April 15th, 2014

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Hypothetically speaking, if I woke up with my closet ablaze and could only save one Chanel jacket, which would it be? Logically it would make sense to save the practical jacket from the last episode since it would get me the most mileage, especially if I had no other clothes left, right? Yes and no. The other half of my brain would actually save this jacket in today’s episode because it would be impossible to replace. Sure, I could always find another little black jacket, but would the House of Chanel ever issue something as cool as this one again?

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The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 3: The only problem with this Chanel 09P painted tweed jacket is that it is so incredible I’m actually scared to wear it. If it weren’t so expensive I would have tried to buy a spare so that if I accidentally got something spilled on it (or if it went up in flames), I wouldn’t be devastated. Love the haphazard yet purposeful blending of the white painted windowpanes with the subtle tweed weaving my three favorite colors together (grey, white, and green), softened by a sheer net ribbon trim:

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But it’s a tricky one to match to a bag without resorting to a predictable grey bag. Does it work with this Leo bag?

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What if I played up the green in the tweed with this dark green reissue flap?

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So will the House of Chanel ever issue something as cool as this one again?

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We’ll just have to see what turns up in the next few episodes…

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April 12th, 2014

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My Chanel jackets are like my children–they are all my favorites, for different reasons. I have different relationships with each of them, and some make me look better than others :D . In today’s episode of The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 2, I’m showcasing what I call my quintessential Chanel black jacket. Hands down it is one of my best investments.

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It follows the iconic, timeless Coco silhouette, with a simple jewel collar in a plain black tweed, punctuated by four pockets and braided trims over the pockets and hems…

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in a contrasting shade of navy. Karl Lagerfeld is a true master of making black and blue look chic. And let’s not forget the buttons. For this 13A collection, Chanel used the image of the globe in clever ways, and these spectacular buttons were but one piece of the whole illusion:

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This jacket will last me a lifetime. It’ll most likely be paired with my uniform of jeans and a black slinky tee (the one worn here is Helmut Lang–buttery soft with narrow long sleeves that won’t bulk up my jacket’s sleeves)…

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and a messenger bag (this is the Hermes Jypsiere 31cm) for work:

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But I know it’ll also be an effortless partner to a LBD when the occasion falls for it. Form and function–that’s the real magic of Chanel.

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April 9th, 2014

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A few months ago I mentioned starting a new series here as a tribute to my obsession with Chanel jackets, having been particularly inspired by this The Little Black Jacket book/exhibit that’s been touring the world:

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There’s probably a story or a memory associated with each of my Chanel jackets, hanging sometimes in order of season and other times by color…

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but most preferably over my shoulders, whether I have a special occasion to attend or just a brutal day that requires a little sartorial/moral support. We sometimes forget that in our daily battles out in the real world, we can stand just a little braver in our armor of a favorite pair of finally-broken-in-but-still-looks-newish shoes (I know you know what I’m talking about!) or a bracelet inscribed with the date you went into remission or a dress worn to your child’s baptism. Sentimentality sometimes inspires courage. At least that’s my excuse for collecting these jackets for so many years now.

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The Chanel Jacket Diaries, Part 1: As much as I tell myself that the road to enlightenment is properly littered with materials things that you shed, it is difficult to adhere to the practice of less is more when each season the clever hands at Chanel deliver yet another stellar collection. The first jacket in this series is from the 2012 Pre-fall Paris Bombay collection, one of my favorites. OK, OK, so I say that a lot. A LOT, like possibly each season, but truly this collection blew my mind. I probably would have even traded enlightenment for this crazy beautiful runway jacket in a size 34…

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but luckily I did not have to sell my soul for Chanel because I did land this more practical, watered-down version in my size:

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Hang on, I’ve got a visual going on in my head right now. I’m skipping down the yellow brick road to enlightenment and there are Chanel jackets strewn all over the ground. Where I once thought Nirvana was the archives at 31 rue Cambon in Paris, I now know detachment from material possessions is the true gold standard. But I must say, a tiny part of me still thinks when you finally arrive at the gates of Nirvana, you should be in your best tweed jacket. And then you can check it at the door.

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April 3rd, 2014

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I always told myself that I’d stay on the straight and narrow just in case some day, when they’ve pretty much run out of options some state would give me a robe and a gavel for a seat on the bench. But that’s probably a fantasy more farfetched than finding a grey Himalayan Kelly sitting on a shelf somewhere, unreserved, at an Hermès boutique. So the extent of my breaking bad is dabbling in the dangerous addiction of exotic bags. No lie, it’s a rush to hunt and chase that poor reptile or bird until it’s trophy on my arm. And before the whiff of that leather even wears off, another prey is already prepared for the front sight. Such is the lure–and the high–of my drug of choice. But hey, admission is the first step to recovery, isn’t it?

But whether you find kinship in my obsession with the exotics or not, I think if you’ve brought home an Hermès bag, you’ll empathize with what I’m about to confess next: my ritual of “breaking” a bag.

First, I have to find the right backdrop–a table or box or scarf that provides the perfect contrast to my prey. Today it is the above photographed Mythiques Phoenix silk scarf. Then I carefully position the bag in just the right lighting for the photo shoot, especially since the camera has been my witness for the last fifteen years of my life anyway.

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Next, I put the bag away for a couple of days. I might take a peek here and there to make sure I’m not hallucinating, but in the box it stays. Then on the third day I bring it out again to remove the plastic coverings from the hardware, first gingerly…

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then a final quick rip of the protective band-aid, as it were, to signify that it is truly mine and ready to be used:

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Now that the bag is completely vulnerable to the elements that I will expose it to, I take more photos of it in its pristine condition so that one day, five or ten years from now, when the bag has been well-loved and broken in, I can reflect on the beginning of our journey together…

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Last shot? Look at the reflection of the ostrich’s quills in my bracelet:

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Breaking bad is pretty freakin’ awesome :D !

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Sometimes you just shouldn’t taunt Mother Nature. Last week I glibly wrote to someone that we Los Angelenos don’t even roll out of bed for any earthquake weaker than a 4.5. Fast forward to Friday around 9pm, when I was in the middle of preparing for a big event the morning after, the plantation shutters in my living room began to rattle a bit, not so much from any wind outside but more like from some sort of pelting rain. I say pelting specifically because it almost sounded like sand pebbles hitting against a wood panel. But this was all really odd since we are going through a major drought right now. A few seconds later the ground simply rolled. My furkids took off like bats out of hell and then the floor swayed from side to side. The heavy TV shook on its stand as if it were some flimsy daisy. About thirty very long seconds into this unsettling sensation of the earth rocking and rolling, I tried to recall where my earthquake kit was. And wondered if my phone was fully charged.

This was one of the more serious earthquakes I’ve been through in recent years; it clocked in at 5.1 on the Richter scale. The good news is that there was no significant damage. The bad news is that we had another strong aftershock the day after, a 4.1. And both of these shakes followed a not so small one in Westwood a week before. Needless to say, we are all a bit nervous around here. But life will go on this week and we’ll put the fear back in check where it belongs until the Big One shows up. That’s just the reality of living on a fault line.

But since you have all been on the road to Hermès adoption with me for some two years now, I should confess that maybe the rumbling was not just caused by the release of energy in the Earth’s crust creating seismic waves (or Mother Nature taking a deep breath and then sneezing) but something more… shall we say, sartorially conspiring? As in when two birds collide? Are you shaking your head from all this confusion and asking yourself if maybe something did fall on my head during the earthquake? What if I showed you this:

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Yes, my dear readers, that big event I was preparing for when the 5.1 struck was the adoption of my ostrich Birkin. So when a Larkie and an ostrich (or two birds) collide, it’s what I suspect to be defined in physics as inelastic collision.

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Inelastic collision occurs “between bodies in which the total kinetic energy of the bodies is not conserved. In an inelastic collision, the total momentum of the two bodies remains the same, but some of the initial kinetic energy is transformed into heat energy internal to the bodies, used up in deforming the bodies, or radiated away in some other fashion. Inelastic collisions, such as the collision of two balls of clay, tend to result in the slowing and sometimes the joining together of the colliding bodies.” OK, reading that just made me really happy to not be in a high school physics class anymore, but I think there’s some truth to my conspiracy analogy.

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As soon as this Birkin collided into my trembling palms, there was definitely a joining of bodies, matters, or whatever science wants to call it. Kinetic energy exploded. Heat energy was off the charts. The earth shook, then my heart followed as an aftershock. I’ve found my bird, my holy grail–my mini-me if I were a purse. Is that like some kind of Big Bang theory and an alternate universe where we all carry chic handbags 24/7 was just created? OK, I’m getting all my high school classes confused now. Good thing I did not choose a career in science or we’d all be in trouble.

So thanks for accompanying me on my pilgrimage for my holy grails, first with the crocodile Kelly and now the ostrich Birkin…

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I dare not say what could possibly be waiting down the road from here. The luck I’m feeling is already more than I can bear. But why not dream huge when the whole universe is out there?

Before I sign off (and by signing off I mean going back to ogle the grey bird), I should provide some photographic evidence of what it really means when two birds collide:

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I’m going to guess that rumble was at least a 7.5 on the Larkster scale.

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