everything is never quite enough (mikeijames) wrote,
everything is never quite enough

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the proxy marriage.

the line that hooked me into downton abbey two years ago came in the first episode when the duke gave a new spin to the saw, "one swallow doesn't make a summer," and well, it may not make a summer, but it may make an autumn. while it's probably too much to disclose, on a recent saturday night, i had one of those fantastically ideal dates with my new someone or maybe my new exsomeone that we've had since we got together all that long time ago and broke up not too long ago. so much has happened in the four or so months since i last posted and i don't even know where to begin given all of the playing catch-up that i've had to do over the past year with my life. to say that i've neglected this journal even as my facebook, twitter, and instagram have grown exponentially understates the case. my life, in recent months, has entered a sort of odd and depressing malaise only effervesced by the sprightliness of my pug and my wild escapes from the mundane that my life has become: needless to say, while i had maintained that our quarterly fights did not amount to much consequence, the quarterly fight we had after we returned from brazil proved nearly impossible to recover from. they say absence makes the heart grow fonder so that may explain the explosive sexual chemistry that we felt on saturday night as we pulled off to the side of the courtney campbell causeway like teenagers -- perhaps we could blame it on the moon -- but it sets into motion a throughline, i hope, to an uneasy reconciliation.

first things first, brazil. it's not that i had any doubt that my jaunt to rio would rank as one of the trips of a life time, but it also proved instructive as to just how well-traveled i have become while demonstrating just how much i have to grow as an international traveler: before brazil, i did not realize just how much i've relied on my fluency in the spanish language as a crutch for some of the sloppier elements of my travels. from the moment we boarded the plane, i knew this trip would take on a different tenor than any other trip i have ever taken in my life. stating the obvious, it stood as the first time i've ever traveled internationally with a paramour alone. with barcelona, i met up with college friends so that took the edge off -- besides knowing spanish -- but this time, it was just us in another hemisphere. rio also remained quite novel because i had my smartphone there to capture each moment as it happened. well, from the onset, i thought i could treat this like any other trip until i had my first glass of red wine and began to exhibit the near-seizing symptoms of extreme low blood sugar that snared me in barcelona. that meant that i could not avoid carbs in an attempt to maintain my rio body and that i couldn't drink like i wanted for the entire trip. further, although the flight went smoothly all the way there, the fog of rio caused our flight to get diverted to a regional airport outside of sao paolo where we sat on the tarmac for five hours with one dixie cup of water and a granola bar. when we finally got to rio, we found ourselves utterly wiped out from doing nothing and sitting around for nearly twenty hours. rio unfolds though -- even for the travel weary -- impressively with the pin dot of the Christ, the Redeemer statue standing above the road into the city and once one crosses through the tunnel cutting through the mountain, rio becomes the paradise one imagines with lakes and runners and beautiful people and sunshine and even though each syllable remains beyond understanding, there's a glint in the eyes of the most beautiful that promises possibility in a way that it does not stateside. by the time we made it to ipanema, we knew we had arrived in quite the tourist trap as the rhapsodic streets suddenly got transformed into a restaurant row of tex mex eateries and american-themed sports' bars and souveneir shops. despite our flight delay, we still had hours before check-in at the golden tulip ipanema plaza. we ventured to the beach -- which had rainbow flags proudly flying with a cloud of sun bathed brazilian beachgoers between them to reinforce the case -- and then to one of the tex mex places we would not have visited if we had time to change and rest as we had hoped. we sat there for hours mulling over a pile of quotidian nachos and fought outright boredom by people watching on the streets of ipanema for a couple of hours. after a while, we ventured to the upstairs pool and lounged in the sun room until the hour of our check-in finally arrived. we burst into the room with a flurry of jumping on the bed and taking funny pictures in the marble bath and changed to hit the beach to experience the beautiful colors of an ipanema at golden hour (the inspiration for frida gianini's entire gucci resort collection and campaign). that night, we ate at the sushi restaurant in the hotel and then proceeded to get drinks at the hotel faena's baretto londra which hosts the glittering society of rio as we come to know it. the faena hotel remains the destination hotel but it's cost proved too prohibitive to even consider....even for two DINKs like ourselves. i wanted to go because the gossip columns still carried the occassional coverage of marc jacob's latest adventures to rio with his pornstar lover and from the photos it became clear that it had faena at its nucleus. oddly, for a thursday night, they did not have a mainstream music experience, but a beatles' cover band which allowed us -- with the lubrication of quite a few cocktails -- to sing along as fervently as all of the other brazilians in perfect unison. on friday, we had planned a longer exploration of ipanema and copacabana which we embarked on all morning and arrived mid-afternoon at sugar loaf mountain for all of the thrills of an elevated view of the city. while i could not get enough of the panoramic views, we both had to fight back naughtier impulses as we did not realize the mountain had curlicues of off-the-beaten path walkways into rainforest-like surroundings perfect for cruising (you know, if one were into that). after we descended, we commenced our daily ritual of hitting the beach for the waning hours of sun and greeting the night with one-too-many cocktails on the rooftop and a cat nap before going out. that night, we arranged for a personal tour with a brazilian tour guide to give us the lay of the nightlife scene in rio. well, the night started quite unexpectedly with an adventure to a bath house. while we remained clothed, we learned that not only does prostitution find itself legal in brazil, but quite commonplace and lucrative for those involved. while i found so little temptation there -- since my odd sexual proclivity would probably have my hiring a prostitute to just cuddle with and talk about sunday night television -- my new someone took a shine to someone who had shipped in from the rural areas surrounding rio hoping to make a living for his wife and children by spending a few hours rolling around on a mattresss. fortunately for me, my new someone did not partake (even with my reluctant blessing) and we went to the next venue (after watching their drag show and full monty stripper performances). after hitting a sportsbar (one we had passed unwittingly on our first afternoon there) that reminded me of boxers in new york without the polish, we went to this restaurant bar that became my favorite place in rio. of course, i don't remember the name, but it had trendy lighting and trendy food and i would have NEVER pegged it as a bar that catered to my clientel. after that, we begged off (getting late night bites at a corner store in ipanema). we treated saturday as a beach day and had a long day of walking in leblon and having lunch at bar do lado (which overlooked the waves) and shopping in the a very high-end mall where a dolce and gabbana store was about to open and where i raided zara like it was the end of the world. we wound up back to the hotel where we had an early night by going back to the sportsbar "to nen ai" for dinner and drinks and gawking since we had a long day planned for sunday. on our way back to the hotel, we ran into our tour guide with another american group and we decided to have our tour of the city with them on monday. on sunday, we got up early to mount the peak that contained the Christ, the Redeemer statue. because of the pope's immenent arrival, the mountain found itself mobbed with international tour groups coming to worship at the chapel at the base of that statue. to say that the experience is life changing would understate the case immensely. not only did it provide an even more spectacular panorama than sugarloaf, but it tingled with a religious experience even for the most hardened agnostic. i got some really good pictures with my new someone. unfortunately, although the entire reason for the trip, i never said "happy birthday" during the whole time (something that would bite me later). after we got back down (only to see the infamous fog of rio engulf the statue ruining the vista for the throngs still arriving), we spent more time on the beach (and caught a parade for world youth day) and prepared to go to dinner and a show to celebrate my new someone's birthday. well, dinner proved less-than-spectacular as we couldn't get seated in time and we felt pressed because of the show time. we wound up stopping in at bar do lado in leblon and racing over to the theatre only to find that they had no show planned for that evening. luckily, my photographic memory membered a bar nearby that had a great sunday night crowd. lucky because i had no cell service and had to locate the bar based on my memory alone -- which made for an uncomfortable (and scary) walk through a neighborhood in our theatre-going outfits until we found it. once there, i felt relieved and proud to give my new someone some semblence of a happy birthday as i felt -- as i've found among many of my friends -- a certain crestfallen quality encroaching as the reality of the birthday hit. we drank -- and drank and drank and drank -- and eventually got into the party and my new someone danced so that went well but when i said happy birthday, my new someone said, "finally....i've been waiting all day for you to say that." this did not bode well for when we returned stateside. after we had our fill of absolut and dancing, we caught a cab back to the hotel and passed out. the next morning, we met up with our tour guide and the other american tour group and took a long extensive tour of the city. while we knew we had but scratched the surface in our four days there, this tour showed us we did not know rio at all. ironically, one of the members of the tour group went to the same high school as my new someone and had a sister who still lived in clearwater -- when they say small world, they mean it -- and after we had done all of the amazing things like see the steps of lapa and go downtown and see the city center and the national cathedral, we were going to catch a cab back when we got word that the pope was scheduled to appear at the national cathedral. while the rest of the group had no insterst, my new someone (an italian-american catholic....like my exsomeone....though of the tristate lineage more than midwest provenance of my exsomoene) and i were thrilled at the prospect. we waited for about two hours and we did indeed get to see the pontiff and witness than wave of devotion and excitement for the first latin american pope. it's the first time i felt that kind of rapture in years. to feel like a part of something so big not only created a humility but stirred something spiritual in me that i'll never forget. after that, we had another long scary jaunt through an unknown neighborhood (this time in the even more dangerous neighborhoods in the city center...away from the tourist zones) to get a cab. thankfully, we found one and got back to the hotel without incident. that night, we went to the plataforma samba show that did not occur the night before and had quite a treat. while we did not buy any of the over priced drinks or photographs, it was amazing to see the spectacle of the costumes and dance routines they perform during carnivale. on tuesday, we did a bunch of last minute souveneir shopping (we finally had a bad weather day) and made our way to the airport just as news broke that princess kate had had prince george.

well, when we got back, the warm feelings for the trip iced over and our relationship started having real problems. after three weeks or so, i went over for a night in the jacuzzi but it did not feel the same. weeks became months and the spare text message became the heated e-mail. the heated e-mail became nonresponsiveness and outright hostility. and then, one day, it ended just like that. in a fit of sadness, i booked an impromptu trip to new york and had a restorative -- if not completely debaucherous at first given that i stayed out all night long -- trip that made me face the reality of being single again. my sister and i started hanging out more regularly (that is, more regularly than never) and i go into so many shows i would never have considered before (nashville, teen wolf, homeland, etc.) to bide the time. i spent weeks just sleeping through life until my new someone reached out to invite me to the annual all hallow's ball that occurs in tampa every year. well, that went as well as expected (we have always done well in hotels after all) and the next week, i got into a car wreck (something that wouldn't have phased me in my sad car before but that unnerved me in my bmw). after that fiasco of brokeness, i invited my new someone to see "best man holiday" mainly because he was one of the few who would see it and because i wanted to spend time with my new someone like the old times. it went well. so well that we wound up on the side of the courtney campbell bridge like teenagers making out and, well, as i opened this post....it felt good that our sexual chemistry found itself as raw if not moreso than before and i began my campaign to get back together -- at least, until new years eve -- right then and there. we began texting irregularly but more regularly than never and my dad helped me clean my apartment (the major sticking point between my new someone and i). thanksgiving came and went. marriage equality victories dotted the landscape. i reunited with a couple of drinking buddies that i had let fall by the wayside during my coupling and ensuing depression when my new someone suggested we go to busch gardens to make good use of our annual passes (this would make our third or fourth trip this year). well. we had a good time and afterward decided to go to the bars in north county and the night ended with a thorough knocking at the door (in fact, so thorough that it could not get described as such) and my spending the night. that was this past saturday night. if only i knew what the cards held for the future as san francisco new years' eve looms and i just can't bring myself to embrace the fifth wheel role being offered up.

proxy marriage noun

Definition of PROXY MARRIAGE

: a marriage celebrated in the absence of one of the contracting parties who is represented at the ceremony by a proxy


Gay Servicemembers Turn To Proxy Weddings For Federal Benefits
Posted: 09/03/2013 10:16 pm EDT | Updated: 09/05/2013 8:47 pm EDT

As of Sept. 3, spouses of gay servicemembers are eligible to receive the federal benefits and privileges that married heterosexual spouses have always received: including access to health care, housing benefits, and family separation allowances. Same-sex couples just need to bring their marriage licenses to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and they're good to go.

But, wait. Say you're one of the 32,000 active duty servicemembers stationed in Hawaii, which is one of the thirty-seven states in the U.S. that does not currently allow same-sex couples to get married. Despite the thousands of weddings held every year in Hawaii, a gay servicemember stationed in Hawaii would have to travel 2,500 miles to California in order to obtain a valid marriage license. While the D.O.D. has offered to give gay servicemembers 10 days of free leave in order to travel to states that allow gay marriage (a policy that conservatives say "discriminates" against heterosexual couples), it is both costly and difficult for many servicemembers, especially lower enlisted.

Enter proxy marriages. Proxy marriages, which have been around since Napolean married Marie-Louise in 1810, are when either one or both parties are not physically present. Several U.S. states allow proxy marriages, according to Military.com, but of those that also allow same-sex marriages (California) one of the people being married has to be a military servicemember in a combat zone. Brazil, however, hits the trifecta: it recognizes same-sex marriages, allows double proxy weddings, and its marriage license is considered valid by the U.S. State Department.

According to Military.com, "For those couples hoping to save money or get married sooner and collect the benefits before having a more formal ceremony later, the proxy wedding could serve as a solution ... That way, if a soldier in Japan wants to marry his partner in Alaska -- both places that do not recognize same-sex marriage -- they can Skype it in through surrogates in Brazil."

To help you imagine what a strange, but awesome, experience proxy weddings are, read Maile Maloy's touching short-story, "The Proxy Marriage," which was published in The New Yorker last year.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that New Jersey has marriage equality. It (sadly) does not.


14 May 2013 Last updated at 19:06 ET
Brazil judicial decision paves way for gay marriage

A bill legalising same sex marriage in Brazil is still under Congress scrutiny

The council that oversees the country's judiciary said it was wrong for some offices just to issue civil union documents when the couple wanted full marriage certificates.

Correspondents say the decision in effect authorises gay marriage.

However full legalisation depends on approval of a bill being examined by the Congress.

Tuesday's resolution by Brazil's National Council of Justice was based on a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that recognised same-sex civil unions.

However, notary publics were not legally bound to converting such unions into marriages when asked by gay couples.

This led to some being denied marriage certificates at certain places, but being granted the document at others. That would be illegal, according to the new resolution.

"If a notary public officer rejects a gay marriage, he could eventually face disciplinary sanctions", NCJ judge Guilherme Calmon told BBC Brasil.

The ruling brings Brazil one step closer to its neighbours Argentina and Uruguay, which have legalised gay marriages.

But opponents could still challenge it at the Supreme Court.

And the same-sex marriage bill being examined by the Congress faces strong opposition from religious and conservative lawmakers.

Brazil is the world's most populous Roman Catholic nation and has an estimated 60,000 gay couples.


Holiday romance: Muscular Marc Jacobs and his boyfriend Harry Louis are tactile and happy during special birthday trip to Brazil
PUBLISHED: 07:52 EST, 11 April 2013 | UPDATED: 07:53 EST, 11 April 2013
193 shares 99 View
You're only as old as the man that you feel, which must be of some comfort to Marc Jacobs as he celebrates his half a century.
The fashion designer is in Rio celebrating his fiftieth birthday, but has a definite spring in his step thanks to the presence of his younger boyfriend, Harry Louis.
The 24-year old porn star hasn't ventured far from his muscular partner's side as they enjoy a break in Harry's native Brazil.

So handsome: Harry Louis (L) and Marc Jacobs stroll hand in hand along the beach in Rio
On Thursday the couple were seen holding hands and walking through the powdery sand at Ipanema beach in Rio.
Marc looked incredibly muscular, and his obliques rippled from beneath his tight black shorts, making a defined 'V' shape.
His boyfriend was in equally good shape, and showed off his rippling torso and toned pectorals as he strutted along the beach in a pair of metallic trunks.

Pucker up: Marc and Harry share a tender moment on the beach in Brazil during their romantic holiday

Larking around: Marc and Harry were playful in the surf, and clearly really enjoying being together
At one point he turned and gazed lovingly at New York born Marc, peering at him sweetly from behind dark oversized sunglasses.
Harry kept his wavy dark hair under a backwards baseball cap, and his dark beard highlighted his strong jawline.
He was clearly enjoying celebrating the milestone birthday with Marc, who he is thought to have met in London a few months ago.
Initially, the pair refused to confirm or deny reports that they were dating.

On a natural high: Marc and Harry posed for a photo as they sunbathed on a roof

Smooth sailing: Marc Jacobs (R) and Harry Louis are in Brazil to celebrate the designer's 50th birthday
A photograph of the famed designer looking cosy at a Paris party with the adult film actor led to much-hyped speculation about the nature of their relationship.
According to Brazilian gossip site GPSBrasilia, Jacobs met the youthful and exotic-looking Mr Louis in the British capital.
Born in Brazil, Louis began his sizzling career in Spain and in 2006, after supposedly having his heart broken, moved to the United Kingdom.
He now has over 4000 followers on Facebook and fans of his English language blog regularly log on to catch up on news about his work and look at family photographs.
They may also enjoy Louis gushing about his love for his mother, who - he says - is his best friend.

Milestone birthday: Marc Jacobs is taking an extended break in sunny Brazil with his boyfriend and other pals

Save a slice for us: Marc and Harry pose with a special birthday cake, complete with dogs made out of icing
It is not known if Marc has met Harry's beloved mum yet, but if she follows her handsome son on Twitter then she will have an idea of what they have been getting up to on their holiday.
Harry has posted a string of Twitter pictures of him and Marc soaking up the sunshine and celebrating his birthday.
In one picture, the couple are sunbathing on a roof, and in another looking out from a balcony over crystal blue waters.

Check him out: Marc wears a pair of plaid shorts as he gazes out at the beautiful views from a balcony

Blue skies: Marc and Harry have been enjoying the Brazilian climate with plenty of sunbathing sessions

Loved up: Marc looks content as Harry leans in for a tender kiss in this photo posted to Twitter
In another snap, the pair seem to be on some sort of boat, and Harry is tenderly kissing his serene looking man.
To mark the actual birthday, they enjoyed dinner with Brailian actress Mariana Ximenes, who Harry said organised 'a very beautiful and unforgettable night.'
In some of the pictures, she can be seen wearing a purple dress and smiling broadly as she enjoys socialising with the handsome couple.
Also in the pictures wearing a pale shirt is actor Reynaldo Gianecchini, who Harry describes as 'such a fun guy'.

An unforgettable night: They enjoyed a meal with actress Mariana Ximenes (R) and actor Reynaldo Gianecchini

One hell of a cake: Marc is presented with a cake made by one of Harry's Brazilian friends

Happy days: Marc Jacobs is having a ball celebrating his milestone birthday in Brazil with his younger boyfriend

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2307457/Muscular-Marc-Jacobs-boyfriend-Harry-Louis-tactile-happy-romantic-break-Rio.html#ixzz2XhdAdjxC
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Charlotte Casiraghi Stars in Second Gucci ‘Forever Now’ Campaign
Posted on July 31, 2012 by Toni

Charlotte Casiraghi, the princess of Monaco appears in her second campign for the ‘Forever Now’ Gucci campaign. This time she has been photographed by duo Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin.

The black and white photos see Casiraghi showcasing Gucci loafers adorned with the iconic metal horsebit Gucci is known for.

“It is a real pleasure to collaborate with Frida Giannini and Gucci to celebrate one of the House’s most elegant symbols: the horsebit. The atmosphere on the set was very natural and intimate which made that moment very special,” Charlotte Casiraghi said.

There are reports out there that Casiraghi has not interest in modelling and is just doing it for the paycheck. Stéphane Bern, a French celebrity journalist told The New York Times, “She has absolutely no interest in being a model, she’s much too intelligent for that. But competing in horse competitions costs a lot of money. You have to transport your horses one day to Dubai, the next day to Spain, pay for their care, the trainer. Gucci helps by writing checks with lots of zeros.” Whether this is true or not, there is no denying that these are some pretty stunning shots of the princess.

New Gucci Loafers Nod 1953 Classic


Part of Gucci’s celebratory 1953 collection, the classic horse-bit loafer has evolved to include crocodile, leopard-print calfskin, bright, poppy patent leathers, and even an of-the-moment studded version.
Casual glamour—the notion that one could achieve a style that feels equal parts sophisticated, elegant, and yet decidedly effortless and unfussy—is an idea that really came into its own in the 1950s, that post-World War II decade of optimism when mores began to relax, economies prospered, and rock ’n’ roll embarked on its quest to take over the world. A slew of visionaries embraced this new and delicate balance of chic modernity; in Miami, none more so than Morris Lapidus, the famed architect who quite literally transformed the beach with his highly identifiable aesthetic, which applied details often both whimsical and unexpected to create some of the world’s most iconic hotels. Opening its doors in 1954, the Fontainebleau likely will always be considered Lapidus’s masterpiece, even though it was three years earlier that his impact on Miami Beach had truly taken hold, with the 1953 debut of the DiLido (known since 2003 as The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach).

Halfway around the globe, 1953 saw another visionary introduce an icon of a different sort, one that likewise reached for—and undeniably attained—that casual-glamour ideal. Working out of his family’s Florence workshops, Aldo Gucci was seeking new projects to expand the business as the post-war boom was imbuing Italy with a newfound romance. As one of four sons of founder Guccio Gucci, Aldo was considered the most aggressive of his siblings in thoughts of growing the company; he and brother Rodolfo were central to another key happening that same year, the opening of Gucci’s first US boutique, on East 58th Street in New York (Guccio would pass away just two weeks after the store’s debut). Aldo’s visionary status was further established when he recognized the impact Hollywood might have on the cachet of his family’s label, an idea that’s integral to the success of almost any fashion brand today but which was virtually unheard of in the 1950s. The timing was perfect, as the film industry was in the early stages of its love affair with all things Italian: In 1953, Audrey Hepburn, as a princess-in-disguise in Roman Holiday, donned a chic white blouse and a neckerchief to zip around Italy’s capital on a Vespa with Gregory Peck. Hollywood would soon largely transplant itself to Rome’s Cinecittà Studios, producing some of the grandest epics of the 1950s and ’60s, including Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, and The Agony and the Ecstasy.

It was within this burgeoning aura of glamour that Aldo sought new avenues for Gucci—footwear seemed like a natural, especially as wartime rationing restrictions were easing up and leather was once again becoming easily available. Aldo oversaw the design of a classic, divinely simple slip-on shoe that was precisely intended to define casual glamour, a loafer that could be worn in the office and at the country club. As its only adornment, he chose a metal snaffle bit, a two-piece ring-and-bar mouthpiece for horses, as a nod to the house’s earliest days when many of Guccio’s clients were local horse-riding aristocrats.

By all accounts, that 1953 loafer was an immediate success and indeed attracted the collective eye of Hollywood, with Fred Astaire, John Wayne, and Ronald Reagan among its A-list fan base. The Gucci loafer gained a patina of instant, easy sophistication, a midcentury message that the wearer was something of a jet-setter, equally at home in New York or Rome—or, as Lapidus’s Miami Beach became the glitterati’s go-to resort spot, strolling the pool deck at the Fontainebleau or Eden Roc. Even in the middle of the label’s rocky years, that period in the 1980s when Gucci was affected by overlicensing and family infighting, the loafer never seemed to suffer from overexposure; instead, it was installed in the permanent exhibit of the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the latter half of the 20th century, as it secured its place in the pantheon of fashion’s most iconic items, the Gucci loafer arguably became the most-recognized shoe in the world.

Frida Giannini knows this, of course. As a creative director for the house since 2005, she has excelled at diving into Gucci’s considerable archives and emerging with lust-worthy updates, from new interpretations of the Jackie O bag, the hobo style favored by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, to a full-on accessories collection celebrating the label’s botanical-driven Flora pattern, which Gucci debuted as a silk scarf in 1966 for Princess Grace of Monaco. (In a fitting bit of fashion symmetry, Grace Kelly’s granddaughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, has appeared in a trio of Gucci Forever Now campaigns, including the latest iteration for Spring 2013, in which she wears a Flora print dress.)

Gucci’s loafer collection proved to be equally inspiring. “Working with pieces from the archive is a dream for me,” Giannini says. “It’s important to respect the origins of the house in order to carry my vision forward each season. My purpose is to create designs that are contemporary and chic while staying true to the traditions that Guccio Gucci started more than 90 years ago.”

Throughout six decades, the Gucci loafer has been tweaked to suit the times: Heels have been raised or lowered ever so slightly, or toe boxes have been widened or slimmed. To commemorate the year-long anniversary, Giannini created a limited-edition collection of loafers for men and women, showcasing its classic shape and a .6-inch heel in a wide array of colors, textures, and fabrications. “When I set out to create the 1953 collection, I wanted to play with new proportions, new colors, new combinations, and new materials, while staying true to the classic beauty and absolute functionality of the shoe,” Giannini says, noting that her starting point for the Spring/Summer 2013 season was “a blatant desire for color to evoke summer,” which is why the commemorative loafer is offered in a variety of brilliant shades in patent leather, from a poppy lemon yellow or begonia pink for women to a bold red or deep orange for men. Giannini also injects some of-the-moment trend into the loafer by offering studded versions and explores a range of textures and patterns, including the aforementioned Flora, as well as crocodile in a range of colors and a leopard-print calfskin that just arrived in stores as part of the Cruise 2013 collection. Each of the commemorative loafers is also adorned with a custom label, gucci 1953 made in italy, featuring the crest introduced by the house after WWII, a red, gold, and green shield that includes the family name and is meant to evoke to firm’s Florentine heritage. Giannini’s goal, she says, was to “bring a tradition from the past 60 years into a contemporary context, creating fashion that is current and desirable for today.”

ucci debuted an exhibition dedicated to the loafer in mid-March at its eponymous museum in Florence. The exhibit likewise pays tribute to its native town in another fashion: Half the proceeds from ticket sales are being donated to the restoration of artworks around the city. “My aim in dedicating an exhibit at the Gucci Museo in the house’s birthplace, Florence, was to celebrate this house icon and reveal styles never previously open to public viewing,” Giannini explains. “With the anniversary this year, it felt like the perfect time to display an array of hidden treasures from the archive.” In addition to the collection, displayed to outline the shoe’s evolution, the show also offers a keen insight into the evolution of Hollywood and how celebrity embraced Gucci via archival photography that features Clark Gable and John Wayne in the 1950s, Jodie Foster and Francis Ford Coppola in the 1970s, and, more recently, Madonna and Brad Pitt, who sported Gucci loafers in 1999’s Fight Club.

Its seemingly endless fan base comes as no surprise to Giannini. “Perhaps the loafer is most fascinating for its relevance,” she says. “Today the design has just as much relevance as when the artisans first crafted it in 1953.”

Indeed, while the word “icon” has evolved into a catch-all term used too liberally these days, you would be hard-pressed to find many items of fashion more worthy of the designation than a chicly simple loafer adorned with a metal bit originally intended for a horse’s mouth. And as the latest generation of fans, including royalty both of the genuine (Casiraghi) and the Hollywood variety (James Franco, a friend of both Giannini and the house, among them), can attest, it’s doubtful the Gucci loafer will ever seem like anything other than the essence of casual glamour.

Especially if Giannini has any say in the matter. “The legacy of Gucci is what drives me in my work; it’s important to respect the origins of the house in order to carry my vision forward each season,” she says. “The idea is not to copy the original, nor to let it disappear, but rather to create a link to Gucci’s past while pushing the design forward into the present and the future.”

photography courtesy of gucci (artisan); opposite: bettmann/corbis (coppola); getty images for gucci (giannini)

Read more at http://oceandrive.com/style/articles/new-gucci-horsebit-loafers-nod-1953-classic#aGkpw8dyGMfBJEJs.99

Gucci Pre-Fall 2013 Runway Review
By Nicole Phelps

Maybe it's the fact that she's expecting her first baby this March, maybe not, but there was a ladylike, not quite demure, quality to Frida Giannini's pre-fall collection for Gucci. A chunky striped turtleneck and full skirt evoked her beloved 1970s, but otherwise the clothes seemed mostly to channel the fifties, what with the hourglass silhouettes of dresses, the neat and trim tweed skirtsuits, the off-the-shoulder tops perched above slim pencil skirts, and the coats with their sculpted, couture-ish shapes.

Not unlike at her men's show earlier this week, color played a major role; and animal print, which has emerged as one of the season's strongest trends, was also key. A halterneck gown in jaguar-print chiffon offered a taste of the after-dark drama the designer usually showcases on the runway, which made it stand out. Conservative isn't the right word for this collection, controlled is. It felt new for Giannini, and it clicked.

Gucci Spring 2014 Menswear
Milan, June 24, 2013

By Tim Blanks

Motherhood has transformed Frida Giannini. She glowed when she took her bow today. And she looked taller.The first outfit on the catwalk—a floral print tee, matching leggings, and a backpack—sent a message mixed enough to suggest that Gucci itself had taken an equally transformative turn: younger, clubbier, more athletic. First impressions are usually quite accurate. The collection that followed was a new direction for the label.

With new life in her household, Giannini unsurprisingly claimed she was hungry for something more dynamic. T-shirts replaced shirts; a shirt jacket was the casual alternative for a blazer. Gucci's horsey heritage echoed in riding pants hybridized into ribbed-cuff trackies. And fabrics turned tech. "It's impossible," said the fabric people when Giannini came to them with her ideas for spring. All those techno materials seemed the antithesis of the artisanal intricacy that the designer has so artfully exercised for the brand over the past few years. But she eventually got all the bonding and lasering she wanted. Context was critical: The result was probably more striking because it came from a company whose reputation is scarcely based on high-performance outerwear. But the sleek gloss of a bonded jacket in olive green leather made an appropriate top for a T-shirt and a pair of those track pants. Even better: the tan blouson with the citron lining, and the anorak in a deep lilac.

Daft Punk's new album was on the soundtrack—real instruments called into the service of synthetic sounds—and that sparked an inevitable comparison with Giannini's collection, where technology had been bent to a strikingly streamlined physicality. Where once she would have toyed with jet-set decadence, she was now endorsing health and fitness. Ah, the power of motherhood.

There was another interesting comparison to be made. The other big story in the collection was the complex, slightly gothic floral print. Pair that with the techy sportswear and you've got yourself a telling parallel with Kim Jones' last collection for Louis Vuitton, where the Chapman Brothers contributed a twisted botanical print. Attention must be paid when two of the world's biggest luxury labels take such a quirky tack on the demands of the rapidly evolving global menswear market.


Gucci Runway Review

MAY 27, 2013
By Alex Veblen

Gucci's creative director, Frida Giannini, and Patrizio di Marco, the company's president and CEO, welcomed the birth of their daughter, Greta, back in March. This did not seem to have influenced the Resort collection Giannini showed by appointment this week—until you started noticing that, cumulatively, there was a more relaxed sensibility in effect. Oversized tunics were paired up with wide-legged trousers and lightweight cashmere coats tied up like nightgowns.

If anything, the focus this time around was on rarefied materials applied to an essential travel checklist; what could be cozier than a hoodie in woven mink? And don't leave home without your woven Lurex kimono gown, crystal-embroidered pajama set, or metallic laminated leather trench. The shimmer balanced out the slouch, but it ultimately functioned as a design sleight of hand; the real decadence was in the sense of undone-ness.

Giannini riffed on a wide range of references. It was easy enough to detect a Rio de Janeiro sunset in the hand-embroidered iridescent sequins, and day dresses printed with parasols, beach balls, and hearts looked like Jerry Hall 2.0. The horse bits were back on shoulder bags and stilettos alike; such house codes are as integral to the brand image as the glam sequin-embroidered dresses.

While there were few weak links in this generally confident collection, the jogging outfit in jumbo paisley was a less successful athletic upgrade than the warm-up jacket in ocher perforated suede. And what to make of the short-sleeve sweatshirt that read, "Stardust is a glittering superstar" in tiny studs? This was either a lost-in-translation expression or an obscure Bowie shout-out. (Gucci is currently sponsoring the David Bowie Is exhibition at London's V&A Museum.) Much clearer was the version emblazoned with "Frida's"—the first time Giannini's name has appeared on any item since she arrived at the house in 2005. Now more than ever, this is Mamma Frida's moment.


18 June 2013 Last updated at 11:02 ET
Brazil protests spread in Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Rio

As many as 200,000 people have marched through the streets of Brazil's biggest cities, as protests over rising public transport costs and the expense of staging the 2014 World Cup have spread.

The biggest demonstration was in Rio de Janeiro, where 100,000 people joined a mainly peaceful march.

In the capital, Brasilia, people breached security at the National Congress building and scaled its roof.

The protests are the largest seen in Brazil for more than 20 years.

'Not satisfied'

In Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, about 65,000 people took to the streets.

The wave of protests kicked off earlier this month when Sao Paulo residents marched against an increase in the price of a single bus fare, from 3 reals ($1.40, £0.90) to 3.20.

Authorities said the rise was well below inflation, which since the last price increase in January 2011 has been 15.5%, according to official figures.

The way these initial marches were policed - with officers accused of firing rubber bullets and tear gas at peaceful protesters - further incensed Sao Paulo residents and shifted the focus from rising transport costs to wider issues.

"For many years, the government has been feeding corruption, people are demonstrating against the system," Graciela Cacador told Reuters news agency.

Others complained about vast sums of money spent on hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics instead of being invested in health and education.

"This is a communal cry saying: 'We're not satisfied!'," Maria Claudia Cardoso told the Associated Press news agency.

"We don't have good schools for our kids. Our hospitals are in awful shape. Corruption is rife. These protests will make history and wake our politicians up to the fact we're not taking it anymore," she said.

"We need better education, hospitals and security, not billions spent on the World Cup," said one mother who attended the Sao Paulo march with her daughter.

"We're a rich country with a lot of potential but the money doesn't go to those who need it most," 26-year-old photographer Manoela Chiabai told the Associated Press.
Demonstrators chanted slogans, including "The people have awakened", BBC Brasil's Julia Carneiro reports from Sao Paulo.

Police took a hands-off approach at Monday's demonstration following an earlier meeting between protest organisers and security chiefs at which they had agreed that regular police would not carry rubber bullet guns.


Protests were reported in as many as 11 cities on Monday.

In Rio 100,000 people took part in a mainly peaceful march, although a small group threw rocks at police, wounding five officers. They also set fire to a car and vandalised the state assembly building.

Police there reportedly used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse them.
More than 40 people were arrested in the southern city of Porto Alegre after a small group peeled away from the main march of about 10,000 demonstrators and set alight bins and shops.
They were booed by those participating in the main march, who called for a peaceful protest.
On Tuesday, Porto Alegre Mayor Jose Fortunati said he had sent a bill to the city council proposing that bus companies be exempt from taxes in return for them promising to lower their fares.

There were also clashes with police in Belo Horizonte, which was hosting the latest game in the Confederations Cup, the warm-up tournament for the World Cup.
An 18-year-old is reportedly in a stable condition in hospital after falling from an overpass in the city.

And in Brasilia, more than 200 protesters managed to get onto the roof of the National Congress building. After negotiations with police, the crowd agreed to leave. Later, youths formed a human chain around the building, the AFP news agency said.

"Peaceful demonstrations are legitimate," President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement. "It is natural for the young to demonstrate."

However, Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo warned protesters that the authorities would not allow them to disrupt the Confederations Cup or next year's World Cup.

"The government assumed the responsibility and the honour to stage these two international events, and will do so, ensuring the security and integrity of the fans and tourists," he said.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called on both sides to remain calm.

"We urge the Brazilian authorities to exercise restraint in dealing with spreading social protests in the country, and also call on demonstrators not to resort to acts of violence in pursuit of their demands," said a spokesman for the High Commissioner.

"With further protests planned, we are however concerned that the reported excessive use of police force in recent days should not be repeated."

Are you in Brazil? Have you witnessed or taken part in the protests? Send us your comments using the form below.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

A banner reading "No-one is forgotten" is seen in Santiago de Chile during the 40th anniversary of the 1973 coupChile Caravan of Death: Eight guilty

Eight former members of the Chilean military are found guilty of operating a death squad that killed 14 political opponents in 1973.

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.


Pope Francis Praises Brazilians For World Youth Day Welcome
08/04/13 07:22 AM ET EDT

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis lavished praise on Brazilians for their warm welcome during his weeklong visit for World Youth Day.

Francis expressed his gratitude during the traditional Angelus Sunday blessing. He commented that there were many young people in St. Peter's Square, saying: `'It looks like Rio di Janeiro."

The pope called Brazilians `'good people," `'people with a huge heart" and `'a generous people," and added: `'I won't forget the warm welcome."

Francisco told the faithful that youth like those who gathered with him in Brazil `'are especially sensitive to the void of meaning and values that often surround them. And unfortunately they pay the price."

The Argentine-born pontiff's trip to Brazil, his first abroad since becoming pope in March, drew millions for the youth festival.


Seeing God in the Museum
Posted: 09/23/2013 12:52 pm

"We're going inside to greet the light." -James Turrell's grandmother

This week, as summer turns to autumn and sunlight grows sparse, the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan will close its blockbuster show, "James Turrell." Turrell's work, as you'll read in the many reviews of the exhibition, presents its viewers with light in myriad dazzling forms. His colorful artworks challenge our perceptions, our sense of space, and our place within that strangely lit environment. Things are not what they appear. As we get our bearings, God comes into focus.

The oval void at the heart of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim has been used in many creative ways over the years, though arguably never to so spectacular effect as in Turrell's massive, site-specific work, Aten Reign. The space unfolds in a continual state of flux as hues delicately drift, colors tumble after each other, flooding the stark white walls of the rotunda with violet, aqua blue, orange, grey, neon pink, lemon yellow. Viewers enter at the bottom, find places of rest along reclined seats and platforms, and quietly gaze up at the constantly shifting light show above. The space can evoke a sense of calm and contemplation, though for some that's not quite enough: One woman sat down near me, stared up for no more than 15 seconds, and said, "Is anything supposed to happen?" Well, yes and no.

Turrell's title conjures the Aten, a Creator deity in Ancient Egypt, 3,400 years ago. In the midst of a mostly polytheistic environment the Pharoah Ahkenaten and his Queen Nefertiti drummed up support for a monotheistic religious practice devoted solely to the Aten. This was a sun god with no consort, no offspring, no equal. In inscriptions, the Aten was generally represented by a sun disk, and the oval color layers that cascade down into the empty space of the Guggenheim's rotunda are probably as close as humans have ever got to making an adequate shrine for the Egyptian High God. The museum, in ways that would have delighted Frank Lloyd Wright, becomes a temple. And God is placed there at its peak.

But did God ever leave the museum?

The Romantics of the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had grown tired of their traditional religious structures, and the rationalism of the Enlightenment didn't offer all that tempting of an alternative. They weren't quite ready to give up on some divine presence, or on many of the key ethical systems of Western religions, but rarely did they grace the doors of churches. Instead, if their words reflect any reality, they seemed to roam the countryside, reading and writing poetry, and looking at art. Luckily for them, the first art museums open to the public were just being created. The German poet Goethe tells of his first visit to the Dresden gallery:

the well-waxed parquetry, the profound silence that reigned, created a solemn and unique impression, akin to the emotion experienced upon entering a House of God, and it deepened as one looked at the ornaments on exhibition which, as much as the temple that housed them, were objects of adoration in that place consecrated to the holy ends of art.
Fast forward two centuries, and we find John Updike, writing in the New Yorker upon the opening of the renovated Museum of Modern Art in 2004:

The art museums, once haunted by a few experts, students, and idlers, have become the temples of the Ideal, of the Other, of the something else that, if only for a peaceful moment, redeems our daily getting and spending. . . . The cathedral stands ready for the faithful.
With Aten Reign, Turrell assumes the museum-as-temple, adding his own objects of adoration, and offering a place for redemption. Only here, the object is light itself. Turrell's influences are his contemporaries, modern artists like Robert Irwin and Dan Flavin, as well as historical figures such as Caravaggio, Vermeer, Goya, and Velasquez.

But Turrell's key precursor is the Christian tradition of stained glass, especially from the medieval period. Physical and invisible at the same time, light became a key focus for theologians and artists to bring people into houses of God, by making higher ceilings to let in more light. Among the more mystical accounts, God was light, the universe a luminous sphere. One aim of architecture was to flood every corner with the light, thus creating a near-direct connection with God.

One block up from the Guggenheim, on Fifth Avenue, is the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, with beautiful Arts & Crafts stained-glass windows and high ceilings that bring light into the worship space. People come in, sit, and feel the light pour down. And one wonders if the church might have become a museum. And whether the museum has done a better job of letting the light in than the church.

As a child, Turrell's grandmother brought him to the Quaker meeting house where, in strict Quaker fashion, they would sit and wait for the spirit to move them. He didn't understand this then, but his grandmother would tell him to "go inside to greet the light," and then wait awhile. Years later he says he still doesn't know what she meant. But the Guggenheim's atrium is a pretty good hunch.

S. Brent Plate, Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Hamilton College


i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings; and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any - lifted from the no
of all nothing - human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

--ee cummings
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