Archive for June, 2017

Pierre Cardin: A Gala Celebration in Newport

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On Saturday, June 17, Newport was graced with a one of kind event celebrating famed fashion designer, Pierre Cardin. The 94-year-old impresario personally curated a collection of more than 80 pieces showcasing his 70-year career that graced the runway at The Breakers, the famed “summer cottage” of the Vanderbilt family—a legendary venue for a legendary talent. Regrettably, Monsieur Cardin was not well enough to make the trip, but the show went on and his nephew, Rodrigo Basilicati, and his head of haute couture, Maryse Gaspard, were on hand to share M. Cardin’s best wishes to the audience of 250.

Pierre Cardin Newport 2I was able to spend the afternoon with Rodrigo and Maryse as well as Matthew Gonder, the headliner at Cardin’s Maxim’s restaurant in Paris and the event’s emcee. Also joining us was Richard Raczynski and Dominique Raczynski from the House of Cardin (like Maryse, the couple have been with the designer for decades). We discussed Cardin’s prolific career, his broad spectrum of design inspiration (everything from vintage cars to the moon landing to science and technology has motivated him) and his penchant for always creating on his terms. Cardin took orders from nobody it seems, and while eschewing design trends and even sometimes considered a wild card (he had the audacity to introduce a ready to wear collection in 1959 as he felt designer clothes should be more accessible), the industry that once criticized him eventually honored designer with many prestigious award, chief among them the trio of Golden Thimbles (fashion’s answer to the Academy Awards).

As we walked through the leave-behind exhibit at Rosecliff, “Pierre Cardin: 70 Years of Pierre Cardin Newport 6Innovation,” I learned more about the designer, who was the son of Italian immigrants and raised in St. Etienne, France. By 17, he was a tailor and moved to Paris. Soon he became an assistant to none other than Christian Dior and after three years, launched his own line. Earlier in his career he made costumes for Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film la Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast), and later in his career created his own theater in Paris, l’Espace (and eventually, bought Maxim’s). The exhibit, a celebration of Cardin’s bold, avant-garde and forward thinking approach, features 42 pieces including 1960s space-age looks from the Cosmocorps collection, unisex jumpsuits created for the 1972 Olympics, and the technologically advanced Cardine dress, made of thermo-formed fabric that was worn by Lauren Bacall in 1968. It will be on display at Rosecliff through the end of the year.

We were lucky enough to be connected by phone to Cardin, who expressed his deep regret for not being able to attend the Newport gala. Our small gathering of media then engaged in a question and answer session which led to thoughtful discussion on the exhibit, the show, and Cardin’s legacy. Without further ado, here’s a smattering of images from the event: 

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Photos: JP Yim/Getty Images for the Preservation Society of Newport County

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June 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Namaste in the Neighborhood at The Attwater

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Summer officially starts on Wednesday, and there’s no better place to savor the season of sun and fun, sailing and celebrating, and the spoils of the sea than here in Newport. While it’s the best time of year to relax and unwind, social schedules do indeed get hectic, so setting apart some time to be mindful, thankful and appreciate life in the moment and all the beauty that surrounds us here on Aquidneck Island is imperative. 

I was reminded of how blissful if feels after yoga recently when I was able to practice with trees swaying in the breeze overhead and fluffy white cloud sauntering across the sky on the back deck of The Attwater. The boutique hotel on Liberty Street (steps from the Newport Art Museum) is known for its chic coastal meets contemporary interior design, the deck is spacious and secluded, and though just a stone’s throw from Bellevue Avenue, you’d never know you’re in the heart of Historic Hill.

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Getting our “om” on…

On the third Thursday of each month, The Attwater opens its doors to the community for yoga from 6pm – 7pm, followed by an hour-long pop-up shop featuring  local makers in The Attwater Café. Not very flexible? Yoga is a challenge for you? No worries – that’s why yoga is always called a “practice,” and besides, The Attwater’s Vinyasa-style yoga classes are taught by the AWESOME Emily Moyer (pictured at top) from Newport’s Community Yoga Center for WellnessNewport’s Community Yoga Center for Wellness, who walks you through each pose with gentle encouragement.

Cost: $20 per class for hotel and community guests. Classes are limited to 8 participants, so reservations are strongly encouraged. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite or can be paid in cash to Emily upon arrival. Enjoy your post-yogaIMG_8606 bliss with a complimentary seasonal smoothie made by The Attwater team. Guests are asked to bring their own yoga mat, but the instructor will have a few extra on hand as well. 

The monthly public class dates and pop-up partners are: 

The weekly yoga series will continue through September 29. Namaste.

PS: I posted some fun pics from the inaugural yoga session at The Attwater on my Instastories at @newportstyle!

June 11, 2017 at 11:38 pm Leave a comment

Joan Juliet Buck, French Vogue’s Former Editor in Chief, at the Redwood Library Tomorrow

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I didn’t know exactly what to expect as I dialed up Joan Juliet Buck just as she would be packing for her trip to Newport. Yes, I’ve interviewed countless authors through the years, but as I anticipated the former longtime editor-in-chief French Vogue to pick up the line, so many questions beyond my prepared ones popped into my head.

Peter O’Toole & Joan Juliet Buck at 1965 film premiere

“I love Newport,” she soon tells me. “Caterine Milinaire Cushing is a childhood friend.” This Wednesday, June 7, she returns to the City by the Sea to discuss her new memoir, The Price of Illusion, at the Redwood Library & Athenæum. Hers is a story worth telling, starting with being born into Hollywood royalty. The daughter of film producer Jules Buck and model/actress Joyce Ruth Getz (Joyce Gates), Buck was born in L.A. but tells me her first language was French. The family moved abroad when she was a small child and her formidable years took her to Paris, London, Milan, Ireland, as well as the U.S. “In one way, I come from nowhere and belong to nothing,” she says.

During her youth, Peter O’Toole, Lauren Bacall, Federico Fellini, Angelica Huston, and many more glitterati, were her inner circle. By 19, Buck was writing book reviews for Glamour magazine and made her mark in London as a correspondent at (Andy  Warhol’s) Interview magazine, then as features editor of British Vogue, then a correspondent for Women’s Wear Daily in London and Rome. Her byline

Karl Lagerfeld works on Buck’s wedding dress

became familiar in Vanity Fair and American Vogue. At 46, she assumed the helm at French Vogue, becoming the first the only American ever to have edited a French magazine. She quickly became a force in the cult of all things fashion and beauty. Although the position is perhaps the most coveted in the industry, Buck says it wasn’t what she wanted, but she was reeling from a bad break up and looking for a way to bring her father (widowed by then) to Paris “to give him the life he lost.” He had, Buck says, become “old, sad, bitter and heartbroken. I was to create this wonderful illusion for him.”

It was perplexing to the French that an American was at Vogue Paris, which has been published since 1920, explains Buck. Regardless, she committed herself 100%. “I spent so many years buying the clothes to wear to the parties—the Vogue things,” she recalls, but eventually, “it became easier to deal the illusion than buy the illusion.”  Likening herself to a dealer is no accident. In 2001, Buck was brusquely sent to rehab by Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International. An ironic dismissal as Buck was barely a drinker and not a drug user, she nonetheless acquiesced and went to the required rehab, securing her severance. But Buck admits the prospect of being embedded in a rehab center intrigued her. After all, she says, “I hadn’t done anything real in seven years.”

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(L-R) Yves Saint Laurent, Buck, Gianfranco Ferré and Karl Lagerfeld

By the time she reemerged, Buck was ready to tell her own story, and over the course of six years, she thoughtfully examined all the pieces of her past—articles, mementos and memories. At the heart of it, Buck says her story is ultimately about a father and a daughter (although a much more glamorous pairing than most). She tells me the process was “immensely cathartic,” adding that she discovered the things in her life she was once most embarrassed about “are actually my greatest strengths.” Funny, how that happens.

Hear Joan Juliet Buck on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm discuss The Price of Illusion, at the Redwood Library & Athenæum.

June 6, 2017 at 1:04 am Leave a comment


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