It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

…When you’re Andy Williams (totally stole that from a grumpy cat meme) no judgement.

I stayed with my Grandparents for a few days earlier this month and had a rock awesome time watching shows, cooking, looking through 1960’s and 70’s photos of my parents, here are a few gems (he he he)

In addition Grandmother and I gorged ourselves on holiday television programming. The all-time highlight was a Christmas Special on PBS, The Best of Andy Williams Christmas.

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Now when I told my dear Mother that I was watching this, eyes unblinking like a child at the mantle waiting on Santa Christmas Eve, I could literally hear her roll her eyes, much to my surprise she asked, “Cara, it’s so campy, how can you handle it?” to which I replied “That’s the beauty of it! It’s so saccharin sweet that it’s authentic, Andy Williams literally believed everything he was singing! To Andy it was the most wonderful time of the year and it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas! His smile and cheese was authentic, how can I handle it, I love it because it is truly felt, and that warms my heart”.betteandandy2

The other thing is, it’s all being seen with new eyes. I didn’t have this on a B&W in the background of my childhood. The show ended practically a decade before I was born. I didn’t even know Andy Williams was the one singing about Christmas on the radio starting the day after Thanksgiving till the New Year. Watching him talk about the show, his family and the memories they had making it, was a treat.

The sets were as plastic as they come, the costumes over the top, and did I mention his array of matching outfits with his brothers! Hilarious! I am personally fond of the white turtle neck combo.

But that’s the glory of it. I think there’s something in me, maybe even in all the millennial kids that lived through the recession, to want to know it’s going to be ok, that our family will surround us and sing and laugh and dance, that the world isn’t such a scary place, with no jobs and people taking advantage of each other and these awful wars. Maybe if we all watched a little more Andy Williams we’d appreciate it (sorry about the speech, I’ll come down off my soap box now).

Blessings to you and your loved ones this Holiday Season, hold them tight, tell them you love them and sing a few carols for good cheer.

Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!

Peace and Love,

Carazona

P.S. And I know it wasn’t all easy for Andy and his wife apparently she was…well wild, “ran away with that professional skier!” Oh my! Well that’s what Grandmother said anyway 😉

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First Ladies Part II: Lady Bird Johnson

Claudia Taylor born 1912 in Karnack Texas in a brick southern plantation mansion. Known as Lady Bird since childhood due to a nursemaid commenting she’s “as purty as a lady bird.”

Early Photos


 

Lady Bird's Dress

 

Lady Bird Johnson wore this yellow satin gown and sable-trimmed coat to the 1965 inaugural balls. The White House did not normally discuss the first lady’s designers but, because of the “special occasion and intense interest” surrounding the inaugural gown, staff announced that it was designed by John Moore. Aware of the tradition of donating the dress for exhibit at the Smithsonian, Mrs. Johnson chose a simple design that she thought would age well.

– The Smithsonian http://newsdesk.si.edu/photos/lady-bird-johnsons-inaugural-coat-1965

The White House Green Room

 

I do love all things fashionable and sixties but this dress didn’t ‘wow’ me as it were. The form is obviously mid sixties the canary yellow just screams lunch on the lawn. The boat neckline and smooth satin very conservative and consistent.

Lady Bird had a passion for natural beauty. She founded the highway beautification program where billboards were drastically limited on American highways and wild flowers were planted instead .(http://www.wildflower.org/environmental_first_lady/  University of Texas at Austin)

Though not a fashion icon, one can see by her desire to wear a ‘timeless’ piece as she understood natural beauty. Like the simplicity of a white lily or smooth petals of a rose there is a timeless elegance.

Lady Bird on a walk

I’m not going to lie, the above framed image from the First Ladies Exhibit is totally cheese. I know it was some magazine photographer following her around to show her delight in nature but there’s some parody out there waiting to happen, involving a man with a very bad brown wig speaking in falsetto

I feel bad about that last statement here’s another photo in hopes of redeeming myself…

Photo Lady Bird

 

Just kidding! This photo may be even more ridiculous, what did they tell her to do spin? Ahaha! I’m a terrible person… She was sweet and very lovely we’ll just end with that.

So hats off to you Lady Bird Johnson for your timelessness and natural elegance!

 

 

 

First Ladies Part I: Jackie O

Introduction This little series, titled the First Ladies, is  composed of Part I Jackie O and Part II Lady Bird Johnson. Both fashion icons of the 60’s and both influential in the White House. What prompted said series? Well I’ll tell you! A weekend getaway to see my bright and sunny Aunt Teresa in DC produced this unexpected muse. I’m not going to lie, DC isn’t necessarily the first place I would go to look for fashion inspiration, there is a lot of black .Yes, black, black suits and flowing black and gray blouses tucked into black pencil skirts with low pointy heels. One giant mass of black figures power walking and pushing past you like the world may come to an end if they don’t get to Starbucks on 7th and Maryland in the next 30 seconds. So dear reader that is why I was so entranced by The First Ladies Exhibit in the Museum of US History. Like an oasis in the desert, was this exhibit to my tastes. Dress after dress, decade after decade of lovely ladies wearing the days’ finest in fashionable and leisurely evening attire.


Part 1, Jackie O Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis known for her elegant and simplistic take on fashion with a touch of Paris here and there. Below you will see the dress and her pearls on display at US History Museum in DC. This silk dress, designed by Oleg Cassini and worn by the lady  to the first State Dinner of the Kennedy administration (1961). First Ladies Exhibit Jackie's Dress


The inspiration to this 60’s fashion icon? Well I thought you would never ask!

She started reading and writing about fashion from a young age it appears, here’s an excerpt from her high school years:

In 1951, she submitted an entry to Vogue magazine’s Prix de Paris contest, the prize for which was to spend half a year in New York, and the other half in Paris as a junior editor for the magazine. The submission was rigorous, requiring an original theme for an entire issue, illustrations, articles, layout and design, an advertising campaign that could be tied into the issue’s content. In the requisite essay, “People I Wish I Had Known,” she listed playwright Oscar Wilde, poet Charles Baudelaire and ballet impresario Serge Diaghilev. Named one of the twelve finalists, she was then interviewed by the magazine editors and out of 1,280 entries she won the contest. Her mother, however, did not want her to leave the U.S. and made her turn down the prize.

(From National First Ladies Library http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/firstladies.aspx?biography=36) Photos from childhood. (Don’t you think she kinda looks like Suri Cruise? Like in the eyes?) Childhood


Other influences were found abroad.

Upon returning from studying abroad during college in Paris France.

“I loved it more than any year of my life. Being away from home gave me a chance to look at myself with a jaundiced eye. I learned not to be ashamed of a real hunger for knowledge, something I had always tried to hide, and I came home glad to start in here again but with a love for Europe that I am afraid will never leave me.” -Jackie Kennedy

Budding Fashionista

As first lady, Mrs. Kennedy also traveled to Italy, India, and Pakistan. Her interest in other cultures and her ability to speak several foreign languages, including French, Spanish, and Italian, brought her good will and admiration around the world. From the Presidential Library and Museum http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/Life-of-Jacqueline-B-Kennedy.aspx?p=2

Apricot Silk Designer: Oleg Cassini (American, b. France, 1913-2006) Place made: USA Material: Silk ziberline Date Made: 1962 Sleeveless apricot colored, knee length dress with a slight V neckline.  This dress is gathered at waist which is accented with a bow, the skirt is an A-line. The dress is accompanied by a matching boxy coat with 3/4 sleeves, a plain front and one button at the collar. For a daytime boat ride on Lake Pichola, in Udaipur, India on March 17, 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wore this dress and matching coat of such elegant formailty that they would not have been out of place at a fashionable cocktail party. However, the fabric was rigid enough to keep its composure in the heat of India. Its dazzling color (appropiate to the intended setting) and sheen were calculated to ensure that she would be instantly identifiable to the crowds on the distant shore as they watched her barge on its way to the maharana of Udaipur’s White Palace, where she was feted that evening. (Above from http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/f2k6CQ8f9UCHVvH85LVKYA.aspx)


More reading:

Hepburn & Givenchy : inspiration and art

Red Coat

AUDREY HEPBURN AND HUBERT DE GIVENCHY
With a friendship that spanned 40 years, Givenchy first met Audrey Hepburn when he dressed her for Sabrina in 1953. After that he designed the clothes for her in Funny Face and the famous little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Definitely a fashion friendship with benefits. (H&M Life) http://www.hm.com/us/life/fashion/the-hit-list/2014/06/the-10-coolest-designer-muses

My love affair with 1960’s  fashion would have to have begun with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy. This red wool coat! High collar, large mod buttons and three quarter length sleeves. It doesn’t even matter what she is wearing under it, the coat is all that matters and it’s fab darling!

Another favorite is the coat from Charade with Cary Grant. This one in yellow same use of large buttons wide collar, but the angles are more geometric. I like how Givenchy uses the three quart sleeve and vertical lines of the seams to elongate Audrey’s torso. It’s lovely just like the muse herself.

Charade

 

Mods vs Rockers 1964 England

Yes I know reader, I hinted at a post on Sophia Lauren but I was so delightfully distracted by this article in September 16, 1964 TIME Magazine that I just had to write about it. The violent clashes on beaches and in cities between the glamorous Mods and the bada$$ Rockers was just too tantalizing to pass up!

These were literally “Style Wars” , young Brits who preferred different clothes, music and ways of getting around fight for…well who knows but man are they angry…and well dressed.

Page 1Kenmore Toilets

(“Honey those Kenmore toilets are so hot!)

This could have a parallel style “war” (less violent) with teens today,  Hipsters vs Punks. The Punks just like the Rockers are fewer in number, have ties to music that is somewhat passé and prefer it a little on the rough side, leather clothing , black jackets and such. Depending on the punk affiliation,  chauvinism,  if it could be called that would be lesser? I mean one of the photos shows “A Rocker, His Bike and Bird”, I don’t know about you ladies, first of all I don’t want to be named third after the bike and second being someone’s bird doesn’t really ring any bells for me….I’m probably a Mod then…

Rocker Bike and Bird

 

The Mods are like  hipsters, I guess . Some spend copious amounts of money on clothing and other fashion goods as well as riding a scooter…really? Does that even need to be refuted, Lawd! Owning a Vespa is so hipster there’s a private party for it and nobody knows when or where it is 😉

Mod Style

I love this quote:

“Most Mods, who knock themselves out to be conformists, would prefer to think of themselves as individualist” !

If that doesn’t scream hipster I don’t know what does…Urban Outfitters anyone? …he he he you looove it when I make fun of hipsters, just eating this stuff up I’m sure  😉

Page 2

Old FosterMod and his scooter

So I leave you to decide Mod or Rocker, maybe a little of both.


Here’s some BBC Awesome for ya:

 

Summer Fun and 1960’s Movies!

The long hot summers of my childhood presented themselves with multiple opportunities for indoor activities. It’s like a Wisconsin winter but death by desiccation. Arizona desert cabin fever.Nike of Samothrace My sister and I would get creative. Sometimes yards of pastel tulle were pulled from a cedar chest where we would strip down to our skivvies and wrap and wrap and wrap ourselves into elegant gowns like the winged statues we studied. The effect was complete much to our poor mother’s chagrin, we balanced on one foot atop various pieces of furniture limps stretched out and a fan to give an affect of mid flight to our figures! Much more to the liking of our dear mother, there were other less “artistic” summer amusements, and these were in the form of cinema, or otherwise known as Disney Classics. The video cassette that got the most wear and tear would have to be the 1961 version of The Parent Trap. Parent Trap Movie Poster Rewatching this movie produced a variety of outcomes. 1) The marionettes at the begging are so sweet and so delightful! They feed my already flippant arguments against CGI  just doesn’t look good. Real time filming looks and feels like the human experience, as though I could reach out and touch it (I apologize I will stop here before my soap box gives way 😉 The Adorable Credits Are these not the most adorable things you have ever seen! The Cherubs! the rotund little figures! AND you can see the shadows they make on the fabric back drops! This is soo 60’s just like the marionettes were in the Sound of Music! Those goats were pretty darn cute! 2)No wonder I love 60’s fashion! It’s all here! Maureen O’Hara is not only a phenomenal actor (her expressions of shock and excitement when she first shows up on the California Ranch! Priceless) but it’s the dress and vibrant red hair make it like a bouquet of color.Parent Trap dresses 3) From an art/film perspective, how they transition from Boston to California is interesting, east coast to west coast. Everything in Boston is stiff. 1950’s skirt suits with formal high collars and tight french twist hair. Then California is all fired up and fancy free. On the lawn boston Dinner for two   There is a distinct look for O’Hara, the broad neckline that accentuates her collar bone and shoulders. She doesn’t wear a necklace(which is period unless a large string of pearls are in order) she has large earrings and at most times a brooch. The waist is cinched to show of her curves and she must have been a taller woman because the dresses are midi length and they look great, I’m partial to a full figured woman, probably because one looks back at me from the mirror daily 😀 . Looking at  photos of Maureen O’Hara entices me on another 1960’s venture, Sophia Lauren, bucksome and beautiful lady hmm…yes, that’s just what I very well may do, stay tuned!…