Sunday, September 30, 2012

Full Moon On A Gloomy Sunday

As the full moon coincides with a Sunday this month, I thought it was the perfect time to tell you the story about a song called Gloomy Sunday.

Rezso Seress

This song was written in 1933 by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezso Seress, with lyrics by poet László Jávor - who was inspired by a recent break-up from his fiancée. The lyrics is about the loss of a loved one, and a pledge to meet again in the afterlife. At first Seress had difficulties finding a publisher, mainly due to the unusually melancholy nature of the song. One potential publisher said about it:

"It is not that the song is sad, there is a sort of terrible compelling despair about it. I don't think it would do anyone any good to hear a song like that." 

Pál Kalmár

In 1935 the song was first recorded, with singer Pál Kalmár. It immediately became successful in Hungary - but that's when weird things started to happen. Gloomy Sunday became so associated with a high number of suicides that the Hungarian authorities reportedly banned the song from being played in public. This is when it was labeled as "The Suicide Song", and when papers around the world started writing about it, it was quickly translated into other languages and recorded by many other singers. One of the most known versions is the one with Billie Holiday.


Many urban legends are connected with Gloomy Sunday, and in the 1930s press reports associated at least nineteen suicides - both in Hungary and America - with the song. Several people had reportedly jumped into the Danube river, holding copies of the sheet music, killed themselves after listening to the song, or had been found dead with the lyrics written in a suicide note, or the music still on the gramophone.

Hungary did have a high suicide rate during the decade Gloomy Sunday was written, but these were more probably the cause of other factors, such as famine and poverty. But you never know...If you're a sensitive person who easily get affected by such things as music, and happen to listen to this song while in a very depressed state, I'm sure it can help bring you over the edge...One true fact though, is that Reszo Seress himself committed suicide in January 1968. He jumped out of a window in Budapest - survived the jump - and then choked himself to death with a wire at the hospital...

I first heard the song with Sarah Brightman, and fell in love with it. That was years before I knew about it's history though, and I'm still alive! So that's why I feel it's safe to let my readers hear it too. I'll give you three versions; the Hungarian original with Pál Kalmár, the one with Sarah Brightman, and lastly Billy Holiday's version. Listen at your own risk!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fabergé Friday

We have now reached number four in the line of Kelch-eggs: the "Apple Blossom Egg" or "Jade Chest Egg", from 1901!

The thin, polished surface of this egg is made from one solid piece of carved nephrite. It stands on four "branches" made of red and green gold. These branches then grow up over the egg as interlacing twigs with nots, veins, patches of moss, gold leaves and flowers with white-pink enamel petals and silver-mounted, pink foiled rose-cut diamonds. 

The design of the egg reflects the contemporary fashion of Art Nouveau and the Japanese style. This is one of the biggest eggs ever created by Fabergé, and it was designed as a jewelry case. The surprise inside is lost though.

The "Apple Blossom Egg" now belongs to Adulf Peter Goop, Vaduz, Lichtenstein.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

La Castiglione

Born Virginia Elisabetta Luisa Carlotta Antonietta Teresa Maria Oldoïni, Countess of Castiglione (March 22, 1837 - November 28, 1899), but better known as La Castiglione, this Countess was an Italian aristocrat known for her beauty and flamboyant outfits. One of her most infamous costumes was that of the "Queen of Hearts".

In 1856 and 1857 she caused a scandal by becoming Napoleon III of France's mistress. This led to a divorce between her and her Italian husband, but La Castiglione herself entered the social circle of European royalty.

In the same year she begun her affair with Napoleon, she also started a collaboration with photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson, that would last for four decades. This resulted in 700 different photographs in which she recreated the signature moments of her life for the camera, usually dressed up in theatrical costumes. She spent so much of her fortune on this project she ended in debt. Some of the photos are very risqué for the time, with La Castiglione showing her naked legs and feet. In all these pictures her head is cropped out though.

As her mental health started to deteriorate, she spent her last years in an apartment in La Place Vendôme, that she only left at night. The rooms she decorated in funeral black with the blinds drawn. She also banished mirrors, probably so she wouldn't have to see herself grow old and losing her notorious beauty. At age sixty-two she died, and was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetry.

Here are some of all those photos she spent her fortune to create:

And lastly - my favorite!

All pictures from Retronaut.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beats Antique - Contraption Vol. 2

A few days ago I got a lovely present in my mailbox - Beats Antique's new EP Contraption Vol. 2. I decided to listen to it on the bus ride home from work one late night. I pressed "play", and all by a sudden I wasn't on the bus anymore - instead I was sitting on a flying carpet, on a journey through a magical soundscape! During the time the EP lasted I flew through arabian nights, watched a beautiful flower ceremony in India, danced around a fire with gypsies, met a handsome hero, saw the sun rise over Egypt's ancient pyramids, and went slightly insane for a while - all while multicolored laser beams flashed across the night sky...Every track has been produced to let every sound - big and small - blend together like the ingredients in a perfect magical music-spell...

Here is a little taste of what I'm talking about - Skeleton Key:

Beats Antique is made up of producers David Satori and Tommy Cappel, together with dancer Zoe Jakes. Both David and Tommy has studied music from all over the world, and blend together musical styles and instruments from different countries with blues chords and electronic beats. A third dimension is then brought to the magic by the rhythmic belly dancing of Zoe Jakes, who has studied both ballet and contemporary techniques, and has worked with both Miles Copeland's Belly Dance Superstars, and Rachel Brice's Indigo Belly Dance Company.

If I ever get the chance to see this band live I will surely take it - and here come the good news for all of you living in the States; Beats Antique will head out on a tour, called "Animale Mechanique", that will cover 35 locations in North America and end with a once-in-a-lifetime show in front of the pyramids in Egypt on the Winter Solstice! Here are the dates and locations for the tour:

Both the EP and tickets for the tour can be bought on Beats Antique's official web site. 
And of course you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Shoes...Again...

Well, well. It happened again. I bought a pair of new shoes...But this time it wasn't my fault! I blame Lily of Opulence! She keeps on tempting my eyes with the most gorgeous things on Twitter, and one day she had posted a link to a pair of shoes for sale at 1stdibs. When I saw these shoes - a pair of mules from the 50s, of the label Frederick's of Hollywood - I almost choked on my coffee with chocolate milk! After contacting the seller about measurements and such, realizing they would fit my feet, and then waiting, waiting, and waiting, they now sleep soundly in a box underneath my bed, ready to be used by moi!!!

Frederick's of Hollywood was founded in 1947 by Frederick Mellinger. When Mr. Frederick - as he was later known among his clientele - came home to the USA from WWII, he brought with him the idea to start selling the elegant, sensuous lingerie he had seen in Europe. In those days the good girls in America wore white cotton undies, so he caused quite a ruckus whit his black, racy lingerie, sky-high heeled shoes, and other figure-enhancing foundation wear and accessories. In 1948 he designed and started selling the first push-up bra, called the "Rising Star". 

Later Mr. Frederick also started to design outer wear, and according to himself his goal was to offer "the most alluring, body-hugging, figure-enhancing outer fashions...always aimed at men." His lingerie was an instant success among Hollywood's movie stars, and part of his success was because he understood how both lingerie and outerwear, designed in the right way, can make women feel beautiful.

The shoes fit my feet perfectly! And one of the things I really fell for are the tassels made of small chains. As you can see they are attached to crystals to both the front and back, and when I walk they make a lovely little rustling sound. 

The heels are pretty high for being from the 50s, but that's how Mr. Frederick made them, and when you wear them they give your feet and legs that perfect pin up-look! These mules are also what is called "Spring-O-Lators". They have a piece of elastic attached to the inner sole - you can see it in the picture above. Since mules don't have anything really holding your feet inside them, this elastic was inserted to make them better attached to your feet, and not fall off while walking. It really helps, and I have no idea why they don't make'em like this anymore. So here's to Spring-O-Lators!...And tassels...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fabergé Friday

We have now reached number three of the Kelch family's Fabergé eggs: The "Pine Cone Egg", from 1900!

The pine cone is a symbol of resurrection, and this one is covered in translucent royal blue enamel over a sunburst guilloché ground, encrusted with rose-cut diamonds mounted in platinum. The date "1900" is written at one end, and covered in quatrefoil made of four pear-shaped diamonds. 

When opened into two halves, the egg reveals a fitted velvet compartment that holds the surprise - an oxidized Indian elephant automaton. The tiny animal is made of silver, gold, red and green enamel, and has tusks made of ivory. Each side of it is set with three rose-cut diamond collets, one which covers a key hole. On top of the elephant sits an enamel turbaned mahout upon a gold fringed, red and green guilloché enamel saddle cloth. The original gold key is still in place, and when wound up the elephant lumbers forward, shifting its weight from one side to the other, while at the same time turning its head and wagging its tail.

These sorts of Fabergé easter eggs were made for only a few customers, apart from the Imperial Family, and the Kelches were probably Fabergé's wealthiest private patrons.

In 1997 the "Pine Cone Egg" was offered by Christie's, New York, from the collection of Joan Kroc, but did not sell at the highest bid of 2.8 million USD. The presale estimate was 3.5 to 4.5 million USD.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Things I DON'T Want Right Now

So. Here we go again. The second part of my worst finds from the Fall/Winter 2012 Ready To Wear Collections. Time to bring out the barf-bags!

J. W. Anderson

I have seen many of my friends in latex. They all look very sexy. Here, something must have gone terribly wrong though...

Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott

If my boyfriend wore something like this...No, wait. I don't even have a boyfriend. Case closed!

Julien David

I know how she feels. Some days you just feel like dressing up as a white cactus... 

Junya Watanabe

...Or in a skirt made of dried poo...

Louise Grey

Here we have a clear case of "what happened?".

Maison Martin Margiela

"Bartender, could I please have a straw to my cocktail? A long one."

Maison Martin Margiela

This outfit is great if you have a habit of getting toilet paper stuck in your skirt! No one would notice!

Marc Jacobs

Can someone please tell me how big fashion designers can create things like this?!!!

Meadham Kirchhoff

I had a comment about this one, but I felt it was superfluous...

Miguel Adrover

Here, it's all about the hat!

Neil Barrett

And here we have the perfect jacket for back-pregnancies!

Proenza Schouler

Nice proportions...

Ter et Bantine


Viktor & Rolf

It's horrible how animals suffer because we humans want to steal their fur nowadays. Especially when the fur is used in a complete wasteful way - like in!


Ok. This last one just makes me cry. Did she forget to shave her leotard?...

Hyper Smash