Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The Golden Age of Travel

Posted by Winifred on June 27th, 2014  •  No Comments »

Though we plead guilty to the sin of on flight yoga attire, we are nostalgic for the Golden Age of air travel, particularly in the 1950s and 60s. We love the idea of an in flight show of gloves, hats, heels and dresses and the sky high club aspect of an open bar and cigarettes. And we had such plans for a tour on the Orient Express, which though still offering select legs of the 7 country Paris-Istanbul trip, is no longer in service. What we imagined was a cross-country treasure hunt ending on Safari in Tanzania, all, of course, with Globe Trotter luggage, Sylvain Le Guen hand fans and Perrin gloves.

The truth is, the Golden Age was not all glamorous. The chairs were not so plush, no on-flight entertainment, though we much prefer to read, and despite our semi-annual indulgence of an outfit paired Fantasia, we would never manage a 6 hour flight in a cloud of cigarettes and ash. We came close to experiencing Golden Age air travel glamour however, on an Emirates Airlines Airbus 380 from New York to Dubai. The flight attendants immaculate in their suits and full make-up, round the clock meals plated and served with silverware, seats upholstered to true transatlantic levels of comfort and service the likes of which we are too young to have ever previously seen.

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We did not know that the Emirates Business Class bar scene though rivaling that of 1950s as a gathering spot and unparalleled service, evidently outdoes the 50s in unbridled debauchery and scandal…But we digress,

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Luxury travel now is no longer confined to just the jets but extends to airport lounges as well – Dubai’s filled with Chanel, Escada, and Gucci retail experiences among others. We dare say that air travel of the past is now just that. The past. The future is substantially more glamorous; Our air travel wardrobe is too…

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Images Via NY Times, Ralph Lauren, Socorpos, Fast Company, Pinterest

Posted in : Head wear, In an Ideal World..., On Style, Travel, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Steampunk Fantasy…

Posted by Winifred on June 4th, 2014  •  No Comments »

Though you may have uncovered it on our Pinterest boards, we have mostly kept our love for steampunk a secret. A sci fi fantasy in Victorian settings with a steam power bent to it, steampunk matches the elegance we love in fashion and our enjoyment of hardware. There is a gorgeous femininity to it, with a powerful, almost villainous slant. The kind of duality we live for.

For us it starts with the hats. Feathers, lace…

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Flowers, not too sweet, more than a hint of darkness,

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Veils, even while fronting a bit of masculinity,

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Well crafted jackets, fitted equestrian or military in theme,

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And the very regal, sensational, unexpected, theatrical skirts,

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We rarely gravitate towards the standard brown of steampunk,
though we love it for the boys,

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We find steampunk almost a more true and effective statement in color,

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We like the fashion part of steampunk softer, more feminine, graceful, Edwardian,
but delight in surprising with a stronger shoe…

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Perhaps we’ll take our hat, fitted jacket, full skirt
(our steampunk fantasy includes a hand fan)
and tuck into an adventure.

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We see the makings of our next treasure hunt…

Images Via Pinterest, Data Mancer, Dezeen, DeviantArt, Propstore

Posted in : Travel, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reaching for the Moon…

Posted by Winifred on May 30th, 2014  •  No Comments »

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For fans of design, we rather belatedly came across a lovely little treat in the way of the film, Reaching for the Moon, based on Carmen L. de Oliveira’s book Rare and Commonplaces Flowers. The film is about the life of American Poet Elizabeth Bishop, and specifically, the 15 years she spent in Brazil beginning in the 1950s. The film imagines her life in Brazil and is lush with 1950s fashion, dinner parties with politicians, artists, designers and of course great architecture, as Elizabeth meets and falls in love with Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares.

Brilliant views of Samambia, outside of Rio, by Cinematographer Mauro Pinheiro Jr., as well as the Oscar Niemeyer designed house as a stand in for the one Lota designed herself, are worth the time spent on the film alone. There is also marvelously imagined interior design for the Niemeyer home as well as Lota’s apartment in the city. And then, of course, there is the story, Elizabeth making what was to be a short trip to Brazil to visit her college friend, Mary, who is in a long term relationship with Lota. Though they initially clashed, Lota soon falls for Elizabeth and Mary is out.

But Lota, a lesbian in 1950s Brazil and a self trained architect is quite used to having what she wants. What she wants is for Mary to stay and adopt a child while she proceeds to also have a relationship with Elizabeth. No room for the conventional in this story. The three live together somewhat harmoniously for 15 years, during which time Elizabeth writes poetry, wins a Pulitzer Prize and deals with severe alcoholism. There is plenty of melodrama and sad backstory, but the film was quite beautiful to us, both for all of its glamour, as well as the pacing and formidable acting of Miranda Otto as Elizabeth. With generous layering of Ms. Bishop’s poetry throughout the story, the film is feels like a tiny hideaway for artists and enthusiasts of all kinds.

A bit like knowing something chocolate and rich is awaiting us, we look forward to indulging ourselves again and hope to inspire you to do the same, by leaving you with this…

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One Art
BY ELIZABETH BISHOP

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Posted in : Dimensions, On Style, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orange Chiffon Cake paired with Old Hollywood Glamour

Posted by Winifred on May 11th, 2014  •  No Comments »

Oh, we had been absolutely spent! Days of fighting with interior designer, Billy Haines, over 100-year old hand painted Chinese wall coverings and the specific velvet drapings for our vanity. We had almost completed handwritten notes inviting friends to our new Roland E. Coate designed home, when we ran out of our Mrs. John L. Strong stationery. We had yet to receive our custom made Ferragamo sandals and the recent fitting for the Robert Piguet gown in which to float around from room to room, air kissing our Hollywood friends, did not help us with our most important decision…would we wear a turban or was the over the shoulder draping dramatic enough?

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The party was all we could do from falling into a slump. We had just met with executives at MGM to discuss the part of Nora on ‘The Thin Man’ series. W.S. Van Dyke wanted William Powell to play the part of Nick, the glamorous socialite Nora’s husband, and for the couple to have an affectionate banter and friendship style of marriage. We were thrilled to have an opportunity to play opposite William Powell, but in the end, contractual agreements prevented us from taking on the role. We had already been fitted by costume designer Edith Head for a film noir. The part of Nora went to Myrna Loy. The studio system be damned!

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The only thing to do was to swing our Figoni et Falaschi Talbot-Lago T150-C by Hollywood and Vine and take our regular table at the Brown Derby.

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It was certainly not quiet or peaceful, what one would expect we would need after such harrowing days. But the Brown Derby was home; there was comfort in the food, the service and in being seen in our freshly curled hair. Carole was there with Clark. We never much liked her in a hat. We made sure to confirm attending each other’s party, but do hope she won’t serve us dinner on the floor this time…

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Kay Francis was there and oh, was she dressed! We already had some of her Orry-Kelly gowns made.

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Dietrich was there, in a veil, distant eyes, with a cigarette working over beef stew. We stopped by to make fun of her for the nightclub number in Blond Venus. She seemed sufficiently shamed for the ape costume and blond afro.

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Then we sat down for a Cobb salad. Bob Cobb always made sure to save us a generous piece of orange chiffon cake. Clark and we finished off the last of it. Cary, Myrna and Ava had to settle for the grapefruit cake. Our stomachs full and banter had, we braced ourselves for the next task – unearthing our Globe-Trotter trunks.

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The Mister and we are sailing off for the Island of Guidecca for a languorous stay at Casa Frollo. We have sent the recipe for chiffon cake ahead…

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Orange Chiffon Cake
From Lost Desserts By Gail Monaghan

For the orange chiffon cake:
2 1/4 cups of cake flour
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
5 large eggs, separated, plus 3 egg whites – at room temperature
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 tablespoons of orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar

For the orange icing:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups of confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons orange juice
Grated zest of 2 large oranges
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sift together the flour, superfine sugar, baking powder, and salt onto parchment paper or into a medium size mixing bowl. Then sift again.

In another large glass bowl, vigorously whisk the 5 egg yolks, oil, orange zest, vanilla, and 3/4 cup of water until smooth. About 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the flour mixture and whisk to just combine.

Using the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the 8 egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until very soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar and increase the speed to high. Beat until peaks are stiff but not dry.

Using a rubber spatula, fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the remaining egg whites and fold together until just combined, but completely incorporated. Scrape batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube or angel food cake pan with a removable bottom. Smooth the top and bake in the lower third of the oven; check after 30 minutes, if the cake is browning too quickly, lightly rest a piece of foil over it. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Remove from oven and cool upside down on built in prongs or a bottle (wine bottle works well) – with the bottle neck through the hole, until completely cool – about 1 1/2 hours.

To unmold, slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan, pressing the knife against the pan to avoid tearing the cake. Use the knife to detach the cake from the center tube: pull the tube upward to remove the cake from the pan side. Slide the knife under the cake to detach it from the bottom. Invert and let the cake drop onto your hand or a serving platter.

For the icing, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and sir in the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, zest and salt. Turn the heat down as low as possible and return the saucepan to the heat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and beat (briefly for a pourable glaze or several minutes for a spreadable icing). You can place the sauce pan in a larger pan of ice water to speed the process. Stir in the vanilla and drizzle the glaze over or spread the icing on the cake. Let set before serving.

Images Via Pinterest, Heatherhomemade

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Classic Films, Looks we Love, On Style, Travel, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hudson Valley Wine Tasting…Who Knew?

Posted by Winifred on May 8th, 2014  •  No Comments »

There was a time, one we hardly recognize now, many lifetimes past, when we lived in San Francisco. The guitar playing, nature loving, hemp milk drinking, reiki practitioner in us that we have fiercely protected and stayed committed to even while in New York, often yearns for the beauty of California and the many experiences it offered us. The ability to travel up or down the coast and within a 1 to 2 hour drive be in the most stunning surroundings – Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Sonoma, Point Reyes. On a moment’s notice, as you leisurely roll out of bed on a Saturday morning, one could pick a glorious getaway that required little advance planning or time. Any direction guaranteed traveling along mesmerizing scenic beauty, making the specific destination irrelevant.

We always crave California; there is an empty space waiting to be fulfilled by the unparalleled beauty of its coast line and a way of life that melds health, fitness, purpose and meaning. Rest and inner harmony instead of busyness, repetition, uninventive and even harmful ways of avoiding oneself. So on days when we tire of living a life parallel to the one we were meant to, we try to merge what we have with that which is to come. California by way of New York. Runs along the East River, imagining it as Santa Monica, store bought hemp in lieu of the fresh milk of Brentwood Market, and drives up the Hudson that will eventually lead to Napa.

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Mr. K and us began our tour of the Hudson Valley in Millbrook, at the Millbrook Vineyards and Winery.

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The tasting was rather quick and since we had not eaten much before our drinking, we were happy to spend more of our time at the picnic area by the water.

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As the restaurant was not yet open, we were relieved to have brought along our own snacks. Mr. K is slowly coming around to our port infused chicken liver pate, and was hungry enough to even go along with the pumpkin, oat, chia bread.

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The smoked Gouda made him a bit happier – honestly, we wish stores would carry aged Gouda instead. Its sharpness cannot be anymore of an acquired taste than the unnatural smoked version. Smoked Gouda is a bit like sweet and sour chicken.

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A complete fabrication, a perversion of a cuisine that the natives it is attributed to, do not claim. We never once ate smoked Gouda in Spijkenisse….

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But as this is our parallel life, we nevertheless were happy to coat our stomachs and to venture to Glorie Vineyards next.

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A rustic, unassuming barn with the tasting room situated to take perfect advantage of sweeping views of the Valley. We immediately felt calm and peaceful. Fully focused on wine and valley views, even the toddler allowed to run around in circles, stomping his feet and giggling loudly, over and over and over, could not break our zen. This was not the case for the poor host.

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We were most proud of Mr. K for while we were traveling along rolling hills and admiring this unusual situation of a water fall running through a house, he not only avoided the turtle crossing the road,

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But he picked it up with a shovel and gently carried it to the other side.

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Our most fun was had at Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery, the first New York distillery since 1933. We were so impressed with this marvelous story of a climber who wanted to buy property near the Shawangunk Mountains for a resting place after climbing. The distillery was an old mill where grains were ground and after his request for a bed and breakfast was turned down by the zoning board, he cleverly decided to open a distillery instead.

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With a fantastic tour guide telling a great American story of entrepreneurship and innovation, a band playing early Appalachian Folk music, and an introduction to our first Manhattan, we fully expect to return to Tuthilltown quite a few times…Us checking a newly hand filled, hand labeled, and hand topped bottle of bourbon for sediment and perfect filtering!

Posted in : Dimensions, In an Ideal World..., Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New traditions with Hermes

Posted by Winifred on December 16th, 2013  •  No Comments »

Recently our sister gave us a most treasured birthday gift. She had engraved for us a dainty silver box with our name and birthday and the words Sister Love. Inside were some of our best memories – she and I dancing together to some of our favorite music from Suriname, our style of dancing totally our own, defying categorization. Us as little girls, our trip to Curacao, her graduation from her Ph.d program, Disney World, there were many. Each memory, a photo scanned onto a tiny card with cutout borders. Notes accompanied each memory, some with our favorite sayings, others with an anecdote about the moment.

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It was creative, thoughtful, sweet, heartwarming, loving, precious…a new tradition. There will be more events, more trips, more experiences and we will need more boxes. Maybe one by Hermes like the limited-edition wine trunk. We will commission one, as Sammy Davis Jr. did, his a traveling bar in black crocodile, lined in red leather.

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We love crocodile, we would make ours lavender. The inside lined in Hermes scarves. Not a traveling bar, but a treasure box filled with David Webb jewelry, L’artisan perfume, a Bond Street journal, Fantasia cigarettes, and of course a hand fan. There would be a pocket just for the tiny memories. Safari in Tanzania, quiet serenity in the Maldives, Shocking blues and greens of Tahiti, skiing and eating the freshest of seafood in Hokkaido. Maybe we would add a leather bound flask, a nip of Laphroaig along for the ride…

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Image via Vanity Fair

Posted in : Jewelry, Objects of Our Desire, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Escape to Belize…

Posted by Winifred on December 10th, 2013  •  No Comments »

When Mr. K expressed an interest in visiting the NorthEast coast of Central America, Belize to be specific, our reception was luke warm. Our mood hard to explain. We knew we felt lazy, circumspect, unamused, specific about our requirements for entertainment, uninterested in planes, swimsuit shopping, packing or overseas accommodations. So we thought, lest we leave Mr. K completely disappointed, why not experience Belize, without the traveling? We designed a Belize themed treasure hunt, so Mr. K could enjoy flavors of the land and its dimensions, all in one Saturday.

We thought of 4 things we might experience in Belize:

1. A jaguar preserve

Globalsherpa.com

2. Relaxation

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

3. The preferred Belizean drink, rum

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4. Belizean dessert, milk cake

Tstastybits

Jaguars being difficult to find in New York we were lucky there was a cat as beautiful and rare; the snow leopard at the Central Park Zoo. Any trip to the Caribbean must include a massage, a West Village spa would do. Hunger would invariable set in, thus a reservation for lunch in SoHo of aki and salt fish with an extensive selection of rum. And just in time for exhaustion to set in, a last stop in Alphabet City for tres leches cake.

Mr. K was excited from the very first clue sending him to the roof, where hidden in 3 potted plants were the full set of clues each on a handwritten notecard, a map of Belize in a glass rum bottle and two books. The first, a set of travel essays of different countries including Belize. The second, a picture book about Henri Rousseau, the French painter who had never been to Belize but rendered its beautiful jungles vividly and colorfully.

Mr. K then had to unscramble his clues, find his destinations where he was at each surprised by friends, and stay mindful of the time allotted until his next stop. We, the game master, were on call to provide limited answers to questions, orchestrate reservations and participants at various locations and to scoop up our tired hunter at his last stop, whisking him off for an evening of cocktails and dancing.

Mr. K was beside himself. He loved the creativity, the challenge of unscrambling the clues (the waitstaff and patrons at lunch were so intrigued they all began to help) and the concept of an escape while at home. We, loved skipping the boredom that sets in for us at the New York fixation on dinner and drinks, playing puppet master and offering amusement, surprise and childlike fun, all without luggage and passports.

Curious to see what might inspire us next…

Images Via globalsherpa, eclecticenthusiast, onehitchedlane, tstastybits

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dar al Masyaf

Posted by Winifred on October 16th, 2013  •  No Comments »

As we start to ponder Winter destinations, already prepared for that time of year when the city will be overrun by tourists, 5th Avenue will be a claustrophobic sea of shopping bags and we will invariably have to point someone toward Serendipity, we naturally think of where we might replicate our time at Dar al Masyaf, the Jumeirah resort in Dubai. Essentially meaning, Summer Houses, Dar al Masyaf is a luxurious yet authentic Arab Courtyard inspired hideaway.

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The stand alone two story houses overlooking the waterways are quiet and serene and offer the kind of privacy incomparable to the standard hotel style of rooms stacked on rooms towering into the sky. Even when you just have to leave the comforts of your peaceful nest for other parts of the resort, gondolas can be found at all times gliding along the waterways, still offering serenity, a quiet courtyard tour.

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Of course there is great service, private butlers for the house, attendants everywhere, golf carts ferrying the lazy (that would be us) to any area of the resort. A staff hailing from 21 different countries each with their own story of leaving home, family and children, for Dubai to make a better life. Each more gentle, kind and more courteous than the next and willing to steer the unknowing to a most delightfully simple and flavorful breakfast called fools medames.

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Every detail hit the highest note. What we could do to improve upon perfection; being armed with the proper essentials. Leather goods for organization,

Valextra Passport Holder

Valextra Passport Holder

Quiet poolside moments with an epic Persian poem,

Shahnameh (The Book of Kings)

Shahnameh (The Book of Kings)

The scent of sandalwood and rose,

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Always a hand fan,

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And loose silhouettes for balmy desert nights….

Donna Karan SS14

Donna Karan SS14

Images via Dar Al Masyaf, WSJ, Design Sponge, Basenotes, Barneys, Fashionology

Posted in : In an Ideal World..., On Style, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A stay at Frank’s house with Michael Kors…

Posted by Winifred on September 16th, 2013  •  No Comments »

Charlie's Angels

Charlie’s Angels

Recently we learned four things about Michael Kors; He vacations in Palm Springs where he stays at Frank Sinatra’s estate with a piano shaped pool. He only recently watched The Bodyguard (we still have not…) He outfitted Renee Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair. He began his business at 21 and today there are 388 Michael Kors stores in 85 countries incuding Kuala Lumpur.

We also learned that the billowy sleeved dresses of thirty years ago, he has kept feminine, fresh and refined and Palm Springs ready…

Michael Kors S2014

Michael Kors S2014

Style.com

They would be just the thing to wear hosting dinner at Frank’s house. The house is available to anyone by-the-way, for a mere $2,600 a night…

Posted in : Classic Films, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , ,