Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bonus Splendour

Tehran, 1942: a pensive, Klimtische moment

Posting about Princess Fawzia of Egypt got me thinking - and googling. I quickly discovered that there's too much Fawzia out there on the web not to share. This evocative portrait is courtesy of Kodak Agfa's marvelous collection - check it out.

Fun fact: on top of being a Princess of Egypt, a sometime Queen of Iran, and stunning to look at - she's Albanian! And believe you me, therein lies a tale...

Image du Jour

Gilding the lily

People don't talk much about Ann Southern any more. I think that's wrong.

La Publicité!

Well, to paraphrase Miss Channing (Miss M. Channing, that is, darlings, not Miss C.), "a funny thing, a person's career."

Through no fault of my own, except that it's my job, I find myself this week photographed in the local must-read English paper, feverishly grabbed by socialities across this quiet seaside capital (a) to see if for once for God's sake there's a decent movie in town, (b) to see if by any chance for God's sake someplace new to eat let alone to get a decent drink at has by some strange magic opened up, and, if my experience to date today is any guide, (c) to memorize each and every photograph so that you can walk up to perfect strangers and say - "oh, I saw you in The Week!"

I wouldn't mind so much if I didn't, in the photograph in question, look exactly like the famous LOLrus (sans bukkit) in a suit. Somehow my self-image has gotten stuck, apparently permanently, 'round about '84, but when I steel myself and take a good, long, dangerous look in a mirror, I realize that the auburn curls are a thing of memory, and ditto, alas, the jawline. If I'm not careful, I'll find myself entered against my will by false friends into a Laura Hope Crews lookalike contest and shall lose the last remnant of my illusions.

Fortunately, there is a major saving grace to la vie in the Middle East: they like themselves some big boys here, not to mention going for the older gentleman, and so as a proud Large American d'un certain age, I feel at times rather like, well, like I did in '84 as a slight young thing. If it weren't for the very, very good thing going between Mr. Muscato and me (more of him anon), I'd be in danger of becoming what my late, sainted grandmother would have called a Fast Baggage.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Image du Jour

Fawzia of Egypt, by Beaton

You don't get a whole lot more spectacular than Her Royal and Imperial Highness, Princess Fawzia of Egypt, Queen of Iran - sister of King Farouk, first wife of the last Shah, and probably the 20th century royal most likely to be mistaken for Hedy Lamarr. She's also the oldest surviving member of the Egyptian royal family, living quietly in Cairo, having remarried and removed herself entirely from public life after the Egyptian revolution of 1952.

If you care to, you can find out more about her here, here, or here.


Because I said so. Because I blame it on the summer night...or the bossa nova. Because that's just the way the cookie crumbles. Because it's always something.

Why? Why the strange fascination with the films of Kay Francis? With the minutiae of forgotten mitteleuropean dynasties of the 19th century? With the old age of the Duchess of Windsor? With the youth of Tutankhamun? Why the all joy, the tears, the deep, abiding bemusement with the ways of the world?

Just one damn thing after another.