Maine, glorious Maine. My favorite state without a doubt. Cool evenings in August, lobster and good friends; I cannot think of a better destination. I packed little cotton dresses and fisherman knit sweaters and hit my favorite spots as we drove up the coast.
One of the best shops by far, is Sugar Tools. On a side street in Camden, this small and perfect store carries the softest tees, handmade leather sandals, some Roberta Freymann pieces, vintage-y housewares, garden accessories, and much more. I picked up a book on canning, lemon verbena room spray, a pine pillow, and a few other odds and ends. Sugar Tools is a destination in itself.
Bow-detailed crepe midi dress
Camilla one-shoulder textured-organic cotton maxi dress
Knotted sleeve-waist wool sweater
Pearl ribbed-knit wool sweater
Ryder leather shoulder bag
Courtesy of Paris Vogue
Recently, I wrote a post Blue polish? which challenged my thinking on nail colors. The spate of women sporting blue and purple toes this summer intrigued me. But when I went for a pre-vineyard pedicure, I couldn’t do it. I am resigned to being a nude, barely there, nail color person.
As I start buying some key fall pieces and am falling in love with black all over again (a big thank you to the September issue of Paris Vogue which is devoted to the goth color), I am loving my colorless nails all the more. I have to admit that the pressure to avoid black as the world was print and color crazed was tough-going.
September 2012 issue of Paris Vogue
Priscilla Woolworth photographed at home by Agnes Baddoo for Keep it Chic
It is no secret that I am focused on creating a more eco-friendly home. So, when my friend (and Style Setter) Agnes Baddoo suggested we cover her friend Priscilla Woolworth, I jumped at the chance. Although born in New York City, Priscilla spent much of her childhood in the south of France. It was there that she developed a deep appreciation for a simple, eco-centric, yet stylish lifestyle. Summers in Maine at her storied family’s retreat, Clearview Farm, (Priscilla is a descendant of one of the founders of F.W.Woolworth of the “five and dime” stores), solidified her commitment to the environment. These days, Priscilla lives in Los Angeles where she runs priscillawoolworth.com, an online general store and monthly almanac she founded that offers eco-friendly and socially responsible products, and advice and information about living a sustainable lifestyle. It’s a truly modern version of the famed Woolworth stores and legacy.
The mother of two daughters with Cassian Elwes, Arielle, 22, and Lucie, 20, Priscilla is an inspiring KiC profile.
Photographed by Agnes Baddoo for Keep it Chic
How did your childhood help form your dedication to the environment? Growing up in the south of France exposed me to such a gorgeous way of living by my French family who really knew how to create a lovely quality of life by making a simple yet beautiful environment at home. We all enjoyed what nature brought during the different seasons, the foods and flowers in particular. Spending my summers in Maine opened up my eyes to the beauty of trees, dragonflies and wildflowers and it was there that I realized how vital it is to protect nature. Living in California made it all come together; the indoor life and the outdoor life. They can be lived in a way that is environmentally responsible. All you need to know is how easy it is to do.
What are 3 things everyone could do easily to help the environment?
1) Buy food packaged in glass jars you can reuse for food storage or other uses, reducing the amount of trash you make and saving money on buying food storage containers. 2) Buy school or office supplies made from recycled paper or materials. 3) Use non-toxic suntan lotion at the beach, which is better for you and also for the water you swim in to cool off. Suntan oils and lotions pollute the water and endanger the sea creatures.
Tell me about composting… Composting rocks! I keep a compost pail, one from my store, by my kitchen sink and fill it up with veggie kitchen scraps. I empty the pail into my Valentina composter. After a few months, it breaks down into nutritious compost material, which I add to my vegetable garden, where I grow the vegetables that I pick, etc. The cycle comes full circle and starts up again. I love that.
Whose style do you admire? Jane Goodall for her kindness towards animals and her simple chic.
Which eco-friendly designers do you like? Stella McCartney for her all around earth friendliness and Liya Kebede for her activism and humanitarian work with her brand LemLem.
Favorite books and movies: Books: Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck; Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder; Interpreter of the Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, … Movies: My Man Godfrey; Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring; Seraphine; Nowhere in Africa; Whale Rider; The Chorus.
Summer essentials: Ray-Ban Sunglasses , Odacite moisturizer, handcrafted Barbara Shaum sandals, white shirts by Ronaldus Shamask, jeans by J. Brand…and my reusable glass water bottle goes with me whenever I go.
Favorite summer dish: Salad Niçoise in a bowl or stuffed inside a crusty piece of bread like they do in the south of France, called a Pan Bagnat.
A day with your daughters is…Doing a project together that involves us staying home and having a great time, then cooking dinner together, eating it by candlelight in the kitchen, sharing stories and laughing the night away.
A perfect day alone is…Not being in a hurry and staying in my pajamas until mid-morning, having breakfast and pottering around the garden, going for a swim, lunch out somewhere yummy and beautiful, taking photos while I’m out and about, catching up on my New Yorkers, The Week and English Elle Decoration back at home while drinking a cup of tea…
Keeps me sane…My cameras because I love shooting images every day and then sharing all my news in my monthly Almanac blog.
A few of my favorite products from Priscilla’s online store: Outdoor wooden compost bin- the Valentina, Priscilla Woolworth Market Bag in cotton- blue, Stainless steel compost pail, Reusable organic produce bag, Reusable glass bottle, Olive soap, Paine’s Balsam Fir incense cones, Odacite Organic skin care products, Home garden Bee House, Stainless steel lunch box, Natural moth repellant sachets, Long wooden matches.
Celine Fall 2012 Leather scarf courtesy of vogue.com
Many of my friends will be surprised to hear that the scarf is making a fashion return. To them, it never went out of style. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the traditional printed silk scarf. I love them in theory, but feel they age me. It reminds me of Jennifer’s post Am I too old?. The classic scarf is a staple of my mother’s generation and a way for women to “add a dash of color”. I have a vast collection of Hermes scarves that have sat unworn for years. I tried them as belts with white jeans, knotted into halters, and tied them to my handbag. But around my neck, or worse, on my head a la Jackie, has been a no go. So, I have given several away.
However, leave it to Phoebe Philo of Celine to bring the scarf back into the fore for Fall. The Celine version is leather, which certainly makes it more interesting. Will I go there? Maybe. Somehow, Phoebe makes everything chic and I am willing to try again.
Celine Fall 2012 leather scarf courtesy of vogue.com
On The Hunt For
Top of my list this summer was to replace my aviators. The search was on for a pair with gold frames, amber lenses and most importantly, they must be comfortable atop my head (when in the market, etc.). There are a lots of great ones out there- I tried Oliver Peoples’ Benedict, Tom Ford’s Charles, the classic Ray Bans (like Jennifer’s in the previous post) and the Vargas by Salt. Just when I thought I had tried them all, I found the Flight by Dita, and they were it. These sunglasses are lightweight titanium and the perfect shape and size for my face. They are keepers.
I am on Martha’s Vineyard, where I have summered my entire life. One of my favorite spots to pick up little cotton summer dresses for under $50, tunics, summer scarves, straw market baskets, and flip-flops, is an itty-bitty shop in Aquinnah called On The Cliffs. The name is apt, as the shop literally sits at the top of the famed Gay Head cliffs.
Yesterday I picked up an adorable navy cotton dress with navy embroidery for a mere $30. Along with a new rope bracelet and a lobster roll (both can be bought right there as well), I am in full vacation mode.
For the first time in a long time, I don’t need a fall staple- my grey Miu Miu coat is still perfect, ditto the beige Miu Miu boots from Spring and the Givenchy bottle-green tote will be better this year than last. So, I am free to just cull out my favorite bits and bobs from the collections and add them to my wardrobe.
Many of the Fall shows were really strong and there are a lot of pieces I would wear forever. After my Valentino Rockstud binge (I now have 5 pairs), I am ready for a plainer shoe and the Valentino low heeled pump with an ankle strap is it. I love everything about this shoe and will buy it in every color except red.
With a simple shoe, I will wear more embellished dresses and tops. The Isabel Marant dress and Altuzarra sweater fit the bill perfectly. They have great texture and prints, but are still neutral.
I have been on the list for an Hermes Collier de Chien in Barenia and gold for longer than I care to admit. Last winter, I almost broke down and bought one in dark brown but I talked myself out of it- I’m glad I did. When the barenia came in recently, I was happy I waited as the color is very me. This bracelet will most likely be welded to my wrist this fall…
Finally, it is no secret that I am obsessed with this Hoorsenbuhs ring. It’s clean lines will work nicely with my Cartier Trinity and signet ring. It should probably be top of my list.
Marion Cotillard in Dior couture
Yesterday, my très chic French friend Anne asked me if I liked the robin’s-egg-blue nail color Marion Cotillard wore to the Dark Knight premiere (look closely at her fingers and toes). As a mother of a 12 year old daughter, I am well versed in the rainbow of polish options. I have not gone there myself and, I’m not sure I would. However, I see lots of blues, greens and purples on other women (well past the age of 20), but I don’t think those colors would suit me. Actually, I rarely ever wear polish because a) I hate waiting for it to dry and b) chipped nails are hideous.
So I have to ask, are you wearing colors outside the red/pink spectrum this summer?
I am off to Vermont to visit my daughter who is a camp counselor this summer. In my head I am already wandering through adorable towns and strolling on wooded paths. Hopefully this will happen, after we do a number of loads of laundry and make a pharmacy run…
I have always wanted beautiful monogrammed bed linens. So, when I got an invitation from Mark Badgley and James Mischka to meet Leontine Linens owner, Jane Scott Hodges, at interior designer (and KiC profile) Meg Braff’s shop, I went right over. The quality and craftsmanship is extraordinary. And I confess that I am a bit of a monogram nut. Whether your taste is traditional or modern, I think these linens would personalize any home.