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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | June, 2009
Archive - June, 2009

Fourth of July Do’s and Don’ts

The American Independence Day, it approaches, and Francesca knows how much the patriotic Americans love to dress on this day in outfits which evoke their flag! Hooray for the Red, White and Blue, Francesca says. But there is a Right way, and a Wrong way. Rule of thumb: if you are an adult and you would ONLY wear the outfit on the Fourth of July, it is probably a Wrong (little children are exceptions, and it is OK to wear ONE kitschy novelty item IF a Very Cheerful Relative offers you one). If you would wear it on August 10th, it is fine. For example:

Do:

Don’t:

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Do (for a very informal family gathering):

Don’t:

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Do:

Don’t:

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Do:


Don’t:

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The Monday Hotness: Galliano!

I was going to postpone the Monday Hotness because I was “uninspired” by which mean I’ve got a hair appointment with Frédéric Fekkai’s former personal assistant/senior stylist who flies into town once every six weeks and I’m totally nervous and stress-eating those insidiously delicious pygmy carrots because I feel like I’m cheating on my long-suffering stylist with some hot new model, which –okay– I am, but I’ll be thinking about her the whole time.

**DEEP BREATH**

Whew.

Someone about whom I’ve also been thinking a lot is everyone’s favorite Funky Little Fashion Troll, John Galliano. John Galliano is a genius. There are a lot of talented designers out there but only a handful –I’d say McQueen, Gaultier and Lacroix, maaaybe Miuccia– are just out and out geniuses, and Galliano is one of them…maybe the best working today.

AND he loves women –all women– which is why he’s such a perfect fit for Dior. He understands our bodies and celebrates them. He has famously used plus-size women in his runway shows and even someone used to stunt casting can’t help but believe when Galliano says “Every body is beautiful” he means it.

Blue Angel
“I don’t love dolls. I love women. I love their bodies.”

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“I’m an accomplice to helping women get what they want.”

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“The problem is with men. I know I shouldn’t say this, but they’ve shrouded and hidden women to hide their incompetence.”

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“Women are women, and hurray for that.”

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“Dressing up. People just don’t do it anymore. We have to change that.”

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“I don’t care about money. I really don’t care. I just want to do what I do.”

Plumcake reminds you

It’s okay to go up a size.

Seriously.

And while normally I would call that The Rule of Beyoncé, our sadly bereaved friend Janet Jackson is the offender, seen here last year at the opening of one of Alexander “Despite never being attracted to women I secretly am in love with Plumcake and will marry her and spend all my days mixing her toddies and designing exquisite couture for her because she is my everything” McQueen’s boutiques.

Janet at the Met CostumeMcQueen S2008 Butterfly Kimono

I mean granted most of us aren’t Laura Blokhina who wore the look during McQueen’s summer 2008 RTW show which was brilliant from beginning to end. Blokhina was described on one internet resource as 5’11” and 180 pounds. HAHAHAHAHA. No. When I began modeling I was 5’10” and180 pounds which put me at about a size 16. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –although this time I not lying and stifling a giggle– an inch does not make THAT much difference.

Anyhoodle.

Miss Jackson is a thick girl with a kickin’ bod. I can’t say I agree with all her plastic-surgery choices but whatevs. Here Miss J is wearing a kimono. A KIMONO. They’re SUPPOSED to be loose and flowing.  Granted she’s had a bit of an alteration done to close up the neckline because we all know of her well-established nippular modesty and she wisely eschewed the amazing butterfly belt for something more suited to her 5’4″ rack-heavy frame, but this kimono? THIS KIMONO IS TOO TIGHT.

God. Why do I even have to SAY that?! ANSWER ME JANET! WHY?!

I mean the dress was a mistake from the get go, she’s too short for that gesture (and besides, it went out with Mrs Fiske) she would have looked yonks better in this from the same collection:

McQueen s2008 shorter kimono

Because it would have at least given her a little leg.

BUT even if she’d insisted on going with the longer look –and I’m telling you right now I would wear the HELL out of that thing, enormous belt and all, because while you adorable miniature people with the enormous boobs get all the boys, we tall girls with the travel-sized usuals get the best clothes which I think is totally fair– she would have done well to go up a size.

It would have draped better, freed her from what’s known in the South as the dreaded dunlapt disease (as in “my stomach dunlapt over my belt”) and who would’ve known about those extra two inches of fabric?

No one.

Except her stylist

and that’s why God invented “amnesia resultant from blunt force trauma with an American Music Award”.

From Francesca’s Inbox

Kiyonna‘s new arrivals are in purples, reds and blacks, with the theme “summer nights.” Francesca loves the surprisingly versatile print on the “Miami” dress (pictured) and beautiful top. She can imagine this print for work, for a summer evening date, for Sunday brunch, for a wedding guest…

Liz Claiborne has a new plus-size summer collection, in which tangerine orange and “marine” blue figure prominently. Francesca loves these fresh, crisp colors. Tennis, anyone? Also, Francesca loves the button detailing on this denim skirt. Sale items are here.

Monif C has redesigned her website, and thank goodness because the old one was quite cluttered. This one looks much neater and is easier to navigate. Francesca says: none too soon! (Dear Monif, For your next project, can you please get the models better bras? Especially the one wearing the butterfly dress? Seriously. xoxo, Francesca)

Just My Size is having a Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off sale on all the items here. Also, today, get free shipping on orders over $60.

Lane Bryant is having their semi-annual sale on Cacique intimates. Panties (Francesca’s favorite brand) are 5 for $25, and bras are buy 2, get 2 free! Is not the corset pictured just gorgeous?

Silhouettes is having a summer sale AND has further reduced prices on clearance items.

Sealed With A Kiss offers free shipping worldwide and has some of the best new arrivals I’ve seen on their site for a while (see the last 2/3 of the page). Definitely moving in the right direction. Check out  the new shirt dress and quite-nice tank.

Torrid has taken an additional 50% off clearance. Tops for under $15, Jeans for under $20. Also, new items have been added to their summer sale.

Happy shopping! xoxo

Ice Ice, Baby

No, I’m not praising the career of Vanilla Ice. I’m thinking of a cold dessert to help beat the heat. The weather around here has finally figured out it’s summer, and, well, anything that helps me keep my cool is a good thing.

And so it is that I turn, once again, to that paragon of culinary tomes the Household Searchlight Recipe Book to see how the average homemaker of the late 1930’s did the trick. Lo and behold, there’s an entire page of delicious sounding recipes for various ices.

Today I’m going to share the (ridiculously simple) recipe for Pineapple Ice:

1 Cup crushed pineapple

1 Cup water

2 Tblsp lemon juice

1/3 Cup  sugar

Combine water and sugar. Heat to boiling. Boil for five minutes. Cool. Add pineapple and lemon juice. Freeze. Makes four servings.

Bon Appetite!

Wherein Twistie Discusses the Opposite of Weddings

Over the years we all wind up going to weddings. Over the years, we can also wind up going to a lot of funerals. Don’t worry. I’m not going all somber and miserable on you, nor am I preparing to attend a particular funeral. The fact remains that death is a fact of life, and we should all be equally prepared to attend a funeral as a wedding.

I do have to confess an inadvertent faux pas I committed in years past. It was a period in my life when I was stony broke beyond expression, so I had very few presentable clothes in my wardrobe. And since I tend toward bright colors and dramatic details, I was mortified to find that when a friends’ father died I had nothing to wear to the funeral but a raisin-colored skirt and blouse. The color was no problem. It was somber enough and shades of purple have just as long a history in mourning as black does. No, it was the fact that both the skirt and the blouse were decorated festively with shisha mirrors.

To this day I burn with shame at the thought of those festive mirrors.

Moral of the story: always make sure there’s something in your closet you can wear to a funeral without embarrassing yourself or scandalizing others. A simple black dress, a navy suit, or something in charcoal grey and a conservative cut…any of these is fine. Just make sure they don’t have shisha mirrors as decorative details. An ounce of prevention, my superfantastic friends.

And since the time may come in any person’s life when they are called upon to host a funeral (not that I desire it for any of you, but again taking precautions is always the intelligent route), it never hurts to have a guide to how to do it well. I found just such a book recently, and I’m going to recommend it to all of you right now.

It’s called Being Dead is No Excuse: the Official Southern Ladies’ Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral. After all, as much as I love my California home and as much of an unrepentant – nay, brazen – Yankee as I am, I have to admit that folks south of the Mason-Dixon line know how to throw an Event. And friends, a good funeral done well can be an Event.

Being Dead is No Excuse is filled with breezy – yet practical – advice on how to handle such matters as dressing for the funeral, writing condolence notes, choosing the proper hymn, and improving the inevitable deli platter presented in such a way as to leave any reader with a sense of humor doubled over and gasping for breath. It also has plenty of cautionary tales on How Not To Do Things (hint: never have someone sing the title song from Funny Girl during the service, no matter how big a Barbra Streisand fan the deceased may have been…and always remember if you’re driving the cremated remains to their final destination to keep the urn firmly closed and the windows up).

And then there’s the food. Seriously, do not wait for someone to die to try some of these recipes. From stuffed eggs (deviled to the rest of us) to Gruyere Grits to an entire chapter entitled Comfort Foods: There Is a Balm in Campbell’s Soup, you’ll find plenty of things you’ll want to eat. What’s more, the next time there’s a death, you’ll understand the importance of a good tomato aspic.

Death is a serious matter, but funerals are brimful of human foibles. Sometimes you just have to have a good laugh while learning the finer points of how to get along in the world.

The Friday Fierceness: Bette Davis Will Cut You Edition

If I cold have any feature of any actress it wouldn’t be Angelina Jolie’s lips or Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes. It wouldn’t be Catherine Deneuve’s impossibly perfect nose or Audrey Hepburn’s neck. It wouldn’t even be Marilyn Monroe’s beauty mark. It would be Bette Davis’ imperial glare.

Fasten your seatbelts

right?

I’m constantly surprised by how many big girls skip over her name when mentioning their screen icons. It’s always Audrey Hepburn.  Y’all are clearly drunk. There’s nothing wrong with Audrey Hepburn although I DO eye with suspicion anyone who is too devoted to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  The helpless “hooker with a heart of gold (and matching shovel)” riles every wild feminist instinct in me.  I really and truly got BOOED when, during the final stupid rain scene I accidentally shouted out “HE’S GAAAY”.

Some people have no respect for the finer points of art criticism.

Anyhoodle Bette Davis shouldn’t have been as beautiful as she was. Her lips managed to be thin and a smear at the same time, her nose drooped, her eyes were heavy lidded and sagging when Hollywood yearned only for doe-eyed damsels.

She wasn’t an ugly duckling who became a swan. She was an ugly duckling who made people realize that swans were kind of bastards.  That’s my kind of duckling.

Also I’ve got a soft spot for what Shakespeare called “a plain-dealing villain” because Bette? Kind of a bitch.

Retrospective

and yet she famously said:

“I’m the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived!”

I kind of believe her.  In my experience, people who have no problems expressing their wants and desires tend to be pretty darn generous of spirit. I think it comes from not being resentful. If you demand to be treated a certain way, most likely you will be. Contrast that with the long-suffering martyrdom of the Good Girl Who Never Gets Anything. Maybe I’m just a cold-hearted shrew (ha ha ha, see how I used the word “maybe” in there? Like it meant something? Damn I’m good.) but when I get what I want, I’m a lot more likely to give people what they want.

Well, you know, unless I forgot to wax.

Exhausted

“Hollywood always wanted me to be pretty, but I fought for realism.

Psychoanalysis. Almost went three times – almost. Then I decided what was peculiar about me was probably what made me successful. I’ve seen some very talented actors go into analysis and really lose it.

I do not regret one professional enemy I have made. Any actor who doesn’t dare to make an enemy should get out of the business.

She’s also had a subtle but enduring influence on fashion.  Witness the hand-tinted publicity shot from early in her career and the deeply misunderstood Lanvin gown as worn by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Bette Davis LeopardMaggie Gyllenhaal in Lanvin

Galliano referenced her early Warner Brothers Jezebel days, although in dolly way in his collection in his Sprin2008 RTW

Galliano does JezebelWarner Brothers illustration

and hardly a season goes by without some variation of her iconic look from “Of Human Bondage”.

Of Human Bondage

It’s actually a great look and if you’ve got naturally curly hair, dead easy to do at home.

So I’m off for the weekend, I leave you in the inimitable arms of Twistie (who will probably try to convince to you buy crushed velvet and bell sleeves. Don’t do it! Stay strong!) and will see you all next week with a fresh Monday Hotness, answers about “my eyelash gal, hijinks from the week and the long-awaited “topless Plumcake” (don’t panic Manolo) edition of You Asked for It.  Now let’s have some more quotes:

 “I survived because I was tougher than anybody else”

“I will NEVER be below the title”

and finally, from me to you the best blow off line in the history of ever:

“I’d love to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair”



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