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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I didn’t expect the last night’s red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute gala to be an emotional roller coaster, but it was! And that made it a challenge to determine the most worthy recipient of my coveted Best Dressed/Wear What You Want combo award.

The exhibit, “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” was a good excuse to dress like a silvery robot, which is a look I normally like a lot.

I wore head-to-toe silver to a Lady Gaga concert in 2010. Click for original post.

I wore head-to-toe silver to a Lady Gaga concert in 2010. Click for original post.

But so many attendees were inspired to go with that style that no individual stood out to me. Who knew that robot-style could get old? Sigh.

Then Karolina Kurkova’s light-up Marchesa dress and Claire Danes’s light-up Zac Posen dress seemed to save the day. Marchesa’s designers worked with IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, to create a very Marchesa-looking dress embedded with LEDs that changed color depending on the tone of Twitter comments about the gala. Watson was in charge of analyzing the tone of the tweets. It’s a bit “corporate sponsorship”-sounding once you get IBM involved, but I loved it, including the fact that Karolina couldn’t sit down on the way to the event. She had to stand in a big Sprinter van.

The Met Gala is about fashion as art, and sometimes we must suffer for art! It’s probably the one event where it’s a bonus if you wear a gown that prevents normal movement. The better to view you as a museum exhibit, my dear.

Claire Danes’s icy blue, Posen-designed Cinderella gown didn’t look groundbreaking in broad daylight, but in the dark, the fiber-optic-woven organza glowed. STUNNING!

These designs embodied the exhibit’s theme and were true to their designers’ styles at the same time, so they were the clear winners of my combo award … until I remembered that Katy Perry had already done the light-up dress at the 2010 Met Gala, with a design from light-up-fashion specialists CuteCircuit.

Katy Perry in 2010, via WWD. Click for my original post.

Katy Perry in 2010, via WWD. Click for my original post.

While examining CuteCircuit’s website, I realized the company had done a Twitter dress as well, back in 2012. (That dress had actual, readable tweets, too, not just mood lighting.) I couldn’t drag myself away from CuteCircuit’s website. Their custom-made pieces include the Galaxy dress, which I would very much like to wear.

Galaxy dress. Click to see at CuteCircuit's website.

Galaxy dress. Click to see at CuteCircuit’s website.

They even have some ready-to-wear. You can recharge the K-Dress via USB …

Click to see on CuteCircuit's website.

Click to see on CuteCircuit’s website.

… and wear it with Sparkle Booties and the LED-illuminated Mirror Handbag.

Click to see on CuteCircuit's site.

Click to see on CuteCircuit’s site.

This somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for last night’s dresses … maybe unfairly, because it’s not like anyone working today can claim to have done light-up dresses first. Designer Diana Dew did electric dresses with much less advanced technology in the 1960s (and it’s not even clear that she was the first).

Diana Dew in her own dress. Click for my original post.

Diana Dew in her own dress. Click for my original post.

Also,Twitter user Ken Nichols pointed out that Microsoft Research did a Twitter dress of sorts in 2011, a year before CuteCircuit, though I don’t believe that paper design, which involved projection, was wearable.

After pondering all of this information, I decided that Karolina and Claire were beautifully, perfectly dressed for the theme by inventive designers. But the catch is that my award is the Best Dressed/Wear What You Want combo award. To be eligible, you can’t merely look beautiful because that’s too damn easy! You must dare to be different. Therefore, my combo award goes to the woman who couldn’t wear a light-up dress to this event because she’d be repeating herself … Katy Perry.

Katy’s dark Prada gown with steampunk-ish brass key-and-padlock embellishments popped amidst the silver and light colors. She worked her hair, makeup and accessories into the look seamlessly. I appreciate that she didn’t undercut the dress with traditionally “pretty” styling choices. Her sleek, black beehive hairdo and short, blunt bangs struck me as retro-modern. Her bleached eyebrows, blue eye makeup and black lipstick screamed, “Fuck the ‘natural’ look.”

I’m crazy for a long black glove for evening, and the fact that Katy’s were fingerless made them even better.

A touch of humor is a good thing, and Katy provided that by attaching a white Tamagotchi to her dress — Tamagotchis being the demanding digital “pets” that were very high-tech and popular in the 1990s. Her date, Orlando Bloom, wore a matching one.

Katy gets extra-extra credit for her proud, Victorian-robot-lady poses and serving FACE for days. I like the contrast between her and the regular humans in this photo.

So there you have it. Karolina Kurkova and Claire Danes are regular best dressed, but Katy Perry is the winner of the Best Dressed/Wear What You Want grand prize. For Perry’s runner-up, I present Sarah Jessica Parker in her suit by Monse.

First of all, any time you want to dress like Adam Ant is the right time to dress like Adam Ant. Also, this was a truly radical choice because SJP knew everyone would look at her in bemusement, thinking, “Did you not get the memo? Hamilton is not the theme.” Her pairing of man-made and machine-made fashion was much more subtle than a robot dress. As she explained to the New York Times, Fernando Garcia, one of the Monse designers “… introduced us to these embellishment artists in Brooklyn called Le Studio Anthost, who take the idea of old-fashioned couture embroidery and, with technology, apply it to fabrications using paint. It was the perfect marriage of technology and the hand of man.”

Being willing to stick out like a sore, non-robot thumb meant SJP would have really given Katy a run for her money in my mind if her beauty choices and accessories made more of a statement. Speaking of beauty choices, a Best Dressed/Wear What You Want honorable mention goes to Lupita Nyong’o’s high-rise hairstyle, which (literally) elevated her shimmering, non-silver Calvin Klein gown to alien couture.

I have some other attendees to mention tomorrow. Overall, the thematic dressing was a big improvement from the disappointing punk efforts of 2013. Everyone gets an A for effort!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thanks to Barbara Palumbo of the blog Adornmentality for once again including me in her highlarious list of Mother’s Day jewelry suggestions.

Barbara suggests my FitzRoy the cat lariat necklace (18K yellow gold with oranges sapphire and a black opal) for what she calls the “‘My Kids Are Grown So I Adopted Nine Cats’ Mom.”

cat necklace resize 2

A close-up of the gold kitteh. Click to see on my website.

Read her post to laugh out loud. I especially enjoyed the punchline to the “Full Time Writer Mom” suggestion.

CLICK HERE TO READ “(Even More) Jewelry Fo Yo Momma”

Don’t forget to check out my Mother’s Day sale for yo momma (or yoself). Everything is at least 50% off!



Sunday, May 1, 2016

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.


And here are some highlights from Instagram.

Coming up tomorrow, we’ve got the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala. I’ll be keeping an eye on the red carpet, and I’m sure there will be some tweeting! Follow me on Twitter at @WendyBrandes. And click here to see my previous Met Gala posts.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Moms with hearts of gold deserve the gift of gold! Mother’s Day is just over a week away, so act fast and shop my sale. Several of my classic mechanical styles are available, including the Victoria buckle ring.


Click to purchase.

This ring opens up, so you can have a name or message inscribed inside.


The original sample had my dog’s name in it. Lindsay Lohan bought it years ago, with the name intact!

This design was named for Queen Victoria, the mother of nine children. Unfortunately, she didn’t like kids very much! One of the contributors to a BBC documentary on Victoria said, “Queen Victoria liked sex, but she didn’t like the result.” Oops! So on Mother’s Day, you should treat mom like a queen, but maybe not like THAT particular queen, okay?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It’s easy to get a bad impression of Coachella fashion, especially after the media deluge of stories about how to dress for music festivals, followed by the stories on how music-festival fashion has gone too far. Style cliches abound on Instagram and then are beaten into the ground by style writers: the culturally inappropriate Native American headdresses and faux-boho flower crowns of previous years; 2016’s bandanas, braids and black-ribbon chokers; perennials like fringe, face paint, crop tops and cheek-bearing denim cutoffs.

Cornrow-style braids were a very big look.

Cornrow-style braids were a very big look.

From all the press, I expected to be appalled when I got there, but after I looked around for a while, a few words that MrB has said to me many times sprang into my mind.

“So what? You’re on vacation!”

MrB says that to me when I’m berating myself for sleeping till noon after an insomniac night, instead of springing up to do all the great things I should be doing when I’m traveling. Believe it or not, I’m the one all full of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” while MrB is ready to go with the flow.

Pretty young lady in face paint and a flowing top.

Pretty young lady in face paint and a flowing top.

So, while I laughed a little to myself when I first saw stereotypical Coachella fashion in the flesh — frequently exposing a lot of flesh — it hit me pretty quickly that everyone was on vacation. And I love costume and theme dressingincluding concert outfits — so if there’s a Coachella look, why shouldn’t people have fun with it? It’s a way to take a break from regular life.

First glimpse of #coachellastyle …. #coachella #coachella2016 #coachellafashion #festivalstyle

A photo posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on

That said, I wasn’t going to any big-fashion-brand parties or taking it easy in VIP sections, so I left my beloved gladiator sandals and strangely awesome, ground-skimming shorts/skirt combo at home. I dressed to stand up to nine hours to see Guns N’ Roses from as close to the front row as I could get. My Coachella outfits were a version of my usual “I’m going to be standing all day and I’m going to stop caring how I look” general-admission concert look. Because I was all-business about it, I only took one full-length outfit photo, on the last day.

coachellaoutfitresizeWhat Wendy Wore
Hat: Philip Treacy (2011? After I got this one, for sure.)
Sunglasses: Opening Ceremony (2014)
Bandanna: Guns N’ Roses merch, from Coachella 2016
T-shirt: Coachella 2016
Bra with studded straps:From the NYC store Religious Sex, sometime in the 1990s
Denim jacket tied at waist: Vintage Kikit (bought from eBay in 2015)
Shorts: Current/Elliott (2014)
Boots: Fiorentini + Baker (Bought secondhand in Paris, 2013)

This was perfect for a day with a high of 92°F and a low of 53°F. In case you’re going to have a long concert day at a festival or anywhere else, I’ll walk you through what I wore and what you might need yourself.

Of course, a hat for sun protection is a must, and while wide-brim hats are stylish, a baseball cap won’t block the view of everyone behind you. Just because you’re a music fan doesn’t mean you have to be a rude asshole like the dude who was in the front row at GNR. You can see his straw cowboy hat coming into my view in this video.

Before the band came on and after the sun went down, I tapped him on his shoulder and said, with a big smile, “Your hat is gorgeous, but would you mind taking it off so the rest of us can see?” Dude was fucking hangry, because he shrieked, “I’ve been waiting here since 7 in the morning!” I asked, “What does that have to do with your hat now?” He said, “WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO, HOLD IT?!” Well, yes! But it stayed on his head and everyone stayed hating him. SMH.

Big sunglasses are also good for sun protection. I brought a pair that I like a lot, but that wouldn’t bring me to tears if they got lost or broken. I got the bandanna when we first got to the festival, though another day I wore a scarf I brought from home. It was very windy the first day and dust and pollen were everywhere. The parking lots and walk from the lots to the festival were the worst for dust, so it was good to have something to cover my nose and mouth.

Ready to brave the parking lot on Saturday. I got the scarf for free at Lollapalooza in 2011.

Ready to brave the parking lot on Saturday. I got the scarf for free at Lollapalooza in 2011.

I wore the Coachella t-shirt on Sunday after the black tank top I planned to wear had a messy encounter with my SPF 75 sunblock. Under sleeveless tops, I like to wear the Sweetees studded bra I got in the ’90s (I swear!) at an awesome, now-closed store on St. Marks Place that was called Religious Sex. It’s more comfortable than a strapless bra for a long day, and if a bra is going to be exposed, I like it to be something that’s meant to be exposed.

Shorts are obvious for such a hot day. (A long skirt would be comfortable too, but then you have to worry about someone stepping on the hem.) Even when I was 20 years younger — no! 30 years younger! — I didn’t wear cutoffs that showed cheeks, but I kind of enjoyed that other people were doing it. Yes, I saw more ass in a day than a proctologist sees in a month, but it was a joy to see men and women with all body types strutting their non-Photoshopped, non-filtered stuff. There was no body-shaming. Everyone was out there living his or her best life! It was like a special world where bullying classmates, judgmental relatives and Internet trolls didn’t exist to bring everyone down.

I got the denim jacket last year when I was reminiscing about my 1990s fondness for the washed-silk pieces made by the brand Kikit. I hit eBay looking for some old-school silk, but only found the studded denim jacket. I “bought it now” for $20. A jacket was a must for the night. It gets cold quickly in the desert after the sun goes down. And it was fabulous that I could tie it on and didn’t have to carry it during the heat of the day.

Detail of the Kikit jacket, post-Coachella.

Detail of the Kikit jacket, post-Coachella.

When I’m going to be standing for a long time with zero personal space, I go for a comfortable shoe with a closed toe. Sandals are asking for trouble. I already have a damaged toenail from MrB stepping on my foot many years ago (when I was wearing a shoe!),and I would like the other nine to stay in good shape. Also, the Coachella dust and the porta-potty situation? I don’t want my feet exposed to that, unlike the young ladies I saw stroll out of the toilet area with bare feet, a la Britney Spears. I wore the boots Friday and Sunday. On Saturday, I wore my most reliable, non-blister-causing concert shoes: the Prada sneakers I thought were ruined at Lollapalooza in 2011. After being soaked through by the rain during that festival, they dried out nicely and I’ve been wearing them ever since!

I wore my hair in two little braids. They weren’t the stylish braids I saw on a lot of other women, but they’re the only style I can manage by myself that keeps my hair under control while outdoors or swimming. After standing by a headbanging gal with long, loose hair during Guns N’ Roses, I wanted to pass a law requiring hair to be contained in some way in close quarters. Her hair kept touching my face! I had the cowboy hat in front of me and the hair-flinger to the right of me. I’m glad Axl Rose made that performance worth the tiny aggravations … which actually don’t seem that tiny after hours of standing in one place.

You can see the braids here, as well as my 1980s vintage Canal Jean t-shirt, which I wore on the first day. I had on the same shorts and boots that are in the full-length photo.


My gorgeous sister gave me that t-shirt late last year. She was about to get rid of it and I couldn’t let it go, because we were obsessed with Canal Jeans (as we called it) back in the day. It wasn’t fancy like Fiorucci, but it was a must for the pistol belts we wore over our oversize t-shirts. The Canal Jean t-shirt wasn’t as huge as some of the ones we used to wear, but the sleeves were big and floppy enough to make me cut them off.

The cheap fabric crossbody bag I brought back from Costa Rica last year didn’t make it into the outfit photo. It would have been more Coachella-y if I carried the fringed leather Prada bag that I usually wear to concerts, but the Costa Rica souvenir was bigger and lighter. Leather is so heavy, plus do you really want to be stuffing your water bottles and sunscreen into a nice bag? Get yourself something big and lightweight. If it’s really ugly, like my bag was, you’ll get over that after you’ve stood for hours in the sun, dodging a straw cowboy hat and being tickled by someone’s hair. There’s a point where you don’t care about anything anymore!

There you have it: What to wear to a music festival if you need to be practical. If you’re more about soaking up the atmosphere and don’t need to be practical, go ahead and rock out with your cheeks out … and don’t forget your blue wig!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

From the media coverage, you might think that everyone who goes to the Coachella music festival in Indio, Calif., cares more about fashion than music. (Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times — praising the way clothes serve the message in Beyonce’s new visual album Lemonade — writes, “It is the anti-Coachella: the opposite of a musical event leeched of meaning by branded commercial enterprises.”) But I can assure you that plenty of people besides me and my concert-going friend Jessie were there for the music. Not parties. Not ribbon chokers and face paint. The music!

The first Coachella weekend — our weekend — was April 15 to April 17. On Friday, my favorite acts were two singers I’d seen before. I’d liked the music of Christine and the Queens (the stage name of French performer Héloïse Letissier)  when I saw her open for Marina and the Diamonds in New York last November, but I was situated very far away from the stage that night. Seeing her from the front row at Coachella made me love her.  I didn’t get to appreciate her Michael Jackson-like dance moves and theatricality before.


Christine and the Queens.

She also had mad stilt skills.


Christine on stilts, wearing a glitter suit.

Coincidentally, the day after I saw Christine in November, I saw Ellie Goulding.  At Coachella, I saw Ellie a few hours after Christine. They go well together!


I didn’t take any photos of the duo Purity Ring that night, but if you haven’t heard them, look them up! They were new to me and I liked them.

The next day, my first priority was seeing the rap duo Run the Jewels on Coachella’s main stage.

Killer Mike and El-P of Run the Jewels.

Killer Mike and El-P of Run the Jewels.

Seeing Bernie Sanders introduce RTJ’s Killer Mike (a big Bernie supporter) and El-P via video was cool, but I was there to see my gorgeous rapper friend Gangsta Boo perform her verse on “Love Again.”

The performance coincided with the release of this surprisingly kinky, National Geographic-type video for “Love Again.”

I was going to tell you why “Love Again” is so much more than the usual sexed-up rap track, but Thomas Johnson nailed it in this essay:

“Stereotypes and gender roles and masculinity and lady-like behavior are all uncouthly thrown to the wind, where the birds and the bees are fucking.

Jessie and I lurked on the sides during the RTJ concert, avoiding the frenzied mosh pits that broke out among the music lovers. We stayed at the main stage, moving closer to the front during the Chvrches set, and even closer during electronic-music duo Disclosure‘s set. Disclosure brought out some good guests: Lorde

Hello, Lorde!

Hello, Lorde!

Sam Smith

Sam Smith with Disclosure at @coachella …. #samsmith #disclosure #coachella2016

A video posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on

… and Lion Babe.

Yesterday at #coachella … @lionbabe performing with Disclosure #coachella2016 #lionbabe #video #disclosure

A video posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on

By the time Ice Cube came on, we were in the fourth row.

Ice Cube from N.W.A.

Ice Cube from N.W.A.

Cube brought out his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. — who played Cube in last year’s N.W.A movie Straight Outta Compton — as well as former N.W.A colleagues MC Ren and DJ Yella. We were hoping for an appearance by Dr. Dre as well, but Cube saved him for the second weekend of the festival. Dang! At least we got a Snoop Dogg appearance.

Snoop Dogg.

Snoop Dogg.

By the time Guns N’ Roses hit the same stage at 10:30 p.m., Jessie and I were in the second row. (A number of exhausted concert-goers gave up early and were lifted over the front barricades by burly security guards.) I never saw the group live in its heyday, though I was there in person for an unfortunate performance at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. I thought, “This is either going to be really good or really bad,” and it was really good! Lead singer Axl Rose, suffering from a broken foot, was confined to the rock-and-roll throne he borrowed from the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, but his voice was on point.

Axl Rose in Dave Grohl's throne. Click for my 2015 photos of Dave.

Axl Rose in Dave Grohl’s throne. Click for my 2015 photos of Dave.

Unlike the disastrous MTV performance, original GNR members Slash …


… and Duff McKagen were there.


At a festival, you often get an abbreviated version of performers’ usual sets, but Guns N’ Roses performed for a whole 2 1/2 hours.

Another view of Axl.

Another view of Axl.

By the time GNR finished at 1 a.m., Jessie and I had been standing at that stage for nine hours … and that’s not even our longest concert day ever!

After a very successful Saturday, I was totally mellow about Sunday’s schedule. The only performance I desperately wanted to see was Sia, who didn’t come on until 9 p.m. We showed up in the late afternoon, in time to catch some of 1990s punk band Rancid.

Then we floated around here and there until it was time for Sia. Consequence of Sound wrote, “Coachella is losing its shit over Sia’s performance,” and that’s a pretty good description. As Billboard said, it was more like performance art than pop music, and the people around me were in absolute awe.

Sia stood perfectly still on stage with her face obscured by a black-and-white wig topped by a giant bow.


The action was provided by dancers who portrayed the emotions of each song. It initially seemed that the dancing was being projected onto the big video screens over the stage. Actors including Paul Dano, Kristen Wiig and young dancer Maddie Ziegler appeared … but those videos were actually pre-recorded. The dancers onstage so expertly imitated the moves in the videos that it wasn’t until I noticed some differences in lighting and angle that I realized something else was going on. Fascinating!

Sia’s big bow reminded me of one of Lady Gaga’s 2009 looks, and I kept thinking that this is what Gaga should have done for her second act … disappeared in plain sight. How do you top being in everyone’s face in a meat dress? The best bet would have been to show nothing. But you know the corporate suits would never have approved of anything that daring for Gaga. Bureaucrats always want artists to stick with what worked in the past.

Anyway, I was so blown away by Sia’s performance that I wanted to hang onto that mood, so I skipped DJ Calvin Harris’s closing set. I sent Jessie to that on her own while I took myself on the Ferris wheel. I love Ferris wheels.


I heard Rihanna make her “surprise” appearance (that Jessie totally predicted the day before) during Harris’s set while I admired the view.

The festival from above.

The festival from above.

That was fine. I was still flying high on Sia … and resting up before Jessie and I left the festival after midnight and drove directly from there to the airport for our 5:30 a.m. flight. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?! Staying awake during that drive was more brutal than all the time I spent on my feet at the festival.

Come back tomorrow for my Coachella fashion post. Hey, just because I’m all about the music doesn’t mean I didn’t notice what everyone was wearing!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.

On my business Instagram, I gave Taurus babies a good look at my Bull and Bullfighter Maneater ring. And on my personal Instagram, I shared plenty of photos from the first weekend of Coachella.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The choker necklace has gotten so hot so fast this spring — especially at Coachella — that Vogue is ready to declare the style so over in favor of ankle bracelets, aka anklets.

When I saw that tweet, I was like …


… because last June, I declared anklets were due for a big fine-jewelry comeback.

Click to read the whole post from June 2015.

Click to read the whole post from June 2015.

Stick with me if you want to get an early jump on the hot jewelry trends, people.

I have some new anklet styles debuting this spring/summer, but in the meantime you can shop my barbed wire style from last year. I have it in silver …

$350. Modeled by Eryn Patton. Click to purchase.

$350. Modeled by Eryn Patton. Click to purchase.

… 18K yellow gold with diamonds …

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

… and my personal favorite, platinum and diamonds.


Click to purchase.

I’ve been all about using platinum in unexpected ways, and not a lot of people dare to put platinum around their ankles!

Speaking of the Coachella music festival, if you follow my personal Instagram, you know I was there last weekend, accompanied by my concert-loving friend Jessie.

If you follow Taylor Swift’s Instagram, you know she was also at Coachella last weekend and wondering if chokers are the new flower crowns.

I feel like maybe chokers are the new flower crowns?

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Flower crowns have been a very popular and increasingly mocked part of Coachella fashion for years. Based on my observations, the crowns are indeed over. I saw one or two gals with cat-ear headpieces made of flowers, one or two guys wearing the old-style flower crown, and one young lady with a good sense of humor sporting a crop top that read, “Fuck your flower crown.” (Nope, I don’t know where you can get one of those tops!)

I even managed to get through the first two days of the weekend without spotting a non-Native American wearing a feather headdress. It seems the notion that that is offensive to Native Americans has finally gotten through to people. (Then, on the last day, I saw a couple of guys wearing them.)

But chokers! Chokers were everywhere, so common that they’re already dead to It girl Alexa Chung. What I saw were mostly black fabric or plastic chokers, and those are dead to me too. Those inexpensive trend pieces weren’t all that attractive in the 1990s, and they’re not any better now. I’ve always loved a fine-jewelry choker. Those never get old to me.

I got my first beautiful choker from my mother, who gave me her own piece while I was still in grade school. I used to wear it as a bracelet as well as a choker. Admittedly, this one is costume jewelry, not fine jewelry, but it’s pretty damn stunning and it’s still in good shape after all these years.

I've still got it!

I’ve still got it!

Much later, but before I started designing jewelry myself, MrB bought me an exquisite aquamarine, platinum and diamond choker by Cathy Waterman. I wore it to Lutece for my Y2K New Year’s party.

That's me in the middle! Click for original post.

That’s me in the middle! Click for original post.

A few years after that, I got this pearl, diamond and yellow gold choker from the diamond wholesaler with whom I would eventually go into the jewelry business.

Seen in 2014.

Seen in 2014.

I first wore a version of that choker to the Oscars in 2003, with the Versace dress I found at a consignment store.

I'm looking for a bigger photo but this is all I have right now.

I’m looking for a bigger photo but this is all I have right now.

That was my future business partner’s original version of the choker. As you can see, it was too big for me. Later, she made one in my size, and I’ve been wearing it for the past 13 years … including to this year’s Vanity Fair Oscar party.

Basically, people wearing or over-wearing black ribbons on their necks aren’t going to put an end to my lifelong love for a gorgeous choker. You can’t compare ribbons and real jewelry! Judging from her envelope-pushing new “Needed Me” video, Rihanna is on my side, because the pearl choker she wears looks hawt paired with her gun and exposed nipples. As you can see from my “twins” collage of me and Rihanna below, a pearl choker looks just as good with MrB’s white shirt.

Stay tuned for the platinum choker I’m working on. I’ll introduce that this spring/summer. In your more immediate future will be my posts on what I wore and, more importantly, what live music I saw at Coachella.

Friday, April 22, 2016

I meant to wish Queen Elizabeth II a happy 90th birthday yesterday, but then we tragically lost another royal and I had other things on my mind. So happy belated, Liz!

My jewelry line is inspired by powerful women, especially royals, and one of my very first major designs was my Gloriana necklace, adorned with more than 2 carats of diamonds in honor of Elizabeth I.

The Gloriana necklace as seen on model Tina J.

The Gloriana necklace as seen on model Tina J.

I haven’t created a design in honor of the first Elizabeth’s namesake. In general, I avoid immortalizing living people unless I know them personally. But, I admit, I am increasingly tempted in this case. It’s sometimes a single anecdote of royal attitude that inspires me, and Liz the Second is so damn queenly! This story about Margaret Thatcher is just as fabulous as what Elizabeth I had to say about the height of Mary, Queen of Scots. And I love how she’s firmly resisted the possibility of abdication in favor of her son Charles … thus far. Personally, I hope the latest rumors are untrue and she rules till the age of 101 just to piss people off.

Also, I’ve seen Elizabeth II in the flesh twice, so in my mind we’re … well, not best friends, but definitely good acquaintances who could have Pimm’s together once in a while.

Speaking of royal get-togethers, did you see the photo of President Obama meeting two-year-old Prince George today?

That little robe and those big cheeks! George reportedly got to stay up 15 minutes past his bedtime in order to shake hands with the president.

UPDATED TO ADD: I forgot to mention I totally need to be the Queen’s social media guru.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Devastating! Another icon gone too soon.

June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

Just yesterday, I’d been reassured about Prince’s health after reading that he’d appeared before fans on Saturday to show them that he was okay after being hospitalized for the flu. I was checking up on him because of a blind gossip item that seemed to be about him, claiming he was at death’s door. I thought, “This garbage is always wrong. Let me prove it’s wrong.” I was happy to take the fact that he was up and about as a good sign, but perhaps I should have taken this statement that he made at face value: “Wait a few days before you waste any prayers.”

It was hard enough that Prince’s protege Vanity died in February; like Prince, she was only 57 years old.  I felt like I lost an important part of my past with her! Now, for Prince himself to die … well, it consoles me a little to imagine Vanity quickly painting the pearly gates purple, so that Prince can dance through in style.

Let’s Go Crazy” from the movie Purple Rain has always been one of my favorite Prince songs. (My all-time favorite is the B-side of “Let’s Go Crazy”: “Erotic City.”) I vividly remember listening to it during a dance in my high school gym. The lyrics were always intense for a party song, and they feel much more intense today:


“We’re all excited/
But we don’t know why/
Maybe it’s cause/
We’re all gonna die

And when we do (When we do)/
What’s it all for (What’s it all for)/
You better live now/
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door.”

I’m pretty confident that Prince really lived, literally right up until the end. The man gave his last concert exactly one week ago.

UPDATED TO ADD: Prince had fashion sense like no other. Check out the 45 photos Billboard has put together.

UPDATED AGAIN TO ADD: Here are some interesting links.

Vintage Prince interviews/cover stories:

Performances and reviews of performances.

Prince’s fashion and appearance:

The women in Prince’s life:

Prince and business:

Prince and Minneapolis:

Personal essays:

Celebrity/musical tributes:

Details of death:

Prince and religion

Why we grieve for artists and why that’s okay:

Princely lists:

Princely humor:

Click and maybe you'll get the video unless YouTube has taken it down.

Click and maybe you’ll get the video unless YouTube has taken it down.

Finally, in a class by itself, Prince’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” guitar solo from the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute to George Harrison. (Someone tell Steve Miller that SOMETHING good came out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!) Prince himself was inducted into the Hall of Fame the same year.

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