Naturally, given the stature of these women, a subject of the documentary is aging and how growing older is perceived in the fashion and beauty business. The women have differing opinions about plastic surgery and medical efforts to look young.
The elegant and striking Carmen Dell'Orefice, now age 81, is all for it.
"If you had the ceiling falling down in your living room," she asks, "would you not go and have a repair?"
Paulina Porizkova, who was born in Czechoslovakia and is married to Ric Ozak, the lead singer from the band The Cars, disagrees, "To me the most beautiful thing there is in another human being is confidence, and nothing says 'I'm not confident' as much as Botox."
The glorious Jerry Hall, who is the daughter of a truck driver from Gonzalez, Texas, and had four children with Mick Jagger, also demurs.

"I think it's bad we have as role models people who are scary to small children," she says. (Hello, Joan Rivers!) "Why shouldn't we be allowed to age and why shouldn't we be respected for it?" she drawls in her wonderful Texan accent.

"It was about more than selling clothes and making money. It was about creating a beautiful world that you entered into." Jerry Hall

My favorite model to see again was Lisa Taylor who was in two iconic fashion photographs from that era. I took pictures of them both at a 2009 exhibit about models at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vogue fashion editor Polly Mellen worked on both of these shoots and I talked to her about these pictures when I interviewed her.
One by Helmut Newton shows Taylor wearing Calvin Klein and provocatively watching a man walk by,

and the other is by Arthur Elgort, and pictures Taylor, again in Calvin Klein, driving over the George Washington bridge.
Lisa Taylor was the epitome of a carefree American beauty which always looked perfect but effortless at the same time. Taylor now lives in California, and admits to the great doubts she had working as a model. "I really didn't think I could do anything," she says. She also talks about using drugs which were rife in the business and took their toll on her peers including Gia Carangi. "I'm really glad I didn't die in the process," Taylor states.

"For me it was about the picture. I felt I could communicate. How do you translate your experiences good and bad into something that's meaningful to yourself and to others." Dayle Haddon

These women are a part of the evolution of American fashion, and the story continues. Cheryl Tiegs, who was famous for her Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue covers, remembers some valuable advice: "My agent said to me - the key to beauty is to always be educating yourself, always learning something new and to have something to talk about. I never forgot that and I think that's how one ages beautifully."

Blog bonus, not one but two trailers: