Available today in stores and via online retailers everwhere: Ms. Blume’s new novel for children, Julia and the Art of Practical Travel. The Wall Street Journal calls the book a “wise and tender story.” Its characters are “delightful and quirky,” adds the School Library Journal.
Here’s what happens in the book’s pages: When her grandmother dies and the once-majestic family estate is sold, eleven-year-old Julia Lancaster and her aunt Constance take to the road to find Julia’s long-lost mother. They bring with them only the most practical travel things—silver candlestick holders, a few Oriental carpets, some steamer trunks, and Julia’s beloved Brownie camera, which she will use to document their journey across 1960s America.
On the road, Julia and her aunt meet a cast of peculiar characters, including guitar-strumming hippies in Greenwich Village, a legendary voodoo queen in New Orleans, the honorable proprietor of the World’s End Cattle Ranch in Texas, and the colorful sheriff of Gold Point, Nevada (population: 1), who also happens to be the town’s mayor, fire chief, and reverend. But will they find Julia’s mother and a place to call home?
Poignant, engaging, and funny, Lesley M. M. Blume’s new novel is a meditation on the thin line between being an insider and being an outsider, and the deep-rooted need we all have to find a place where we can feel at home.
Today Violet Grey – a just-launched insider Hollywood digital publication – launched Ms. Blume’s new column, Moment in Time, which celebrates Hollywood’s most stylish historical moments as encapsulated in a single photographic image.
The inaugural subject: the great Anjelica Huston, muse and collaborator to some of the greatest auteurs of the modern film and fashion industries, from Halston to Wes Anderson to Richard Avedon.
Huston’s individualism, unconventional beauty, and intelligent glamour make her the perfect Moment in Time subject. While it was difficult to pick one picture among the countless glamorous images of Huston, Ms. Blume and the Violet Grey team loved this 1975 Oscars red carpet photograph of Huston with actor Jack Nicholson, her then-paramour.
In the interview, Huston tells Ms. Blume about that exceptional evening (from getting ready in a mere hour to the legendary Oscars after-parties at Swifty’s), falling in love with Jack Nicholson for the first time (while admitting that she’s still a little bit in love with him), and ponders what makes a woman truly glamorous.
Violet Grey is a new Hollywood-based editorial e-commerce site celebrating beauty at its most compelling. The site includes The Violet Files, a digital magazine dedicated to documenting Hollywood beauty culture in collaboration with celebrated storytellers in fashion and film. Click here to learn more.
Last night, Ms. Blume was awarded the prestigious 2013 Deadline Club Best Arts Reporting award for her September 2012 Vanity Fair cover story about the controversy surrounding what may have been the final painting of iconic artist Jackson Pollock.
The annual awards honor excellence in works of journalism published in the previous year; this year, more than 80 judges sifted through a record 500 entries from a broad swath of media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, television and digital media outlets.
Vanity Fair made a strong showing with six nominations in various categories, and also took home awards on behalf of the late Christopher Hitchens for opinion writing, and for the best magazine feature reporting (William Langewiesche).
Ms. Blume is a regular contributor to the magazine and VanityFair.com. Her award-winning article, “The Canvas and the Triangle,” documents the fiery authentication battle waged by Pollock’s former mistress, Ruth Kligman, over a small work titled Red, Black & Silver – allegedly created for her just weeks before Pollock’s tragic death in 1956.
Click here for more information about the Deadline Club, which has been supporting high journalistic standards since 1925.
In the past, expressions like horsefeathers (nonsense), blinkers (see also: barnacles, peepers, cheaters, and spectacles), and coxy-loxy (drunk – but in a good natured way) were all the go around town. Yet they have since disappeared from the English lexicon in favor of far more pedestrian modern expressions.
Lunch instead of luncheon? Player instead of rapscallion, varlet, or scapegrace? Stockings instead of gamcases?
Zzzzzzz, to say the least.
It’s easy to forget that history is positively brimming with rich, colorful, often-naughty and wildly clever expressions deserving of rejuvenation. In her latest Let’s Bring Back volume, Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition — now available online and at bookstores everywhere — Lesley M. M. Blume gathers forgotten words, phrases, names, insults, and idioms, plus fascinating and amusing anecdotes, etymologies, and occasions for use.
Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition takes readers on a philological journey through words from ancient times through the 1990s. From all-overish to zounds, the vintage vernacular collected here will make any reader the cat’s meow among friends, relations, and acquaintances.
The book also features guest contributions from some of today’s most celebrated novelists, essayists, journalists, philosophers, and other literary types, including Christopher Buckley, Sloane Crosley, Cokie Roberts, Jim Shepard, and many more.
Ms. Blume is delighted to announce a book deal for her first major biography, to be released by Eamon Dolan Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The book, provisionally titled All Things Truly Wicked, will document the real-life events that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 debut novel, The Sun Also Rises. Although Hemingway wrote the book over a mere six weeks following a raucous 1925 trip to a Pamplona bullfighting festival, it was years in the making: All Things Truly Wicked will chronicle Hemingway’s early years in Paris, as he delved into the creative expat community there, and crafted the revolutionary writing style and masterpiece that would change the course of literature forever.
Countless Lost Generation icons played a role (either wittingly or not) in the creation of The Sun Also Rises, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Ford Madox Ford. The book will detail the intersecting lives and ambitions of these greats – and how they all contributed to what would become the legendary Hemingway persona. From Paris’s zinc bars to Pamplona’s dusty bullrings to the intrepid publishing houses of Jazz Age New York City, the literary scene of this era will be brought to life again in vivid detail.
The book is scheduled to be released in 2016, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the publication of The Sun Also Rises.
For press inquiries, please contact Lori Glazer, Vice President, Executive Director of Publicity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Blume’s new book about forgotten vintage cocktails and cocktail history — Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition — became a top-25 bestseller on Amazon today.
The book was the subject of a lengthy feature on NPR’s Morning Edition, and was also chosen as a holiday pick by:
* The New York Times (“With this much festivity to pour over ice, who needs mistletoe?”)
* The Daily Beast (“A charming trip into the libations and drunken lore of yesteryear.”)
* The Wall Street Journal
* Vanity Fair (“Get tipsy together on bygone cocktails as you remember the year just past.”)
Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition was released this fall by Chronicle Books as part of the larger Let’s Bring Back series, which celebrates lost-but-delightful fashions, delectables, landmarks, and personalities from bygone eras.
The original Let’s Bring Back edition – a top-selling, much-beloved multi-topic encyclopedia of nostalgia – was released to acclaim in 2010. In 2013, Chronicle will also release Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition, which extols the virtues of certain lost words, phrases, idioms, insults and praises from bygone eras.
At last, here’s your excuse to catch up. Introducing Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition, a compendium of long-forgotten libations due for a revival. Culled from ancient times through the 1960s, these delectable vintage cocktails are by turns fizzy and silken, sweet and tart, lethal and prim. Some of them are absurd, several are sentimental, while others are outright scandalous. They include:
* Angel’s Tit – Guaranteed to shock goody-goodies
* Du Barry - To get your mistress into the mood
* Green-Eyed Monster - To serve to frenemies
* Hanky Panky – A vintage aphrodisiac
* Kill Devil Punch – A helpful aid in home exorcisms
* Monkey Gland – An unlikely fountain of youth
* Runt’s Ambition – Serve to men with Napoleon Complex
Throughout this illustrated tome, Ms. Blume divulges colorful cocktail history and barroom wisdom alongside one hundred and forty-four recipes that will delight aperitif aficionados for years to come. Whether you’re toasting to an unexpected windfall, treating a malediction, or simply need an occasion to let your hair down, Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition has the concoction for you.
CLICK HERE TO BUY Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition, and visit the Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition Tumblr here.
“Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition is such good reading—it’s a mix of cocktail lore, recipes, anecdotes, and quotations—that even a teetotaler would enjoy it.”
- The Paris Review
“Prepare to get punch-drunk.”
- Daily Candy
On September 7, during New York Fashion Week, Ms. Blume and Lulu Frost designer Lisa Salzer debuted Let’s Bring Back by Lulu Frost, a vast jewelry collection inspired by Ms. Blume’s top-selling and critically acclaimed book, Let’s Bring Back.
Five hundred guests and members of the press attended the presentation at the historic Carlyle Hotel. The collection celebrates three historical Let’s Bring Back icons: beguiling, eccentric Belle Epoque heiress Luisa Casati (who famously claimed “I want to be a living work of art”), Jazz Age activist and publisher Nancy Cunard, and famously irreverent mid-century Surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli:
Ms. Salzer — a guest contributor to Let’s Bring Back, along with Nora Ephron, James L. Brooks, and Kate Spade, among many other luminaries — translated each muse’s style into a 30-piece collection. Casati – ever-inspired by the celestial and other-wordly – was represented by stars and serpents. For Cunard, famed for her “signature barbaric jewelry” that included heavy wrist-to-elbow bangles, Salzer created vivid resin bracelets and batik turbans. Schiaparelli’s collection included gem-covered tassels, lips, eyes, and lobsters – all homages to Schiap’s Surrealist art-world creations with artists such as Salvador Dali. See images of the jewelry and launch event here:
Hendrick’s Gin – a mutual appreciator of curiosities from times gone by and a longtime sponsor of Let’s Bring Back - created sublime signature cocktails for each of the icons. Click here to see the creative menu and re-create these concoctions at home.
Let’s Bring Back by Lulu Frost will become available in stores and via e-retailers around the world in early 2013. Look for it in Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-Porter, and LuluFrost.com, among countless other venues.
Yesterday Ms. Blume appeared on NPR’s The Leonard Lopate Show to discuss her cover story in the September issue of Vanity Fair:
The article chronicles the explosive, decades-long controversy surrounding what may have been Jackson Pollock’s last painting. Red, Black & Silver was long owned by Ruth Kligman, Pollock’s contentious mistress during the last year of Pollock’s life. She claimed that the artist created the small, unsigned canvas as a love gift to her just weeks before the 1956 car crash that killed him.
On September 20, the painting is scheduled to go to auction in New York City at Phillips de Pury & Company auction house. Yet not everyone is convinced that Red, Black & Silver is definitively the last Jackson Pollock – or even a Pollock at all. To these detractors – who are powerful Jackson Pollock authorities and scholars – Red, Black & Silver is a work plagued by incongruity.
As Ms. Blume reported the fraught history of the painting and delved back into the vivid, often torrid world of New York’s mid-century art scene, Kligman’s trustees gave her exclusive access to Kligman’s document archive detailing the owner’s quarter-century quest to prove its legitimacy – and her own credibility.
Available today in stores and via online retailers everwhere: Ms. Blume’s new book, The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins. Publisher’s Weekly calls the book “a glorious unveiling of the long-hidden and very weird ‘history’ of life on Earth.” Amazon has named it a “Best Book of the Month.”
In the pages of these thought-to-be-lost diaries, readers will meet Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins, the greatest paleozoologist of all time, who reveals the secrets of the ancient animal and plant world –- a world before human beings; a world before dinosaurs; a world that, until now, existed well beyond the outer reaches of our imaginations.
Oddities such as the deadly Amazonian Whispering Vine (Vitus Sussurus), the curious tribe of Brittle Bones (Futilis Ossis), a rather gaseous northern-lights creature (Animato Inflatio ab Aqulonius), and a mysterious and indispensable pet named Gibear (Chiropetra Vicugna Pacosis) live again in Dr. Wiggins’s vivid and captivating sketches.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that Dr. Wiggins’s journals have surfaced now, in a time predicted by scientists and religions all over the world to be the beginning of the next mass extinction. Can we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us and avoid such a fate?
Available for pre-order now: the paperback edition of Ms. Blume’s book, Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and Other Nasties. First released to acclaim in 2010 and magnificently/eccentrically illustrated by artist David Foote, the new cover features images from the much-beloved first edition.
In this guidebook to the modern urban fairy realm, readers will receive practical advice on matters such as:
* How to tell a good fairy from a bad one,
* How to spot a “fairy ring,”
* How to tell the difference between dwarves and trolls (one species is far deadlier than the other),
* How to defend against fairies who would do you harm,
… and much, much more. Also included: eight true cautionary tales about children who have encountered fairies in ultramodern New York City. Readers are advised to read the book very closely, lest they find themselves in their own fairy encounter.
Says Barnes & Noble about this new edition: Modern Fairies is a complete departure for Lesley Blume, but one that has garnered both critical praise and commercial success in hardcover, and we expect to see great things from the paperback. It’s elegantly written and beautifully illustrated, which will help set it apart from other books about fairies. Half guidebook and half short story collection, Modern Fairies is for children who love the earnest advice included in the Dangerous Book for Boys/Girls titles and the wicked fun of Roald Dahl. The illustrations are incredibly original and yet also instantly classic. David Foote is a real find and an artist from whom we can expect to see much more.
Oscar Wilde once said, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”
He certainly had the right idea. A journal is more than just a book of blank paper. It’s a place to record voyages, harebrained ideas, private obsessions, and the minute wonders (and indignities) that make up each day.
Inspired by Ms. Blume’s top-selling and critically-acclaimed book Let’s Bring Back, Chronicle Books has created a beautiful Let’s Bring Back journal—available on Amazon now and coming soon to stores everywhere.
Created by Ms. Blume, this elegant, amusing journal of nostalgia prompts its owners with delights from eras past that will infuse their lives with adventures grand and small. Why not throw an old-fashioned skating party? Or learn the secret language of flowers? Go on a world tour honeymoon? Above all, keep a diary. You never know when you might need some good reading on the train.
The original Let’s Bring Back—an encyclopedia celebrating hundreds of forgotten-yet-delightful objects, curiosities, pastimes, fashions, words, landmarks, and personalities from bygone eras—was released in 2010. Starting this year, Chronicle Books and Ms. Blume will also release a variety of topic-specific volumes of Let’s Bring Back, starting with a book about obscure-but-delectable vintage cocktails.
In March, Assouline Publishing will release American Beauty, a photography book shot by Vogue alumna and fine art photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank and written by journalist and culture editor Genevieve Bahrenburg.
Featuring over one hundred portraits of contemporary American women, American Beauty includes a foreword by longtime Vogue photography director Ivan Shaw and a preface essay about formal portraits by Ms. Blume – whose photograph also appears in the book’s pages. (Readers of Ms. Blume’s book Cornelia will be gratified to see that she is flanked in this image by her longtime muse and sidekick.)
The project is a “tribute to the women who symbolize our country today, each of whom possesses an original blend of grit, grace, glamour, and gravitas that make them fitting exemplars of kaleidoscopic American beauty.”
American Beauty is available for pre-order on Assouline’s website.
In its just-released holiday entertaining catalog, Gilt Groupe provides a peek into Ms. Blume’s upcoming book about vintage cocktails.
Over the last few years, classic cocktails have surged in popularity: Sidecars, Ward 8s, and Old Fashioneds once again grace bar menus from coast to coast. Also due for a comeback: the once-popular Gin Fizz – a perfectly ebullient, now-largely-forgotten libation.
Click here to read Ms. Blume’s brief history of the fizz, and to see five recipes from her new book. To be released in fall 2012 by Chronicle Books, it will be the first of many future editions of her Let’s Bring Back series.
The first edition of Let’s Bring Back (Chronicle, 2010) also celebrates dozens of cocktails and boozy culinary delectables from bygone eras, from Tipsy Parson to Ambrosia to Champagne towers.
Read Gilt Groupe’s full holiday entertaining catalog here.
Ms. Blume, Thornwillow Press Ltd., Montblanc, and The St. Regis New York are thrilled to announce their collaboration on The Thornwillow Libretto Library – a collection of exquisitely produced original works by some of the most exciting writers and creators of our time.
The inaugural volume – “It Happened Here” by Ms. Blume – is a convivial social and artistic history of old New York as seen through the prism of one of its grandest hotels, The St. Regis, home to the Thornwillow Library Gallery.
In its pages, readers will visit the St. Regis suites of artist Salvador Dali (at left with his pet ocelot), filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, and John Jacob Astor, among many other colorful figures. Here good taste met wild creativity, and more than a little eccentricity.
As an era of electronic books begins, the Libretto Library is dedicated to the belief that physical books – tangible, aesthetically pleasing, letterpress printed and beautifully bound – have a new and even more important place in our lives: as repositories of permanence in an increasingly ephemeral world of letters. The series will regularly feature the work of celebrated writers – both established greats and dazzling up-and-comers – of fiction and non-fiction, from prose to poetry. Please look soon for other Thornwillow Libretti by Peter Matthiessen, Stacy Schiff, Louis Begley, Harry Belafonte, Jonathan Galassi, and other luminaries.
Taking inspiration from the early works of Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press, The Yellow Book magazine, and the early days of The New Yorker, the editors of Thornwillow will create a series of splendidly designed, letterpress printed books in sewn bindings. In addition to a 5,000 copy printing, each Libretto will also enjoy a special limited edition run of 150 leather-bound, signed and numbered copies for collectors. Montblanc has generously underwritten the project.
Thornwillow would also like to thank the individuals who have helped develop the series, including Ms. Blume, Michael Shnayerson, Henry Finder, Jonathan Galassi, Lorin Stein, and Andrew Wylie.
BUY THE BOOK: “It Happened Here” is available for purchase on Thornwillow’s website.
JOIN THE PARTY: Many publications covered the raucous 1920s-inspired Thornwillow Libretto Library launch event at the St. Regis, including The New York Times, Bazaar, The New York Observer, The Window, Whitewall magazine, and New York Magazine. Dali was there in spirit.
In September 2011, Damiani Publishers will release Ghost Town, a collection by renowned photographer Stephan Würth. Ms. Blume contributed the book’s epilogue.
This photography series narrates the tale of three women as they journey through Nevada, where they soon find themselves stranded with a broken-down car on the side of a desolate road. Hedonism ensues in a nearby ghost town.
Since moving to California from his native Germany, Mr. Würth has been fascinated with the mythical vistas of the American West and the isolation and freedom of vast desert expanses. He culminates this geographical romance with Ghost Town, which was shot over seven days on black-and-white Kodak Tri-X film.
Ms. Blume later traveled to remote ghost town locations with Mr. Würth to research the epilogue. The primary setting of the book – Gold Point, Nevada – boasts six residents, including a sheriff who doubles as the town’s mayor and fire chief. If asked nicely, he will also cook breakfast bacon for visitors.
Ms. Blume and Chronicle Books are thrilled to announce that Let’s Bring Back will be made into a multi-book series. Each future edition will be topic-specific, with the next book releasing in spring 2012.
Chronicle will also release a roster of Let’s Bring Back ancillary products. Details will be announced soon.
The original Let’s Bring Back book debuted to enormous acclaim in November 2010, selling out at stores and online retailers across the country.
BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.
Let’s Bring Back continues to delight editors and producers across the country.
Today, THE NEW YORKER called Let’s Bring Back ‘“Whimsical … comical … delightful … Blume’s book is about more than just populating your life with antique trinkets; it’s about curating your own charming lifestyle while celebrating the Wildean ideals of life as art.”
In the feature, the editors showcased many of their favorite excerpts—which often celebrate brilliant, acerbic luminaries from THE NEW YORKER’s past—including:
*** The Art of the Insult: “Dorothy Parker on Katharine Hepburn: “She ran the entire gamut of emotions from A to B.”
*** Tallulah Bankhead:: “A famous quip: I’ll come and make love to you at five o’clock. If I’m late, start without me.”
*** George Kaufman: “His films zing by too quickly to savor each cruel witticism.”
Other NEW YORKER favorites:
*** The Word “Acquaintance”: “A polite, cunning catchall term that strikes the perfect balance between affiliation and distance.”
*** Hankies: “To help you look more contrite on the witness stand.”
*** Dumbwaiters: “Wonderful places to hide from overly inquisitive relatives; equally cunning perches from which to spy on various unsuspecting members of the household.”
*** Surrealism: “A divine Surrealist Christmas gift from artist Salvador Dalí to comedian and harpist Arthur ‘Harpo’ Marx: a harp with barbed-wire strings” (see image at left).
… and more. Read the wonderful full feature here: Remembrance of Things Past: Let’s Bring Back.
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO also celebrated the book on Morning Edition last week, noting that “before there was fast food, fast fashion and fast talking, there was a time when we set the table, cared for our appearances, and admired elegance. [Let’s Bring Back] sets out to reclaim older, more refined ways of life in the modern world.”
Sally Singer, the editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, spoke with NPR host Linda Wurthheimer about the book, saying “What I really love about [Let’s Bring Back] is the way it is written … [it is] deeply wonderful.” She continued: “It’s not nostalgia per se. It’s the idea of the charm, of a world that’s charming and wonderful and nuanced — and interesting, and thought over.” She read from some of her favorite Let’s Bring Back entries, including those on “One-piece Bathing Suits,” “Red Cabooses,” and “The Original Girl Scout Cookies.”
Ms. Singer also recently hosted a large Let’s Bring Back forum at the prestigious New York Public Library, moderating a panel comprised of interior designer (and Let’s Bring Back guest contributor) Jonathan Adler, fashion designer Jason Wu, and Ms. Blume.
Listen to NPR’s spirited segment on Let’s Bring Back and see NPR.com’s web feature here: Elegantly Old School: Nostalgia Books On The Rise.
Not to be outdone, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL published a full-page feature on the best style books of 2010, including Let’s Bring Back.
Journal editor Christina Binkley recommends the book for chic nostalgists, noting that Let’s Bring Back “isn’t a diatribe against modern times. It’s more of a humorous ode to preservation and the art of rediscovery.” She adds, “[It] looks as stylish as the ideas it pursues … the book comes with its own attached satin bookmark.”
Like Sally Singer, Binkley adored the included Girl Scout recipe (“reason alone to obtain it,” she says), and highlights many of her other favorite entries: “[Ms. Blume] proposes [that] we revive the exclamation, ‘Well, I never!’ as an alternative to the more popular ‘Shut up!’ Parents of teens may fondly regard the entry on ‘courting candles,’ which were used in the first half of the 19th century to measure the time that a suitor could spend wooing a girl. Ms. Blume describes smelling salts as ‘an antebellum alternative to Red Bull.’”
See the whole feature here, including charming original illustrations created for each of the spotlighted books: Books for the Pickiest Personalities in Your Life.
Many other elite publications also picked Let’s Bring Back as a unique, smart holiday gift, including:
*** THE DAILY BEAST (“Give it to a friend who is simply fabulous”)
*** TIME (“One of this year’s coolest books”)
*** BLACKBOOK (“This book is a must-have!”)
*** W MAGAZINE (“A tongue-in-cheek sparkler.”)
BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.
Over the last few weeks, Let’s Bring Back has been the toast of the town, as many prestigious and chic cultural institutions have raised their glasses to the book.
On October 19, the New York Public Library hosted a large, sold-out Let’s Bring Back event, featuring a forum exploring “the resurgence of interest in classic forms and artful living.” The panel was moderated by Sally Singer, the editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine; panelists included fashion designer Jason Wu (best known for designing Michelle Obama’s Inauguration gown), interior designer and Let’s Bring Back guest contributor Jonathan Adler, and Ms. Blume.
“If you’re feeling lousy and you read this book, it awakens you to things that have made you happy in your life,” said Ms. Singer in her introduction. “It reminds you of a time when certain things – ideas, gestures—got you through. [Let’s Bring Back] promotes and revels in an idea of life that’s lived in 3-D, not 2-D, a life lived civically and civil-y. And that is a very wonderful thing.”
The Library’s Rare Book Division created special displays of archive material referenced in the book, including first editions of works by Gilded Age author Edith Wharton and Lost Generation writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Other wonderful archive items – including fountain pens, historical telegrams, and card catalogs – were also showcased, to the delight of the guests.
Inspired by the art world content of the book, on November 11, cultural events organization The Society hosted a Let’s Bring Back Modern Art party at a private, art-filled West Village home, styled after the fabled townhouse fetes thrown by Peggy Guggenheim, a great patroness of the Modern Art movement. Guggenheim—a Let’s Bring Back muse who enjoys a full-page illustration in the book—nurtured the careers of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, among many others, and her mid-century parties became legendary.
Guests donned “Art Chic” 1940s attire (Ms. Blume herself donned a Peggy Guggenheim-esque coif of tangled curls), and chef Jennifer Lynn Pelka (also a Let’s Bring Back guest contributor) created a Surrealism- and Dada-inspired menu for guests, including a rather opinionated “meat mobile” inspired by the mobiles of artist Alexander Calder. At one point, a tray of plastic noses was passed around by the waiters, a quite absurd Surrealist gesture that surely would have amused Ms. Guggenheim and her irreverent contemporaries.
Watch the video below to see the delightful array of 1940s up-dos and hats sported at the event:
Taking a cue from Let’s Bring Back‘s fashion content, on November 16, the Huffington Post‘s Style section and Parsons School of Design co-hosted a “Forgotten Fashion / Let’s Bring Back” event at New York’s Soho House. This party celebrated some once-great, now-unjustly-obscure American fashion designers featured in the book, such as Norman Norell, Claire McCardell, and Sophie Gimbel. Parsons Professor Annie Frank gave a presentation on the topic; beautiful archival apparel was showcased, courtesy of Parsons and New York Vintage.
Professor Annie Frank of Parsons; Anya Strzemien, senior Style editor, Huffington Post; and Ms. Blume
And finally, on December 13, Bonhams New York—the venerable auction house—hosted a Let’s Bring Back event on the eve of its 20th Century Decorative Arts auction. Many of the auction items hailed from the late Victorian era through the early 1970s—closely mirroring the primary timeline of Ms. Blume’s book. At the event, Ms. Blume gave a talk highlighting some of her favorite Let’s Bring Back-esque auction items, including a cherry-red Emerson Cathedral radio, a Mauboussin “Tutti Frutti” Deco bracelet, and a Cubism-inspired writing desk.
Let’s Bring Back was released by Chronicle Books on November 1, 2010.
BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.
Tour the Let’s Bring Back world via this lavish magazine feature, where you will find Marilyn Monroe drinking highballs with Joe DiMaggio at the Stork Club … see Old Hollywood icons Marlene Dietrich and Louise Brooks seducing men by the barrelful … take a stroll with Jacqueline Kennedy through Central Park and banter with the ever-salty Humphrey Bogart on the set of The Barefoot Contessa.
“A new book, Let’s Bring Back, chronicles traditions, personalities, heirlooms, and elements of past generations worthy of being dusted off and enjoyed again,” says the headline. Here are some of the excerpts that the VANITY FAIR editors enjoyed the most:
*** Silk Stockings: “… Once the most divine mistress gift, along with chocolates, roses, and that sort of thing.”
*** Radio Dramas: “… A picture may be worth a thousand words, but radio plays let the imagination run wild.”
*** Femme Fatales: “Hollywood used to be absolutely heaving with them.”
*** Typewriters: “The print from one can be as personal as handwriting.”
*** Skating parties: “Best when followed by hot buttered rum and a divine after-party supper.”
Headscarves and monogrammed minks … flamboyant decorator Elsie de Wolfe and deliciously acerbic playwright George S. Kaufman … brown-paper-and-twine-wrapped-packages and old-fashioned umbrellas: all of these Let’s Bring Back entries make their appearance in the magazine feature.
HARPER’S BAZAAR also featured Let’s Bring Back:
“[Blume’s] witty suggestions include such forgotten pleasures as throwing a garden party, baking Girl Scout cookies using the original recipe, or “motoring” out to see a double feature film,” says the feature. “[She] reminisces about a time when women leisurely met for tea instead of gulping down caramel macchiatos with Blackberries in tow. And, of course, no outfit was complete without the right hat and red lipstick—even better if that outfit was one of Elsa Schiaparelli’s or Paco Rabanne’s daring designs.”
The piece also notes how much legendary former BAZAAR editor Diana Vreeland influenced Let’s Bring Back. About her icon, Ms. Blume said, “It’s often said that adults lose that sense of whimsy or imagination. For Diana Vreeland it was the opposite; it only got magnified as she got older.”
Read the full BAZAAR feature here: On Our Reading List: Let’s Bring Back
”[Let’s Bring Back] is a tongue-in-cheek sparkler of an encyclopedia,” decreed W MAGAZINE. “Upon reading, you may find yourself in the kitchen, dressed in a silk lap robe and glamour slippers, stirring up a Tipsy Parson that would make Tallulah Bankhead proud.”
The editors went on to highlight five glamorous, old-fashioned entertaining tips from the book (“When the sugar and tinsel-laced lead-up to January 1st begins to fray even the most soigne host, it may be time for a refresher course on artful entertaining.”). On the list: gleaming Champagne towers, decadent winter picnics, quaint skating parties (with a vintage post-skating dinner menu), and more.
See the full W MAGAZINE feature here: Lesley Blume’s Let’s Bring Back
Let’s Bring Back seemed to put GLAMOUR‘s editors in a romantic mood, for they excerpted five of the book’s courtship rituals that they would like to see stage a comeback, including:
*** Fly-in movie theaters
*** Flowers tucked into ladies’ hair
*** Holding the door open
Read the whole feature here, and don’t forget to add your two cents to the comments section.
BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.