Miss Havisham has a swan. Wiscasset is not only pretty, it's enchanted.
Monday, August 31, 2009
....I was reminded of why I live in Maine. About an hour north of Portland is Wiscasset, a town that refers to itself as "the prettiest village in Maine". Saccharine though that sounds, it really does live up to the moniker. And while I have several favorite spots I could recommend, the day's magic turned out to be non-commercial and truly serendipitous. While driving slowly through the neighborhoods, marvelling at the nineteenth century manses (and even a replica of a villa!), I found on a quiet side street, a house that must surely belong to New England's answer to Miss Havisham. Decaying grandeur at its best---overgrown bushes, wild flowers everywhere, sagging draperies, aging paint---and just beyond the house, this is what I saw.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I love this beautiful coat from Fog Linen Work. The linen has the most incredible hand, and it cinches the waist and ties in the back---so chic. I also love how it looks with my 1920's pony skin director's chair!
On the other side, another beautiful Fog piece and the most adorable children's early Fall outfit by Le Bouton. Crisp linen shorts and a luxurious cashmere/merino pullover---that's the way to keep your stylish little person cozy! Walks on the beach in Maine can be chilly! Having pieces for children in the shop just makes everything seem friendlier.
I love this clip from the extraordinary French documentary "Etre et Avoir". If you've not seen this film, you should. The story of a gifted teacher and the students he nutures with respect and infinite patience. Truly moving.
And this gorgeous shop in Paris whose profits are devoted to operating a cooperative for young women in Madagascar.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
This fascinating, iconoclastic creature is Lika Volkova, and she holds the opinion that there is no such thing as an "eco-friendly" clothing line; simply by virtue of the fact that more "stuff" is being created and, as a result, more waste. Not to mention the fact that any company producing fashion, no matter how well-intentioned, is part of a massive, carbon-fueled production chain. There's also the sad reality that most "eco" clothing is poorly designed and not particularly compelling. Volkova's solution to this dilemma is to merely design and not produce a single item. Her line, SANS, is available from her website as downloadable patterns, so that each customer, by creating the actual design themselves, ends up with a garment that is truly "local". Her ethos and execution are thoroughly refreshing....even to a retailer. This honest assessment of the realities of the fashion business makes me even more committed to supporting small designers whose work is in no way connected to industrial production.
Slow design at its best.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Now this is my kind of American history! From marvelous Maira Kalman , an illustrated column about American democracy in the NYTimes. Portraits of Jefferson and Franklin and others---full of insight and humor. Quirky though she is, her perceptions about the human condition have such depth. If you're having one of those days where you keep asking yourself, "What's the point?" (or even if you aren't), watch this.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I absolutely adore this photograph by the amazing Imke Klee. I found her work on Etsy, was especially delighted with her color letter cards, meticulous assemblages of objects, beautifully documented. I had no idea that she had worked as a photographer, stylist, and iconographic researcher (isn't "iconographic researcher" just about the coolest job description ever...) for my design heroine, Li Edelkoort, until I looked very closely at this card, and noticed a tiny version of the above photo, which I had originally seen in the May/June issue of Selvedge (and had fallen completely in love!). Do you see it?
I'm obsessed. I have a fantasy about having them made into wallpaper panels, in the style of Tracy Kendall and Deborah Bowness, only more beautiful. If you want to gaze and admire more...go here.
And here's Imke in chelliswilson.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A mother mourning dove has built her nest on top of the air conditioner over the entrance to the store. She is such a diligent, patient creature. A symbol of peace, renewal, and romantic love....right over my door. This can only be a good thing.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This is my inspiration board. It lives in the dressing room. I think of it as a collection of "Ah ha!" moments, images that immediately engage me through beauty, relevance, love, wit, synchronicity, foolishness. Now that I've hung it in the shop and posted a picture of it here, it's suddenly public. It's become a piece in the larger search for "the tribe". Those fellow humans who "Ah ha!" at the same cultural cues as I do. The idea of building a broad community of like-minded types. I find that potential to be the most exciting idea of this entire endeavor. That begs the question, "Hey, isn't this a retail store after all?" Of course. So I'll make my living seeking out that which delights me to, in turn, delight others, and, hopefully, pay the bills in the process. What could be better than work that provides the opportunity to encounter compelling and inspiring people?
Which brings me to Natalie Chanin, who holds her business model to a very high standard. A lovely reminder that, when we refuse to compromise our values, and remain true to our authentic selves, we will be rewarded. Much easier to do this with the right kind of support. Natalie has done this with the Bureau of Friends, an initiative that I would love to see expanded. Here perhaps?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
There's something very strange about living in a tourist destination. Rather like being an actor in the same production of "A Christmas Carol" year after year...you realize that you have become a fixture in someone else's holiday. Like a wreath. Or, in this case, a lobster trap. Then there are the people who ask in hushed tones, "How do you manage to survive the winters?" And, just what exactly, is the answer to this question? Heavy drinking? Dark corner athletics? Friends in the Carribean? I am always at a loss. Nonetheless, even I have a favorite Maine summer destination: WASPy old Blue Hill in general, and the treasure trove that is Blue Hill Antiques in particular. Marjorie Kernan and Andre Strong create, summer after summer, the Elle Decor photo shoot of your dreams, with the amazing antiques they source during the winter in France. (That's it! The perfect answer to the previous question!) And while antique shops can often be musty and staid, theirs is anything but. It's the sort of place that, if someone offered you a gin and tonic and then launched into a tale about their dissolute love life, you wouldn't be at all surprised. Oh, yes, and it's where I found my pink settee.
The English eccentric in me wants to go here.
And the incurable romantic? Here. Where else?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This is a detail from the 19th century French settee that resides at the front of the shop. To invite you to linger. Or read. On the floor next to it is a tall stack of Selvedge magazines---I have nearly every one. Before five, a brewing pot of coffee. After five, a glass of good wine. In a crystal glass. We could listen to this. Yes, it's all part of my elaborate plot to attract lovely (not to mention witty, wry, intelligent, attractive, brave, loyal, true, and reverent...) people into my retail "lair". To that end, I've decided to use this image on my new postcards, which I'll be distributing all around Portland later this week. And, if all of the above isn't quite enough lure you to our doorstep, we're giving a 10% discount to anyone who comes in with our pink postcard in hand. If your home is elsewhere, and you think you might be coming this way, I'll be happy to mail you one. Just send me your address!
A special "Thank you" to Erica (and adorable Leon) for driving up from Cambridge to be at our party and for her loyal, enthusiastic support of Lisa. I loved the post and the pictures (inspiration board! It lives in the dressing room...). And if anyone is curious...yes! I'm happy to take phone orders.
It's very late here on the east coast. Since you're up, I recommmend that you step out into the summer night, gaze up at the sky, and look for this. Be transported. Think of someone you love who's far away. Under the same sky.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
In fact, I had such a stellar evening with all the warm, engaging, attractive, intelligent souls that crossed my threshold, that I have no actual party documentation. Thank you new friends and, thank you, most especially, to dear friends (some who travelled great distances to be here) for your creativity, your loyalty, your good humor and life-enhancing energy. I love you all. I'd say the chelliswilson. is off to a very good start.
In lieu of party photos, I give you some quotes that now grace the Zettel'z and the archetypal party decoration "Wild Flowers in Prosecco Bottle". (thank you, Sara, for the flowers and the "love".)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Thank you, Sara, what an incredible addition to our space! This detail is to tempt everyone to come tomorrow night to our little soiree and see Sara's piece in person! And meet lovely Lisa Dorr of Le Bouton Studio (and see the gorgeous clothing exclusive to the shop)! We're baking cupcakes and putting the Prosecco on ice....
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
So incredibly happy to announce that wonderful artist/friend/force of nature Sara Lemieux is creating an original wall painting for the shop! Here she is at work the other evening, drawing the outline. (Thanks, Rob, for lending us that amazing old projector!) If you'll be in Portland on Friday night, come by and toast the finished product with a glass of Prosecco!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
....and find something more to say....
on the subject of creative community....
Project M Lab. thinking "wrong".
Maybe...in addition to prosecco and cupcakes (see aforementioned party announcement)....I should serve pie, too.
(alright, alright, I'm going to bed now....)