David Downton's new book, "David Downton: Portraits of the World's Most Stylish Women," is a visual feast for those of us that appreciate the important role that fashion plays in world culture. Downton has created poignant portrait studies of some of the most beautiful women of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Iconic women such as Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Catherine Deneuve, Joan Collins, and Carmen Dell'Orefice as well as Iman, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchette, and Sophia Coppola. The list is endless and each image in the book will enchant and inspire readers. Downton's work has graced the most respected fashion magazines in the world but his illustrations are true works of art, capturing far more than just physical beauty. As Downton states, "Blank beauty isn't beauty after a while. The turn of the wheel in the gene pool is the opening play, but for any one of these women you have to add intelligence, humor, dedication, and work. It's what you do with beauty that's the interesting thing." Downton is a gentleman that understands the more profound aspects of life and is the personification of The Art of Fine Living. Gary Inman 08.30.15
“I can resist anything but temptation”
Excess within control has long been my mantra. Years ago Elizabeth Taylor, whom many believed to be the most beautiful woman in the world, embarked upon a diet method based on six days of discipline and one day of indulgence. Some might argue that any dietary diversion is unwise, but this approach has always seemed very logical to me. After all whom among us is capable of absolute perfection? For me there are simply things I can’t imagine giving up forever, nor would I wish to try. A far better method is to find a balance between treating oneself and rabid over-indulgence. Here are a few of my personal culinary obsessions, some are elegant while others are simple regional treats with powerful childhood memories. What are your 12 favorites?
I am endlessly fascinated by the creative impulse, the need to imagine and fabricate some version of one’s inner vision. As a designer I know this is a gift, and at times a curse which torments at 2 a.m., but like most designers I cannot imagine doing anything else. It is not surprising that we designers often have posthumous crushes on iconic designers that have forged a unique aesthetic that has stood the test of time. Roger Vivier (1907 – 1998) is just such a character. Created with inventing the stiletto heel in 1954, he is often called the “Fragonard of Shoes” due to his mannerist, ultra-feminine confections. Artistry and a couturier’s attention to detail are to be found in his, at times, fanciful designs, but this is counter-balanced by the modern simplicity of his beloved “Pilgrim” pumps made famous by Catherine Deneuve in the firm, Belle de Jour. Among his famous clients are Ava Gardner, the Beatles, but none more famous that Queen Elizabeth II who wore a bespoke creation by Vivier for her coronation in 1953. It is not surprising that Christian Dior formed a creative collaboration with Vivier in the same year, working together for another decade. Roger Vivier’s fashion house remains a viable source of chic and beautifully crafted shoes. And fabulous shoes are, of course, critical to The Art of Fine Living.
Cobalt Blue packs a punch of energy and excitement that few colors can match. A natural mineral, it has been used for centuries to produce an intense blue hue in glass and porcelains. In recent seasons we have seen jewel tones, such as emerald green and ruby red, emerge as fashion essentials. Cobalt is now at the forefront, a part of the blue movement which has captivated fashion and home décor in recent seasons. When combined with greys or counter-balanced with rich saffron and butter tones it is simply mesmerizing. Consider a splash of cobalt in your own home or wardrobe and remember that being bold and self-assured in your design choices is essential to The Art of Fine Living.
The Art of Fine Living requires one to find their own unique voice; to celebrate ones imperfections as uniquely their own. Jacqueline de Ribes, the international fashion icon, is an extraordinary personification of this philosophy. A French aristocrat, celebrated fashion designer, creative muse, actress, producer, and philanthropist, she is still going strong in her eight decade. A new exhibit at the Anna Wintour Costume Institute, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York heralds this legendary style arbiter and her remarkable career and life. Visit http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/jacqueline-de-ribes to learn more about the exhibit. opening Nov. 19, 2015, on display till Feb. 21, 2016.
Woodard Outdoor Furniture offers one of the most diverse ranges of styles, finishes, and serves both home owners and hospitality clients. From venerated coastal resorts to Adirondack cabins or city terraces, there is an option for every taste and purpose. Their finishes are highly durable and their wicker is celebrated for its longevity and beauty. To learn more about this chic but affordable resource visit www.Woodard-Furniture.com
American Leather, the premiere name in luxurious leather furniture, has combined classic modern design with state-of-the-art ergonomics. The "Comfort Recliner" defies the ordinary nature of recliners by offering a vast range of leather options in both finish and color. The infinite-position system allows each user to find their perfect position for maximum comfort. Their products are made even more attractive by their five year warranty on workmanship and materials and a lifetime warranty on the frame. But the real bliss is in the pleasure of experiencing this masterfully engineered chair, although one might more appropriately call it a magic cocoon!!
American Leather leads the industry with its celebrated three week delivery of quality American made products, precision-engineered and handcrafted in their factory near Dallas, Texas. Their selection of iconic twentieth-century modern forms and styles is equally remarkable. Visit www.AmericanLeather.com to view this exceptional collection and to find a retailer near you.
Woodard Furniture offered vivid primary colors that recall the joy of childhood at the recent High Point Market. Durability and levity were balanced in these comfortable designs for indoor and outdoor spaces. Known for their ergonomic frames and value conscious design, Woodard offers a broad range of finishes from sleek and colorful to rustic and tactile. Here are a few highlights from their recent showing.
Virginia was beautiful today, blanketed in frosty snow and made more lively by the excited laughter of children sledding and playing in the snow. As beautiful as the scene was I could not help yearning for the color explosion of spring. The sweet smell of jasmine, the impossible beauty of peonies, the fragility of my Beverly Sills Iris, and the architectural splendor of acanthus plants unfurling their majestic leaves that inspired the Corinthian order of architecture. I'm sure many of you have had similar daydreams so here are a few visual reminders of the glory of spring!
Lady Banks Roses are the glory of my garden for a few weeks each spring. Hundreds of lemon yellow puffs entreat one to touch.
Bleeding Hearts always seem too perfect, too beautiful to be real, but each year they remind us of love and the fresh glory of pink!
Peonies are my favorite large flower. For me no flower has a more intoxicating fragrance nor a more spectacular bloom. That said, I've never met a flower I hated. Flowers are an elegant reminder of the renewal of life, to experience them is to know joy. I wish you all a beautiful Spring!!
Primrose, my favorite small flower.