Thursday, 29 January 2015

INTERMEZZO / "Remains of the Day" with Hardy Amies .






№ 14 Savile Row
On 12 November 1945; Virginia, the Countess of Jersey (erstwhile Hollywood film star and the first Mrs. Cary Grant), who had been a former client during Hardy’s days at Laschasse, financed Hardy Amies move to Savile Row. The following January, Amies established his own couture fashion house business: Hardy Amies Ltd. Although Savile Row is the home of English bespoke tailoring, the Hardy Amies brand developed to become known for its classic and beautifully tailored clothes for both men and women. Hardy’s business quickly took off in the postwar years when customers, who had been deprived of couture for the preceding years, snapped up his elegant, traditional designs. Hardy was quoted at the times as saying, “A woman's day clothes must look equally good at Salisbury Station as the Ritz bar”. Amies was vice-chairman of the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers from 1954 to 56, and chairman from 1959 to 60.
Hardy Amies is located at 14 Savile Row besides Cad & the Dandy.

Amies was successful in business by being able to commercially extract value from his designs, while not replicating his brand to the point of exploitation. Amies was one of the first European designers to venture into the ready-to-wear market when he teamed up with Hepworths in 1959 to design a range of menswear. In 1961, Amies made fashion history by staging the first men's ready-to-wear catwalk shows, at the Savoy Hotel in London. The runway show was a first on many levels as it was both the first time music was played and for the designer to accompany models on the catwalk.






Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Maggie Smith at 80: 'a walking, talking flame' / VÍDEO Gosford Park (2001) - Maggie Smith : "It must be hard to know when it's ...





Maggie Smith at 80: 'a walking, talking flame'
Jean Brodie, Hedda Gabler, Downton’s Dowager … Maggie Smith has been a luminous and witty presence in film and theatre for six decades. Tessa Hadley writes about her astonishing career
Tessa Hadley

If you’re an actor then the physical creature you are – your given physique and face and voice and range of gesture – is your fate, with which your talent must negotiate. No, it’s probably closer even than a negotiation: I suspect your talent arises, as with a dancer, from out of the body you have, and is inseparable from it (so different from the relatively bodiless act of writing). You may have the gift of transforming yourself, but that transformation too can only come out of your bodily repertoire; you have to have it in you. Maggie Smith the actor is all in those dragged-down enormous eyes with their Watteau irony and melancholy, and in the fine-boned long face with its visible play of nerves, so that it seems to change and move even when she’s striking a pose, putting on a look. Her nostrils actually do flare. And when she was younger it was in the lean long body and the angular, clowning wrists and elbows and knees (Watteau again). The whole story of Jean Brodie (1969) is expressed in her nervous long ankles as she kicks away from the pavement on her bicycle in the opening title sequence. Once launched, she sits ludicrously upright on her bike, signalling with a so-straight arm. Smith’s body is wittily intelligent in itself, and all the absurdity and appeal and vulnerability of Jean’s character is expressed before she’s even opened her mouth to speak.

Although, when she did speak, how much she enjoyed the crisp delivery, facial tension and rhetorical flourish of Jean Brodie’s Edinburgh brogue – so much so that it can often be detected in her subsequent roles. (She isn’t always a gifted mimic: her Tennessee Williams sounds shaky in the filmed version of Suddenly Last Summer, 1993, as does her Anglo-Irish in The Last September, 1999.) And you can hear in her voice a twang that might be London and might be Oxford: the Smiths moved there from Ilford in 1939, when she wasn’t quite five – her father, a hospital lab technician, was posted to work in the Oxford School of Pathology. At any rate, it isn’t quite a toff’s accent, however many toffs she has played across the decades. She plays them like a petite bourgeois interloper in a toff’s world, performing the upper-class performance. The role, however perfectly felt, doesn’t quite fit skin-tight, it’s always something assumed – like Watteau’s Gilles dressed up in a Pierrot costume.



Just as Gosford Park (2001) worked so well because Robert Altman saw that upper-class universe from outside, through American eyes, making it strange, so Smith’s toffs (in Gosford Park she is Constance, Countess of Trentham) work because she isn’t a natural, she’s always putting it on. She acts these women performing themselves as women. Because she wears their costumes like dressing-up clothes, she wants to fiddle with them, sometimes to great effect – adjusting her scarf against a white chiffon evening dress, she’s the most stylish thing in a tedious film of Neil Simon’s Murder By Death (1976). Sometimes she fiddles to excess, flipping and flouncing her grey fur boa like mad, for instance, in the opening minutes of Shaw’s The Millionairess (1972, a BBC Play of the Month). There’s always a little hysterical distance – of comedy, of desperation – between the actor and the role. When she plays working-class women I don’t think she’s ever quite as good, her scrutiny doesn’t have the same ruthlessness. Laurence Olivier apparently thought Smith was “common” as Desdemona in his more or less unwatchable Othello (1965). But what makes us wince now (along with the makeup, needless to say) is that he is absurdly grand, lost inside his idea of himself in a noble role. Smith’s Desdemona, by comparison, seems luminously truthful.

Smith’s whole life has been her career. Her 80th birthday – and the completion of her sixth decade working as an actor – is celebrated this month by a retrospective at the BFI. She went straight from Oxford high school for girls, which she didn’t like much, to the Oxford Playhouse School of Theatre, and was singled out by excited critics from the beginning. “Miss Smith is a walking, talking flame,” wrote Bernard Levin. “And I swear she never puts foot to ground throughout, but floats a yard above the stage.” In the stories that come down about her frugal, Presbyterian childhood, there’s a whiff of something bleak, with hints of violence – the children were punished hard. He unsympathetic mother didn’t think her daughter had much chance of succeeding as an actor, “with a face like that”. Her father Nat, who later devotedly kept albums of his daughter’s cuttings and memorabilia, seems to have been painfully unfulfilled, and had his own thwarted theatricality. He is supposed, when he retired, to have offered the jottings and pamphlets of his medical researches to the Bodleian, and then, when they were rejected, made a bonfire of them in the garden.

As a little girl, Smith was entranced by a series of children’s books about the theatre, The Swish of the Curtain. The idea of acting fused, at some crucial point in her development, with intimations of possibilities beyond the limited life she knew. She entered into a larger self through acting it out, and then her work became the whole world for her. “A much better world,” she said once to Nancy Banks-Smith. “I’m never shy on stage. Always shy off it … It’s the real world that’s the illusion.

It is notable how many talents in theatre, film and literature, at that moment of exceptional social mobility in the mid-20th-century, came out of the same pinched lower middle-class. A generation reacted against everything meagre, respectable and inhibited in their Victorian- or Edwardian-born parents’ lives, in an explosion of free possibility, opportunity and new politics. And sex, of course. Smith’s private life has had the requisite tormented love story at the heart of it, in the shape of Robert Stephens, who played Teddy Lloyd to her Jean Brodie, Vershinin to her Masha, and Benedick to her Beatrice, and was father to her two sons – Chris Larkin and Toby Stephens, both actors. Stephens was charismatic, irresistible and impossible. It may have been a problem that, although he was a seriously good actor, his success was never quite on the scale of hers. In a happy ending that belongs in a film script, Smith got together then with screenwriter Beverley Cross, who had always been devoted and was still waiting in hope. They were married until his death in 1998.

From the beginning, Smith has worked in both theatre and film, and seems to transfer easily between them. The tension in the sexy, witty physicality of her stage performance carries over into closeups of the expressivity in her face. These two aspects of an acting career are carried forward lopsidedly into posterity: only the film performances are captured and kept, and for the live theatre we have to rely on hearsay and description.

“I like the ephemeral thing about theatre,” she has said, “every performance is like a ghost – it’s there and then it’s gone.” (There are some films of her in theatre, such as the Othello, or TV films-of-a-play such as Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer, where she’s a not unpredictably neurotic and smothering mother.) Although they famously didn’t get on, Olivier invited Smith to become part of his new National Theatre soon after he formed it in 1962, where she appeared, among other things, in Chekhov, Strindberg and Much Ado. She is supposed to have been wonderful as Rosalind and Beatrice, Shakespeare’s boyish-girls, which isn’t surprising, considering her leggy androgyny. Peter Hall said she resided “on the cusp of camp”, and she is fairly often tipped the whole way over into it. Kenneth Williams was a lifelong close friend, and he and Smith have the same stiff shoulders, the same yawing slippage up and down the vocal range. She seems to camp up Coward sometimes – it’s difficult perhaps to do much else. And there’s certainly nothing much else to do with Downton.

But at her best Smith is a sharp, smart comedian – it’s not hard to imagine how good she was in the Restoration comedies that were so fashionable in the 60s and 70s, and in Wilde and Shaw. No doubt she brought the cool of a comedian, too, to roles not always imagined as comedy – apparently she made a wonderfully disenchanted Masha in Chekhov’s Three Sisters. And what wouldn’t one give to have seen her in the 1970 London theatre production of Hedda Gabler, directed by Ingmar Bergman, Smith’s own favourite performance. In the photo stills it looks like heady stuff, everything just right for Ibsen’s stark angst – the skinny wrists and gesturing cigarette and tight black dress; the stiff, unhappy bent back; the Munch-scream-shaped white face. There’s not much in film that captures this aspect of her range; interesting to wonder how different Smith’s career might have been if British film of the last 50 years had been less cheerful and parochial and middle-brow – if it had taken itself with anything like the seriousness of Swedish film, with a Bergman exerting his magnetic pull.

When British cinema tries for angst it ends up all too often with empathetic and mawkish – like The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. And empathy isn’t really how Smith’s acting works: it’s cooler and crisper than, say, the more heartfelt warmth of her contemporary and friend Judi Dench. Dench can usually find something to feel with in the least promising part, whereas Smith is always at her best when the words are good. She was wasted as Lady Naylor in The Last September because the adaptation wasn’t true to the great talk in Elizabeth Bowen’s original novel. She’s good as Lady Trentham because the writing is funny and clever (the script is by Julian Fellowes who writes Downton, but he’s delivering something different for Altman’s film). She’s good with Shaw’s words and Muriel Spark’s, and in A Room With a View, because Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s rendering of Edwardian oddity and otherness is so note-perfect. Her best performances don’t ask us to identify with what’s most familiar in people, they show us what’s most strange.

• The BFI Maggie Smith season continues until 31 January.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Tim Collins Photography and Do Homem / Diniz & Cruz present "The Lisbon Connection."

The Lisbon Connection - Making Of (Short Version) from ZOF on Vimeo.

“JEEVES” was born in Lisbon
It is with extra enthusiasm that I present also in “Tweedland”, The Lisbon Connection.
Votos às Produções Do Homem / Diniz & Cruz, do Maior Sucesso e Felicidades !
António Sérgio Rosa de Carvalho / JEEVES .

Architectural Historian.


Tim Collins Photography :

“At over 100 years old, DoHomem - Diniz&Cruz is one of the oldest tailors in Lisbon. I loved being in there! Attention to detail was evident everywhere. I was told "We used to dress the poets here, Eça de Queirós and Fernando, and after that we dressed the politicians". "Originally the fabric was brought back from Perrys in London - and it was said that our way of dressing people was a doorway to the world".

One thing that makes this place so special is that one of the tailors working there is currently 87 years old, and he's been working there for 40 years. It was a pleasure to watch Mr Horácio, and the other tailors at work dressing our Lisbon 3, in the finest attire.

Models:
Marco Neto, Nuno Silvailva, Francisco C.
Project Development/Stylist: Sven Signe den Hartogh The Stranded Sailors
Location:
@DoHomem - Diniz&Cruz - Dalmata Lisboa
Clothes and shoes:
DoHomem - Diniz&Cruz - Dalmata Lisboa
Botas D'Ornellas
Stylist: Patrícia Oliveira
Make-up & Hair: Miguel Molena
Make-up assistent: Daniela Homero
Video: ZOF, Creative Film Production (Miguel Marques e Ricardo Figueiredo)”







Do Homem / Diniz&Cruz

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The LODEN Overcoat.

To produce Loden fabric, strong yarns are woven loosely into cloth which then undergoes a lengthy process of shrinking, eventually acquiring the texture of felt and becoming quite dense. It is then brushed with a fuller's teasel and the nap is clipped, a process which is repeated a number of times until the fabric provides good warmth for the weight, and is relatively supple, windproof and extremely durable.







Johann Georg Frey started his Munich weaving business in 1842 and soon invented loden, a boiled-wool textile similar to felt. Thirty-six years later, Frey Jr improved on his father’s invention by developing napped loden, a water-resistant version of the original. The thick, warm fabric and the classic coats traditionally made from it have become the de-facto costume for alpine men wanting to protect themselves from the region’s weather, and Loden Frey is still the place to get them.


Maffeistrasse 7
80333 Munich



http://www.lodenfrey.eu/men/history.html

Lodenfrey was founded in 1842 by Johann Georg Frey, a young skilled weaver. Frey, at the age of 21, moved to Munich and purchased his first weaving license for 250 gulden, a "Webergerechtsame."

Frey was awarded the first prize at the Vienna trade exhibition for the production of simple and smooth woolen clothes on 10 looms. Frey continued to adapt his methods of production to the needs of the time and thus gained mass recognition.

In 1855 Frey received a gold medal for the world's first water-repellent loden cloth from the World Exhibition in Paris.

In 1862 plans were made for a mechanical spinning mill for sheep wool in a cloth and woolen factory at "Dianabad," in the English Garden of Munich. The location and availability of water-power provided everything needed for the production of loden, the washed and fulled loden left out to dry in the open.

In 1870 the war against France began and a recession was overcome with the help of the Bavarian royal court.
Details were arranged for a new factory in Munich. The popularity of loden cloth has grown internationally with the nobility in Germany and Austria, especially emperor Franz Joseph I (1830-1916), leading the trend. In royal courts, loden cloth is now worn during hunting parties and thus making it court acceptable.

In 1872, the founder's son, Johann Baptist Frey, develops the first truly water-repellent loden cloth called the "napped loden," a cloth that is raised to form a nap and is impregnated. This marks the birth of the loden coat that will ultimately become a classic as it is still to this day.

In 1928 Georg Frey member of the third generation, joins the family enterprise. This same year marks the beginning construction of the "Zugspitzbahn," a rack-railroad leading to Germany's highest mountain, the "Zugspitze." The rack-railroad workers wear the loden coats of Lodenfrey to protect themselves against the rough climate. The construction of Lodenfrey's own clothing factory enables the mass production of ready-to-wear loden coats that are later supplied to retailers. Due to an expansive business policy, the Lodenfrey's turnover increases despite an economic crisis on the rise in the early thirties.

The Lodenfrey history during the Nazi years 1933 till 1945 was researched by a professional team of historians.

Lodenfrey conquers the market across the world from 1948 onwards. Lodenfrey opens a branch in the United States and shortly afterwards opens another branch in France. During the fifties, Lodenfrey is exporting respectively to more than 40 countries.

In 1950 Herbert Frey and in 1959 Bernhard Frey enter in the fourth generation into the company. In 1956, a Lodenfrey branch is opened in Bad Ischl in Austria.

In 1964 the construction work begins for a large-scale factory in Bad Ischl. Shortly afterwards, the Austrian branch is one of the most advanced operations of its kind in the world.

Lodenfrey receives the "Comitè du Bon Goût Français" cup, the coveted Oscar of the fashion world in 1968.

In 1977 Lodenfrey opens a factory in Malta.
The company is awarded the City of Munich Fashion Prize in 1979.

Lodenfrey makes a fashion statement in 1983 with its new idea of casual clothes and transforms a tradition into a fashion.

The years between 1991 and 1995 mark a change of generations for the Lodenfrey Company. Dr. Sabine Frey (1991) and Dr. Peter Frey (1995), the fifth generation, take over management and ownership of the company.

In 1995 the new management introduces "Country Frey," a trendy lifestyles collection. Lodenfrey is ready at the turn of the century with the combination of classic functionality and tradition with modern trends.

In 1996 Lodenfrey takes over the traditional Bavarian company "Jakob Zeiler" in Geisenhausen. Zeiler is the ideal supplement to Lodenfrey's traditional loden collection with specialization in the production of high quality leather clothing in a casual, yet traditional dress style.

Lodenfrey built a new developing and logistics centre in Garching near Munich in the year1998.

2003 marks the creation of "Poldi," an exclusive collection created jointly with H.R.H. Prince Leopold of Bavaria.

2005 Lodenfrey is getting into the area of wearable electronics. They also designed "Multimedia Tracht". Now it becomes possible to hear music and to telephone with a Lederhose.

Lodenfrey receives an innovation voucher for the development of a heated loden coat from the Free State of Bavaria in 2010.


In 2011 the sledge legend and Olympic champion "Schorsch Hackl" was the inspiration for a new collection, consisting of loden cloth and knitted jackets.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

On the Wilder Shores of Love: a Bohemian Life by Lesley Blanch


Lesley Blanch
Edited by Georgia de Chamberet

Published by Virago, 15 January 2015, hardback, £20.00


There are two sorts of romantic: those who love, and those who love the adventure of loving
 – Lesley Blanch

'Lesley Blanch was not a school, a trend, or a fashion, but a true original'
-          Philip Mansel

Born in 1904, she died aged 103, having gone from being a household name to a mysterious and neglected living legend.  She was writing her memoirs at her death, beginning with her very odd Edwardian childhood.   Her goddaughter, who was working with her at the time, has now collected that piece and many others, some never published, some published only in French; some letters, some Vogue articles to create On the Wilder Shores of Love: Sketches from a Bohemian Life which captures the essence of a rich and rewarding life spanning the twentieth century.

 Lesley Blanch chose to 'escape the boredom of convention' and having first worked as a theatre designer, she became Vogue's features editor during World War II. In 1946 she left England, never to return, with her diplomat-novelist husband, Romain Gary.  By the time they reached Hollywood they were literary celebrities. Gary left her for the young actress, Jean Seberg.  Blanch headed East and travelled across Siberia, Outer Mongolia, Turkey, Iran, Samarkand, Afghanistan, Egypt, the Sahara.

Lesley Blanch is renowned for her bestselling book The Wilder Shores of Love, which has been translated into over a dozen languages. Her other works include Round the World in Eighty Dishes, The Sabres of Paradise, Under a Lilac Bleeding Star, The Nine Tiger Man, Journey into the Mind's Eye, Pavilions of the Heart and Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist. She was the editor of Harriette Wilson's Memoirs. She died in 2007.

Georgia de Chamberet was an editor at Quartet Books before founding her own London-based literary agency, BookBlast Ltd. Georgia is a committee member of English PEN's Writers in Translation programme. She is Literary Executor for the Estate of Lesley Blanch and is Lesley’s goddaughter.
@lesleyblanch
For further information please contact Emily Burns, Publicity Manager, Virago, 020 7911 8086,  emily.burns@littlebrown.co.uk


On the Wilder Shores of Love: a Bohemian Life by Lesley Blanch, review: 'deliciously readable'
Lesley Blanch’s writings reveal a woman who never ceased to be the star of her own life


A common complaint among modern women is that in our early 30s we stop being the stars of our own lives, relegated from the spotlight to the chorus-line by the daily slog of grown-up responsibilities. Anyone bemusedly wondering how that unglamorous demotion came about will find a compelling role model in the author, journalist, artist and traveller Lesley Blanch, who died in 2007, aged 103, having never for an instant ceased to be the star of her own life.
If Blanch led a charmed life, it was one of her own determined making. She was born in Chiswick to parents who were vaguely perturbed by her arrival. “I don’t think we are quite used to you yet,” they would sometimes remark. But from earliest childhood, she was captivated by the notion of an exotic beyond: “I never remember a time when I was not obsessed by a longing to travel, to reach some remote horizon,” she wrote.
Blanch trained as an artist at the Slade, and worked as an illustrator and theatre designer. But it is for her writing, especially The Wilder Shores of Love (1954), an impressionistic account of four glamorous female travellers, that she is best remembered.
Blanch published 12 books on subjects as various as the courtesan Harriette Wilson and imperialist Russian rule in early-19th-century Georgia. The sensibility she brought to her subjects was so distinctive that all her writing was essentially autobiographical, but her only book-length memoir was Journey into the Mind’s Eye, a highly scented account of distant travel and lost love.
In her last years, Blanch began to write about her Edwardian childhood, and also produced an account of her marriage to the novelist Romain Gary, who left her for the actress Jean Seberg. These substantial fragments of memoir, together with a selection of her travel writing and journalism for Vogue magazine, have been assembled into an account of her life by her god-daughter and friend Georgia de Chamberet.
Blanch’s great passions were travel, exotic objects (preferably in combination – “travel heavy” was her motto), and a mysterious figure, identified only as “The Traveller”. His real identity – he was the Russian theatre director and designer Theodore Komisarjevsky – is hidden in plain sight in Journey into the Mind’s Eye, and de Chamberet confirms it: “I asked Lesley about Komisarjevsky the last time I saw her in 2007. She answered: 'Peggy Ashcroft took him off me.’ ”
Komisarjevsky was a friend of Blanch’s parents and a beloved visitor from her earliest childhood. His unpredictable appearances brought a whiff of the steppes to suburban Chiswick, and his extraordinary gifts, including a Fabergé egg, fuelled Blanch’s lifelong passion for singular possessions.
When she was 17 and “The Traveller” was 39, he invited her to Paris and, under the eye of her inattentive chaperone, seduced her, to the intense satisfaction of them both – while it lasted. That love affair left her with a taste for dramatic, interesting, unreliable foreign lovers. (Shirley Conran once asked her, by way of research, what it was like having an Arab lover, and was briskly told to get her own.) Blanch was 40 when she married Gary, who qualified on all counts, and her memoir of their marriage is a nicely acidulated contrast to the crème Chantilly narrative of Journey into the Mind’s Eye.
Observing that “like all good storytellers, Lesley plundered her life and her passions and turned tragedy into beauty”, de Chamberet compresses into a lengthy footnote the melancholy episode of Blanch’s teenage pregnancy and the daughter given up for adoption to family friends: “ 'I don’t want to dwell on it,’ she said with a closed, distant expression.”
For a generation raised on therapy and the assiduous pursuit of emotional “truth”, there is something disconcerting about the contrast between Blanch’s intensely sexy femininity and her quasi-masculine ability to compartmentalise emotion. Sooner or later, no doubt, a formal biography will dismantle the rococo stage set on which she chose to present herself, to reveal a reality that is bleaker, but not necessarily closer to the truth.

Blanch wrote that “learning how to deal with pain is the most important thing in life”, and this volume, edited with affection and grace by de Chamberet, is a deliciously readable monument to a writer who combined a steely resilience and capacity for hard work with an elegant frivolity and a voracious appetite for love, beauty and adventure.