We’re Moving!

We have been remiss in our correspondence as of late but with good reason!

Darlings, Miss Havisham’s Tea is dipping our toe into new waters.

Firstly, we are moving our blog to www.MissHavishamsCuriosities.com.

Because we’re really more of a lifestyle movement after all, aren’t we dearies? Why limit ourselves to tea and gossip?

All of our content, social media, and discussion forums will now be in one lovely little hub.

Secondly, and this is a big one, we will be adding an online store in the near future.

So many of those trinkets we’ve showcased will eventually be available to you online. How else can a lady support her weekend flea market addiction?

And so it is out with the old and in with the new including our fancy new logo courtesy of Mr. Havisham (Thank you, Tim).

Miss Havishams

So please visit us at our new home, subscribe to our newsletter, and look out for more exciting announcements soon.

xoxo

Miss Havisham’s Curiosities

We’re getting curiouser and curiouser…

Bootleggers and Poison Rings

When I was a kid we lived for a short time in the house my great-grandparents bought when they immigrated from Lebanon. It was a dark and foreboding structure at the end of dead end street with woods on two sides of it. The street actually doesn’t even exist anymore. The house looked a little bit like this one though not as beaten up.

25189675_BG6

That house was full of mysteries. Trunks in the attic were full of tintype photos and old glass perfume bottles. There were giant wooden wardrobes to hide in and a basement so terrifying I used to run by the door to it as quickly as I could for fear something unearthly would reach out and grab me. In truth, it was just a creepy turn of the century cellar filled with old tools. That house imprinted on me. It has influenced most of my design choices as an adult. Thanks, great-grandparents.

During Prohibition my great-grandparents supplemented their income by being bootleggers, though neither of them drank. Apparently the neighbors did the same and soon enough they became competitors. I’m told the competition escalated to a full on Lebanese Hatfields-McCoys rivalry.

Lips-that-touch-liquor

You can read all about it in my memoir once it’s finally finished, but for now dearies that’s all you get. I only bring this up to explain the existence of a secret door in the floor of the house’s dining room. Under the rug there was a small door with a metal ring for a handle. The door led to a series of tunnels out into the backyard where the original copper still was stored along with 60 year old bottles of hooch. So that’s where all the magic moonshine happened.  From the day I learned of its existence I was hooked on secret hiding places, convinced it was my sole responsibility to safeguard our family jewels (I was 4 and there were no jewels).

Most of my childhood you could find me hiding inside a wardrobe or closet with a flashlight and a book or “spying.” Other days I was in the backyard with the dog digging holes to hide our valuables from potential jewel thieves (always up against those pesky jewel thieves). I left crayon maps around the house with secret codes on them, left trails of clues, and I watched way too much Fantasy Island. I also read too many Nancy Drew mysteries after I learned to read, of course.

(Note: That last cover may not be a legit Nancy Drew book title but it made me laugh)

My love of secret lairs, hidden doors, and decoder rings grew strong during the years we lived in the creepy ancestral home and hasn’t really died out yet. Just recently, I took my car in to be serviced and the mechanic asked if I knew about the secret compartment in my Mini Cooper. I did not. I’m not ashamed to say I cried a little. It now holds bandaids. I like secrets. Here are a few of my favorite hiding places.

An antique wardrobe as a portal to a workshop from House Beautiful. Apparently this is the home of designer couple who couldn’t agree on how to deal with the husband’s workshop. Brilliant.

54c0bab7bce4c_-_08-hbx-fake-armoire-door-weisman-fisher-0513-s2

And more.

I’d prefer it if it were a secret laboratory behind these bookshelves instead of a conference room but alas.

mrmrsfox52x

More secret doors in antique wardrobes hiding private rooms.I think Tim needs a secret evil magician’s lair.

I would have loved this wardrobe/secret play room as a kid, very Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, another childhood obsession I might add. Found on  Odee.com.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Secret staircases? V.C. Andrews would be so proud.

a0e4672f3e2c4865697ba73da8a334bf

d8ebd-04064-8aa45-57809-476e7

The Hidden Passageway Company will actually build you a secret room or a safe behind a painting. I think their bookcases are the best option. I imagine, with a little design nudge in the right direction, they could create some really unique pieces.

Tangent! Download this video on how to make a portrait that appears to follow you with its eyes then line your hallway with them or hang one in your guest room.

FH1ZJMDGSI523F6.LARGE.jpg

Before there were safety deposit boxes, there was trick furniture. Valuables were stashed away in secret drawers. The most famous of which can be viewed in all its mechanical clockwork splendor here. You have to see it to believe it.

berlin-secretary-cabinet-david-roentgen-germany

The most brilliant pieces of secret compartment furniture ever made were created by the Roentgens, father and son, who engineered pieces for Europe’s royal families. They’re who Marie Antoinette went to when she wanted a desk. Several of their pieces were on display at the Met and one sold at Sotheby’s recently for 133,000 pounds.

JPFURNITURE-popup

 

0d7fe13e1de3484e65511a47287be108

 

After I read this article from Collector’s Weekly on how to find secret compartments in antique furniture, I went home and inspected all my furniture. My lips are sealed, but let’s just say if you have the choice between buying an antique and a new piece of furniture, always go antique. You may find a surprise.

Traveling was especially dangerous in ye olde days so a lady needed to hide her valuables. This vanity case with a secret drawer sure is pretty, if impractical by today’s standards. It recently sold on Ebay which has quite a few antique boxes with secret drawers for sale.

You can always hide your goodies in your expansive library of first editions. Easy enough to carve out the pages or purchase one pre-made like this ca. 1889 copy of Montaigne on etsy.

 

Poison Rings: I loooooove these. Want to poison your enemy but remain stylish? Are you worried you might need to take state secrets to your premature grave? I’ll never talk! Poison rings became popular in Europe around the 16th century when just about everyone poisoned everyone. It was all the rage.

A triple compartment enamel poison ring ca. 1840 found on Antiquejewel.com.

This ring found on Collectors Weekly is actually a series of interlocking rings or a Gimmel ring that hides a secret message, albeit a sweet one.

unnamed1

Sometimes the message isn’t so sweet as in this ring which bears occult symbols and has a poison chamber. No one sends a nice message with a ram’s head.

PoisonRing

Another interlocking Gimmel ring, this one with a message that life is short. Gather ye daisies, friends.

Rothschild-Diamond-Ring-2-1024x682Rothschild-Diamond-Ring-4-1024x682

More poison, more!

And this one belonged to Queen Elizabeth I. A sassy gal she was.

Jewelry with secret compartments was the precursor to mourning jewelry where pieces of hair were kept in lockets, pins, rings etc. Read all about it in my former post on mourning, “Death Becomes Her.”

And here’s more gold from Collector’s Weekly. These sure are clever, consider them day-to-evening-wear earrings. The covers come off to reveal the diamonds inside. Also handy for fooling jewel thieves!

CoachCovers

This intricately carved ball from the 16th century holds layers of biblical scenes and was used for prayer.

Last, but certainly not least, the nineteenth century invented pocket watches, clocks, compacts and, even cane handles with secret compartments to hide pornographic paintings. Early erotica at its most clever. Check out this recent auction for examples that will make you blush. Definitely not for the shy or prim. Here’s a fairly tame one.

365_1

May all your jewels be safe and all your secrets well kept. xoxo

 

War Brides and Movie Stars: The Queen Mary

This is my love letter to the Queen Mary.

Docked in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is rumored to be one of the 10 most haunted sites in the country and for a small fee you can take one of her many tours including several night time ghost walks.

I’m not going to lie, whenever we go to the Queen Mary, we are usually the youngest people there by a good 30 years, but that’s probably part of why I love it. There are a number of exhibits that, frankly, I am not the target audience for like the Princess Diana exhibit, but just walking around the ship and looking at the art deco interiors is enough to keep me coming back.

The-Queen-Mary-Hotel-photos-Exterior

royalsalon_reception.1188x0

The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage in 1936 and was considered the height of luxury. “She boasted five dining areas and lounges, two cocktail bars and swimming pools, a grand ballroom, a squash court and even a small hospital. The Queen Mary had set a new benchmark in transatlantic travel, which the rich and famous considered as the only civilized way to travel. She quickly seized the hearts and imaginations of the public on both sides of the Atlantic, representing the spirit of an era known for its elegance, class and style.” -QueenMary.com. Photos are also from the ship’s website.

film-stars-arriveclark-gableBobHopeQM

My favorite exhibit is a display of the collected memories of former passengers. It’s a poignant look into life during the war because after those first three glamorous years, the Queen Mary became a warship transporting soldiers to Europe for World War II. As many as 16,000 soldiers were transported during the war. Painted to camouflage her from enemy sights, she was nicknamed “The Grey Ghost.”

The ship’s website also tells us that “Adolph Hitler offered $250,000 and the Iron Cross to any U-boat Captain that could sink the Queen Mary.”

After the signing of the armistice in May 1945, the Queen Mary was dedicated to bringing US troops home and, more interestingly, carried thousands of war brides and children born to American soldiers to the US to begin their new lives.

One woman recalls leaving England to join a husband she hadn’t seen in two years. She said she didn’t recognize him out of uniform. Watch her story here.

The following pages are taken from a promotional pamphlet for the Queen Mary who was bigger and faster than the Titanic.

pg9pg6pg4

A few of the deco details (pictured above) that were restored to the ship after it was decommissioned in 1946. It was returned to its former glory and sailed for nearly two more decades of commercial use.

With the rise of commercial airlines and the decline in the market for luxury sea travel, the ship was sold to the city of Long Beach in 1967 for $3.45 million. She docked in Long Beach after her final cruise and she has remained there ever since as a hotel, museum and events space. She was even in an episode of Arrested Development. Lucille Bluth hijacks her and there are gay sailors. Heaven.

While a bit shabby, the rooms still maintain their original charm. Just go in with an appreciation of what the lady’s been through and what she’s done for so many people. Aging gracefully is a bit rare here in LA so let’s embrace it, hmmm?

t2.1188x0

We had tea on the ship twice. It was great. The waiter, clearly accustomed to explaining every single detail of the tea service, was so delightfully bored by his own talking that I wanted to wink at him and say, “Shhhh, it’s ok. We don’t really care, just bring me all of it and I will eat it.”

He seemed to sense it though and did exactly that. I left feeling like I had willingly done terrible things to myself by eating so many scones, but then returned and did it again recently and will surely do it again soon. Make reservations and try to go on a weekday or you’ll be surrounded by screeching bridal showers and fussy groups of ladies asking all those questions our waiter friend is so very tired of answering.

IMG_4508_large

There are any number of events throughout the year you can use as an excuse to visit the ship. The Fourth of July is a big one and usually sells out right away. I hear the fireworks are to die for and yes, there are themed old timey sections where you can drink and get rowdy. Valentine’s day is another one, bask in the vintage romance. Halloween is a bit crazy there so be warned. There are lots of teenagers going to the haunted house, loud music. Meh. We recently went to a flea market next to the ship which was small but fun and came with free admission to the boat. Check out their calendar of events here, you’ll find something to do, I’m sure.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles apparently hosts an Art Deco Festival on the ship in August. Side note: the society also seems to host a lot of drinking events at historic bars…interesting. Cocktails and pretty? Yes.

Now the big question, is The Queen Mary HAUNTED?

There have been numerous sitings and as many as 150 different spirits have been “documented.” At least 49 people have died on the boat. If ever a place SHOULD be haunted, it’s this one. The engine room is supposed to be the hotbed of paranormal activity. It is definitely creepy.

7289103360_03b4f81e64_b

dsc_0600

Also on the haunted list: both of the swimming pools. A young girl is said to have drowned in one of the pools. Again, it is creepy.

_77848155_swimmingpool_cut

And here it is empty…even more creepy.

4146d12bd661a394346ed782d03903b6

The number of spooky stories is countless, doors slamming, phones ringing, a phantom baby that cries. Stateroom B340 is no longer rented to the public because of its supposed paranormal activity. Faucets are said to turn on by themselves and the bedsheets fly across the room.You can read all about the ghosties on Haunted Honeymoon.

So is she really haunted? Rumor says yes. I can’t confirm it. While I barely slept the night I spent there, it was largely due to the air conditioning vent being aimed right at my delicate little face and the sink drip drip dripping and…my waiting for the ghosts to come. No ghosts came. It should also be noted that Tim slept like the dead.

t4.1188x0

The boat does offer their own ghost tours…plural. I haven’t done any of them. If you do, email me because I’m curious about all the secrets that lurk inside The Grey Ghost. It should also be noted that this is the first in a series of haunted hotel reviews. Stay tuned.

Port-bow-view-of-the-QUEEN-MARY-
Port bow view of the QUEEN MARY at anchor. The Queen Mary on war service. 28 September 1944, Greenock. The 84000 ton Cunard Liner Queen Mary in her grey white war paint as she prepared to make another atlantic crossing taking wounded us troops back to America.

May your nights on the ship be spine tingling. xoxo

 

 

Roadtrip Part One: I Want to be a Hearst

I have to be honest, when friends come to visit me in Los Angeles I feel a little pang of anxiety. I still don’t know where anything is here and driving still stresses me out. Don’t even get me started on parking. I know change is hard but I knew New York, I know it still. Everything is accessible by public transportation there. I knew New York so well I even knew tiny off beat places to go. In LA, you really have to know where you’re going and while there are things to do, they’re not always easy to get to. Truthfully, after about twenty-five houseguests, I feel like I keep doing the same things over and over.

vintage_hollywood

So when one of my favorite people on the planet came to visit recently, I decided this time we were going to take a road trip. It was time to see something you can’t see in New York and I really couldn’t look at the Venice canals again.

11

While I lack the ability to parallel park, I do have a husband who doesn’t mind driving, loves adventure, and has a fantastic sense of direction. Lucky for me or I would have gone mad within a few months of living here. So, armed with road snacks and a destination, off we went.

hearst-castle2

To Hearst Castle:

If you haven’t been to Hearst Castle, go. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Perched high and overlooking a remote section of the California coast, every bit of it is jaw dropping. When I visited I kept thinking I should just sneak away, hide in some quiet room, and spend the night because it really should be my house, guys. It’s such a powerful impulse that the second time I visited I actually started looking around with intent to stow away. If I disappear one day, you’ll know where to find me.

You can imagine that the home of William Randolph Hearst, media magnate and the inspiration for Citizen Kane, might be something unusual and you would be correct. No expense was spared building the house in a time when the rest of the country was suffering from the stock market crash and the Great Depression.

William-Randolph-Hearst_Citizen-Hearst-Trailer_HD_768x432-16x9
The tycoon himself.

“Hearst Castle’s history begins in 1865, when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland. In 1919,William Randolph Hearst inherited what had grown to more than 250,000 acres, and was dreaming of ways to transform it into a retreat he called La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.” By 1947, Hearst and architect Julia Morgan had created Hearst Castle: 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—all built to house Hearst’s specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection.” So sayeth the Hearst Castle website.

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate that Hearst hired a woman architect. Interesting. Second, consider the lengths Hearst went to; he even went as far as to have whole rooms from great houses in Europe purchased, shipped, and reassembled as part of the construction process. So elaborate were his building plans for Hearst castle, they were never fully realized in his lifetime.

1587597_640
Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Mervyn LeRoy, and Hearst himself. Nice outfit, Billy boy.

The castle served as a playground for Hollywood’s elite who were bused in from Los Angeles each weekend to dine, drink, and dance the night away. When you were at Hearst Castle, you wanted for nothing; evening wear was even provided if you forgot yours. You could swim in either the outdoor pool or the indoor pool, play tennis, stroll the gardens, view the private zoo, or catch one of Hearst’s latest films in the movie theater.

hearst-castle-4
The largest swimming pool I have ever seen.
Roman-Pool-at-Hearst-Castle-jpg
Indoor pool, my favorite. The tiles are gold.
12243091_10153793813969489_222852733348405277_n
Inside the movie theater. Photo by Alana Cowan (houseguest supreme)

There is a guest wing for both ladies and gentlemen, never the two shall meet (wink, wink) and a number of guest cottages around the property. The guest cottages are bigger than my house, by the way.

My favorite room has to be the gothic study.

home-slideshow-03

Not to be confused with the library which is filled with antiquities. Those vases along the ceiling? Those are Greek and Egyptian.

hearst-castle-library1
Photo from everywhereonce.com
6777130856_3ca1099b93_b
Oh you know, just a bedroom.
The Jewel Box
This room is called the “jewel box” but I just call it my bedroom.
6951051801_9fec7cb7fe_b
Meh.

And let’s not forget the great room.

The Great Room at HEarst-900x629

Now for the juicy part. Hearst was married to a former vaudeville performer, Millicent Veronica Willson who he fell in love with when she was a mere sixteen years old. She bore him five sons, one of which is the father of Patty Hearst who was famously kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a cult. Under the influence of the cult, Hearst assisted in a bank robbery. Her sentence was commuted by President Carter and she was officially pardoned by President Clinton. She has gone on to appear in a number of John Waters movies including Serial Mom, Cry-Baby, Pecker, and Cecil B. DeMented. This only makes me love her and John Waters more, but back to Millicent Hearst.

tumblr_n5m9bdsO571tzei48o1_500
Patricia Hearst and John Waters

Poor Millicent rarely stayed at Hearst Castle though. She and her husband lived very separate lives. She lived in New York and became a great philanthropist. Her husband lived in California at Hearst Castle with his mistress, actress and comedienne, Marion Davies. They lived together quite openly though he and Millicent remained married until his death. How modern.

Millicent and Marion:

It’s said that the portrayal of Marion Davies in Citizen Kane so enraged Hearst that he launched a full on attack against the film and its director, Orson Welles. Even Welles later admitted that his depiction was unfair to Marion who was a very talented actress. Marion actually supported Hearst in later years when he hit hard times financially and was forced to sell off much of his art and property. She married eleven weeks after Hearst’s death in 1951. Read about the battle over Citizen Kane here.

Susan-and-Charles-at-Xanadu
Hearst and Davies characters in Citizen Kane set in a mock up of the famous great room.

Hearst Castle and its impressive collection of art and artifacts was donated to the state of California and is a museum now but I have grand plans to occupy it. They’ll never find me. Never! I highly recommend the evening tours which aren’t offered year round so do your homework. The entire estate is decked out for an old Hollywood cocktail party and it all feels a little bit spooky. As an added bonus, it will be easier for me to sneak off and hide in the shadows in the evening.

Four hours from Los Angeles and you feel like you’ve escaped the city. You feel like you’ve escaped back in time. Well played, California, well played. As much as I hate to admit it, you definitely can’t find Hearst Castle in New York.

It’s a non-profit so go support your local castle. Hey Hearst Castle administrators, just list the guest rooms on AirBnB already. See? Fundraising issue solved.

 

 

 

 

 

Freaky Friday

Welcome to Freaky Fridays where I post links to the odd and the fantastic. Thank you to my friends, especially Sally and Susan, who provided me with pure gold this week. Have a weird news story? Send it to dearmisshavisham@gmail.com

Cameos carved from Oreos by artist, Judith G. Klausner. Delicious.

Mugshots of female criminals of the Edwardian period as found on Dangerous Minds. These ladies will cut you.

0RegNo37JaneThompsonGordonThiefNShields13704

Want to sleep in the Paris Catacombs? I mean, who doesn’t? It was listed on AirBnB as a contest (I didn’t win).

airbnb+Paris-famous-catacombs

ParisCatacombs-6.jpg.838x0_q80

A pony dressed like a unicorn leads police on a wild chase near Fresno. I love everything about this story.

160107-unicorn-mn-1100_7e14331ecc195daf20f9b54a5d6446f8.nbcnews-fp-360-360

Then there are people bending over and filming themselves as creepy round creatures. I hate everything about this story.

back-face-people-5

Folk art from the golden age of secret societies? Yes. On display at the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan until May 8.

masonicfolkart09-768x547mysterybenevolence01-768x649

18 rare catbreeds you’ve maybe never heard of. I like cats, shut up.

Who hasn’t done a thing or two out of spite? Would you build a house just to infuriate your neighbors? Explore the concept of the spite house as found on Hyperallergic.

spitehouse10

You just have to love the British. Giant walking porcelain dolls spotted all over London. Brilliant.

ANDERSON-TWINS-06-750x471creepy-dolls-6-1024x681image

Likewise, a pack of Miss Havishams took to the streets and subways to promote the BBC’s version of Great Expectations. Flattering, dearies, flattering.

havisham1gallery_fun-miss-havishams-on-the-tube-drama-3gallery_fun-miss-havishams-on-the-tube-drama-2

May your weekend be filled with mirth. xoxo

Go Ask Alice

Alice in Wonderland has captivated readers for decades. Written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, it was published in 1865. Three years earlier, Carroll rowed a boat up the Isis section of the Thames river with three young girls and Reverend Robinson Duckworth inside. The three young ladies were the sisters Liddell,  daughters of Henry Liddell (the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and Dean of Christ Church): Lorina Charlotte Liddell (aged 13); Alice Pleasance Liddell (aged 10); Edith Mary Liddell (aged 8).

Lorina,_Edith,_and_Alice_Liddell_p94
Alice Liddell, far right.

While on the river it’s said Carroll entertained the girls with a story that was so beloved by Alice that she asked for it to be written down for her and thus Alice in Wonderland came into existence. Carroll approached the artist John Tenniel to illustrate the manuscript.

alice-with-the-mock-turtle-and-the-gryphon-illustration-by-john-tenniel-in-alices-adventures-in-wonderland-1932-edition-copy-mary-evans-picture-li

In 1998 Lewis Carroll’s own copy of Alice, one of only six surviving copies of the 1865 first edition, sold at an auction for US$1.54 million to an anonymous American buyer, becoming the most expensive children’s book (or 19th-century work of literature) ever sold, up to that time. Alice Liddell’s copy of the manuscript sold in 2009 for $115,000.

The relationship between Alice and Carroll is a murky one. She posed for Carroll often and those photos have been cited as proof that the nature of their friendship was less than appropriate.

This past June The Morgan Library in New York held an exhibit celebrating the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication. The exhibit included original drawings by Carroll and Tenniel as well as a number of photos. I was surprised that there was no mention of the question of Carroll’s relationship with Alice. You can view a number of the illustrations online at The Morgan Library’s site. There is an interesting article on the subject of their relationship here.

Blue_Catterpillar
Character development sketches between Carroll and Tenniel

We may never know the truth about Carroll’s proclivities as Richard Cavendish writes here:

“The friendship between the Liddells and Dodgson (Carroll) had broken down in 1863, for reasons that are not clear – the relevant page in his diary was cut out by one of his descendants – but it may be that Mrs Liddell was uneasy about him and Alice. Polite relations were resumed after a few months, but the earlier warmth did not return. ”

Alice grew into an adult and married a cricket player at the age of 28. They had three sons. She became quite the society hostess. After her husband’s death in 1926 she found the upkeep of their household to be draining. Facing financial difficulties, she sold her copy of the manuscript for £15,400. She died in 1934 and is quoted as saying, “I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland.”

Alice_Liddell_in_1872_(photogravure_by_Julia_Margaret_Cameron)
Alice as an adult.

Alice in Wonderland has been the subject of songs, art, and numerous films, one of my favorites is the stop motion film by Jan Svankmejer.  You can watch the trailer online.

There are no shortage of Alice themed events. Don’t forget to attend The Victorian Tea and Dance Society’s Alice in Wonderland themed social Sunday, March 6.

141.jpg

Should you find yourself in London, you must go to The Madhatter’s High Tea at the beautiful Sanderson Hotel. I left with diabetes but I also left happy.

Want to throw your own tea party? I have several pieces of the Alice in Wonderland collection from Fishs Eddy in New York. I love them. Not sure if they still have the dinnerware but they also carry the prettiest cake stands.

fishalice

Cakestands for days.

Fishs eddy5 copy

And who’s ready for a garden party? Alice always is.

500037

Need to make a pillow? A skirt? Find all the fabric you need on Etsy:

il_570xN.559511106_a52y

And let’s not forget shoes. Wow.

From Elusive Rabbit:

il_570xN.791597292_9oyq

Or these from Irregular Choice:

irregular-choice-alice-in-wonderland-flowers-cant-talk-heels-03

Care for a scarf?

il_570xN.692994637_2j59

An entire tea set? Egg cup? Gift wrap? Check out The Alice Boutique.

I find The Hudson Hotel in New York to have a very Alice in Wonderland feel. Much of the furniture in the library bar is oversized and the lobby is really something. It’s a fun place to take a client for a drink.

b12b0829c3fdcdd3b5e5379e65ebe387

Or this acrylic chandelier from Vinci Living. Plenty more Alice interior design ideas on Lace and Ruffles.

NS-120043R-1_1024x1024

And I leave you with a great Queen of Hearts from Popsugar:

Queen-Hearts-Alice-Wonderland

Curiouser and curiouser!

Put a Bird on It

My wedding dress had a train of ethically acquired peacock feathers on it. I’m going to let that sentence sit there for a minute for you to absorb…

Shall we continue? If I read that sentence I’d hate the person who wrote it but alas, it’s the truth. Were they really ethically acquired? Well, at least the woman I bought them from swore they were. She also charged me what I like to call the “not plucked premium.”

The feather has a long and storied past in the fashion world dating back in the Middle Ages and has primarily been a sign of social status. From Venetian masks to the boas of Cancan dancers, the feather has tickled us for centuries. Read all about it here.

There was a time when wearable taxidermy was all the rage, friends.

BirdHat_3
Actress Christie MacDonald, circa 1902.

 

e39da0642d62bd6c784353b3cb1bfe83
Clara Bow

 

f2eb403c8f27a1593a383239ef2a751a
Louise Brooks
harlow-1
Jean Harlow

It fell out of fashion largely because of what might be the first recorded animal rights campaign.

Today there are plenty of folks making hats from actual roadkill they come across like this beauty by James Faulkner:

roadkill-hats-2

Or perhaps this one by Margot Magpie for that special gent in your life.

daf_10547
Photo by Dafydd Owen

Or this peaceful white winged bride by Bat Cakes Couture. You can read her artist statement on her Etsy store.

il_570xN.198952169

Or the evil twin. The model looks a little like Tippi Hedren.

il_570xN.631660731_8uh9

The undisputed king of feather fashion, however,  is Alexander McQueen. When I saw his exhibit in New York, I actually got teary. Just magnificent. It was as if he reached into the back of my brain and pulled out everything I always dreamed of.

Don’t go hungry, model girl. You can cook and eat the eggs in your hat.

29f62d8d727993be3bfc0c2f8a6798d1

This bird is soaring on the sky of my torso, bucko.

5896517402_1b701567b4_o

Look to the future…far into the future.

philip-treacy-for-alexander-mcqueen

This is exactly how I get dressed in the morning, truly.

McQueen6

This.is.beautiful. I can’t even think of a sarcastic thing to say.

tumblr_lormk9TLwW1qk9fqoo1_500

Head explodes in pure joy. I need a minute.
9ed46b25b86dc771320b450e316bec9e

But let us not neglect your feet. You will be feathered from head to toe by the end of this piece.

These are fabulous. These are Dior.

dior-featherss

 

Pretty pretty by Pedro Garcia.

peacock-feather-shoes

Clips you can put on any pair of shoes by Kathy Johnson. Yes please.

il_570xN.781338989_fjg0

Ok, these are scary. Yet magnificent. No, still scary.

Amazing-feather-shoes-designs-for-women-27

I present you with a foundation garment.

birdbra

And those zany Victorians and their morbid jewelry. Hummingbirds. I saw a necklace just like this in the hunting museum in Cairo. I stood there feeling guilty but completely mesmerized.

hummingbird-necklace

And now, I take my leave of you. Go. Dream of birds.  xoxo