Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010, Day 266, LAST DAY!

Well here we are at last. You didn’t think it could go on forever, did you? Not even I have that many clothes. I finish here with probably the most gorgeous dress I own and have ever worn. I found it out shopping with Rachel in Aspen in February of last year when we walked into a J. Mendel* store just for fun. Luckily, the salesclerk announced they were having a seventy (70!) percent off sale on select items.** On said sale rack was this lovely number which happened to fit perfectly. I knew right then I would wear it to our Holiday Party that year and it became my first outfit of the evening. It was only later I found the Chie Mihara suede pumps (see March 2) in exactly the same shade of purple.

I am standing in front of a portrait painted by the illustrious Robert Russell (see April 24). We were going for a Singer Sargent vibe when he took the photograph that he based the painting on in this very room with me wearing this very dress. I imagined myself as some aristocratic woman from long ago surveying the fields and thinking, “This is my land!” We took some other photographs with me in other dresses, but in the end chose this one for the portrait and I’m glad we did.

I had a wonderful time posing for the photographs appearing in this blog and would like to thank my three most frequent photographers: Gary, Elodie and Graydon. Without them and other friends and family, this project would not be possible. I thank them profusely for their patience and their willingness to “take one more” because the first fifteen shots "really sucked."

I had an excellent time documenting the art we are blessed to live with in our home. It was so much fun to record and, in many instances, research facts about the various artists and pieces in our collection. I feel like I know so much more about the beautiful things that surround us every day. This project also forced me to keep a diary of sorts, something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never seem to have done. At least most of 2010 is documented here should a biographer ever come calling.

So, did I wear it all? Well, no, not exactly. I would estimate I wore 98.5% of the agreed upon items (see “rules,” January 1) in my closet. What I didn’t wear include a couple of never-worn dresses I have set aside for this year’s MOCA gala (gold Tadashi Shoji) and for this year’s Holiday Party (red Michael Kors) – I like when I have something “new” to wear to a big event -- and a few tops and blouses (this was bound to happen as I knew going in I have more tops than bottoms). Overall, though, I’d say I came pretty close and am pleased with the results. I never expected this project to go on this long. If you recall, my original estimate was 100 days or just over three months. And while I didn’t quite triple that, I did match the number of days it takes to gestate a human baby (see so you could say I gave birth to my closet.

As you all know, I absolutely loved writing this blog and I learned many things. First (and most obvious), I have a lot of pretty clothes that I hadn’t been wearing. So many things, dresses in particular, I would pass by on a daily basis thinking, “Oh that’s much too special to wear today,” or “I’m not really ‘doing anything,’” or “Why bother; no one will see me.” This proved to be wrong thinking for at least two reasons: 1) If the money is spent and it’s hanging in my closet, who cares if only I see it? What am I "saving" it for? I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and then what? 2) You never know who you are going to run into during the average day or who will unexpectedly stop by the house. On more than one occasion I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t wearing anything with holes or a stain down the front.

Speaking of holes and stains, this project also forced me to take a hard look at all of my clothes and repair and clean the ones in need. It was a boon for my local dry cleaner (Village Cleaners up near Gelson’s) and my local tailor (Nancy’s Alterations in the El Camino Shopping Center). Now everything in my closet is repaired, hemmed and freshly cleaned, eliminating any excuse not to wear something because it needs a trip to the cleaners or to the tailor.

Taking a photo of me each day in each outfit also forced me to face reality about which items were really not flattering on me. I think we all have a tendency to have an image in our head about how we look in certain clothes, but as they say, pictures don’t lie (although they do seem to add a few pounds). Seeing certain things on film and how they truly look on me allowed me to give them new homes with people who hopefully look better in them and I have a nice bag of donations for Casa Pacifica***.

Finally, I found out necessity really is the mother of invention as proved by the creative combinations I came up with in my final weeks, determined as I was to wear as many things as possible. I will definitely repeat some of these new looks and incorporate all the lessons I have learned. It’s been a grand 266 days and part of me will sorely miss this blog. The other parts are ready to go shopping!

*J. Mendel is more of a museum to me than a shop. The clothes are exquisite and the prices match the efforts put into each garment.

**I also was able to avoid sales tax since there is no J. Mendel shop in California and I had it shipped.

***People assume Casa Pacific focuses on small children and they donate clothes accordingly. Actually Casa Pacifica offers temporary housing and services to many teenagers who are adult-sized and in need of clothes just as much as the little ones.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, Day 265

Last year I was invited to read Tarot cards at Rachel and Gillian’s Halloween party so I decided to dress up like a fortune teller.* I headed over to Hidden Treasures** one day with Rachel and walked in expecting to piece together a decent costume, but I never expected to find such PERFECT pieces. In one room I found this dazzling skirt, in another, the golden shrug. I found the head scarf and coin-jingling wrap around my waist in a trunk beside the front door and for under a hundred dollars, I had the best looking gypsy costume I have ever seen. I have loaned it out to a friend, but will hold onto it always just in case the mood strikes to dress up like a gypsy again.

I am sitting under another piece by Eric Johnson (see June 8). In the background is a collection of pool cues including two that Barry used to use.

I predict there will be an end to this blog very soon!

*I had Gary dress up like Zorro and we made quite the dashing couple.

**Hidden Treasures is a great little second hand store run from inside an old house in the middle of Topanga Canyon. It really is a “hidden treasure” for Halloween costumes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Day 264

Here is the Chanel dress I bought on sale in Waikiki. Ironically, it is made from very heavy fabric that drapes well and so was probably not a popular dress in that tropical climate. It is such a classic and tailored so well that I can picture myself wearing it until my final days. I think I will buy some long ropes of pearls to wear with it at holiday gatherings and formal winter functions.

My wonderful husband came home this evening safe and sound. We put the kids to bed and then dined on take out from Blue Table (see September 15) while he told me of his adventures on the Rouge River.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010, 263

Elodie took this picture of me on the swing set in our backyard. I remember when we first had it installed over seven years ago. The kids used to swing in the little green “bucket” swing you can see off in the far right. Then they used that yellow and blue double swing for awhile. Now they are big kids and love to swing as high as they can. The structure to my right is known as “Graydon’s fort.” It’s only fair since Elodie has her own little house nearby (see May 12). Attached to it are a climbing rope ladder, a regular slide, a tire swing, some monkey bars and what the kids used to refer as “the dark slide,” which is a covered curved slide (it is dark inside when you slide down it).

I am wearing a pretty little dress by Chan Luu I mostly use as a cover up over a bathing suit (I’m also wearing a striped maillot by Petit Bateau, but you can’t see it in the picture). Today the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Gary comes home tomorrow - yay!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010, Day 262

I am so proud of my gorgeous niece Mackenzie for organizing this walk for the Lungevity Foundation. Her grandmother (Barry’s mom) died of Lung Cancer about a year and a half ago so it is an organization close to her (and her whole family's) heart. I just can’t get over what a beauty she has become, inside and out.

The 3.5 mile walk was around Lake Merrit in Oakland.* Elodie had a great time hanging out with her cousin (Mackenzie’s sister, my niece) Kellie and afterward we all (including Karen, Jim and Mackenzie’s boyfriend Tyler) went out to lunch.

I am wearing a pair of James Perse shorts and a James Perse long sleeve tee under my Lungevity t-shirt. Elodie and I went back home later in the evening and picked up Graydon from Hunter’s house. Gary won’t be home until Tuesday and we miss him very much.

*Despite having graduated from Mills College (also in Oakland), this was my first time at, and certainly around, the lake.

Saturday, September 18, 2010, Day 261

Gary left on a rafting trip this morning with a bunch of guys so I decided to take Elodie to San Francisco so we can participate in my niece Mackenzie’s charity event tomorrow morning (Graydon elected to stay at his cousin Hunter’s house overnight). My girl took this picture of me outside one of our favorite places in San Francisco, Nick’s Crispy Tacos, where we enjoyed excellent Mexican food for dinner.

I am wearing a Clu tank underneath a coat by Alexander Wang I bought at Magnolia in Calabasas. The jeans are Citizen For Humanity and were a birthday present from Rachel.

After dinner, Elodie and I walked back to our apartment in the mild evening weather and watched a “Cats 101” marathon on Animal Planet.

Friday, September 17, 2010, Day 260

One of the most amazing things about this project is how I have always had something to wear for most any occasion. And I never really planned out what to wear more than for a few special events coming up in the future – my choices really unfolded organically, from one day to the next, depending on where I was going and what I felt like wearing. For instance, here I am in the final week (yes, hard to believe, but the end is nigh), without much hanging in my closet unworn year to date, and yet I manage to pull out the perfect thing to wear tonight. Mind you, I was lucky tonight involved our friend Gisela hosting a backyard birthday party for her son and hiring the Game Coach (see January 23) as entertainment. I am pictured here playing Guitar Hero with my favorite guitarist, Gary Simons.

I am wearing a pair of Citizen For Humanity denim shorts I bought at Principessa in Venice while shopping with Rachel and a Fendi blouse I bought at Brown’s in London. I love playing Guitar Hero and Rockband (I am always the singer) and left with a bit of a hoarse throat.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010, Day 259

I am wearing a beautiful Diane von Furstenberg dress designed by Leann Marshall, winner of Project Runway, Season Five. She was also the winner of a challenge during the season and her winning design (this dress) was manufactured in a limited run and sold on I wore it last year to the Chaminade dinner and have loaned it to a friend for a charity event.

I am standing next to a photograph by Richard Misrach (see July 1). He swears his beach photos are not staged; he simply finds the highest point and points his camera lens down.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010, Day 258

We decided to grab a quick bite before going to the kids’ Back to School night at Round Meadow Elementary School. Shibuya is still closed for renovations so we went to Blue Table, one of our favorite lunch spots in the same shopping center, and split a sandwich.

I am wearing the first “expensive”* pants I ever bought. I always wondered how a pair of pants could cost so much until I tried on this pair of See by Chloe trousers at Plant Blue. I caught sight of my rear end in the mirror and thought, “Aha! It’s all in the tailoring!” The blouse is by Lanvin and I bought it in London at Brown’s.

*Up until then, almost all my pants were purchased at Banana Republic on sale!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010, Day 257

Here is a beautiful gown by Grai I bought at Madison Gallery. It’s very old-Hollywood glamour and although I have yet to wear it publicly, I know when I do it will be a special night. The shoes are vintage Louis Vuitton I bought at a friend’s consignment boutique in Oxnard.

I am standing in our bedroom next to a cabinet designed by the very talented Mark Cutler. I love how the back of it is painted a very soft blue. All of the mercury glass in the cabinet was purchased on Ebay.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010, Day 256

The heat has returned to the Valley and we are taking full advantage of it by swimming as much as possible. I am wearing a Juicy Couture bathing suit that reminds me of something Esther Williams would have worn.

Sunday, September 12, 2010, Day 255

Our lovely neighbor Barbara Berg died on Friday after a long bout with cancer. We went to her funeral today. A funeral is good reminder to live your life in an exemplary fashion so people will have lots of nice things to say about you when you die. It is also excellent opportunity to comfort the living loved ones left behind.

I am wearing a Prada suit and a Stella McCartney blouse.

Saturday, September 11, 2010, Day 254

The original plans for tonight called for celebrating Etienne’s birthday at The London Hotel in West Hollywood, but Etienne had quite a week and elected instead for something quieter and closer to home. Gary, the kids and I brought over Etienne’s favorite food (KFC fried chicken – extra crispy) and some cupcakes to Mark and Etienne’s house. We had a very nice night with Ruby Jane and Omid too.

I am standing in our wine cellar wearing the dress I was planning on wearing to the London. It’s by A.L.C. and I bought it at Madison Gallery in Malibu. Maybe someday I will wear it out of the house.

Gary is a big collector of wine and likes to buy “verticals”* of different varieties. It’s so nice to have an expert in the house when selecting wine for various occasions.

*Verticals are consecutive years of a particular wine.

Friday, September 10, 2010, Day 253

We went to four events tonight beginning with Ewerdt Hilgemann’s opening at Samuel Freemont Gallery at Bergamot Station. Here I am with Mr. Hilgemann (see May 19) standing in front of one of his wall pieces. It was a really beautiful show and so good to see Ewerdt and Antoinette again before their return to Amsterdam.

After the opening, we stopped by Marc Selwyn’s Gallery for the opening of Mimi Lauter’s show. Ms. Lauter is an exciting young artist who works in large scale pastels. She references old folk tales and tales from the bible to create these wonderful abstract visual allegories. Really beautiful stuff. And good for her: most of the pieces hanging in the gallery were sold before the night began.*

We had some time between that opening and the dinner at Marc Selwyn’s house so we stopped at the Andaz Hotel to visit our friend the designer Julia Clancey (see March 5). Julia was hosting an event in the bar area complete with a small pop-up shop to introduce her new Little Miss Clancey line. I was happy to see our friend Danny First’s work still installed in the lobby (see April 30).

After that, it was time for the dinner at Marc’s house in honor of Mimi Lauter. Marc has a gorgeous contemporary home filled with the most beautiful art. We always love going there and looking around at the pieces he’s decided to keep for himself. We ran into some old friends and made some new ones. What a terrific night!

I am wearing a dress by Lutz with my trusty (and very comfortable) Azzedine Allaia platform sandals. The tiger chain belt is vintage.

*Gary loved a large piece the Hammer Museum was considering. He was very happy the week when he learned that the Hammer went with a different piece by Mimi and the one he loved was his. He plans on hanging it in his new offices.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010, Day 252

This is the last pair of yoga pants you will see in this blog. I’ve worn them all now and you can see from the number and color range I probably will never need another pair in this lifetime. These were given to me by Rachel from her overstock at Bootcamp. The top is CC California and I bought it at Lolita’s on Ventura Blvd.

Gary had to go to the dentist this morning so I had an ultra private yoga lesson with Jill (who took this picture). Then we went for a long walk through Ahmanson after which my legs felt like jelly (but in a good way) and I took a nap. I made some banana bread with Graydon in the afternoon and then had a massage. What a great life!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010, Day 251

The weather has completely changed since the triple digits of last week. It has dropped forty degrees in the Valley and never rose above sixty-five today. I volunteered at the kids’ school and then we went to the Hammer Museum for a beer. Let me explain. Tom Marioni first established his on-going performance piece, Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art, in 1970. He has been invited to the Hammer every Wednesday in September to carry on. Every week there is a different bartender (who basically uncaps the bottles and hands them out). Tonight’s bartender was Chris Burden, another veteran performance artist who very famously had himself shot by a real gun with a real bullet in the name of art. That is a bit crazy, I know. More recently Mr. Burden made a series of scale model bridges out of erector set-like steel. I wish we would have bought one, but they were a bit expensive and we couldn’t decide on which one we liked best.

I am wearing a Nina Ricci dress I first wore to Hunter’s Bar Mitzvah almost two years ago. The coat is by Chanel and I bought it in Waikiki along with the pair of shoes from August 21.

After the beer, we had dinner with Brenda Potter and Marc Selwyn at the Soho House. It's wonderful to spend time with them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010, Day 250

Here is a dependable long black sheath by Nicole Miller suitable for all sorts of charitable events. In fact, I’ve worn it only once to fundraiser for Children’s Hospital in Santa Monica. I will probably wear it again in October for a dinner at Chaminade,* but have it on today only for this picture.

I am standing in the downstairs landing which was once a bit of a backwater, but is now notably more chic and sophisticated. The old rug has been switched out for this calf hide (a cow-sized hide being too big for the space) and the old Crate and Barrel side table has been replaced by this faux-Chippendale demilune designed by the darling and rather clever Mark Cutler. The etching of the sea is by Vija Celmins and is absolutely stunning in its detail.

My friend the artist Sinan Revell Leong created the ceramic “shoes.” They are the same size as actual shoes worn by Chinese women who had their feet bound. Foot binding was popular for a thousand years and the practice was only discontinued in the first part of the twentieth century. The binding literally hobbled women’s feet making it impossible to walk comfortably. Sinan painted skeleton feet on the sides of the shoes as a haunting reminder of the oppression of Chinese women.

Sinan came for a visit today to discuss doing a portrait of me. She is working in photography now and wants use a lenticular printing** process which will have my image switching between looking like a Gustav Klimt portrait of Judith the First (who had someone beheaded) and Medusa (who was eventually beheaded), depending on which way you look at it.

*Gary graduated from Chaminade in 1977 and now sits on the Board of Directors. Elodie and Graydon will be going there for middle and high school.

** Lenticular printing is a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles.

Monday, September 6, 2010, Day 249

Happy Labor Day! Today we were invited over to our neighbors’ house for their annual Labor Day party. I wore this beautiful, but very delicate,* Elizabeth and James dress I bought awhile back at Dash. Elizabeth and James is the “lower end” brand designed by the Olsen Twins, Ashley and Mary-Kate, and it is named for their younger brother and sister. Their “higher end” brand, The Row, has been getting a lot of press this season and it seems the Twins are quite involved in the whole design process, being enamored as they are with fashion and style. Girls after my own heart, really.

I have worn this dress only once before on our trip to the One & Only Palmilla in Cabo. When I wore it today, I received several compliments on the color which is a lovely shade of hyacinth.

I am standing in front of three photographs by William Christenberry we bought at Marc Selwyn’s gallery. Mr. Christenberry is a contemporary of William Egglestein and was highly influenced by his home state of Alabama and by the pioneering photographer Walker Evans. I especially love the photograph in the middle. It has a sign printed with the word “Pure” standing in the middle of a field which is anything but. The photograph on the bottom is an advertisement for a palm reader in the window of a dilapidated old shack (perhaps the clairvoyant in question knew better than to stick around?) and the one on the top is of a charming ruin along a country road. Each is like a small painting, capturing its subject in painterly colors and light.

*The fabric is a fine mesh and has already suffered a significant snag in the front near the hem.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010, Day 248

Ewerdt Hilgemann and his wife Antoinette came for a visit this morning (see May 19). They are in town for his new show at Samuel Freeman Gallery opening this Friday and wanted to visit his “baby” which is visible in the background over my right shoulder. He presented us with a copy of his new book, “Bodies of Work,” and on page fourteen is a photograph of our piece taken during the Implosion Party last year.

After they left, we spent the day swimming and sunning and enjoying the beautiful weather. I am wearing a Despi bathing suit I bought at Urban Outfitters. Later on we took the kids to the Cantina for an early dinner.

Saturday, September 4, 2010, Day 247

Well you know I never expected this project to last this long or I would have “saved” some of my lobster wear (see May 11 and May 17) for this night. Yes, tonight we hosted our tenth annual Lobster Dinner in the Orchard. Luckily, I had this beautiful Dian von Furstenberg dress I bought myself for my birthday. The pretty orchid clip was a birthday present from our friend and yoga teacher, Jill Kennedy.

The day was very hot which made for the perfect temperature at night. It was another memorable evening with excellent food and conversation.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010, Day 246

I saw this dress in a Krizia* store window in New York last year, tried it on and knew I would wear it to our Holiday Party last December. It was my last outfit of the evening and is very “nightie-night.” I’m not sure I would wear it out of the house, but I felt beautiful and glamorous floating from room to room and letting our guests know, that while they could keep partying, I would be retiring upstairs soon.

You can see from this photo how gifted Mark Cutler is. Not only did he re-imagine our old bedside tables by staining them a darker brown and adding fabric panels that match the other upholstery in the room, but he also designed the beautiful padded screen behind the bed in a dusty blue suede. He really knows how to finish a room and make it cozy and chic without being too stuffy.

Today I had a wonderful lunch with my friend Ariana who owns the most beautiful flower shop called Lily Lodge. She took me to the Soho House and it was lovely to see the view from so high up. Later on Gary and I enjoyed our dinner al fresco while the kids were next door playing with friends. Despite being over one hundred degrees again today, the evening was soft and mild.

*It was one of those odd times when, while I loved this dress, I wouldn’t have bought absolutely anything else in the whole store. Just overall not my style. Go figure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010, Day 245

We’re getting back into our routine and riding our bikes with the kids to school in the mornings. You may recall I had to give up riding for a while (see March 8) due to an injury, but here I am, back in the saddle, so to speak and it feels good. I am wearing a lightweight Splendid t-shirt I bought at Popular across from the Commons and a pair of Balance Collection yoga pants I bought in the lobby at Inner Power.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday, September, 1, 2010, Day 244

Today is the first day of the new school year – really? I would swear that was the quickest summer vacation on record. Where did all the time go? Oh well, here are – back for another year at our beloved Round Meadow Elementary School. Graydon is starting fourth grade and our little Elodie is in third. To celebrate, I am wearing my ill-fitting “spirit wear,” including a pair of Round Meadow shorts I’ve had for four years and Round Meadow tank top I bought last night when I came to pick up class assignments and school supplies.* I bust out the Round Meadow logo attire sparingly and only when I am on campus.

We are truly lucky to have such a fine elementary school exactly one mile from our house. And public too! The faculty and staff are wonderful and the kids love it here.

*Buying this tank top is definitely not “falling off the wagon.” It was more like charitable giving -- a purchase in support of the Round Meadow Parent-Faculty Association.