Monday, February 19, 2018

Wearing Diamonds Babe Paley Style

A portrait of Babe by Richard Avedon.

I have been reading The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin, so have had Babe Paley on my mind quite a bit the past few months. In my online research for books or articles about her I came across a Town & Country article called “Babe & I” by Carol Prisant in the December 2010 issue. Ms. Prisant worked as an au pair for the Paley family one summer and her essay included her observations about Babe, William S. Paley, and of course, Truman Capote. I really loved this passage about a tenth anniversary present Babe received from her husband, which I thought I’d share:

Babe’s rivière Necklace. Magnificent! Photo by Richard J. Carson.

“To a college freshman from the Midwest who’d been hired to be the summer replacement for vacationing Zelly (Mademoiselle), they seemed a golden couple in a golden world. And when, on that hot July night, they exchanged anniversary gifts at dinner, I hung awestruck on every smiling word.

“The willowy, aristocratic Babe had given her husband a brilliantly patterned Vuillard. The powerful, roguish Bill had given her an exquisite diamond rivière necklace. First thing next morning, the Vuillard was hung above the mantel. The necklace reappeared that morning too.

Babe’s customary breakfast attire was one of two kimono-style robes. Each was of heavy matte silk with a wide, obi-like sash. One was daffodil yellow lined in milk-shake pink; the other, swimming-pool aqua lined in lavender. The sleeves of these robes were wide, and Babe always rolled back the cuffs to reveal the contrasting lining and her tan, fine-boned arms. On this Monday morning, she came to breakfast wearing her yellow-and-pink robe and her magnificent diamond necklace. She wasn’t wearing it on her neck, though. No. She’d wrapped it twice around her wrist.

I thought I’d die.”

What a great description of an unusual way to wear a rivière necklace! I found a few photos of it online but couldn’t find a picture of Babe wearing it. I did come across this photo of her wearing big pearls and fur, which I just love.

Not wearing the necklace but I love this picture of her in pearls and fur.

I read that the diamond necklace was made by Harry Winston and consisted of nineteen old-mine cut diamonds, with a smaller diamond between each, set in 18K gold. It came to auction at Christie’s in December 2010. It is divine!

A diamond rivière necklace owned by Babe Paley. Photo by Christie’s.

Let me know if you’ve ever worn a necklace as a bracelet!

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Sparkling Earring Trend to Try!

Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker during their Free Dance. Photo by Jay Adeff.

At the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which just ended yesterday in San Jose, I noticed two of the ladies, both an ice dancer and a singles skater, wearing earrings I think I would like to own myself—pavé ball studs. I loved the subtle sparkle they added to the ladies’ faces, which highlighted their makeup, especially their eyes. I also like the idea of something that is a little different than a classic diamond stud, which is my daily go-to earring. This seems like a fun way to add a little more of a glittering pop even with an everyday outfit and I think they would look great paired with a gigantic shawl or scarf to bring even more attention to them.

Love this picture of Kaitlin and Jean-Luc reacting to their Free Dance scores. Photo by Tony Avelar/AP.

Kaitlin Hawayek, above, a very pretty ice dancer, who, with her partner Jean-Luc Baker, skated their way to 4th place, wore a pair of the pavé earrings, as did Ashley Wagner, below. This is one instance where something on my Jewelry Wish List—which is quite long, always being revised, usually with items being added ha ha, and most of it concerning pieces of fine jewelry from the major houses—is very reasonably priced. Hooray!

Ashley Wagner waiting for her scores after the Free Skate. Notice the earring! Photo by Tony Avelar/AP.

A detailed shot.

I found several pairs from different brands at Lord & Taylor. I will probably go with an all-white look, but I could also see getting a pair in rose or yellow gold just to be able to wear them with different pieces in my jewelry collection. They all seem like they have great sparkle!

A version from Judith Jack.

In rose gold from Nadri.


The Nadri earrings on a mannequin. What a perfect size!

Let me know what you think of this look. If you already own a pair of these, tell me what brand you bought.

And, for anybody who watched, that was quite a Nationals this year, eh? Oh the drama of competition, not to mention the selection of the U.S. Olympic Team! Onto Pyeongchang!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hooray for the Block Heel

Bandolino pumps.

I have always admired the high-heel wearing skills of ladies who can don skinny stiletto pumps and click-clack around town on those slender heel tips. I think the last time I really did that was back in 2013 when I went to a wedding and wore black satin peep-toe pumps with a skinny heel. I managed all right that day but I never trust that shoes like that are going to hold my weight when I take a step!

Because I like something sturdier when I am wearing heels, I normally prefer block heels and when I was looking for a pair recently I noticed that there was no shortage of them on the market! I bought the Bandolino ‘Oceana’ pumps, above, from DSW, and they are pretty comfortable, with a 2.5 inch heel. I really like the ‘Campy’ Mary Jane by Manolo Blahnik, below, but they are way out of my price range and too tall anyway.

Love these Mary Janes by Manolo Blahnik but make mine black! And lower!

Melania in the kind of sky-high heels she seems to prefer. I would have to sit to wear these too!

It seems like Melania has worn nothing but stilettos in her first year as First Lady. The photo above was taken of her at Mar-a-Lago on Christmas Eve—and I do love those floral pumps (which I think are by Christian Louboutin)—but one pair she wore that I actually love a lot more are the bejeweled block heeled pumps by Dolce & Gabbana she had on last May. In fact I loved the whole outfit of cardigan, white cropped pants, and the block-heeled pumps embellished with faux gems. It looked comfortable and elegant and easy. Not to mention I love mint green with white!

Love these by Dolce & Gabbana but cut them down to 2.5 inches!

Great block heels on Melania (still can’t believe that guy next to her is president).

Are you a stiletto gal or do you like block heels? Or both?!? Let me know what you think of block heels and if you know a brand that makes a pair which are are especially comfortable, please share!