“The Tooth, the Whole Tooth & Nothing But the Tooth”

I’ve been busy working on my “The New Best Dressed List” (which will be out next month). I would be the first to admit that the notion of ‘Best Dressed’ is highly personal and it’s all so subjective (especially nowadays when there are almost no rules). That being said, I am always struck by the powerful presence that defines or defined certain past ‘best dressed’ icons, all of whom I paid homage to on my first list  (Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, CZ Guest, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Jacqueline de Ribes, Slim Keith, Grace Kelly) and it never ceases to amaze me the way in which they completely stand the test of time.

Diana Vreeland wearing her signature ivory tooth
necklace and matching cuffs

Then, of course, there’s Diana Vreeland (maybe she’s on my mind as of late because of the upcoming Costume Institute exhibition). While she was known for her over the top personality and pronouncements, she was simplified and utterly modern in that she basically stuck to a ‘uniform’ (albeit one that was luxuriously fabricated, perfectly cut, and proportioned), and she always accessorized with a few dramatic signature pieces: her Verdura cuffs, and her beloved Kenneth J. Lane ivory tusk pendants. In fact, Diana Vreeland and KJL were good buddies, and she was famous for wearing his horn necklaces with almost everything, (year round and for both day and evening). She sometimes wore two or three together (didn’t she famously say: “Too much is never enough”?)

Vintage Kenneth J Lane faux ivory tusk claw charm necklace

In any case, I have long been obsessed with these iconic necklaces (they do look great with everything), and while they are indeed timeless, they have that boho vibe and immediately ‘say’ 70’s. And because both are having such a fashion moment as of late, they could not be more ‘of the moment’ and ‘happening’. If you’re looking for the real deal, you’re in luck because Kenneth J. Lane ivory tusk necklaces are always available, it seems. There are several vintage versions on www.ebay.com and on etsy.com (priced at $70), which is where I also found a rare charm necklace composed of a faux ivory and red coral tusk, claw, jade arm hands, gold coins and glass beads ($229.99). A well priced non-vintage KJL ivory tusk necklace which was recently available at Neiman Marcus has unsurprisingly sold out.

Stephanie Lake Double Tooth necklace

Among the most noteworthy non KJL offerings: a wonderfully unique, one of a kind piece in antique gold capped ivory, and vintage resin ivory, made by Stephanie Lake (stephanielakedesigns.com), $1125. And while you’re at it, please check out her other amazing pieces which are not for the faint of heart (‘Think’ Iris Apfel)! But perhaps my favorite is the eye catching version by Dsquared2 (www.dsquared2.com), which was used to accessorize many of the pieces on their 70’s inspired resort 2015 runway. Made in Italy, it combines a brass link necklace with a resin tooth pendant measuring a hefty 6 inches long ($615). And perhaps you want to channel Diana Vreeland, and wear dramatic cuffs as well? Check out their brass and resin Armlet, $915. FYI, the good news is that the website is currently offering a 20% discount!

The whole “truth” certainly seemed to have come out during the course of Diane Sawyer’s gripping and extraordinary sit down interview with Bruce Jenner that aired on ABC last night. It was in fact, the only two hour interview the news icon had ever conducted and I must say, it’s hard to imagine anyone else pulling this off.

Bruce Jenner

“I am a woman for all intents and purposes”, and “my brain is more female than male”, said the sports legend, who confirmed that he will be transitioning into a woman (he did not want to reveal his new name at this point). “I am me, I am a person. I am not stuck in anyone’s body. This is who I am.” He displayed a self-deprecating and humorous side, and while he appeared a bit nervous at the beginning, he seemed truly relieved and at peace with his choice to come out in such a public way, after keeping a secret and living a lie up until this point. He was so conflicted, he admitted to having considered taking his own life at one point but decided he couldn’t go through with it (“I have to know how my story ends” he said).

During the course of the interview, which effectively made use of footage of the 1976 Olympics (during which time he was hailed as “The world’s greatest athlete”), Jenner admitted to cross dressing from a very early age (periodically raiding his mothers’ and sisters’ closets). He didn’t know why he was compelled to do so, except that it made him “feel good”.  He also said he was sexually attracted only to women  and considered himself to be heterosexual. “Sexuality is who turns you on but gender identity is who you identify with inside”, he observed. At one point, he took Diane into a room where closets were filled with dresses, and he pulled out a little black number which he said he would wear when they went out to a planned dinner. He joked, “at least you won’t be the tallest woman in the room”.

Married three times with six biological children and four stepchildren, love and devotion to family was a huge theme during the entire interview. A ‘star’ on the reality show, “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, along with his other family members, he found it rather ironic that he was, in fact, “the real story all along”. He told Diane that he and Kris would still be married if she had been “okay with this”. Interviews with his older sister and 87 year old mother, were especially touching and at the end, his mother said, I didn’t think I could be more proud of you standing on the podium at Montreal, but I’m learning I can be.”

Diane ended by asking Bruce (who will continue his transition in the near future) if this interview could be considered a “goodbye to Bruce”. He answered, “It’s not a goodbye to me but to people’s perceptions of me. This is who I’ve always been.”

– Marilyn Kirschner

Better Bets:  Mother’s Day Books for the Fashionable Woman

Horst: Photographer Of Style


This book is the companion volume to a 2014 exhibit of the famed fashion photographer’s work at the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A). The German born Horst worked primarily in 1930’s Paris for Vogue, then in New York, for Vogue and other Condé Nast publications.

Horst’s style was created in part by his training with other Condé Nast photographers and by publisher Condé Montrose Nast’s insistence on the use of oversized 10 x 8 inch black and white photographic plates.  This meant that Horst photographed his subjects, including many of the leading names in fashion and the movies, exclusively in the studio, with carefully crafted lighting that produced dramatic shadows.

As World War II approached, Horst departed for New York, where his work would evolve, influenced by Bauhaus and modernism, but always in his own unique style, including stunning color photography using Kodachrome.  The book draws on the V&A’s extensive collection of Horst’s work, as well as other important pieces, and includes a variety of interesting essays on the iconic photographer.

Text by Philippe Garner, Claire Wilcox and Robin Muir; Edited by Susanna Brown; Foreword by Anna Wintour

Published by Skira Rizzoli
336 pages

Available at: http://www.rizzoliusa.com $75.00

“A Healthy You” – by Carol Alt with Jocelyn Steiber

Super Model, Carol Alt continues her advocacy of raw food in her new lifestyle book, “A Healthy You” co-written with Jocelyn Steiber.  Alt, who hosts the A Healthy You health and wellness show on the Fox network, shares her personal raw food living philosophy, interspersed with essays by doctors and others who share her point of view.

Starting with nutrition and the argument for a raw diet, Alt also covers fitness, skin care and beauty, and how to age gracefully.  The book is very personal, as Alt shares her journey from a model who avoided food to a practitioner of what she views as the optimum healthy lifestyle, including alternative health practices, such as coffee enemas for detoxing.

The book includes a plethora of raw food recipes and personal tips, such as avoiding chewing gum because it stimulates digestive enzymes, staying away from non-refrigerated oils, maintaining a slightly alkaline pH, and fitting in squats during conference calls.  To be sure, the lifestyle described can take quite a bit of effort, as Alt tells us that she brings her own salad dressing to restaurants, and a platter of raw cheese and crackers (yes, these are also raw) to parties, but, according to Alt, the payoff is well worth it.

Foreword by David Perlmutter, MD
Published by Dey Street Books
288 Pages
On Sale 5/12/2015: harpercollins.com $25.99

– Rhonda Erb
For more Better Bets visit: http://betterbetsny.tumblr.com/

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr: betterbetsny.tumblr.com

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