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New York City: Fifth Avenue Stroll

A PICK-ME-UP: LET’S CELEBRATE FRIENDSHIP AT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH MY FAVORITE LIONS: FORTITUDE AND PATIENCE, SCULPTED BY EDWARD CLARK POTTER AND THE PICCIRILLI BROTHERS, 1911 (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

A PICK-ME-UP: LET’S CELEBRATE FRIENDSHIP AT THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY WITH MY FAVORITE LIONS: FORTITUDE AND PATIENCE, SCULPTED BY EDWARD CLARK POTTER AND THE PICCIRILLI BROTHERS, 1911 (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

By Theadora “Golightly “ Brack

Celebrating Galentine’s Day, I’ve got a wonderful idea! Let’s do things we’ve never done before, starting with Champagne before breakfast. It’s in the icebox, darling! Pop open the bottle while I make a list of sights to see along Fifth Avenue. Never a thumping bore, we’ll shop hop ’til we drop. Grab your sunnies!

Don’t you just love it?

Love what? Macy’s at Herald Square, that’s what. Commandeer a few chairs, while I trap the pretzels and French fries. I’ll tell you one thing: I’m mad about this place.

After we’ve admired the vitrines, we’ll gaze up at the nearby Empire State Building, the closest thing to heaven in this city. It’s still true. However, before crossing, do look both ways or else you, too, will have a star-crossed Affair to Remember! Besides, Cary Grant left the building years ago.

HURTLING INTO THE BEAUTY SPOTLIGHT: IT’S RAINING BEADED BAGS ON FIFTH AVENUE, SO DON’T FORGET YOUR SUNNIES, BUCKETS, AND WHEELBARROWS, TOO (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

HURTLING INTO THE BEAUTY SPOTLIGHT: IT’S RAINING BEADED BAGS ON FIFTH AVENUE, SO DON’T FORGET YOUR SUNNIES, BUCKETS, AND WHEELBARROWS, TOO (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

DO GAZE UP AT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING! BUT BEFORE CROSSING, LOOK BOTH WAYS OR ELSE YOU, TOO, MAY HAVE A STAR-CROSSED AFFAIR TO REMEMBER! (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

DO GAZE UP AT THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING! BUT BEFORE CROSSING, LOOK BOTH WAYS OR ELSE YOU, TOO, MAY HAVE A STAR-CROSSED AFFAIR TO REMEMBER! (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

1. Macy’s, 151 West 34th Street (at Broadway)

Rowland Hussey Macy’s “World’s Largest Store” has been shimmering at Herald Square since 1902. Curious about the store’s “star” logo? It’s a salute to the tattoo that Macy got when he worked as a teen on a Nantucket whaling ship in the 1830s. Perhaps R.H. had Moby Dick in mind when he created his first whale of a sale?

Tip: If you dig time travel, don’t miss the original Otis L-type escalators, located smack dab in the middle of the revamped fragrance hub. The escalators with the wooden treads run between the 8th and 9th floors. Going down? Hold onto the railing because it’s a bumpy ride, but worth every click-clack and jiggle.

STRAIGHT AS A COLUMN: HERE AT LORD & TAYLOR IS WHERE I BOUGHT MY VERY FIRST FITTED SUIT IN NAVY BLUE WITH WHITE PIPING DAZZLE—ON SALE, OF COURSE (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

STRAIGHT AS A COLUMN: HERE AT LORD & TAYLOR IS WHERE I BOUGHT MY VERY FIRST FITTED SUIT IN NAVY BLUE WITH WHITE PIPING DAZZLE—ON SALE, OF COURSE (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

2. Lord & Taylor, 424 5th Ave (at 38th Street)

Each time the heaps of handbags greet me as I make my way to the Lord & Taylor’s elevators, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby pops to mind: “They’re such beautiful shirts,” Daisy sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts.’” This goes double for bags. Pass the hankies.

FLASHBACK: A NEW WORLD EXPO AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, PHOTOGRAPHED BY LOUISE DAHL-WOLFE, STYLED BY LORD & TAYLOR, HARPER'S BAZAAR, 1939 (T. BRACK’S ARCHIVES)

FLASHBACK: A NEW WORLD EXPO AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, PHOTOGRAPHED BY LOUISE DAHL-WOLFE, STYLED BY LORD & TAYLOR, HARPER’S BAZAAR, 1939 (T. BRACK’S ARCHIVES)

SIGN OF THE TIMES: LORD & TAYLOR WAS RECENTLY SOLD, SO GET THEE QUICKLY TO “THE DRESS ADDRESS,” AND EXPLORE IT LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

SIGN OF THE TIMES: LORD & TAYLOR WAS RECENTLY SOLD, SO GET THEE QUICKLY TO “THE DRESS ADDRESS,” AND EXPLORE IT LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

That’s what they said

In 1925, Lord & Taylor commissioned an artist to create a miniature Saint Patrick’s Cathedral out of starched handkerchiefs. Talk about pressed for success! On the first day of the launch, the store sold thousands of hankies at 25 cents a pop. How’s that for pulling out all the props?

Tip: Lord & Taylor was recently sold, so changes are right around the hairpin curve. If you’re in the city, get thee quickly to favorite “The Dress Address,” and explore it like there’s no tomorrow, starting with the gilded revolving doors and elevators.

LET THE SUN SHINE THROUGH: CAFÉ AT SAKS, BOASTING MOD CATBIRD PERCHES AND A PANORAMIC VIEW OF ROCKEFELLER CENTER (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

LET THE SUN SHINE THROUGH: CAFÉ AT SAKS, BOASTING MOD CATBIRD PERCHES AND A PANORAMIC VIEW OF ROCKEFELLER CENTER (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

3. Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 5th Avenue (at 49th Street)

Now, let’s roll on up to Saks. The year of their grand opening was 1924. At the crack of dawn, hundreds of sightseekers appeared, including boxer Jack Dempsey.

“Rush of shoppers opens Saks Store! Crowds so large even stenographers are pressed into service as Saleswomen. First package to President Coolidge! False report that Prince of Wales is there causes stampede of women to men’s department!” Such were the zippy headlines in that day’s The New York Times.

Tip: During a recent visit, I discovered the store’s café on the fifth floor. With its mod catbird seats and panoramic view of bustling scene below at the Rockefeller Center, it was difficult to stop at just one (very affordable) cup of coffee, I must admit. I was in heaven. Chocolate is sold here, too. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I got weepy.

NEW MODE BEFORE AND AFTER FIVE: OUI, OUI TO THE MIU MIU TROUSERS WITH THE SPORTY SIDE STRIPES AT SAKS, I SAY! #STARTSAVINGPENNIESMISSBRACK

NEW MODE BEFORE AND AFTER FIVE: OUI, OUI TO THE MIU MIU TROUSERS WITH THE SPORTY SIDE STRIPES AT SAKS, I SAY! #STARTSAVINGPENNIESMISSBRACK

BRINGING HOME THE GOLD: YOU WON’T GO HANGRY UP IN THE CAFÉ AT SAKS WHILST STUDYING PROMETHEUS BY PAUL MANSHIP, 1934: CHOCOLATE IS ALSO SOLD HERE (PHOTO BY T. BRACK)

BRINGING HOME THE GOLD: YOU WON’T GO HANGRY UP IN THE CAFÉ AT SAKS WHILST STUDYING PROMETHEUS BY PAUL MANSHIP, 1934: CHOCOLATE IS ALSO SOLD HERE (PHOTO BY T. BRACK)

4. Bergdorf Goodman, 54 5th Avenue (at 58th Street)

Herman Bergdorf and Edwin Goodman’s flagship moved on up to 54th Street in 1928. Overlooking Central Park and the Grand Army Plaza, the view is a stunner when the Callery pear trees are in bloom (even if they’re a bit smelly). Also, keep your eyes peeled for the Plaza Hotel. Located next to Bergdorf, The Way We Were is just one of the many movies to feature this hotel.

FOOL-FOR-FANCIFUL: I COULD ALMOST HEAR THE BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S SOUNDTRACK SOFTLY A-DO-DOING AS I MADE MY EXIT AT BERGDORF GOODMAN (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

FOOL-FOR-FANCIFUL: I COULD ALMOST HEAR THE BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S SOUNDTRACK SOFTLY A-DO-DOING AS I MADE MY EXIT AT BERGDORF GOODMAN (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

Tip: For the first time ever, I recently explored the entire department store. I had a ball as I rolled through each and every tiny showroom like a high roller. On the 7th floor, I discovered an exhibition featuring gems from Berdorf’s own archives. My eye spied shots of the vitrines, advertisements, and sketches by Balenciaga and Dior.

Then, as I swooped down though the fragrance department, I succumbed to Robert Piguet’s powdery Petit Fracas. I sprayed it not only my wrists, but also on the back of my neck—letting the cat out of the bag. I could almost hear Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack softly a-do-doing as I made my exit, floating all the way.

BRIGHT IDEA: FRIDA KAHLO AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN MAKE GLITTERY CAMEO APPEARANCES WITH A FLOURISH OF RED IN ASHLEY LONGSHORE’S ART AT BERGDORF (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

BRIGHT IDEA: FRIDA KAHLO AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN MAKE GLITTERY CAMEO APPEARANCES WITH A FLOURISH OF RED IN ASHLEY LONGSHORE’S ART AT BERGDORF (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

DÉCOR INSPO DEEP WITH LUSTRE: LONGSHORE’S PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES WILL BE ON DISPLAY AT BERGDORF GOODMAN THROUGH THE 27TH OF FEBRUARY 2018 (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

DÉCOR INSPO DEEP WITH LUSTRE: LONGSHORE’S PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES WILL BE ON DISPLAY AT BERGDORF GOODMAN THROUGH THE 27TH OF FEBRUARY 2018 (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

As Anaïs Nin described New York in the 1930s: “I love the proportions, the amplitude, the brilliance, the polish, the solidity. I look up at Radio City insolently and love it. The newness. The vitality. Just bring your own contents, and you create a sparkle at the highest power!”

It’s still true. So keep on strolling. Keep on sparkling! And Happy Galentine’s Day!

(If you are an Instagram fanatic, please leave a link below. Here’s where to find more of my Paris pics: @theadorabrack)

JUST BRING YOUR OWN [MATCHY-MATCHY] CONTENTS, AND YOU CREATE A SPARKLE AT THE HIGHEST POWER—ANAÏS NIN (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

JUST BRING YOUR OWN [MATCHY-MATCHY] CONTENTS, AND YOU CREATE A SPARKLE AT THE HIGHEST POWER—ANAÏS NIN (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

OODLES OF POODLES: GAL PALS SHOPPING AT BERGDORF GOODMAN, 1960S, 7TH FLOOR EXHIBITION #ACCESSORYGOALS

OODLES OF POODLES: GAL PALS SHOPPING AT BERGDORF GOODMAN, 1960S, 7TH FLOOR EXHIBITION #ACCESSORYGOALS

FRENCH CONNECTION: CARRIE BRADSHAW’S FAVORITE MOVIE HOUSE, LOCATED NEAR BERGDORF AND GRAND ARMY PLACE—A CITY HAVEN INSPIRED BY PLACE DE LA CONCORDE (PHOTO BY THEADORA BRACK)

FRENCH CONNECTION: CARRIE BRADSHAW’S FAVORITE MOVIE HOUSE, LOCATED NEAR BERGDORF AND GRAND ARMY PLACE—A CITY HAVEN INSPIRED BY PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

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Made in France: The Toronto Edition

Let's prance! However, don't forget to gaze up at the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum (Photograph by Theadora Brack)

Let’s prance! However, don’t forget to gaze up at the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum (Photograph by Theadora Brack)

Pack your binoculars! September Issue featuring Christian Dior at Holt Renfrew, 1951 (Vogue, Theadora Brack's Collection)

Pack your binoculars! September Issue featuring Christian Dior at Holt Renfrew, 1951 (Vogue, Theadora Brack’s Collection)

By Princess Theadora

Bonjour! Bonne Année!

Rocking a New Me for the New Year—this week, I’m taking you to the 70th anniversary Christian Dior exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. That’s right, we’re going slink along the icy Mink Mile (faux, please) in the breath-taking Queen City. So grab my pearl-studded mitten. Grab your girdle, too!

Curated by Dr. Alexandra Palmer, the show shines a bright spotlight on 38 wasp-waisted wonders, advertisements, sketches, and photographs, along with endless catwalk clips from Paris and Toronto fashion shows. After a few spins around the rebelliously boned and flared showstoppers, I could hardly breathe from excitement.

“Give me your A, H, and Y-shaped silhouettes, Monsieur Dior! Tulip, too! Bring it!” I squeaked, suddenly feeling the polyester seams in my own nipped-waist blazer by Zara working overtime.

The mind reels! Whilst imagining the logistics of the tight maneuvering, rib-popping squeeze into one of the vintage Christian Dior numbers, then and there I pledged to self never, ever to feast on another half-dozen cookies, or at least not in one sitting. But luckily for all the bakers in world, my one-hour resolution was just a passing fancy. #Gottobeme (more…)

Paris: Exploring Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Donning faux fur, let’s channel our inner-La Salle and explore Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Photo by T. Brack)

First Stop: Marrons grilles! My Treat! (Votre Amie Marie France, January 1948, Magazine, T. Brack’s archives)

First Stop: Marrons grilles! My Treat! (Votre Amie Marie France, January 1948, Magazine, T. Brack’s archives)

By Theadora “La Salle” Brack

Ernest Hemingway once said, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus, you remember them as they actually are.”

But that goes double for traveling by foot, especially at my favorite sacred stomping ground, the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont—the hilliest, and perhaps most weirdly “scenic” park in Paris.

This week, I’d like to take you along for the excursion, so grab my hand. Let’s take a restorative, explorative stroll, shall we? Donning head-to-toe faux fur, get ready to channel your inner-surrealist.

It’s time to rumble!

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Designed in 1867 by Emperor Napoleon III, engineer Jean-Charles Alphand, and horticulturist Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps, this floral showstopper with its mountain-village vibe opened with razzle-dazzle during the launch of the Paris Universal Exposition.

This park has everything: As we make our way along its narrow winding paths, prepare to be bug-eyed at sights ranging from caverns complete with waterfalls and faux stalactites, to a lake fashioned from a former gypsum quarry surrounding a craggy island topped with a neo-Roman temple, reached by a suspension bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel himself. (more…)

Paris Tips: Soaring with Dalida in Montmartre

Let's meet at Place du Tertre in Montmartre, and then pay homage to pop star Dalida (Photo by T. Brack)

Let’s meet at Place du Tertre in Montmartre, and then pay homage to pop star Dalida (Photo by T. Brack)

(If you are an Instagram devotee, please leave a link below.)

By Theadora “Dancing Queen” Brack

Whenever my mood is in need of a reboot or an overhaul, I hoof it on over to Dalida. Because energy flows where obsession goes, my tête-à-tête with the high-spirited pop idol extraordinaire does the trick each and every time—especially during the fall season. With the trees boasting 24-karat autumnal hues, the blues completely vanish.

This week, I’ll take you along with me on this restorative glide. ’Tis the season!

Dalida and the trees boasting 24-karat magic in the Cimetière de Montmartre, sculpture by pinup artist Alain Aslan (Photo by T. Brack)

Dalida and the trees boasting 24-karat magic in the Cimetière de Montmartre, sculpture by pinup artist Alain Aslan (Photo by T. Brack)

(more…)

Paris: Unboxing Victorine’s Fashion Haul

Let's Rendezvous with Victorine at Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris (The Railway, Édouard Manet, 1873, National Gallery of Art)

Let’s Rendezvous with Victorine at Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris (The Railway, Édouard Manet, 1873, National Gallery of Art)

Hello guys! I’m Victorine-Louise Meurent: Artist. Model. Musician. Singer. Tutor. Paris Lifestyle Blogger. Welcome back to my back-to-the-future sartorial site, dear fellow time trekkers.

This week, I’d like to share my recent clothing haul from Zara at the Passage du Havre, kitty corner from the Gare Saint-Lazare. Actually, there are now four Zara shops in the Opéra ’hood, ideal for shop-hopping. Some call it crazy luck. I call it heaven. Seriously, this is how this busy “V to the L-O” gets it done during the big summer sales.

Built in 1845, the Passage du Havre was given a supreme makeover during the 1990s (Photo by T. Brack)

Built in 1845, the Passage du Havre was given a supreme makeover during the 1990s (Photo by T. Brack)

(more…)

Paris: Hotfooting to the Moulin Rouge

Celebrating World Theater Day, let’s hoof it on over to the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre (GIF Image: Theadora Brack)

Celebrating World Theater Day, let’s hoof it on over to the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre (Image: Theadora Brack)

By Theadora “Twinkle Toes” Brack

Embracing restorative #summertimegoals, let’s revel in some retro merrymaking, shall we? For the occasion, we’ll hoof on over to the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre. Up my sleeve, I’ve got some new postcards, illustrations, and scrapbook clippings, along with a swell cinema-related tale about the venerable dance hall.

But first, let’s also salute the recent World Theatre Day! Created in 1961, writer Jean Cocteau wrote the International Theatre Institute’s first message: “Nations, thanks to these World Theatre Days, will at last become aware of each other’s treasures, and will work together in the high enterprise of peace.”

I completely agree. It’s what the world still needs.

Now, let’s do an old school prance back in time. Step by step, I’m with you. (more…)

Paris Roars: Latest Fashion Rage

Latest Paris Fashion Trend: Cats wear custom-made hats, Abbesses-Montmartre (Photo by T. Brack)

Latest Paris Fashion Trend: Cats wear custom-made hats, Abbesses-Montmartre (Photo by T. Brack)

This just in, from the streets of Paris.

Cats have ousted dogs in the affections of French women.

Whereas, in the past it was considered fashionable for your typical Parisienne to promenade the boulevards with a little dog sporting a neat, tight-fitting coat, today this same Parisienne is often out with her cat of priceless value.

But cats do not wear coats. They wear specifically-fitted and made hats.

Below the Sacré Coeur, up at Montmartre, there lives a hatter. In his shop window, he has an exhibition of the tiniest hats ever seen in France. (more…)

Paris: Let’s Drop in on Galeries Lafayette

View of the Opera and the Eiffel Tower from Galeries Lafayette's rooftop (Photo by Wendy Brack-Fritz)

View of the Opera and the Eiffel Tower from Galeries Lafayette’s rooftop (Photo by Wendy Brack-Fritz)

By Theadora Brack

Paris is no longer Paris? Au contraire! The City of Light is still a special place, a very human place, and a place for the whole world to cherish. And as this world turns, I think yes, the city changes a little—but then again, it always has. After all, that’s what made it what it is today.

So in celebration of international friendships and robust innovation, let’s ride the escalators up to the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette. Located on Boulevard Haussmann, here my inner-lion never, ever fails to roar after a soda pop and some tête-à-tête action with WWI pilot, Jules Védrines.

Grab your goggles and tweed knickerbockers, and follow me. I’ve got a story to tell. (more…)

Paris: Meet the Pusses at the Puces

Lend me your whiskers and pointy ears! (Photo by T. Brack)

Lend me your whiskers and pointy ears! (Photo by T. Brack)

Flying sky high on a lark (Elle magazine, 1954, T. Brack’s collection)

Flying sky high on a lark (Elle magazine, 1954, T. Brack’s collection)

By Theadora Brack

Lend me your whiskers and pointy ears.

Flying sky high on a lark, I knock. Grab a perch because I’ve got a feathered tale to tell. A great ball of yarn to re-wind, so to squeak! Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie at the age of nine on the family television set, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques. There. Full fur confession.

Set in Paris, the cartoon flick was a life changer. Not only did I yearn to be the rhinestone-laden, Parisian glamour puss (a.k.a., “Duchess”), but I also fancied running away with her swashbuckling, orange tabby beau, the flamboyant prince of the boulevard, “Abraham de Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley—O’Malley, the alley cat.”

Oh, c’est très jolie, monsieur Thomas!” I’d purr again and again at my reflection in the mirror, channeling my inner-Duchess.

And now, I see cats. I see cats in Paris. All the time! Where? Where? They’re everywhere! Heck, once, during a winter tempest, I rescued a teeny, tiny tortoiseshell cat found trembling on the wet cobblestones outside the Grand Hotel de Clermont, just a fur ball’s throw from where Édith Piaf made one of her legendary busking debuts in Pigalle. Kitty was coming home with me. (more…)

Paris: Calling All Instagram Buffs

L'acteur grec by Baron Charles-Arthur Bourgeois, 1868, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris (Photo by Theadora Brack)

L’acteur grec by Baron Charles-Arthur Bourgeois, 1868, Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Allo! C'est Moi! (Elle Magazine, 1955, T. Brack's archives)

Allo! C’est Moi! (Elle Magazine, 1955, T. Brack’s archives)

By Theadora Brack

Juggling social media platforms like a smooth operator (if I squint), I’ve recently added Instagram to my grapevine repertoire.

That’s right. During the month of November, I created a short stack of photographs of Paris—a baker’s dozen, to be exact! Pirouetting straight to the point: I am hooked. So stay tuned for more images.

In the meantime, if you are a fellow Instagram fan or fanatic, please leave a link to your Instagram portfolio below.

Always keeping my peepers peeled for inspiration, I’d love to pay a visit.

As Henry Miller once penned, “The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

I completely agree.

In advance, thanks for sharing your own indescribably magnificent world, too—through your art!

So carpe the diem, folks! Keep on snapping! (more…)

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