Posts Tagged ‘Kay Francis’

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

C. Madeleine’s Miami

Posted by Winifred on September 12th, 2013  •  No Comments »

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For those who love not just vintage but the history of fashion, we believe there are few more compelling and gasp worthy excursions than an afternoon of browsing at C. Madeleine’s off Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard.  After hearing of C. Madeleine’s significant contribution to the wardrobe of the Starz network’s Magic City series, our expectations were high.  We had also, of course, browsed their well organized and accessible website, so honestly, the success of our visit was already established.

Two things we knew about C. Madeleine’s: their carefully selected collection spanned the last century, and their staff was incredibly knowledgeable.  But when we asked the lovely Manager Francy Freixas, for the 1930s accessories section and were offered a turban worn by Norma Desmond, we can’t say we were ready.  You mean Norma Desmond of Sunset Boulevard fame; only one of our all time favorite films, seriously?  It should tell you everything that after trying the stunning, in immaculate condition, sheer black turban, there were so many other distractions that we forgot to turn back for a photo.  It requires a disciplined and focused sort to shop C. Madeleine’s.

We next decided to play with the decades.  In our conversation with Madeleine Kirsh she explained how important it was to represent all the decades.  “You cannot understand fashion if you do not know it’s history.  How can you understand one decade without being aware of the influence of the preceding decade?”  With C. Madeleine’s she wanted to create a museum, albeit one where the art could be touched, held, and fully experienced. 

And what we experienced was a sheer organza and lace ruffled 1950s blouse paired with a creme silk skirt, the side slit of which did cause us to blush a bit.  There was something very Orry Kelly for Kay Francis in this look.  We felt a bit like ‘Mandalay’ 1934.  It’s why we took out the fan to complete our moment in the Orient.

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There was a Pierre Cardin blouse with a gathered skirt from the 1940s.  

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The ruffled neck of the blouse was quite dramatic, putting us in the mood to add even more.  Francy read us immediately; she had a sparkly cigarette holder in our hand before our fingers were even in position for it.  Of course they would have an embellished cigarette holder!  When asked if there was an era that she particularly favored Madeleine said, “the 1930s for it’s glamour and that is what C. Madeleine is all about – glamour!”  You will find that we too adore this decade above all others.  The glamour was in the details; it wasn’t just the clothes, it was the accessories, the hats, the gloves, the jewelry, the interiors.  The lifestyle was through and through all about glamour.

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While admiring the fit and gathers of the skirt our eye happened to fall upon a hat that immediately took us back to Bette Davis in ‘A Stolen Life’ 1946.   We just love the way it sits on the head at an angle, allowing the triangular view of the top to take center stage.

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But we can’t ever feel complete without a romp through the 1970s.  We need fitted waists, we need polyester, we need flare, we need disco.  A 1970s jumpsuit from Neiman Marcus delivered.  No embellishments needed, our dancing would provide that.

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C. Madeleine’s prides itself on selecting only the best of the best for its inventory.  Explains Francy, “we do not take a label simply for being a label.  It has to be the best of that designer’s offering, a unique piece that truly adds something to a collection.  We offer our clients an opportunity to learn something new with every piece we take in.”  Even once an item is accepted at C. Madeleine’s, the staff is thorough in researching each piece, authenticating it and only then offering it to its clients.   

Madeleine Kirsh

Madeleine Kirsh

Each of the staff members has their own area of expertise be it gemology as is the case for Francy, textiles, or draping.  Constantly teaching each other and continuously learning themselves, C. Madeleine’s and it’s staff has achieved Ms. Kirsh’s vision – it is a unique and fruitful shopping experience but also where one comes to learn.

Whatever we want, we now know exactly where to find it.  Our only concern now, our bank account…

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