Posts Tagged ‘1930s’

What we learned from Anna Karenina, the Garbo version…

Posted by Winifred on December 19th, 2013  •  No Comments »


We have been perplexed for some time now about the star status of a certain actress by the name of Greta Garbo. Try as we may, we just cannot understand the appeal of her, not now, not then. Once in a while we tune in for one of her films, in the hopes that this will be the one to help explain it all, and each time we only become more mystified. To start, there are her looks, not in any way beautiful, though we see where attempts were made to sway us with photography. Soft focus, specific angles and heavy contouring to help widen the eyes and narrow the nose. But it never works for us. All we see is a rather large, squarish head, scandinavian coldness and a sluggish carriage that bespeaks of the awkwardness expected of a much taller woman, someone not quite accustomed to her physique.


Garbo is shockingly androgynous, unfeminine, not glamorous in a way that is particularly startling considering the era in which she was a star. The 1920s and 30s were the time of Louise Brooks, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Bette Davis. All were actresses who made me love this era, the fashion, the glamour, the decadence of being a woman. We cannot understand how during a time of hyper femininity, a woman of Garbo’s rather dour constitution could have broken through to become a star.


Our confusion was only furthered upon seeing Garbo’s performance in Anna Karenina. Having first seen Vivien Leigh, it would naturally be difficult to have enthusiasm for another Anna – though the most recent Keira Knightley version was worth being made for the dance sequence with Count Vronsky alone. Vivien’s Anna conveyed vulnerability, softness, charm and glamour, making it obvious why Vronsky would fall for her over Kitty. Garbo lacked all these things and from the beginning conveyed only the sad, defeated side of Anna. We never felt the levity, the flirtation, the thrill of the lovers’ early meetings. We were never sold on any great passion, though granted, Fredric March was an awful choice for Vronsky.

The tragic, grand love, damsel in distress aspects of Anna Karenina were intended for a lady, a soft, gentle woman, everything we find that Garbo is not. It makes it rather difficult for us to see her even as a good actress as there is no movement, no dimension, no fluidity to her. Thus what we have learned is that we do not accept the appeal of Garbo as a star. We will no longer make the effort to see her films, in fact we’re rather inclined to avoid them. We re-learned that it is okay to go against the tide. We never liked ‘Moulin Rouge’, we never approved of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar win for ‘Shakespeare in Love’, we do not find Nobu to be the best sushi, we do not care for the Marc Jacobs line of clothes.

How satisfying to trust again in one’s own tastes…

Images via Wikipedia, Biography, The Guardian

Posted in : Classic Films, Ohh...  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In the Air: Art Deco

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

Gucci did it for Spring, inspired by the Chrysler Building, Versace on the red carpet, and along with Tiffany, everyone was made giddy by the release of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby.’ Before the recent wave of roaring 20s excitement, long beating them to the punch was Terence Winter, the creator of HBO’S Boardwalk Empire, now in its 4th season. But luxury, glamour and exuberance will never be passing trends, these are always going to have it’s aficionados and enthusiasts and remain associated with great style.

The term, Art Deco, derived from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes, was first used by the architect Le Corbusier to describe the colors, geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation of what was in the 1920s a new design style. Created by the French, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and a belief in technological change. From interiors to architecture, fashion and its accessories, and of course art, hints of this style, particularly the geometric shapes still make the most beautiful of decoration, at once a celebration of the modern, still best expressed in a classic way.

Art Deco Bathroom in 'The Women' 1939

Art Deco Bathroom in ‘The Women’ 1939

Tamara de Lempicka 1931

Tamara de Lempicka 1931

Gucci S2012






Angel Jakson

Angel Jackson

Images Via Silver Screen Modiste,, Gotham Magazine, Twigs n Honey, Vogue.Fr, Citizens of Fashion

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Classic Films, Jewelry, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Isabella Blow

Posted by Winifred on October 3rd, 2013  •  No Comments »

They could not be less alike. One a hollywood legend, graceful, quiet, a reclusive film star; the other an exuberant, over-the-top, highly visible, visionary promoter of talent. They were of different eras, different walks of life, of a different style. We watched Irene Dunne in ‘The Awful Truth,’ her hats big dramatic, commanding, and original statements,


but worn with the effortlessness and nonchalance of a baseball cap. As if they were a mere coincidence or an afterthought. And we immediately thought of the one person who could pull off even bigger, more commanding creations. Not just a wearer of hats, Isabella Blow was the signature of the hat. She was self expression through hats.


And as we look more closely, Isabella Blow and Irene Dunne shared not just an ability to own a theatrical hat, but they shared generosity, a commitment to ideas and causes they believed in and a spirit that for those who knew them, had impact and endured. Hats off to that…

Images via Buzzfeed

Posted in : Classic Films, Head wear, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Dressing for ‘Dinner at Eight…’

Posted by Winifred on October 1st, 2013  •  No Comments »

Dinner at Eight 1933

Dinner at Eight 1933

Author of “The Lowland” Jhumpa Lahiri, in a recent New York Times interview confessed if she could be any character from literature she would be Sebastian Flyte from “Brideshead Revisited.” She chose him, for the early parts of his life, because she has always wanted to dress for dinner. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Andre Leon Talley lamented the casualness of today’s dress. Repeatedly coming back to the theme of gloves. “It’s about gloves, O.K., darling?” “It’s about gloves. Listen.”

We’re listening, we were drawn to vintage fashion because we too desired to inject more theatre and spectacle into our lives. We were disappointed that Andre Leon Talley had emerald green boots made by Manolo Blahnik to match an emerald green spanish cape made by Nicolas Ghesquière, but did not wear them. He had nowhere to wear them to he said. We felt sure that he was to kind to create the occassion, rather than awaiting it to come.

Rest assured, there is hope for elegant dress yet. The cut out dress by Adrian in the 1933 film Dinner at Eight still has reach on the Fall lineup and even Spring. We will have to do more work to see which gloves to pair with what…

Via Fashion Gone Rogue

Versace F2013

Via Red Carpet Fashion

Carolina Herrera

Badgley Miscka

Emilio Pucci

Emilio Pucci

Images Via Fashion Gone Rogue, Red Carpet Fashion, Style

Posted in : Classic Films, On Style, Vintage Fashion  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Who we are and why we are what we are….

Posted by Winifred on August 26th, 2013  •  No Comments »


We have been talking to you for some time now about the things that warrant our attention. Delightful distractions that go on our mood board and keep us creating A World Refined. We realize that we have not yet shared much about us. We have not given you a foundation for all of these inspirations or signs for the journey on which we are taking you. Today, we would like to introduce ourselves and give you a peek at Winifred’s world.

We remember as a little girl watching our mother prepare for entertaining or an evening out.  In her bedroom was a vanity, her place for transformation. She would sit on a satin cushioned chair and use the vanity’s oval shaped mirror to apply her make-up.  The vanity is where she kept her lipsticks and perfume bottles; our favorite was a crystal dish with a body powder in it. Our mother would apply the powder to her décolletage with a lovely sky blue powder puff.  We still recall its scent and the sensuous act of her delicate hands ever so lightly dabbing the powder, with a careful press or two against her skin.  She would emerge in her heels, perfumed, painted, coiffed – a lady.  It was a glamorous time filled with ritual, ceremony and beautiful things crafted towards a woman’s enhancement.

This has continued to inspire our tastes and influence our outlook on life.  Refinement, ritual, the art of beauty. It is this we want to share with you. A World Refined is more than a website, it is a portal that is transporting and takes our readers to another time and other cultures – to a place of elegance. A World Refined offers beauty, creativity, revelation and surprise. Our website is a salon, a beautifully styled space, where we envision our style icons might gather.  Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich would all feel at home in this space and the conversation would flows effortlessly, gracefully. There is always something new, an unexpected detail, a unique point of view.


A World Refined makes the simple, decadent, stays away from the obvious and predictable - that which lacks grace. A World Refined is a transformation to elegance that is, for now, our site. As such, you will find that there are themes and people we continually come back to:


Our Style icons ~ Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Bianca Jagger. Our Style Point of View ~ the glamour, jet-setting, rocker chick style of the 70s and the decadent, more is more Art Deco style of the 1930s. Our Style Quirk ~ We never leave home without our gold necklace with an ogrie ai, black tourmaline (Provenance, Suriname) a Red Jasper Stone in the shape of a foot (Provenance, Spain) and gold snake bangles (Provenance, Suriname). Story to follow soon! Jewelry we covet ~ Cartier Love bracelet in rose gold & platinum, de Grisogono Sensual ring. Perfume ~ JAR Lightning. Necessary Extravagance ~ Flying first class on Arab Emirates Airlines Airbus 380, a return to the chic, exclusivity and service of air travel in the 60s. Style fetish we try to keep secret ~ We adore Gothic Victoriana, particularly as executed by Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci. In the event of a fire we would save ~ Jardins de Nouvelle Angleterre scarf (Hermes), gold bell sleeved maxie dress (vintage, early 1970s), chocolate brown & creme cloche hat (vintage, early 1970s), monogram trunk (Louis Vuitton).

Images Via Coco+Kelly, Sassysistah

Posted in : Dimensions, We digress  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,