NEW BOOK: Ms. Blume’s collaboration with photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank on AMERICAN BEAUTY

January 12, 2012

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.

imageFeaturing 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.

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Gilt Groupe gives a glimpse into Ms. Blume’s upcoming book about vintage cocktails

November 8, 2011

imageIn 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.

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NEW BOOK: Ms. Blume’s IT HAPPENED HERE, a short but amusing social history of old New York

July 15, 2011

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.

imageThe 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.

imageTaking 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.

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NEW BOOK: Ms. Blume’s collaboration with photographer Stephan Würth on GHOST TOWN

May 31, 2011

In September 2011, Damiani Publishers will release Ghost Town, a collection by renowned photographer Stephan Würth.  Ms. Blume contributed the book’s epilogue.

imageThis 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.

Pre-order the book here.

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LET’S BRING BACK to be made into a multi-edition book series

February 5, 2011

imageMs. 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. 

Click here to see rave reviews from THE NEW YORKER, VANITY FAIR, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, OPRAH, ELLE, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, and many other media outlets.

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.

For publicity inquiries, please contact April Whitney at Chronicle Books: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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December 29, 2010

imageLet’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.”

imageOther 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.”

imageSally 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’s web feature here: Elegantly Old School: Nostalgia Books On The Rise.

imageNot 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.

imageMany 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.”)

Click here to read MORE REVIEWS from GOOD MORNING AMERICA, VANITY FAIR, ELLE, GLAMOUR, OPRAH, and many other media outlets.

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.

For publicity inquiries, please contact April Whitney at Chronicle Books: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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LET’S BRING BACK is the guest of honor at events with the NYPL, BONHAMS, & PARSONS

December 16, 2010

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.

Sally Singer, Jonathan Adler, and Ms. Blume

Sally Singer and Jason Wu during the forum

Ms. Blume signs books at the event

“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. 

A first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, signed by the author to playwright Lillian Hellman

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.


Ms. Blume dressed as Peggy Guggenheim for The Society’s Let’s Bring Back event

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. 

Peggy Guggenheim with an Alexander Calder mobile

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

Ms. Blume with her longtime agent, Kate Lee of ICM


The display included a rare 1950s Norman Norell gown, loaned from the archive at New York Vintage

You can read a summary of Professor Frank’s lovely presentation and see historical photos of these designers and their clothes here.

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.

All the better to hear you with: A divine 1938 radio for auction at Bonhams

Ms. Blume extols nostalgia at Bonhams

Let’s Bring Back was released by Chronicle Books on November 1, 2010.

Click here to read REVIEWS from Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, Elle, Oprah, and many other publications.

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.

For publicity inquiries, please contact April Whitney at Chronicle Books: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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November 5, 2010

imageIn its November issue, VANITY FAIR celebrates Ms. Blume’s new book, Let’s Bring Back by devoting a full, beautifully-designed page to showcase the book’s contents. 

Click here to see the article in its entirety.

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.

imageHARPER’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

image”[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:

image*** Dancing
*** Fly-in movie theaters
*** Eloping
*** 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.

*  *  *

Click here to read MORE REVIEWS from Good Morning America, Elle, Oprah, and many other publications.

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.

For publicity inquiries, please contact April Whitney at Chronicle Books: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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GOOD MORNING AMERICA celebrates LET’S BRING BACK: “It’s beautiful … delightful … a lovely read.”

October 30, 2010

imageYesterday Ms. Blume appeared on ABC’s GOOD MORNING AMERICA to talk with Robin Roberts about her new book, Let’s Bring Back.

“In the era of Spanx, it is unusual to hear a call for the return of the corset.  But author Lesley Blume wants us to return to the simple pleasures of days past in her beautiful new book, Let’s Bring Back,” Ms. Roberts told viewers.  “She wants us to put down our iPods, pull out the old Victrolas, roll up the rug and foxtrot.  It’s delightful … a lovely read.”

Ms. Blume spoke about the book’s main message:  “So much of our life is lived in two dimensions these days, and it’s time to start time to start living our life in three dimensions again.  We spend so much time online and plugged in.  And it’s nice to have beautiful, thoughtful flourishes around us: books, newspapers, listening to music together as a family, playing music together in your home, Sunday dinners, dinner parties.  It’s just nice to have that level of interaction, and we should take our cues from the past as we move forward into the future.”

Watch GOOD MORNING AMERICA’s Let’s Bring Back segment here:

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For more ABC News coverage of Let’s Bring Back—including book excerpts and old-fashioned recipes—click here: “Lesley Blume Explores the Best Stuff From Bygone Days”.

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.

Read reviews from Vanity Fair, Elle, Oprah, and many other publications here.

For publicity inquiries, please contact April Whitney at Chronicle Books: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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October 24, 2010

imageToday Ms. Blume spoke on VOICE OF AMERICA’s “American Cafe” show about her new book, Let’s Bring Back

You can listen to the full interview here.

“American culture is a fast-moving, ever-changing work in progress,” said VOA host Eric Felten.  “But with the shock and excitement of new trends, new products, and new ways of living, there is inevitably the loss of old habits and favorite old things.  Writer Lesley Blume is on a quest to save quirky and charming traditions that Americans have forgotten about, things                                       that were once essential parts of American living.”

Many issues and objects were discussed.  “A lot of people who live in more traditional cultures often feel that American culture and its influences is something of an assault on traditional ways of living,” noted Felten.  “People may not realize that in a way, American culture is often an assault on American traditional ways of living as well.”

image“I don’t think that these trends really need to be an assault on traditional living,” replied Ms. Blume.  “Let’s Bring Back is not about stopping the clock, because as everyone knows, that’s not possible, and it’s not really desirable.  Progress is desirable.  The message of the book is that as we move into the digital age, [we should] cherry-pick the past for things that we want to bring with us into the future.”

As discussed in the show, such things include delightful grandfather clocks (“such a relatable, amiable form of technology”), flowers as a hair adornment (a la jazz musician Billie Holiday and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo), and playing a piano with one’s family after supper (“instead of staring at a television”).

VOICE OF AMERICA – which launched during World War II— is the official external radio and television broadcasting service of the United States federal government. It broadcasts around the world in forty-four languages.

Let’s Bring Back officially releases on November 1, 2010.

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to purchase Let’s Bring Back.

Read reviews from Vanity Fair, Elle, Oprah, and many other publications here.

For publicity inquiries, please contact April Whitney at Chronicle Books: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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