Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wearing that Little Black Dress

The answer to the question, "What to wear?"....can't go wrong with the iconic LITTLE BLACK DRESS. Believe it or not, the origins of this  "go to " garment are a fascinating blend of HISTORY, DESIGNER influence and the rise of CINEMA in America.
Until the waning of the Edwardian Era, Black was reserved exclusively for the socially complex protocol of women in mourning. Think Queen Victoria, who after the death of The Prince Consort, her beloved Albert, wore nothing but black forevermore.
It was, of course the French orphan, Gabrielle, who would change all that. The ubiquitous black and white habits of the nuns in her convent orphanage provided Coco a chance to train her eye. Many women, all shapes and ages, draped in the same fabric. Sewing was taught as a matter of course and it was these two skill sets that came together and changed the world.
It was the publication in American Vogue of Chanel's short, black dress, a simple sheath in crepe-de-chine, with long closely fitting sleeves, that spoke to all strata of women and became an instant hit.  Vogue proclaimed, "Here is a Ford signed 'Chanel.' " Because like the Model-T, its very standardization inferred quality - transcended class distinction, was obtainable by most women yet conferred instant style.
It's debut however stirred outrage by condemning journalists who hissed, "Feminine fashion of this moment in the 20th century will be baptized 'lop off everything.' " It was precisely the removal of the proffered bust and derriere and the flattening of the belly that killed the heretofore male contrived female fashion.  Only Marilyn, decades later is allowed tummy.....

Vogue, in the same publication, went on to describe the little black dress, a "uniform" and thus it has been ever since. The Great Depression only strengthened the black dress's hold as hard to come by textiles made the production of the LBD affordable, while the emergence of women in the workforce during and after WW 2 required a tasteful "uniform" that could, with the addition of blazer, compete in the professional arena with the male uniform of suit and tie.
It is hard to exaggerate the virulent push back this deconstructed frock aroused. Two black dresses on display at the Elegance pavilion at the 1925 Expo showed cropped arms and unsculptured design, echoing the sleek new Art Deco Style. It was this brilliant innovation which inspired  Paul Poiret famous put-down, "What has Chanel invented? Poverty de luxe. Formerly women were architectural, like the prows of ships, and very beautiful. Now they resemble little undernourished telegraph clerks."!  But women, it seems, preferred telegraph clerk to ship prow....
Madam Chanel arrested at the Ritz, in 1944 as orders from the Committee for Public Morals  proved quite demoralizing. However, she escaped the swastika forehead branding and nude parading other females involved with Germans or suspected of collaboration were forced to suffer. It is whispered The Duke of Westminster and Sir Winston Churchill provided intervention.
Still, the great couturier closed her doors at Rue Cambon and fled to Switzerland. The vacuum she left was soon filled by a man, Christian Dior launching the overnight sensation dubbed, "The new Look."
Back came the feminine silhouette, albeit, in softer contours. Soft shoulders, wasp waist, perfect cut, finish and  reams of material fed a hunger for sumptuousness for which post war Paris and the world starved. Dior's little black dress, by now as necessary to any collection as the wedding dress, described not a telegraph clerk, but a voluptuous, dangerous woman. Femme-femme whose very femaleness spelled doom, danger or divorce.
Hollywood in the fifties fed this image. Dressing "fallen" women in black halter styles- corseting them in stays and girdles, pronouncing their female sexual vulnerability -only to punish and taint - roasting female character on the spit of new sexual conservatism.
The sixties, of course changed course and charted new territory. Enter the Mod look, the Mini and Hubert de Givenchy. Givenchy, the designer, whose dress Audrey Hepburn wore in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's   
sealed the fate for all time of the return of the simple little black dress.
And Coco was back too, preaching logic in design, what, ces messieurs, (her male competitors), couldn't grasp.  "Ah no, definitely no, men were not meant to dress women. Yet, she felt it was men, for whom women dressed and desired to please.
The LITTLE BLACK DRESS and Coco Chanel were back!  Coco held the premier position in the haute couture market for the rest of her life and beyond.
The beauty of the LBD is in it's versatility. In the immortal words of the Greatest Couturier;
"Fashion is at once both caterpillar and butterfly. Be a caterpillar by day and butterfly by night. Nothing could be more comfortable than a caterpillar and nothing more made for love than a butterfly. There must be dresses that crawl and dresses that fly. The butterfly does not go to market, and the caterpillar does not go to a ball."
Depending on accessories, the LBD crawls and flies.
Bienvenu a Pink Pig!  Morph into one of our LBD numbers - FLY into the New Year and into the ARMS OF LOVE!                  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Traditions

We all look forward to the time of togetherness, presents, twinkling lights, good food and drink the HOLIDAY SEASON brings. It is fun to enjoy Christmas Windows and the general SPIRIT of the Season just walking or driving around. But what holds special meaning and joy for many is the CELEBRATION of TRADITIONS.

Drinking a post-ski cocktail at the Au Sable Inn the other day, I posed a question to my fellow elbow benders, "Who here keeps a Holiday Tradition Alive?" ...and the very friendly, very Italian gentleman next to me turned to his two sons and their wives and they laughingly piped up in unison..."FESTA DEI SETTE PESCI" !

I asked him if he would be kind enough to explain how this tradition is honored in his family.  Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as the La Vigilia enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Seven seafood dishes are prepared and eaten while commemorating the vigil for the midnight BIRTH of JESUS.

Some of the yummy seafood dishes have roots in Southern Italy where this tradition is thought to originate. Often impoverished communities would  find local fare easy to come by in the sea. Preparation was simple, often salted. Many of the seafood dishes, therefore, are humbly prepared in remembrance. Baked eel is a most traditional offering as is some style of calamari. But this tradition also is a perfect stage for excellent cooks to turn up the heat and dazzle with scrumptious dishes Italian style.

TRY making a pitcher of bitter CAMAPRI mixed with the juice of freshly squeezed BLOOD ORANGES for a delicious APERITIF.  Perfect pairing with the traditional ANTIPASTI!!!

One Tradition I read about on Alicia Silverstone's  The Kind Life blog is the lighting of the MENORAH. This candle lighting ceremony commemorates the oil lamp that burned for eight days on one day's oil. This tradition is the Jewish FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS and is known as HANUKKAH.  Get into this wonderful mindset - foster preserving energy and energy awareness. HONOR  the light and warmth from the FLAME of ONE  candle.

A Tradition I JUST started I found on the same website. And I invited ten friends to tell ten friends.....and hope you will also. A FREE and EASY way to FEED a HUNGRY CAT AND DOG!! Just go to the Animal Rescue Site and click on the button. That's it. Voila! Corporate advertisers donate about .6 of a cup of food per click......so click away friends and put on your favorites for easy access whenever you want to up your KARMA quotient.

Getting so much pleasure from words and their origins, I am happy to share with you how Santa Clause came by his moniker. In 4th century Italy, Saint Nicholas was a kind and generous man. The Feast of St. Nicholas was celebrated on December 6th but after the Reformation his cache diminished except in Holland. The Dutch pronounced him Sint Nikolaas then shortened to Sinterklaas. American English retooled the Dutch contraction to our well loved Santa Clause. How many families have one Santa designee to don a suit and hand out presents every year?  

CHRISTMAS DAY  traditional MEALS are fun and you can come up with something that has a special meaning for you. Some cultural traditions include serving Latkes, (potato pancakes), Ham, intricate stuffing, Roasted Meats, Lutefisk,(Swedish Fish)...and about as many creative recipes as there are people and cultures.

You might innovate with a VEGAN or VEGETARIAN meal or dish. You are only limited by your IMAGINATION.  But be sure to write down the recipe so you can refer to it year to year.

I LOVE decorating the EVERGREEN TREE. EVERYTHING about it appeals to me. The HEAVENLY SMELL, the gorgeous color and the DECORATIONS.  The TREE provides ample opportunity for creating your family tradition. Get together around the table and make your own ornaments from popcorn and cranberries, colored paper or found objects. I enjoy collecting ornaments from travels. Whenever I take these treasures out of the box and lovingly place on the branches I welcome the season officially. Always best savored with loved ones present.

MUSIC!  Do you HEAR what I HEAR?   LOVE the sound of Children's Choir and a perennial favorite playing in my House is "A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS by VINCE GUARALDI ORCHESTRA. Whatever you do...do not FORGET to SING!  Be it after the FEAST, after, during or before TREE TRIMMING, or after the HAPPY HOUR eggnog.......FA LA LA LA LA and JINGLE those BELLS....SONG is good for the HEART.

Whatever your long standing Holiday Tradition or exciting NEW tradition have FUN, be INCLUSIVE and EMBRACE the SPIRIT of GIVING and the graciousness of RECEIVING.

HOLIDAY TRADITIONS are the BONES upon which hang happy and MEMORABLE times.



Friday, December 16, 2011

Find Unique VIntage Style Gifts for Everyone on Your List

To find unique holiday gifts, look no further than Pink Pig. Our selection of vintage style gifts offers something for everyone on your list. From the sentimental to the practical, we offer original and fabulous gifts your friends and family will love and cherish for years to come.
Jewelry is always a hit, and we have a wide selection of original pieces, like this inspiring necklace with a charm that reads "dream, always." It’s handmade with a vintage pale blue rhinestone drop bead on darkened metal.
For the romantic in your life, check out this luxurious Plum Pretty Sugar Silk Robe. This stunning kimono sleeve-style crossover robe with self-tie sash and inner tie is poetry in silk, perfect for unwinding at the end of the day.
With an imprinted leather bound cover, the Traveler's Journal Notebook is filled with blank, hand-made paper that offers the perfect vista for any memory. It’s the perfect place to collect pieces of inspiration.
The yogi on your list will love this Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat by Peace Love World. It’s oversized and twice as thick as other mats, with an anti-slip, moisture resistant textured surface. Easy to clean and extremely durable, this TPE mat is also non-allergenic and eco-superior to PVC.
To see more of our gifts for her, for him, and for anyone, click here. And as always, feel free to contact us with any questions or to discover more of our unique vintage offerings.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Gigi & James jewelry is a sumptuous new discovery. Pink Pig is featuring this REMARKABLE LINE in our new shop in Essex, NY and soon available online.

Gigi & James, founded 2010 by Jamie Anderson, is a result of Jamie’s love of all things vintage. She acquires vintage and antique jewelry from around the world and repurposes it with semiprecious gemstones, vintage beds and African beads, some which are old and rustic, to create jewelry that is unique, timeless and one of a kind.
Gigi & James jewelry uses elegant vintage pieces that have already lived a thousand lives to make brand new jewelry that is relevant to today’s woman and can be worn for any occasion. She can wear it on her wedding day, out to dinner, to parties and events or to simply add a little glamour to an every day outfit. Eye catching, beautiful, and sometimes bold, each piece of Gigi & James jewelry is designed and created solely Jamie and offers her customers a little piece of the past in jewelry that won’t be seen any where else.”.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Anderson recently and her loving and supportive husband, Rob. They are a strikingly good looking couple and together they comb the world looking for vintage finds to repurpose into this extraordinary jewelry line.
But she has always honored that streak or irrepressible creativity that first showed up as a child. She made her own doll clothes. And later, could not resist bringing her new jewelry purchases home only to tear them apart and re-fashion them.

Well, now we are lucky beneficiaries of her uncanny creative gift. We love her chokers, single or multi-strands of beads of all stripe. What you get is simply what we women want! Count on finding beautiful and unusual clasps, asymmetrical vintage “bling”, a variety of color from Aqua Crystal Quartz , Black Onyx, Pink Howlite to Yellow African Trade Beads.

Jamie loves the juxtaposition of rustic and refined. You will find a surprising energy arises from this combination. It is a SWEET harmony. Love the GROUNDING the rustic elements bring. SUPPORTS whatever perfectly sparkly eye candy Jamie selects to go with. And there is quite a cachet from which to choose…. SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS, a Vintage FUCHSIA Rhinestone Brooch, a Vintage Aurora Borealis Brooch, a Vintage Sterling Silver Marcasite Bird Brooch and the list is ongoing, surprising, unexpected and utterly sure to spark our interest!
These creations arise from a deep well of alchemy we call art. And it lives inside the artist. Each piece has a soul. Jamie sends these jewels of her artistic creativity out into the world - letting go isn’t easy- but it is her contribution and the world is a more beautiful place because of her commitment to this craft. Her process.
Of course I tried on a necklace as soon as I saw one. And let me say it was almost a religious experience. The heft and smoothness of the beads around my collar bones felt like ancient Ayurvedic therapy.
Make no mistake, this is STATEMENT jewelry. Pair it with casual wear, a tee shirt and jeans ... keep the necklace change the clothes and go out for an evening on the town.
If a wedding is in your future think Gigi & James!!! You get something old AND something new in one. And if you nab the Vintage Rhinestone Brooch with Aqua Crystal Quartz, Vintage Brass Beads and Vintage Clasp - you get something BLUE as well, perfect TRIFECTA. In fact, why not gift the entire bridal party with a special collection privately commissioned by Madame Jamie herself?
In case I gave the impression Gigi & James offers only neckwear….let me assure you. There are earrings and bracelets exquisitely rendered on offer.
Creativity knows no bounds. Thank God.
FINE ANTIQUE COSTUME JEWELRY is new and happening now at the PIG!
One of the things we LOVE about the necklaces is the attention to the clasp. The clasps are so amazing that you look GORGEOUS going as well as coming. Jamie was describing one recently finished creation that actually drops down the back of the neck. When the hair is worn up the jewelry is shown to great advantage.
Catch a rising star, check out Gigi & James, “New Jewelry that has A Past”.