Loco For Rococo

Well, just as I predicted (genius that I am) while 1/2 the country is elated this week, the other half  is deeply in need of some botox right between the eyebrows.

Sorry I can’t help you with that (Virtual Blogging Botox Party?!) but I can offer some completely over the top, nothing even vaguely tethered to reality escapism for just a couple of minutes.

If you’ve picked up  just one fashion magazine lately no doubt you’ve clocked the fierce force of ornamentation, brocade, bling, bang & baroque that assailed the runways this Fall.

Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Balmain, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino were only some of the big boys that pulled out all the stops with needlepoint and pearls.

Seriously I don’t even want to think about how much these jackets must cost (or how much they weigh for that matter…couture as exercise?)But the exquisite workmanship and beauty  cannot be denied.

Unless of course you’re a dyed in the wool “Grunge” devotee’

In which case these Celine sandals from Spring ’13  might be more up your ballroom

I admit, chances are very slim we’re going to see anyone wearing most of these, but it’s certainly Fantasy Fashion at it’s best.

Speaking of Baroque, Rococo and Fantasy…When I was in Paris a few weeks ago I saw John Malkovich in the Hotel Costes restaurant. (Well, actually one of my girlfriends spotted him-literally the first SECOND we walked in. She’s rather genius at that. She can also read a guest list upside down. In French) It took me a minute or two before my one lasik-ed eye was able to confirm that yes, indeed it was J.M.  He looked, you know, pretty good, pretty cool & pretty louche, much how you would expect John Malkovich to look holding court in a french bar at 1:00am. Afterwards, my friends had a little visit with him and said he was utterly charming. Don’t ask me why I didn’t go with them. If it had been Sawyer I would have.  Anyway (sorry-this is getting so long!) when I got home to Santa Barbara a friend called and said she was having some people over to watch “Dangerous Liaisons” and would I like to come. Would I??!

Do you remember how GOOD that film was and can you believe it was made in 1988??

Does this jog your memory?

Of course we’ve had several films with similar sensibilities since then

Sophia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” comes to mind. It was beautiful and fun but didn’t even come close to the naughtiness and wit of “Dangerous Liaisons”

Marie Antoinette’s bedroom at Versailles

Alexander McQueen


Valentino. Magical, right? I love thistles.

Subtle Baroque by Bottega Veneta, Fall 2012

Balmain Fall 2012


I think Dolce

Dolce Fall 2012

Karlie Kloss in Dolce & Gabbana

Judith Leiber minaudière

Balmain- wow. I would just hang this on my wall and touch it every day.

Nicholas Kirkwood

and possibly my favourite coat of the season from Fendi

The moment Malkovich realizes she is completely in his  power is staggeringly good. The dude can act.

Valentino. I love the way the metal studs hip up the needlepoint, don’t you?

This has to be a Tim Walker photo, right?

He loves those boots

Happy Day to you and give yourself a treat and watch “Dangerous Liasons” again.


(any uncredited images via Tumblr or Google, Kate Blanchett in first Vogue image)


  1. This IS the escape I needed. Volunteering with a catering company trying- trying- to help Staten Island.
    I am heading out now and this bit of exquisite fluff has helped me breathe easier. It’s all just so sad.:(

    • Your generocity and compassion are an inspiration to us all! God bless you. Keeping you and all those struggling on the East coast in my prayers!

  2. While I hold no immediate desire to resemble a walking fauteuil, I admire inimitably your balancing the tight rope of distraction/celebration, one that will earn you more good karma than if you did put that Balmain on your wall like a tongka.

    And as for Dangerous Liaisons, I have watched it more times than I can count and have the Marquise de Merteuil’s eyebrow raise down pat…

    Stay warm, Slim!

  3. Hey Slim, rookie question. Who does that beautiful Valentino garb since I believe Valentino has now stepped down at Valentino?

  4. REgardless of whether you are a winner or a loser this week we all need a respite from the madness…thanks for the opportunity to escape for just a few moments…now back to reality

  5. Ooh.. I love how over-the-top all this gorgeousness is. Just what I needed. After this week, I’ll still need the Botox too, but that’s another story…

  6. LOVE LOVE this blog.Right up there as a fav. Slim. I would love every piece and shoe. yes “The last word ” You knew what we needed. Thanks.

  7. “Dangerous Liaisons” made over 24 years ago is a classic even today and stands in a class of film not often made today. Not only does the film capture the period so realistically, but to write a story line that illicited such intense, viseral acting from both Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer had me sobbing for days. (I was young then and suseptible to tragi-romances, as I am still today.) Thanks for your post; for the memories and the glitter.

  8. Also, I have a theory about why you stayed behind while your friends went up to meet Malkovich. Perhaps you are like me in that, when I run into “known or celebrated” individuals, I don’t want to: 1. crash their limited personal time and space (mamma taught me well), and 2. am embarrased to be…or be seen as one of the gushy “fans”. I know you do rub elbows with a circle of celebrated individuals (I hate the implied word, celebrity) but maybe you don’t want to gush.

    Personally, in the case of John Malkovich, I would have gushed.

    • Actually one of my friends knew him a little, so it was cool to go over but generally, I’m like you- I don’t like to gush. That being said, Gush I will, if the circumstance proves irresistible. (i.e. my encounter with Omar Sharif on the same trip!)

      • Did I miss an Omar Sharif post!!!…I had a major crush on him. Loved his little gappy smile. Sexy. I will search.


      • Dear Slim

        This post is such a visual feast! The wonderful textiles and embroideries with pearls and fake jewels and the studs! Love your final comment on Malkovich (under the boots)! They’re all works of art. Yes, would love to hang one on my wall too.

        Another reason not to rush to greet a favourite actor or celebrity is the fear of disappointment. What if he was really ordinary or boring or rude because you’d intruded! Much better to admire from a distance. Though I was once at a restaurant with a friend of my mother’s when this lady seized my arm and dragged me to another table, no explanation. It turned out to be Peter Ustinov’s table. He was just as charming and funny as he appeared in interviews.

        Always loved Omar Sharif too. A long time ago, my cousin’s husband when single was a fanatical bridge champion. Somehow he met Omar over a bridge table and was offered the opportunity to travel everywhere with him as his professional bridge partner. He was actually a scientist but gave it up for for a year or so and had a ball.
        Best wishes, Pamela

  9. Fabulous post. Fashion is an art and it certainly is allowing our minds to dream with all these beautiful baroque details. I was recently in Milan and some of the items in your blog were in the stores. They are beyond exquisite in real life.

  10. Ooh, Dangerous Liasons- what a great idea! And may I suggest Amadeus as another film to turn it into a double feature… Baroque bookends, if you will 🙂

  11. Are you still in New York ie.someone telling you to stay warm? Wonderfully edited post…..I agree they are gorgeous but toooo heavy to wear. It will take more than botox to unfurl my brow right now ……..but the post did help lighten my mood. Maybe you should have been a fashion mag editor? Sunny here in Idaho and I am proud of my state. Mr Malkovich is too scary looking for my taste but Omar Sharif—whoa!! Just shows that your good taste extends to men!!

  12. Thanks for my daily dose of art, humor, and just down right fun beauty. Beauty and fun can go together and you Slim Paley prove it. Thanks for doing what you so uniquely do.You enrich my world.

  13. Is that Alexander McQueen clutch meant to be used as a knuckle duster / weapon against potential muggers? It’s very McQueen!
    That pink Valentino is incredible. I just missed the V exhibition that’s about to open in London at Somerset House (alongside Tim Walker’s). I missed it in Australia too, so shall just have to buy the book.
    Love your photos, as usual.
    Janelle McCulloch | Library of Design
    PS There is an amazing collection of fashion books at both Galignani bookstore and the Decorative Arts Museum bookstore, both on Rue du Rivoli, if you’re ever in Paris again. Saw lots of titles I haven’t seen for years, or indeed in any other bookshop.

  14. Wow! Now I know what to do with all of my Canadian mother’s half finished petit points that have waiting for a piano bench all these years…they’ll go on the back of a jean jacket as soon as I get back to The States…that should mix it up a little! thanks for the inspiration, yet again.

  15. Dangerous Liaisons? Is that ‘code speak’ for Washington, DC after the election?

    Exquisite, Excessive and Exactly the visual over-stimulation I have been craving since the election. While pinterest has helped to medicate my right lobe, this post is screaming at me to take up embroidery and quilting, DIY-ing everything in my closet!
    xoxo, Chris

  16. Ha ha ~ He loves those boots!
    I have always thought him very mysterious and sexy in an unconventional way…
    I would probably have hung back too instead of approaching him in a bar setting where he was obviously enjoying some personal time unless I had consumed a few martini’s and had more “courage”.

  17. I am definitely one of those who was disheartened by the election, so your post was a welcome respite (not watching any tv news or reading the paper for the past two days has helped as well! I think another inspiration for this fall’s rich fashion is the upcoming remake of Anna Karenina – the clothes look gorgeous.

  18. Awesome Slim, just awesome and totally inspiring! Thank you, thank you and do tell the Omar Shariff story, can’t wait for that one and am going to run out and get that movie, can’t wait to watch it.

  19. Wow! Spectacular post, Slim. You are so good at this! 🙂
    Thanks for refreshing my memory of D.L. movie…and I do so remember that scene where he
    realizes that he totally had her in the palm of his hand. Still makes my spine tingle.

  20. Speechless. Welllll…not quite, as that would mean I was no longer breathing, : ) BUT holy cow. Absolutely stunning images. Favorite. Post. Ever. (I have probably said that before and reserve the right to do so in the future, as I never know what you are going to curate.) Off to Pin an image or nine from this one. : )

  21. Wow, I must go back and watch Dangerous Liaisons again. You know what, aside from the white make up, I love “Elizabeth I” dress. I could be comfortable in that dress…it covers my neck, I hate my neck. 🙂

  22. Ladies, unfurrow thy brows! We have an exquisitely BRILLIANT, beautiful and kind President and First Family. This is the new world, remember? We left all that kings and queens stuff behind in the old world for a reason. (fun post nevertheless-and that Fendi coat is divine). xo

  23. Hi Slim, J.M. has always been such a fascinating actor. Lately, I’ve found his clothing line, Technobohemian, to be very interesting. Was he dressed in a some great outfit when you saw him in Paris? Best, Ruth

    • “Sawyer” was a character on the TV show “Lost” played by Josh Holloway (Google him )
      I happen to know he is expertly stocking me-to the point of never being detected, so he’s also really wily & smart. 🙂

  24. I don’t know Slim. I could definitely wear one of those matador with a new twist jackets! What a fun post! I think I’ll start at the top and look at it all over again…
    And don’t forget the other film, Valmont.

  25. Baroque and Rococo are perfect fantasy-fashion, I love they way they continue to inspire and this season’s fashion makes it so fresh. Tad obsessed with it in interiors too, thanks for such a fun visual journey.

  26. Slim, Coming in a little late to the party. Divine post. Loved that movie, but also Valmont with Colin Firth. And I can’t help think about Amadeus with all this Baroque. That Fendi coat is fabulous!

    I have approached a few celebs and one I didn’t, but wish I had was Audrey Hepburn..You never get another chance if you don’t though..

Would love to hear from you!