Thursday 27 October 2016

The Crown | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

The Crown focuses on Queen Elizabeth II as a 25-year-old newlywed faced with the daunting prospect of leading the world's most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. The British Empire is in decline, the political world is in disarray, and a young woman takes the throne....a new era is dawning. Peter Morgan's masterfully researched scripts reveal the Queen's private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. Prepare to be welcomed into the coveted world of power and privilege and behind locked doors in Westminster and Buckingham Palace....the leaders of an empire await.
- Written by Netflix

 Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Tracks a Royal Marriage
The first season of the new Netflix series ‘The Crown’ looks at Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II during the early years of their marriage

Updated Oct. 26, 2016 11:38 a.m. ET

“He was swoon handsome,”Peter Morgan says of the young Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “He put the D into dashing, and the D into dangerous because he was an outsider, disrespectful, uncontainable.”

Today the 95-year-old Philip is a fixture of the British royal family. But the sumptuous Netflix series “The Crown,” created and written by Mr. Morgan, shatters that image. Here Philip is a brash, forward-looking young husband and father, in the rocky early years of marriage to the woman who soon became Queen Elizabeth II. “She is our ‘A’ character, but their marriage is our ‘A’ story line,” Mr. Morgan says.

All 10 episodes of season 1 arrive on Nov. 4. The series could run for six seasons, each covering a decade, but so far Netflix has ordered two.

Mr. Morgan had done plenty of research on Elizabeth, now 90 years old, but says he knew far less about her husband. He wrote the film “The Queen” (2006) and the play “The Audience” (2013), both with Helen Mirren as the monarch. England’s royal family has been the basis of a number of films, including “The King’s Speech” (2010), with Colin Firth as Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. “The Crown” deals with a range of personal and political issues during Elizabeth’s reign.

The budget for the series—$110 million for two seasons—is more than double the cost of a typical drama, but not unheard-of. HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Netflix’s “The Get Down,” for instance, cost more. The series is pricey partly because it was shot in grand English locations standing in for places like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, and because many scenes are filled with jewels and horse-drawn carriages. Such rich period details—as well as story lines exposing tensions within the aristocracy—have propelled fictional series such as “Downton Abbey.”

Season 1 follows Elizabeth (Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn in the series “Wolf Hall”) from the day before her wedding in 1947, through her accession to the throne five years later, and on to 1955, with occasional flashbacks to childhood. Philip (Matt Smith) appears early, renouncing his titles as prince of Greece and Denmark. (His family had been exiled from Greece when he was a child, and he grew up on the Continent and in England.)

Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to this relatively poor foreigner isn’t a match anyone in the royal family wants, except for the strong-willed bride. She is conspicuously head over heels. “When the number one person is completely intoxicated with love, and subservient to a dangerous element, that makes managing the dangerous element very tricky,” Mr. Morgan says. “Philip would snap and say what he thought. The courtiers didn’t know how to manage him.”

Philip bristles against changes that hit him like personal affronts. When Elizabeth becomes monarch, he must give up his naval career. He resists the idea that at her coronation ceremony he must kneel to his own wife. Mr. Smith (best known for his recent run as “Dr. Who”) says, “That’s the great conflict about Philip—the desire to be the alpha, but to constantly be usurped and emasculated by his wife because she is the queen of England.”

Mr. Morgan stays true to historical facts, but invents intimate moments. He says of the royals and their marriage, “Sometimes writing them as complex adults that work through problems is more respectful than pretending everything is hunky-dory. Given that we all know they end up together, it gives you the license to imagine and color in.” When Elizabeth offers her husband what seems like a make-work role as head of the committee planning her coronation, Philip snarls, “There’s no need to matronize me.”

But the series also depicts Philip pushing for a more modern coronation. In reality, it was due to his influence that the ceremony was televised, Mr. Morgan says, “against the wishes of the old gray hairs,” but wisely bringing Elizabeth closer to her subjects. This Philip can be a bumbler. On a royal tour, he compliments an African wearing a tribal crown: “Like the hat.” He stumbles home drunk after carousing with friends. “They’re the things that make him utterly likable,” Mr. Smith says of these missteps. “They humanize him and make him a normal person in an abnormal world.”

In that anything-but-normal world, Elizabeth faces an intensifying tug of war between duty and emotions. She is fond of the aging Winston Churchill (John Lithgow), whose party is trying to nudge him out of his second go-round as prime minister. Princess Margaret wants to marry a divorced man, Peter Townsend (Ben Miles). As head of the Church of England, the queen cannot permit the love match.

The Duke of Windsor, who as King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, is a figure of both pathos and wit. Mr. Morgan’s lines include the snarky nicknames the duke used behind his family’s back. The queen mum is Cookie. The queen is Shirley Temple. Philip he calls the Foundling.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

'The Poet' hat made by Herbert Johnson / Video below: Indiana Jones Herbert Johnson Fedora Hut

Before milliner Herbert Johnson joined Swaine Adeney Brigg, it was situated at 13 Old Burlington Street, London. In 1980, two American gentlemen came in to the shop and introduced themselves as Mr. Harrison Ford and Mr. Steven Spielberg with an interesting request.

Mr. Spielberg announced that he was on the brink of making an adventure film with Harrison Ford as the central figure: Raiders of the Lost Ark and revealed that the main character Indiana Jones would be wearing a hat which would be pivotal to the character and the plot. Herbert Johnson was delighted at having been chosen to help design what was to become the famous iconic Indy hat.

Our classic oldest hat shape was the Herbert Johnson wide brim fur felt hat called 'The Poet' with its tall crown and this was the style chosen. The 'Poet' had been made by Herbert Johnson since the 1890's and has always been deemed ageless. The hat was modified for the character Indiana Jones in a number of ways. and the perfect shade of brown called sable was chosen.

Indiana Jones' hat

The Indy hat is very distinctive as we shaped the brim into an ovoid to give protection to the eyes and neck - reducing the sides also helping with camera angles. With the brim pulled down we created an explorer/safari look and we altered the original ribbon from 50mm to 39mm, to make the tall crown appear taller. The Indiana Jones hat is carefully cut by hand, using the original patterns. Each size is ever so slightly tailored to keep the hat in proportion to the wearer's hat size and finally hand-rubbed to give it its unique shape.

The re-worked and subtly modified Herbert Johnson Poet hat gave Mr Spielberg the look he had envisioned for Harrison Ford's character Indiana Jones and what has been known subsequently as the 'Indy' hat was born. The tremendous success and popularity of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark and its sequels along with the 'Indy' Hat which defines Harrison Ford's character's 'look' has been incredible and continues to this day.

Apart from the original hat for 'Indiana Jones' (Harrison Ford) we made a further 45 'Indy' hats of assorted sizes, some for Mr. Ford and the remainder for the film stunt actors on the set of Raiders of The Lost Ark.

The original and the first Indy hat still made today

Since the huge success of the Indiana Jones films, we have continued to make exactly the same hat still calling it 'The Poet' for fans of both the Indiana Jones movies and the starring actor Harrison Ford. The adventurer 'Indy' hat is enormously popular and as soon as the hat is put on, creates a handsome rugged look. The Poet hat like the Indiana Jones movies remains a classic and unforgettable masterpiece.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

LULU / Louise Brooks VÍDEO : 55-Minute BBC Arena documentary on Louise Brooks (1986)

Born in Cherryvale, Kansas, Louise Brooks was the daughter of Leonard Porter Brooks, a lawyer, who was usually too busy with his practice to discipline his children, and Myra Rude, an artistic mother who determined that any "squalling brats she produced could take care of themselves".

When she was 9 years old, a neighborhood predator sexually abused Louise. This event had a major influence on Brooks' life and career, causing her to say in later years that she was incapable of real love, and that this man "must have had a great deal to do with forming my attitude toward sexual pleasure....For me, nice, soft, easy men were never enough – there had to be an element of domination". When Brooks at last told her mother of the incident, many years later, her mother suggested that it must have been Louise's fault for "leading him on".

Brooks began her entertainment career as a dancer, joining the Denishawn modern dance company in Los Angeles (whose members included founders Ruth St. Denis, and Ted Shawn, as well as a young Martha Graham) in 1922. In her second season with the company, Brooks had advanced to a starring role in one work opposite Shawn. A long-simmering personal conflict between Brooks and St. Denis boiled over one day, however, and St. Denis abruptly fired Brooks from the troupe in 1924, telling her in front of the other members that "I am dismissing you from the company because you want life handed to you on a silver salver". The words left a strong impression on Brooks; when she drew up an outline for a planned autobiographical novel in 1949, "The Silver Salver" was the title she gave to the tenth and final chapter.

Thanks to her friend Barbara Bennett (sister of Constance and Joan), Brooks almost immediately found employment as a chorus girl in George White's Scandals, followed by an appearance as a featured dancer in the 1925 edition of the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. As a result of her work in the Follies, she came to the attention of Paramount Pictures producer Walter Wanger, who signed her to a five-year contract with the studio in 1925. (She was also noticed by visiting movie star Charlie Chaplin, who was in town for the premiere of his film The Gold Rush. The two had an affair that summer).

Brooks made her screen debut in the silent The Street of Forgotten Men, in an uncredited role in 1925. Soon, however, she was playing the female lead in a number of silent light comedies and flapper films over the next few years, starring with Adolphe Menjou and W. C. Fields, among others.

She was noticed in Europe for her pivotal vamp role in the Howard Hawks directed silent "buddy film", A Girl in Every Port in 1928.

In an early sound film drama, Beggars of Life (1928), Brooks played an abused country girl who kills her foster father in a moment of desperation. A hobo, Richard Arlen, happens on the murder scene and convinces Brooks to disguise herself as a young boy and escape the law by "riding the rails" with him. In a hobo encampment, or "jungle," they meet another hobo, Wallace Beery. Brooks's disguise is soon uncovered and she finds herself the only female in a world of brutal, sex-hungry men. Much of this film was shot on location, and the boom microphone was invented for this film by the director William Wellman, who needed it for one of the first experimental talking scenes in the movies.

By this time in her life, she was mixing with the rich and famous, and was a regular guest of William Randolph Hearst and his mistress, Marion Davies, at San Simeon, being close friends with Davies' niece, Pepi Lederer. Her distinctive bob haircut helped start a trend; many women styled their hair in imitation of her and fellow film star Colleen Moore. Soon after the film Beggars Of Life was made, Brooks, who loathed the Hollywood "scene", refused to stay on at Paramount after being denied a promised raise, and left for Europe to make films for G. W. Pabst, the prominent Austrian Expressionist director.

Paramount attempted to use the coming of sound films to pressure the actress, but she called the studio's bluff. It was not until 30 years later that this rebellious move would come to be seen as arguably the most savvy of her career, securing her immortality as a silent film legend and independent spirit. Unfortunately, while her initial snubbing of Paramount alone would not have finished her in Hollywood altogether, her refusal after returning from Germany to come back to Paramount for sound retakes of The Canary Murder Case (1929) irrevocably placed her on an unofficial blacklist. Actress Margaret Livingston was hired to dub Brooks's voice for the film, as the studio claimed that Brooks' voice was unsuitable for sound pictures.

Once in Germany, she starred in the 1929 film Pandora's Box, directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst in his New Objectivity period. The film is based on two plays by Frank Wedekind (Erdgeist and Die Büchse der Pandora) and Brooks plays the central figure, Lulu. This film is notable for its frank treatment of modern sexual mores, including one of the first screen portrayals of a lesbian. Brooks then starred in the controversial social drama Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), based on the book by Margarete Böhme and also directed by Pabst, and Miss Europe (1930) by Italian director Augusto Genina, the latter being filmed in France, and having a famous surprise ending. All these films were heavily censored[where?], as they were very "adult" and considered shocking in their time for their portrayals of sexuality, as well as their social satire.

When she returned to Hollywood in 1931, she was cast in two mainstream films: God's Gift to Women (1931) and It Pays to Advertise (1931). Her performances in these films, however, were largely ignored, and few other job offers were forthcoming due to her informal "blacklisting".

Despite this, William Wellman, her director on Beggars of Life, offered her the female lead in his new picture, The Public Enemy starring James Cagney. However, Brooks turned down the role in order to visit her then-lover George Preston Marshall in New York City, and the part instead went to Jean Harlow, who began her own rise to stardom largely as a result. Brooks later explained herself to Wellman by saying that she hated making pictures because she simply "hated Hollywood", and according to film historian James Card, who came to know Brooks intimately later in her life, "she just wasn't interested .... She was more interested in Marshall". In the opinion of Brooks's biographer Barry Paris, "turning down Public Enemy marked the real end of Louise Brooks's film career". She made one more film at that time, a comedy short, Windy Riley Goes Hollywood (1931), directed by Hollywood outcast Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, working under the pseudonym "William Goodrich".

Brooks declared bankruptcy in 1932 and began dancing in nightclubs to earn a living. She attempted a comeback in 1936, and did a bit part in the Western Empty Saddles, which led Columbia to offer her a screen test, contingent on appearing in the 1937 musical When You're in Love, uncredited, as a specialty ballerina in the chorus. She made two more films after that, including the lead opposite John Wayne in Overland Stage Raiders (1938), a "B" Western in which she played the romantic lead with a long hairstyle that rendered her all but unrecognizable from her Lulu days.

Brooks then briefly returned to Wichita, where she was raised. "But that turned out to be another kind of hell," she said. "The citizens of Wichita either resented me having been a success or despised me for being a failure. And I wasn't exactly enchanted with them. I must confess to a lifelong curse: My own failure as a social creature." After an unsuccessful attempt at operating a dance studio, she returned East and, after brief stints as a radio actor and a gossip columnist, worked as a salesgirl in a Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York City for a few years, then lived as a courtesan with a few select wealthy men as clients.

I found that the only well-paying career open to me, as an unsuccessful actress of thirty-six, was that of a call girl ... and (I) began to flirt with the fancies related to little bottles filled with yellow sleeping pills.

Brooks had been a heavy drinker since the age of 14, but she remained relatively sober to begin writing about film, which became her second career. During this period she began her first major writing project, an autobiographical novel called Naked on My Goat, a title taken from Goethe's Faust. After working on the novel for a number of years, she destroyed the manuscript by throwing it into an incinerator.

She was a notorious spendthrift for most of her life, and was kind and generous to her friends, almost to a fault.

"There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich! There is only Louise Brooks!"
Henri Langlois, 1953
French film historians rediscovered her films in the early 1950s, proclaiming her as an actress who surpassed even Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo as a film icon, much to her amusement. It would lead to the still ongoing Louise Brooks film revivals, and rehabilitated her reputation in her home country.

James Card, the film curator for the George Eastman House, discovered Brooks living as a recluse in New York City about this time, and persuaded her to move to Rochester, New York to be near the George Eastman House film collection. With his help, she became a noted film writer in her own right. A collection of her writings, Lulu in Hollywood, was published in 1982. She was profiled by the film writer Kenneth Tynan in his essay, "The Girl in The Black Helmet", the title of which was an allusion to her bobbed hair, worn since childhood, a hairstyle she helped popularize.

She rarely gave interviews, but had special relationships with film historians John Kobal and Kevin Brownlow. In the 1970s she was interviewed extensively, on film, for the documentaries Memories of Berlin: The Twilight of Weimar Culture (1976), produced and directed by Gary Conklin, and for the documentary series Hollywood (1980) by Brownlow and David Gill. Lulu in Berlin (1984) is another rare filmed interview, produced by Richard Leacock and Susan Woll, released a year before her death, but filmed a decade earlier. Author Tom Graves was allowed into Brooks' apartment for an interview in 1982, and later wrote about the at times awkward and tense conversation in his article "My Afternoon With Louise Brooks" that is the lead piece in his book Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers.

In the summer of 1926, Brooks married Eddie Sutherland, the director of the film she made with W. C. Fields, but by 1927 had fallen "terribly in love" with George Preston Marshall, owner of a chain of laundries and future owner of the Washington Redskins football team, following a chance meeting with him that she later referred to as "the most fateful encounter of my life". She divorced Sutherland, mainly due to her budding relationship with Marshall, in June 1928.

In 1933, she married Chicago millionaire Deering Davis, a son of Nathan Smith Davis, Jr., but abruptly left him in March 1934 after only five months of marriage, "without a good-bye... and leaving only a note of her intentions" behind her. According to Card, Davis was just "another elegant, well-heeled admirer", nothing more. The couple officially divorced in 1938.

Despite her two marriages, she never had children, referring to herself as "Barren Brooks". Her many lovers from years before had included a young William S. Paley, the founder of CBS. According to Louise Brooks: Looking For Lulu, Paley provided a small monthly stipend to Brooks for the rest of her life, and according to the documentary this stipend kept her from committing suicide at one point. She also had an on-again, off-again relationship with George Preston Marshall throughout the 1920s and 1930s (which she described as "abusive"). He was the biggest reason she was able to secure a contract with Pabst. Marshall repeatedly asked her to marry him, but after finding that she had had many affairs while they were together, married film actress Corinne Griffith instead.

By her own admission, Brooks was a sexually liberated woman, not afraid to experiment, even posing fully nude for art photography, and her liaisons with many film people were legendary, although much of it is speculation.

Brooks enjoyed fostering speculation about her sexuality, cultivating friendships with lesbian and bisexual women including Pepi Lederer and Peggy Fears, but eschewing relationships. She admitted to some lesbian dalliances, including a one-night stand with Greta Garbo. She later described Garbo as masculine but a "charming and tender lover". Despite all this, she considered herself neither lesbian nor bisexual:

I had a lot of fun writing 'Marion Davies' Niece' [an article about Pepi Lederer], leaving the lesbian theme in question marks. All my life it has been fun for me. ... When I am dead, I believe that film writers will fasten on the story that I am a lesbian... I have done lots to make it believable [...] All my women friends have been lesbians. But that is one point upon which I agree positively with [Christopher] Isherwood: There is no such thing as bisexuality. Ordinary people, although they may accommodate themselves, for reasons of whoring or marriage, are one-sexed. Out of curiosity, I had two affairs with girls – they did nothing for me.

On August 8, 1985, Brooks was found dead of a heart attack after suffering from arthritis and emphysema for many years. She was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, New York.

Blunt Memories of Celluloid Life
Lulu in Hollywood,’ Tales From Louise Brooks


The energy source for Laura Moriarty’s new novel, “The Chaperone,” is its secondary character: Louise Brooks, at the age of 15. This book is really about the older woman enlisted to accompany Louise to New York from Wichita, Kan., during the summer of 1922. Louise was going to study dance. The woman’s job was to keep Louise on the path of virtue. As if.

By 1925 the real Louise Brooks would be in movies. By the later ’20s she would be the toast of Hollywood. By 1938 her career would be over. In 1940 she went back to Wichita for a brief spell. “The Chaperone” treats this visit pretty gently, considering what Brooks would later have to say about it: “The citizens could not decide whether they despised me for having once been a success away from home or for now being a failure in their midst.” When she went back to New York, she found that “the only well-paying career open to me, as an unsuccessful actress of 36, was that of a call girl.”

Long story short: “The Chaperone” leads straight to “Lulu in Hollywood,” the collection of Brooks’s reminiscences about her movie career. It was published in 1982, after she had had a lifetime to reflect on how Hollywood works and how it treats actors. Much of what she says is startlingly true today.

These eight essays are selective, nostalgic, poison-tipped and fearlessly smart. They’re sharp about Hollywood’s definitions of success and failure, about how actors are manipulated by their employers and pigeonholed by the press. Brooks saw stardom as a “pestiferous disease.” Late in her life she could cherish her solitude.

“To a film star, on the other hand,” she wrote, “to be let alone for an instant is terrifying. It is the first signpost on the road to oblivion.” Brooks still shimmers as a rare loner who traveled down that road, her life in ruins — and then came back.

This book is as idiosyncratic and magnetic as its author. It certainly isn’t a memoir. She had so little intention of telling all that she actually called one chapter “Why I Will Never Write My Memoirs.” The main reason: She could not and would not describe the sexual experiences that would explain who she was and what she had done. “I cannot unbuckle the Bible Belt,” she said.

The real Louise Brooks forgot more than many film stars ever know. And she was much more trouble than the budding bad girl of “The Chaperone.” Reread “Lulu in Hollywood” to remember why.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Country Life The voice of the countryside / VÍDEO : Land of Hope and Glory British Country Life BBC Documentary 2016

Country Life
The voice of the countryside

Country Life, the quintessential English magazine, is undoubtedly one of the biggest and instantly recognisable brands in the UK today. The magazine comments in depth on a wide variety of subjects, such as architecture, property, the arts, gardens and gardening, the countryside, schools and wildlife. This eclectic editorial mix, combined with stunning photography and high-end property advertising ensures that week after week, Country Life is read by people who live the real country house lifestyle. brings over 100 years of editorial and commercial excellence to the web and is one of the best and most enjoyable places to browse for luxury property for sale online. The site also showcases the best of the editorial from Country Life magazine as well as carrying its own exclusive online content covering rural news, seasonal recipes and countryside events.

Country Life was launched in 1897, incorporating Racing Illustrated. At this time it was owned by Edward Hudson, the owner of Lindisfarne Castle and various Lutyens-designed houses including The Deanery in Sonning.

At that time golf and racing served as its main content, as well as the property coverage, initially of manorial estates, which is still such a large part of the magazine. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother, used to appear frequently on its front cover. Now the magazine covers a range of subjects in depth, from gardens and gardening to country house architecture, fine art and books, and property to rural issues, luxury products and interiors.

The frontispiece of each issue usually features a portrait photograph of a young woman of society, or, on occasion, a man of society: Princes William and Harry have both been frontispieces in recent years.

In 2016, in its 119th year, Country Life was the subject of a three-part documentary series made by Spun Gold and which aired on BBC Two on consecutive Friday nights in March. The magazine has also celebrated its best-ever selling issue - the double issue from Christmas 2015 - and a 6th ABC increase in a row, which is an achievement no other weekly magazine publishing original content can claim.

In 1997, the centenary of the magazine was celebrated by a special issue, the publishing of a book by Sir Roy Strong, the airing of a BBC2 TV programme on a year in the life of the magazine, and staging a Gold Medal winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 1999, the magazine launched a new website.

In 2007, the magazine celebrated its 110th anniversary with a special souvenir issue on 4 January.[4] Starting on Wednesday 7 May 2008 the magazine is issued each Wednesday, having been on sale each Thursday for the past 111 years, with the earlier day being achieved using electronic publishing technology.

The first several dozen pages of each issue are devoted to colour advertisements for upmarket residential property, which are one of the best known attractions of the magazine, and popular with everyone from the super rich looking for a country house or estate to those who can only aspire to own such a property.

The magazine covers the pleasures and joys of rural life. It is primarily concerned with rural communities and their environments as well as the concerns of country dwellers and landowners and has a diverse readership which, although mainly UK based is also international. Much of its success has historically been built on its coverage of country house architecture and gardening at a time when the architectural press largely ignored this building type. An extensive photographic archive has resulted, now of great importance to architectural historians.

The other rural pursuits and interests covered include hunting, shooting, farming, equestrian news and gardening and there are regular news and opinion pieces as well as a firm engagement with rural politics. There are reviews of books, food and wine, art and architecture (also many offers) and antiques and crafts. Illustrative material includes the Tottering-by-Gently cartoon by Annie Tempest. The property section claims to have more prime agents than anywhere else. In addition. monthly luxury and interiors sections offer readers some informed ideas about the latest in jewellery, style and travel, and interiors.

Recent feature articles have included Charles, Prince of Wales guest-editing an issue of Country Life in 2013, an historic revelation which revealed the true face of Shakespeare for the first time in 2015, and in 2016 an exclusive on where the Great Fire of London really began in 1666. Upcoming are a special commemorative issue in June 2016 on the occasion of the Queen's 90th birthday, and a Best of Britain celebrating the very best of what the United Kingdom has to offer, from craftsmen to landscapes.

Sunday 16 October 2016

We are Dandy / Lifestyle & Fashion / The Elegant Gentleman around the World"/ VÍDEO below : Freedom of Fashion: Dress Codes and Sartorial Liberty" | Nathaniel Adam...

We are Dandy / Lifestyle & Fashion
The Elegant Gentleman around the World

Around the world, dandies embrace style while respecting their local cultural traditions. Dandyism transcends fashion —it is a committed way of life. An international survey of the global dandy community from the creators of I am Dandy.
Available Soon
Release Date:
November 2016
Photographs by Rose Callahan, Texts by Nathaniel Adams
22.5 × 29 cm
Full color, hardcover, 304 pages
Shop Price: €39.90
Catalog Price:
€39.90 / $60.00 / £35.00
Not Available
About This Book

From America to Africa to Asia, dandyism is a way of life. It is fashion in the best sense, self-esteem through style. And, in every country, it takes a unique form as dandies draw on the local context and fashion culture to shape their looks. We are Dandy throws open the doors of the wardrobe and explores the dandy as a global phenomenon. With texts as witty as the subjects are stylish, the book pokes between the folds to let us know these exceptional individuals. For them, their dandy fashion is more than a trend or a phase—it is who they are, the outer expression of their inner selves. Photographs and profiles paired with clever histories reveal what it takes to look your best around the world. We are Dandy unfolds with a foreword by the illustrious Dita Von Teese that conveys the authenticity of these aesthetes, their passions, and their bravely curated philosophies.

Nathaniel „Natty“ Adams has been involved with the historical and contemporary Dandy phenomenon for many years —it even informs his own wardrobe. A research grant aided the studied journalist in traveling around the world and into the eclectic homes of various Dandies.

New York is more than the current home of filmmaker and photographer, Rose Callahan; the city is also the site and start of her involvement with the Dandy. In 2008, she created the blog The Dandy Portraits, where she documents the many facets of the modern gentleman. Shortly afterwards, she met Natty Adams and the idea for I am Dandy was born

Thursday 13 October 2016

Ernest Beaux, Chanel and the CHANEL N°5 / CHANEL N°5 - For the first time - Inside CHANEL

Coco Chanel had wanted to develop a distinctly modern fragrance for some time by early 1920. At this time, Chanel's lover was Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov of Russia, the murderer of Rasputin. The duke introduced her to Ernest Beaux on the French Riviera. Beaux was the master perfumer at A. Rallet and Company, where he had been employed since 1898. The company was the official perfumer to the Russian royal family, and "the imperial palace at St. Petersburg was a famously perfumed court."The favorite scent of the Czarina Alexandra, composed specifically for her by Rallet in Moscow, had been an eau de cologne opulent with rose and jasmine named Rallet O-DE-KOLON No.1 Vesovoi.

In 1912, Beaux created a men's eau de cologne, Le Bouquet de Napoleon, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino, a decisive battle in the Napoleonic Wars. The success of this men's fragrance inspired Beaux to create a feminine counterpart, whose jumping off point was the chemical composition of aldehydic multiflores in Houbigant's immensely popular Quelques Fleurs (1912).

His experiments with the aldehydes in Quelques Fleurs, resulted in a fragrance that he called Le Bouquet de Catherine. He intended to use the scent to inaugurate another celebration in 1913, the 300th anniversary of the Romanoff dynasty. The debut of this new perfume proved ill-timed commercially. World War I was approaching, and the czarina and the perfume's namesake, the Empress Catherine, had both been German-born. A marketing misfortune that invoked unpopular associations, combined with the fact that Le Bouquet de Catherine was enormously expensive, made it a commercial failure. An attempt to re-brand the perfume, as Rallet No. 1 was unsuccessful, and the outbreak of World War I in 1914 effectively prevented public acceptance of the brand.

Beaux, who had affiliated himself with the Allies and the White Russian army, had spent 1917–19 as a lieutenant stationed far north, in the last arctic outpost of the continent, Arkangelsk, at Mudyug Island Prison where he interrogated Bolshevik prisoners. The polar ice, frigid seascape, and whiteness of the snowy terrain sparked his desire to capture the crisp fragrance of this landscape into a new perfume compound.

Beaux perfected what was to become Chanel No. 5 over several months in the late summer and autumn of 1920. He worked from the rose and jasmine base of Rallet No. 1. altering it to make it cleaner, more daring, reminiscent of the pristine polar freshness he had inhabited during his war years. He experimented with modern synthetics, adding his own invention "Rose E. B" and notes derived from a new jasmine source, a commercial ingredient called Jasophore. The revamped, complex formula also ramped up the quantities of orris-iris-root and natural musks.

The revolutionary key was Beaux's use of aldehydes. Aldehydes are organic compounds of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. They are manipulated in the laboratory at crucial stages of chemical reaction whereby the process arrests and isolates the scent. When used creatively, aldehydes act as "seasonings", an aroma booster. Beaux's student, Constantin Weriguine, said the aldehyde Beaux used had the clean note of the arctic, "a melting winter note". Legend has it that this wondrous concoction was the inadvertent result of a laboratory mishap. A laboratory assistant, mistaking a full strength mixture for a ten percent dilution, had jolted the compound with a dose of aldehyde in quantity never before used. Beaux prepared ten glass vials for Chanel's inspection. Numbered 1–5 then 20–24, the gap presented the core May rose, jasmine and aldehydes in two complementary series, each group a variation of the compound. "Number five. Yes," Chanel said later, "that is what I was waiting for. A perfume like nothing else. A woman's perfume, with the scent of a woman."

According to Chanel, the formula used to produce No. 5 has changed little since its creation, except for the necessary exclusion of natural civet and certain nitro-musks.

Chanel envisioned a design that would be an antidote for the over-elaborate, precious fussiness of the crystal fragrance bottles then in fashion popularized by Lalique and Baccarat. Her bottle would be "pure transparency invisible bottle." It is generally considered that the bottle design was inspired by the rectangular beveled lines of the Charvet toiletry bottles, which, outfitted in a leather traveling case, were favored by her lover, Arthur "Boy" Capel.[6] Some say it was the whiskey decanter he used that she admired and wished to reproduce in "exquisite, expensive, delicate glass."

The first bottle produced in 1919, differed from the Chanel No. 5 bottle known today. The original container had small, delicate, rounded shoulders and was sold only in Chanel boutiques to select clients. In 1924, when "Parfums Chanel" incorporated, the glass proved too thin to sustain shipping and distribution. This is the point in time when the only significant design change took place. The bottle was modified with square, faceted corners.

In a marketing brochure issued in 1924, "Parfums Chanel" described the vessel, which contained the fragrance: "the perfection of the product forbids dressing it in the customary artifices. Why rely on the art of the glassmaker ...Mademoiselle is proud to present simple bottles adorned only by ...precious teardrops of perfume of incomparable quality, unique in composition, revealing the artistic personality of their creator."

Unlike the bottle, which has remained the same since redesigned in 1924, the stopper has gone through numerous modifications. The original stopper was a small glass plug. The octagonal stopper, which became a brand signature, was instituted in 1924, when the bottle shape was changed. The 1950s gave the stopper a bevel cut and a larger, thicker silhouette. In the 1970s the stopper became even more prominent but, in 1986, it was re-proportioned so its size was more harmonious with the scale of the bottle.

The "pocket flacon" devised to be carried in the purse was introduced in 1934. The price point and container size were developed to appeal to a broader customer base. It represented an aspirational purchase, to appease the desire for a taste of exclusivity in those who found the cost of the larger bottle prohibitive.

The bottle, over decades, has itself become an identifiable cultural artifact, so much so that Andy Warhol chose to commemorate its iconic status in the mid-1980s with his pop art, silk-screen, Ads: Chanel.

Ernest Beaux was born in Moscow, Russia, the brother of Edouard Beaux, who worked for Alphonse Rallet & Co. of Moscow, then the foremost Russian perfume house and purveyor to the Imperial courts. In 1898, A. Rallet and Company, with approximately 1500 employees and 675 products, was sold to the French perfume house, Chiris of La Bocca.

Ernest completed his primary education that same year, and from 1898–1900 apprenticed as laboratory technician in the soap works of Rallet. After his obligatory two years of military service in France, he returned to Moscow in 1902, where he started his perfumery training at Rallet under the guidance of their technical director, A. Lemercier. He finished his perfumery education in 1907, earned a promotion to senior perfumer, and was elected to the board of directors.

In 1912 Russia celebrated the centennial of the Battle of Borodino, the turning point in Napoleon's Russian ambitions. For this celebration Ernest Beaux created the fragrance "Bouquet de Napoleon," a floral Eau de Cologne, for Rallet. It proved to be a major commercial success.[10]

The following year, 1913, marked the tercentenary of the founding of the Romanov dynasty. To follow up on his "Bouquet de Napoleon" success, Ernest Beaux created a now lost fragrance, the "Bouquet de Catherine", honoring Catherine the Great. This fragrance is not to be confused with a fragrance from Brocard, Rallet's chief competitor in Russia called "The Empress's Favorite Bouquet", which later evolved into the Soviet version, "Red Moscow."

Bouquet de Catherine was not a marketing success, perhaps due to Catherine the Great's German heritage at a time of rising tensions between Russia and Germany which would lead, in 1914, to World War I. While born and raised in Russia, Ernest Beaux's French heritage brought him into the French army. While it was generally expected that this war would last no more than a few months, he was not released from military service until 1919, having by this time seen service in the infantry fighting against Germany and then as an intelligence officer and interrogator at an Allied prison camp at the Kola Peninsula at the Murmansk Oblast during the Russian Civil War.

While serving in the French military, Ernest Beaux's perfumer colleagues at Rallet fled during Russia's October Revolution to La Bocca, France, to continue working with Chiris.In 1919 Ernest Beaux, released now from the army, settled in Paris but continued to have a relationship with the former Rallet employees at La Boca.

Chanel No. 5
In 1912, Ernest Beaux married Iraïde de Schoenaich (1881-1961), who gave birth to their son, Edouard[ (1913-1993), the following year. During the Russian Civil War, Iraïde escaped from Russia through Finland with her infant son. They reached France by sea following a dangerous two-month-long voyage, during which time Iraïde fell deeply in love with another man. Ernest divorced her and took custody of their son, while Iraïde moved to Nice to work with her lover. Ernest later married Yvonne Girodon (1893-1980), with whom he had a daughter, Madeleine.

Coco Chanel and the N°5
At that time, Joseph Robert was the chief perfumer at Chiris. With little prospect of being promoted under him, Ernest Beaux tried to use his contacts to the emigrated Russian nobility to get new projects. In 1920, with the help of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of Russia (1891–1941), a companion of Coco Chanel (1883–1971), he arranged a meeting in Cannes late in the summer of 1920, where he presented his current and former works to Mlle. Chanel. Chanel chose the "No. 5" as a Christmas present for her best clients. When Ernest Beaux asked her how she wanted to name that scent, she replied: "I always launch my collection on the 5th day of the 5th months, so the number 5 seems to bring me luck – therefore, I will name it 'Nº 5'".

Initially only 100 flacons of Chanel Nº 5 were produced, which she gave away on Christmas 1921 for free to her best clients. However, soon the demand was such that she decided to launch the perfume officially for sale in her shops in 1922. That year she also launched a second fragrance from the two numbered series of bottles that Beaux had presented her, which were numbered one through five, and twenty through twenty-four: Chanel Nº 22, the bottle no. 22 from the second series. However, since this didn't do as well as Nº 5, it was withdrawn and only relaunched in 1926.

Ernest Beaux left Chiris in 1922 to head a sales agency for his friend Eugene Charabot in Paris. However, Chanel Nº 5 did so well that Bader and Wertheimer, owners of Galeries Lafayette, bought the rights to it from Coco Chanel on April 4, 1924, and founded Parfums Chanel, for which they hired Ernest Beaux as chief perfumer. In his new function Ernest Beaux created many famous perfumes until he retired in 1954; his successor as chief perfumer of Perfumes Chanel was Henri Robert.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

MARGHERITA SARFATTI / VÍDEO:CIMA: Margherita Sarfatti Presentation with Rachele Ferrario

1880 – 1961
by Patrizia Acobas

Margherita Sarfatti was born in Venice on April 8, 1880, into the wealthy and cultured Jewish Grassini family. Her father Amedeo was a fiscal attorney for the Venetian government and an intimate friend of the anti-socialist Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto (1835–1914), later Pope Pius X (1903–1914). Like his father, Marco Grassini, he became a Knight of the Crown of Italy. Margherita’s mother was Emma Levi and one of her cousins, Giuseppe Levi (the father of Natalia Ginzburg), eventually became a major proponent of the anti-fascist movement in Turin. Margherita was the fourth and last child in the family. Her sister Colomba (Lina) committed suicide in 1907 after being widowed and her other sister, Nella, perished together with her husband on the way to Auschwitz in 1944. The family lived in an impressive fifteenth-century palazzo on the edge of Venice’s Old Ghetto until 1894, when they moved to the imposing Palazzo Bembo on the Grand Canal.

Sarfatti was educated by private tutors, among them Antonio Fradeletto (1858–1930), the founding director of the Venice Biennale. During her childhood, she began to be interested in art and poetry, influenced by Fradeletto, who introduced her to the theories of John Ruskin. One of her admirers persuaded her to read the works of Karl Marx and other socialist theoreticians, which caused a scandal in her family. In 1898, despite her father’s objections, she married Cesare Sarfatti (1867–1924), a Jewish lawyer from Padua, who was thirteen years her senior and whom she persuaded to join the Socialist Party. During their honeymoon in Paris she made her first purchase of Post-Impressionist art when she bought a set of lithographs and posters by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. On October 15, 1902, the couple moved to Milan, where they lived in an apartment situated on Via Brera. At this stage her major interests were the history of art and politics. Later Margherita Sarfatti began to write on feminism and on the most prominent artists of the time. In Milan she was introduced to Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863–1938), an old friend of her husband, met Filippo Turati (1857–1932) and Anna Kulischoff and became an intimate friend of Luigi Majino and his wife Ersilia, the president of the Feminist League of Milan. She gave birth to two sons, Roberto (1900–1918) and Amedeo (b. 1902). With the death of her father in 1908, Sarfatti came into a large inheritance, which enabled the family to move to a large apartment on Corso Venezia in Milan and to purchase a country home near Lake Como. In 1909 she began her Wednesday-evening salon, where she entertained the major Italian intellectuals and artists. When the Futurist Movement first appeared, Sarfatti’s salon began to be a regular setting for encounters between Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876–1944, the founder of the Futurist movement), Carlo Carrà (1881–1966), Umberto Boccioni (1882–1916) and Luigi Russolo (1885–1947). The Sarfattis spent their holidays at their Como home, Il Soldo (The Penny), where they opened their salon to well-known people such as the poet Ada Negri (1870–1945) as well as to their Milan acquaintances. In 1909 Sarfatti became art critic of the daily newspaper Avanti! and in the same year gave birth to her daughter Fiammetta. In 1912, when Anna Kulischoff started La difesa delle lavoratrici (Women Workers’ Defense), Margherita Sarfatti wrote articles in support of the publication and provided financial support. On December 1, 1912, Mussolini became the manager of Avanti!. A deep friendship between the two soon developed into a love relationship, which was apparently tolerated by Cesare Sarfatti, but not by Rachele Mussolini.

In October and November 1914, Mussolini adopted an interventionist position. He resigned as editor of Avanti!, joined with pro-war leftists outside the Socialist Party and launched a new socialist newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia (People of Italy). The Socialist Party leadership viewed these acts as a betrayal and expelled him from the party. With the outbreak of World War I Roberto, Sarfatti’s older son, ran off to join the army, although he was under age. Though he was at first sent home, he enlisted legally at the age of seventeen, joining the elite Alpini mountain troops and was sent to the front in July 1917. On January 28, 1918, he was killed in battle while leading an attack on the Austrian front lines and was posthumously awarded Italy’s highest military honor. In 1921 Sarfatti published I vivi e l’ombra, a compilation of elegiac poetry commemorating her son.

At the end of the war, Sarfatti too was expelled from the Socialist Party because of her interventionism. Thereupon she began to work for and collaborate with Popolo d’Italia, the official newspaper of the fascist regime, but also wrote articles for the Turin newspaper La Stampa and for Gerarchia, a revue of political theory edited by Eloisa Foà. After 1922 she became the manager of this revue. Meanwhile she strengthened her liaison with Mussolini. At a public meeting on March 25 in the Piazza San Sepolcro in Rome, Margherita was at Mussolini’s side. Although formally their relationship remained secret, since both were married, Sarfatti began to collaborate in Mussolini’s writing and even prepared the plan of the march on Rome in late October 1922. Indeed, she was so close to Mussolini that she can be described as one of the planners of Fascism.

In 1924, when her husband died, Sarfatti moved to Rome, where she held her salon on Friday afternoons. In 1925 she published a personal memoir and biography of Il Duce, The Life of Benito Mussolini, in an English edition. Mondadori published the biography in Italian in 1926 under the title Dux. The book was translated into seventeen languages. In 1925 she was engaged as a vice-president of the Exposition des arts decoratifs in Paris, a task which won her the Legion of Honor. In 1926 she was a theoretician and a leading force of the first exhibition of the Italian Novecento, the opening of which was attended by the Duce himself. In 1927, in Rome, she organized an exhibit of the Dieci artisti del Novecento italiano, in the framework of the Esposizione degli Amatori e Cultori. Towards the end of the 1920s she espoused the evolution of Fascism, with its heroic rhetoric and strict discipline. In the 1930s she openly combined the Novecento movement with the aggressive passion and renewal from which the Fascist Redemptive Action (Opera redentrice del Fascismo) eventually emerged. In 1931 she was often attacked by the revue Regime Fascista but tenaciously sustained the role played by the Novecento group in the diffusion of Italian art abroad. Margherita Sarfatti was one of the protagonists of Italian political and intellectual debate in the age of Giovanni Giolitti (1842–1928).

Towards the end of 1926 Sarfatti moved to Via Rasella in Rome and when Mussolini moved to Villa Torlona in 1928 Margherita Sarfatti, together with her daughter Fiammetta, moved to live in close proximity to the Duce’s residence. That same year she converted to Catholicism. Despite her lover’s anti-Zionist and antisemitic unsigned writings in newspapers and journals she claimed that there was no “Jewish question” in Italy and declared that Mussolini would never follow Hitler’s antisemitic policies. On July 14, 1938, “The Manifesto of the Race” appeared in the Roman daily Il giornale d’Italia. Composed primarily by Mussolini himself, this document condemned the corruption of the Italian Aryan race through intermarriage with Jews.

Sarfatti sensed that, despite her conversion to Catholicism, she was not immune to the antisemitic laws passed in 1938. After her son Amedeo left Italy for Argentina in 1938, Sarfatti followed him, first traveling to Switzerland to deposit Mussolini’s letters in a safe place. In Argentina she continued to be involved in art criticism but did not meet with the same success as she had enjoyed in Italy.

Returning to Italy at the end of 1947, she continued to write, publishing an unapologetic memoir, Acqua Passata, in 1955. She died at her Il Soldo residence on October 30, 1961.

Mussolini’s Jewish Lover Who Crafted Italian Fascism
Margherita Sarfatti wasn’t just the dictator's most erudite paramour; she was his secret adviser and ideologue. The English version of her memoirs is finally out.

Saviona Mane Nov 23, 2014 8:38 PM

My Fault: Mussolini As I Knew Him, by Margherita Grassini Sarfatti, Enigma Books, 323 pages, $26

On November 14, 1938, shortly after the Italian Racial Laws were passed, Margherita Sarfatti slipped out of her home near Lake Como, got into her car and asked her chauffeur to drive her to the nearby Swiss border.
Among the few belongings the Jewish socialite and art critic had stuck in her two suitcases were 1,272 letters she had received from Benito Mussolini over their 20-year romantic and ideological relationship — a sort of insurance policy. Sarfatti, 58 at the time, would return to Italy only in 1947 after living in exile in France, Argentina and Uruguay.
In addition to art essays she wrote for local newspapers during her exile, Sarfatti published in 1945, shortly after Mussolini’s death, a series of articles in the Argentine paper Crítica in which she revealed details about her relationship with Il Duce. Scholars believe she waited until he no longer had the chance to harm the family members she had left behind in Rome.
Today, 70 years later, these articles have been published in the English-language book “My Fault: Mussolini As I Knew Him.” Dubbed by Enigma as “the unpublished memoir of Mussolini’s longtime lover,” the book’s 18 chapters come edited and annotated by historian Brian R. Sullivan, whose commentary is informed by three decades of research in Italy, France, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.
Just as the story of the long, intimate relationship between Sarfatti and Mussolini lay forgotten in archives for years until Philip V. Cannistraro and Sullivan published their 1993 work “Il Duce’s Other Woman,” Sarfatti’s memoirs remained abandoned in the shadows of history for decades.
Indeed, Sarfatti wasn’t just one of Mussolini’s hundreds of lovers. The aristocratic, intellectual and ambitious wife of wealthy Zionist lawyer Cesare Sarfatti, and mother of their three children, did not only share her bed with Il Duce. She also helped him forge and implement the fascist idea; she contributed advice — and Sullivan says, money — to help organize the 1922 March on Rome in which Mussolini seized power.
During those 20 years she was his eminence grise and unofficial ambassador, glorifying him in her 1925 biography that was translated into 18 languages.
Il Duce's many frailties
It was Clara Petacci who has gone down in history as Mussolini’s most famous lover. In April 1945, Italian partisans shot her and Il Duce and hung their bodies upside down in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto. But after their intense 20-year personal and political relationship, Sarfatti was apparently the one who knew him best — maybe even better than his lawful wife, Rachele Guidi.

From the cover of Margherita Sarfatti's book
“Mussolini and Sarfatti had shown each other their souls,” Sullivan writes in the book’s long introduction. “She had listened to his secrets … she knew most everything about Mussolini’s hidden weaknesses, his human frailties, his crude behavior, his superstitions, his ignorant misunderstandings about so many scientific and medical matters, and about his syphilis.”
But according to Sullivan, as much as Mussolini feared that Sarfatti would expose details on their sex life, he feared even more that she would reveal other shortcomings — and destroy the demigod image he had worked so hard to create.
Although Sarfatti’s 1955 Italian-language autobiography “Acqua Passata” (“Water Under the Bridge”) does not mention her relationship with Il Duce, her memoirs make up for it. She recounts a raft of personal and political anecdotes, provides quotes from Mussolini and talks about his sex addiction and cocaine use. But she never slides into bedroom gossip.
From her descriptions Mussolini comes across as a brilliant, charismatic statesman — but also an egocentric one ridden by inferiority complexes, fears and superstitions. He was also an unbridled womanizer, not to mention a manipulator who didn’t hesitate in his youth to threaten suicide in a letter to his mother “if she failed to send him some money for food.”
Sarfatti, meanwhile, comes across as a haughty, self-confident woman who often boasts of her good judgment, intuition and wisdom in both political and personal affairs.
Despite the book’s title “My Fault,” chosen by Sarfatti decades ago for the memoirs, she expresses no regret over her relationship with Mussolini, who was responsible for the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law on their way to Auschwitz, the destruction of Italian democracy and the establishment of a dictatorship. On the contrary, Sarfatti evades responsibility, putting all the blame on Mussolini.
Pesky Pact of Steel
Sarfatti maintains that fascism began as a positive idea that was distorted over the years. She claims that even Mussolini underwent a complete change. “After less than a decade in power, Mussolini seemed to me to have become someone else,” she writes. “He began to deny even the right to interior freedom and to subject the very souls of his people to the power of the state.”
As Sarfatti puts it, Mussolini’s alliance with Nazi Germany, which she opposed, was the main cause of his downfall. “But the Duce did not form the Rome–Berlin Axis or the Pact of Steel with the Führer by accident. Mussolini harbored within him a number of defects that attracted him to the Germans of his time. Thus he succumbed to the illness of power, to the madness of the Caesars.”
About one matter, though, she does accept the blame. “I cannot hide behind my work as an art critic. I must accept my responsibilities. I believed in Fascism and fought for it in the beginnings,” she writes.
“Worse, I wrote a book read by many that interpreted the goals of Fascism in a favorable light and proclaimed to the entire world that Mussolini was a hero of historic proportions. That was my fault .... It is my duty to declare that Mussolini fell because of his complete moral bankruptcy.”
Lamenting the failure of her “final, desperate attempt to guide Mussolini,” she adds: “Meanwhile, we discovered that behind the mask of Fascism lay an abyss of corruption, nepotism, favoritism and arbitrary lawlessness.”
Like most Italians, Sarfatti saw Mussolini as the embodiment of the “good tyrant,” adding that she had hoped he would turn out wiser, more level-headed and more just than the leaders produced by the ballot box.
Sullivan lambastes Sarfatti’s attempt to put all the blame on Il Duce. He writes that since it was Sarfatti, more than Mussolini, who crafted the ideological and philosophical basis of fascism between 1913 and 1919, she can’t evade responsibility for what others did based on her views. He adds that the original manuscript contains inaccuracies and spelling mistakes.
In his copious comments and remarks — often more comprehensive than the original text — Sullivan contends that after Sarfatti fled Italy, she agreed with Mussolini not to reveal details about their relationship. In exchange, no harm would befall her family still in Rome, among them her daughter Fiametta, her son-in-law and their three children.
But history lost out, Sullivan concludes, in that the book was not published in the late 1940s. Sarfatti possessed priceless photographs, letters and documents in Mussolini’s own hand.
“At least some of that historically precious material might have become available to scholars over sixty years ago,” Sullivan writes. “Instead, it passed into the possession of Sarfatti’s heirs after her death. They have refused permission to anyone to study those valuable records. Indeed, they have consistently denied their very existence. One can only hope they will have a change of mind.”

Il Duce and His Women by Roberto Olla – review
Sex was at the centre of the Italian dictator's image

Ian Thomson
Friday 13 January 2012 22.55 GMT

In 1919 Benito Mussolini, an obscure political agitator, assembled a ragbag of black-shirted followers in Milan, and launched the political movement that was to become, two years later, the National Fascist party. The party took its name from the classical Roman symbol of authority – an axe bound in rods, or fasces. Part idealist, part buffoon, Mussolini dreamed of a second Roman empire for Italy, and dominion over the Mediterranean. Occasionally he liked to wear a richly tasselled fez and would pose for the cameras, thrusting out his chin pugnaciously. He introduced the stiff-armed Roman salute, disapproving of the handshake as fey and unhygienic. As Mussolini's regime strengthened, the high priests of fascism began to hail their leader as "divine Caesar", and adopted the passo romano, the Latin goosestep, in parades. Behind the bombast, however, Italian fascism relied on bludgeons, intimidation and, according to Roberto Olla, Mussolini's vainglorious sexual antics and boastfulness.

Olla, an Italian writer and TV journalist, provides an absorbing account of Mussolini's self-proclaimed manful potency and "animal allure". In the course of his life, he had relations with hundreds of women, perhaps "as many as 400". The women were brusquely mauled by him under his desk or on mattress-like cushions installed for the purpose. Towards the end of his 23-year-dicatorship, facing defeat, he became addicted to a German-manufactured aphrodisiac pill trade-marked Hormovin. Taking this prototype Viagra was a "political act", says Olla, as it served to prolong the myth of the Duce as one who never flagged. Undeniably, sex was at the centre of the myth of Mussolini and his image as a man of power. Yet Mussolini's sexuality has been "ignored" by historians as being unworthy of study. In Il Duce and His Women, Olla remedies the deficiency, and gives us a portrait of Mussolini in all his priapic foolery – and occasional daring.

Mussolini's most notorious mistress, Claretta Petacci, saw a "god-like potency" and "bull-like" magnetism in her idol. A doctor's daughter, she began to court Mussolini in 1932 and before long, bouts of "savage, ardent sex" routinely occurred in his headquarters at Palazzo Venezia in Rome. Mussolini was by then married with five children, yet the more women he had, the more he felt puffed out with a sense of his own rank and self-importance. Petacci's diaries, first published in Italy in 2009 as Mussolini segreto ("Secret Mussolini"), are amply quoted by Olla. In spite of her adoring pillow talk ("Anchor yourself in me, my great and glorious ship"), Petacci has much to say about Mussolini's inner life, personality and politics. He forbade his daughter from marrying a Jew, yet one of his mistresses, Margherita Sarfatti, was Jewish. Sarfatti, a rather "overlooked character", according to Olla, exerted a stronger influence on the dictator than is generally realised.

She first met Mussolini in 1912, and was one of the masterminds behind fascism's pompous celebration of ancient Rome. The eagle motifs and suckling she-wolves visible today on fascist architecture in Italy are partly Sarfatti's legacy. Her bestselling 1926 biography of Mussolini, Dux, exalted the leader as a sacred manifestation of romanità ("Romanness") and the noble Italian race. Yet her name was dirt once Mussolini had committed Italy to Nazi Germany's antisemitic cause. A racial dogma that glorified blond northerners of course conflicted somewhat with the Mediterranean cult of romanità. Yet a latent tension had always existed between fascism and Italian Jews. Zionists, in particular, were seen by Mussolini as a self-regarding, supranational sect inimical to the sturdy Blackshirt. "They should mind their own business," Mussolini told Petacci while sunbathing with her one day in Rome. "They are carogne [carrion], cowards." While Sarfatti managed to escape Nazi-occupied Italy, her sister Nella and her husband died on a transport bound for Auschwitz.

To Petacci, Hitler was unappealingly furtive and rat-like beside her grandly uniformed Dux, whose smouldering, lantern-jawed features were said to radiate a sense of physical daring – ardimento – and the very masculine fascist soul. Other women were no less impressed. Ida Dalser went so far as to sell her beauty salon in order to raise funds for Mussolini. In time, she became the mother of Mussolini's first-born son and, it seems, married the dictator. Years later, after Mussolini had cynically discarded her, Dalser accused him of cowardice and dereliction of duty. Enraged, Mussolini confined Dalser to a mental home, where, shortly before Christmas 1937, she died.

Olla's biography ends that momentous year of 1937, when Mussolini paid his disastrous official visit to Nazi Germany. Having invaded Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) two years earlier, the dictator decided to hitch his carnival chariot to Hitler's funeral hearse, and a last chance for peace in Europe was lost. Olla has read widely into the cult of ducismo, and writes illuminatingly of his subject. Ultimately, his psycho-sexual study asserts the dangers of blind adherence to ideology. In April 1945, with Italy's defeat now certain, Mussolini was executed by anti-fascists and his body strung up alongside that of the starry-eyed Claretta Petacci in Milan, not far from the site where, 26 years earlier, the fascist movement had been launched.

• Ian Thomson's Primo Levi: A Biography is published by Vintage.