A blog about vintage fashion, vintage jewels and art.....

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year... to you too....

circa 1900

Preparing the house and table to welcome our guests tonight, beloved friends who will share our last moments of the year with us, and looking forward to tomorrow when we will welcome the New Year in the company of our closest family. 

Whichever part of the world you inhabit, I am sure you are also keeping busy and are eager to share in the joy of new beginnings, whilst taking stock of the year that was.

Here's wishing you all lots of wonderful days ahead filled with happiness, exciting adventures, intriguing challenges, innovations and pleasant surprises to enrich your life.  Whoever you may be, you're wish well, you're wished love and you're wished serenity. 

If hard times do come your way, you're wished the courage to confront them, the tenacity to see them through and faith in a better future.

Thank you for following FairyFiligree and hope you will keep visiting through the New Year.

All the best....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Blonde who was made Brunette

Not all is what it seems to be in art. I chanced upon this video from the National Gallery. It impressed me how the touch of paint completely altered the whole outlook of the original intent of this picture. Which version do you prefer?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Style - Your Attitude makes it or breaks it

Writing about style. Blogging about style. Being stylish. Ok, so there one million bloggers (I haven't counted but it seems like it) out there, all harping on about style, being fashionable, being stylish, dressing glamorously, fabulously, lavishly, beautifully, ravishingly, stunningly. 

We all aspire to be just so, whatever we wear, whatever our budgets, whatever our life situation may be.

But we tend to forget one simple premise that must be observed if our stylishness is to be well appreciated and truly deserving of the word stylish.  


It our attitude that makes us get noticed and speaks louder than the clothes and accessories on our backs, hands, feet, head. It is that smile, that graciousness, that well-behaved attitude, that gentleness, that willingness to reach out. 

Have you ever thought about it when you're in front of the mirror, frowning at yourself, at the outfit you're trying out? Ok, so you're frustrated because you don't look exactly like that vision you imagined you could personify. You don't seem to be as perfect as what you expected to be. Nothing seems quite so right.....

Just stop. Turn your back to the mirror. Smile widely. Smile with your eyes... then turn back to look at the mirror and see the difference. The sour face is gone. The outfit might or might not look any better but your attitude will change it, lift it, transform it.

Just one smile can make all the difference and your style will shine through.

Incorporate a smile with every outfit you wear..... - try it out and see the difference it makes in your life.

Here is some inspiration....

"To be a great champion you must believe you are the best.. If you're not, pretend you are." 
Muhammad Ali 

"A man without a smiling face must not open a shop."
Chinese Proverb

“The magic is inside you. there ain't no crystal ball.” 
Dolly Parton

and another one from Dolly...

“Smile -- it increases your face value.” 

Big thanks to Theresa of trolleyla for these wonderful images which you can find in her charming Etsy shop.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dori's Homage to Frida Kahlo

Frida Necklace by Dori Csengeri

I wanted to treat you to something especially gorgeous to think of this weekend. I mean, wouldn't you just love getting this beautiful necklace in your stocking on Christmas Day?

As homage to the artist Frida Kahlo, jewellery designer Dori Csengeri has created this hand embroidered Haute Couture necklace which I think has something extra warming - perfect to liven up outfits during this cold season. Can you just imagine it on a long white dress? 

Dori's love of colour, a long tradition of hand embroidery and textile design are combined together through an ancestral technique of assembly with needlework of silky cotton cords. Such scene-stealing creations are made in Dori Csengeri's atelier using cabochons, fine stones, crystals, bohemian beads, shell, wood or metal and leather-backed for comfort.  Dori Csengeri regularly collaborates with Swarovski and she has designed for Swarovski’s Jewelry World Facets 2011 Collection, Swarovski’s Crystallized™ trend inspirations or, the Atelier Swarovski collection. Today Dori Csengeri is an award winning, internationally acclaimed artist, with offices in Milan, Paris, Barcelona, New York and Tokyo. 

Read more about Dori Csengeri here and here


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More about Guerlain

Some time ago I wrote about the special Baccarat bottle for Guerlain which I saw displayed in the very special scent bottles exhibition I wrote about. One of you wrote back to me saying.....

"Hello, I was looking at your blog and saw your new post about perfume bottles. This is a funny coincidence  -  my grandmother worked all of her life for Guerlain. I am sending you a picture of an old document, she is pictured on it, the first lady at the bottom from the left......"

The document is all about the birth of a perfume with detailed images of the whole procedure. Isn't it interesting? Thank you for sharing this Nathalie.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

News from Lynn

This ravishingly stylish lady you may have seen before on this blog. She is Lynn Dell, style guru and owner of Off Broadway Boutique in New York. 

She contacted me to tell me some fantastic news.

Starting on December 20th at 8:30 AM (that's today) on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN),  Lynn Dell's 1994 TV show "Positively Lynn" will be re-airing! (To check local listings, visit http://www.mnn.org)

The show is about Lynn discussing and giving tips on everything fashion, from how to dress for your figure/age, to how to accessorize a simple outfit. Lots of useful information for women of all ages! The show will be running every Tuesday morning for 13 weeks.

Read more about Lynn Dell here and here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shoes extravaganza & special offer

I found these shoes and fell in love with them. It's fun to see how the vintage characteristic has been taken a step further to create a modern styled shoe with the modern feel. What about the red Mary Janes (something Mrs Christmas would love to wear I'm sure), the polka dotted booties, the multi-coloured brogue and the wedged ballerinas? 

Amintaonline.com is offering Fairyfiligree readers and followers 10% off shoe purchases made between today and January 15, 2012.

Just use the code FAIRY_XMAS when placing your order. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Before the Sales

Soon we will all be engrossed in them - January sales. Do you wait for them all year long like I do? Well, admittedly, these days, with the recession and all, sales seem to happen all year round with pre-Christmas sales making us spend all our saved pennies before Christmas is over so that we have nothing left to spend on January sales. 

But in keeping with tradition, January sales always attract crowds and we all fall for the illusion that we shall find that long-aspired-for garment or accessory to complete our wardrobe forever and ever. Most of us will take stock of what we buy after the sales and just shove it all in the with rest. Come spring time we will probably just remove half of it all, give it away or swap it, and the vicious circle goes on and on.

So, hey you must be wondering why on earth I'm harping on about January sales when we're still so many days away from Christmas. That's just because this is the perfect time of year to prepare ourselves for a successful January sale-mania-affair.

Taking stock of what's in our wardrobe before we embark on any more shopping expeditions does make sense. If anything, it will help us to think out of the box, in full cognition of what we possess and what we might possibly wish for. 

My way of doing it is this....Get hold of all your usual favourites, get them out of the wardrobe and out of sight. They're your favourites, you wear them enough, you don't need to find new ways of wearing them and they generally would appreciate a good rest.

Then consider what you have left. This will include clothes you rarely wear and clothes you never wear. This may be for varied reasons, including the fact that some of them might not fit you anymore. The non-fitting category is as useless as having to wear a wig when you already have a full head of hair. What doesn't fit today, may possibly fit tomorrow, but hey, don't keep hoarding non-fitting clothes because you will end up with a wardrobe of useless items. 

Then there are the clothes you think you cannot wear or clothes you believe are too boring to be worn anymore. It is often surprising what we can do with clothes from this category and here is how it's done.

Prepare yourself to spend at least one solid hour trying to match up items from this lot. That pair of trousers which you never wore after that one party… you might find that it actually matches very well with that jacket your sister swapped with you some time back. Try on, take off, change the ensemble until you find something that seems to come alive when put together.

Once you figure out whether you can wear some new combinations with your un-favourite items, get out the accessories and mix and match those along too. Chances are you will find that you will be able to mix and match one item with more than one other item, and this is how you will start building up some new outfits for the new year. 

And.. the good thing is that this exercise will be an eye-opener. You will realise that you really must have a new black handbag because the one you do have is crying out for a retirement scheme; it will dawn on you that you really do not need any more red belts because you have three of those already; you will come to the conclusion that you can afford to give away at least three of those seven black skirts because you really will never wear them all.  Don't rely on mental notes because these can soon be forgotten in the enthusiasm of so many well-priced goodies. Make a written list of what you really need to look out for and carry it with you so whenever you chance upon what seems to be perfect - you'll know for sure that it is.

Read more about wardrobe organisation here, here and here.
Thanks goes to Rachel Smith on Etsy for these gorgeous images.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Miram Haskell Bangle

The first Miriam Haskell jewel to join my collection was this marvellous Cloisonne bangle. I bought it some years back from ebay at a very good price and have cherished it ever since. 

The art of Cloisonne is quite a complicated one originating from the Middle East and becoming really popular in China especially during the Ming Dynasty. The process begins with a metal object that has to be decorated. It is usually made of bronze, just like this bangle, and whether it is a plate, a vase or a bead, the process is identical. Small metal strips called cloisons (French) are soldered onto the base in the desired pattern. The capsules of space formed by the strips are then filled in with enamel. The piece is heated in an oven and once cooled, the cloisons and enamel are permanently set into the base.

The beads  of the necklace in this picture are made with the cloisonne method and they are extremely well made, each bead being carefully knotted to be thus separated from the other one and avoid damage. There are 30 beads in all... aren't they simply gorgeous? They are for sale here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Flowers in my Hair

Just found these out on one of my favourite blogs - One Shoe A Day. These are the creations of Anne Schneider aren't they just so very cute? They very much remind me of the style of artist Frida Kahlo... don't you think so too?

See more images of Frida here

(more innovative headwear here)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Get your mom a plastic spoon

Aren't these flowers simply divine? I found out this Happy Bouquet by Joy StClaire and was struck by the delicacy of the image. It got me thinking about the beauty of the simple things in life, such as these flowers - the perfect gift for anybody, at any time of the year. And at a time such as this when the rush to buy the perfect Christmas gift is in full swing, it makes sense to stop and think about this. I mean, you can get your mom a plastic spoon but will it move her the way a bouquet of flowers would?
In the language of flowers, pink roses signify perfect happiness. But you needn't have to research a flower and its meaning to create a pretty little homage to a good friend now, do you? 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fashion photography of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s

Fashion model underwater in dolphin tank, at Marineland, Florida. 1939.  A similar image was published in 
Vogue in October 1939. 

Model wearing an evening gown on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington. June 1949.

These beautiful black and white fashion photos were taken by the New York fashion photographer Toni Frissell (1907-88). She not only photographed fashion models but women from all walks of life. She photographer great personalities of her time, worked with the Red Cross during WWII, becoming the official photographer for the Women's Army Corps. She worked for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Sports Illustrated, Life.

Fashion model in Victoria Station. Published in "Harper's bazaar", 1951

Top two images are courtesy of the Toni Frissell Collection at the US Library of Congress. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where on Art...? Scent in a Bottle

Few have seen the likes of the beautiful bottle in this image. This is the rare 1919 Guerlain bottle created by Baccarat to a design by Raymond Guerlain for the perfume MITSOUKO (which in Japanese means Mystery). The bottle is made of glass crystal with both stopper and bottle having been issued with matching etched numbers which indicates that a limited number of this designer bottle was produced. The bottle in this picture still contains some of the original perfume and its box is intact, which makes it even more rare. 

This marvellous perfume bottle is just one of the 250+ scent and perfume bottles on display in an exhibition called Scent Bottles – From Ceremony to Seduction, presently at Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum,  located in the old city of Mdina on the Mediterranean island of Malta. 

The exhibition includes bottles from the Palazzo's collection as well as from other private and museum collections around the islands. The variety on show ranges from an ancient Egyptian alabaster perfume oil vial excavated in Malta, through to some of the most attractive chatelaine hanging bottles, the first disposable scent bottles, Victorian double-ended bottles......

I was particularly impressed with the beautiful dressing table bottles made out of Murano glass, Cranberry glass, Mary Gregory glass, Bohemian Cut Crystal.... Then were was a perfume bottle designed by Lalique and an exceptional vanity box dating back from the Napolean III period containing perfectly stored bottles and containers made of glass and porcelain.

Scent Bottles – From Ceremony to Seduction will be at Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum, Mdina, until December 31, 2011.  Opening - Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 – 16.00 hrs. Admission is free of charge. For more information visit www.palazzofalson.com.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How do I....? Hanna Bernhard on creating Jewellery

Hanna Bernhard Aztec Style Necklace

In today's How do I...? post, I am interviewing the Parisian Nathalie Hanna Berhard all about Hanna Bernhard Jewellery and how the brand was born, how the jewellery is created and who wears it... Read on....

Who is Hanna Bernhard? 
HB. It is me, my name is Nathalie Hanna Bernhard, Hanna is my middle and Hebraic name, which I chose to name our brand.

How did you start creating jewellery? 
HB. I really started after purchasing a big pineapple rhinestone pin in a flea market about 20 years ago (we have a passion for antiques -I sell vintage jewellery and antiques too beside making our pieces-). The dealer asked me whether I would be interested in getting more of such pieces, and he introduced me to the man who was making them. This person was in fact at the head of a Parisian studio working for all the big names -Dior, Nina Ricci, etc-.
So I started to meet him as often as I could, I love to learn any technique in which I can express my creativity; then I met Fernand my husband, who had learned dental prosthesis and how to see things and sculpt them in 3D. Pierre taught Fernand the basis of how to solder the jewellery. Pierre died not so long after and we never stopped to create jewellery since then - well, at the beginning we burnt more than one piece !:)
I don't do the soldering, I design, sculpt, choose colours and set stones, Fernand can do all of those things as well. 'Hanna Bernhard' is a team, I do everything with my husband Fernand. Most of our pieces are based on a sculpture and he is a very good sculptor, especially for animals. I remember one day, coming back from the zoo, he made a giraffe head; it was amazing, he is really gifted. Some customers have seen it in our studio and told us we should make it in bronze for decoration. Another field that we should explore…..
Nature and particularly animals inspire us both. My father was a biology teacher; Fernand grew up in Corsica, spending most of his time in the nature and especially under the water :) That is one of the reason why we make so many sea animals !

Hanh Merriman wearing her Hanna Bernhard Lucky Cat Necklace in NYC during Fashion Week last July

Why jewellery and not fashion wear? 
HB. I could create anything actually, but we only have one life and time is flying so fast ! We often talk about making other things, objects, bathing suits, bedding accesories etc etc ! I have always loved jewellery -was already creating rings in primary school :)-, I think that meeting this person has been the opportunity for our lives to take this particular road..

Bakelite - why bakelite? 
HB. This is an old story and you are the first to ask this question. As I was telling you earlier, I have a passion for antiques. I love jewellery particularly and especially plastics.
Years ago I was selling on ebay and there was a big fight because some dealers were using the term 'french-bakelite' for a particular material, which looks like bakelite, but doesn't pass some tests used by bakelite collectors to identify that material. So some bakelite collectors started to complain to ebay about this expression and eventually it became forbidden to use it. At that time I had decided to create an internet site, and I guess I was mad at ebay not to be able to be free to say what I wanted to, so as I am French and loves plastics and bakelite, I have used that name for our site. I have to change it to just 'Hanna Bernhard jewellery' probably, but now many people know about it, it is listed in collectors books etc, so I am not sure. And this is part of our 'history'.

The most elaborate jewel you have created so far? 
HB. One of them is a Chinese dragon necklace, ordered by a Dallas customer who has Asian origins. It was a challenge as it was the first time we had to make such a piece.

Iris Apfel and friend Nancy Lowe Turner from store 'Elements of style' in Atlanta.  Iris is wearing the Hanna Bernhard Toucan Pin.

The most popular Hanna Bernhard jewel so far? 
HB. Our animals are popular, we are not many people to make big animal jewellery. Among them the snake necklace is a best seller.

Who is the typical person owning Hanna Bernhard jewelry? 
This is also the first time someone asks this question…..Lot of our customers are jewellery collectors, women but also many men. Men also wear our pieces :).We often create jewellery displays for our pieces so customers can use them as decorative objects.
Beside that, some of our customers just like fashion and wear our pieces. When I read your question I thought it was funny because I had already noticed that those ladies look like each other: strong character, in fashion but also 'feeling free' and confident in themselves.

Hanna Bernhard Snake Necklaces

Is there any new material you are using lately? 
HB. No new material for the base, which is always copper that we solder and then it is gilt, silvered or bronzed.
For the ornaments it can vary as we also use vintage elements that we find when we are 'antique hunting'.
We are actually in the process of creating some 'mass produced' pieces, so we may have some pieces made in sterling silver for a more luxurious range.

If you had to choose between Czech glass beads, cloisonne beads or Swarovski crystals, which would you prefer? 
HB. Choosing is a thing I hate to do in my life : I like everything you mentioned!

When was the brand Hanna Bernhard born? 
HB. About 20 years ago 

Some famous personalities who have worn Hanna Bernard jewels? 
HB. Dannii Minogue, Anna Plunkett -Australian designer of 'Romance was born, Barbara Berger -jewellery collector who makes exhibits of her collections worldwide, next one is scheduled in NY next summer, Iris Apfel -US fashion icon, Heidi Klum -who ordered a python snake necklace a few months ago, and now Raquel Zimmermann Brazilian top model in Vogue….. does that count ?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to get lots of comments on your blog

You want to find out how to get people visit your blog and leave you comments. You blog every day or every other day or once a week and then sit and wait for the comments to roll in.

I would like to be able to help you out, would like to be able to tell you how easy it is for this to happen and that once you diligently post on your blog with regularity, then you're on the road to success.

I started out this blog in 2009, late in 2009. It had been a chaotic year for me. One of my sons (ok so now you know I have more than one) left home to live abroad with his beloved in February(ok so now you also know one of my sons is old enough to do this) (you can also assume that I am not that very young, but hey, I'm still pretty young.....)....

My mother died in May 2009 and left a great void in a full life that still felt her void painfully so;

I finished a University degree course in May 2009 as well. The end of three full years of books, study, life on campus.

It seemed to be the end of an era of many things which had been ongoing for many years and suddenly....

The idea to start a blog began as I started to try to fill my empty spaces with interesting things to do. So much so that there were many interesting new things I was getting in touch with and I reckoned the blog would serve as a virtual scrap book to keep them all in one place. It certainly filled the space and brought me in touch with a whole new world of people, artists, designers, fashion ideas, creative ideas, beautiful things, beautiful minds.

I followed all the rules - blog regularly (well almost), include interesting content.
I realised that beautiful content did not necessarily mean lots and lots of prose. Just one exciting picture could be enough to get something noticed.

I visited other blogs, left comments, asked questions, emailed people.
I also helped promote other people when I liked their work enough to want it on my blog. I still do and I love to see them happy about it.

So, how do I help you get comments on your blog?

I don't.

My blog gets visited by many people - I know, I count the number of visitors.
Fairyfiligree now has 100 official followers who supposedly visit regularly. It is a great feat and I am proud of it - 100 is a big number.

Still I seem to attract the lazy variety of followers because very, very few people actually bother to say hello.
Which means, that I am personally still asking that question myself...

How to get lots of comments on your blog?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Treasury, an Interview and a Montanucci

Recently I didn't blog much because I was away in beautiful Sicily for three days for an impromptu visit. There I met Sicilian artist Salvatore Montanucci who recently relocated back to Sicily after spending so many years in Malta. Above is just one example of his work.

In the meantime, however I did find time to feature the lovely Phoebe Montague, an Australian blogger who keeps the just as lovely blog Lady Melbourne. In my interview I asked her about her jewellery collection and she shared some of her secret solutions for organising it better.

I have also visited an extraordinary exhibition all about scent bottles... but more of that later on.

Thanks to Liat Resnick for featuring one of the cutest items in my Etsy shop in her recent treasury called
The Very Pink of Perfection.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Selling for a Song - Pre-Christmas Super Sale

If you're looking for some good jewellery bargains, pay a visit to Fairyfiligree on Etsy. Super saver prices on jewellery for a few limited days only. Only 18 items left.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lady Gaga, Absinthe & Marie Antoinette

What do Lady Gaga, Absinthe & Marie Antoinette have in common. They are all featured in the latest fun Etsy Treasury which I created and itall about hair, long hair, and ideas around it.
It's called My Head of Hair Part Three.... Check it out and remember to leave a comment.
Part Three follows Part 1 and Part 2  which are also brimming with ideas and fantastic items.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How do I....? Lady Melbourne on her Collection of Jewellery

Welcome to the second in the series of 'How do I...?'. Our second guest on FairyFiligree is Phoebe Montague, alias Lady Melbourne. FairyFiligree asked her about her abundant collection of jewellery, how she stores it, what she collects.... Read on...

How many pieces of jewellery do you reckon you own?
PM. I don't think I could put an actual figure on it, but it would be in the hundreds.

What do you prefer wearing on a day to day basis.. modern, vintage, fine costume or just about anything that takes your fancy?
PM. I always lead my outfits with my accessories, so really its about how I feel and the occasion on the day. If it calls for fine jewellery then so be it, otherwise it's about how I'm feeling and what suits my mood.

Where and how do you store your jewellery items? 
PM. As I had my own accessories label for seven years, I have a lot of storage!! For the things that are put away in storage I use strong cardboard boxes. Any fine jewellery, for example Chanel, is kept in its original box and I also have a large pin board with what I tend to wear 'day-to-day.' I also have a cube bookcase where I keep my cuffs, larger pieces of jewellery and the shoes that I wear on a daily/weekly basis. 

What is the quirkiest jewellery holder/box/container that you own?
PM. I don't know about quirky but I bought a bookcase just to hold my jewellery. Enough said really!

What is the most effective way of storing jewellery?
PM. It depends on how and what you want to store. For fine jewellery, store in  its original box out of direct sunlight. I like a good large pin board so that I can see what I might wear on a daily basis.

What do you do to ensure jewellery items do not get damaged in storage?
PM. Wrap in tissue paper and individual boxes. 

How do you remember what you have - is there a method by which you store/organise your jewellery?
PM. I'm obsessed with jewellery and accessories and I know where each and every piece is stored from memory. Don't ask me where to find the TV remote though!

What is your favouite jewellery item at the moment?
PM. My current favourite item and one I've been wearing for about a year is a large Turkish statement coin necklace that I bought on Sydney Rd in Brunswick for $40. People stop me in the street when I wear it wanting to know where I bought it. In fact I'm wearing it as I type this!

What jewellery item do you specifically collect and how many of that do you own?
PM. I'm not biased, I will collect/buy whatever tickles my fancy at the time.

Is there any particular jewellery item you aspire to possess one day and why?
PM. A vintage art deco diamond engagement ring. Although that has to be bought for me obviously! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where on Art...?

An extraordinary exhibition of Spanish Damascene Metalwork spanning from 1850-1900 is presently in Malta. This selection of beautiful artefacts forms part of the world-famous Khalili Collection originated by Nasser David Khalili. Khalili, an Iranian born billionaire resident in the UK, academic, art collector and philanthropist. Over the years, he accumulated an astonishing collection of art works from very specific periods and regions namely – The Arts of the Islamic World (700-1900), Japanese Art of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Swedish Textiles (1700-1900) and Enamels of the World (1700-2000). It is estimated that the entire collection, including also the Spanish Damascened Metalwork,  totals some 25,000 irreplaceable objects. Parts of these collections have travelled around the world to be showcased in some of the world’s most distinguished museums and this time it is Malta’s turn to enjoy some of these treasures thanks to the initiative of Heritage Malta.
Many of the exhibits were created by  Placido Zuloaga (1834 – 1910). Zuloaga lived in the Basque region of Spain, an area famous for its production of arms. In fact Zuloaga started out in his father’s gun factory eventually transforming it into one dedicated to creating Damascened art creations.  
Metal Magic  - Spanish Treasures from the Khalili Collections will be exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, Malta until April 29, 2012. 
Read more about the Khalili Collections.