Can we ‘Roar’ with The Granthams once more?

The cast of Downton Abbey, Season Four

The cast of Downton Abbey, Season Four

Like me, you might have had your television tuned to PBS last night for the premiere of Season Four’s Downton Abbey. And like me, you waited, uncertain, to see how the show would go on after the incredibly sad demise of Matthew in a car crash the last few moments of Season Three.

Season Four starts six months after Matthew’s death. The year is 1922, ten years since Season One premiered with the sinking of The Titanic. Familiar faces returning, some surprises? Definitely. And welcome to the other member of The Grantham Household: the fashions of the times. I happily note the changes in the new fashions and I imagine we will continue to see the women dressed more comfortably and less constricted, with new elements of freedom and flair. Continue reading

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Prom: 2006

Daniel in his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo and his four friends with hand made original designs

Daniel in his Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo and his four friends with his hand made original designs

My final prom feature is a sweet story about generosity and kindness. In 2006 Daniel was a senior in high school. Already a fashion designer and a creative original, Daniel hand made four prom dresses for his friends, including his date for the evening. The Great Gatsby was the inspiration for his date’s dress – a dropped waste and a soft, silk fabric pillow of a dress. For himself, Daniel had ordered a rental tuxedo. When the day came to pick up his tux just one day before the prom Daniel was dismayed to discover that the tux did not fit him and was far too big. When he brought it home his mother took one look at the tux and said that it would not do. He had just made four exquisite dresses for his friends and he needed to look just as sharp. She said to Daniel, “let’s go!” Together, they returned the rental tux and marched over to Dolce & Gabbana: Daniel tried on an amazing tuxedo that fit him perfectly. His mother bought the outfit for him then and there, as well as a shirt, shoes and accessories. Daniel was so touched by his mother’s generosity and extravagance, but his mother told him that it was her joy to do this for him and it would be his graduation present. Daniel owns the tuxedo today and counts it among his treasures. His mother sounds like a treasure, too.

Thank you to Daniel and Samantha and Miranda for sharing their prom stories. I learned a lot about high school prom in the process; some things are quite different from when I attended my prom. The things that are the same are simple: feeling special for the day and being with your friends to mark the growing up process in a completely unique way. And Ashley? She is holding off on this year’s prom to attend her senior prom next year: she and her friends will instead make a trip into New York City for a special dinner. Sounds good to me!

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Happy Birthday, Grandma!

My Grandma Eleanor on her engagement day - what a fashionista!

My Grandma Eleanor on her engagement day – what a fashionista!

Although April 15th may bring fear to the hearts of many as the official day income taxes are due, for me it will always be a day of sunshine: April 15th was my Grandma Eleanor’s birthday. She passed away in 1991 at the age of 85, and had she lived she would be 106 years old today! My mother has always said that the trees start to bloom on my Grandma’s birthday and I know she is right. My Grandma Eleanor was not only a light in my life, but a burst of color for the world. Born in Hungary, she moved to New York City with her family when she was just seventeen, and changed her name from Elona to Eleanor because I guess she thought it sounded more American. Eleanor had vibrant red hair and with her long, lovely legs, she wore clothes so beautifully and elegantly. And her inner beauty truly matched her outer self.

Here she is on her engagement day, with my grandfather. The year was probably 1926. People dressed so much more formally in the 1920s. You can see the style of dress for the times in her cloche-style hat and coat.

Oh, and yes – I see the trees outside are starting to bud! Happy Birthday, Grandma!

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