Friday, September 16, 2011

The Power of Red

In my next life I'm coming back as Christian Louboutin.

While it's true he has as many ugly shoes as beautiful ones, I must admit that Christian Louboutin has done a hell of a job at branding himself. He has captured the nation's imagination and its material-girl urges with his trademark red-soled pumps. It doesn't hurt that he strives to make women's legs look longer, that his shoes are often seen on the red carpet on the likes of Renee Zellweger and Katie Couric, and perceived to be costlier, more desirable, more exclusive, and of a better quality than his competitors. Temporarily, at least, he has surpassed Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik.

I understand that there have been trademark disputes with Yves St. Laurent. Can you really trademark a color? And who was the first to do it? The designer Valentino claims to have done it in the 70's. It appears that Louboutin has lost the first few rounds. It does not matter.

While I do not profess to be an expert in trademark law (or women's fashion), I know what I like and what works for me. Do these shoes work?. Hell, yeah they work. More power to Louboutin on the day he first applied red lacquer nail polish to the underside of a lady's shoe.

It is a simple, bold stroke of genius and he deserves the success that comes to him.

The power of red and black together


These are the girls I was supposed to go to the beach with last winter.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good, Better, Best

Surfing around the internet this morning, I came upon this perfectly acceptable Dooney & Bourke chronograph. It got me thinking about several others like it.

Available at Zappo's, $155.

At 38mm, it is a little small. But me, I almost like 'em that way. We'll call this one "good". Next up in the "better" position, we have the Tissot PRC200 chronograph, a good quality Swiss quartz at $291 from Amazon. I like the fact that the sub-dials are a little less contrasty. I would prefer it with a leather strap, however. I also wish the case had more of a sandblasted finish.

This next one I'm going to call "better yet". It probably provided the design inspiration for the Dooney & Bourke. Very rugged. Very military. Very nice.

Bell & Ross Vintage 126. $2,720 at Pacific Bay Watches.

Here is my personal favorite, though, from a design standpoint, pared down to the essentials, where nothing can be added, nothing taken away:

$880 at Gnomon Watches. The Best.

The other day, a couple of days before she went off to college, my older daughter said to me "you're really into country music these days, aren't you?" Kids these days are so perceptive. (Love ya, buddy.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stanley Duff Muttlebury - "One of the Presidents"

Just a word on the new logo. I notice that at least several of the blogs I admire use an image of some sort to go along with their blog title, something which gives the blog a personality and gives the reader a sense of returning to a familiar place. So I thought I'd give it a go. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get into the swim of things, but here is my first try. I own a copy of this Spy print. Unlike other collectors, it is the only one I own, but I certainly can see how people catch the bug and go on to collect large numbers which adorn the hallway or an office.

This send-up appeared in Vanity Fair on March 22, 1890. Here is some of what the article had to say:

"Born three-and-twenty years ago he became a “new boy” at Eton in the Easter Term of 1880; where, although he only took “Lower Middle,” he determined to make himself conspicuous. So, being a big boy for his age, he donned “tails” and “shiny buttons,” and presently showed much promise as a “wet bob”; which he has since redeemed. For, having successively won the Lower Boys Sculls and Pairs, he proceeded to develop into a rowing machine; and in that capacity he has since worked with fair regularity, breaking down much less often than the machinery of any of Her Majesty’s ships has been known to break down in any equal space of time. He won the School Sculls at his second attempt, and he helped to win the Ladies’ Plate in 1885; after which he was reasonably welcomed to Cambridge, where rowing men were smarting under pretty frequent defeat on the tideway; and where he is now worshipped for four successive victories which he has helped achieve over Oxford. He has won the Cambridge Pairs thrice, the Fours and the Sculls once, and last year he rowed in the Head Boat; while at Henley he has won the Goblets thrice and the Visitors’ once. He still lives in hope of winning the “Grand,” as well as a fifth victory over the Isis men. Yet he is not so good an oar as he was two years ago.

Like most machines he is adapted for one purpose only, and consequently he is not a brilliant scholar; yet he has a head which, it is currently reported, can stand more than that of any other man. He is a fine swimmer, who has scored nearly as many pots in the water as he has on it; and he has upon occasion run at a good rate and played football with fitting violence. He always likes to get a good start in a race, and rows better when he does so; yet he has never started before the word “Go” has been uttered. He takes delight in tearing either side off a boat, for he can row on stroke or bow side. He is a brilliant conversationalist, for in himself he has a never failing subject of conversation in which he is well posted; and he is the strongest man on earth (in a boat) as well as the most ugly.

He knows more of life in London than most men of double his age know, and he weighs fifteen stone when untrained. He can tell stories, and he is supposed to be the most successful pot-hunter in England.

He personifies the triumph of matter over mind."

His obituary, published in The Times of London on May 5th, 1933 called him "the greatest oar Cambridge has ever produced."

Information shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia. For more, go here.
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