I'm a Director. I tell stories on screens.This is what caught my interest today.You can see what I'm up to at www.chrisgaffey.com Twitter @chrisgaffey
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Elsa Peretti, fashion model and designer at her desk in the Halston studio. This portrait by Duane Michals appeared in Vogue December 1974, the year that Halston introduced Peretti to Tiffany & Co who hired her immediately. Apparently Halson did all the talking whilst Elsa sat there silent and mysterious in her black cape. Her simple, elegant designs went on to earn $millions for the jeweller over the next 40 years.
“When I started with Halston, it was go-go-go fantastic. He loved my pieces and they loved his clothes. It was great when he used my big belts in his fashion shows. I worked my ass off with him. He was working day or night, coke or no coke. We were going to Studio 54, but he was impeccable in everything. Halston gave me the discipline.” - Elsa Peretti
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Elsa Peretti fashion model and designer, photographed by Jill Krementz in 1974, the year Peretti signed with Tiffany & Co.
Elsa Peretti, photographed by Helmut Newton on the terrace of her New York apartment, 11AM on a bright autumn morning in 1975, wearing a Playboy ‘Bunny’ outfit designed by her friend Halston that she’d worn to a Halloween party.
Italian Elsa Peretti arrived in Manhattan on a cold day in February 1968 with a black eye from a lover. She moved into the Franconia hotel on West 72nd Street. Modeling paid the bills and with representation by the Wilhelmina agency her tall and sophisticated look caught on amongst the catwalk designers. One of the first to spot her quality was Roy Halston Frowick, whom she first met when the designer was still a milliner at Bergdorf Goodman.
Peretti was propelled into New York fashion stardom and around her and Halston a tight posse coalesced including Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, Joe Eula, Victor Hugo and Andy Warhol.
Despite the partying, Peretti focused her instinctive talent for creating remarkable objects. Inspired by a flower vase she found at a flea market, she made sketches, then took them to a silversmith in Spain with whom she made prototype for a two-inch sterling-silver bud vase, worn around the neck on a leather thong. When a model at Sant’Angelo’s show appeared wearing the piece it caused a sensation.
In 1973 Halston asked Elsa to design the bottle for his first fragrance. Executives at Max Factor initially resisted Peretti’s teardrop shape (bottles they insisted had to be rectangular). After it’s launch the scent became a smash hit becoming the second top selling perfume after Chanel No.5.
Halston compensated Elsa for her design with a Sable coat. Following a blazing row between them one evening at Studio 54, witnessed by Steve Rubell and David Geffen, the fur was flung onto a roaring fire!
Elsa Peretti survived the cocaine-fueled disco-era to become a highly successful jewelry designer for Tiffany & Co. Thanks to savvy advice from Halston, who helped her negotiate her first contract in 1974, Peretti still retains ownership over her name and all her designs. In 2012, Tiffany announced a new multi-million dollar 20 year contract with Peretti.
She didn’t need the money.
Elsa Peretti was born in Florence into one of Italy’s wealthiest families, the youngest of two girls. Her oil magnate father, Ferdinando Peretti, founded Anonima Petroli Italiana (API) in 1933. Her mother was an artist and she was raised in a Renaissance palazzo in Rome. But after earning a degree in interior design in 1961 Elsa rebelled and ran away from her conservative family and the purse strings were cut. In 1977 a cover story on Elsa’s accomplishments in Newsweek helped instigate a reconciliation with her Father, just a few months before he died. The fortune she inherited was put to work in a charitable foundation named after him.
During the 1970s Elsa Peretti began to restore a 17th century Spanish village, Sant Martí Vell, as an escape from New York. When she arrived many of the stone houses were ruins with no roofs and she slept on a bench. There were no skyscrapers, no discotheques, no wild parties. It’s now her home.
“I hate that impeccable, perfectly perfect look, all matched and prearranged. Style is to be simple.” - Elsa Peretti.
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Tootal is one of England’s oldest brands. Founded in Manchester by textile merchant Robert Gardner in 1799, the Tootal family became involved in the business in 1842.
Their distinctive paisley and polka-dot scarves were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s, particularly amongst the working class. During World War II they became associated with the “RAF” look and enjoyed a revival in the 1960s when they were adopted by the Mod fraternity.
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Grenson’s ’Triple Welt’ collection:
Curt, Archie and Fred. Developed by craftsmen in the Northamptonshire factory. Unique sole construction. Three welts of different widths. Handmade from skin to box.
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David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, 1973 © Brian Duffy
Photographed one spring evening in Duffy’s studio in Primrose Hill, north London, 1973. The concept was a collaboration between the photographer, the artist, Celia Philo a graphic designer and business partner of Duffy who had worked on the legendary Pirelli calendars, and Pierre La Roche a French make-up artist who Duffy chose for the shoot.
Bowie arrived at the studio by himself with his hair, orange and spiked-up, exactly as in the image – they did nothing to it.
There are numerous stories of where the spark of inspiration for the lightning strike came from.
Duffy once said it was inspired by a symbol on the electric cooker in the studio.
Bowie said it conveyed a sense of duality of mind and the “lad insane” of the album’s title track was inspired by his brother Terry, who had been diagnosed a schizophrenic.
Philo claimed they had planned before the shoot to reference the track The Jean Genie and portray David with a bare torso in the guise of a genie. Her recollection was they all sat around the studio table with a pad of paper, talking and jotting down ideas. They were aware of Bowie wearing costumes with a lightning flash and Pierre had suggested putting one on his face.
The small team shot into the small hours and then went to bed. The next morning they looked at the test strips and knew then they had captured magic as the images developed before their eyes.
The airbrushing was done by Philip Castle.
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Triumph Bonneville T100 Paul Smith signature series. Nine one-off paint schemes were created - two designs put into limited production of 50, individually numbered and authenticated.
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