Hello Textbook people, I’m glad to be back, work has been crazy lately but hey, it pays my bills. Here we have Eleanor of Aquitane, basically the most bitchin’ badass woman of medieval times. Eleanor was a highly educated, strong willed and fiercely political. When she was 15, she became Queen of France and traveled to fight in the second crusade. Yup, she fought in the crusades, good for her. After the crusade, she divorced her husband and married King Henry of England and had a rather unhappy marriage. Eight kids later, the couple was estranged and Eleanor sort of ran her own show and set up a salon called “The Court of Love” where the brightest minds of the age discussed love, marriage and duty. One of her sons chose to rebel against her husband and her support found her in prison for 16 years but she was set free after Henry died. She’s also widely acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful women ever. Badass.
1. Queen of France
Coat by Celine, dress by Marc Jacobs, boots by Prada
2. I’m in the crusades, yo!
Cape by Jean Paul Gaultier, dress by Alexander McQueen, boots by Dries Van Noten
3. Oh great, I’m in prison
Coat by Vera Wang, dress by Prabal Gurung, shoes by Lanvin
Countess Bathory was a serious woman. She ran one of the wealthiest family’s in ye olde Hungary, was a devoted mother, clothes horse and serial killer. How ever did she manage it all? Such a modern woman. Of course, time weighs on us all and it weighed particularly heavy on our dear countess. As she grew older, she became obsessed with beauty and maintaining a youthful visage. Perhaps it was madness that lead her to believe that bathing in the blood of young virgin girls would keep her skin soft and attractive, or maybe it was old folklore, or maybe dogs told her. In any event, she turned her castle into a torture chamber—wandering virgins who wandered too close got the axe. The bloodthirsty countess even had a special cage installed as not to waste any of her precious facewash. Now, before I throw her under the bus again, it should be noted that her guilt is still questioned. In that time, a powerful widow was not something powerful men liked to suffer and it has been said that she was merely a pawn in a bigger play for power. Whether she committed the murders or not, she was sentenced to spend the end of her days bricked up in a suite of rooms at her castle. Ouch.
1. Maybe she’s born with it…maybe it’s virgin blood.
Top by Marc Jacobs, skirt by Elie Saab, shoes by Lanvin
2. Because I’m worth it.
Dress by Azzedine Alaia
3. I feel pretty, oh so pretty.
Coat by Proenza Schouler, dress by Alexander McQueen, tights and shoes by Prabal Gurung
How do you even begin to describe Anne Boleyn? She has two fendi purses and a silver Lexus. Okay, perhaps not, but one has to admit, Anne Boleyn certainly knew what she was doing when she captured the heart (or at least 1/6 of it) of King Henry VIII. We all know how his marriages faired and sometimes you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard, but once you get that divorce/beheading bug, you just can’t stop. Of all his wives, I venture to say that Anne was the most famous, she was sort of the spark that set off to the powder keg. King Henry was married to the devout Catherine of Aragon from Spain. He grew tired of Catherine, despite their daughter Mary, who you may remember from such historical blunders as “Let’s kill all the protestants!” It was around this time that the Boleyn family came to court from France and after having a go with her sister, the King’s eye fell on Anne and before you know it, his royal highness broke it off with Caterine, started a new church and made Anne his queen. Then yada yada yada, she got locked in the tower on charges of infidelity, incest and treason most foul.
1. I’m gonna get me a King!
Fur by Yves Saint Lauren, dress by Prabal Gurung, shoes by Lanvin
2. I did it, now I’m the Queen, hooray!
Dress and shoes by Alexander McQueen
3. Why am I locked in the tower, what are all these axes for?
Sweater by Temperley London, dress by Rodarte, boots by Prada
Ferragamo Fall 2010 was probably one of my favorite collections of any designer to date. It had that kind of humor that I look for in clothes but still had a strong sense of Italian tailoring. I swear to god, there’s some kind of forcefield around Italy that keeps the most seasoned tailors on the boot. Anyway, when going through the Pitti Uomo shows, I saw the linen blazer on the right. It has a strong reference to the coat from Fall, which I called all over the world for but was too late (read: I waited till it went on sale and they ran out).
What I like about this is that you see a kind of evolution in the seasons. Some designers, let’s take McQueen or Lacroix for example, use each season as a completely new canvas. Whereas others like to build on a foundation already set in place. When you look at designers like Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan or Ralph Lauren there is a very strong DNA present in each show. With Oscar de la Renta, you know to expect a lineup of sophisticated, colorful and playful silhouettes that any woman would be proud to wear. At Donna Karan, you know you’ll see mastery in drapery and a careful attention to a woman’s body. At Ralph, you’ll see an homage to true American style, whether it’s prep, native, western, victorian or bohemian. That’s not to say a McQueen or Lacroix isn’t always recognizable (because they usually are) but sometimes, you can’t string collections together so easily. McQueen’s Fall 2009 collection was a little frightening, spooky and a mirror of the gloomy recession. However, his Spring collection, Plato’s Atlantis with the famous lobster claw heels was worlds away…although it did retain that somewhat apocolyptic feeling. I wouldn’t say one approach is more favorable than the other but it’s always fun to watch.
Folk tales and Fairy tales aren’t what they used to be, I suppose we have Disney to thank for that. The original stories, as I’ve said time and time again, are for more entertaining. One of my favorites is the tale of Bluebeard. Bluebeard was an enormously wealthy man feared for his ugliness and blue beard and because his wives seemed to all mysteriously disappear. Intent on marrying again, he visited a neighbor to petition for one of their daughters to be his bride. The girls desist but after the younger sister agrees to attend an impressive banquet at his home, she marries him. Shortly after they’re married, Bluebeard leaves the castle on business (or something) and gives his new bride all the keys and instructs her to spend as she wishes, entertain as she likes and generally have a good time. Before heading out he tells her not to unlock a room in the dungeon with a certain key. Naturally, the girl can’t resist and with her sister is horrified to find the bloodied corpses of his former wives in the room. She drops the key in a pool of blood and in an oh-so-macbeth fashion, the stain will not come off the key. HORROR! HOMEGIRL IS GONNA GET TROLLED. When her husband suddenly returns and finds the tell tale key, he threatens to behead for her insolence but she bargains for time to pray before her death. The sisters lock themselves in the highest room of the tallest tower (as per usual) in an attempt to escape. Sidenote: what is it about the tallest tower that screams “freedom?” Moving on, just before Bluebeard murders the pair, their brothers come in and rescue them in heroic style and then they all live off Bluebeard’s money. So, the moral of the story is—don’t trust people with beards. Thanks, here’s the younger sister, bye.
1. Psh, I don’t wanna marry that guy…
Coat by Tsumori Chisato, shoes by Miu Miu
2. But, he put on a nice spread so I’ll just marry him
Dress by Temperley London, shoes by Alexander McQueen
3. This party seems like a perfect time to find a torture chamber
Dress by Prada, shoes and tights by Jason Wu