Archive | July 2011

Project Runway Returns, And Heidi Is Bitcher Than Ever


Last night’s premiere of Project Runway, now in its ninth season, demonstrated that the show keeps becoming more sadistic than the season before. The opening featured 20 designers auditioning for the Fab Four: Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and her hair extensions, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Seeing them in the daylight was slightly bizarre. In an industrial setting, each designer, quivering with terror, showed their garments to the panel. One poor designer’s creation caused Tim to cry out, “I AM HORRIFIED!” Who are you, and where’s Tim??

Before we had a chance to find out their names, 4 unlucky contestants got the boot, with only a few seconds of embarrassing footage to show the folks at home. It was difficult to see the logic of the judges’ picks. To be perfectly honest, they were all terrible. This season, within the opening moments, Heidi attained a level of bitchiness she could only dream about in, say, Season 6. Perhaps the plastic surgeon tightened her vagina a bit too tightly after her 25th child was born.

When it came to the eliminations, your faithful correspondent knew that Testicular Cancer Guy, Black Guy and Old Guy* would not be let go. *Old Guy is 57-year-old Bert Keeter. I fell in love with him as soon as he came onscreen. And not because he bears an eerie resemblance to Martin Sheen.

One hoped Laura Kathleen, a self-described blonde Barbie with a screeching voice, would be eliminated, but no. One prays she gets auf’d soon so that we don’t have to listen to her each week.

The remaining 16 celebrated and fell into bed. Only to be rudely awakened at 5 AM (how can Tim manage to look so impeccable at that hour? Does he sleep in a hyperbaric chamber?) for the toughest first challenge one’s seen on this show since we started watching. It was called “Come As You Are.” Each designer was brought to the work room in what they were wearing in bed, given a bedsheet, and told to create “a look” from those materials. There was the by-now standard gasp of horror from the designers. They were given hospital scrubs to spare the viewers the sight of their naked bodies. And, presumably, a great deal of caffeine.

Designer Julie Tierney looked at her garish patterned pink pajama bottoms and talked about “my vision.” Dahlings, my vision would have been blurred. Bert Keeter was using his checked boxers (how can you not love a man who wears checked boxers?). The best part was watching Tim tear into Rafael (an insufferable man) for making a boring outfit and refusing to use the colorful headscarf he was wearing. And this was the edited version. Tim walked away, saying that one had to use tough love at times. It was more like Tim cut a bitch, but whatever. Rafael earned it.

Laura asked about two other competitors, “Are they speaking foreign?” Enough about the personalities, on to the Runway!

Let me begin by saying that almost everything on the runway was so rampantly ugly one was fairly certain the judges and I would be in complete disagreement. Heidi and Michael wore their usual inscrutable expressions, Nina Garcia her usual non-expression (and a disinterested “hi” to the designers). The guest judge was Christina Ricci! I was delighted to see her, even though she seemed out of her element. And some in my viewing party thought her dress far too casual for the occasion. Heidi wore a beautiful green dress, one of the best runway show looks we’ve seen.

For the hell of it, I’ve introduced an arbitrary grading system. My blog-thing, my rules, dahlings.

  1. Anthony Ryan – the gray and black lace trimmed top wasn’t so bad, but the enormous pubic patch on both sides of the skirt…there are no words. All right, perhaps bleeeccch. D

  2. Anya – the focus had been on her much of the episode, because of her pronounced lack of experience and confidence. Which meant she wouldn’t get auf’d. A pity, because her gray silk pants were abominable, with a pronounced bulge in front that would have made Milton Berle proud (look it up). C
  3. Becky – a little aqua dress that was really quite sweet. B-

  4. BERT! Yes, I am hopelessly biased. I love love loved his gray draped dress with one bodice panel and strap made from his checked boxers! (On another note, I hope he washed them first.) A
  5. Bryce – an off-kilter long-sleeved dress. C+
  6. Cecilia – cute outfit with a coral bubble skirt B
  7. Danielle – From nightwear to loungewear, with linebacker shoulders to boot C-

  8. Fallene – How can one not like a dress that features a clown vomiting rainbows? B

  9. Joshua 1, henceforth known as Crying Joshua – UGLY UGLY UGLY ill-fitting shorts, top and something that is supposed to be a bolero hoodie but fails miserably. F

  10. Joshua 2 – my notes for this creation read “AGfly”. Not sure if that was a strangled scream or bad penmanship D
  11. Julie – Uh-oh. Her “vision” needs glasses. Garish jammies slash across the bodice with yellow above and badly made gray pants below. D

  12. Kimberly – Yes, that is a bedsheet, all right. A billowy draped bedsheet around the collar. Reminds me of childhood sleepovers. C-
  13. Laura – DAMMIT! Decent flowing pants and top. B-
  14. Olivier – Ill-fitting gray top and skirt. What is it with these designers and gray? C

  15. Rafael – Oh.My.God. What’s wrong with this outfit? What’s right with this outfit? Gray leotard leggings with an ugly seam in the front, white trapeze top flaring open at the belly, and the scarf—the scarf—used as a clumsy neck trimming. F

  16. Viktor – A sweet sporty white dress with black inserts, well-made.B+

Michael Kors was determined to bring the bon mots. He called Rafael’s scarf a “Flintstones bib.” Not sure what that means, but it’s a good soundbite. Ms. Ricci struggled to find some good in each outfit, or at least hurt the designer’s feelings. Michael Kors ripped whiny Crying Joshua a new one, who tried to throw his model under the bus. “There were fit issues.” Tell me about it.
Heidi ADORED Bert’s dress, which made me love her…until I have to go back to hating her again.

Best Three: Bert, Anthony Ryan (!), Anya (?)
Worst Three: Crying Joshua, Julie, Rafael

I simply could not believe it. The judges loved Anya’s abominable pants, when the norm is if pants aren’t perfection, the contestant gets auf’d almost before they get to the Final Six.


My guests jumped up and down, screamed, sprayed champagne (they’re paying the carpet cleaning bill) and there was merriment all ‘round. Laura K was NOT happy about Bert’s win.

I prayed that Crying Joshua would be auf’d, not Rafael. For one thing, Rafael’s hair would be fun to look at week to week. With Project Runway, these things matter. But Rafael was auf’d, while Crying Joshua wept his way into the waiting room.

Favorite line of the evening: “I haven’t gotten this pissed since I had cancer.” Interesting priorities.

That’s it for this week’s episode, dahlings. I look forward to seeing you all on Twitter.


New York’s SEXIEST BENEFIT July 25 for Planned Parenthood!


This is your chance to get tickets for Summer, Sex and Spirits, the 7th Annual Benefit for Planned Parenthood!

8 PM – 11 PM

Open Bar, including a Summer, Sex & Spirits specialty cocktail!
Sexy performances by Calamity Chang, Darlinda Just Darlinda & Ginger Brown
Hot music by Justine D & DJ Ayres
Naughty balloon artistry by Mistress B
General Admission: $40
VIP Tickets: $75

For tickets and information go to

Fabulous silent auction & raffle prizes including items from:
Christian Louboutin, Daredevil Tattoo, Shinn Estate Vineyards, ION Salon, Babeland, Old Village Hall, Darphin, MoMA, Chilewich, Candle 79, Artist Victoria Blewer, Angelo David Salon, Rachel Comey, Skinny Skinny, Malia Mills, Duane Park, Artist Karen Goetzinger, Guggenheim, Mets, Lenor Romano, Astor Center Wines, Fox & Boy Hair, Edgewater Gallery Vermont, Jen Huang Photography, Yankees, Exhale Spa, 3rd Ward, Eve’s Garden, Holly Hudson, SHOKra Studio, Wendy Mink, The Frick, Alphabet City Acupuncture, Only Hearts, Brooklyn Brainery, New York School of Burlesque, Artist Marcelo Gallegos…and many more!

VIP Tickets: $75
Includes admission to the VIP reception from 7:00pm-8:00pm featuring gift bags courtesy of Bag the Habit, balloon artistry by Mistress B, artisanal cheeses from Lucy’s Whey, sweet treats by Dulce Desserts & sunset cocktails on the Garden Terrace.

21 and over.

See you there!

Movie Style Icons: Marilyn Monroe, Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth


As an cinemaphile I am in a unique position to know, when reading a listing online for womens’ vintage clothing, whether or not the movie star used as a keyword would have actually chosen to wear it, or even be alive to wear it. This first guide will help you, the buyer, make a more informed choice between sellers who use the names only as meaningless keywords and those sellers who use them correctly.

For this first guide I am keeping it simple by using the movie stars that I run across in Vintage Womens Clothing listings the most:

Jean Harlow (born 1911 – died 1937)
Rita Hayworth (born 1918 – died
Marilyn Monroe (born 1926 – died 1962)

JEAN HARLOW (real name: Harlean Carpenter)

Jean Harlow was the first Blonde Bombshell. In fact, she made a comedy Bombshell, 1933, that was very much like her real life. It portrayed a movie star whose family leeches off of her, and a publicist who constantly betrays her.

In the early years of her career she played a series of cheap sexpots, because that was the way she looked. Even though off screen she was always described as surprisingly sweet and affectionate. But Jean Harlow had a marvelous flair for comedy.

Her movie wardrobe was always tight in the extreme, designed to show off her jutting, bra-less bosom. (She was the first female star of the 20th century to make the bosom the center of attention.) Harlow was considered a “man’s woman,” salty, brash, and uninhibited, at least on screen. Harlow’s hair was dyed white blonde, so she was also the first “platinum blonde,” a term coined just for her.

Much of her career as a true star was spent at MGM. Her clothes were meant to show off as much of her figure, particularly her breasts, as possible. Bias cut satins, tight long 30s skirts, low-cut evening gowns, furs, nightgowns…flowing satin and silk is the first thing one associates with Jean Harlow. Most of her movie wardrobe was designed by Adrian, MGM’s top designer.

Since the majority of her starring roles were in the early to mid 1930s, the costumes were not as structured as they might be ten years later–and one could get away with showing a LOT more in the early days of her career. (In fact, in many of her early films, the sides and undersides of her bosom and her nipples are clearly visible. Something that would not be tolerated a few short years later.)

Jean Harlow died an untimely death in 1937. When you think Harlow, think flowing, satiny, unconstructed, like lingerie. When you see a seller saying that “Jean Harlow would have worn this” about a 1950s full-skirted high-necked dress, you know they haven’t done their research.

RITA HAYWORTH (Margarita Cansino)

She was known as “The Love Goddess,” because her beauty seemed at once so down-to-earth and yet unapproachable. In real life painfully shy, her screen presence implied volcanic sexuality beneath a sultry surface. This is the famous “Put The Blame On Mame” dress from Gilda (1946)–the designer Jean Louis used the across-the-body hip sash and bow to tighten up and conceal Rita’s recently having given childbirth!

By now the censors did not let female stars show as much of their bodies as a decade before, so designers used other methods to showcase their clients’ assets. Rita Hayworth’s greatest assets were considered to be her long arms and shoulders, not to mention her beauty and lush hair. So her costumes emphasized those over her slightly thick waist and thin legs.

Hayworth was a favorite of World War Two soldiers, along with Betty Grable. Hayworth did a tremendous number of movies, climbing very slowly up the ladder to stardom. Columbia, her home studio, loaned her out for supporting parts, which gradually made Rita a star. Along the way, her black hair was dyed dark red, and her hairline raised by electrolysis, to make her less “Spanish-looking.”

During the war, she specialized in musicals, having been a dancer, born to a family of professional dancers, the Dancing Cansinos. Her singing was dubbed. Technicolor showed her off to great advantage, and she was born to wear the clothes of the pre-New Look war time 40s – tailored suits with padded shoulders, knee-length tight skirts (but not too tight–the silhouette was an inverted vee).

The preferred style during World War Two was practical. Since fabric was rationed, suits tended to look slightly like soldiers’ uniforms, and dresses were simple. But, we’re talking about the movies here, not real life–so Rita also wore lavish evening gowns with elaborate beading that clung close to the body, or boned-bodice evening gowns that flared out at the skirt with layer upon layer of chiffon.

The latter gowns were designed for dancing. Rita’s strongly-boned face showcased the large picture hats and the upswept hairstyles of the time perfectly.

Her stardom faded after the war, and a series of unhappy marriages, including one to “Citizen Kane‘s” Orson Welles. Rita Hayworth had never wanted to be a “movie star” in the conventional sense. But she still did excellent dramatic work in films such as Separate Tables (1958). However, she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and eventually died in 1987.

MARILYN MONROE (real name: Norma Jean Mortensen)

Unlike our first two stars, everyone on this planet (and probably others) knows Marilyn Monroe. She is a legend, an icon, a goddess. But take a look at this very young bride during World War Two:

This was before she became a professional model, when she was still a young housewife, married at sixteen. She wore the typical styles of the 40s, and it was a number of years before she became the blonde Sex Goddess we revere today. First there was a modeling career, which in turn led to dozens of bit and small parts, usually as a “dumb blonde,” in undistinguished movies. She herself was not particularly distinguishable, to be honest, but she changed her name to Marilyn Monroe and worked as hard as humanly possible to become a movie star. There were occasional roles that showed a glint of something more, but they were few and far between. Even at the beginning of her career she displayed the emotional difficulties that would plague her later life.

She achieved stardom in a series of films for 20th Century Fox Studios in the early 1950s: How To Marry A Millionaire, River Of No Return, There’s No Business Like Show Business, and others. Along with an excellent singing voice (never adequately appreciated), like Harlow, she also had a flair for comedy. William Travilla was the costume designer for most of her Fox films.

She did not quite wear the typical styles of the 1950s…for instance, she HATED full skirts, and only wore one in a Cary Grant film where she had to put her leg up on a chair. Everything had to be skin-tight. The interior construction of her costumes are a wonder to behold. The dress in which she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to President Kennedy is a marvel of interior design, everything held and pushed in place. (The same designer, again Jean Louis, was famous for designing Marlene Dietrich’s “nude” gowns for her nightclub act, which were actually gowns made over a flesh-colored corset, sewn into the dress!)

So if you’re looking for Marilyn-style clothes, think: 1950s, everything tight, cinched waists, halter dresses, spaghetti strap dresses with slim skirts, skin-tight capri pants worn with flats (Monroe had a passion for Ferragamos), sleeveless blouses tied at the waist, cardigan twinsets…in other words, unsubtle.

She remained a star until her death in 1962, and has become more of a legend with each passing decade.

I hope that you have learned something useful. More guides will be coming up for more movie star icons!


copyright Elisa DeCarlo – use of this material is forbidden without written permission

Vintage Lane Bryant Advertising…EEK!


Your faithful correspondent was, as usual, deeply annoyed when clicking through plus-sized mainstream clothing sites. Almost all of the models are size 0, making the clothes look like badly pinned tents. However, it could be worse…

I wonder if they still sell “Husky Boy” clothes. Can any of the men out there enlighten me?


When It Comes To Men, ‘Twas Ever Thus…


When Viagra was first introduced to the market, many were staggered at how many men came out of the closet to reveal they had “erectile dysfunction” (meaning that the pink oboe would not play). However, through the years there have been other searches for a cure…

Can, with a few modifications, be used as a pepper-grinder, tipped upside down to make frosty blended drinks, or as a car jack.



Have Some Mae West


I have occasionally wished that a blog could be as long as a tweet, but then it would be on twitter. (Would that be called a twog?) In any event, for your enjoyment, here is the legendary large lovely Mae West, singing “I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Gone” in her first starring role, “She Done Him Wrong”, 1933.



Daily Venus Diva/FTF One Day Deal!


Thursday July 14, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.through Friday July 15, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., Daily Venus Diva (DVD) and Fashion To Figure (FTF) will be partnering to offer a “daily deal” to readers and plus-size women everywhere on

The deal, only available for 24 hours, will allow consumers and all lovers of fashion to purchase a $20 certificate for only $10. Once purchased,consumers will be able to redeem these certificates at FTF either online or in stores,

“Fashion To Figure offers a huge selection of trendy, in-vogue clothesthat any woman would love to be seen in,” said Diva Deal Finder Janie Mackenzie-Cohen. “In a market where it’s difficult to find that sexylittle black dress that fits and flatters, FTF has filled a void providingvery reasonably priced clothes in styles plus-size women just can’t find anywhere else.”Fashion To Figure offers trendy plus-size clothing in sizes 12 – 26 and includes both casual and dress wear. In stores, FTF provides personal stylists to make the shopping experience that much easier. “Stylists ar efull-fashion experts and at your service always. A personal FashionStylist for your time at FTF can make all the difference. Stylists know you and our fashions very well. They can help put together outfits, give advice on what works and what doesn’t work, and guide you on how all our many choices fit.”

What: 24 hour “Daily Deal” for half-price $20 certificates
When: Thursday July 14, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., through Friday July 15,2011 at 9:00 a.m. Where: is an online fashion magazine that caters to we larger lovelies. Please do have a look!


There Are Times When NYC Is NOT The Place To Be!


And today is one of them! I sit here in my air conditioned Art Deco office, dictating my blog thing to Leo, who has been having MOST insolently of late–


As I was saying. My beautiful (featured in Architectural Digest) oceanfront mansion in the Hamptons is being RENOVATED. To be precise, it WAS being renovated. IT IS STILL BEING RENOVATED! The contractor is three months behind schedule! All of those bribes for nothing. I’d ask for my money back if I hadn’t given to him illegally. Certaines personnes ne vivent pas à leur part d’un marché.

The consequences of this are that, aside from the occasional jaunt out of town or out of the country, your faithful correspondent is trapped–TRAPPED, I tell you!–for the summer in New York.

There’s a reason the ballad is not called “August in New York.” Damn.


Today’s Life Lesson


NEVER leave your puppy alone in your salon, with the closet doors open. Now I have $50,000 worth of Fortuny confetti.

If I’m to post everyday, it is impossible to consistently offer “high-level content.” My deepest apologies.


P.S. No, I don’t have the option to remove those stupid “funny” “interesting” tags.

P.P.S. I have no idea why the Adsense ads have nothing to do with my content. YOU try dealing with Google some time.

It’s Late And I’m Cranky


Although we were spared the corrosive heat of earlier this week, it hardly seems to matter when one returns from a brief stroll down the beach in the Hamptons covered with mosquito bites. I detest the smell of “bug spray” as the peasants call it. Earlier this year I had resolved not to wear any unless they could at least mix it with a decent perfume, such as Escada. The object being to attract the opposite sex while repelling winged species. Unfortunately “bug spray” serves the purpose of smelling unpleasant and being sticky.
Someone out there needs to developed a nicely fragranced sunscreen with an insect repellant included. If you do, remember that I gave you the idea.