Thursday, 30 July 2015

Frida's Timeline / VÍDEO: The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo - Documentary

 Frida Kahlo a la edad de 6 años, 1913

Frida (derecha) a los 12 años, con su hermana Cristina (izquierda) y su mejor amiga, Isabel Campos (centro), 1919

Frida Kahlo de traje, con sus hermanas Adriana y Cristina y sus primos Carmen y Carlos Verasa, 1926

Frida a los 18 años, 1926

Frida Kahlo, 1929

 Frida Kahlo, 1930

Frida Kahlo, 1932

Hermes responds to Jane Birkin’s request to drop her name from the iconic handbag

Hermes responds to Jane Birkin’s request to drop her name from the iconic handbag
The French fashion house has denied that the Texas farm belongs to them and has called in an investigation into it, as well as, clarifying their friendship with the former model

Hermes has responded to Jane Birkin's request for the luxury fashion house to change the name of the iconic handbag following Peta’s report, which allegedly unveiled animal mistreatment in the production process of the fashion accessory.

A report by the animal rights organisation investigated the farming methods of crocodiles and alligators used to make the Birkin bag, which is priced between £6,700 and £100,000.

But the French fashion house denied that the farm belongs to them, or that the skins are used to make their bags. "An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video," stated Hermes. "Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned." An £82,657 Hermès Birkin bag at the Hermès shop in New York

The statement continued: "Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. For more than 10 years, we have organised monthly visits to our suppliers.

"We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife Service (a federal American organisation for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the Uno, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species." English actress Jane Birkin goes out on a pedalo during the 28th Cannes International Film Festival on May 1974 English actress Jane Birkin in 1974

The 68-year-old model and singer, who’s the inspiration behind the handbag, had said: "Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermes bags carrying my name, I have asked Hermes Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag." The most expensive Birkin bags can cost over £100,000

The label, however, clarified, too, that its relationship with the British actress remains the same. "Her [Birkin’s] comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years," said a statement from the brand. "Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast."

Following the plea, Peta founder Ingrid Newkirk thanked Birkin “for ending her association with Hermès, which makes grotesque handbags” and called for the fashion house to stop using these farm methods. Lady Gaga sporting her customised Hermes' Birkin bag in 2010

"We call on Hermès to stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins. Once, Birkin bags marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one, and animal advocates will then breathe a sigh of relief."

Monday, 27 July 2015

Mr. Holmes / VÍDEO: Mr. Holmes Official US Release Trailer #1 (2015) - Ian McKellen Mystery ...

Mr Holmes review – the old sleuth on the trail of his younger self

Ian McKellen brings affection and grace to a whimsical portrait of an elderly Sherlock Holmes, struggling with his memory and his myth

Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

Is there a version of Sherlock Holmes we haven’t seen? Screen incarnations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most celebrated character date back to the birth of cinema (the tricksy short Sherlock Holmes Baffled was made at the turn of the century), and Conan Doyle himself praised actor Eille Norwood’s “wonderful impersonation of Holmes” in shorts and features from the early 1920s. John Barrymore, Raymond Massey and Clive Brook all played the detective before The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) established Basil Rathbone as the iconic bearer of the deerstalker and pipe combo. More recently we’ve had Robert Downey Jr as a pugilist detective in Guy Ritchie’s punchy reboots, and Benedict Cumberbatch as a thoroughly modern Sherlock in the hit BBC TV series.

Now comes Sir Ian McKellen, playing Holmes as a lonely recluse, slowly succumbing to senility. The year is 1947, nearly 30 years after the troubling events which ultimately caused Sherlock to retreat to the country, and the care of his beloved bees. Attended by housekeeper Mrs Munro (Laura Linney, of no fixed accent) and her young son Roger (rising star Milo Parker), the rheumy-eyed 93-year-old dithers hither and yon, his step uncertain, his face saggy and liver-spotted. By day, he potters around his apiary, growls at his doctor (McKellen’s range of grunts is as wide as Timothy Spall’s Mr Turner), and supplements his diet with prickly ash, a rare plant gathered in Japan with alleged healing properties. But as he struggles to remember the details of his life, so we spiral back into the past – to the case that proved his undoing, and to the eastern trip from which he brought back more than mere medication.

Reuniting McKellen with Gods and Monsters director Bill Condon, this adaptation of Tideland writer Mitch Cullin’s A Slight Trick of the Mind tells another tale of an ageing legend and his troubled protege. There’s a hint of Gandalf’s melancholic magic in McKellen’s portrayal of a curmudgeon who been there and back again, but it’s in the contrast between the film’s gently juggled time periods that the sparks really fly. Excellent makeup work by Dave and Lou Elsey adds to the illusion that scenes were shot decades apart as Sherlock’s failing memory carries him from Sussex in 1947 to Baker Street in 1919, and his encounter with bereaved Ann Kelmot (Hattie Morahan). Here, his skin is taut, his eyes clear, his senses sharp – although his understanding of emotion remains elementary; faced with the otherworldly tones of a glass harmonica, Holmes reads the clues but hears no music. Only later, when his ruthless logic is lost, does he tune in to something approaching sympathy, and all the ragged ends that come with it.

Nodding toward such revisionist texts as Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) and Nicholas Meyer’s 1974 novel The Seven-Per-cent Solution (filmed in 1976), Mr Holmes unpicks Sherlock’s unravelling state of mind in a manner both investigative and avuncular. From Tobias A Schliessler’s glowing cinematography to Carter Burwell’s reassuring score and Martin Childs’s handsomely detailed production design, there are few sharp edges here. Instead there’s a sense of playfulness as Holmes wrestles with the artifice of his legend: living across the road from 221B and thus evading American tourists, apologising for not brandishing the hat and pipe (an illustrator’s invention), responding reluctantly to Roger’s demands that he theatrically recount his mother’s movements by analysing her hair and clothing. At one point, he even goes to the movies to watch a fictional Sherlock Holmes, and scoffs at the matinee preening of Nicholas Rowe, who (in a further level of metatextuality) once played the lead in Young Sherlock Holmes.

Like its eponymous hero, the film drifts in and out of focus as it sifts through its deck of memories, a touch broad here, a little undercooked there, sometimes satirical, more often whimsical. Yet Jeffrey Hatcher’s script neatly ties together the interplay between myth and memory – both unreliable and malleable – while McKellen nurtures his character’s changing nature with affection and grace.

I relate to the way Sherlock talks about death’: Ian McKellen on his new film role

Stage giant relishes the challenge of playing detective in old age

For Sherlock, in this story, it is quite a race against time. It is not quite like that for me. I don't intend to retire”
Sir Ian McKellen

Vanessa Thorpe

There will be no deerstalker. There will be no pipe. In their place will be a straw hat and a walking stick. But with the appetite for Sherlock Holmes growing after the worldwide success of Benedict Cumberbatch’s television portrayal, Sir Ian McKellen is about to give fans of the great sleuth more of what they crave.

The 75-year-old actor’s new film, Mr Holmes, has its world premiere at the Berlin film festival on Sunday and offers a vision of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective living quietly in retirement in Sussex, keeping bees. Directed by Bill Condon, the film is about a crime, but also about age, unreliable memory and the power of the past.
Preparation for the part has allowed the award-winning Shakespearean actor to reflect on his own age. “Mr Holmes really is as much about being old as it is about the crime,” McKellen said this weekend. “I do relate to the ease with which Sherlock talks about death. That ease is something that has come to me and to a lot of my friends. Death is suddenly ever-present, although we all ignore it when we are young.

“For Sherlock, in this story, it is a race against time, and it is not quite like that for me. I don’t intend to retire. I will go on working on and off. I am happily going on with my life.”

McKellen was not daunted by the task of playing the most celebrated literary creation ever to solve a mystery. “Sherlock has already been played by 120 actors and it’s rather the same thing as playing Hamlet. The role doesn’t belong to you and, if you think it does, you have the wrong idea.

“There have been lots of manifestations of Holmes. Possibly the most famous now is Robert Downey Jnr’s, or perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch’s, who is a more traditional Sherlock in many ways.”

Yet it is an earlier incarnation of Holmes that casts the longest shadow for McKellen. “People of my generation tend to look to Jeremy Brett, who played him on television. He did it for such a long time and so astonishingly well. I would not even want to challenge that performance. My little Holmes adventure is nothing like anybody else’s Holmes.”

Burnley-born McKellen was drawn to the screenplay’s treatment of memory. “I have been thinking about my own memory recently because I am thinking about writing a memoir. I have not kept a diary, which would have made it a lot easier. There are plenty of things I have forgotten and it is usually a great pleasure if someone does remind me of a lost memory. But memory works like that. It discards things and keeps others. It has its reasons.”

The film is based on American writer Mitch Cullin’s 2005 book A Slight Trick of the Mind, and has the premise that Holmes is struggling with the early stages of dementia and trying to recall his last case.

“He is happily living as an apiarist, a long way from London and from crime, but he knows his memory is not what it was. In the film you see flashbacks of him solving the crime and he is trying to remember how he did it. He knows he did,” said McKellen. “The film actually starts with scenes in Japan, where Holmes is trying to find a sort of elixir that will help him regain his memories.”

McKellen is busy learning a part, which he will play opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins, for a television film of Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser, and admitted he now finds learning lines a chore. “My own memory has not given me problems yet when it comes to work, although learning lines for an actor is not the way people imagine it. It is not like learning a list; it is about connecting emotions with a story. Some of my friends tell me they will not work in live theatre again because of the difficulty they have with lines.”

For the actor, an unexpected bonus of taking the screen role of Holmes was a close encounter with bees. “One of the great joys for me was going to look at the bees kept on the top of Fortnum & Mason’s store in Piccadilly,” said Mc Kellen. “They make honey for the shop, and mostly feed on the flowers and trees in Buckingham Palace Gardens and the surrounding parks, so it is actually purer than much rural honey, where a lot of insecticide and sprays are used.

“Before we started filming in the country, some hives were planted nearby, so they would have time to adjust. I had to deal with them in the film and I am happy to say there were no accidents. I was fully expecting to be stung. I did have to take my glove off at one point, but bees are not interested in stinging you.”

Conan Doyle aficionados will find nothing to offend them in the new film, McKellen suspects. “Anyone who loves those stories will enjoy it. One of the key ideas is that the Sherlock people know was a bit of a creation of John Watson and not the real man. This Holmes much prefers a cigar to a pipe and has never worn a deerstalker.”

The original Holmes stories are not always as the public imagines, McKellen argues. “They are not all set in London. I recently read The Valley of Fear for Radio 4 and much of that is set in America.”

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Two Tone / spectator / co-respondent / shoes ...

Duke of Windsor shoes

The spectator shoe (British English: co-respondent shoe) is a style of low-heeled, oxford, semi-brogue or full brogue constructed from two contrasting colors, typically having the toe and heel cap and sometimes the lace panels in a darker color than the main body of the shoe.[1][2][3] This style of shoe dates from the nineteenth century but reached the height of popularity during the 1920s and 1930s.

Common color combinations include a white shoe body with black, brown or tan toe and heel caps, but other colors can be used. The spectator is typically an all leather shoe, but can be constructed using a canvas, mesh or suede body. The spectator was originally constructed of willow calf leather and white buck or reverse calf suede. The white portion was sometimes made from a mesh material, for better ventilation in hot weather.

The saddle shoe, another style of two-tone oxford shoe, can be distinguished from the spectator shoe by noting the saddle shoe's plain toe and distinctive, saddle-shaped decorative panel placed mid foot.

John Lobb, the famous English footwear maker, claimed to have designed the first spectator shoe as a cricket shoe in 1868.

In the 1920s and 1930s in England, this style was considered too flamboyant for a gentleman, and therefore was called a tasteless style. Because the style was popular among lounge lizards and cads, who were sometimes associated with divorce cases, a nickname for the style was co-respondent shoe, a pun on the colour arrangement on the shoe, and the legal description of a third party caught in flagrante delicto with the guilty party in a case of adultery. Wallis Simpson was famed for wearing this style, although it was said that she was an adulteress and that it was Edward VIII who acted the part of co-respondent.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Helen Mirren at 70

Helen Mirren looking resplendent – as ever – for L’Oreal. Photograph: Simon Emmett for L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect

Helen Mirren at 70: fashion gifts from a grande dame
Her 70th birthday is just around the corner, but the celebrated actor shows no signs of slowing down, shutting up or becoming invisible. We salute her fearless approach to fashion

Alyson Walsh

How brilliant is Helen Mirren? Allow me to count the ways. Take the fact she thinks sexism and ageism in Hollywood is “fucking outrageous” and will say so often to whoever is listening. And the fact that, at 70 years old this Saturday, she isn’t planning to retire any time soon, having gone successfully from stage to screen and back again in a career spanning almost 50 years. Later this year, she’ll be appearing as 1940s gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in the film Trumbo and intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell in the military thriller Eye in the Sky. The winner of one Tony, four Baftas, four Emmys and an Oscar, the feisty, London-born actress is a trailblazing force to be reckoned with and has no intention of slowing down, shutting up or becoming invisible. Dare to mess with Mirren and risk an expletive-ridden audience with the Queen. She has also been a long-time style crush of mine, and theses are the fashion gifts she has bestowed upon us.

Real women wear sleeves
When high-street bigwigs believed that mature women wanted piddly shoestring straps, the grande dame soon put them straight. “There are no dresses with sleeves, and we need to bring back the sleeve: fine, see-through ones, long or short.” Her campaign for better coverage and the right not to bare arms has made dresses with sleeves more desirable. Result.

Seventy is awesome
We all know growing old isn’t for cissies, but at least Mirren makes it look like fun. She’s proof that confidence comes with age and experience. “I used to worry a lot more about my looks than I do now – when you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. I think the great advantage of getting older is that you let go of certain things.” There’s a strength in older women who remain engaged and relevant and visible that’s empowering to women of all ages – and incredibly attractive. Beauty brand L’Oreal obviously thought so when they signed Mirren as the face of their Age Perfect Campaign in October 2014. And the award for age-positive role model goes to ...

Do forget your luggage
Taking travelling light to a whole new level, Mirren once admitted that she only takes underwear on holiday: she heads straight to a charity shop on arrival to buy the rest of her holiday wardrobe, then drops it all off again before catching a flight home. No suitcase, no surcharge, donating to charity – this could be the single greatest budget-airline-defying travel plan. I can’t believe it hasn’t caught on.

Ruling the red carpet with majestic grace, Mirren makes eveningwear look easy. The figure-hugging cocktail dress (often in a The Cook, The Thief-inspired shade of scarlet or green), the statement earrings, the versatile mussed-up or slicked-back bob, the woosh of red lipstick. The look is elegant, chic and not overdone. A fan of Dolce & Gabbana frocks, Mirren has found her style and knows what suits her. She continues to refresh and refine her wardrobe and experiment with playful prints, dress silhouettes and the occasional pink rinse. All of which helps her look modern and self-assured. For a night on the town, just follow her advice from the Tony awards: “Stairs, heels, drink – lethal combination.”

Alyson Walsh is the author of Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous, published by Hardie Grant. She blogs as That’s Not My Age and tweets at @thatsntmyage

'Helen Mirren is so gorgeous that men of all ages will look at a photo of her, perhaps in a swimsuit, and make a comment along the lines of: actually, they wouldn’t mind.' Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Helen Mirren shows women can age beautifully, but we shouldn’t have to
Christina Patterson /Helen Mirren

It’s great to have a gorgeous woman like Mirren as a ‘new face’ of anything, but you shouldn’t have to be beautiful to be allowed in a public arena or on TV

“One of my biggest regrets,” said the writer Nora Ephron, “is that I didn’t spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck.” When she looked in a mirror, she explained, she would pull the skin back and “stare wistfully at a younger version” of herself. She might, she said, be “wise and sage and mellow”, but she still tried to avert her eyes. She wrote this in an essay, and a book, called I Feel Bad About My Neck.

Some of us might be tempted to write an essay called I Feel Bad About the Weird Lines on Either Side of My Mouth or I Feel Bad That I Look Worried Even When I’m Not. But if Helen Mirren has ever been tempted to write an essay like this, she hasn’t shown much sign of it. What she did say, when she was made the new face of L’Oréal this week, was that she hoped she would “inspire other women towards greater confidence” by making the most of their looks. “I am not gorgeous,” she said. “I never was, but I was always OK looking and I’m keen to stay that way.”

If Mirren isn’t gorgeous, then heaven help the rest of us. Most people think she’s as gorgeous as the Cleopatra she once played. Mirren is so gorgeous that men of all ages will look at a photo of her, perhaps in a swimsuit, and make a comment along the lines of: actually, they wouldn’t mind. They do, it’s true, sometimes say this as if they expect someone to give them a medal. They seem to think that expressing sexual interest in a woman over the age of 50 – in a woman, in fact, who’s 69 – is smashing some law of nature, and perhaps a Guinness record.

In this, unfortunately, they might be right. According to recent research from OKCupid, one of the largest dating agencies in the world, women are mostly attracted to men of their own age. Men of all ages are attracted to women in their 20s. And aren’t very good at maths. No wonder some American actors seems to feel pressured into having some pretty radical work. It might seem like less hassle than sitting down to write I Feel Bad About My Face.

But Mirren, thank the Lord, doesn’t feel bad about her face. She doesn’t have a beauty routine. She doesn’t look like someone who has had work done. She looks like a woman who has lived a bit, and laughed a lot, and who knows she has been lucky in her looks, but also knows that how you look is a pretty small part of who you are. She looks, in fact, like a woman who is happy in her skin. “The weird thing is,” she says, “you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. And then you’re older and it’s ironic.”

Yes, it is ironic that as you get older, and happier, and more at ease with how you look, and who you are, that’s when the world doesn’t seem to want to put you in places where you might be seen. Women who are 65 to 79, according to the Annual Population Survey, are likely to “report significantly higher ratings of feeling worthwhile and happiness than any other age group”. But no one ever gets to hear about this because as they get happier, their market value plummets. The rule seems to be that if you’re over 60 and want your photo in the paper, and you’re not called Helen Mirren, you’d better be called Joanna Lumley.

From TV, the message is clear. If you want someone to tell you about the world, what you need is a white-haired man. These men – like Jeremy Paxman (64), David Dimbleby (76) and John Simpson (70) – will often be referred to as middle-aged, as if they were expected to have the life span of an Old Testament prophet. Women, on the other hand, as Miriam O’Reilly discovered when she was booted out of Countryfile, are older at 50. Only 18% of TV presenters are women over the age of 50. If you want to work in TV, and still have a job when the grey hairs start, you should probably get good at baking cakes.

On Tuesday, Fran Unsworth, the deputy director of BBC news and current affairs, told a hearing of the House of Lords communications committee that broadcasters had assumed people didn’t want to watch older women on TV without actually working out whether it was true. She was speaking, by the way, on behalf of an organisation that runs on almost £4bn of public funds.

So, let’s make it clear: we do. We don’t want to switch on our TVs, or open our newspapers, and feel that any woman who looks like a woman has been bundled out of sight, in case a child should see her crow’s feet and scream. We’d quite like to think that the work we do to shape the world is sometimes seen. We would, in other words, quite like to think that when you see a wrinkle on a woman’s face, or a creased neck, or a worried frown, it’s not just to advertise a cream.

• The headline and standfirst of this article were amended shortly after publication at the writer’s request.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Most wicked Daisy Fellowes

The Hon. Daisy Fellowes (née Marguerite Séverine Philippine Decazes de Glücksberg) (29 April 1890, Paris – 13 December 1962, Paris),[ was a celebrated 20th-century society figure, acclaimed beauty, minor novelist and poet, Paris Editor of American Harper's Bazaar, fashion icon, and an heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune.
She was born in Paris, the only daughter of Isabelle-Blanche Singer (1869–1896) and Jean Élie Octave Louis Sévère Amanieu Decazes (1864–1912), the 3rd Duke Decazes and Glücksberg. Her maternal grandfather was Isaac Merritt Singer, the American sewing-machine pioneer. After her mother's suicide, she and her siblings were largely raised by their maternal aunt Winnaretta Singer, Princess Edmond de Polignac, a noted patron of the arts, particularly music.

Her first husband, whom she married 10 May 1910 in Paris, was Jean Amédée Marie Anatole de Broglie Prince de Broglie (born in Paris on 27 January 1886). He reportedly died of influenza on 20 February 1918 while serving with the French Army in Mascara, Algeria, though malicious observers gossiped that he actually committed suicide as a result of his homosexuality having been exposed.
Their country estate was Compton Beauchamp House were they raised three daughters:
Princess Emmeline Isabelle Edmée Séverine de Broglie (Neuilly, 16 February 1911 – Onez, Switzerland, 10 September 1986). Married to Marie Alexandre William Alvar de Biaudos, Comte de Castéja (Paris, 6 April 1907 – Paris, 6 July 1983) in Neuilly, 8 November 1932. Accused of collaboration during World War II, Emmeline de Castéja spent five months in the prison at Frèsnes, France.
Princess Isabelle Marguerite Jeanne Pauline de Broglie (Lamorlaye, 27 July 1912 – Geneva, 18 July 1960). Married to Olivier Charles Humbert Marie, Marquis de La Moussaye (La Poterie, 26 Mars 1908 – Paris, 20 October 1988) in Neuilly, 3 June 1931. Divorced in Paris, 13 April 1945. Isabelle de La Moussaye was a novelist.
Princess Jacqueline Marguerite de Broglie (Paris, 5 January 1918 – Crans-Montana, Valais 26 February 1965). Married to Alfred Ignaz Maria Kraus (Sarajevo, 28 November 1908–) in Neuilly, France, 6 October 1941. Divorced in Münster 3 February 1958. After her husband—a Siemens electronics senior manager who served as a counter-espionage agent with the [Abwehr]—was accused of betraying members of the French Resistance during World War II to protect his wife, also a member of the Resistance, Jacqueline Kraus had her head shaved as punishment.
Of her Broglie children, the notoriously caustic Fellowes once said, "The eldest, Emmeline, is like my first husband only a great deal more masculine; the second, Isabelle, is like me without guts; [and] the third, Jacqueline, was the result of a horrible man called Lischmann ...."

Her second husband, whom she married on 9 August 1919 in London, was The Hon. Reginald Ailwyn Fellowes (1884–1953), of Donnington Grove. He was a banker cousin of Winston Churchill and the son of William Fellowes, 2nd Baron de Ramsey.
They had one child, Rosamond Daisy Fellowes (1921–1998). She married in 1941 (divorced 1945), as her first husband, Captain James Gladstone, and had one son, James Reginald (born 1943). He married Mary Valentine Chiodetti in 1965. She married in 1953 (divorced), as her second husband, Tadeusz Maria Wiszniewski (1917–2005); they had one daughter, Diana Marguerite Mary Wiszniewska (born 1953).
Among Fellowes's lovers was Duff Cooper, the British ambassador to France. She also attempted to seduce Winston Churchill, shortly before marrying his cousin Reginald Fellowes, but failed.
Fellowes wrote several novels and at least one epic poem. Her best-known work is Les dimanches de la comtesse de Narbonne (1931, published in English as "Sundays"). She also wrote the novel Cats in the Isle of Man.
She was known as one of the most daring fashion plates of the 20th century, arguably the most important patron of the surrealist couturier Elsa Schiaparelli. She was also a friend of the jeweller Suzanne Belperron. She was also a longtime customer of jeweller Cartier.

Daisy Fellowes died at her hotel particulier on the Rue de Lille number 69, Paris

The Most wicked woman in High Society
She lived on grouse, cocaine and other women's husbands. As her gems are sold at Sotheby's, the jaw-dropping story of... the most wicked woman in High Society
Daisy Fellowes was the living embodiment of Thirties chic
She was a voracious man-eater, who’d steal her daughters’ boyfriends and seduce her best friends’ husbands
PUBLISHED: 00:28 GMT, 29 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:51 GMT, 29 March 2014 /

She was rich, ugly, dissolute and ‘the destroyer of many a happy home’ as one ex-lover bitterly put it.
She did her best to seduce a married Winston Churchill and when that failed, wed his cousin. She lived on a diet of morphine and grouse, with the occasional cocktail thrown in.
The colour Shocking Pink was created for her — and how she loved to shock! If it wasn’t morphine then it was opium or cocaine, and she loved nothing better than discussing her private collection of leather-bound volumes of pornography.
When it came to sex she was a voracious man-eater, who’d steal her daughters’ boyfriends and seduce her best friends’ husbands.
Yet Daisy Fellowes was also the living embodiment of Thirties chic, a style icon who inspired designers Chanel and Schiaparelli and who wore so many jewels they weighed her tiny body down.
Heiress to the Singer sewing machine empire, she was ‘the very picture of fashionable depravity’, according to her rival Lady Diana Cooper. And Lady Diana should know — Daisy bedded her husband and determinedly remained his mistress for 17 years.
The uber-rich Mrs Fellowes was also the greatest collector of fine jewellery the 20th century ever saw. Her rapacious and salacious life was remembered this week when one of her pieces — a crystal and pearl clip — was among the highlights of Sotheby’s spring gem sales.
Though she became a central part of Mayfair society during the inter-war years, buying up the friendship of royalty, ministers, peers and moguls, Daisy was in fact half-French, half-American.
Her mother was Isabelle Singer, daughter of the inventor of the first commercially successful sewing machine, while her father was a French aristocrat, the Duc Decazes.
At 19, she was married off to Prince Jean de Broglie, but the relationship fell apart when she found him in bed with the chauffeur.
Marriage, however, had unlocked an inextinguishable sexuality and soon she was to be found in the Ritz Hotel in Paris desperately trying to bed Winston Churchill, then a young MP.
According to Winston’s later private secretary, Jock Colville: ‘She was a wicked but attractive woman who, according to Mrs Churchill, tried to seduce her husband shortly after their marriage. It was unsuccessful and she was forgiven, even by Clementine.’
By now, Daisy had three children. ‘The oldest, Ermeline, is like my first husband only a great deal more masculine. The second, Isabelle, is like me, only without guts; the third was the result of a horrible man called Lischmann,’ she spat when someone gently inquired about them.
Nonetheless she had a sneaking fondness for children — but only at a distance. One day strolling in a park, she exclaimed: ‘Oh look at those pretty little girls. Aren’t they beautifully dressed! We must go and ask the nurse whose they are.’ Walking over, Daisy duly asked: ‘Whose lovely little children are these?’
‘Yours, Madam!’ snapped the nurse.
‘She was fascinating and I suppose wicked; her wickedness was on a scale that it had its own distinction,’ declared David Herbert, son of the Earl of Pembroke. Again, he should know — Daisy threw herself at his bumbling father in the hope of becoming an English countess.
After a brief dalliance in Paris, Pembroke realised what a lightning storm he’d walked into and tried to back away.
Her brother, now having succeeded their father as the Duc Decazes, claimed her reputation had been damaged by this rejection and challenged the bewildered Pembroke to a duel. The peer scuttled back across the English Channel and Daisy returned to flicking through the pages of Burke’s Peerage for a new husband.
He was soon to arrive. But first Daisy decided that a little remodelling was in order. It was not sufficient that she was rich, she must have breeding and looks to match.
After commissioning a portrait of herself she’d been appalled by the result and set to work. She had a nose-job, without anaesthetic, threw away her entire wardrobe and started to consult couturiers. And she began, very seriously, reading books.
Daisy described herself as always being ‘on the scent’ of new conquest
The Daisy that the Hon. Reggie Fellowes met and married was a very different article to the teenager who’d wed the Prince de Broglie.
Her new husband was rich, a banker, the son of the second Baron de Ramsey, connected to Winston Churchill through the Dukes of Marlborough, and a decidedly good egg. The couple made their home in France, with frequent visits to London.
In the milieu she now inhabited, sexual freedom was obligatory once she’d secured the marriage by having a child with Fellowes. A friend recalled Daisy in Monte Carlo with her lover Fred Cripps, later Lord Parmoor: ‘She and Fred tracked Reggie down to a brothel and through a rough glass window watched him perform with a poll [prostitute]. He didn’t know of course, but they told him afterwards.’
Rich, wayward, uncontrollable, her marriage remained a success despite her determination to cuckold as many wives as possible. She described herself as always being ‘on the scent’ of new conquest. ‘It’s a thrilling feeling,’ she confessed, ‘like tasting absinthe for the first time. Soon the man asks: “When may I come to tea?” — that’s when I sharpen the knife.’
The painter Sir Francis Rose was both fearful and admiring: ‘She’s as dangerous as an albatross,’ he declared. Another lover, Alfred Duff Cooper, father of writer John Julius Norwich, described how smoking opium before sex lowered her inhibitions to the point of extinction.
While in Paris she mixed with the new, thrilling art movement which included the writer Jean Cocteau and Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes. When Diaghilev’s star ballerina complained of a headache, Daisy produced ‘a white powder which worked wonders’. It was cocaine, her new drug of choice.
The composer and painter Lord Berners was similarly introduced to the dubious delights of cocaine by Daisy and was soon serving it during decorous tea-parties at Faringdon, his Oxfordshire stately home.
But by the time Duff Cooper was Britain’s ambassador in Paris, at the end of World War II, Daisy had moved on again.
Diana Cooper learned from her friendly rival — she tolerated, even encouraged, her husband’s on-off affair with Mrs Fellowes — how to jazz up a boring drinks party. ‘Just pour Benzedrine [an amphetamine] into the cocktails, darling!’
Daisy kept two yachts on the go, crewed and ready for action, in the Mediterranean. Her hospitality was lavish, but it came at a price.
Society photographer Cecil Beaton jumped ship after a brutal few days cooped up with his hostess under azure-blue skies: ‘Daisy has been impossible. She bullies one person, keeping the others on her side until it’s time to bully the next person. She is spoilt, capricious, and wicked.’
Other guests on her bigger yacht, the Sister Anne, included the Prince of Wales and a then unknown American, Wallis Simpson. The romance between the soon-to-be King and his divorcee was still fresh, ‘otherwise, make no mistake, Daisy would have gone for him’, observed a fellow passenger.

It was Daisy's clothes — and her jewels — that people talked about most
It was 1935 and the world would have to wait another year to discover who the Prince loved enough to give up his throne for — but in the calm waters of the Mediterranean Daisy Fellowes was already privy to the country’s most devastating secret.
All these things, good and bad, should have made Daisy the focus of Society’s attention, but it was her clothes — and her jewels — that people talked about most.
There were diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, outside the Crown Jewels, there was nothing to match them. The big jewellers of the day, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, were in seventh heaven for she never stopped shopping.
Vogue magazine saluted her ‘for daring to be different’. At the Ritz, diners climbed on chairs to get a glimpse of her Schiaparelli monkey-fur coat embroidered in gold, and she shocked the public by wearing a Surrealist hat shaped like a high-heeled shoe.
It was then that Schiaparelli invented ‘shocking pink’ for Daisy, and she wore it with panache — a lobster dress, or a black suit with pink lips for pockets.
Alas, all legends fade and World War II helped reshape society. Daisy was getting older, while husband Reggie was in a wheelchair.
She was deeply shamed to discover that her daughter, Jacqueline, who stayed in France and heroically worked for the French Resistance, had unknowingly married a German spy who betrayed her Resistance colleagues.
Jacqueline, who retained her family title of Princess de Broglie, had her head shaved publicly as a punishment. A once-proud family, one of the richest in Europe, was humbled.
As old age set in, Daisy’s thoughts returned to her childhood. Her mother had committed suicide when Daisy was only four. Now her thoughts moved along similar lines and on more than one occasion she attempted to take her own life.
The long-suffering, fun-loving Reggie, who she stuck with till the bitter end, died around the time of her 63rd birthday. Daisy returned to Paris, to a vast town-house in the Rue de Lille, and slowly the shades were drawn around her.
She died aged 72, but already the world had moved on. In the age of The Beatles, nobody cared to hear about a woman who wore a shoe for a hat, had a shade of pink named for her, collected the biggest set of priceless jewels ever known and encouraged people to take cocaine with their cup of tea. The new world seemed more interesting than that.