March 29, 2014

Beautiful Marie Antoinette and 18th century inspired Bridal Shower

What happens when an artist / art historian / blogger needs a fitting bridal shower? Well I have no problems saying that this bridal shower is everything I would have envisioned for myself, thanks to some amazing bridesmaids and my mom. They are not only super creative but fabulous bakers and they pulled this off. A pretty outdoor garden type party, with teas, treats and lovely people. It was just too much! Here is what resulted. Enjoy!

We had it outside, it rained but no one will remember that! Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel

Everyone arriving and checking things out. But desserts are for later... Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel
One of my fav pics! *the spread*  Photo by Erinn Elizabeth
Tea sandwiches and lunch items are elegantly labeled. Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel
Amazing custom bridal shower games! These were such a surprise.  Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel
Punches, teas and infused waters!  Photo by Erinn Elizabeth
I told you these girls were incredible~ Look at all that! Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel
Drinks! All created by culinary photographer/chef Jessica Harris. Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel
Photo by Erinn Elizabeth

Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel

Curious about the cupcakes??

 We had Champagne cupcakes which were amazing and my favorite -  vanilla cupcakes but throw in some champagne (not expensive stuff) when you make the batter. And if you use a pink champagne, they come out slightly pink!  

so. good. 

The decadent ones with the pink frosting are Frist Kiss Cupcakes or something like that. They are are baked with a Hershey kiss in the middle and have a vanilla frosting with pureed cherries for color and flavor.  And a chocolate coverd cherry to top it off (yes decadent) 

And then we had vanilla rainbow cupcakes - simple vanilla cupcakes colored to make a rainbow pattern. Yum!

Dessert! Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel

More dessert. Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel

I collected a ton of vintage silver pieces for the shower and the wedding. Lace table cloth is my grandmother's and we just placed it over a plastic pale-green table cloth cover.  Photo by Kathryn Bilharz Gabriel

Ok so I lucked out because most of my maids are artists/chefs (even my mom) so we had a crew of creative types. I hope you enjoyed the pics! Feel free to ask any questions if you are looking for ideas, I am more than happy to share!

March 05, 2014

Camp Versailles: 18th century inspired fashion and #Giveaway

I have recently been in touch with long-time reader and fashion designer Quinne Myers from local apparel brand she & reverie.  Quinne's Spring 2014 line has just launched, and her inspirations for it are Marie Antoinette's 18th-century Petit Trianon and its wonderful gardens.

This is so appropriately timed with the new book release, The Gardener of Versailles, which talks about these very gardens, and of course Dior's Spring 2014 make-up collection also inspired by the Petit Trianon!

The capsule collection is called Camp Versailles and is full of sweet made-in-NYC pieces like frothy silk mini tops, cute-yet-luxe kitsch-inspired hoodies, sundress/chemise combos, and perfect puff-sleeve lounge dresses.

I had the chance to ask Quinne about her inspirations and why she loves the 18th century:

QM: I've been inspired by the aesthetic ideals of 18th century France for as long as I've been designing clothes. The name "she and reverie" even comes from one of Jean-Honore Fragonard's 1770s-era paintings at the Frick Collection, my favorite place here in NYC. His painting "Reverie" depicts a girl in a pale pink dress lounging dreamily against a pillar in a garden, and represents our design aesthetic perfectly.
Since she and reverie's conception, I've been driven to create clothes that an 18th century royal maiden might wear if she lived today: sweetly-detailed garments in fine fabrics and candy-sweet colors that are carelessly easy to wear and subtly provocative. Marie Antoinette was clearly a dreamer-girl searching for an escape in the world of aesthetics, just like our customers. 
The gardens of the Petit Trianon were my favorite part of my visit to Versailles. Despite being an immense display of wealth, the architects created something that felt light, airy, provincial, and almost effortless. As someone who grew up in a relatively rural setting, the idea of a manufactured "natural" garden is fascinating and a little creepy, but they pulled it off perfectly. Those carefully-crafted gardens are exactly how I romanticize the French countryside: bright, breezy, clean and full of flowers. 
So when I started designing the garments for this new capsule collection, I couldn't help but imagine what I'd want to wear while lounging under the trees of the Queen's Hamlet: airy silks and soft knit dresses that are dressy and sweet, yet easy to wear and so comfortable. Combining that feeling with kitschy details like branded Girl Scout-style merit badges and our kitschy Polaroid print using photos taken all over the world (including at Petit Trianon!) led to the final Camp Versailles collection.

Camp Versailles

Lounging in tall grass and gathering wildflowers.
Dancing to your favorite songs under a pink setting sun.
Staying up all night counting constellations in gossamer tents.
Welcome to Camp Versailles,
inspired by classic Girl Scout kitsch and the luxurious languor & grown-up opulence of 18th century France.

And now for the fashion! Here are some of my favorite pieces from the collection. I love the hooded cardigans (over-sized hoods are my fav, and it is pink!), the summer holiday skirt and all the colors.  Everything looks soft, comfortable and just lovely. This is only a few items, so check out the site to see all the styles and colors. Enjoy and be sure to enter the giveaway below.

Sleepover Hooded Cardigan in Earl Grey Creme featuring Camp Versailles Sew-on Badges
Summer Holiday Skirt
Summer Holiday Skirt
Meringue Babydoll Dress in chiffon rose
Meringue Babydoll Dress in Earl Grey Creme
Sixties Sun Tops
Sleepover Hooded Cardigan in mascara grey
Sleepover Hooded Cardigan over Meringue Babydoll Dress in Earl Grey Creme

Connect with she and reverie

Camp Versailles Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a set of
$50 she and reverie gift certificate 
"A set of grown-up embroidered Girl Scout merit badges, exclusive to the Camp Versailles collection--
the same set as featured on our Sleepover Hooded Cardigan.

Features a few of our favorite things in candy-sweet colors:
White swans, pink roses, the Chrysler building, cruiser bikes, and the moon.
Sew them on anything with a needle and thread, or just use a little glue.  

Patches are 2.5" wide each and come on a printed card.
Exclusive to she and reverie."
I am very excited to host a giveaway from this collection for readers here!

Enter to win a
$50 she and reverie gift certificate

How to Enter:

For this giveaway I am using the giveaway widget below. It allows extra entries which is pretty cool (and keeps everything organized pour moi!)

Simply enter by email or your Facebook account.
Once you have entered there are seven options for extra entries you will be presented with (comment on this post, tweet, share, follow... the usual! Just pick and choose any you want). The giveaway widget will track how many times you have entered.

The giveaway starts now and ends March 14. I will post the winner on Monday March 17.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!

And the winner is....

Rebekah L. Congratulations!! 
Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway! And special thanks to she and reverie for the wonderful prizes. 

February 19, 2014

The Ruins of Rome: an amazing hand-painted 18th century grisaille wallpaper
Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Gift of Dr. Howard Van Rensselaer, 1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A few weeks ago I met up with my friend Abby from Schuyler Mansion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We made our way to the The Virginia and Leonard Marx Gallery in the American Wing to check out the Van Rensselaer Manor room.  The room is enveloped in soft yellows and gray, very inviting and cozy. Here she told me about the original eighteenth-century grisaille wallpaper which was donated to the Met, but once hung in the front hall of the Van Rensselaer Manor House.

This hand-painted wallpaper known as The Ruins of Rome was ordered and custom made in London for the Van Rensselaer's New York Manor home around the year 1768.  It shows several views of Roman ruins based on the engravings of Panini, an artist who produced several such works during the early and mid 18th century.

The Ruins of Rome wallpaper was only made for the Van Rensselaer Manor House, the Jeremiah Lee Mansion and the Schuyler Mansion - all three of the bespoke orders were unique and designed for each home's specific dimensions. The paper brought the chic style and tastes of Britain to these American colony homes.

Ruins of Rome Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Lauren.

Recently the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Massachusetts was able to restore and repair their Ruins of Rome wallpaper which dates to 1768.  Philip Schuyler installed the hand-painted wallpaper he purchased in the front hallway hallway on both floors of his Albany NY mansion in the early 1760s.   Now Schuyler Mansion is preparing to have the front hall put back to it's 18th-century splendor by installing a digital reproduction of the papers in the mansion's Front Hall.

Schuyler Mansion Interior view of the Hamilton Room. 1761-2. Albany (N.Y.). 

In 1806 the mansion was sold and owned by several private owners, becoming an orphanage in the late 19th century.  The orphanage sold the house to the state and it opened as an  historic site in 1917.

The Ruins of Rome wallpaper project is part of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the mansion being an historic site. Rooms in the house are in several states of being finished and restored and only one room is completely restored to its 18th-century character (a bedroom, see image below).

How to support The Ruins of Rome Project:

It is very exciting to see a project come up that focuses on restoration and in particular to see an 18th century home restored to its original state.

  1. Schuyler Mansion has recently launched a Ruins of Rome Fundraiser through to support the project.
  2. You can make a donation directly to the historic site here!

  3. Spread the word!   Share this post + links to the  Ruins of Rome Fundraiser + post on Facebook 

Historic Schuyler Mansion

Philip Hooker, Philip Schuyler Mansion, Albany, New York (headpiece on manuscript description and appraisal of the property), 1818, Watercolor and brown ink on paper. New-York Historical Society

The Green Chamber, restored to 18th century appearance. Schuyler Mansion, photograph. Photo by Abby
Center Hall. Schuyler Mansion, photograph. Photo by Abby
Dining Room. Schuyler Mansion, photograph. Photo by Abby

The Ruins of Rome Wallpaper

Ruins of Rome Wallpaper, Roman Ruins. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. From the Van Rensselaer Manor. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ruins of Rome Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Gift of Dr. Howard Van Rensselaer, 1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Lauren.

Ruins of Rome Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Gift of Dr. Howard Van Rensselaer, 1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Lauren.

Ruins of Rome Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Gift of Dr. Howard Van Rensselaer, 1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Gift of Dr. Howard Van Rensselaer, 1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Wallpaper from Van Rensselaer Manor House. ca. 1768, Tempera on watercolor paper. Gift of Dr. Howard Van Rensselaer, 1928. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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