“Why do people come to Paris any more?” asks Stanley Karnow, Pulitzer prize-winning writer and author of a new book, “Paris In The Fifties.” He lights another Gitane and sips his café crème. “When we came here, we were kind of searching for the belle époque of the ’20s, the Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein era… I’m told that young people today come here searching for the belle époque of the ’50s. Everyone looks backs and says wow! Things were better then. Who knows, maybe they were.” Continue reading “Stanley Karnow’s Paris”
It should come as no big surprise that for foreigners getting married in Paris this is no Las Vegas-slam-bam-thank-you-mam-you-may-now-kiss-the-bride affair. Continue reading “On Getting Married in Paris”
A wealth of jazz material recorded in mid-century Paris has recently been re-released and like most voices from the past, these evoke conflicting emotions: nostalgia and sadness on one hand, a sense of wonder and celebration on the other. Continue reading “When Saint Germain Swung”
One of the best tracks on Loudon Wainwright III’s latest album with Virgin Records, “Little Ship,” is titled “Mr. Ambivalent” (“Make a little movement or get off of the pot”). Given that Wainwright is a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, actor and social satirist, is the song a reflection of a career dilemma – a case of too many hats and not enough heads? “It was more the Freudian idea of ambivalence: loving and hating the same thing; my inability to choose. But as far as my career’s concerned, I don’t think of myself as an actor or comedian or social commentator. I think of myself as a songwriter and performer.” Continue reading “Loudon Wainwright “Mr. Ambivalent””
November in Paris begins with yet another long weekend away from work – le pont de la Toussaint (All Saints Day) – one of many strewn along the French calendar year. As Paris florists bring out their stock of chrysanthemum for the annual commemoration of Parisians now gone, and as other Parisians pack their cars and pile up at the exits of the city for yet another frantic weekend on France’s chock-a-block highways, why not use this most appropriate time of year for a less stressful outing to one of the capital’s cemeteries. This should be completed with the purchase of Georges Brassens’ “La Ballade des Cimetières,” a perfect way to record your outing and do your French homework. Continue reading “Visiting Paris Cemeteries”
Last month, L’Express did a cover story on France’s most powerful women. Based on a recent publication titled “Femmes en Tête” (Flammarion, 534 pages, 139 F), the weekly news magazine’s article focuses on “100 women who keep France on the move,” (“100 femmes qui font bouger la France.”)
Once upon a time, fashion week in Paris provided a sneak preview of the style trends for the upcoming season. However, after a blitz of frocks for the boudoir and creative ideas that never completely gelled as real clothing, many experts are currently pondering the purpose of fashion, or more specifically, the point of fashion shows. More than ever, it is apparent that there are clothes and there is fashion. Clothes are what we wear. Fashion is a whole ‘nother animal. Continue reading “Puttin’ on the Glitz”
Paris is a city for lovers … and artists. American artists are particularly drawn to the history and romance of Paris as an artistic mecca. Since the late 19th century American artists such as Mary Cassatt and, much later, Man Ray have succeeded in establishing their place in the French art world. This autumn the Mona Bismarck Foundation is highlighting a wide range of works produced over the last 50 years by contemporary American artists who have lived and worked in France. Continue reading “American Artists in France”
With all the hullabaloo over the retro-inspired looks dominating the headlines these days, one has the impression that professionals in the rag trade are ignoring the challenge of the impending new century. The fact is, most of the garments photographed and televised today are designed for the media and the purpose is to hawk perfume and leather goods rather than anticipate or suggest what we might wear at the turn of the century. For a glimpse of what the future may hold, you have to get away from the big names and go off the beaten track where young designers are experimenting with new concepts and materials for the 21st century.
This time only expats are welcome here. So, if you’re a tourist, even a groovy one, désolé, bug off; go order a cappuccino in some overpriced sidewalk café and write kitschy postcards to jealous co-workers and doubting lovers. I want to talk to my people, the Great Anglo-Masochistic Zealot Cult (GAMZC) that keeps coming back for more perennial abuse and cultural belittling. Continue reading “Welcome Back Home?!”
He is Tina Turner’s favorite photographer. Donna Karan calls him “part of the family” and super model Nadja Auermann asserts that “he always makes you feel like you’re the most beautiful woman in the world.” Ever since Peter Lindbergh took up fashion photography in the late1970s, he has had an immense impact not only on the genre, but on fashion itself.