Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tie One On

Like Kate Spade, I love a bow. No matter how streamlined an outfit, the bow tie introduces a hint of whimsy.
Take, for example, this smoldering satin dress worn by Rita Hayworth in “Gilda” in 1946. Designed by Jean Louis, the dress was made to hid Hayworth’s pregnancy – with the bow being a key to the camouflage. 
And didn’t Grace Kelly know how to work a bow? 
I think we all know by now that stilettos are unhealthy for the human foot. But the iconic bow heels by Valentino are worth wearing for a few hours … perhaps while sitting in a chaise and reading about Madame du Pompadour (as these are certainly Pompadour pink).

For those who simply can’t hack heels, there’s always a bow-topped satin clutch, also by Valentino.
Artist Marta Spendowska has rendered some gorgeous gals with their necks draped in dramatic bows.
And for a bow tie created with an artist’s hand, here is a handcrafted gem by Otis James of Nashville.
Monday, February 2, 2015

Salt cellars then and now

Salt wasn’t always the fine-pouring stuff we know today. Anti-clumping agents for salt didn’t debut until 1911 – resulting in Morton’s motto “When it rains, it pours.” (For those living in the pourable age, this motto meant that, despite the weather’s humidity, Morton’s salt would still pour.) Non-pourable salt meant that salt shakers, invented in 1858, didn’t always behave as they should. Before 1858, salt cellars were the means by which salt was kept.
Salt cellars date back to ancient Rome, when they were simple affairs similar to chutney dishes. But by the time history had produced ever-higher somersaults of design – France under Francis I, for example – salt cellars had become ornate works of art. The Cellini Salt Cellar, seen above, was created for Francis I by the goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini between 1540 and 1543. It includes figures of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, and Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, and is the most famous salt cellar on earth. Made of gold, enamel, ivory and ebony, when it was stolen in 2003 it was valued at around $60 million. (Photo courtesy of the Encyclopedia Brittanica)
During the Kennedy administration of 1961 to 1963, the White House opened its doors to this salt cellar graced with two molded female figures. (Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)
The Victorians – never slouches in the area of ornamentation – enjoyed individual salt cellars placed at each setting, or at the very least two, with each sitting on opposite corners of the table. Such artistic vessels would have included this pair done in silver-gilt from Robert Garrard II, London, in 1857 (and sold by Christie’s in 2010 for $40,000). The Christie’s catalogue described them as “formed as a shell-shaped boat riding the waves, supported by two dolphins, steered by a winged sea-putto clasping a trident and tiller, with detachable liner, with two oar-shaped salt spoons.” Delicious!
Personally, I prefer vintage or antique salt cellars, such as these in swan motifs from GasLamp Too in Nashville. (Photo/Karen Parr-Moody) 
Salt cellars have once again gained popularity. This one from L'Object features flower blossoms handcrafted with enamel and rose quartz cabochons and the bowls are made of white Limoges porcelain. What a nice gift for your favorite foodie.