DG Q&A: Art Jeweler Margaux Lange

Overeager makeover artists, devilish little brothers, and occasional Dexter fans have long enjoyed dismembering the world’s favorite doll. By contrast, Brooklyn artist Margaux Lange, 30, describes herself as “an Art jeweler who re-Members Barbie fondly.” She doesn’t tear up dolls for the sake of destruction, or for anti-Barbie social commentary. Rather, she reassembles Barbie parts into joyful jewelry: heart pendants made of Barbie busts, earrings from eyes or smiles.

In December, Lange will have a solo exhibition of her one-of-a-kind pieces at the Luke and Eloy Gallery in Pittsburgh. She sells production designs through Etsy and blogs here. The strange charm of her work has attracted attention from Rob Walker in the NYT Magazine and, most recently, TimeOut New York, where she appears surrounded by translucent bins filled with mostly headless Barbies.

New Yorkers can visit Margaux's studio this Saturday night, September 26, as part of the Morgan Arts Building Open Studio event featuring more than 25 artists (and an open bar). For details see Margaux's blog.

Margaux Lange Barbie Ken-yes-neckpiece

DG: You credit Barbie with fueling your creative life growing up—an unusually positive way of writing about an often-controversial plaything. What did Barbie mean to you as a child?

Margaux Lange: I used to be obsessed with Barbie dolls as a kid. They played a pivotal role in my development as a tool for acting out and exploring the human relationships in my own life, as well as the fantasy lives I imagined. My experience with Barbie was uniquely positive in this way. Barbie can be a source of empowerment through exploration and imagination. Each child's experience with the doll is unique and I believe there's a value in that.

I would spend hours crafting many precious details for my Barbie dolls and their miniature worlds, such as: pillows, stone fireplaces, food items, clothing, accessories, etc. Playing with Barbie dolls helped to develop my dexterity and strengthened my attention to small detail: skills imperative to the art of jewelry making.

DG: How did you get started “fondly re-membering” Barbies?

ML: Barbie made her debut in my artwork in high school and then again in various incarnations throughout college where I studied fine Art (The Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD.) I started to focus more on jewelry making during my junior year, and I became interested in incorporating found objects into my metal work. Because I had done artwork with Barbie in the past (drawings, sculptures, etc) it felt natural to try her out in the jewelry realm. It was an unusual idea with a strong personal connection for me, so it felt right. The Plastic Body Series Jewelry Collection continued to grow from there.

Margaux Lange Barbie smile earrings

DG: How has your relationship with Barbie changed since you played with her as a child?

ML: I had no desire to cut up all my Barbies as a kid, thatʼs for sure! So that has certainly changed. As a child, I would look at a doll and she would instantly transform in my mind into the imaginary personality I had dreamed up for her.

Now I look at a doll as I would any other material: I think about how that piece of plastic is going to be transformed in an interesting, wearable way.

Iʼm also able to intellectually step back and examine the impact Barbie has had on our society from all angles now. I certainly didnʼt think about any of that as a child so of course that has changed as well.

DG: What do you think makes Barbie glamorous?

Barbie is a quintessential icon of glamour. Sheʼs intriguing and appealing on many levels, not to mention she owns the biggest wardrobe on the planet, has a multitude of cars, shoes and accessories, and has had every possible career you can imagine. I think that makes her pretty glamorous.

DG: How has the changing face of Barbie over the years influenced your work? When Mattel alters Barbieʼs face or body, do you relate to Barbie in a different way?

ML: No, I wouldnʼt say that the way I relate to Barbie changes when Mattel rolls out a new style, but it does change my work. For example, Mattel made some major changes to Barbieʼs body in the year 2000 when they introduced the new “belly-button models” which had wider hips, a more shapely bum, and for the first time, a belly button and a smaller chest. Because her new bust size was smaller than the original Barbieʼs, it happened to be the perfect size and shape for making my Have-a-Heart Necklaces, which are now a prominent piece in my production line.

Margaux Lange Barbie boobs heart necklaces

DG: Barbie is the quintessential blue-eyed blonde, but some of your pieces (the bust hearts, for instance) play with different skin tones. Is Barbie actually more varied than we think of her?

Barbie is a lot more varied than people assume. There is quite a lot of difference in skin tones, body styles, hair colors and facial features as well. Itʼs interesting however, that when we think of “Barbie: the icon” an image of blonde hair and blue eyes is what comes to mind.

DG: When talking about your work, you mention the vast impact that Barbie has had on our society. What do you think is the most important impact Barbie has had over the last 50 years? Do you think her impact has been more positive or negative?

The most important impact she has had has probably been on the millions of little girls who have been drawn to Barbie as a way to understand, what is to them, a very abstract notion of “Womanhood.” Barbie is very unlike us as little girls, and yet under our complete control to manipulate and project onto her “adult-hood” in whatever way we wish. There is enormous power in that type of imaginary play.

However, thatʼs not to say thereʼs nothing to examine regarding Barbie as an ideology. Barbieʼs life of excess has certainly had its negative implications. Particularly the dollʼs emphasis on materialism, beauty, and fashion. We are a nation obsessed with beauty and youth, and Barbie is a direct reflection of our cultural impulses in this way. Plastic and forever youthful, she remains relevant and in-vogue. With each generation, she is re-invented as we see fit to define her. I wouldnʼt be surprised if she sticks around for another 50 years because of this.

Margaux Lange Barbie Smiley Necklace on Torque

DG: Other artists have made Barbie-inspired work, particularly work that deconstructs or takes Barbie apart, often in violent ways. Why do you think we have this urge to deconstruct Barbie?

Barbie is the most beloved and maligned of playthings. Rarely do we feel indifferent about her. I think the urge to destroy Barbie comes from this polarization. To some, she represents oppression in the form of unattainable perfection and unrealistic beauty standards. Thereʼs something cathartic about deconstructing a symbol of those ideals.

At times, my work has dealt with utilizing the doll as an archetype for critiquing beauty, materialism, and prescribed gender roles often associated with women in our society. Sometimes I aim to distance myself and critically evaluate pop culture in this way, and other times I wish to engage and participate in it. Much like my own experience with womanhood as a feminist: a series of rejecting and embracing.

Margaux Lange Barbie lips ring

DG: Who buys your work and why?

The Plastic Body Series is sought after by Art Jewelry collectors, Barbie nostalgics, and bold individuals who arenʼt afraid to wear jewelry that sparks a conversation. Some people respond to its humor and think itʼs clever and fun, or it feeds a sense of nostalgia for them. Some wear it as a feminist statement and others simply appreciate it because itʼs bizarre and unique.

I love that everyone brings his or her own baggage and reaction to the work. Itʼs indicative of their own relationship with, or feelings about the icon, as well as how an individual defines wearable jewelry. My goal has been to create Art that a broad range of people can relate to and I feel Iʼve been successful with this.

A background in fine Art gave me the foundation necessary for conceptual exploration in my jewelry work, however, it is my personal connection with Barbie that I credit for the success of this series. It's ironic that what I adored as a child has become the focus of my career as an adult.

Margaux Lange Barbie-bubblegum-pop-neckpiece

DG: Where do you get your components? Do you buy used Barbies? New Barbies in bulk?

ML: I acquire all the dolls as second-hand objects; usually from yard sales, thrift stores, and Ebay. I also have a few friends across the country that are always on the lookout for me. I have thousands of “previously owned” Barbie dolls and parts in my studio from which to choose. It’s important to me that the dolls have had a previous life in the hands of a child. It's a crucial part of the story, the love, and the conceptual basis for the work. I also really like the idea that the dolls are being repurposed after they’re discarded and are contributing to Art, not landfills.

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour?

Glamour is something or someone that exudes a particular allure, an air of confidence, style, uniqueness, distinction, beauty, and grace.

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon?

Besides Barbie? My grandmother was always very glamourous to me growing up. For instance, she would never dream of putting a carton of milk on the table as is, it always went into a “proper” carafe or something first. This seemed very glamorous to me.

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity? Luxury.

4) Favorite glamorous movie? I canʼt think of any... I tend to like horror flicks and indie films. Amelie is a favorite movie of mine, and glamorous in its own unique way I think, perhaps because itʼs French.

5) What was your most glamorous moment? My first New York gallery exhibition at Julie Artisansʼ Gallery on Madison Ave.

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)?

My engagement ring! Itʼs made with raw diamonds and yellow gold. Itʼs totally glamorous because thereʼs a big cluster of diamonds on the top and yet because raw diamonds look rough when theyʼre not faceted, it feels humble at the same time, almost like large grains of sparkling sand. Itʼs so unusual, and so me, I just love it.

7) Most glamorous place? Mendocino, California. I went there with my fiancé and we stayed in this amazing bed & breakfast overlooking the ocean. It was incredibly romantic and glamorous for us!

8) Most glamorous job?

Oh dear, I could provide you with a very long list of all the non-glamorous jobs Iʼve had! Picking the most glamorous is a bit harder. I guess Iʼd have to say that being a self-employed artist has been the most glamorous. Even though itʼs difficult at times, I love what I do and I know Iʼm really fortunate to be able to pursue my passion full time.

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you donʼt? Smoking. Yuck!

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized? A jewelry artist who is also a dear friend of mine, Kate Cusack: www.katecusack.com

11) Can glamour survive? I think there will always be glamour, although I think the way each generation defines it will continue to shift and change.

12) Is glamour something you're born with? No, of course not. All weʼre born with is our birthday suit!

[Jewelry photos © Margaux Lange. Margaux Lange portrait © David Balogh.]

Hotel Week: DG Q&A With Mr & Mrs Smith's Tamara Heber Percy

Tamara Heber-Percy After a crummy hotel spoiled their romantic getaway, James Lohan and Tamara Heber Percy didn’t just grumble to their friends or post nasty comments on a travellers website. They created their own guidebook for similar couples seeking seductive places to stay. And when nobody would publish it, they raised £180,000 and published the book themselves. It was an immediate hit.

Six years later, Lohan and Heber Percy are married and Mr & Mrs Smith is a well-established institution. From the original coffee-table guidebook featuring 41 hotels in the U.K. and Ireland, the company has expanded to cover the world, with five more books, an online directory or more than 500 hotels, and a membership base of 75,000.

“We handpick, personally visit, and then anonymously review every property in our collection. Our aim is to bring you a trusted insider guide, just like a good travel-savvy friend would,” says Heber Percy. (Once a reviewer has given some place a good report, the company does charge the hotel to be included.)

Along with well-known journalists and authors, reviewers include celebrities like Stella McCartney and Dita von Teese, who declared the Viceroy in Santa Monica exceedingly glamorous, indeed perhaps “the most fabulous hotel in Los Angeles.” (She did not, however, bring a Mr. Smith along for her weekend.)

Although still better known across the Atlantic, Mr & Mrs Smith is attracting American fans. “I have fallen in love, love, love with Mr & Mrs Smith,” gushes Lea Ann Fessenden of the L.A. Examiner. Whether you're planning a trip or merely fantasizing about one, the Mr & Mrs Smith website is an enticing place to start. (Check out their blog here.) We’re delighted to have Mr & Mrs Smith as our Hotel Week sponsor and to talk hotel glamour with Tamara Heber Percy.

DeepGlamour: What led you to start the company?

Tamara Heber Percy: When my husband and I were dating, we both led extremely busy lives. We were always on the lookout for special hotels to escape to, but no one seemed to know more than one or two – we knew the boutique-hotel movement was happening out there but we couldn’t find a guidebook we trusted. A few weekends away where the brochures failed to live up to their promises inspired us to create our own guide. After it sold 20,000 copies in the first three months, we realized we had to take it further. So here we are.

Hacienda de San Antonio

Hacienda de San Antonio, Mexico

DG: Why are you called Mr & Mrs Smith?

THP: Mr & Mrs Smith is the front-desk pseudonym couples use when they are having a naughty weekend away – it’s a very English expression but one that when explained to anyone else puts a smile on their face! I think we were the first to recognize that couples don’t go away for the weekend to do their knitting!Mr & Mrs Smith is based on the idea that a couple is sneaking away for a romantic weekend.

Winvian

Winvian, Litchfield Hills

DG: How do you extend the weekend getaway idea from a relatively small area like the UK to a continent-sized country like the U.S., or to the whole world?

THP: Busy Manhattanites also need to escape from the stress and strain of city life – you guys just have to travel greater distances sometimes. You also get shorter holidays than the Brits so getting the hotel address right first time is even more important for you. The principle is the same whether you are planning a weekend away or a week’s holiday – you want somewhere you can feel instantly relaxed, somewhere stylish and special. Your holidays are so important that ending up somewhere disappointing can be devastating. The good news is that we’re stating to see new boutique hotels springing up no more than a three-hour drive for Manhattan, and we’re sure there’ll be more. In the last six months, for example, we’ve found André Balazs’s Sunset Beach in the Hamptons, the wonderful Wheatleigh in the Berkshires, and off-the-wall Winvian in the Litchfield Hills. In truth, we’ve extended our global scope beyond just weekends away, we now cover longer breaks and honeymoon escapes too – always with our focus on the romantic potential of a place.

Wheatleigh

Wheatleigh, The Berkshires

DG: Photographs of hotels are often glamorous and evocative. Can the hotel experience ever live up to the emotional expectations those photos create?

THP: Of course. Though we hope the images we use will inspire, we certainly don’t want them to mislead – a hotel photo should tell you immediately what the hotel has that makes you want to stay there, and your experience there should confirm that you were right in the first place to choose it. I can’t think of a single one of our hotels I’ve been to where I haven’t felt that the actual experience of staying there surpassed the pictures. The images get you excited; the stay should keep you that way.

JadeMountain

Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

DG: There are many ways a hotel can be romantic, depending on the couple and their mood. What are some of your favorite examples?

THP: The views from Hacienda de San Antonio in Mexico are some of the most romantic on the planet – across coffee plantations to the Colima volcano in the background. Breathtaking.Honeymoon-perfect Jade Mountain in St Lucia, where each room has only three walls and is open to the air – private but unenclosed. (The views of the Pitons poking out of the ocean and the private infinity pools help up the romance stakes even more).I love the grounds at Hotel Endsleigh in Devon – on the banks of the River Tamar with its own arboretum – stunning English countryside made for romantic ramblings. The bedrooms at Blakes Hotel in London are romantic because of the designer’s attention to detail: luxurious fabrics, zillions of cushions – the quintessential luxe boudoir (although Gramercy Park in NYC does a pretty good job in the sumptuous bedroom department too).

Blakes

Blakes Hotel, London

DG: What makes a hotel glamorous (as opposed to romantic)?

THP: Usually, the decor and style of service. It tends to be bolder, more striking – a bit ‘look at me I’m something, aren’t I?’ and more about the kind of clientele you’ll mix with there than squirreling yourselves away as a twosome. A romantic hotel can be a little more relaxed in style and softly spoken about its best features. It tends to let guests discover its charms rather than put them on show. Higher Westcott Farm – a four-room boutique B&B surrounded by wild Devon moorland – must be one of the most romantic places on the planet, but you wouldn’t call it glamorous. Both styles are great fun to experience depending on the occasion – our aim is to help you make the right choice for your mood.

The DG Dozen

1) DG: How do you define glamour?

An unquestionable, convincing, and inspiring level of confidence that creates a lasting impression. Nothing to do with money, all about mindset. I think this is applicable to everything: people, places, pashminas…

2) DG: Who or what is your glamorous icon?

Anouska Hempel – all her hotels radiate glamour; you feel glamorous by proxy just by staying in them. We interviewed her for our blog not long ago – an eye-opening experience:

3) DG: Is glamour a luxury or a necessity?

If glamour weren’t luxurious, it wouldn’t be glamour.

4) DG: Favorite glamorous movie?

Barbarella

5) DG: What was your most glamorous moment?

My wedding day at Ca’s Xorc Hotel in Mallorca.

6) DG: Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)?

My Cartier watch.

7) DG: Most glamorous place?

Ibiza – I grew up there, got married there, and go back whenever I can.

GP2 Race at the Spanish Grand Prix formula one 8) DG: Most glamorous job?

Something in Formula One.

9) DG: Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't.

Travel – after six years of doing it for a living, the gloss does wear off.

10) DG: Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized.

Campari and soda – my mum used to drink it in the 70s.

11) DG: Can glamour survive?

Yes, as long as it has a humble side to it.

12) DG: Is glamour something you're born with?

Not necessarily, but you do have to love it to have it.

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett?Angelina

2) Paris or Venice?Paris

3) New York or Los Angeles?New York

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace?Princess Grace

5) Tokyo or Kyoto?Tokyo

6) Boots or stilettos?Boots

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau?Art Deco

Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage 8) Jaguar or Aston Martin?Aston Martin – but it has to be a DB7.

9) Armani or Versace?Versace.

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour?Anna Wintour.

11) Champagne or single malt?Neither – I am a cocktail girl.

12) 1960s or 1980s? 1960s

[Hotel photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith. Spanish Grand Prix photo by Flickr user Mr. Mystery under Creative Commons license. Aston Martin DB7 V12 Vantage by Flickr user The Car Spy under Creative Commons license.]

DG Q&A: Karen Robinovitz

Karen Robinovitz When Marie Claire magazine challenged Karen Robinovitz and her friend Melissa de la Cruz to make themselves famous—defined as having their photos and bold-faced names in the gossip columns—in just two weeks, the assignment led to a book which in turn led Robinovitz to a career-shaping revelation: She knew and cared more about marketing than her publisher. A lot more. She was, in fact, “a marketing person,” born to come up with clever ways of attracting attention, not only to herself but to all sorts of paying clients.

Nowadays, her favorite brand isn't a corporate client but her own company Purple Lab and its line of stylish lip glosses, Huge Lips Skinny Hips (available online here). On her PurpleBlab blog, Karen chronicles the not-always-glamorous process of taking her venture from idea to reality, promising to “dish all the dirty secrets I learn from labs and manufacturers and what we go through to line up distribution, financing, PR, events, etc.” She kindly agreed to dish a bit with DG.

Read to the end of the interview to learn how to win a sample of Purple Lab's Worship Kate lip gloss.

DG: In blogging about your company and in How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less, you’ve taken some of the mystery out of things readers find glamorous, whether that’s starting a beauty-product company or getting your name in boldface type in the gossip columns. Do you think readers find the things you write about less glamorous after reading your behind-the-scenes depictions? Do you yourself find them less glamorous, or perhaps glamorous in a different way?

KR: I don’t really know if readers find that the true behind-the-scenes moments kill the glamour factor. I think that all of the things that seem glamorous are not ever as glamorous in reality — models always say how their lives are trying and hard and yet, they seem so full of fantasy. I am just sharing my own experience, which is sometimes glamorous and sometimes just the opposite, and I can only hope that people find a bit of themselves, something to relate to or an inside look at something they want to know more about, in my experiences.

I am anti-velvet rope so for me, the blog about the making of Purple Lab is about breaking that rope down and giving, in a sense, a blueprint of starting a business. I would hope that someone can find it useful and know the pitfalls I fell into so that they don’t.

DG: In How to Become Famous, you and Melissa write, “We have been obsessed with fame and those who are famous for as long as we can remember. We longed for attention — glamorous dresses, standing ovations, and a reason to thank the Academy.” Why do you think people (including you) long to be famous? Are those dresses glamorous by themselves, or is it the fame and attention that makes them glamorous? Has your fame lived up to your dreams?

How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less KR: I would never say I am even remotely famous. But I can’t lie and say I don’t like a little attention! But the reason I think that fame is so addictive for everyone — and the millions of celebrity blogs and magazines are a testament to that — is because it represents fantasy, escape, the ability to have whatever you want, go wherever you want, buy whatever you want, go to the most exclusive events, and connect with amazingly talented people. Plus, there are the perks that come with fame — swag, travel, private jets! I would not say that now, as someone in her “early late thirties” I crave the same things I did when I was younger — i.e., that kind of fame. But I do still crave the fabulous dresses.

DG: Since discovering your calling as a marketing person, what have you learned about business that surprised you?

KR: I could go on and on about this. Really, the back end of the business and how much is involved was a huge surprise for me... what it takes to manufacture, ordering minimums, branding packaging, deadlines, working a year in advance to launch a product (and that is considered a tight deadline!), what goes into shipping and not just sell in with retailers — but sell through. There are so many aspects to it that it is often overwhelming, but I welcome the challenge and am excited to see where it all takes me.

Purple labs huge lips skinny hips lip gloss


DG: You write that your lip gloss/plumper, Huge Lips Skinny Hips, which contains the appetite suppressant Hoodia, is “NOT about being skinny.” What is it about?

KR: I think we all — as women — think about our hips (and our lips!). Skinny for one woman may not be skinny for another, but regardless of size, we all want to wear our “skinny jeans,” be they a size 2 or a size 20. So the name is cheeky and playful but not intended to be taken so seriously as far as a directive for women to be skinny. There is a color in the collection called “Love Your Thighs,” which is my hope for all women — we need to embrace ourselves and stop being hard on ourselves.

The fact that the gloss contains an ingredient that has been known for centuries for its appetite suppressing qualities does not mean I am suggesting that women don’t eat. The point is that this is to act as your intention setter, perhaps something that helps keep you conscious and mindful of what and how you eat. At the end of the day, it’s not good for anyone to be double fisting cupcakes when they’re full! And if this gloss is something that enables someone to feel like she has some support at a cocktail party or a trip to the bakery, that’s the point. Plus, it’s a deliciously amazing gloss that is light, moisturizing, and yummy.

DG: You spent a lot of time and money on the packaging of your products, both the “components” that actually hold the gloss and the boxes that it comes in. Why did you decide to spend a few dollars on a box when most beauty products spend 50 cents or less?

Hlsh-box KR: I am driven and inspired by design and for me, it’s a very important aspect of Purple Lab. The products themselves have to look and feel good and every touch point of every aspect of it should too. I would rather make less money and deliver a fantastic product that women will love the look of, love the feel of and have fun buying. The price of the box will eventually drop as we order it in larger quantities — right now, we’re ordering at the minimums because we’re a small brand. As you order more, the price goes down. Besides, I wanted this to be fresh, different, and sexy. That’s worth the extra money for me — and I would rather pay for it than the buyer.

DG: I almost never wear lip gloss, as opposed to lipstick, because I don’t like the sweet flavors it comes in. Why does lip gloss always have a flavor? Why can’t I buy flavorless lip gloss?

KR: Every product is not meant for every woman. We all have different tastes. I happen to like a sweet tasting and smelling gloss. We may go into a product with no scent or flavor at some point and hearing that definitely inspires me to create that, because glosses don’t HAVE to have a flavor.

DG: You had a lot of fun naming your gloss colors. What’s your favorite and why?

KR: That is like asking a mother which child she likes better! It’s impossible to answer because I’m so emotionally attached to all of them. They are my babies and the names of each shade are tributes to what inspires me everyday.

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour?

It can be understated or in your face and it is impossible to make one clear definition because ultimately, glamour is in the eye of the beholder. You can feel glamorous which is really about evoking confidence, positive energy, and eye-popping style. You can buy something glamorous — be it a crystal chandelier or a pair of python shoes — that takes your breath away. You can wear a dress that adds instant glamour to your life.

Kate moss cape town 2) Who or what is your glamorous icon?

I have so many — Kate Moss for the effortlessly chic way she wears clothes, Jane Birkin for her relaxed studied casual beauty, Bianca Jagger for her va-va-va-voom 70s appeal in YSL and Halston, Carine Roitfeld of French Vogue for her hard femininity and extreme shoe choices, Warholian icons like Edie Sedgwick and Baby Jane. There are plenty more!

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity?

Glamour is a state of mind and I don’t believe it should be a luxury — I think every woman should have her glamour moments whether she has a red carpet life or not.

4) Favorite glamorous movie?

Rear Window— Grace Kelly makes me melt!

5) What was your most glamorous moment?

My wedding. Not only was it the happiest moment I can imagine, but it was full of love, joy, excitement, wonderful family and great friends, but perfect makeup and the most beautiful custom Zac Posen creamy silk gown, trimmed in hand-dyed pompoms and a hint of curly ostrich feathers!

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)?

A private jet with Hermes interior —I have yet to see one but, OMG!, THAT is glamour!

And any piece of furniture at the Moss store (www.mossonline.com)

Amanpuri pool phuket 7) Most glamorous place?

Amanpuri in Phuket — beautiful, peaceful, remote and where I honeymooned so it’s full of romantic memories

8) Most glamorous job?

Any job that inspires. For me, it’s being able to create a beauty brand inspired by everything I’m passionate about. I am truly appreciative of the path I’m on, no matter how hard and overwhelming it is - and it is!

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don’t?

Wearing too many diamonds at once.

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized?

I’m stumped right now!

11) Can glamour survive?

Absolutely. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be glamorous. Some of my most glam moments are when I am home and realize I have nowhere to be, no deadline to meet and total freedom. That is my ultimate luxury and glamour moment. As long as women want to feel special, glamour will be there, waiting...

12) Is glamour something you’re born with?

Yes and no. You can be born with a glamour state of mind and tastes and lifestyle but you can create it for yourself as well. Glamour doesn’t have to have a price tag - it can be a cheap leopard print vintage hat.

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Can I say both? They are opposite sides of the same coin and I appreciate each equally.

2) Paris or Venice? Paris

3) New York or Los Angeles? NY (actually, bi-coastal!)

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Di

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Tokyo

6) Boots or stilettos? Stiletto boots!

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Deco (but only in doses)

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Astin! No question.

9) Armani or Versace? Versace

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Oh, that is a cruel question! They’re both two icons of glamour who have influenced fashion and design tremendously. I like quoting Diana more than Anna though.

11) Champagne or single malt? I don’t drink. If I had to say, champagne.

12) 1960s or 1980s? 60s

13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds!

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Kate, Kate, Kate!

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Sean

Karen has generously offered to give one lucky DG reader a tube of Huge Lips, Skinny Hips gloss in the appropriately glamorous Worship Kate tint, a rich pink with a warm mauve-ish hue and just a hint of glitter. For a chance to win, link to this interview or to the DG home page from your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter. Then post a comment below with the URL or your Facebook or Twitter name. The winner will be chosen on Friday, July 10, using Random.org.

[Kate Moss by Flickr user Deon Maritz under Creative Commons license. Amanpuri pool by Flickr user erm. under Creative Commons license.]


DG Q&A: Artist Kana Harada

KanaportraitKana Harada says she was born an artist. "I started drawing when I was a year old, and my mother still tells me that when I was four, I announced, ‘I was born to draw.’ Ever since then, art is what I’ve lived,” she says.

Born and raised in Tokyo, with a short stint in Long Island due to her father’s job, Harada had formal training in art in Tokyo. Her husband’s Texas Instruments job brought her to Dallas in 1995 and it was there that she started to create birdcage-inspired pieces out of hand-cut foam sheets.

As she told Artistic Network in 2005, “You may never see any birds in my cages, as I imagine them to be like fairies, coming and going when no one is looking, but I hope you'll feel their joy, their songs of freedom, and the sense of enriched peace in each and every perch I have created.”

She then used the foam to create her series of hand mirrors with empty centers and intricate hand work, which evoke the magic and mystery of dark fairy tales or a woman’s hope for beauty reflecting back at her.

Crescent“I’ve always loved hand mirrors,” she says. “Their shapes, sizes, and how we look into them just to see our own faces.”

Her pieces are feminine and whimsical. Harada says she tries to convey a sense of freedom in just being yourself, “a celebration of life.”

“I’d like to convey the calming, peaceful, deep joy of being a part of the universe,” she says.

Harada, who has exhibited in the U.S. and Japan, had shows earlier this year at Mighty Fine Arts in Dallas and the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas' CADD Art Lab. Her next exhibitions will be in May 2010 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary (MAC) and HCG Gallery.

DG: With your mirrors, is the shape of the mirror the magical/glamorous part to you, or is it the idea of the gaze? why?

Kana Harada: It's both. I see them in a theatrical sense, because they were initially inspired by Sleeping Beauty and vintage pictures of women looking into hand mirrors. I hope they're a door to other wonderful dimensions within the viewer... their stories.

DG: Some studies have said we are more narcissistic today than ever before. Do you feel that way?

KH: Not at all.In this economy, our values are definitely changing. We're relating more with others, sharing similar experiences and supporting one another. To me, this is the beginning of finding true luxury and "glamour." Enriching and deepening the beauty within us.

DG: How do you define glamour?

KH: Grace, elegance and kindness. I believe it’s a state of mind, knowing exactly who you are, being in tune with your inner-self.

DG: Who or what is your glamorous icon?

KH: The craftsmanship and design of American plastic handbags from the 50’s, and Audrey Hepburn in her later years.

DG: Is glamour a luxury or a necessity?

KH: Both.

DG: Favorite glamorous movie?

KH: Diva (1981), Roman Holiday (1953)

DG: What was your most glamorous moment?

KH: Every time I finish one of my pieces.

Kanaharada2 DG: Favorite glamorous object?

KH: The one-of-a-kind eye glasses I get in Tokyo.

DG: Most glamorous place?

KH: Home - where my husband is.

DG: Most glamorous job?

KH: Full-time artist!

DG: Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't.

KH: “Glamour” when defined too materialistically.

DG: Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized.

KH: The kindness of strangers. This is always SO classy.

DG: Can glamour survive?

KH: As a power that comes from a positive state of mind and kindness, of course. One of these days, it’ll be THE “bling” everyone wants.

DG: Is glamour something you're born with?

KH: In some cases yes, but it can be acquired as well. It’s never too late.

Kana harada mirrors

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Cate Blanchett

2) Paris or Venice? Venice

3) New York or Los Angeles? New York (Long Island)

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Kyoto. (I’m from Tokyo, so Kyoto is a dream place for me.)

6) Boots or stilettos? Christian Louboutin's black spiked heels

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Art Nouveau

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Both but only if vintage

9) Armani or Versace? John Galliano’s runway fashion

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Diana Vreeland

11) Champagne or single malt? Champagne

12) 1960s or 1980s? 50’s and before

13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Linda Evangelista

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Sean Connery


DG Q & A: Anna David

3388615386_642f3b031eAnna David has packed a lot of living into her years—she's been a staff writer for glossy magazines such as Premiere, a prolific freelancer, and a professional sex and love expert. She has investigated meth use in Hollywood, produced a TV show, written a roman à clef novel about a party-girl reporter. She appears regularly as the thinking man's pop culture pundit, and blogs, twitters, flickrs, and all the rest of whatever it is that modern media types do. She's also clean, sober, cheerful, pretty, and nice. We'd hate her if we didn't know her, and we'd be wrong. She's just great. And thus, she answered our questions.

DG: To coin a not-very-original phrase, you've looked at celebrity from both sides, now. Is show biz still glamorous (if it ever was) for you?

AD: Well, if I'm a celebrity, then I'm at best a D-list one and considering how mean I've occasionally been about mere C-listers, that's sort of frightening. As for the glamour—well, I think living in L.A. for a decade certainly cures you of any notions that being a celebrity is terribly glamorous. When I first got there, I positively worshiped at the altar of celebrity—I thought the most amazing thing that could happen to someone was to become a celebrity's confidante or girlfriend. But I was absolutely fetishizing their fame and really, when it came down to it, using whoever I was interacting with in that way because I wasn't interested in who they were as people but in what I thought their choosing to be around me meant about me. It started to make me feel terrible about myself and I could never really feel comfortable in those situations anyway.

DG: And now that you're no longer a civilian, do you regret any of your journalistic ways?

AD: I try not to regret a lot but I'm slightly embarrassed by some of the writing I did about sex before I understood exactly what I needed and didn't need to share about my personal life with complete strangers. I've always lacked that filter that stops thoughts from coming out as sentences and looking back, I see there are times where I didn't have to reveal so much or be that graphic. And I allowed editors to make my material more risqué than what I turned in because I thought I had to in order to get more work, rather than sticking to what I felt comfortable with. And it was the same situation when I started answering sex and relationship questions on TV—I thought I had to say everything I could about myself. I've now gotten to the point—with TV, with magazine stories, with my blog and Facebook and twitter and even, say, this—where I know how much to reveal without feeling like beating myself up about it later.

Aboutbought DG: Your new book, Bought, explores the demi-monde of modern Hollywood—the professional girlfriend. You'd reported on top-dollar prostitution in Details—what's the lure for these women? Just money? Or is that too simple?

AD: I think it's more about power and control than it is about money. Most of the girls that I met when I was doing the Details piece were either porn stars or had been in Penthouse; prostitution was their side job, something they were able to make a significant amount of money from because of their "fame." In the world of the book, the main prostitute character is masking massive insecurity and an inferiority complex with her beauty, airs and controlling personality: she tells herself and everyone else that she does what she does because it allows her to be in control of her life and to control her clients but it's clear from how quickly she gets agitated and defensive whenever she feels someone judging her and how much of herself she gives away in order to please her main client that she's full of it. In both the real world I saw and the world of the book, the girls are also doing so many drugs that they're able to blot out a lot of the reality of what they're doing and convince themselves that they're powerful when on some level they know they're not.

[Take the Can You Be Bought? quiz. Read the first chapter.]

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour? To me, it's a pair of Christian Louboutin heels getting out of a town car, perfectly applied fake lashes, the right kind of European accents. And I'll tell you what it's not: writing novels. Unless, of course, you're Danielle Steele. Louboutin+Anemone+satin+crepe+pump+with+bow+-+pair (Small)

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon? I think Diane Von Furstenberg is pretty fabulous. I love it when someone who appears to not need to work not only busts her ass for a career but also thrives while doing so.

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity? It's not so much a luxury as it is reserved for certain times. It's wonderful to have a glamorous night now and again but eating fried chicken in sweats also has its appeal.

PP31257~Pulp-Fiction-Posters 4) Favorite glamorous movie? To me, it's Pulp Fiction. The wardrobes. The drugs. The music. The dancing. So glam.

5) What was your most glamorous moment? I've had a few. What feels like 1000 years ago, I dated a struggling actor named Matt Damon, who then of course became a major movie star. But I went to the premiere of his first movie, School Ties, with him at the Rainbow Room in New York.

6) Favorite glamorous object? iPhone

7) Most glamorous place? It's been a while since I've been there but Seville, Spain seemed pretty glamorous to me. The streets smelled like flowers and what's more glamorous than that?

8) Most glamorous job? I think the TV stuff I get to do is pretty glamorous. I literally get to go in, try on clothes that someone went out and bought specifically for me, have amazing hair and makeup people make me look as good as I can and then say things that are televised. I'm just a writer who happened to stumble into that seat and I often marvel at how different that is than, say, having a Maxim editor tell me that my third rewrite on the sex positions story isn't quite up to their standards.

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't? Writing novels and writing for magazines. I can't tell you how many people tell me they'd love to have my writing career. I always want to say: Um, do you understand that it involves killing yourself to make editors happy and spending something like 10 hours a day in front of a computer with only cats for company?

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized? One of the cats that keeps me company. She's a mutt who came for free from a pet store but her fur is deliciously decadent and she's perfected the "Oh, you've finally arrived to tend to my needs" Joan Crawford expression.

11) Can glamour survive? I think we'll always need it to balance out the mundane.

2) Is glamour something you're born with? In my cat's case, yes.

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Angelina because unpredictable and unhinged will always appeal to me more than stately and together.

2) Paris or Venice? Paris, because I still semi speak the language.

3) New York or Los Angeles? New York for spring and fall, L.A. for summer and winter.

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Di, if only because she was more of a cultural figure to me than Princess Grace. I still remember coming home from school one day and my mom said, "You're never going to believe this but Princess Grace died!" I was like, "Princess who?"

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Japan

6) Boots or stilettos? Boots because, as a former ballerina, I have too many sprained ankles in my past to really do the stilettos thing.

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Art Deco

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Jaguar

9) Armani or Versace? Armani. I think Versace is pretty over-the-top a lot of the time.

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Anna Wintour, possibly only out of my own egomania since we share the same first name.

100_wintour

11) Champagne or single malt? Formerly: champagne—specifically, Bellinis. Currently: neither.

12) 1960s or 1980s? The 80s because I was around for them.

13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds. Pearls are very Westport, Connecticut to me. Diamonds—so long as they're not huge and ostentatious—are lovely.

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Kate Moss because I'm mystified by the whole Dorian Gray thing she has going. How can she possibly live the way she's rumored to live and still look so good? While Naomi obviously still looks great as well, she's almost become a cartoon character in my mind.

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Neither—not a James Bond girl, I'm afraid. In fact, I twittered during the Oscars this year that Craig left me cold and got hate tweets for it!

Dance Week: DG Q&A With Philip Gardner Of Oberon's Grove

Philip-gardner-oberons-grove-dance Philip Gardner blogs about dance and opera at Oberon's Grove, a site he describes as the online extension of a diary he's kept since he was a child enamored with opera. To kick off Dance Week at DG, we asked him to share some thoughts about ballet and glamour.

DG: When did you first get interested in dance?

PG: As a child I liked dancing around the house and I always enjoyed social dancing but becoming interested in dance as an art form came about when I was in my 20s when - quite by chance - I spent a summer working for a small ballet school on Cape Cod. It was after that that I began attending performances, and it soon became a passion.

DG: Have you had training in dance yourself?

PG: At the above-mentioned school on the Cape I took class and danced in performances, and I took class for 3 years altogether. Of course I was in my mid-20s, way too late to consider doing it as a profession. It seems I had a natural affinity for it and if I had been aware of dance as a viable career choice when I was very young my life might have turned out very differently. But I grew up in a tiny town with no possible exposure to anything like dance classes. Now when I watch dancers in class, rehearsing or performing I am keenly aware that it's probably what I should have been doing all these years.

DG: How did you get started blogging about dance?

PG: Since I was about eleven, I always kept a very detailed diary. For many years it was mainly about the opera performances I attended; when I started going to the ballet I would write about that also. Of course at first I knew nothing about what I was seeing, only that I loved watching people in motion. When I finally moved to NYC in 1998 and began going to dance performances with great frequency, I would write about them on one of the internet dance sites. Meanwhile, Kristin Sloan of the New York City Ballet had started her blog The Winger and I became very intrigued with that. When I got in trouble on the site where I was posting (for being sarcastic!) I was inspired by Kristin to start my own blog. It quickly became far more successful and popular than I ever would have guessed and it has led me to meet several fascinating people in the dance and music world.

Ballet-toe-shoes

DG: How is the glamour of ballet different from (or the same as) the glamour of modern dance? What does glamour mean in each context?

PG: This may seem odd, but I think the glamour of the ballet comes from...toe shoes! Yes, the satiny pointe shoes have their own mystique and give the ballerina an elegance that is quite unique. There are other elements too which make ballet especially glamourous: the beauty of classical port de bras, the traditional style of costuming and make-up, the theatricality of it. Modern dance is usually earthier, sexier and less calculated. Also the music of the classical ballet - Tchaikovsky, Minkus, Adam - already has its own built-in sense of glamour. Modern dance choreographers tend to be far more experimental in terms of musical choices, which can often be very exciting in its own way. In the quest for finding beauty in music and movement, I think the two worlds (ballet vs modern) compliment one another very well.

DG: Onstage, dancers tend to seem quite glamorous. How much do dancers try to maintain their personas offstage? Has that changed over time? Or is it simply a matter of personality?

PG: Offstage, I find most dancers do not cultivate a glamorous image these days. For one thing, many of them are very young and they like to dress and behave like other young people when they are not onstage: meaning ultra-casual dress-down style - which in its way can be attractive. Some of the ballerinas, as they mature and rise to the rank of principal, become more aware of projecting a sophisticated image offstage. When I look at old photos from the Diaghilev era of off-duty dancers in public settings, I feel there was more awareness of creating a persona. It seems to me that during the 60s and 70s there was a concerted effort both in opera and ballet to humanize the performers, to make the public feel that soprano x and ballerina y are just normal folks who happen to be talented in a special way. The high-profile glamour of a Callas or a Markova began to fade. On the other hand, I always feel when I encounter dancers in an offstage setting that they have their own internal element of glamour or elegance which runs deeper than just their clothing, make-up and hairstyle...their talent, passion and commitment give them their own brand of glamour.

Kyle Froman-Morphoses-permissionrequiredforuse

Photo by Kyle Froman from Christopher Wheeldon's MORPHOSES. Used with permission.

DG: Your blog features many compellingly graceful photos of dance performances. Dance is all about movement, but the photos are stills. What makes a good dance photo?

I love still photos of dancers and I've come to know several dance photographers. Many of my favorite dance photographs come from rehearsal or class situations; I have always been intrigued by the process of creating dance and these photos can be very poignant because they show the work behind the finished product. Some of the best dance photographers are dancers themselves: Kyle Froman, Erin Baiano, Matt Murphy. In capturing dance in a still photo, timing is all. To catch the exact moment when a photo will give an illusion of movement must be extremely tricky. Paul Kolnik of New York City Ballet and Erik Tomasson of San Francisco Ballet certainly have the knack, as do several others. I think a good dance photo is one that makes you want to go see the dancer or the work that has been photographed. I spend a lot of time looking at dance photos both in books and on-line, hoping to find pictures that will enhance my blog. The photographers I have dealt with have all been extremely generous; they want their photos to be seen. And of course if you are trying to describe the look and feel of a particular dance piece, a picture is worth a thousand words.

DG: It has been said that part of ballet is creating the illusion of defying gravity, and that in contrast modern dance seems more grounded. Do you agree?

PG: In general, yes, though I seen some high-flying modern dancers and also ballets that seem heavier and more earthbound. Again I must say that it is dancing on pointe that seems the dividing line for me between ballet and modern. Watching the girls defy gravity as they hover and spin on pointe really gives ballet its special quality. It's certainly unnatural, and very intriguing.

Matthew Murphy-Eran Bugge-Parisa Khobdeh-Paul Taylor Dance Company-permissionrequiredforuse

Photo by Matthew Murphy of Eran Bugge and Parisa Khobdeh of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Used with permission.

DG: You also blog about opera. How does its appeal to you differ from that of ballet or modern dance? What's similar?

PG: I loved opera long before I discovered dance as an art form. Opera was the companion of my dark, unhappy teenage years where I found solace in the passion and beauty of the human voice. The last great heyday of opera in New York (the 1960s thru the mid 1980s) was a thrilling time for me. Going to the opera nowadays can still be exciting but the atmosphere has changed and there are surely far fewer interesting vocal personalities around. Dance I find to be on a steadier trajectory in terms of holding its appeal. For me, everything is emotional. I'm not sure I believe in intellect, really. I simply want to be moved or thrilled by people doing something I cannot do. Both opera and dance can provide this: in a way it's replaced going to church for me. It's spiritually nourishing.

DG: You've written a couple of recent posts about bad audience behavior at both ballets and operas--all sorts of things that break the spell for others. What do you think is going on? Has a substantial portion of the audience stopped seeing the performance as an immersive experience?

PG: Ah, my pet peeve...bad manners at the theatre! I should not get started on this but in brief I believe that the performing arts have simply become too accesible. Yes, I'm a snob. I do not think one can go to the opera or ballet casually, just to be entertained, as one might go to a film or a sports event. Of course the opera and ballet companies need to bring in new audiences but with that goes the need for people to learn how to behave. It's hard for me to imagine people paying money and making the effort to attend and then squandering the opportunity by talking, eating, checking the cellphone. It seems that people are too self-absorbed, too accustomed to being spoon-fed their 'culture' without making any real effort to connect with music or dance beyond the surface realities. Opera and dance can still be immersive, but the viewer must be willing to be immersed. That means being attentive and putting aside other concerns and distractions while the performance goes forward. In general I think many people have simply never been taught how to behave in such a setting; I learned how to sit still and be attentive by being taken to church for many years by my parents. What it comes down to is: common courtesy. That seems to be a forgotten concept.

Kyle Froman-New York City Ballet-RedSeats-
Photo by Kyle Froman of New York City Ballet. Used with permission.

DG: Do you find that the audience for dance dresses more casually now than when you first started attending? Do audiences for ballet tend to dress differently than audiences for modern dance?

DG: Yes, things are far more casual now in terms of dress but I do not think that being well-dressed necessarily enhances one's enjoyment of the performance. However, it does make the event more 'special' in a way. Both ballet and modern dance audiences tend to dress for comfort mainly - gala nights aside, of course.

PG: Since you have been following dance for some time, do you sometimes find that a change of performers seems to change the content (meaning) of a dance (even when the choreography remains essentially the same)? If so, does this change of meaning surprise you? How do you react to it?

PG: I have always loved to see (dance) and hear (opera) many different intrepretations of a given work. It's exhilirating to find a dancer giving a new slant to a familiar piece and I always find it intriguing how even a change of one dancer in a cast of - say - twenty can alter the tone of a ballet. In the world of Balanchine's ballets, where I spend so much time, self-styled purists often get upset when they feel the boundaries of a given work are being pushed by a given dancer. My feeling is that only Mr. B could say if something was right or wrong, and everything I have read about him makes me feel he would always have been open to a fresh approach. (I also get the feeling he was far more adaptable about altering steps for individual dancers in a given ballet than his advocates today are...he never seemed to me to be writing in stone.) What keeps ballet alive is the ever-changing casting as the years pass by...so that Mozartiana for instance never became 'fossilized' for me in Suzanne Farrell's interpretation but rather I looked forward to dancers like Kyra Nichols, Miranda Weese and Wendy Whelan dancing it...and whoever will dance it next! It's almost like a new ballet every time. For me, that's the best tribute to Balanchine's genius: it's the music that we are seeing and the dancer is the vessel.

DG: Can you say what is it about ballet and modern dance that can bring you back to see works performed more than once? Do you have any thoughts on what makes dance so compelling to you?

If I like a ballet or dance work, I will want to see it dozens and dozens of times. Invariably it is the music that is the primary appeal of a piece. Some works - like Balanchine's Serenade or Tudor's Jardin Aux Lilas - are like a drug: you feel an urgent need to see them whenever they are on offer. I like to be moved, to weep and be transported by the music and by the beauty and poetry of the human body in motion. Dance is very sustaining and elevating for the human spirit; in a way, dance and music are my religion.

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour? Elegance and self-assurance.

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon? Maria Callas

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity? A luxury.

4) Favorite glamorous movie? The Age of Innocence

5) What is your most glamorous moment? Watching the chandeliers rise before a performance at the Met.

7) Most glamorous place? Metropolitan Museum of Art.

8) Most glamorous job? Prima donna or prima ballerina

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't? Most of today's so-called celebrities.

10) Someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized? Pauline Golbin

11) Can glamour survive? Yes.

12) Is glamour something you're born with? No.

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Cate!

2) Paris or Venice? Paris!

3) New York or Los Angeles? New York!

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace, of course!!!

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Beijing!

6) Boots or stilettos? Toe shoes!

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Deco!

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Jag!

9) Armani or Versace? Armani

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Vreeland

11) Champagne or single malt? Both!

12) 1960s or 1980s? I prefer the present!

13) Diamonds or pearls? Pearls!

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Neither.

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Both.

[Photo of Philip Gardner by Roberto de la Cruz. Toe shoes by Flickr user .Dianna. under Creative Commons license.]

DG Q&A: Lisa Belkin On Glamorous Mothers

LisaBelkin Motherlode blogger Lisa Belkin has worked for The New York Times since the two of us graduated Princeton in 1982--and, except for an updated hairstyle, she looks almost exactly the same. (That twinkle in her eye is characteristic.) She may call herself "an unbalanced mom," the self-deprecating subtitle of her 2003 book Life's Work: Confessions of an Unbalanced Mom, but she's struck an impressive balance between her life as a writer and her life as a mother of two teenage sons. Now a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, she spent nearly a decade as the Life's Work columnist for the Times, exploring the balance (or imbalance) of home and work. In addition to Life's Work, she has written books about doctors facing ethical dilemmas (First, Do No Harm, 1994) and about battles over public housing and segregation in Yonkers (Show Me A Hero, 2000). For old times' sake, she agreed to answer our questions about glamour and motherhood.

DG: Is "glamorous mother" an oxymoron?

LB: I don’t think it is. But I do think it can become a burden we put on ourselves. Glamorous anything is higher or better or more effortless than real life. And “glamorous motherhood” – a concept I have to say I never thought of until you asked – to me means the ability to be the epitome of a loving, hands-on mother while doing it effortlessly. While staying physically perfect (in shape, chicly dressed, an outward manifestation of polished and buffed) and emotionally calm.

DG: Does "glamour" mean something different in the context of motherhood?

LB: Glamour, in its non-motherhood sense is completely about surfaces, and gliding smoothing over them; about money and oomph. Motherhood (parenthood) is messy. So when I think of glamorous motherhood I think of the ability – lord knows I don’t have it, most mortals don’t – to make it less than messy.

Waving_LJ-0089-OL

DG: Who is the most glamorous mother you know of? What is it about her that makes her glamorous?

LB: That I know in real life? My sister-in-law. Looks like Jackie Kennedy, never frazzled or mussed. Gorgeous and chic and slightly funky even without make-up. Great biceps. Two wonderful girls who seem happy and well adjusted, and well- (but not smotheringly) parented, and there is a lot of laughing going on.

That I watch from afar? Michelle Obama. She’s my sister-in-law with a bigger stage, and access to better clothes

DG: How do you and the women you write about incorporate glamour into life as busy mothers?

LB: Not always successfully. For many women there is a feeling that these are years apart, particularly when kids are young and you do your best to get some sleep and get through. That’s why I am loving Mrs. O. She’s a model of what can be – okay, if your mother is willing to pitch in full-time.

DG: What kinds of Mother's Day presents make a mother feel glamorous?

LB: The clichés are clichés for a reason. They are the easy go-tos. Flowers, chocolates, perfume. I always hate the gift of perfume – if seems like someone is trying to tell me how to smell. Much too intrusive a gift. I think if you are trying to make Mom feel glamorous, give a gift that assumes that she is. Pampering at a favorite spa. A sleek bauble. Heck, an extra hour or so of sleep is what I am going for this year. A Porsche would be nice, but I assume we are in the realm of reality here, right?

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour? When the cracks and fissures don’t show.

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon? Present – Michelle Obama. Past – Grace Kelly

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity? A luxury, and often an unrealistic goal

High Society Poster-734054 4) Favorite glamorous movie? The Philadelphia Story/High Society

5) What was your most glamorous moment? Walking the red carpet at an admittedly second-rate award show, but the paparazzi were kind enough to pretend otherwise

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)? Black dress that (still) fits just so and Grandma’s diamond necklace

7) Most glamorous place? Poolside at the Peninsula Hotel

8) Most glamorous job? Not mine. Working in your pajamas – a treat, but not glamorous

InTouchArticle 9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't. A decade or so back I would have said smoking. Now I think it would have to be those annoying little yippy dogs that celebrities seem so fond of.

11) Can glamour survive? Not sure. We are becoming so casual and egalitarian (not necessarily in a bad way) and glamour is the antithesis of one if not both of those things.

12) Is glamour something you're born with? You are born with the instinct to make use of the opportunity if it comes along

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Cate

2) Paris or Venice? Venice

3) New York or Los Angeles? New York

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Never been to Kyoto

6) Boots or stilettos? Stilettos

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Not my area

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Astin

9) Armani or Versace? Armani

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Anna

11) Champagne or single malt? Champagne

12) 1960s or 1980s? Umm, 1940s?

13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds are glamorous, pearls are classy

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Oh lord, neither

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Both

DG Q&A: Alastair Gordon

*AG w

Airports and beach houses, hippie crash pads and geodesic domes. Alastair Gordon's prolific writings combine a critic's eye for architecture with a social historian's instinct for cultural meaning. I discovered his work through his fascinating 2004 history, Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World's Most Revolutionary Structure, which was a great resource when I was writing about airline glamour. His latest book, Spaced Out: Radical Environments of the Psychedelic Sixties, takes on a less conventionally glamorous topic. What might these two topics have in common? "For me," Gordon told DG, "architecture is ONLY interesting as far as it reflects cultural aspiration and the prevailing spirit of the day."

DG: Many reviews of Naked Airport invoked the "vanished glamour" of air travel. What destroyed that glamour, and how was the loss reflected in the design of airports?

AG: Several reasons that the glamour went out of air travel: a more competitive airline business with new companies offering lower prices. I flew with my parents to Europe numerous times in the 1960s and we always dressed up as if attending a special event. Those were relatively small planes, the service was good and the airports were manageable. The Boeing 747, introduced in 1970, was the final insult, ushering in mass air travel and lowering general standards of service and aesthetics, bringing cramped seats, poor cuisine and overworked staffs. The jumbos also threw airport terminals into chaos because none were designed to handle such crowds. Architects and planners responded with sprawling, mall-like terminals that stripped away the final vestiges of romance. Nor did the threat of hijacking and terrorism help. Being scanned by machines or interrogated by poorly trained personnel is never sexy.

DG: In that book, you write about an airport sign that says, "Excuse our appearances. We are tearing down yesterday to make room for tomorrow." You write, "But the idealized 'tomorrow' never comes." How does architecture relate to cultural aspiration?

*Cvr

AG: For me, architecture is ONLY interesting as far as it reflects cultural aspiration and the prevailing spirit of the day. Almost all of my books have been about social history reflected in the built environment: Weekend Utopia looked at how the modernist beach houses of the post-war period were idealized icons of Cold War aspiration (the flip side of all those basement A-bomb shelters.) Naked Airport traced the evolution of the airport as a symbolic as well as functional "artifact," one that by its very nature could never live up to its utopian promise. Kennedy International, for instance, was designed in the late 1950s to be a showcase for US-style democracy (vs. Soviet-style communism) with an eclectic array of architectural styles, formal gardens, fountains, reflecting pools, chapels, etc. to evoke a welcoming "Ellis Island of the Air." In my most recent book, Spaced Out, I wanted to document, and in a sense reclaim, the trippy environments of the psychedelic sixties and show how they reflected the cosmic aspirations of that generation.

DG: Hippie dwellings seem too grungy for glamour, but they do (or did) have a certain romance. What attracted you to that subject?

Babble32

Hey! I think hippie culture is very high fashion, whatever that means, and it seems more relevant now than ever with so much renewed interest in green/sustainable design, planetary survival, living simply and bling-less. (Just before Christmas, I was involved in a big "Have a Happy Hippie Holiday" event at Barney's in NYC that Simon Doonan conceived.) At some point I realized that the sixties were a major cultural renaissance and not merely a youth revolt. What attracted me was the wild exuberance and innocence, the seeking of expanded consciousness and new kinds of spirituality, especially in light of Bush/Cheney's fear mongering and the culture of control that arose after 9/11. I suppose the book was also a way to reconnect with my own adolescent wanderings.

DG: What surprised you when you did the research?

AG: Everything surprised me. All of my assumptions and prejudices went out the window. It turns out that the official version of the 60s was a complete distortion of fact. I grew up during that period but was too young to really participate as a mover/shaper. By the time I was eighteen it seemed over and then, suddenly, everyone was dissing the movement as an aberration. (Of course, Altamont and Charlie Manson didn't help.) I wanted to go back and make a narrative that wasn't dumbed down or dismissive. I tried to be as generous and open-minded as possible. (My wife would point out wherever my text became too judgmental.) Everyone I interviewed had a different story: a million mini revolutions happening at the same time, sometimes overlapping, sometimes taking place simultaneously but separately, and very little of it was documented. The outlaw architects and builders I researched were trying to reinvent the very idea of human community; replace the conventional family with tribal patterns; expand consciousness; live in harmony with nature; work with recycled materials; live off grid; create revolutionary structures like geodesic domes, yurts and organically curving womb rooms. It's easy enough to make fun of them today but they may be the ones that end up having the last laugh.

DG: In Spaced Out, you write about the "reckless longing for other states of being." Is that longing something that can be expressed architecturally? Was it inevitably disappointed?

AG: Yes, I think that longing was expressed architecturally, but unfortunately we don't have many monuments from that period as reference points. I began the book with a visit to Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri's sustainable city in the Arizona desert, because it still exists. But most of the architectural spaces from that period were more insubstantial and didn't survive. Early psychedelic explorers described how corners dissolved, hard edges softened, straight lines curved, colors exploded, ceilings and floors blew away. This new kind of spatial experience was translated into all kinds of temporary environments (some called it "LSDesign"): crash pads, womb rooms, teepees, tents, tree-houses and basic shelter built out of unstable materials like mud, straw bales, recycled wood or blown polyurethane. But the temporality was also what made theses structures beautiful. The counter culture was all about being in the moment so who was worrying about resale value or termites? Yes, of course, it is bound to disappoint because it can't last very long. You do eventually get sick of leaky roofs, shared communal spaces and eating out of the same bean pot. But to me that was what was so compelling about the period: this reckless sense of abandon, that anything was possible, that yes, society could be reinvented and rebuilt from the ground up. I think we're seeing this legacy reconstitute itself today.

DG: You now write for the WSJ's luxury-oriented magazine. How has the financial crisis affected what stories you do? Is there room for luxury and aspiration in the current environment?

AG: Yes, I think "luxury" and "aspiration" are being substantially redefined and down-sized, and that is obviously a good thing. There's a noticeable turning away from conspicuous excess. I'm certainly not writing about giant MacMansions in the Hamptons or architectural ego trips. I just published a story in our last issue about a group of small guest huts on wheels that Tom Kundig designed in Washington State: "the architectural equivalent of sack cloth and ash," is how I described the rusting steel walls and plywood interiors.

The client had plenty of money and could have built anything but he chose to make a statement. The huts are simple but incredibly elegant. I'm working on a story for the next issue about how young architects are donating their services to design affordable housing, schools and community parks. This is a promising, and inspiring, trend. And yes, there's room for luxury and aspiration in the current environment but the days of unapologetic Greed (with a capital "G") are over.

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour? Intelligence mixed with a physical sense of self.

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon? I really don't believe in "icons" but I guess for a woman:Michele Obama walking up Pennsylvania Ave. with her beautiful daughters; for a man: Sean Connery in opening scenes of Dr. No.

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity? A necessary part of the human ritual. Glamour doesn't have to be a luxury.

4) Favorite glamorous movie? Monica Vitti and Alain Delon in Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Eclisse (1962), a perfect degree of Euro-style angst mixed with glamour.

Eclisse

5) What was your most glamorous moment? Meeting my wife at a softball game in East Hampton and/or the nanosecond on red carpet at Academy Awards before photographers realized I wasn't a real celebrity.

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)? "Rocket" Hermes portable typewriter from the 1950s.

PB011961

7) Most glamorous place? French Leave Beach, Eleuthera.

8) Most glamorous job? My brief career writing glamour copy for Calvin Klein in the early 1990s, or my even briefer career writing for Hollywood in the 1980s.

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't Hollywood

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized Alien abduction

11) Can glamour survive? Only if it comes from the street.

12) Is glamour something you're born with? No, not necessarily, but genes might have something to do with it.

EITHER/OR

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Usually Cate but I like how Angelina's becoming a real woman and less of an action vixen.

2) Paris or Venice? Paris most of the time but Venice once in a while.

3) New York or Los Angeles? New York and almost never L.A.

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Diana, I guess, but Grace was lovely.

5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Kyoto, only because of those raked gardens.

3127198059_9e9e0ee2dc

6) Boots or stilettos? Boots only because it's hard to find stilettos for my size 13 feet.

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? I don't like either one but Art Nouveau if I was forced to spend time with it.

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Vintage E-type Jags are cool if fussy but I always liked that James Bond Astin Martin with the ejection seat.

9) Armani or Versace? Neither. Really. Neither.

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Vreeland I guess because I met her once and she seemed pretty elegant.

11) Champagne or single malt? Single malt.

12) 1960s or 1980s? Of course: the 1960s but the 1980's will soon have its day again.

Nosestud

13) Diamonds or pearls? I don't wear any form of jewelry but if I did I guess I would wear a diamond nose stud.

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Kate, only because I think she's getting more beautiful despite cocaine controversy.

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Are you kidding? Sean Connery

[Kyoto garden courtesy of Flickr user alq666 under Creative Commons license.]

DG Q & A: The Foodinista

Mysterylady Deep Glamour's favoring a food-themed week, and to kick it off, we've subjected mystery blogger, The Foodinista, to our questions.


DG: How and when and why did chefs become glamorous? Didn't they used to be faintly comic--like Chef Boyardee?Logo_chefboy

TF: I would argue that Chef Boyardee has a certain chic about him. He can pull off a toque like nobody's business. But probably Julia Child started the ball rolling by bringing French fare into our homes in the 60s. From there, I would say the Food Network took it to the next level, turning chefs like Mario into gods. I have no other explanation for the popularity of Crocs in this country.

DG: Are some foods inherently more glamourous than others, or is it all in presentation?

Roast-chicken-su-1724841-l TF: It depends on your definition of glamour. Caviar is an obvious association with "glamour" simply because it is expensive and rare. I love caviar. But I also think a perfectly roasted chicken at a dinner party makes much more of a statement about good taste, and there are few things as elegant as a simple glass bowl filled with lemons. Aesthetically speaking, I'll take farmers markets over Fendi any day.

DG: Has all the emphasis in media on professional cooking intimidated home cooks?


TF: My prediction is that we're about to see a backlash to the celebrity chef phenomenon. I think we've stopped caring, or at least I have. We're much more interested in neighborhood restaurants where the chef is actually in there cooking honest, unpretentious, beautiful food. And it's the kind of food we're cooking at home now more than ever—much more focused on ingredients than showmanship. I would argue this shift away from fussy food wrought with laborious technique has empowered the home chef. We realize now that we don't have to spend five hours cooking in order to have people over to dinner. In fact, all the better if one is able to prepare a fast, easy and satisfying meal and spend time chatting with friends and family instead of hiding behind the scenes fretting over a sauce.Jules-Grun-The-Dinner-Party-102294

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour? Or what makes someone or something glamorous?

Glamour is an inherent quality that makes someone or something more attractive.

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon? Charlotte Gainsbourg.

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity? Glamour is a necessary luxury.

4) Favorite glamorous movie? Darling.

5) What was your most glamorous moment? I'd love to say something romantic about sailing into the harbor at Portofino, but in reality I was on a tourist ferry not a yacht, so let's go with the first time I met Tom Ford—such a snapshot in time, which now seems so frivolous and far away during this very real recession. It was one of those magical L.A. evenings in the garden behind the Chateau. He commented on a white linen Chanel camelia I had pinned to an old denim jacket. We were at party for Stella McCartney, sipping vodka cocktails, and I was a huge fan of Ford's at the time. Patrick McMullan was snapping photos. Everyone looked gorgeous, and the lighting was perfect. It was such a great party.

6) Favorite glamorous object ? A string of pearls my parents gave me for my 16th birthday. I love to wear them with t-shirts.

7) Most glamorous place? The balcony of a lakefront suite at the Villa d'Este during a thunderstorm on Lake Como, where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. We ended up in a hot tub with Michael Bolton, which sort of dulled the patina.

8) Most glamorous job? Michelle Obama's.

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't?

Juicy Couture

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized? Nancysilverton_headshot
Nancy Silverton. You will find her on any given night at Mozza—manning the pizza oven or the mozzarella bar—dressed to the nines in Marni, blood red lipstick and a simple apron. She somehow remains graceful under any amount of pressure.

11)Can glamour survive? People will always want to see a prettier version of themselves, which is why, for better or worse, we look to glossies and celluloid for escape instead of in the mirror. Conversely, reality television makes us feel better about looking in the mirror after having leafed through the latest issue of Vogue. It's a balancing act.

12) Is glamour something you're born with? Grace is something you're born with, and it certainly lends authenticity to glamour in a way that oversized sunglasses cannot.

EITHER/OR

1)Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Cate Blanchett
2)Paris or Venice? Paris for fashion/Venice Ghetto for food
3) New York or Los Angeles? Los Angeles
4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace
5)Tokyo or Kyoto? Kyoto
6) Boots or stilettos? Stilettos
7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Deco
8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Aston Martin
9) Armani or Versace? Neither
10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? DV
11) Champagne or single malt? Champagne
1960s or 1980s? 60s
Diamonds or pearls? Pearls
Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Kate
Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Sean Connery

Kyoto

DG Q&A: Joan DeJean

Dejean Joan DeJean is a professor at French literature at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a number of award-winning scholarly works. But she's best known outside the academy for what the NYT called "her effervescent account of the birth of French chic," her delightfully readable popular book, The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour.

In it, Joan argues that many of the styles, customs, and luxuries we associate with glamour and chic developed from Louis XIV's calculated policies. She traces the origins of champagne and umbrellas, explains how diamonds displaced pearls as the most desirable of jewels, and recounts how streetlights--a tough technological challenge--changed city life. Plus there's the tale of international skullduggery and industrial espionage--over the secret of making large mirrors.

Joan answered our questions from her home in Paris, where she is spending a sabbatical.

DG: How did The Essence of Style come about?

JD: I had a number of files in which I had been tracking individuals who were extraordinary inventors and creators in different domains–food, fashion, hairdressing, shoemaking. One day I realized that there was a big story that linked the shoemaker and the hairdresser, for example—that all these inventions had been possible because of an atmosphere that reigned in France in the final decades of the 17th century. So I decided to tell the story of the creation of a modern sense of style.

DG: You argue that during Louis XIV's reign, fashion emulating the court spread beyond the elite to a much broader public. How did that happen? What had to change to make it possible? How did the general public even come to think it appropriate, much less possible, to emulate the court (or even the king)?

Mailly

JD: I think that style can spread at any period, so this could conceivably have happened before. Under Louis XIV, however, there was a fundamental change of mentality that began with the king’s desire to create a new national image for France, to make France known as the most elegant nation in Europe. This led, for example, to the creation of a fashion industry worthy of the name. And to make that happen, fashion was for the first time ever marketed in a truly modern way—in inexpensive engravings, fashion plates, for example. This meant that individuals who had never seen a great aristocrat, much less been to court, could see how people at court were dressed. They could then begin, even if only in a modest way, to copy fashions that had originated with the elite.

DG: We generally think of shopping as becoming a glamorous experience with the rise of department stores in the 19th century, as memorably portrayed by Zola in The Ladies' Paradise. But, again, you trace that experience back to the 17th century: "Parisian merchants were so successful at convincing people to buy for the sake of buying because they had made shopping glamorous, fun, and even sexy. Shopping had become....shopping theater in which consumers were spending money because they felt that their lives were somehow being transformed by the event." What was the experience of shopping like in this period, compared to later? How did the promise of transformation work?

JD: The experience started small. The original modern stores were a far cry from the 19th century’s gigantic department stores. But they were created to produce an entirely different experience, one of elegant discretion rather than the often frenetic overkill of later models. The original modern stores in the late 17th century were tiny compared to 19th-century grands magasins: they were jewel boxes. They displayed goods in luxurious settings, beautifully laid out--and, an innovation not found elsewhere in Europe, employed pretty young women dressed in the latest styles to wait on customers. There wasn’t the overwhelming rush of consumerism--too many ribbons, shelves overflowing with goods--that Zola describes so well. Clients of the late 17th century appreciated the experience as magical and elegant, rather than the orgy of consumerism shopping later became. All in all, it was closer to what we find today in high-end boutiques, where we find a selection of goods that represents a certain style.

Eiffel


DG: What has "Paris glamour" meant to people in different places and periods?

JD: Everything from the glorious experience that the first streetlights in the world meant for those who saw them in the late 17th century to the way the Eiffel Tower lit up the skyline two centuries later. Everything from the original ballet stars at the Paris Opera Ballet in the late 17th century to Josephine Baker in a far more recent age.

DG: Although Americans think of France (and Paris in particular) as glamorous, if my dictionary is to be believed, there isn't a word for "glamour" in French. The closest translations appear to be éclat, séduction, or fascination, but those aren't the same thing. Or are they? How would you explain glamour in French? (See this discussion, for instance.)

JD: When “glamour” entered the English language in the 18th century, in its original meaning of fairy-tale-like magic, French had lots of alternatives to convey the same sense—“enchantment” in particular. When “glamour” took on its modern meaning in the 19th century, French never followed suit. One never knows why these kind of Coverdivergences take place, but your question made me wonder about the following: it seems to me that glamour implies the attraction of the unattainable, the distant, whereas the French prefer the attraction of the more approachable. For example, the French will say of someone—much in the way Americans will say ”isn’t he/she glamorous?”—he/she “has charm.” (That’s returning to glamour’s original roots in magic by the way.) To be charming and stylish—that’s the ultimate attraction for the French.

DG: Do you have another book project in the works?

JD: I’m just finishing a book called The Age of Comfort—it will be out next September. It’s once more about Paris, this time in a slightly later period (the 18th century), and deals with the moment at which the French began to break away from the off-putting and stiff magnificence of Louis XIV’s court and to look instead for surroundings in which they could be relaxed and casual and at ease. It’s about the creation of the modern home and the invention of many of the things in it that we still see as essential for comfort—from sofas to luxurious bathrooms.

The DG Dozen

1) How do you define glamour?

A magnetic attraction; someone who possesses an air of mystery. And for me glamour is always elegant.

2) Who or what is your glamorous icon?

Cary Grant

3) Is glamour a luxury or a necessity?

A luxury but an awfully important one

4) Favorite glamorous movie?

The Awful Truth

5) What was your most glamorous moment?

The 1920s

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)?

Currently: a present I received months ago and haven’t yet opened. It is so perfectly wrapped—the wrapping copies a 1930s design—that I just can’t bear to touch it. It sits on my sofa as a decorative object.

7) Most glamorous place?

Still certain parts of Paris

8) Most glamorous job?

I can’t imagine a truly glamorous job.

[9 and 10 were omitted.]

11) Can glamour survive?

I sincerely hope so.

12) Is glamour something you're born with?

Maybe. It’s also possible to manufacture it, and if that’s well done, who cares?

EITHER/OR

BB_Cate_one-sheet 1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett?

Cate Blanchett

2) Paris or Venice?

Paris

3) New York or Los Angeles?

New York

4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace?

Princess Grace

5) Tokyo or Kyoto?

Kyoto?

6) Boots or stilettos?

Neither; t-straps with small heels from the 20s

7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau?

Art Deco

Blacksatins

8) Jaguar or Astin Martin?

Jaguar

9) Armani or Versace?

Armani–if I must

10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour?

Diana Vreeland

11) Champagne or single malt?

Champagne

12) 1960s or 1980s?

Neither

13) Diamonds or pearls?

Neither

14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell?

Neither

15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig?

Sean Connery

Eiffel Tower by Flickr user digitalicon under Creative Commons license.