Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Mayle for Sale

While I am deciding what to keep and what to sell, Caroline has emailed me with another dress she's selling. This one is the Mirabelle dress in ivory from Resort 08--until now, the final regular Mayle collection :). It is a size 6 and is $250 or best offer.

I have this dress in black--it's a great, easy and beautiful dress with such amazing details as the bow by the top of the neck. It works well belted or straight and is great for the 90-something degree days we're having right now.

If you are interested, please email Caroline at complicatedskirt[at]gmail[dot] com.

Thank you!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mayle Returns--More Details

So, here's the latest. There will be over 30 pieces in the collection, including the shoes. It debuts September 22 at 19 E. 71st Street--Sigerson's uptown store. Shoes will be designed by Jane but produced by Sigerson-Morrison.

Back to School

While I'm not quite back to teaching yet, the semester has begun in many other ways. Today I had a 10-12 meeting. I spent the weekend writing syllabi and gathering materials (books, dvds, etc.), a task I continue today, Then I have to activate the Blackboard portions of each class, post materials and syllabi and generally get back to teaching--something that will take its toll on my writing. 

Furthermore, our professional organization's annual conference submission deadline is Wednesday. After I've finished with this syllabus, I think I'm going to have to cut down the chapter fragment I'm submitting into a short proposal.

All this tells me fall is around the corner, yet the sun is blazing down and it is 90 degrees out there. I am probably not the only person who wishes it was still early summer. I love my students and I love teaching, but I also like the summer--long days, fresh fruit, warm breezes--and the freedom it gives me to write.

Friday, August 27, 2010


My Tripoli dress arrived from Diani today and it is beautiful--soft, lightweight cotton, fits tts, and it is a lovely shade of coral. I'm really pleased. If anybody is interested, they still have them in stock in sizes 4, 6 and 10. They also have other Monteiro for 80% off and are currently having a 50-80% off sale (with free shipping).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mayle Pop Up

As many of you likely now know, there will be a pop up shop and a shoe/boot line in collaboration with Sigerson Morrison this fall. I hope this is a harbinger of Jane returning to something like full time designing. I also hope Domahoka has the line so people can buy it from afar. I will be reporting the details as they come out and, of course, visiting the pop-up when my schedule permits to report on styles. As there will be a website and lookbook, we will all be able to see new Mayle again soon for the first time.

I imagine prices will be on the high side as this is a new and limited collection (and therefore higher production costs). I imagine it will be something like the pieces Jane has produced for Septieme Etage in Geneva, although probably around 30-50% cheaper. Still, I'm anticipating it may be $800-$1,200 for a dress (or even her old price points of $600-$900) so I won't be buying the whole line. Certainly, I'll have to parse the collection carefully to ensure I get the right items for my life, ones that complement my closet. Hopefully the shoes and boots will be in stores for longer than the dresses, given that they are a collaboration with S-M

Here's the email about her comeback--hopefully, Jane will return again soon, for longer than three weeks:

Hope everyone is well! I wanted to let everyone in on a little secret. Jane Mayle is making a comeback in the form of a pop-up shop in late September. It will last for about 3 weeks. Dresses, coats, tops, handbags, shoes, and boots. A full collection for Fall 2010! I have been happily assisting Jane on this project, and am excited to share the news with you. Along with this Mayle pop-up, Jane is also collaborating with Sigerson Morrison (uptown) with shoes/boots, and they will also be carrying select pieces from the line.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mayle for Sale, Part 4

Next up is the Danya dress from Fall 07, size 6, lightly worn--pictured above. This dress is in a thick winter lace with a wool top. I have three other dresses from Fall 07 in similar fabrics that I tend to wear instead of this one so I decided to part with it in the interests of a streamlined closet.

I am reluctant to let this one go. In the interests of full disclosure, the winter lace fabrics this dress is made from tend to pill very slightly--the dresses in the store were doing the same. This dress is no different--it has a slight nubbiness in places but it is not noticeable when on and does not distract from the dress's beauty.

I am having some problems with blogger so some of these pictures may not display as they should. I've pictured the back buttons and the front of the bodice to show the lace inserts in the side.

In terms of size, this runs true to size to a little large. It would fit a 6 or small 8.

If you are interested, please leave a comment below. Thank you so much.

Dress as styled in the lookbook--belt was not included.
Back of the dress

Mayle for Sale, Part 3

I think I tried to add too many images to my last post so I'm starting another post for this item.

Up for sale is the coveted Fabienne vest from Fall 08 in a thick yet soft gray wool. This piece sold out immediately and while I love it, I have no idea how to wear it. After keeping it in a drawer for well over a year, it's time to part ways. It's unmarked but I believe it is a size M or L. Because of its open sides, it would fit a M to L, possibly even a S. Sorry about the upside down photo! I can't get it to rotate in blogger...

                                                                 Front of the sweater

                                              Back--front has slight cables, back is ribbed.

                                                                Button up neck.

If interested, please leave a comment below. Thank you.

Mayle for Sale, Part 2

I'll be posting a few more pieces after this. I'll start with a fall item that has never been worn.

First up is the Fedosia jacket, new without tags. I've never worn it--which tells me I just have too many jackets. This is from Fall 07 and is an 8. It runs true to size but given its loose silhouette, it could also work for a size 4-6 or even a 10. It's made of a thick wool and lined in a silk/acetate blend.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Mayle for Sale, Part 1

I'll be posting several items tonight. It's certainly closet-cleaning time as a friend of mine also has a few items for sale. I'm starting with her pieces as I haven't photographed mine yet.

She will also consider trades.

Cyra blouse, resort 2008-9, Size 6. This was one of the rare pieces from Jane's final collection and sold out very quickly. Gently worn, perfect condition. Contact gutentier [at] gmail [dot] com

Sasha dress, Fall 2005, size 6, brand new, without tags. This was one of the stand-out pieces of this stunning collection. Hard to find then (it sold quickly), it's really tough to get now. If interested, contact
gutentier [at] gmail [dot] com


I'm trying to pare down my closet. Just today, Evan pointed out that he'd need the room I've been using on the overflow rack for his fall clothes--I already took over both closets so he has a point. Later tonight, I'll be posting some photos of Mayle items I'm selling, with some Lyell following up and then some miscellaneous other items, like the Rachel Comey dress that didn't work for me.

But paring down is only part of it. I've also got to learn that just because a pretty item catches my eye, then goes on sale, and then is reduced again, that I don't have to bite. Case in point, the Penta Surface to Air flats I wanted were marked down further just for this weekend. I decided, for once, that prudence should rule the day--I have my flat Mayle and Devotte sandals that have seen me through most of the summer and still look good enough for another year or more. Fall is on the horizon, so I probably have no need for them. Want, yes--I still want them. But needs and wants have to be separated and so I let them pass. Maybe I'll pick them up if there is another reduction, but there is nothing like exerting some self-discipline.

True, I did get the Tripoli dress, so I'm not exactly as virtuous as I want to be. But baby steps...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Jeffrey Monteiro

In between writing yesterday, I took a few breaks to search for those last few summer items I wanted which are likely sold out, on sale in sizes other than my own (8, M-L) or maybe hiding in odd corners of the ecommerce universe.

As luck would have it, one turned up: the Jeffrey Monteiro Tripoli dress which I wish I'd bought instead of the Banda when Gilt had their sale (if anybody wants a size 10 Banda, email me/leave a comment as it really doesn't fit me and alterations would be prohibitive). A store called Diani in Santa Barbara have the Tripoli in all sizes in gray and in a 4 in the adobe, the color I bought--just $97 with free shipping. Here it is:

Now all I have to find is a Rachel Comey Cabin dress in L (the brown cotton version) and I will have the summer items I coveted the most.

Next up: fall, and pruning down my closet. I've decided I'll be selling with my unworn Mayle Fedosia jacket (size 8), unworn Fabienne vest (I believe a L) in gray wool, lightly worn Danya dress (size 6) and some other goodies, including a Mayle blouse and possibly another couple of dresses. I hope to have photos up later this week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jeffrey Monteiro, Fall '10

I was thrilled to receive the Jeffrey Monteiro fall lookbook the other day. I have to admit that very little from this fall excites me so far--although there are some things I've seen in magazines and online that are beautiful, but out of my price range (like the Prada stacked patent leather heels and thick socks).  I even started a post that I'll publish later centered around the items that excited me, but other than a J. Crew mini skirt and a dress that isn't in my size, I couldn't find much worth blogging about yet--I know as pieces come into stores, I'll change my mind and post that entry later.

Although there were some amazing jackets and coats, the JM looks were not all to my taste, which may be just as well given that I so want to save some money this semester. Some of them are lovely though and the styling is impeccable--I just love the pops of jewel colors. These looks all spoke to me in some way:

My screenshot cropped the image because my laptop isn't quite big enough to capture the whole image. But I love this dress--it captures my desire for something with long sleeves, a little interesting detail and some movement.

I really like this jacket and top. There is something very Mayle about the shirt and the jacket adds a nice twist on fall layering.

I don't really need any more coats, but this one is really interesting and would be something I could team with box pleat skirts, simple winter dresses and tweed minis. It would also transition well into the colder months with jeans and pants and be great thrown over a spring dress.

Another fabulous dress combination makes me wonder which coat to buy... I also love the boots Jeffrey has designed for this season. Some of these looks are already available at Stuart and Wright in Brooklyn--I feel I have to check them out when I'm in the area next week.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Today I wrote the first ten pages of the first draft of the first chapter (actually chapter 2) of my new book. It feels like it's really coming together after the last six weeks of reading, screenings and research--if only I was in this position back in June! Still, it bodes well for getting the book proposal in by October, before midterms start creeping in and grading curtails my writing.

I have a huge committee assignment this year too, for our professional organization. Low on prestige, high on work, it is still something I need to do. Hopefully next year, I'll get something a little cushier, but in the meantime, it will cut into any kind of leisure reading this fall.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I received some sad news this morning. My brother's cat Hugo died last night after a thyroid operation yesterday. He had hyperthyroidism and the drugs he was prescribed didn't work. My brother and his wife are devastated.

Hugo was a large, happy, affectionate and outgoing cat--one of my earliest memories of him, back from when he was a kitten, was of my brother making a turkey sandwich to take into work for lunch. One piece of turkey went in the sandwich, one in Giles' mouth and another to Hugo, who was standing on the counter patiently awaiting each treat. And so it went until the sandwich, brother and cat were full. Hugo was the kind of cat who thought he was smaller and more graceful than he was--my brother would joke that the birds he stalked were probably laughing at the fat cat trying to catch his prey.

Most of my Hugo photos aren't on this computer but I'm going to add some more of him tonight from my old laptop. Below is a photo of him doing one of his favorite things--eating--with his sister, Mollie. His other favorite pastime was cuddling with his mum and dad and any of his many human friends.

He was a very lovely boy and I will miss him very much.

Monday, August 16, 2010

J. Crew Finds

No, this isn't yet another post about what I bought this weekend. Indeed, I was good and spent literally nothing all weekend (save Friday night's dinner). Evan has been out of town so I've caught up on watching some dvds for this chapter (like the fabulous Footballer's Wives which I'm ploughing through right now) and viewing shows from the DVR that he hates--Come Dine With Me (which I watch with the folks when I'm home), On the Road with Austin and Santino (two of my favorite PR contestants ever) and The Rachel Zoe Project. It's funny because I think he'd appreciate the last episode where Rodger shows his frustration with his wife's obsession with clothes and retreats to watch football and drink beer with the lads. I've also done a lot of yoga and can really feel the ache in my arm after two and a half hours straight yesterday. I had a private class with one of my favorite instructors, Brendan (only by default as nobody else came) which was really helpful and a lot of fun.

It's been very quiet this weekend but I've had good company--Cindy and I have chatted a lot online as we're both on our own right now. Thank goodness technology can erase some of the distance between friends, even if the time difference remains. The cats have also been their usual affectionate self, but Remy missed Evan a lot at first, sitting right by the door waiting for her Daddy to come home.

J. Crew is having another 30% off final sale items starting today. I may skip this--or wait to see what comes back in stock--as some of my favorite items have sold out. I like the following pieces but do I need them? Possibly yes for the skirt, but I'd rather get it in the slightly darker color (pictured) not the pale ivory color--the only one left in my size. As J. Crew sale stock is often replenished, I'm holding out for the tan which I might very well get.

I was also thinking about this top but I suspect the neon pink is really more neon than the color on my monitor. I also don't know if this is a necessary item given all the other striped ts I own. And won't the sequins make laundering difficult? It's hand wash, on the other hand, which would make it more doable.

I am going to hold off as I'm trying to be good and I also want to see what else might trickle in. The last time they had this promo, more items came in and I ended up ordering twice. So patience may win out.

I have to say that the J. Crew miniskirts and striped t-s have become great staples in my closet. Here's some pictures of my finds from my last J. Crew sale purchase--all of which (I believe) are still available online.

OK, so the picture is way too dark (I'm not wearing tights and I have white, white legs) but the flash would wash it out completely. I got the foil striped t-shirt which is made of a fairly heavy cotton--I really like it and it is quite visible. I'm also wearing the silver beach cardigan--with the 30% discount I paid about $20 for the top and $60 for the cardigan. The skirt is blue cotton chambray from J. Crew which I got in store for about $21. It's rare I wear all of one brand and truth be told, the skirt was teamed with my eden print Mayle top earlier on--the cardigan and t-shirt had just arrived from UPS.

This image shows the top in more detail. I love it. And as you can see the skirt has pockets! It's the Calvary skirt and the ivory and pale versions of it are still available online at J. Crew for $19.99 minus the 30% discount. My version was more expensive (I think they keep getting it online for $39.99 but it's currently not there) but if you see it, I recommend it highly as the most versatile skirt for spring/summer/fall.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mayle for Sale

After much soul searching I've decided to go gently and part with a couple of summer items first--I will be selling my Fabienne vest from Fall 08 too as it has never been worn, but I'm starting with two pieces that duplicate other items in my closet. As a result, they have rarely been worn. Nonetheless, I will (of course) dry clean both pieces before I ship them out. Both are in excellent shape.

First, the Nieves dress, size 6. This is the limited re-edition version of the Nieves top from SS 08. It's made of the black dalmatia silk which I also have in my Josie romper and have found to be very practical and hard wearing. It has pockets in both sides (a big selling point that alone nearly led me to keep it) and falls just above the knee. The top has the same embroidery finish as the Nieves blouse--in this version of the dress, it's black on black. This is a great easy dress. As for sizing, I'd say it would fit anybody in the 6-8 range. It is not lined, by the way, which makes it great for warm summer days. It also looks great worn as a jumper or with a cardigan. I can also send more photos--it's so tough to capture the details on a black dress.

I lightened this photo to show the detail and the yoke. I did the same with the picture below--apologies for the focus problems.

Second is the ivory and yellow Anais from SS 07. This dress is made of a thicker cotton blend and has an Asian inspired cut. It is fully lined and has a stand up collar. There is a little piece of fabric that can be used to bridge the front opening, or it can be worn without it. It runs a little small (I have the 10 in two colorways) and is shorter than the Nieves. I'd say it would fit an 8, even a 6, as well as a small 10. I'm tall--5'9" or so--and on me it runs to about mid thigh. It's a good spring/summer dress and would transition nicely into fall with tights and boots. It has beautiful workmanship and detailing, most notably on the beaded collar but also on the short slits on both sides (about 2 inches long) which are trimmed with the same fabric.

 And here's a picture of the dress on a mannequin to give you an idea of the drape:

I'm open to offers on both. I'd prefer to sell than trade if possible. The black dress sold but if you are interested in the ivory please leave a comment below.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Contemplating Closet Cleaning

Sorry about the alliteration, but I've been thinking about selling some of the items I don't wear. I'm not a believer in the maxim that if you don't wear something in a year, out it must go. Maybe this works for people who live in the same climate all year round, like LA, but like so many people who live in areas where there are four seasons, temperature variations can result in an item being left unworn for over a year. Take this summer for instance. With a less than warm spring and horribly hot, humid summer where the cooler days are generally rainy, I've opted not to wear most of my silk summer dresses. As anybody knows, humidity and/or sweat and silk is not a great combination. If the fall is cold, several beloved dresses may very well stay unworn for a year. And, no, I'm not selling. I also have several pencil skirts which are currently very much out of rotation but I'm certain they'll be back in at some point. Likewise party dresses (no weddings, bar or bat mitzvahs or anniversary celebrations this year), but I know that won't be the case in every year. I also have some longer dresses--I prefer above the knee but some can't be altered without destroying the design. At some point, hems will dip again and these will be ready for me.

I could cite more, but this is evidence enough that this rule doesn't work for me--although I'm sure retailers and advertisers love it. Besides, I remember the time I had a huge, merciless purge in Madison. Out went my favorite draped jersey halter top, a vintage green and purple trapeze dress that was very Mad Men (wide at the back, narrow at the front), a black halter that had been very useful in the summer months, a pair of wide legged black pants that I had loved amongst things I was happy to see go. Even today all of these pieces would still be great--if I still fitted into them. I also must have parted with my beloved vintage 1942 red silk utility blouse with tiny square buttons (it was a work of art, more so because it was made with such limited fabric during rationing and yet still draped perfectly). Several months later, I scoured my apt., looking for these items, only to remember that they went in a black bin bag and out to a charity store.

Granted, I tend to be sentimental and hold onto things for longer than needed, based on memories and even fantasies these items embody. But paradoxically, I also believe you have to let the old go to let the new come in. And with limited NYC closet space, sometimes a purge is a must. It's nearly a year since the last one and as I've added more items, some of the old ones are on line to go.

When I say old, I actually mean new. Most of the pieces I'm thinking about selling, on this very blog, are ones I haven't worn. In most cases, this is because they duplicate other items and have not been the pieces I chose to wear. For instance, I will probably list my Mayle Nieves dress as it is somewhat redundant in a closet that includes Bibi, Pina and Mirabella in black--all of which essentially have the same purpose and get picked more often. A fourth black sleeveless summer dress isn't as necessary as I thought. Likewise, I may sell my ivory Anais as I opt for the purple more often, even though the ivory is incredibly lovely with its yellow trim.

Other decisions are more tricky and hear-wrenching--especially as I know everything I'll part with I'll likely never see again. And it isn't as though there is a new Mayle collection every few months to distract me. Still, I ponder whether I should keep Monica and the matching slip when I have yet to wear them or do I wait for longer dresses to come back in style? What should I do with Penilope given that it isn't a dress I chose to wear often? Does Araceli look right on me--it's beautiful for sure, and having seen it on Alison Lewis the other day, I'm wondering if I could part with it. But does it look even half as good on me? What about the Lyell moon print dress--I've never worn it and will I ever wear it? It's so pretty but is it just a tiny bit too small for me?

That's just the Mayle part of the equation. Granted, those decisions--and those over the Lyell that I'm going to sell--are the toughest. How do people purge? I can hand over shoes that have crippled me on the one (in the house) wearing, or donate most old Club Monaco, J. Crew, or Rebecca Taylor items to charity with nary a twinge, but how do you part with something that you still love but may not wear enough to hold onto it? I have to make some decisions soon or else I'll not be able to buy any more clothes this fall--and Evan will soon be collecting his fall clothes from the dry cleaner, so I have to find some way to remove my clothes from his closet and clothing rack. Your advice is welcomed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wayfarer Dress

My Rachel Comey Wayfarer dress arrived yesterday from Kick Pleat. As Biscuit's comment suggested, it runs small, although I found the shoulders fine and the bust plenty big. I have a reasonably small waist, but certainly it is nipped in. I also had to wriggle in and out of it--thankfully I was forewarned or I would have panicked at that point. All in all, it is a beautiful dress but I am going to have to wait for a less humid day to try it on and decide whether it is a keeper. I love the fabric (which is a little thicker than I thought), the design, construction and feel it could transfer well into early fall. But the issue of the fit remains, as with much of Rachel Comey's SS 10 line. She has to do something about it--currently I'd guestimate that her XS is a small size 0, her S a small 2, her M a 4 and her L a 6. I know fabric costs money but a M should be 6-8 and an L 10-12. As a 6-8 with broad shoulders and a small waist, I should be able to fit into an L comfortably and even get into an M. Some of her Ls from this year barely fit me and other similarly sized friends. For a brand with no standalone store that likely relies a lot on mail order, this seems a bad idea--if boutiques get a lot of returns, they won't order from the brand again.

I really want to support designers, like RC, who manufacture in the US, especially given the ecological benefits (less fossil fuels used in transporting goods), job preservation (no sweatshops and less erosion of first world manufacturing base, with the job and skills benefits that entails) and the ancillary benefits to local economies. I realize this means higher prices but that involves making more careful choices elsewhere. There is such a paucity of designers who still produce clothes in the Garment District, particularly those whose work I can afford. I just wish Comey could get her sizing right. Her shoes are also out of my range--size, not price--as they run very narrow and small. It would be great if she did something about this as I know I'm not the only size 8 out there with size 40-40.5 feet (which is at least an 11 in RC even though it is a 9.5-10 elsewhere) who would like to buy some of her line in the future. If this downsizing continues, I'm effectively sized out of her clothing. And as someone who likes to think of herself as far from plus-sized, just tall, this seems insane--and bad for what has to be a small business.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kitty Kapers

My dear friend, Jenny, is a film archivist whose research involved curating, preserving and analyzing a women's newsreel from the 1920s and 30s called Eve's Film Review. British Pathe has put many of these films online. As part of my research and teaching prep, I was looking through them, and I found this irresistible number. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Food-centric Weekend

I've been somewhat remiss in posting recently, partly because I've been out of the house. Marti was in town and I was lucky enough to see her and Alison on Friday. We did the usual round of consignment stores--Marti found two great Mayle dresses, a bag and some Prada shoes in INA on Thompson. They couldn't find one of the shoes, but she still made out very well. It looked as though I'd be virtuous (for a change...) but I bought a sequinned skirt in J. Crew. It's evidently a store only item but it looks very much like the skirt on the cover of the recent catalogue. With my faculty discount, it was under the sales tax threshold, saving me about $24. Other than INA, there was little to no Mayle, and what there was was overpriced and unexciting.

After a lot of window shopping, we had dinner at Northern Spy which was really good. The tomato salad was incredible, prompting me to buy some wonderful heirloom tomatoes yesterday at the Union Square farmers' market. I ate most of the salad myself as Evan isn't a tomato fan, and then sliced more on my brown basmati rice at dinner time (other items were salmon in chimichurri sauce and broccoli rabe with farmers' market garlic). I'm trying to get all my produce at the market where reasonable given that so much good stuff is in season--organic grapes and pineapple are still the preserve of Whole Foods, however.

Saturday, I went to yoga with Alyssa, then she came over for breakfast (Evan made scrambled eggs with cheese on Murray's bagels), then we did a little work before heading out to meet our friend Kara in Prospect Park to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. We headed to Bedoin Tent in Boerum Hill to pick up some freshly made pitta bread (there's is the best), hummus and baklava (still warm from the oven). We also brought blueberries (I ate all of them) and carrots. When we met Kara, she was in what she dubbed, "the longest line she'd ever seen." It truly was, although I wasn't surprised. It turned out that 20,000 people were there. The show (and the food) were amazing, and the company as good as ever. The weather was beautiful, the setting wonderful and it all added up to a perfect evening.

Friday, August 6, 2010

More arrivals

My Rachel Comey sailor dress arrived yesterday--it's lovely and the fabric is really beautiful. I will photograph it, but the fabric is iridescent so it may not show the detail. The plaid silk is embossed with a diagonal pattern, from what I can see, making it look almost black at some angles. There's also a lot of workmanship (the inside of the dress is beautifully finished) and the sleeves are lovely. I'm glad I got an L as this season definitely runs small.

I just ordered the RC Wayfarer dress from Kick Pleat. This weekend, their 50% stock is marked down to 70% off, so it came to under $150 with shipping. I've not tried this one on and hope it fits, given the odd sizing from this season, but it just goes to show how overpriced the RC sample sale was--this season's dresses were over $200.

Getting this makes up for the disappointment of losing yet another ebay auction for a Mayle dress in the last seconds earlier this week. It also makes me realize that I have to economize a lot this fall as I've ended up getting a lot more clothing in the last few weeks than I thought I would.

In addition, I hit up the Club Monaco sale yesterday after acupuncture. I've been disappointed in the store for the last couple of years--it seems to have lost its way, both in the sense of repeating old staples to the point of boredom and trying new things, many of which never quite work even if the ideas and fabric are fundamentally sound. Their sale selection--and prices--are not so good these days either. On the plus side, they give a discount with a faculty or student ID. I went to the 5th Ave store yesterday and their sale section was packed with merchandise (I think they may ship here from other stores). I got a long soft lightweight tan cashmere v-neck cardigan with pockets for around  $72 (it was $89 before the faculty discount) and a cropped cotton cardigan with short bell sleeves in grey for around $33 (was reduced to $39 from $99). I liked both when they were full price--they were two of the few items that gathered my attention. Both were in relatively short supply so I doubt further reductions would occur in those colors, but if the v-neck cardi is further reduced in the other colors (two greys and a blue), I'll grab another.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It's been quite a week for packages in our house. First the J. Crew, then the dvd orders have started coming in. I'm awaiting my RC dress today while watching the extras on the Valley of the Dolls dvd for that section of my chapter on female group films.

July and August aren't just the time for clothing sales--there have also been a glut of amazing deals on DVDs. I'm awaiting a package of half price Criterion Collection dvds from Barnes and Noble--part of what appears to be an annual deal. For those who don't know, Criterion have the best prints, transfer and extras in the business, so their discs run about 50%-100% more than most releases. They also specialize in art, avant garde, repertory and less known films, although they have also released versions of critically acclaimed hits. Their dvd are well worth the extra price--the Vampyr disc has three documentaries, a book on the film filled with critical essays and the best transfer of the film I've ever seen. This time, I ordered some British Hitchcocks--one with another complete 1930s non-Hitchcock film as one of its extras, the Nick Ray film Bigger Than Life, the Eclipse Alexander Korda collection (I need his Private Life of Henry VIII for my British Cinema class), Cocteau's Belle et La Bete, Marcel Carne's Les Enfants du Paradis, Lean's Brief Encounter and Sirk's Written on the Wind. It's tough to limit oneself when the prices are so good but I reminded myself there would most likely be another sale at some point--one where I could also purchase their about to be released Josef Von Sternberg silent film set.

Yesterday, I also received one of my biggest covets--the expensive and extensive Murnau and Borzage at Fox box set. F.W. Murnau was one of the most acclaimed German film directors of the 1920s, with some dubbing him the most talented of his time. He came to the US studio Fox in the late 1920s and made some of the most critically renowned silent films, including Sunrise which some consider the finest silent film--and maybe the most beautiful film--ever made. I'm not sure it deserves this level of renown (what film does?) but it is a great film. Prints of Murnau's work have not survived in the quality and quantity of some of his peers, like Fritz Lang, and his American work is tough to find on dvd until this set was released. It includes a number of his last films (he died in a car wreck in the early 30s) and some reconstructions of lost films (either as fragments on a disc or in book form). Frank Borzage is not well known today but was one of Murnau's peers who lived much longer and directed some of the most beautiful and poetic silent and sound films. The set includes some of his late silent and early sound films, as well as books and documentaries. I've wanted it for ages but at $240 plus tax, I couldn't justify it--even though it is tax deductible as a research/work expense. Right now, amazon has it for $130 (plus tax) and free shipping. I got it yesterday and the box weighs a ton--it's beautifully packaged and I'm going to have hours of fun with it.

My other arrival was my second J. Crew order. I took photos which I'll post soon. I'm really happy with both items--the t-shirt fits well, is a thicker cotton and the silvery-gold strips are beautiful. I will live in the cardigan when it gets a tad cooler--it's a lovely thick knit blend that will be useful for all but the most extreme weather.

Now I have to economize. As the sales wind down, most of what I want has sold out, is not in my size or is out of my price range. There are a few new J. Crew arrivals I like, but most are not in stores yet so I have time to consider getting them or waiting for further reductions.