Tuesday 29 December 2015

TAKE IVY "Encore" ... English version 2010, by Powerhouse

Take Ivy is a fashion photography book which documents the attire of Ivy League students. The New York Times described it as “a treasure of fashion insiders”. Take Ivy has been the Ivy League bible for Japanese baby boomers, among whom the Ivy League look is very popular, though original copies are very rare in the West, garnering auction prices as high as $2000.

Take Ivy was authored by four Japanese sartorial style enthusiasts and is a collection of candid photographs shot on the campuses of America’s elite Ivy League universities. The series focuses on college-aged men and their clothes, capturing the unique fashion of the student population of that time. Whether getting a meal on campus, lounging in the quad, riding bikes, studying in the library, in class, or at the boathouse, the subjects of this photographic compendium are impeccably and distinctively dressed in some of the finest American-made garments of the time.

Teruyoshi Hayashida was born and raised in the fashionable Aoyama District of Tokyo. He began shooting cover images for Men’s Club magazine right after the title’s launch. His style was considered to be highly sophisticated and he was thought of as a connoisseur of gourmet food, known for his homemade, soy-sauce-marinated Japanese pepper (sansho), and his love of gunnel tempura and Riesling wine.

Shosuke Ishizu, the director of Ishizu Office, born in Okayama Prefecture, worked in the editorial division at Men’s Club until 1960 after graduating from Kuwasawa Design School. He established Ishizu Office in 1983, and now produces several clothing brands including Niblick.

Toshiyuki Kurosu joined VAN Jacket Inc. in 1961, where he was responsible for the development of merchandise and sales promotion. Leaving the company in 1970 he started his own business, Cross and Simon. After the brand stopped doing business, Toshiyuki began appearing on the legendary variety show Asayan as a regular gaining him high popularity among the public. Toshiyuki is also an active writer and intellectual.

Hajime (Paul) Hasegawa is from Hyogo Prefecture. After finishing his studies in the U.S. in 1963, Hasegawa returned to Japan to join VAN Jacket Inc. There he was responsible for advertising and public relations. Hasegawa was the main coordinator and interpreter for the production of Take Ivy. He has since held various managerial positions in Japan and abroad and is currently serving as the executive director for Cosmo Public Relations Corporation.

Take Ivy was released in the United States on August 31, 2010.

Saturday 26 December 2015

Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2015 Reviews / VÍDEO: SERIES FINALE (Christmas Special 2015) (6x09)

Downton Abbey review: the glorious fantasy of Britain comes to an end

The posh period drama had great performances and even the odd insight into British life – and its final episode leaves a gaping hole in ITV’s Sunday schedule

Richard Vine
Saturday 26 December 2015 00.01 GMT

They managed to resist covering everything in snow until the very end, but Downton Abbey’s final ever episode was very much a kitchen sink affair. Julian Fellowes chucked in a wedding, a birth, new jobs and old fights, and a spirited version of Auld Lang Syne to wrap it all up.

The big rivalry between Michelle Dockery’s Lady Mary and Laura Carmichael’s Lady Edith was resolved. Dinner at The Ritz helped. Lady Mary engineered a sneaky date with Bertie (aka the 7th Marquess of Hexham), and soon Lady Edith had fought off her destiny as the great spinster of Downton and was instead making plans for a New Year’s wedding (saves on decorations, plus it’s one less big party scene to film) and life as a Marchioness.

“You’re such a paradox: you make me miserable for years, then you give me my life back,” said Edith to Mary, a line that no doubt echoes the sentiments from many of Downton’s unwilling viewers in living rooms across Britain. Lady Edith even found the courage to knock Bertie’s mother off her moral high horse with a truth bomb: admitting that ward Marigold is her illegitimate daughter.

Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode, adding some last-minute class to proceedings) gazed into the distance, smoking with all the existential angst of a man about to enter a new year without much to do. Watching a pal die while motor racing will do that to a chap. Tom came to the rescue with a plan, and the ex-chauffeur and the ex-racing car driver teamed up to become second-hand car salesmen – just what the village needs!

Bates and Anna got their happy ending: a New Year’s baby, with Lady Mary for once helping Anna off with her shoes, and tucking her into bed – see what they did there? Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) continued to be the Downton character with the most uptown funk, stepping in to help Isobel Crawley fend off Dickie Merton’s mean daughter-in-law (“If reason fails, try force!”), and Lady Rose returned to up the glamour factor (Lily James in a cameo presumably tucked in before her starring role in BBC1’s lavish New Year’s Day production of War And Peace).

Elsewhere, the arrival of an electric hairdryer (whatever next!) prompted Daisy to chop off her hair and join the bob squad, Mr Molesley accepted a job as a teacher (but still squeezed back into his livery for New Year) and Baxter freed herself from her criminal past by … doing nothing.

After all these years, it’s still hard to nail down what Downton Abbey actually is. UK critics might have been surprised to see it nominated again in this year’s US Emmy awards for best drama – the only British entry, alongside Game of Thrones, Orange Is the New Black and Mad Men. But it’s been a proper international blockbuster, up there with Doctor Who and Top Gear in terms of British TV with cut-through appeal across the world.

At home, the show has always played like a posh pantomime – a fantasy vision of a Britain that never really existed, where everyone from kitchen maid to second footman is happy with their lot because the people at the top are such bally decent chaps. It’s also ended up being a place where both the staff grinding away downstairs and the toffs in ball gowns upstairs have been gifted with a peculiar sense of foresight, a tangible sense of their place in history and how “things” will never be the same again, once they’re off the screen.

It’s certainly the purest Sunday night soap we’ve had for years; sometimes it’s been an hour populated by 20-odd characters in search of a plot, and sometimes it’s filled with great performances and insight into class and position.

We leave the cast staring hopefully at the dawn of 1926, the class system alive and well, and only the gaping hole in Sunday night’s TV schedules to make the ITV bosses sad. You can imagine them sympathising with Isobel and Violet’s final toast at New Year: “We’re going forward to the future, not back into the past.” “If only we had the choice.” It’ll be a while until ITV produces anything as ridiculous and successful as Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey Christmas special finale, ITV, review: An unashamedly sentimental send-off

'With any luck, they’ll be happy enough, which is the English version of a happy ending'

Sarah Hughes

After six series, 51 episodes and almost a decade’s worth of drama, misunderstandings and withering putdowns, Downton Abbey came to an end with a feature-length Christmas special containing a wedding, a pregnancy, a birth, the prospect of new horizons and the changing of the old guard.

As ever with Julian Fellowes’ long-running tale of life above and below stairs the plot wasn’t really the thing (although it was a pleasure to see permanently thwarted valet Barrow finally given a reason to smile after Lord Grantham named him butler on Carson’s enforced retirement).

This was the ultimate piece of Christmas television viewing, an unashamedly sentimental send-off that saw wrongs righted, love conquer all and even Lady Mary’s famous Freudian slip down a notch.

“We’re sisters and sisters keep secrets,” she remarked of her fraught relationship with Lady Edith, as close as long-term viewers will get to an acknowledgement that she was in the wrong.

Yet even as we said farewell to the assorted members of the Crawley clan, thoughts turned to what ITV will do next. Fellowes’ comforting, conservative confection became a global phenomenon, watched in 250 territories worldwide and pulling in over 120 million viewers globally.

It was particularly big news in America where ratings have continued to rise even as the most devoted fans acknowledged that the writing had slipped.

It could also be said to have single-handedly revived ITV’s fortunes – in 2010, the year the series began, the channel trebled its annual profits posting a pre-tax total of £312million up from £108 million the previous year.

In March 2014 ITV posted full-year pre-tax profits of £712 million. The pressure now will be on to find a suitable replacement with the smart money on Daisy Goodwin’s upcoming take on the early life of Queen Victoria which features former Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman in the lead role.

Even with that pedigree the new series will have some way to go to rival Downton’s appeal.

As to why this series hit the spot above all others pulling in millions of viewers each week, the answer is simple: beneath the Big House trappings, the elegant costumes and the tantalising peaks into how the other half might once have lived, Downton Abbey was a soap opera.

You always knew how each character would act and react and, like any good soap, the more plots changed the more they stayed the same.

The 1900s might give way to the roaring Twenties and the Crawleys strive to adapt with the times but our enjoyment came from knowing that this was a show where even the darkest moments came bathed in warm nostalgia for times long past.

As the episode finished Fellowes unashamedly made one last bid for our heartstrings cuing up the familiar strains of Auld Lang Syne as snow fell thick outside.

In truth Maggie Smith’s Dowager Duchess of Grantham had delivered the best obituary earlier when she remarked: “With any luck they’ll be happy enough, which is the English version of a happy ending.” Few among us could ask for more.

Friday 25 December 2015

London's 14 oldest stores

London's 14 oldest stores
One of the joys of shopping in London today comes from discovering any number of traditional stores that have remained little changed since they were founded hundreds of years ago. These are some of the oldest…

 1676 - Lock & Co Hatters (6 St. James’s St., SW1, tel 020 7930 8874, lockhatters.co.uk) is both the world’s oldest hat store and one of the oldest family businesses still in existence. Sir
Winston Churchill, Charles Chaplin, and Admiral Lord Nelson, among other luminaries, have donned Lock headwear. Let’s not forget Firmin & Sons, which doesn’t retain an old store but survives as probably the third oldest business in London after the Whitechapel Bell Foundry (1570) and the London Gazette (1665). It made belts, buttons, uniforms, and insignia; the company supplied buttons to every British monarch, officially, since 1796.
Taken from National Geographic London Book of Lists: The City’s Best, Worst, Oldest, Greatest, and Quirkiest (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1382-3; $19.95) by Tim Jepson and Larry Porges.
Picture: GETTY

1689 - Ede & Ravenscroft (93 Chancery Lane, WC2, tel 020 7405 3906, edeandravenscroft.co.uk). The oldest tailor, wig-, and robe-maker in London (and probably the world) began in the Aldwych area of the city. It was soon supplying robes to William and Mary and has continued to serve the monarchy, as well as the legal, clerical, municipal, and academic professions.
Picture: GETTY

1698 - The “Widow Bourne” established London’s oldest wine business, Berry Brothers & Rudd (3 St. James’s St., SW1, tel 0800 280 2440, bbr.com), more than three centuries ago. Eight generations later, it’s still in the same family, at the same address. During its long history, it first supplied the royal family in 1830 as well as the wine for the Titanic.
Picture: GETTY

1706 - In 1706, Thomas Twining bought Tom’s Coffee House at 216 Strand. The location, between the City and Westminster, was ideal for picking up business from wealthy Londoners displaced west by the Great Fire. Twinings & Co (tel 020 7353 3511, twinings.co.uk) still sells tea and coffee from the same address.
Picture: GETTY

1707 - William Fortnum was a footman at the court of Queen Anne and had a sideline selling partly burned candles from the royal candelabra. Using the money he amassed, he set up a grocery store with his landlord, Hugh Mason. The fine food emporium Fortnum & Mason (181 Piccadilly, London, W1, tel 0845 300 1707, fortnumandmason.com) remains on the same site to this day.
Picture: GETTY

1730 - Does any store smell better than Floris (89 Jermyn St., SW1, tel 020 7747 3600, florislondon.com), a perfumer still at the site on which it was founded in 1730 by Spaniard Juan Famenias Floris? Much of the store’s beautiful interior dates from 1851, when the counter and wooden display cases were brought from the Great Exhibition of that year.
Picture: ALAMY

1750 - Swaine Adeney Brigg (7 Piccadilly Arcade, St. James’s, SW1, tel 020 7409 7277, swaineadeney.co.uk) still makes the exquisite leather goods for which it first became famous, along with hats and umbrellas.
Picture: GETTY

1760 - Hamleys (188-196 Regent St., W1, tel 0871 704 1977, hamleys.com) is the world’s oldest toy store, but it has moved several times since its first incarnation — a store known as Noah’s Ark founded in 1760 by William Hamley at 231 High Holborn, WC1, which was destroyed by fire in 1901.
Picture: GETTY

1787 - James J. Fox, or Robert Lewis as it then was (19 St. James’s St., SW1, tel 020 7930 3787, jjfox.co.uk), provided possibly the most famous cigars in the world—those smoked by Sir Winston Churchill—and is the world’s oldest cigar merchant. It has a museum (closed Sun., free), with cigar memorabilia dating back to the firm’s foundation.
Picture: ALAMY

1790 - D. R. Harris & Co. (29 St. James’s St., W1, tel 020 7930 3915, drharris.co.uk) began as Harris’s Apothecary, established by surgeon Henry Harris to sell lavender water, cologne, and English flower perfumes to the fashionable set of St. James’s. It is still there, a few doors down from the original address, and still sells shaving products, aftershaves, colognes, and skincare items from beautiful old premises.
Picture: ALAMY

1797 - Hatchard’s (187 Piccadilly, W1, tel 020 7439 9921, hatchards.co.uk) is the United Kingdom’s oldest bookstore and still trades from Piccadilly, where the company was founded. Most of the great British authors of the recent and distant past have visited the store, which often has an extensive collection of signed copies for sale.
Picture: GETTY

1797 - Paxton & Whitfield (93 Jermyn St., London, SW1, 020 7930 0259, paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk) smells almost as good as its nearby neighbor, Floris, but in a different way, for this is a purveyor of fine cheeses. The company has its roots in the county of Suffolk and operated a market stall at Aldwych before moving to this site in 1797.
Picture: ALAMY

1806 - Henry Poole & Co. (15 Savile Row, W1, 020 7734 5985, henrypoole.com) is acknowledged as both the first tailor shop to set up on Savile Row (in 1846) and as the place where the dinner jacket, or tuxedo, was invented.
Picture: GETTY

1830 - There can be only one place for umbrellas, canes, and walking sticks in London: the historic premises of James Smith & Sons (53 New Oxford St., WC1, tel 020 7836 4731, james-smith.co.uk), which have remained almost unaltered for more than 140 years—though the business is older still.
Taken from National Geographic London Book of Lists: The City’s Best, Worst, Oldest, Greatest, and Quirkiest (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-1382-3; $19.95) by Tim Jepson and Larry Porges.
Picture: ALAMY

Wednesday 23 December 2015

"The Price of Salt"/ Carol: the women behind Patricia Highsmith's lesbian novel

Carol: the women behind Patricia Highsmith's lesbian novel

Todd Haynes’s film of Highsmith’s only openly lesbian novel, Carol, is about to premiere in Cannes, starring Cate Blanchett. Novelist Jill Dawson writes about the women behind the book

Jill Dawson
Wednesday 13 May 2015 10.40 BST

Patricia Highsmith was in love many times and with many women – “more times than rats have orgasms”, to use one of her own more disquieting similes. She plundered these objects of her desire extravagantly in her 22 novels and hundreds of short stories. Not one glance, not one feminine gesture or foible of any one of her many girlfriends was ever wasted, but only once – and spectacularly – did she write openly about lesbianism. This was her second novel, Carol, first published as The Price of Salt in 1952, with Highsmith using the pseudonym Claire Morgan, and now adapted into a Todd Haynes film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (star of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and just about to premiere at Cannes.

In 1952 Highsmith, barely 30, perhaps startled by the wayward success of her first novel Strangers on a Train (conferring instant stardom when the Hitchcock movie followed a year later), had good reason to be edgy about the reception The Price of Salt would receive. “Those were the days when gay bars were a dark door somewhere in Manhattan, where people wanting to go to a certain bar got off the subway a station before or after the convenient one, lest they were suspected of being homosexual,” she wrote, in a postscript to the novel, many years later.

She showed some early extracts to her favourite teacher from Barnard College, Ethel Sturtevant, whose excited reply – “Now this packs a wallop!” – probably alarmed and reassured the former student in equal measure. Highsmith’s own publisher Harper & Brothers rejected it, so it was published first by a small press, and the solution of the pseudonym Claire Morgan was decided on.

“It flowed from the end of my pen as if from nowhere,” Highsmith wrote. She also admitted a specific inspiration: a “blondish woman in a fur coat”, who wafted into Macy’s in New York to buy her daughter a doll. Highsmith was working there as a sales-girl during the Christmas rush. On her day off she took a bus to New Jersey, found the woman’s house (from the address on the sales slip) and simply walked by it.

There was another inspiration for the character of Carol: Highsmith’s former lover Virginia Kent Catherwood, the elegant and well-heeled socialite from Philadelphia, whose divorce in the 1940s had kept gossip columnists in New York in a state of scandalised delirium with its lesbian intrigue. “Ginnie” and Highsmith were lovers in the mid 1940s and full vent is given in Highsmith’s diary to her powerful desire for her lover and also, at times, the feelings of murderous vengefulness that are expressed in all of Highsmith’s writings. Catherwood had lost custody of her child after a recording made of her in a hotel bedroom with another woman was used in court against her, a detail mined for the plot of The Price of Salt in a way that gave Highsmith pause. In the end the detail stayed, an essential driver to the narrative, making the love affair between Carol and the younger, mute-with-longing Therese (based on Highsmith herself) all the more perilous and poignant.

The cult success of The Price of Salt came a year later when the paperback edition was published as a Bantam 25‑cent edition. A mass-market version with the catchline “The novel of a love society forbids” swiftly followed. It soon chalked up a million copies. “Claire Morgan” received a stream of letters at her publisher from women writing: “Yours is the first book like this with a happy ending!” and: “Thank you for writing such a story. It is a little like my own story.” By the time the writer Marijane Meaker met her in 1960, Highsmith, “a handsome, dark-haired woman in a trenchcoat” was fully identified as Morgan and the novel “stood on every lesbian bookshelf, along with classics like The Well of Loneliness; We, Too, Are Drifting; Diana and Olivia”.

Yet Highsmith remained ambivalent about the novel. In particular she was worried about what her 84-year-old grandmother, Willie-Mae, who had raised her whenever her young mother, Mary, was out of town, would make of it. Highsmith never lied to her mother and stepfather; she assumed they knew she was gay. But that didn’t mean she wanted to discuss it with them, or anybody else. To her girlfriend Meaker, she was outspoken: “The only difference to us and heterosexuals is what we do in bed.” Her courage and openness about her sexuality were real and admirable, not least because it warred with her intensely private nature. But her anxiety was real, too. She was furious when her mother, many years later, told her grandmother about the novel, explaining to an unrepentant Mary that the obvious point of using a pseudonym was to keep something private.

Two biographies (by Andrew Wilson and Joan Schenkar) depict Highsmith as troubled, obsessive and in many ways unsavoury. They chart her alcoholism, her rudeness, her meanness. They reveal how later in life she frequently exploded in virulent anti-semitic and racist rants; the increasing isolation she preferred to live in; her eccentricities – that she kept snails as pets is one of the few things many people know about her. Yet love simmers away, deep in the ugly hearts of the most psychopathic and dangerous of her characters (the obsessive stalking of David Kelsey in This Sweet Sickness, or the confused infatuation that turns to murderous hate in Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr Ripley).

When The Price of Salt was finally published as Carol by Bloomsbury 40 years later, Highsmith proved as difficult an interviewee as she had always been. She saved her honesty for her novels.

• Carol is premiered at Cannes 2015. Jill Dawson’s novel The Crime Writer, about Patricia Highsmith, will be published next year.