Spring has been a bit begrudging this year- like the cool girl being dragged to the prom. I'm sure once she gets here, she'll be glad she came, but until then, we are left grasping for the tiniest glimpse; a blooming flower, a breath of warm wind, a moment of blue sky.

One way to combat the gloomy April blues is with this most perfectly cheerful of reds: Geranium by Essie. Red was all the rage for fall in Paris, but who really cares? Red is always great, especially on fingers and toes. And Geranium's flat, honest, slightly orange version is charmingly straightforward. It's red! I wore it two weeks ago, when a chill wind whistled down Broadway, but every time I saw my nails, I felt Springy.



As some of you might know, I've been looking forward to HBO's ambitious new fantasy series, "Game of Thrones" for quite some time. Ever since that first promo with the crows, I was hooked. And, after reading the books (all 3500 pages, give or take) by George R.R. Martin earlier this winter, I've become quite the fan. The books are fun, bawdy, interesting, and just great, cheesy reads. I admire their audacious storytelling, and Mr. Martin's fertile imagination. What was it people used to say? Ripping good yarns!

And of course, as a fan, nothing ever lives up to what you hope. So with that, here are my main thoughts about the first episode. THERE MAY BE SOME SPOILERS. (But reading it over, not really.)

  • The opening scene was as freaky and wonderful as I could have hoped. A wise man often tells me "always start with a fight" and that was a great one. I thought the weird forest noises were particularly creepy and excellent. The sound of the man howling was so chilling! I knew exactly what was going to happen, but I still kept saying "woah" while resisting the temptation to cover my eyes.

  • I love Sean Bean. He's perfectly cast. That is all. Mark Addy too.
  • I hate to say this- I think the actress who plays Catelyn is, like, way old. Also, with those worried eyes, she makes me nervous. I wish she was a little cooler and strangely, a little warmer. I want to love her. 
  • Cersei was distracting because, geek that I am, I was a fan of the "Terminator" TV series, and Lena Headey was such a great Sarah Conner. I'm sure I'll get over it. Her fake smile was excellent.
  • I thought the girl who played Daenerys was pretty good! Great looking! I thought she did a lot with kind of a rough bit of story. Her brother was atrocious though. And the wedding- that was really, eye-rollingly clunky.

  • As a whole, I thought the whole episode was a little overworked. I could see where HBO got nervous, and made them do more explaining. Lines such as "Where is Arya, your sister?" in the scene when the king arrives, and the entire scene between Jamie Lannister and Cersei at John Arryn's funeral, well, all I can say is Oy. Vey. It's not nit picking, because that sort of exposition slows things down to an almost glacial speed. We're going to figure everything out. Stop telling us! Let it unfold. I felt like someone was handing me a present they were really excited for me to open, and so they couldn't help dropping huge hints and pulling away the paper way before I was ready. Let me unwrap the damn thing!

  • Which brings me to the Tyrion problem. He's the real wit in the books. And Peter Dinklage is awesome. And yet, in this first episode, they slow him down to the point that you lose the humor, so that nearly everything he says becomes weighty and ominous seeming.  If they had played the scene between him and John Snow, with maybe, a little bit more comedic timing, it would have worked so so much better. I think, many times, the key to good dramatic storytelling, especially with episodic TV is to find the comedy. It doesn't have to "30 Rock," but a little lightness on the feet never hurt anybody. (The show that currently does this best is "Justified" but "The Wire" was also excellent at it. Not to mention "The Sopranos.") This way the viewer is not completely weighted down by the overwhelmingly portentous mood, and when the shocking things happen, they are really shocking. The first scene proved to me that I could still be shocked, even when I knew what was coming. The rest of the episode not too much.

  • I thought most of the sets looked pretty great. Some seemed a little "set" like, but what can you do?

Overall, it was a very long hour and five minutes. But still, I have high hopes for next week! Of course I'll keep watching! You?

This whole thing with John Galliano makes me very sad. I have always so admired his creativity and the originality of his clothes. Dior is one of the great classic french houses, and his couture shows were works of art, always. How rough and disappointing it is to learn that someone who had such big ideas had such a small mind.

I am an Oscar enthusiast. Perhaps because I come from the last generation to believe that the Oscars were anything special. There was a seriousness dignity to the awards- because they were hard won, but also a sense of self-mockery and fun in the show. It was, in fact, a show about the fun of movies: the illusion, the magic, the myths and the grandeur that was really all a facade. When Atlanta burns in Gone With The Wind, it's really the old King Kong set. That was the Oscars- spinning and revealing at the same time. The Oscars were there to tell the story of the movies, updating it for the year.

There was almost never a question of dullness. So how did the show get so boring? I have taken a day to gather my thoughts, and here they are, large and small.

1) Award Fatigue- There wasn't always such a thing as "awards season". There was only really the Oscars. The rest wasn't televised, and if it was, no one really paid much attention. The Golden Globes were the only other big thing, but even then- no one took them very seriously. There were far fewer tabloids, and fewer reporters covering the beat, and most of all, there was no internet. We did not spend weeks and months speculating about who was going to wear what and then seeing that person over and over and over and over again everywhere we looked, saying the same thing. By the time the Oscars air, we've already seen the winners' speeches, and heard endless speculation about who will win. There is no drama at all. And if we feel that way- imagine the poor actors who make it through the gantlet- Natalie Portman looked like all she wanted to do was go home and go to bed. 

2) Zoos vs. Wildlife Parks- These days, watching the Oscars is like going to an old fashioned zoo. All the animals, ahem, movie stars, are so tame and media trained, that almost nothing interesting ever comes out of their mouths or appears on their person. It's like they are ashamed to be ACTORS! From the over-the-top dignity of Laurence Olivier, to the over-the-top happiness of Tony Curtis, to the over-the-top charm of Paul Newman, to the over-the-top "class" of Katherine Hepburn, back in the day, they played the part! And they were far more elusive. Watching them at the Oscars was like getting to see them in their natural element, striding across the stage, maybe a little drunk. It was amazing to see Tom Cruise hanging with Jack Nicholson- imagine that! As far as we knew they always wore tux and hung out. We were catching a glimpse through the tree branches of an alternative amazing life, not watching them pad in circles in a small cell that looked kind of like the one we saw last week on E!.

3) How to Host- Much as I love both of them, hiring Anne Hathaway and James Franco turned out to be a mistake. Here's the thing- neither of them, talented as they are, is qualified to host an awards show. They are actors, not performers, and it's not always the same thing. Whoopie Goldberg talked about this on The View yesterday, and she had a really good point- comics are trained to improvise, and keep a crowd's energy up. The best ones are like great outfielders- they can catch a ball that looks uncatchable and get it to home plate, in the blink of an eye. The audience is happy and never knew what hit em. The two kids the other night, Oscar nominees themselves, may be able to convince us in a movie that they are a character, but they are too green to bear the weight of moving the show along on their slender shoulders. The producers and the academy need to worry less about the right demographic and more about putting on a grown-up show. Go ahead, annoy someone! You'll see it in the ratings next year. People are still talking about Ricky Gervais. 

4) Shhhh- We don't care what the presenters say. They spoke WAY too much the other night. Hell, I would usually listen to Tom Hanks read the phone book, but the other night even he went on way too long, and he was the first! All we want from the presenters is to see what they are wearing, and to hear who the award goes too. We don't want to see long trailers for the nominees, or packages on sound design. We want to see who WON.

5) Speak up!- Conversely, it would be nice to hear the winners' speeches without worrying about listening to them get played off. I agree with the video telling them "no lists" but let them tell their story. The movies are stories! And we love them for it! Now let us hear the stories behind the stories! We love those too! Let the ladies cry and the men tell their kids to go to sleep! THEY WON! This command includes re-introducing the Thalberg award to the ceremony. Francis Ford Coppola was robbed! What a great montage that would have been!  

6) The Clothes this Year- over all, it was a dull year for clothes. Anne Hathaway was the best dressed people there. Yes, people- she was the top seven, followed by everyone else. Between the kooky Tom Ford and the brazen Armani, she and Rachel Zoe really got the glam right.

Honorable mentions go to: Mila Kunis, because yes! If you look like that, you should wear that! I thought Justin Timberlake was going to melt from her heat; Annette Bening, who kept it real and elegant; Cate Blanchett, for looking like Athena in springtime; and Hailee Steinfeld for looking perfectly fourteen and gorgeous. When I was 14 that would have been my dream dress.

Dishonorable mentions go to: Jennifer Hudson, great color, bad cleavage; Michelle Williams and the blah of her hair and that Chanel combo; and Gwyneth Paltrow for looking so blah. Come on Gwyneth! You're insane! Just GO FOR IT!

Other looks of note: I loved Amy Adams' Cartier necklace, Scarlett's hair and makeup (but not her dress) and most of all those custom Brian Atwood shoes Anne Hathaway wore. Those were movie magic!

The Hairpin is great

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The writing is great. The voice is great. And, in light of the end of FW SS 2011, this gently funny cartoon about Anna Wintour is great. It goes down like cucumber water on a hot day.
I think I must be growing up. It's not just the greys and the worries that tell me so. This fashion week, I've been drawn to Michael Kors.

I never totally got him before. I mean, I know from Project Runway that he knows his stuff, but to me his brand suffered from some serious dilution (they sell his, admittedly cute, cheapo flats up at the insane shoe store on the corner of Broadway and 14th Street. Marc would never do that!) He was "luxe" for the masses. Donna Karan- same thing.

But now, I'm feeling it. This fashion week, his collection was a celebration of his 30 years in the biz- which is longer then some of his competitors have been alive. And wow! Was I ever in the mood to wear those clothes!

They are the sort of uncomplicated pieces that really set off the wearer, and make her feel good. Rich fabrics, great tailoring, easy colors, perfect drape and flow. It was like a light-bulb went off over my head; so that's what a lady- a grownup woman- dresses like today! These are clothes that make you not just look great, but feel great, and you don't have to be a size nothing to pull them off (but hey, that helps, right?). Anyway, I would run out and buy this sweet leather minidress in a hot second. It's not new, but it's just right.



How I love adjectives- almost as much as I loathe the weather! This winter has been frigid, dark, cold and bleak. And my spirit is not alone in agony. My hair has also paid a steep price.

All this dry air, and hat wearing, and blow drying, and freezing has turned my hair (which, honestly, I am rather vain about) into a frizzy mass from whence I fear rats may tumble. It's not pretty, it's not soft, it's certainly not luxurious. It may be heinous.

So what do I do? And what, if you are in my situation, do YOU do?

Here are my thoughts:

1)I love the Bumble and Bumble's Quenching series. In the town that I grew up in, my mother frequently hired babysitters from the local college. It was a Christian college, and once, Saturday night became rather confusing for me, as a tried and true girl, gave a whirl at proselytizing at me. By midnight, I was a convert. The next day, at Hebrew school, (class Aleph, for the kindergartners,) I would get my comeuppance, after cross-examining my teacher about whether or not it was true that God had a son named Jesus. Congregation Sons of Israel called my parents. But usually, my mom would hire someone a little cooler, and a little more fun (It was a Christian college in the 80's, when people didn't take that stuff quite so seriously. Yeah- You can imagine the naughtiness!). And my favorite thing was to go through those girls' little shoulder bags (with their permission) and play with their makeup. The loved this. Those sweet girls smelled like Bumble's Quenching conditioner- clean and young, and bright- and like nothing found in nature. So I love the stuff based on scent alone- but it's also a great product- rich and thick, and it rinses really well. The masque is perfect for your winter wilt, and I actually will swear by Jesus on the Complex which I use daily to prevent fly-aways and static. (I'll even use it on my dry hair, if I'm really puffy. Don't be afraid!)

2) I find that staying loyal to one product dulls my hair, so this weekend I snapped up a bottle of Abba Organics Pure Moisture Conditioner.  So far, so good- my hair is softening daily, and curling nicely. It also smells fantastic- like the first warm day of spring, when there's still a cool undertone (here provided by a scalp-tingling mint.) This is a great secondary conditioner- for the days when you are sick of the usual.

3) A good comb is hard to find. I break them all the time, mostly because I am so hard on them. Unless I am blow drying my hair, which is, oh, never, I hate to brush, so I comb once or twice a week in the shower, (and here's the important part), with the conditioner IN. My sister, who has the most amazing curls, swears by this interesting piece from Ricky's. I guess they bake olive oil into the plastic? I'm not sure that helps, but it's a nice sturdy comb, and I like the sort of glow-in-the-dark-color.

Part of the fun, I think, is just trying and buying something new, in this weird dead time of the year, when spring seems eons away. So go, buy something a little silly. And try not to let the frizz get you down.  

No- Chanel doesn't pay me to shill for them. If only! It's just that they do such a notable job at being fresh and fun. For example, I'd like to draw your attention to two beautiful little films that show exactly why we love this classic car of a company.

The first is a short animation by Chanel's magical Creative Director and makeup artist extraordinaire Peter Phillips. Like any good superhero, his outward demeanor is quiet and measured, hiding the brilliance beneath. For not only can he make you look like a million dollars with a few swift movements of his hands- he can bring makeup to vivid, humorous LIFE!

Brilliant, no?

The second film is a companion piece, that gets behind the scenes with Philips, and is by one of my favorite young filmmakers, the lovely and talented Crystal Moselle. (I first saw a student film of hers about ten years ago, when she was 19 or so. In less then five minutes, she created a piece of full terror and beauty, and it's no wonder she's doing so well today.)  Peter Philips will charm you with his grace and humility, and you will at once understand why he is a beautiful dreamer.

It's commendable that Chanel's beauty team puts these things out there! From a certain angle, if they weren't careful, the brand could be seen as fusty and old-fashioned (something Dior Beaute bumps against sometimes, I think, in their beauty marketing, and Guerlain certainly does.) But by taking risks with color and media, and by not fearing the offbeat, they manage to not only stay in the conversation, but lead it, without losing their core customer! What other company has a waiting list for their latest nail polish and also one (or five) of the most classic fragrances of all time? Can't think of one, can you? 
And generally an issue all around: WHY IS EVERYONE SO TAN!? It doesn't look good!!!! Not even on Jennifer Aniston (not that she was there- according to the rags she was home alone, sulking. I'm sure she was just home, hanging out with dogs, having a lovely evening in her beautiful house, drinking a nice glass of wine, and taking a bubble bath, deciding which cute bachelor she would like to date next, and that Brangelina never once crossed her mind, except in a wistful sort of "Brad's flavor-saver looks wack" kind of way.) Wait, tans do look good on JA. But honestly, on everyone else it's gotten far out of hand.

Here are two prime offenders:
Yeah, I know. J.Lo is naturally bronzed. But this shade of gold is certainly not found in nature.

jenniferlovehewitt108077663-419x618.jpgAnd wow J.Lo Jr. That is a major shade of orange. I'm not even going to get into the bridalness of that tacky dress. That's a post for a whole other day- how much I despise the bridalfication of the red carpet.

I blame all these tans and oranges on one family. Well, one person in that family really. Yup, Kim Kardashian, I'm looking at you. Every time I see her on a billboard (she's all over NYC right now, in bus shelters and taxi roofs) I want to make like my mom, lick my fingers and get that crap off of her face. I've seen images of her without makeup and she is a really lovely girl. But her success has had a horrifying impact that has reverberated across LA to NYC and back again. Everyone is way too tan.

It's not even cute anymore. Let's just stop. I declare a moratorium on dark spray tans from this moment hence. Let's try to remember that our skin is not our hair- indeed our hair is not our hair after too many colorings. Let's keep things just the tiniest bit real.
This has been a service announcement from Michelle Jean Lerner.

I actually wrote most of this Monday, but I had some tech issues (is there anything more boring?). So here are my thoughts today!

1) My favorites were; Anna Hathaway in her Dynasty-redux Armani; Tilda Swinton in her bananas white and cream Jil Sander; Tina Fey because I want to be her when I grow up and she can do no wrong no matter what; and Mila Kunis, looking every inch the movie star she will be.

2) Many people disliked Annette Bening's spiky hair and glasses, but I thought it was very her, which is the point, and that she looked pretty great. I didn't love the dress, but it fit her nicely.

3) One of my bete-noirs is the overuse of the word "flirty" to describe clothing, particularly ruffled things. However, the definition of flirty was Julianne Moore in her pink Lanvin. Every time they cut to her she was smiling and laughing girlishly, and I think that one shouldered pink satin had everything to do with it. How could you not giggle in that dress? She totally pulled it off.

4) This is an interesting case that's been on my mind since Sunday. Ponder Olivia Wilde for a moment if you will:
That is a gorgeous Marchesa dress. And it is being worn by a very beautiful woman. Yet, it doesn't add up. Let me simplify: right girl+right dress = wrong outfit. I love Ms. Wilde on "House"- she's spiky and smart, and you can't deny she has great bones. And the gown is really outstandingly beautiful. But, this is a dress for an Oscar Nominee, not a TV actress presenting at the Golden Globes (the most corrupt of award shows). The dress completely eats her up, and her tiny head is further swallowed by that sad, lank hair. I love hair worn down but, just...no. If I could, I would photoshop Anne Hathaway's head onto this picture and you would see what I mean.THAT would work. Because in order to pull something like this off, at a not-quite-the-Oscars sort of event, you have to be a FULL MOVIE STAR.

For example:
michael-douglas-catherine-zeta-jones-golden-globes-2011-02-1.jpgHere is Catherine Zeta Jones channeling Scarlett O'Hara, from the green textured fabric, which boldly recalls Scarlett's curtains-upholstery dress, to the Civil War era hair. It's actually an absurd look, and most people who tried to rock this would wake up to find themselves the butt of many a fashion joke. But not Catherine Zeta Jones. On her, this totally works. I mean, this woman doesn't just look like a movie star- she is one! And what a rare species they are. She's gorgeous and all you do is look at her face, because, well, what a face! And she's totally comfortable in this stunningly beautiful monstrosity that's surely not comfortable at all. I mean, I can totally imagine her strolling down her back garden to the pool in this, and flopping onto a plush lounge chair with a book or something. This is a lot of dress, and yet, it's not wearing her- she's most definitely wearing IT. The same can not be said for the lovely Olivia Wilde. That dress is wearing HER.

Besides- a dress like this probably covers a multiplicity of flaws- as could the Marchesa! But Olivia Wilde has no flaws. She could have been daring, and dare I say, gone a little younger, a little more modern. Heck, she just starred in Tron. What perfect inspiration! She could even have worn something like this, and blown everyone out of the water:
As it is, Emma Stone got to do that instead, and she looks exactly right- elegant, lovely, every inch a young star, emphasis on the word YOUNG. You can't see it here, but there is a huge cut out in the back of this dress- and it's sexy as hell. Note to Olivia Wilde: You've got the figure! USE IT! YOU ARE STILL YOUNG! Edge it up a little!

5) Ok, now the "didn't likes": Scarlett Johansson- I actually didn't mind her crazy hair, but I can't stand nude color dresses. They are so bridal and boring, on TV anyway. And the shoulder flap things are not cool. The whole look is grandma-ish, and not in a good bonkers way, but in a bad, dull, way. Also, that tattoo is "blergh";  Nicole Kidman! Why did she have to touch up her botox? She looked actually rather nice on "The View" a few weeks ago- her face moved! Now she looks like polished marble, which is weird on someone who actually has blood in her veins and skin made of cells; the less we say about J.Lo in her cheesy and matronly sheer caplet with bling, the better; and last but not least, January Jones, who looked like a cross between a lampshade and a burlesque act. She's always trying so hard to prove that she's not Betty Draper, and somehow, she fails. This is totally what Betty would wear in 2011. For advice she should see: Stone, Emma.

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