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Episode 607: "Jump the Gun" - August 23, 2010
About this time each season, everything starts to blur, one episode blends into the other, who was murdered and when, what did Brenda wear? Another Irene, maybe. Who was the murderer, the red herring, when's the next meeting, oh my gawd, hiatus is just around the corner. I had to look back in my journal, a journal I have kept since I was in junior high way back in the 70's to see what I was going through when we shot Jump the Gun.
We had a great villain in the guise of an East coast meets West coast dandy dressed head to toe like he stepped out of the pages of The Official Preppy handbook, which I heard is back in print hotter than hot, for a new generation of prepsters. Did "preppy" ever go out of style? Or was it ever in style? I went through my Preppy phase in 1980. I had to have the Ralph Lauren Polo Pony pastel oxford cloth shirts, and I was a starving artist, just beginning my design career and I couldn't afford the shirts in the men's department so I meandered down to the Boys department and bought one in every color for half the price, in those days I could fit into a Boys Size 20! I bought Ralph Lauren argyle socks, wore khakis and penny loafers and tied a pastel cotton sweater about my shoulders. I could have, in my mind stepped out of a Kennedy family portrait. For years I wanted to live in Massachusetts, I was destined to have a house on the Cape, I knew I had been switched at birth and was a Kennedy. I once caught a brief glimpse of JFK Jr. at the Four Seasons Hotel, we were both checking in, he in topsiders and a polo shirt. Maria Shriver and I passed each other in a hall way in Santa Monica, wearing capris and a little sleeveless blouse and that sweater draped over her shoulders; and Maria's mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver sat a couple rows in front of me at a church service, also in Santa Monica. Jacqueline Kennedy, the bereft widow sent me a thank you note after I had posted a letter of condolence to her. I was only in elementary school at the time of the President's death, but all I remember is that the letter from the First lady was delivered with no stamp, just her distinctive signature where a postage stamp should have been. All of these Kennedy sightings made me recall one thing, they all dressed with that effortless ease of a Preppy, even Jackie, although I never saw her in person had that East coast vibe of madras and cotton and sun and sea.
So the Jed Bailey family was modeled and shopped with those Preppy memories in mind at a darling little shop in San Marino, CA, called Lady Bird, a Lilly Pulitzer signature store, hung floor to ceiling with everything Lilly!!! Dresses and blouses and t-shirts and sweaters and shoes and hats and shifts and caftans and mother/daughter prints and separates and coasters and playing cards and thank you notes and men's shirts and blazers and pants in all of those preppy colors: lime green, hot pink, orange sherbet, cape cod blue, butter yellow and white!; to show off that chestnut tan of course. The staff at Lady Bird couldn't be more gracious, another ode to good breeding and good manners all in the Official Preppy Handbook! By the way, I profile the actor cast as Jed Bailey in this week's Hem-ming & Haw-ing. Check it out.
Brenda of course was brought up a Southern Preppy, I'm sure, by the way I have established her mama Willie Ray, who herself dresses in the aforementioned colors of lime and pink and orange...as does her daughter! Willie Ray has a vintage Lilly Pulitzer terry cloth caftan she wore several seasons ago. Brenda however doesn't own any Lilly Pulitzer and probably won't, she threw on one of her silk floral print sheaths to go visit the Bailey's and I'm glad she did as the day we shot that scene in Canoga Park it was 104 in the shade. Add one of her favorite hats and a little sunscreen! Later for another notification at the Bailey house Brenda threw on a little navy Irene suit, worn open with a little Cosabella camisole and guess what the suit was lined in...lime green!!!!
Having our base camp ( where the trailers are parked) in Canoga Park afforded me the opportunity to shop at the newly refurbished Topanga Plaza, once the largest indoor Mall West of the Mississippi. It had become tired and sad and the Westfield folks from the UK took it over. It now boasts a fabulous Nordstrom and miniature Neiman Marcus that I j'adored and all the requisite shops of a USA suburban mall. There's also a fantastic Crate and Barrel across from the mall and I of course had to browse there too.
This was Creative Arts Emmy weekend here in L.A. and I had the pleasure of creating the red carpet look for our very own Emmy nominee for Glee, you know her as Lady Stacey K. Black. She wanted a decidedly rock and roll inspired deconstructed look. I did a very low cut black top with a poof of tulle, the girls were at attention and the skirt was a bias cut black jersey with an almost obscene slit that spilled forth shards and scraps of black fish net, an incredible swatch of red and pewter sequins and yards and yards of gathered and draped swaths of silk tulle. When Lady Black saw the finished product she meekly, and believe me there's nothing meek about Stacey K. Black, said, "that's a lot of tulle!" But I saw pictures of her on the red carpet and it was perfect, down to every yard of tulle. I also assisted Mary Stultz and Michelle Tyminski in fitting and accessorizing their stunning Emmy looks. Maybe, before The Closer closes her last case I will be nominated for an Emmy for Brenda's quirky character looks...notice I capitalized the M in Maybe...
And finally, see why I have to go back to my journal to see what happened, there's way too much going on in our lives, this week I attended a discussion, impromptu concert and book signing of friend and former couture client of mine Rosanne Cash. She has a new memoir just published called Composed. Run don't walk to buy this memoir. Rosanne is an incredible songwriter and singer and is an even better writer-writer I feel. The book reads as if you are sitting with Rosanne having a very intimate conversation of her life. My favorite memory of Rosanne was when we first met, I was out of my Preppy phase and wearing a pair of brown leather jeans and un-constructed sweater. As I walked down the halls of the Grand Ol Opry House in Nashville I heard someone say "nice ass!", I didn't look back, again this voice yelled out, "nice ass!" and as I turned it was Rosanne Cash, she asked where I got the leather jeans, I replied I had them made and she said, "Make me a pair" and that was the beginning of a creative collaboration for several years, several extravagant Grammy gowns and punk inspired tour costume...not a preppy in sight! And about those journals, they are at the ready for a time when I write my very own memoir perhaps titled: Costumed?