If a land of eternal autumn existed, a place dominated by leaves of gold and red, where the temperature was perfect for wearing a Burberry coat every day, accessorised with Christian Louboutin pumps, then I would move there immediately. However, Narnia is but a book while winter; a reality and such a difficult time of year for anyone wanting to look chic, unless you never have to spend more than the briefest of moments out in the cold air, you’ll struggle, finding yourself choosing clothes for their warmth rather than strictly for their appearance. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
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.” Continue reading →
“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
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 →
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 →
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 →
“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.”
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 →
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 →
“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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →