news alerts

keep in touch! new ways to keep up with GREY without even trying... c'est formidable, non?

1) for bloggers: click "follow blog" from the right column of this page and new posts will automatically be added to your dashboard

2) for yahoo/google homepagers: choose your homepage from the pull-down tab under "subscribe via homepage" ... new posts will be added automatically

3) for anyone & everyone with email: enter your email address under "subscribe via email" to receive a each new post as it appears ... no post, no mail (it actually does work and will never send you annoying spam)

4) for the computer-illiterate: bookmark the page & check back frequently; the plan is to post about once a week ... 

Monday, September 22, 2008

green bagging it

"beau bag" by beau soleil, $44

a stylish girl goes green

I recently discovered beau soleil a very interesting little company making very good looking "green" apparel... it is the creation of Anne Salvatore Epstein, a Manhattan girl with experience at Marc Jacobs and ISLI who traded her "overly excessive New York City lifestyle" for one much more organic. The company -- named after Epstein's favorite oyster -- focuses on sustainability, fair trade, and the use of organic raw materials, using fabrics made from bamboo, vegetable-dyed cotton, tencel (a product of eucalyptus trees), and recycled leather trims.

The bags are particularly pleasing to the eye. The original "beau bag" is a sensational cotton canvas sack... it bears an uncanny resemblance to Anya Hindmarch's (see green chic) but is much more affordable, actually obtainable (phew!), and available in three distinct color ways (natural canvas/grey, dark denim/white, light denim/red). Intrigued? So was sophisticate and supermodel Christy Brinkley, who sported the chic tote with a pencil skirt and pumps in July.

For those who want to start small, the "beau dob" cosmetic cases are the perfect size for daily essentials. Crafted from undyed, raw canvas and surplus leather tabs, each case features text on one side and the company's signature leaf logo on the back. Finally, the "beau pouch" is the perfect way to stow all those extra "library" cards you collect... it snaps onto any bag handle for safe keeeping. Now that's smart!

Find it... you can order products directly from beau soleil's website, or keep your eye out at fashionable retailers... SAKS Fifth Avenue stores, ABC Carpet & Home,, and

"beau dob" raw canvas cosmetic cases, $26

"beau pouch" credit card holder, $18

Friday, September 19, 2008

you're a prize

Jessica Grindstaff Prize Ribbon
photo by Scott Irvine

competitive coping

I tend to think of myself as a free-spirit, a fairy-child who flutters about in a world of creativity and colors... This existence, albeit real at times, is in my head; sadly, my body has always existed on planet Earth where parents prod their children along like little cattle, tempting them to reach their dreams with licks of salt. I went to a fabulous and outrageously competitive prep school that taught its students how to succeed (or at the very least persevere) by ensuring that they regularly failed... a bit tough on the ego yet quite effective. With the help of Billy Ocean, I developed my own motto -- when the going gets tough, the tough get creative -- and my very own solution, the consolation prize

The consolation prize is a prize or celebratory act reserved for the most valiant failed attempts intended to momentarily lift the spirit of the devastated losing party. When executed properly, it is a beautiful, beautiful thing... and I honestly believe it may be the key ingredient to an eccentric's survival in a tailored world.

prize ribbons

Naturally, I love these clever prize ribbons by quirky New York artist Jessica Grindstaff. I think they are a hilarious and very attractive commentary on awards. Grindstaff began making the ribbons in 2006 and has officially awarded prizes to artists and individuals, including Yoko Ono and Bam Margera. They are available for sale in a rainbow of colors and featuring a variety of emblems (think bugs, anchors, cougars, skulls). This is one piece of flair I seriously must have... if not to parade around my bedroom in, then certainly for the next time I need some serious consoling. In the words of Grindstaff, "Everyone's a prize!"

Jessica Grindstaff Satin Prize Ribbons

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

write on!

Just yesterday I stopped by Sam Flax in search of my favorite color ink, when I stumbled upon the most fantastic new candy-colored display of linen notebooks and accessories. I tried to scoot by and continue on my boring errand, but the colors drew me in... and while I refrained from making yet another "unauthorized purchase," I also completely forgot to buy the ink...

semikolon by pierre belvedere

Since its foundation in 1960, Canadian-based group Pierre Belvedere Inc. has been committed to bringing the world the finest in custom paper products based on European tradition. Their latest addition? Semikolon International, a German subsidiary whose extensive line (about 55 items available in 14 colors) of brightly colored notebooks and accessories pack a serious punch at the office or home. "Just as the semicolon binds two sentences together, the Semikolon ; products complement each other in their use of shade and colours."

Who said functional couldn't be fabulous? "The Petit Voyage" -- featuring 152 sheets of beautiful watermarked paper, a linen cover with a stitched spine, a ribbon page marker, and attached pencil -- is perfect for the perpetual traveler or just about anyone on-the-go! It's available in a wide array of pretty colors (think marigold, burgundy, lilac, and marine) so that travelers may show off their own unique style.

Yellow Semikolon Petit Voyage Journal
semikolon petite voyage journal, $11

Ok, ok. So maybe you're not the type to wander through the streets of Paris sketching Notre Dame from afar on European watermarked paper... you're still in luck. The company makes tons of equally fabulous paper products with more uh, conventional uses. The "Interno" notebooks, for example, are eye-candy with purpose... thick spiral bound and filled with graph paper. And for clutter-bugs and paper-hoarders like me, there are filing accordions and folder boxes in European colors with slick finishing touches. Job well done, Pierre.

semikolon interno graph notebook
semikolon international

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

art becomes fashion in 2008

Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall 2008
oscar de la renta fall rtw 2008

christian dior fall rtw 2008 

michael kors fall rtw 2008

sonia rykiel fall rtw 2008

dries van noten fall rtw 2008

chloe pre fall 2008

Move over Miss Sykes, there's a new "Plum" in town! The editors at Vogue better watch out. I never intended on writing much about fashion but ever since I posted Plum Perfect in 2008 people have been calling me Plum and (get this) sending me actual FAN mail... so I think I'll continue (not because I'm high on the power, but because I really must give the people what they want).

brush strokes & paint daubs

Several of fashion's top designers took a cue from the old masters when creating their fall 2008 collections, as evident by the explosive bouquets of color that adorned billowing silk dresses and skirts. The vibrant florals of Michael Kors and Christian Dior by John Galliano were reminiscent of beautiful impressionist painting while Oscar de la Renta's collared evening gown looked surprisingly Gustav Klimt

And while much attention was given to romantic florals by some, other designers (Emilio Pucci by Matthew WilliamsonSonia Rykiel, and Chloe) channeled the abstract expressionists of the 20th century to create modern, edgy, and pretty art prints. It may not have been the biggest trend on the runway, but it's going to be huge for this fall's contemporary lines... 

So go ahead and applaud because now you have something fun to go with all that black and navy they'll be pushing this fall.

express yourself...

clockwise from top right:
pringle 1815 abstract print mini skirt, $162 net-a-porter
see by chloe graffiti print mini skirt, $350 net-a-porter
alexis bittar large brat pack necklace, bag borrow or steal
luisa cevese riedizioni placemats, $36 barneys new york
vintage art deco perfume bottles
mint by jodi arnold abstract pattern dress, $435
michael kors lattice a-line dress
christian louboutin graffiti pumps
the art book, $9.95 MoMA store
t-bags off-the-shoulder top, $65 net-a-porter
paul marrot edition "graphic plaid" coinpurse, haydenharnett
pringle 1815 colorblock cowl dress, $375 net-a-porter
8" floral plates, urban outfitters
paule marrot edition "tango red" beatrice satchel, $485 haydenharnett

clockwise from top right:
eccentric glamour by simon doonan, barneys new york
marc by marc jacobs crazy bow headband, $125 marc jacobs stores
rebecca taylor floral print blouse, $275 net-a-porter
18th amendment heartbreaker high-waisted jeans, $138 net-a-porter
christian louboutin orniron booties, $1145 barneys new york
marc by marc jacobs abstract hanging gem necklace
marc jacobs satin flower ballerina flats
j.crew collection floral print skirt, $125 jcrew stores
derek lam silk chiffon ruffle blouse, $890 net-a-porter
rachel leigh margarita ring, shopbop
rachel leigh gold and enamel faceted ring, £17 bunnyhug
diane von furstenberg signature box bag, $298 dvf
le sportsac kevyn bag, $23 lesportsac
armbanden from creatief op commando bangles, £19.50 nina valkhoff
dries van noten runway oversized bangle necklace
marc by marc jacobs runway torn print prom dress, $700 net-a-porter

four fall inspirations

the founder of french-impressionism...
Water Lilies, Claude Monet, 1916

the russian  father of abstract art... 
Helles Bild, Wassily Kandinsky, 1913

a 20th century abstract expressionist...
Untitled III, Willem de Kooning, 1982

a notorious post-impressionist... 
Irises Saint-Remy, Vincent Van Gogh, c. 1889

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

plastic fantastic

Pandora S-Object installation
Grand Hotel et De Milan
Milan Design Week, April 2008

what's in a name?

In Greek mythology, Pandora (meaning "all-gifted") was the first woman, moulded from the Earth by Hephaestus and bestowed with unique gifts of good and evil by each god or goddess. Her beauty was her intrigue, her downfall was her curiosity. 

It's no wonder the industrious Italians behind Pandora Design chose Pandora as their name and muse... their curious plastic pieces are as infectiously entertaining as the legend herself.

Each inventive piece is the work (or gift) of a different designer, the name and product reflective of his or her taste. The "DeLuxe" cutlery is fabulously Baroque in style and available in gemstone colors of translucent plastic ... the "LuxuryMing" chopstix resemble ornate fans in opaque black, white, and red ... and the "ByeByeFly" swatter and the "3Some" ceramic coffee cups (each looking like a stack of three individual cups) introduce a bit of tongue-and-cheek on behalf of the designers. It's all very MoMA New York and will certainly make you reconsider your own tableware. I just wish I could read the Italian website...

Love it? The cutlery sets are available for purchase, but innovation doesn't come cheap. Each 4-piece set of the "DeLuxe" flatware will put you back $30, challenging the notion that plastic is disposable or meant for any old backyard barbecue. 

"DeLuxe" cutlery set, purple
2000 Donata Paruccini & Fabio Bortolani
available at

"Sunglass" cocktail glasses, multi
2007 Matteo Ragni

 "Tapas" cocktail plates, multi
2007 Daniel Fintzi

Friday, September 5, 2008

my fair lady: nina campbell

nina campbell spring 2008 collection
chair fabric: belzoro damask / wallpaper: cypres

wouldn't it be lovely?

Oh where do I begin? Nina Campbell is the queen bee of modern elegance. She built her career decorating estate for the Duke and Dutchess of York, the Queen of Denmark, and Rod Stewart before teaming up with the some of the industry's top manufacturers and distributors to design lines of furniture, fabric, wallpaper, rugs, decorative items, and now... kitchen appliances! The sky is the limit for the British designer who has also authored several books and apparently never gets tired.

What's the attraction? Campbell's impeccable taste. Her designs are feminine and pretty with a modern twist... they are bold enough to stand out in a crowd (or showroom) yet refined enough to complement even the most sophisticated settings... like a modern day Eliza Doolittle. According to the editors at House & Garden, "There is no finer ambassador of contemporary British style than interior designer Nina Campbell. She has reintroduced faux leather in lipstick red and other, more muted tones. Put it together and what have you got? Class plus dash."

Recently great strides have been made in the aesthetics of appliances from washing machines to ranges in brilliant colors and funky aerodynamic designs. Nothing I have seen comes close to Campbell's new collection for Britannia, which introduces the idea of adding subtle patterns to make a bold graphic statement. The Nina Campbell Range from Britannia comes in three chic designs -- Deauville, Damask, and Wisteria -- as well as four colorways, all guaranteed to make a splash. Personally, I am most fond of the Deauville, which echoes one of Campbell's most popular textile patterns. It is the most glamorous (and least graphic) of the three, although the Damask certainly packs a visual punch and would easily uplift a contemporary kitchen...

My favorite Nina Campbell accessory by far, these pretty match strikers are more like a piece of art than an accessory... and they remind me of a time when gentlemen sipped wine out of proper glasses (not stemless or martini glasses?) and ladies collected silver before their wedding gift registry. Crafted from hand cut and intaglio engraved crystal, they are one of those beautiful but unnecessary objects I crave...

I can just imagine how much more special my morning coffee would be if I drank from a fushia or lime green limoges breakfast cup... hearts have never looked so adorably grown up! For now, I think I'll light my Smokey Quartz Candle (scented with marigold, cypress, lavender, and cedar wood) and say a little prayer that someday I'll be able to afford something truly fantastic from the British beauty.

wisteria and damask britannia cookers, £4,599

Now tell me Professor Henry Higgins wouldn't be proud...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

a girl and her shoes

christian louboutin glitter prive pumps
christian louboutin

my love affair with stilettos

There are some things in life that just can't be explained... like my life-long obsession with footwear. I love all types of design as long as it is inspired, and generally speaking, I am as impressed (or offended) by the motif on my paper plate at a barbecue as I am a set of Limoges china. But when it comes to footwear, I am a particularly picky princess: I judge a designer by his ability to make wearable shoes (there is physics involved believe it or not), and a girl by her ability to walk on a 5-inch platform... although occasionally a slight teeter is the fault of the shoe and not the neophyte wearing it (when the casualty is me of course).

Personally, I am a fan of pumps, slingbacks, and sandals. I don't really fall for the trends. If it's sky-high, I'll wear it. If it fits my style, I want it. And if it's glitter-dusted, I need it (see Bar Fly & Glitter Bug). Last winter, I nearly died when I first spied Christian Louboutin's magnificent glitter pumps on display at Neiman Marcus. For a girl who collects all things that sparkle, they appeared to be a gift from the Heavens... the baddest sparkle shoes ever made, the ultimate in frivolous flair, a creation of one of my all-time favorite French men... a shoe so perfectly "me" and yet so obviously unattainable for a starving artist. So I started planning and discovered that if I survived on nothing but Cup-o-Noodles for 3 months and eliminated all social activity costs (drinks, cab fare, etc.) I might be able to afford them. Needless to say, my plan did not last long. I got hungry for something besides freeze-dried noodles in broth before becoming a scary skeleton, and I owned up to the fact that I am both a bar fly and a glitter bug and hoped for a miracle.

When I first started printing, I used abstract drawings of my pretty babies to make turpentine prints. These days my art has absolutely nothing to do with sky-high stilettos, but the most decadent designs are still a great source of inspiration... and cover my walls. Here are some of my favorite fall designs of all shapes and sizes... I'd love and wear them all from the YSL Tribute pumps that memorialize a fashion idol to the funky Union Jack booties that are oh-so rock n' roll.

classic = ultimate investment pieces

a fantastic tribute to the great late designer...
yves saint laurent tribute pumps, $660 ysl
so satin chic...
christian louboutin satin platform sandals, $865 net-a-porter
perfect peeptoes...
alexander mcqueen stamped leather pumps, net-a-porter
better than neapolitan ice cream... (fall trend)
giuseppe zanotti multicolored pump, $595 eluxury

embellished = awe-inspiring yet appropriate flair

painterly pumps from dries...
dries van noten printed pump, $652 barneys new york (store)
so very french shoe boots... (fall trend)
christian louboutin c'est moi bootie, $825 net-a-porter
studded stilettos that show you mean business...
giuseppe zanotti mirror embellished ankle boot, $995 net-a-porter
channeling the east...
christian louboutin, $1095 bergdorf goodman/neiman marcus (store)

heart-stopping = irreverent, outstanding, & undeniable luxury

london calling...
alexander mcqueen union jack ankle boots, $1250 net-a-porter
if only i was rihanna... 
pierre hardy shoe, $1320 pierre hardy
fairly fantastic from the vault of ysl... 
yves saint laurent leather folies sandal, $995 ysl
completely breathless...
robert vivier haute couture sandal, robert vivier paris

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor day!

So I'm not going to lie, I don't blog on major national holidays. If Wall Street can close, than so can Shades of Grey... 

i'm off to the beach, jump in my suitcase

My vitamin a swimsuit that goes with everything... a beautiful silk caftan... aviator sunglasses... my favorite pair of jeans (seven for all mankind bootcut stretch jeans)... fun gold hoops... a silk cami and colorful tees... a sweet pair of snake sandals from roberto cavalli... a magenta resin bangle with attitude from jessica kagan cushman... plenty of cute minis... neutrogena ulta sheer dry-touch sunblock to protect my lilly skin... and bobby brown beach body oil to give me glimmer... and a fabulous island necklace from mawi. PERFECT!