In the mood for silk.

No matter what time of the year, I’m always in the mood for silk. After all, can you think of another fabric that feels more luxurious caressing your skin than silk pyjamas, stocking or a robe made from its soft yet incredibly strong thread? This is why it’s use,by the ancient Chinese, was exclusively reserved for the emperor and his close family. Later, when as the story goes, monks from Europe were able to smuggle the first silk worms out from their closely guarded habitat, wearing silk was still restricted to the noble class until gradually it became available to a wider audience as the knowledge of how to cultivate the silkworm spread.

Despite its use spreading throughout the world, I’m still reminded of its origins, which feel so close as to touch when surrounded by such Chinese splendour. So for today’s stroll in the park, I chose a silk, emerald green, Burberry skirt, a black, vintage Chanel blouse with added 100 year old lace and a jacket I bought so many moons ago, that I don’t even dare to remember the year, but it was a find from sadly not existing any more “Religious Sex” in New York.

Burberry silk skirt

Burberry silk skirt

Burberry silk skirt

Burberry silk skirt

Vintage black lace

Burberry skirt. Vintage Chanel lace.

 

The majority of Spring/Summer 2015 collections were in my opinion lacking imagination but thankfully and not surprisingly Dolce & Gabbana came to the rescue! Below some of my favourite looks from their latest show dominated by silk and lace.

Dolce&GabbanaSpring/Summer2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce&GabbanaSpring/Summer2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce&GabbanaSpring/Summer2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce&GabbanaSpring/Summer2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2015

 

All About Eve

 

Edith Head.

She was one of the most celebrated in her field, a Hollywood costume designer who Bette Davis described as such “We may rehearse our lines, our movements, and our expressions, but until we finally slip into the costumes does everything come together so that we actually become the character. If we are not comfortable in those clothes, if they do not project the character, the costume designer has failed us. Edith Head never failed.”

That’s high praise indeed and it comes from one of the most notoriously difficult actresses of their day! So it should come as no surprise that Edith was nominated for 35 Academy Awards and holds the record for the most wins in the Costume category with eight including Roman Holiday, The Sting and one little film that I want to talk about here, as this article isn’t about Edith, it’s about Eve, in fact it’s All About Eve.

I’ve watched All About Eve many, many times and though I don’t like to play favourites among my beloved era of Hollywood glamour this one deserves a special mention and that’s not just because it’s record of 14 Academy Award nominations wasn’t beaten until Titanic came along. The rights to the story by Mary Orr were bought by 20th Century Fox and Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz adapted it into a script entitled Best Performance but it was soon changed to All About Eve referencing a line spoken by the character Addison De Witt in the opening scene.

“The minor awards, as you can see, have already been presented. Minor awards are for such as the writer and director since their function is merely to construct a tower so that the world can applaud a light which flashes on top of it. And no brighter light has ever dazzled the eye than Eve Harrington. Eve. But more of Eve later, all about Eve, in fact.”

Stars such as Susan Hayward, Marlene Dietrich, Gertrude Lawrence, Barbara Stanwych and Tallulah Bankhead were considered for the part of Margo Channing, an aging theatre actress who is betrayed by her assistant Eve Harrington played brilliantly by Anne Baxter, but it was Claudette Colbert who landed the part. Unfortunately for her and fortunately for us (fans of Bette Davis) the actress suffered an injury while shooting another film and it was decided that she will be replaced by Bette, who insisted on Edith Head, as her costume designer much to the chagrin of Charles LeMaire, head of the 20th Century Fox wardrobe department who had already been deep in development with costumes and wasn’t thrilled to give the biggest star of the film to a rival costumer. Everyone in Hollywood including LeMaire of course knew, that bad things happen to people who make Bette Davis mad so he had no choice but to collaborate with Edith.

Rumour has it, that one of the most iconic dresses in the film worn by Bette, and my personal favourite, the off the shoulder, gown with fitted waistline and full skirt, was what could have been a reason for slowing down the production and a total disaster but instead, turned into a success. Due to the measurements having been taken incorrectly the dress didn’t fit as it was supposed to and the foundation build inside the dress which meant to support the actresses breasts without a bra, kept sliding off her shoulders. Thankfully Betty Davis preferred to have her shoulders exposed and nothing was changed. A real happy Hollywood Ending.

I’ve taken the task upon myself to screen-grab all the costumes present in the film not only the once worn by Miss Davis. Enjoy!

 

Anne Baxter in All About Eve. Costume by Charles LeMaire

Anne Baxter and Celeste Holm in All About Eve. Costume by Charles LeMaire.

 

 

 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Essentials for your new puppy

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” Roger Caras

ItsBeyondMyControlBlog@GMKPhotography
 

After a very short deliberation, I’ve decided to start a new section on It’s Beyond My Control entitled The Luxurious Dog, for matters concerning all things that are important for your pampered pooch and as the title suggests, these won’t be short on luxury but at the same time, I intend them to be practical items that should be considered essential to best present your pedigree. The reason for this new section, well quite simply a dream of mine has come true and I can take great pride in welcoming into the de Merteuil family, Isia-Lilith, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy who has been keeping me away from writing for so long. Continue reading

Reign

Dominique de Merteuil editor of Its Beyond My Control fashion blog

There’s a well-used adage which goes “don’t judge a book by its cover” and as I’ve recently discovered, in the case of the television series Reign, the dictum can equally be applied in saying that you shouldn’t judge this programme by its preview, as after watching its 30 second promo, I was despairingly sobbing in my corset at yet another failed American misunderstanding of English heritage in translating the Elizabethan era Royal courts into a contemporary OC (Orange County) country club. However, preview aside and largely thanks to Megan Follows, who I’ve adored since my early childhood after watching her brilliant performance as Anne in Anne of Green Gables, I have to admit that I’m now hooked, unable to take my eyes of the screen as I watch her in the role of Queen Catherine de’ Medici, portraying an intelligent but manipulative, conniving woman who will do anything to make sure that her son’s future as the next king of France is secured, treating everyone like pawns in a game of chess where everyone is disposable. Continue reading

Designer Discounted.

I’ve been recently asked by DesignerDiscounted.com to give an interview about my fashion finds and if you are curious where to shop in London…Read! Share! Shop!

 

It's Beyond My Control

And for those who don’t have eagle eyes… Continue reading

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

1920's fashion

Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis)

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is undoubtedly my favourite newly discovered costume drama. Set in 1920s Melbourne, portraying  adventures of the glamorous, fearless, sharp as a tack, boundary-breaking and at times outrageous, lady detective, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, played brilliantly by Essie Davis. The ABC Australian TV show is based on the series of detective stories entitled  Phryne Fisher Mysteries written by Kerry Greenwood, and continues to be as much of a success now as it was in 1989 when “Cocaine Blues” the first novel of the series was published. Continue reading

Vintage in autumn.

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”

Jane Austen, Persuasion

Autumn’s warm, gold and fiery red colours have awaken in me the desire to wear more vintage, dramatic clothes that add a slightly theatrical feel to my persona or personality. The opportunity to wear silk, vintage gloves, which a lady should never be seen without, not even in the summer, is simply impossible to resist, same goes for a beautiful vintage, velvet custom made cape, which was a gift from a very dear friend of mine, who shares my passion for both; vintage and the theatrics.

Dominique de Merteuil It's Beyond My Control

Dominique de Merteuil It's Beyond My Control

vintage bag

vintage cape

vintage cape

Vintage cape

vintage cape

vintage cape

vintage capevintage bag

 

Pink vintage dress

Black silk/satin vintage gloves bought at a vintage fair in London

Black velvet vintage cape, a wonderful gift from my dear friend Blon!

Pink cashmere top by Prada

Black vintage bag which was a gift from my mom!

Black tights by Givenchy

 

The Versailles of Maria Leszczyńska – Court Art in 18th-Century France

Queen od France Maria Leszczynska by Charles Amedee Van Loo

Queen Maria Leszczynska by Charles Amedee Van Loo

The Versailles of Maria Leszczyńska – Court Art in 18th-Century France is an exhibition currently on show at the Royal Castle in Warsaw and if you are as obsessed about 18th-Century French court life as I am, then you’ll think nothing of the 2.5 hour flight from London in order to see it. If you need information or where to stay or dine like a Queen during your visit to Poland’s capital, stay tuned as I will be doing a post on that very subject matter soon.

If you’re not familiar with who Maria Leszczynska was then here’s a few interesting facts about France’s Polish Queen to get you up to speed. Continue reading

Top 6 Make-Up Removers!

 

Dominique de Merteuil editor of It's Beyond My Control fashion blog.

BEFORE YOU FALL ASLEEP
Model: Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Nadya Lev

There are many crimes a woman can commit against her own skin but the one that leaves most damage is not removing make-up before going to sleep. We’ve all been there and done it I know but dry skin, spots, blackheads, premature ageing and fine lines should be enough to scare any woman, convincing her of the benefits of a daily routine in removing make-up and cleansing the skin.

As someone who has an insanely capricious and demanding skin, I have to be very careful what I apply on it and I’ve learned over the years that it’s best to stick to what really works, leaving experimentation to the teenagers. For my top 6 make-up removers I’ve chosen luxurious products, that I’ve been using for a long time and are definitely worth recommending! Continue reading

Eleuterio Jewels– Tomorrow’s Vintage

 

“The French are glad to die for love, they delight in fighting duels but I prefer a man who lives and gives expensive jewels.” I find it difficult to resist the allure of rubies with their rich red hue, nor sapphires who speak a thousand words for me, then there’s the elegance of emeralds of course and well… the mere mention of diamonds may cause this girl’s heart to skip a beat. And I know I’m not alone for what is it about jewels that delight us ladies from such an early age and never let us go? Continue reading

Vanessa G. – The Art of Fashion

 

 

Fashion and art make for strange bedfellows and yet they’re inseparable. Art thrives off fashions fondness for change while fashion wraps art in the warming glow of its keen embrace. It’s been that way ever since pop art paraded onto the scene in the 1960s with Andy Warhol, Bridget Riley et al and now that the bonds of matrimony have been made, it’s never likely to change.

Vanessa Gounden is a fashion designer who goes further than simply embracing art, she creates it and then applies it to her fashion. Her latest collection entitled the “Mining Landscape” consists of three separate ranges: Rare Earth, From Discovery to Creation and my personal favourite Chain Reaction, which are all inspired by nature and mining. This is a theme very close to the heart of Vanessa as she’s also one of the most successful women working in the mining industry today, the first woman mining-magnate in South Africa. Continue reading

Colour Me Purple!

No words necessary…except, colour me purple.

Shocking!

Shocking!

My love for jewellery

My love for jewellery

Dominique de MerteuilIt's Beyond My Control

DominiqueDeMerteuilIt'sBeyondMyControl

DominiqueDeMerteuil3It's Beyond My Control

It's Beyond My Control

It'sBeyondMyControl

 

Colour me purple AKA today I’m wearing:

Vivienne Westwood purple blazer

Vivienne Westwood red shoes

Vintage dress bought in London

Vintage bag bought in Paris

Ring bought in Paris

Jean Patou – Couturier and Visionary in the era of Flapper Girls.

Jean Patou

Jean Patou

Jean Patou " Joy" Pefume

Jean Patou ” Joy” Pefume

 

Moving house is never a simple task especially if it involves relocating not so much from one borough to another but to an entirely new country. I’ve done this a few times now in my life, lived in many cities around the world but I have to say that I find the whole experience quite cleansing, as it fills my heart with optimism and adventure for new quests. There is however, one inevitable and utterly annoying aspect of moving house, one has no choice but to live out of boxes for as long as it takes for the custom made furniture to be made and delivered… Eight to twelve weeks! I have bedrooms brimming with boxes, a kitchen choked by cartons and I find myself constantly quoting Elizabeth Taylor, who in describing her abode in the film ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf’, exclaimed “What a dump!” Continue reading

Helena Modjeska-Icon of Style.Reconstructions of XIX century costumes

Helena Modjeska by Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz 1880

Helena Modjeska by Tadeusz Ajdukiewicz 1880

Once a year, on the day of my birth, I like to indulge my senses, in a way, an act of regenerating, of reminding myself of who and what I am. On one of these occasions, I was taken to Versailles by Mr de Merteuil, waking on the morning in a hotel that used to be the royal stables and spending the afternoon eating macaroons in le Petit Trianon, while watching wildlife drift by in the lazily setting sun. This year it was spent at Wilanów Palace, the former residence of Polish Kings located on the outskirts of Warsaw, which I relished visiting for the opportunity to willfully gratify my taste for art, beauty and most importantly cake.

I take cake very seriously, it’s an art form in its own right but it wasn’t the only reason for visiting the palace, as I wanted to see and exhibition that’s just opened there as it’s one that panders to another of my passions, 19th century costume design. Continue reading

Through Peacock’s Eyes

Peacock

 

Fashion columnists and critics thrive off a good hen-fight but nothing seems to ruffle their feathers more than to see their patch of the garden being strutted by a fashionable young peacock. Such was the case when the legendary Suzy Menkes, Fashion Critic for the International Herald Tribune decided to pen her article “The Circus of Fashion” in which she focused her pecking upon the world of fashion blogging, suggesting that for the most part we weren’t critics but simply self-publicists. It’s definitely an article well worth reading, if you haven’t already done so and Suzy’s point is a significant one but is it right? Are the majority of fashion bloggers simply self-publicists?

I don’t have a problem with admitting that I’m something of a peacock and though many are still in denial, I think that most other fashion bloggers are birds of a similar feather. We love to strut our latest plumage in pictures and share it with our public exclaiming ‘look at me!’  Yes vanity is our favourite sin and we want to share ourselves with all who’ll look upon us. But if you look through the peacock’s eyes, you’ll see that there’s more to the show than simply the display, as our raison d’être is to gain followers.

It’s a simple rule of fashion blogging, the more followers you have the more access you’ll gain to fashions’ elite and the greater the revenue you’ll make from advertisers wanting to place their products upon your pages. Successful bloggers have the fashion world at their feet, they get front row at the top shows, advance previews of the latest collections and a healthy income from advertisers. And the way that they got to be in that position in just a few short years was through self-publicity.

So personally, I savour the role of being a self-publicist “Hi, I’m Dominique, I’m a self-publicist.” It’s beyond my control just as much as wearing the most dazzling dress to a party is at the heart of any woman’s fashion dream. I don’t deny that fashion blogging is a peacock’s game, we want your attention, but it’s also still in its infancy. In time, I have no doubt that more advanced forms of fashion blogging will develop, just as surely as the success of printed magazines and newspapers declines. So for any fashion critics reading, understand this, “We’re here, we blog, get used to it.” And yes, it’s all about me.

Model:Dominique de Merteuil. Phtography:Gregory Michael King

Model:Dominique de Merteuil. Phtography:Gregory Michael King

Model: Dominique deMerteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King

Model: Dominique deMerteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King

Model:Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King. Make-Up: Kerrie Ann Murphy

Model:Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King. Make-Up: Kerrie Ann Murphy

Model: Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King. Make-Up: Kerrie Ann Murphy

Model: Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King. Make-Up: Kerrie Ann Murphy

 

Model:Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King. Make-Up: Kerrie Ann Murphy

Model:Dominique de Merteuil. Photography: Gregory Michael King. Make-Up: Kerrie Ann Murphy