Monday, November 22, 2010

when i grow up i wanna be a 1920s circus magnate

Part II of our museum inspiration posts - this time it's the house. John Ringling built this amazing Venetian Gothic palace on Sarasota Bay in 1924. I couldn't get a good shot of the whole front but you can click through to their website to see it.

multi-color window panes

I know I promised to focus on the fabrics, but there are some other favorite bits here too.
Inside they have a great collection of hand-stitched screens - click any pic to view big details.

that chair is so good - leather and painted wood


tapestry card table

the ceilings in every room are outstanding

The ceiling of the Great Room

the Great Room is truly huge and is surrounded by these massive tapestries

Here's another tapestry in the main art gallery - this one was designed by Rubens and executed in his lifetime. That's late 1600s. This is about 20 feet wide.

More from the museum itself in the next post.
Another ceiling in the house, done by the gentleman who painted the sets for the Ziegfeld Follies

They are all dancing couples from around the world.

You can also tour the upper floors of the house, including the tower, which was closed my whole childhood. It costs a bit more to see all that part, and overall Ringling is a bit spendy, but it really is worth it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

museum inspiration: circus

One of the greatest influences on my personal style was fairly constant access to the Circus Museum at the Ringling grounds in Sarasota, FL as a kid. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite pieces:

Buffalo Bill's gauntlets

60s pantomime

I want this jacket very badly

velvet&sequin elephant drape

Ladies costumes

Puss n'Boots Dress

Men's jackets

helloooo there

Perhaps the most important pieces in the collection, and to me - Emmett Kelly's outfit

his tape-covered bowler and home-cobbled coat

and Lou Jacobs' "canary"

Here is a portrait of Lou & his dog

and in his full make-up

These were done by Jim Howle, the first artist to travel with the circus, and himself a Ringling Bros. clown. Here is his self-portrait

These portraits were among the first things I'd see every day of my childhood. To say that the circus was a profound influence on me is really an understatement.

Be prepared for more in this museum inspiration series. The Ringling grounds house a lot of incredible collections. There's one coming of the fabrics in Ringling home, one of the rose garden which is quite extensive, and the museum itself which houses a world class collection of Dutch masters and baroque works - I concentrated on the jewelry for you. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

movie inspiration: Columbo

Long ago I promised a retrospective of Columbo costuming and set design. That time has finally come. However, Columbo is not something we watch just for the clothing. To my mind Peter Falk is the absolute best thing TV ever had to offer, and Columbo is the most enjoyable detective - you know I love detective movies/shows best - yes he's better than William Powell in The Thin Man movies. Falk is so charming and natural and really just a joy to watch in everything. They made a lot of Columbos, and he always has great bad guys to play against, including Martin Sheen, Shatner AND Nimoy, Ray Milland (really my personal old-time favorite - back in the day he was Bulldog Drummond, but that is for another post) and even Johnny Cash. I think that must be one of the great pleasures in life - to play against Peter Falk. Gena Rowlands is even in an episode, a year after she and Falk played the most heart-breaking couple ever in Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence. Cassavetes is a brutal genius - like Fassbinder but not quite (watch Fear of Fear for his version of similar material made the same year. Carstensen and Rowlands are really equally riveting in everything).. but all that too is really for another post.

On to the clothes: yes Columbo always wears a khaki suit and dirty rumpled trenchcoat. But everyone else has it going on in comparison. We'll start with a lady of the evening here and her amazing home.. for some reason the 70s pros is my style icon these days.

Steal this look now - classy digs with cheap thrifted furniture all spraypainted hot pink. Of course by 'classy digs' I mean serpent sculptures, a cigar store indian and giant ceramic dogs.

Really get a load of that pink. Ideal.

I think that is a coin-op ride to the left of the bar here - don't read anything into that. In this prostitute's house.

There are other great apartments too - this is a fantastic bachelor pad

Chair porn - Warren Platner.

and here's another ceramic animal - yellow panther

She wears a great acrylic knit dress and cardi here - I bet they came in every letter of the alphabet. I'd really like to find one of these - any letter will do.

she also has really good shades

Love this bandana print poly blazer, worn w a bandana of course. I think we actually have this exact outfit at the warehouse. I need to dig out that blazer.

I had super-narrow bandana print jeans by Esprit in high school. I wore them until they wore completely out. I would like them again please.

That chick's mom's t-shirt game is on there as well. We have tons of these polyester printed t-shirts at work too. I love this lavender bead print jobbie, worn w lavender beads, of course

collar & cuffs

collar and cuffs

There's Gena in pleated lemon chiffon. Watch this after A Woman Under the Influence and marvel at what strangers she and Peter Falk are to each other here. Also marvel at that couch.

That's Mel from the TV show Alice. Is that in syndication somewhere? Fond childhood memories of that show. Also, I have the watch he's wearing on the wide leather moto band. Mine is from a Woolworth's in NJ when I was in high school - someone had put out a 20 year old box of deadstock watch bands, all with the original 70s prices. My step-mother saw it and said she had one in the 70s too. I had to have it.
The watch is so good this lady has a ladylike version in pink

This chick is nu-huts. She dresses totally insane throughout.

Still I'd wear it, minus the hat.
Love this Egyptian sort of bird design

Check out Robert Culp's yellow canvas motorcycle jacket

Even the extras have fantastic stuff going on.

You know I have this hat. I get mad compliments every time I wear it.

Anyone who even remotely considers themselves a fan of the Man in Black should really watch Swan Song in season 3. Johnny doesn't just cameo - he is the main guy, and he's really quite good.

Here's Edith Head herself even, with her Oscars in the background - though she did not costume any Columbo episodes at all.

OK that is maybe the longest movie inspiration post I've ever done. Really it was hard to narrow it all down. Lots of extremely good stuff happening here throughout the whole series. I have the Mrs. Columbo episodes coming in the mail. I'll let you know...

Click any of the above links to watch all this good stuff!