Madame, Taisez-vous!

The last time we went to Paris, Noreen had just watched Funny Face. This proved to be a mistake, as she insisted on singing Bonjour Paris everywhere we went. This is funny the first couple of times, but after awhile is trying, especially when the French stare and shout, “Madame, Taisez-vous!” I admit, however, that I love Funny Face and was tempted to sing as well. If you haven’t seen Funny Face, and think Saved By the Bell is an old classic, you need help. You are sad.

Here’s the basic plot. Audrey Hepburn is a beatnik and dowdy salesgirl at a Greenwich Village bookstore. The crew from a high fashion magazine, including the editor, Kaye Thompson, and photographer, Fred Astaire, descend upon the store for a high fashion photo shoot. Poor Audrey Hepburn, hideous and dowdy, is forced to be an extra next to the incredibly severe model. When the photos are developed, everyone agrees Audrey Hepburn should be made-over and sent to Paris as the star model. They all fly to Paris, sing the song, and shoot some fashion photos. Audrey Hepburn gets mixed up with some beatniks, and everyone is freaked she’ll miss the big fashion show.

There are a few highlights that I love. Fred Astaire’s character, Dick Avery, is based on Richard Avedon. The art director is based on Alexey Brodovitch. The magazine decides that pink is the color of the moment. Of course, it’s impossible to see Audrey Hepburn as ugly, so that part doesn’t work.

 

Tales of Gods and Heroes

Tomoko Miho.

Whenever I see the movie, Two For the Road, with Audrey Hepburn, I think about Tomoko Miho. In the 1960s, she and the remarkable Jim Miho spent half a year touring Europe in a silver Porsche. They visited designers and must have been the chicest people in every restaurant or little village.

Miho’s work is lucid, minimal, true to international style modernism, and speaks with clarity. But it also allows for spontaneity and the unexpected. In her words, she “Joins space and substance. It is that harmony that creates the ringing clarity of statement that we sense as an experience, as a meaningful whole, as a oneness-as good design.”

Reflections in Golden Eyeglasses

I hate many things. First, I hate when someone is taking a photo of their friends or family and insists on standing back 20 feet, so as to get them head to toe in front of something like Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. However, that’s another post. I also hate going to the eye doctor and then are pushed into their little eyewear shop. I am not particularly interested in the Chanel frames with rhinestones, or very narrow black eyeglasses that me look like a very serious European designer. I find most of my glasses at a great store in Pasadena, Old Focals. These glasses last a long time, and my face doesn’t work with new cool glasses.

How can you go wrong when you follow the style of President Kennedy, or James Dean? I recently bought a pair of Deacon glasses at Oliver Peoples. Yes, they are new, but this style worked for Cary Grant as his hair turned white. I may not be Cary Grant, but my hair is turning white too.

The same holds true for women. Noreen has a beautiful pair of cat glasses and they look very snappy. I don’t understand why more women don’t buy glasses like Barbara Bel Geddes’ glasses in Vertigo*. They are so clever and classic. Audrey Hepburn’s sunglasses in Two for the Road (1967) may look like alien eyes, but they are the chicest sunglasses ever designed.

On the subject of Vertigo, what the hell was wrong with Jimmy Stewart? He has a choice between sensible and perky Barbara Bel Geddes (Norman Bel Geddes’ daughter), or insane with odd eyebrows Kim Novak. Go figure.