Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

September 28, 2009

Fashion Week: Dolce and Gabbana

Filed under: Advanced Fashion,Dior!,Fashion,Fashion Week,How To Wear It — Miss Plumcake @ 3:27 pm

We’re in Milan now. Well I’m not, but the shows are.

I’m still here in Austin, nursing what might actually be the hamthrax and wondering how long it will be before I can go home and unearth my jammeroos, which are the pj’s I wear exclusively when I’m sick.

I’ll go back and do London later and talk about the three “plus size models” used in a show that caused two stylists to quit. I say “plus size” because two of them were American 8’s and 10’s, there was one size 12. The show was awful and the clothes are ugly, but read Style Spy’s reaction to tide you over.)

I don’t really know what to make of the Dolce and Gabbana show. I DO know they had several bloggers sitting in the front row, which I think is swell, and since I’m in big drop-drawers love with dinner jackets right now I loved pretty much all of those.


Well, I didn’t HATE it, and I have a feeling it might grow on me, but as it stands right now? Meh.

I think the problem is, this didn’t really feel like a Dolce show to me. It felt like a mediocre Gaultier show with a splash of Dior. Now, a mediocre Gaultier show is still going to rock my casbah, but…I don’t know, I just didn’t love it.

Plus there were 63 exits. That’s a lot of exits. Up close the clothes are all amazing, but seriously, did they even edit at all? The show was all over the place. Do D and G ski *ahem* with Marc Jacobs?

There was the Latin cowboy look which was my favorite motif, providing some amazing jackets:

Loved this jacket, but can’t say I’m digging the pannier pants.

Very much want. But not the pants. It’s like a pumpkin is mourning in her crotch.


It’s tough for a big girl to do a whole severely tailored look, because our bodies fight it, but I do like –and often employ– a mess jacket over a feminine dress.

This look works better on apples than on pears, unless you’re quite tall or very comfortable with your legs since when doing a jacket/dress combo it’s best to keep the dress on the shortish side and wear a heel heavy enough to “anchor” the look.

I was not crazy about the widow’s weeds exits. It seemed messy to me,especially in the wake of Dior’s recent triumph with under-as-outer and lingerie fabrics, especially black Swiss, of which we see a lot in the Dolce show.

It either looked messy:


or just well, whatever the hell this is:

God, that’s a mess.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t like the show, I dug several of the exits including the unfinished one worn by Sessilee Lopez, my model of the moment. it’s just…it left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Like it sort of veered of into Givenchy In a Bad Way territory by way of Lady GaGa.


That’s one immaculately made bordello lampshade!

and did we really need what is essentially a cake wreck in corset form?

There weren’t any Enormous Ball Gowns so who knows what Vogue will do without them –I’m always glad to see them, but I’m just as happy they were given a break– but there were animal prints, because it wouldn’t be Dolce without them:

I’d say we’d see this on Beyoncé, but there isn’t enough gold lamé.

The Monday Hotness: A bit of Fry (and a smattering of Laurie)

Filed under: Absolutely Fabulous,Books,Culture,Movies,The Monday Hotness — Miss Plumcake @ 12:41 pm

Although considerably less likely to sleep with me than his comedy partner –and previous Monday Hotness– Hugh Laurie (and I can’t say with real honesty that the Laurie odds are incredibly high as it is) Stephen Fry might actually be my favorite of the two and for that reason, and many many more, he is today’s Monday Hotness.

I came across the rampant twitterer when I was but a wee lass when Jeeves and Wooster made its way onto public television, so it’s only fitting we start our Monday Hotness, coincidentally featuring three of my favorite things on earth: Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and cocktails.


He came up through the Cambridge Footlights, along with pretty much every other British comedy genius (including most of the Pythons, the Goodies, Mitchell and Webb, Punt and Dennis plus Douglas Adams, Emma Thompson and a bit surprisingly, Germaine Greer).


…admit it, he’s kind of working that outfit.

He’s also directly responsible for three of my favorite all-time series: the aforementioned J&W,  Kingdom wherein he plays Peter Kingdom, (a solicitor in a small East Anglia fishing village full of eccentrics –think Gilmore Girls, but smarter and slightly darker– with a car even more bitchin’ than mine, the first season is available on Hulu)

He’s also the host of Q.I., the funniest panel show I’ve ever seen.

Q.I. stands for Quite Interesting, and although I could try to explain it, you really need to watch a clip for yourself, a surefire hit for all my beloved Pain-in-the-Ass Pedants.

(this might not work because of the New Evil WordPress)

Fun Fact: For fans of Emma Thompson’s Oscar-winning Sense and Sensibility screenplay, you have Stephen Fry to thank for that. Apparently the night before La Thompson was supposed to submit the screenplay, the file got corrupted. Knowing Fry was a technogeek, she jumped into a taxi in the middle of the night, wearing just her night things and hauled her entire entire computer to Fry’s house. It took him eight hours to fix it and the world was once again made safe for bonnet movies and puffy shirts.

Plus he has the best wryly amused charmingly supercilious gaze of all time:


If I could make this face, I’d never make any other.


Fry also has the good sense to be interested in my favorite eras, namely the late Victorian through the 1930s.  He portrayed Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde (as pictured above.  How have I not seen this movie?! Especially with the beautiful Jude Law as Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas his Special Gentleman Friend.)

He’s also responsible for adapting the screenplay of one of my favorite novels, Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh into the film Bright Young Things, which he also directed to great success. It really is such a gorgeous, engrossing, pathetic film. Plus you get David Tennant with a bristly mustache.

Plus, he loves his color. I love a big man who isn’t afraid to wear brights.

last chance to see

And just when I thought I couldn’t love him more, Stephen Fry joined Mark Cawardine, co-author with the late Douglas Adams of one of my favorite books of all time Last Chance to See to retrace 20 years on, the search for the endangered animals Adams and naturalist Cawardine set out to find in 1990.

Back in 1990, when Adams first started his adventures in the wilderness, Fry was living in Douglas Adam’s house and was an unseen part of the action, serving as home-base for the novelist’s communications.  As you know Adams died entirely too young in 2001, so Fry’s follow-up and homage to his friend is an especially touching tribute.

The Daily Kick: Dovima Reminds You

Filed under: The Daily Kick — Miss Plumcake @ 7:00 am

dovima sleeves

1955 Richard Avedon -  Dovima

Judging is just more fun with a friend!

Dove gray peeptoes maryjanes from Giancarlo Paoli, more than 75% off at YOOX. Limited sizes, including 11.

September 27, 2009

Great. Now I Need a New Lifetime Mission

Filed under: Food — Twistie @ 8:30 am

Last sunday, Mr. Twistie and I went on a tiny adventure. We do this periodically. We get in the car, choose a general direction, and see what there is to see that way. We poke around funky junk shops, discover little restaurants, visit tiny museums we’d never heard of, and generally delight in the whimsy of the experience.

Did I mention restaurants? You see, last Sunday we found one in Larkspur that we’ll definitely be visiting again. While eating there, I found my mission in life. Allow me to explain that one.

When the waitress came to take our order, she mentioned that the soup of the day was a cold cucumber yogurt soup. As it happens, Mr. Twistie and I are both quite fond of a good cucumber, as well as being big soup fans. The day was also much hotter than we like it to be. We are both firmly of the opinion that triple digits in the Fahrenheit are for oven settings, not weather. We eagerly demanded cucumber soup.

My friends, this was like no cucumber soup I had ever eaten in a long life of savoring cucumber soup. Most cucumber soups taste some of cucumber and some of yogurt with a significant dose of whatever sort of stock was used, be it chicken or vegetable. Yummy, sure. I’ve always loved it.

In this one, however, I couldn’t taste any stock. I couldn’t even taste the yogurt, even though I’d been assured it was there. What did I taste? A creamy, liquid version of a really great dill pickle, finished with a burst of fresh cucumber at the end of the bite.

My senses went crazy. I nearly canceled my order for the main dish and demanded a washtub of this fabulous soup. Mr. Twistie was equally astonished and delighted by the soup. We raved. I announced that it would be my mission in whatever time fate has allotted me to do my best to recreate that soup.

That was when our waitress offered to get the recipe from the chef. I fell on her (verbally, not physically) with adoration and gratitude. She came back a couple minutes later with an extremely vague outline of the process sans any measurements or mention of yogurt. Still, I had the start of a roadmap.

The very next day I went out and got cucumbers, fresh dill weed, and some yogurt. I knew there was some in there somewhere, and I thought it prudent to assume that the instructions concerning it had been omitted.

I had no idea that achieving a life goal could be so easy. I got it on the first try. I’ve now been making it all week long, and here’s the secret: this recipe lives and dies by the quality of the cukes. Do not attempt it with shabby cucumbers that are about to give up the ghost. Get the best ones you can find.

Want the recipe? I thought you’d never ask. Here it is:

Dill Pickle Soup

For each serving you will need:

1 medium cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 heaping Tablespoon of plain yogurt

salt, pepper, and fresh dill weed to taste.

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Process until the cucumber is liquidated and the mixture is frothy. Serve ice cold.

For my next trick, I’m going to play a bit with the seasoning. I like my pickles garlicky with a hint of lemon. I bet that will be spectacular in the soup, too.

My one question is what the heck to do with the rest of my life.

Guess I’d better go back and try another great dish at that restaurant.

September 26, 2009

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Fungal Edition: The Result

Filed under: Twistie's Sunday Caption Madness — Twistie @ 11:21 am

Once again, you have all confirmed my theory that this blog has the wittiest, most deranged, and utterly superfantastic readership on the net.

Last sunday, I inflicted this image on you all:

Gigantic Mexican Mushroom

and all of you came back fighting, as is only appropriate in case of such nightmares.

This was one of the more difficult sunday caption madness editions to judge because you were all so good. In the end, though, there can be but one winner. This week, it’s the always fabulous Margo for this gem of a caption:

The obesity epidemic has now reached the world of fungi. Concerned dieticians blame a sedentary lifestyle, bad role models from couch potatoes, and a lack of self-esteem.

Congratulations, Margo! And thanks to everyone who played.

September 25, 2009

The Friday Fierceness: Mrs Diana Vreeland

Thomas Jefferson, who had the decency to do many sensible things like write the Declaration of Independence, create the Library of Congress, found the University of Virginia (well okay, jury’s still out on this one) and –most importantly– grew up in my part of Virginia, is know affectionately as TJ all over his old stomping grounds, but on the University of Virginia campus he is know exclusively as Mister Jefferson. It is a sign of respect.

In that vein, please note we will refer to today’s Friday Fierceness, editrix and icon par excellence Diana Vreeland strictly as Mrs Vreeland.

I don’t think I can overstate how much I love Mrs Vreeland, so let me try to paint you a picture:

Whenever faced with a sticky situation, I have an imaginary dinner party in my head (because I am, as well we know, completely mad). I go around the table and listen to my five regular guests argue out their opinions.

Here’s the guest list:

Jesus –the free space on any ethical bingo card

Mister Jefferson — for that diplomatic polymath touch

Socrates –an ethicist who damned the torpedos

Sheriff Andy Taylor –for gentleness and the people’s touch

Mrs Vreeland –for wit, vision and a healthy sense of the ridiculous

It’s hard to say where to start with Mrs Vreeland, because my admiration runs so deep.

Yes, she was a great editor, the best Harper’s and American Vogue ever had.

Her influence in the publishing world is still felt through countless people she discovered, inspired or worked with, including the most powerful big girl in fashion, Andre Leon Talley, her protégé.

If you’re a fan of Audrey Hepburn movies you’ll probably know Kay Thompson did a note-perfect homage in Funny Face as Maggie Prescott, the larger-than-life editor of Quality magazine. “Think Pink” was doubtlessly inspired by Mrs Vreeland’s famed quote: “Pink is the navy blue of India

After the entire scene is painted pink, Maggie Prescott is asked why she wasn’t wearing the new “it” color she championed, since everyone one else was. Her perfect Mrs Vreeland line was a dismissive “I wouldn’t be caught dead.”

Mrs Vreeland wasn’t pretty. With her enormous nose, tilted pelvis and mannish features she came down on the laide side of jolie-laide, which always makes for the most interesting beauty. I’ve always said Sarah Jessica Parker must have a copy of the editrix’s playbook somewhere, so it was no surprise when SJP posed as Mrs Vreeland for Harper’s in March.

Her memoir D.V. should be required reading for every man, woman and child with even a glimmer of intellect or style.

It’s a tremendous read that begins with a perfectly aged Mrs Vreeland applying a back plaster to young Jack Nicholson’s naked backside, slides through her relationship with Wallis Simpson, Jackie Kennedy, Balenciaga and hits every note along the way with pizzazz (a word she made famous but probably did not coin. She became editor of Harper’s in 1937 where the word first appeared in print, attributed to a Harvard Lampoon editor.)

Here, just read the first page:

(click image to enlarge)

How much of the story is true? Probably more than she gets credit for, but it doesn’t really matter. Memoirs aren’t autobiographies.

So what can big girls learn from the reed-thin Mrs Vreeland?

She knew how to occupy space.

We all occupy space, that’s science. Learning how to occupy space is an art. I don’t suggest adopting her trademark pelvis-tilting swan slouch, but learning how to hold your body with unapologetic grace and power –even if it’s not traditional grace– is, like diamonds and the herp, a gift that gives forever.

When she sat in a chair, she didn’t perch on it trying to take up as little space as possible, she was in that chair.

It all comes down to honesty of being.

Mrs Vreeland was honest. She wasn’t necessarily factual but she was honest. I was astounded after my interview with The Daily Beast went public because dozens of my beloved readers thought I was actually a team of gay men because Plumcake couldn’t possible be real.  I loathe dishonesty of personality, especially in publishing. That’s not how I roll. I am what I appear (although I am more than I appear, like the rest of us) and I have Mrs Vreeland to thank for that.

She liked what she liked, said what she thought, wore what she pleased –usually black with wild statement pieces, which might be from ancient Greece or the costume shop around the corner– and knew she was the most fabulous creature on earth.

She didn’t pretend to fit traditional beauty, and that was fine with her because her concern was elegance and elegance was something far broader than black sheaths and knowing what fork to use.

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

She had a vocabulary of elegance. When describing her hunt of the perfect red:

“All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red. I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, “I want Rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple”…About the best red is to copy the color of a child’s cap in ANY Renaissance portrait.”

…and Mrs Vreeland did love her red. Her crimson nails and lips set against her kabuki white face and black lacquered hair, and of course her famed “Garden in Hell” living room.

I could go on and on, but I’ve been drinking tea since 8:00 this morning and there are tides in the affairs of men that reallyneedtogorightnowzomgow.

So have a fabulous weekend, have fun, be glorious and remember:

“I’m a great believer in vulgarity- if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste- it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”

The Big Reminders

Filed under: Big Reminder — Francesca @ 10:18 am

This weekend, remember to:

1- Replace any eye makeup you’ve been using for 6 months or more, and to clean your makeup brushes.

2- Measure yourself or go for a bra fitting; are you still wearing the right size? Need to replace stretched-out lingerie?

3- Do a breast self-exam. It’s been more than a month since the last reminder.

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