Category Archives: History Lesson

6 Fun Facts About…Anna Karina

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Chances are you’ve pinned a charming photo of Anna Karina on Pinterest, but there’s more to the Danish beauty than meets the eye. The wife of director Jean-Luc Godard and a darling of the French Nouvelle Vague movement, Anna became known for her irresistible charm and timeless style, both on screen and off. Read on for a handful of interesting facts about the complex, doe-eyed 1960s icon.

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#1 – Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1940, Karina’s real name was in fact Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer. The budding actress escaped her dysfunctional family at age 18 by hitchhiking to Paris.

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#2 – Her first big break came while she was sitting at the famous Parisian cafe, Les Deux Magots. A stranger approached asking her to model in a shoot for the fashion magazine Jours de France. Hungry and nearly broke, she agreed.

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#3 – During a later shoot for Elle magazine, she met legendary French fashion designer Coco Chanel. It was Chanel that convinced the young Dane to change her name to the more catchy “Anna Karina.”

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#4 – Karina turned down a part in Godard’s most iconic film, Breathless. The French director eventually convinced her to star in his next movie, The Little Soldier. Made in 1960, the politically charged film was banned until 1963 for its torture scenes.

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#5 – Karina and Godard wed in 1961 and their tumultuous six-year marriage was plagued by jealousy, insecurity, obsessiveness, and depression. Twice, Karina tried to commit suicide, but upon release from a mental institution, threw herself back into filmmaking.

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#6 – In her post-Godard years, Karina continued to act, sing, and write. Serge Gainsbourg wrote a TV musical just for Karina titled “Anna.” It went on to become a cult classic. Today, the screen icon is 75 years old.

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Care to learn more about Anna Karina…? May we suggest viewing A Woman is a Woman, Vivre sa vie, Made in U.S.A., Band of Outsiders, or Pierrot Le Fou.

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6 Fun Facts About…Lady Clementine Spencer-Churchill

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Though she is best known as the wife of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, Clementine Churchill (1885-1977) was a force of nature all her own. Offering her husband unwavering support and guidance throughout his many years in office, Clementine was a woman of great style, patience, and wisdom. Read on for interesting tidbits about England’s widely admired Baroness. (Above: Clementine in 1915)

#1 – Clementine Ogilvy Hozier was born in 1885 to a prominent, but financially starved English family. Miss Hozier studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and upon returning to England, taught French lessons to supplement her family’s income. (Above: Clementine by Lady Evelyn Hilda Stuart Moyne, 1934)

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#2 – After a whirlwind romance, Churchill proposed to Miss Hozier at his birthplace, Blenheim Palace. Located in Oxfordshire, the sprawling country estate consumes 2,000 acres and boast 187 rooms. Miss Hozier said “yes” and the couple were married a month later at St. Margaret’s Westminster before 1,000 guests. (Above: a recent shot of Blenheim Palace)

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#3 – During a trip to New York in 1931, Sir Winston Churchill attempted to cross Fifth Avenue without looking both ways and was hit by a taxi. Lady Spencer-Churchill invited the distraught taxi driver to tea. (Above: Clementine with Winston)

#4 – A celebrated hostess, Clementine entertained an endless stream of noteworthy dinner guests at the Churchills’ city and country homes. Among them were Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, and Lawrence of Arabia. (Above: Clementine by Cecil Beaton, 1940)

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#5 – Lady Spencer-Churchill was exceptionally close with her five children, sadly outliving three of them. Her daughter Marigold died of pneumonia in 1921, her daughter Diana committed suicide in 1963, and her son Randolph died of a heart attack in 1968. (Above: Clementine in St. Mortiz, Switzerland in 1937)

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#6 – The Churchill’s 57-year marriage was one for the history books and included volumes of written correspondence. In them, Clementine playfully referred to herself as “cat” and Winston to himself as “pug.” (Above: Winston and Clementine on the sea)

Curious to learn more about Baroness Spencer-Churchill of Chartwell…? May we suggest Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill, Clementine Churchill: The Biography of a Marriage, or Winston and Clementine: The Personal Letters of the Churchills.

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Greta Garbo by Cecil Beaton

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How lovely are these 1946 images of Greta Garbo snapped by Cecil Beaton? The British photographer was infatuated with the Swedish silver screen icon and it is believed they had a love affair. Greta was dismayed when Beaton published his diaries (naturally, as she was in them…) and the two had a falling out. Many years later Beaton suffered a stroke prompting them to reunite in 1974 for one final visit.

P.S. I knew I recognized that window treatment! I’ve been coveting this print for some time.

(images via the National Portrait Gallery)

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My Kind of Gal

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered a pristine copy of The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in a used bookshop today for a mere $29?!  I snatched it right up and have been pouring over the pug-filled pages ever since.  Above are two of my very favorites—the second especially makes my heart swell.  I can’t wait to have five pugs of my own someday…three to go!

Announcing…

Greetings from San Francisco, New York and Kansas City!

It is with great excitement I announce that in January 2011 my dear friend Jane Lilly Warren and I are launching a new monthly lifestyle publication titled Matchbook: Field Guide to a Charmed Life. Each digital issue we look forward to celebrating the classics (shaken and stirred!) in our own unique fashion with delectable bites of style, beauty, decor, travel, and culture. The darling Fallon Hogarty has become our right-hand-gal as we organize the spectacular line-up for our premier issue. I’ve been pinching myself the entire process and it’s only just begun! I do hope you’ll join us on this grand adventure by following us on Twitter and “liking” us on Facebook. I can’t wait to share this surreal experience with you every step of the way! The Matchbook team believes there ought to be a destination for campfires, confetti, and joie de vivre in the virtual world — and we’re setting out to create it.

Feel free to snatch the image above and spread the news! None of this would have ever been possible without your support. Thank YOU for helping to make this Neo-Trad’s dreams come true!

From lipstick to letterpress, gelato to grosgrain, and Paris to Peru, consider us your field guide to a charmed life!