Debra Rapoport

“No, let them be artists”

Debra Rapoport: It’s all woven. I cut up rags and I weave it all. I sit at night and just weave rags.

Ruthie Darling: You have an amazing eye for colour. It’s hard to say why these colors work together, they just do.

DR: It’s an intuitive thing. You can’t really teach colour. I mean, I can tell you what I see, but I don’t actually know how I get there. It’s like a lot of things, after living a while, it just comes. 

DR: I was born on the Lower East Side in a place called Knickerbocker Village; it was one of the early housing projects. It was wonderful, the whole family lived there. My father had a grocery store during the war and so he was a popular guy because he had butter and sugar. Then in 1949 the first supermarket came in and he saw the writing on the wall, so he sold the store and we moved to Florida. We were there six months and my mother hated it, so we moved back to the Bronx. Then of course we moved to the suburbs like everyone did and my sister and I were miserable! In high school my sister and I were freaks. We moved to the suburbs and we wore black tights and black Italian shoes . Everyone else wore bobby socks and saddle shoes. They didn’t know what to make of us. 

RD Was your mother artistic?

DR: She was and she would have been more so, but being a child of the Depression she didn’t have opportunities and so she encouraged us. When my father wanted us to go and get degrees in education she said “No, let them be artists”. My father was a religious Jew from Eastern Europe; he wanted us to get married and have a family and my mother said “No, they’re gonna have careers, they’re gonna be independent women”. I’m living the life she would have lived. We had a cousin who was the Dean of Fine Arts at Boston University, very prestigious, and he did Judaic Art. So my father called him and said “What do you think about my daughters going to college to do art degrees?” and he said “There is no better education” so my father said okay and that was that.

DR: I went to graduate school in Berkeley and Berkeley changed my life. I had a professor who was the best in the field, he could just see the good in everything and it was always a positive critique, he was an amazing human being. In graduate school we would all meet and make dinner and look at each other’s work and discuss it. We are all still in touch, those of us who are alive. That class was special. Our teacher told us that at the time, but now I know we were. I stayed in the Berkeley area for 11 years. I got married and moved into an alternative community and everyone thought I had lost my mind.

RD What do you mean by "an alternative community"?

DR Well, it was 1970 and my first great friend was living in this place called Synanon. It was very famous, it started out as the most famous drug rehab place in the 1950’s. Chuck Dederich, who started it, was an alcoholic and he found sitting around with other friends telling the truth was the answer. So he started the first encounter group which was called the Synanon Game. In '69 they had a few facilities and they opened it up to non-addicts called Squares. Ha! We were called squares! I was too much into healthy living to try drugs. I said “If I do my art, why do I need to get high? I’m high already!” So I went down to see what this Synanon game was about and it was truth telling, you’d sit in a circle and encounter each other with truths.

RD It sounds very….evolved.

DR: Oh, yeah. And it worked with addicts. But we were a full fledged community too. We had gardens, we had farms, we had everything. I met my husband there, who was also a square and he pursued me. But I left and went to Europe one summer and then I came back and we got together properly after that. At that time Synanon was encouraging people to get married if you’d been in a relationship for any length of time so we did. We had this big 150-person wedding.  I still have the wedding dress I made, I wore it to a book signing two years ago. I hand-painted it and put it together. Then the rules got a little strict so we left. We stayed married for a while, but then I said “I need to go back to New York and I need to go without you.” So we split up, but remained friends. In fact we tried to get back together again in ’92.

RD: Oh, how interesting. what prompted that?

DR: I was living with a Portuguese man and we had just split up and Joel, my ex-husband, was always on the scene. He’d call if he came to New York and then heard that I was single again and he tried to pursue me again and I said okay. We travelled back and forth and then we took a trip to Europe and fought like crazy the whole time so I said “Same old shit I’ve had it!”

RD: Ha! Oh we’ve all been there...

DR: So I came back to New York as a single woman. I had been teaching in California previously. I was tenured at 35 and I was driving home from work with terrible headaches and I was pulling over and throwing up on the side of the road. So I thought, there’s something wrong with this picture. I said I can’t do this. I loved the teaching part, but I couldn’t relate to academia. So I called my parents and I said I was leaving. They suggested that I take a leave of absence so I ended working in collaboration with two other artists and we travelled Europe and did shows, we were doing performance art; a year later I came back and I gave up my tenured teaching job, everyone thought I was mad! I then told my husband I was leaving. 

DR: I started making found-metal jewelry because I didn’t have materials or a studio, so I found metal in the street and started putting it together. I had a few little teaching jobs and then I showed my work at a gallery and the husband of the woman who owned the gallery owned a very large textile company - he adored me so he offered me a job. I worked for him for a year. Nobody could understand why I was there, because I was miserable. I’d come dressed up, I’d make a pot of coffee and then I should have left because I made everybody happy coming in all dressed up and then I sat there crunching numbers. I remember it was the same time the hostages were being held in Iran and a co-worker said “Why are you here, you’re being held hostage” so when the hostages were released, I quit my job.

DR: Next, I went into the flower business with a friend. She was quite the horticulturalist and I said, “Flowers? I’m a city girl, I don’t know anything about flowers.” But the more I thought about it, I came to realize that it’s colour, texture, placement, so I figured what the heck I’ll figure it out! We had a great business for 16 years. We were the oldest people at the flower markets and we were texture and textile freaks so they would save us the weirdest stuff and say “here come the two old ladies, have I got something to show to them!”  Silk flowers became popular, so we figured that out and we loved vintage flowers - millinery flowers. We’d buy them and I’d spray paint them, edge them etc. We were very baroque. 

RD: So you went from knowing nothing to running a flower business for 16 years?

DR: Well, yeah. We made a living, but we didn’t make a fortune. It’s almost like it’s another body that did it - Ha! Did you meet my boyfriend Stan?

RD: Stan…

DR: He was at the party. Full head of hair. He never wears a hat unlike me, because of his hair. It’s his signature.

RD How long have you been with Stan?

DR: It’ll be….nine years since we met, but it took him three weeks after that to ask me out. After he met me through a mutual friend, he called my friend and said “that Debra, she’s very nice but she looks like a clown.”

RD: **Spit-take** - What!?

DR: Yep. Then five years later we met again and he’d never forgotten me. 

DR: He asked me “do you ever dress normal?” So I went out a bought a pair of jeans. It wasn’t me. I just did it to show him I could look normal. 

RD: You know my mother’s one piece of fashion advice has always been: "Never dress for a man."

DR: She's right! Very good advice. And these men who say: "don’t wear make up, I like you plain". Well I don’t care how gorgeous you are, plain can always be enhanced. 

RD: That’s you all over.

DR: Yeah. And yet these men stare at other women in make-up, they just don’t want their woman looked at. It’s such bullshit.

DR: I pulled that neck piece out of my archives -

RD: What would you call it? 

DR: That I called a rag leis, what I'm wearing today I call rag ribs.

RD: How do you make it? Is it wire?

DR: Yeah it’s just wire and you shape it - it’s easy!

RD: Well, it is to you -

DR: I just found the fabrics - they were originally dresses I had lying about. The fabric is smushed on and tied. I just build them as I go. The materials talk to me - people ask me, "How did you start making hats out of paper towels?" I said, "The roll of paper towels was sitting on the table and it said "do me"!  So I let things speak to me rather than force it. 

RD: How did you meet Ari Seth Cohen? (Ari Seth Cohen is the genius behind Advanced Style).

DR: He was working at the New Museum, in the bookstore and my friend and I went to the museum. He came over and said “I have a blog of women over 60, can I take your picture?” and I said “How do you know I’m over sixty!?” Anyway he’d forgotten his camera so I invited him over and said, “Come to my place I’ll dress up and I’ll even make you lunch”. He came over the next week and he spent the day together. Then he sent a filmmaker over the next week and we start filming videos.

If you haven’t seen the videos I have included my favourite one here:

DR: The feedback was incredible, so she upgraded her camera and we began making the documentary of “Advanced Style.” 

RD: What I loved most about your segments in the film was that you showed us your process. Most of the other women (who are all wonderful, don't misunderstand me) were already dressed and done. With you, we got to see you create and experiment with your looks.

DR: Well I used to say, it’s not worth buying something unless you can wear it inside out and backwards.

DR Ari has changed my life.

RD: Yes, you are a style icon now!

DR: Ha! I guess. Actually, I was with a friend yesterday - a very conservative friend - and she said “Can I ask you something, can you please explain to me the torn-jeans look?” I said, I wish I could because I don’t get it either AND that people pay $300 for them! I don’t get jeans. You sit down on the subway and nine out of ten people are wearing them.

RD: (At this point I am so glad I opted for some grey harem pants for this interview!)

DR: I mean FIT just did a denim show!

DR: I went back to teaching a design class in ’94 and the students would all show up in jeans and a Gap grey t-shirt and I said “if you’re in my class and this is about creativity, you will not show up in those clothes and if your goal is to work at The Gap and design another grey t-shirt, forget about it”. The following week was Halloween so I told them to come dressed to class - but not as a fairy or an angel or a witch - just creatively. Some of them outdid themselves.

RD: People like to be safe in their dress I guess. But why, I wonder?

DR: I think it makes them nervous to be outstanding or they don’t have enough confidence. Thats what the Advanced Style movement is trying to promote, you know? Confidence. You don’t have to dress like us, just find who you are and put it out there. So wear one more scarf. Mix up chartreuse and red, just don’t be safe in the jeans and the t-shirt.

RD: What I find interesting about Advanced Style is the real avant-garde dressing that I see. I mean, I expect that of the youth. In a way it’s the wrong way around, but the kids are all in sneakers and hoodies.

DR: It should be the opposite way 'round. The youth are rebellious, they’re creative. It must be about fitting in, being safe. But then I teach this class at Parsons and they were all in black. Most of them said that black is essentially the uniform of Parsons, but this one Asian girl said “black makes me feel empowered. I feel vulnerable in colour” and I thought: okay, but you gave it some thought, you know why. That’s all I'm asking. I don’t feel powerful in black. I feel powerful in colour. The universe is nothing but colour to me. and color is a vibration and color is healing.

RD: But Debra, the way you dress, it’s talent. It’s artistry. Surely not everyone could do it?

DR: Well one can experiment. It’s not surgery! There’s nothing to lose. I say, keep adding things, layering, look in the mirror see what you think. 

RD: So perhaps it is a skill that through that process you just mentioned, one could develop?

DR: Yes and then go out and see how the world responds. If you come back in and you think you look like a clown, take off the red nose! You’ve got nothing to lose, but everything to gain! And it’s fun, it’s about the fun and the joyfulness of it.

RD: Yes it’s like the garment I call my "stop and chat" coat (you can see it here) Whenever I wear this coat everyone wants to talk to me. I’ve never had a negative reaction from wearing something bold.

DR: I have to quote Ari, his three C’s as he calls them are; Creativity, Communication and Community. That’s what keeps us vital, whether we’re young or we’re old. So if the way you dress means that someone stops you and it creates a conversation, why not, especially when the world is at war? You can spread a little joy, and communicate and become friends, then build a community around it, what more could we ask for?

Sue Kreitzman Part Two

Hello Darlings,

Happy Friday. Today we venture inside Sue Kreitzman's studio to take a look at her artwork.

Let's see where we left off on Tuesday.....

SK: ".....Anyway, I knew I was very bad at art, but I picked up a marker and my hand drew a mermaid on a scrap of paper. I looked at the mermaid, the mermaid looked at me and in that moment I became a different person. Suddenly I couldn’t stop drawing and I used the colored markers to color it in and now I have notebook after notebook, folder after folder, filled with art. It became all I wanted to do. I did it all day, I did it all night." 

RD: Do you still have the mermaid?

SK: "I do." (She flashed me a mischievous smile).

As we were leaving Sue’s apartment to go next door to her studio, I noticed that mermaids were everywhere.

RD: What is it about mermaids that speaks to you?

SK: Mermaids to me, are the perfect symbol of the post-menopausal woman. They are free from problems 'down there'. Also, they are in control of their own sexuality. They get to choose when their tail is on or off. Ignore the Disney version of them - utterly ridiculous.

So here go into the studio....

PHOTO BY DENTON TAYLOR

SK: "Either I had a psychotic break or the muse bit me on the bum or more likely it was the menopause".

RD: What did your family think of all this?

SK: "Well my family - they knew my feeling for colour, but they were gobsmacked, absolutely gobsmacked. They said, What have you done with mother? Who is this person? My agent thought I had completely lost my mind and some of my friends didn’t like it at all -

RD: Why didn’t they like it?

SK: First of all they didn’t like the art, second of all they couldn’t understand what I was doing and why I was so obsessed with it".

PHOTO BY DENTON TAYLOR

SK: "I had a couple of friends who were artists and they were incredibly supportive. One friend invited me over to lunch with some of her other artist friends and asked me to bring some work. So I did and she said, “Sue, you are so talented” and I said, "Well no, not really.......Really?" 

 SK: "I do blame it on the menopause. I completely lost interest in cooking, the central obsession of my life was completely gone. It became all about drawing. I stayed up all night, I could not stop".

RD: So you’re obsessive in your creative endeavors whether it be cooking or art?

SK: "I am. Nicely put. I loved to work with nail varnish. the translucents and vivid colours fascinated me. But I knew it was very toxic, this was before I had my studio, so I would paint on the bed. I had two windows open for the cross breeze and a fan on. I would paint and I would freeze".

RD: What are these head sculptures?

SK: "These are my memory jugs". 

RD: What are memory jugs?

SK: "Memory jugs started as a craft that was a pastime of Victorian English, but it was adopted as an African-American tradition in the South. When a person died, they would take jugs - sometimes moonshine jugs, and cover the jug in putty or clay and embed personal belongings onto it to put on the grave. They might use items found in the person’s pockets and sometimes photos. It’s really very poignant". 

SK: "I made my first one using a measuring jug, it was inspired by my husband, my son and our life together. I have a lot of trouble selling them because they are so personal. I hide little amulets and secrets inside them. They are very spiritually potent. They're also very female. My work is all about the female landscape."

RD: Did you always dress this way or did it come with the "bursting into flames, bursting into art"?

SK: "No I always dressed colourfully, bordering on weird. I went to school on Long Island and the girls would wear cashmere sweaters and gold circle pins. It was hideously BORING!!! I had rich aunties and they would send boxes of hand-me-downs and I wore their things and looked like no one else at school. I always loved jewelry. I would save my babysitting money and go down to Greenwich Village to buy that Bohemian copper jewelry, you know? I still have a lot of it."

SK: "I curated shows too. But I’m not curating any shows right now because I’m writing a book on wearable art. I’ve also been offered a one-woman-show in the spring here in New York, but I don’t want it to be a one-woman-show, I want it to be a group show with my people. I like my shows to be a very crazy Disneyland for very peculiar adults. I want you go in there and come out changed. I want you to come out wanting to be an artist yourself".

Here I am like a kid in a candy store:

PHOTO BY DENTON TAYLOR

SK: "This one ( the photo below) represents a mother's influence". 

RD: Ah, if it's not one thing it's your mother.

SK: "Ha! Exactly, she's always in there".

RD: You do so much, is it exhausting being Sue Kreitzman?

SK: "It’s exhausting, but it’s very exhilarating."

Thank you, Sue, for letting us all into your wonderful world. It's been an absolute pleasure!

RD xoxo

Sue Kreitzman - Part One

"Don't Wear Beige, it might kill you" says Sue Kreitzman and who am I to argue?

In 1998 Sue Kreitzman became an artist.

RD: What happened?

SK: "I burst into flames one day. I burst into art."

Photo by Denton Taylor

You fashionistas out there may know Sue Kreitzman from the documentary Fabulous Fashionistas. It's a gorgeous film; if you haven't seen it go seek it out. She can also be found on the pages of Advanced Style amongst many other publications on art and fashion.

I have split this interview up into two parts - part two will come out on Friday. I just simply couldn't contain her into one article! In this first part, we'll learn about her wonderful life up until that spark of artistic creation in '98. We'll go from Atlanta to London, via Budapest. From teaching to cooking to television to art. The photos are of her amazing apartment which is adorned with art collected from art fairs and friends. In part two we'll head into her studio. Strap in dears!

Photo by Denton Taylor

Sue’s clothing is wearable art. It is almost a suit of beautiful armor that she throws on each day as a protest against the age-appropriate, all-black, older-women-must-be-invisible blah blah blah tirade that most older women endure.  

Not Sue. 

Nobody puts Kreitzman in the corner.

Photo by Denton Taylor

I met this fabulous style icon at her New York home (she is also a resident of East London) last week to discuss how she became the artist she is today. Now, I’m not the daughter of social workers for nothing darlings; collecting life stories is a way of life for me.

“Further back, further back” I kept imploring poor Sue, “You really want to know all of this?” Sue kept asking, laughing, incredulous. 

Dear Readers, as you all know, we live in a youth-obsessed society. It loves to inform us that older women have nothing to offer. Even Sue herself was concerned that the tales of her many past lives might have been a bore to me. But there I was, sitting in an apartment that was a borderline art gallery, alive with color, talking to this woman who was vital, energetic, bright and dressed like no one I had ever seen before. Why wouldn’t I want to know the experiences that had brought her to this very moment?

When the schools in Atlanta, Georgia, began to desegregate in the 70's, Sue was there working as a teacher, a young Jewish New Yorker in a predominantly southern black town. She noticed that the children in her class were often arriving at school hungry, so she devised a scheme to provide each child with breakfast -at her own expense, I might add. Soon her husband became involved and approached the locals (who were nearly all Christians) to assist financially. Using their donations, he enabled more children to receive the breakfasts. Oh he is so Christian they commented, “and like a good Jew he took the money” joked Sue. Incidentally the scheme was adopted by many other schools in Atlanta for a time.

It was during this time that Sue began to throw dinner parties for her new friends. One of these parties would change the course of her life, though she did not know it yet, of course. Sue told me that she and her husband loved to go to a little Hungarian restaurant in town. The restaurant was simply called "Budapest". “The food was amazing, so I thought that eventually I’m going to go to Hungary and I’ll probably find a restaurant called New York or The Bronx or something like that and actually that’s exactly what happened, many years later!” Sue explained that she loved the cuisine so much, she learnt how to cook it and that is what she served on that fateful night. One of the wives in attendance at the dinner party adored the food and asked Sue to write a cookbook for her publishing house. So she did - many of them in fact. 

A few books in Sue, always ahead of the curve, wanted to write a book about garlic, “Because back then people were a little scared of it and my agent....” she sighed, “oh why are agents such assholes? Well he said, nobody wants a book about garlic. Well guess what? Crown Publishers took it on as the very first in an elegant little series they did on single subjects. So I wrote my garlic book and then I wrote a book on potatoes, on Jewish deli food, comfort food etc. That’s when I came to London. My husband had gotten a really big consulting job and they took me on as a consultant too because they needed someone to develop very healthy low-fat recipes. That’s how I got into the stuff that made me famous...well…a little bit famous......in foodie circles…a long time ago. Ha! Oh and then BBC picked me up and it really took off.

"When we first moved to England we lived in Cambridgeshire, ugh, boy was that not a fit for me. I was much too weird for them, much too American, much too New York, much too Jewish, much too everything. So I almost immediately got a pied-a-terre in an attic in Chelsea. Up a hundred flights of narrow stairs, there was no heat, but at least I had a place to stay."

"Back in Cambridgeshire, once I became a household face, they asked me to do everything. Open the supermarket, open the garden centre and I always said yes of course, but I was never really a person to them, I was a personage. I got out and I went to London properly, found an ex-council flat. London is paradise to me. Absolute paradise, I have a tribe of colourful people there."

RD: Tell me about the documentary you were in.

SK: "The director told me that if she tried to sell a film about inspirational old ladies, I hate that term by the way, and I’m not an old lady, I’m just cleverly disguised as one, she would never have found the backers. So she pitched the film through the filter of fashion, but it’s not about fashion. Nobody watches that film without crying and laughing. I’m very happy I was in it. Do you have the DVD? No? I’ll give you one."

RD: You've lived in England for so long, do you consider yourself British or American?

SK: I always say I’m not one, I’m not the other. I'm Half (she says in a proper British accent) and Half (she says in her best New Yoike accent) a little of this and little of that. I don’t know what the hell I am!

SK "Where were we?"

RD: London. 

SK: "Ah okay, so I was editing my 27th cookbook. I was sitting up in my office correcting the proofs which is, on the one hand is really boring, on the other hand it’s nice because you know you’ve finished the work, you are checking for typos so it’s very quiet , it’s very meditative. I had coloured markers, I had scrap paper. Now, I never even doodled. If I ever did it would be hashmarks and musical notes, did I mention I was an oboe player in the old days?

RD: No!

SK: "Quite a good one too. I went thorough university on an oboe scholarship. Anyway, I knew I was very bad at art, but I picked up a marker and my hand drew a mermaid on a scrap of paper. I looked at the mermaid, the mermaid looked at me and in that moment I became a different person."

That's where we will leave it today darlings. On Friday we begin a journey into the studio. Thank you so much to Sue Kreitzman for inviting me into her world. I'll let her have the last word.....

Late Afternoon Raya

Hello Darlings,

Today I bring you the gorgeous Raya Njeim. Raya is a super busy manager of international music artists, from NYC to Paris to Beirut. She took some time out to model this gorgeous couture wedding dress for me on the streets of Bushwick. I also asked her a few questions about her favourite places in the neighbourhood, so you get a little fashion and some Bushwick tips too. I'm like a one-woman Time Out here kids.

RD: So darling, tell more your favourite place to grab a cocktail?

RN: Syndicated

RD: Dollar Oysters?

RN: I'm vegan

RD: Oops. Duh.

RD: Coffee?

RN: Little Skips 

RD: Yes! I love that place. 

RD: Vintage?

RN:  Friends on Bogart Street.

RD: That place is cool. I recently bought a 'get well' card there which featured cats sitting in a bowl of cereal with laser beams shooting out of their eyes. Just sayin.

RD: Pizza?

RN: Roberta's obviously

RD: Well I know you don't eat burgers so maybe you could tell us a good little pick-up spot?

RN: Mr Kiwi's organic grocery store - to go back home and cook ;)

Thank you Raya - you look beautiful!

More soon Darlings,

Love,

Ruthie Darling xoxo

SheInside

Hello Fashionistas,

I am writing to you from sunny England where I have been for the last two weeks, visiting family and friends and hitting up the fabulous shops and markets of London town. Photos coming very soon....

Today on the blog I am showcasing a dress gifted to me by the wonderful online fashion mecca that is 

SheInside

. Thanks team!

Here it is #threewaystowear 

Happy Summer my lovely FashionSquad!

Love,

Ruthie Darling xo

#1 If you're going to go all neon-cyclist-chic at least match the shoes too. Also be warned: whenever I wear this outfit I find myself singing "'let's get VISIBLE" in my head to the tune of Olivia Newton-John's "Let's Get Physical". Could just be me though...

#2 Overlay the skirt with another long lace number, belt it and add a hat. Also check out the Iris Apfel sunnies I have on. I bought them in an old lady pharmacy in Palm Beach. They were right next to the turbans...

#3 For a more romantic look, I added a cropped grey t-shirt, some hologram sandals and a statement necklace. Tones down the neon somewhat and gives the dress a more casual vibe. 

Photos by the wonderful 

Denton Taylor

Oh and just incase you thought I'd made it through a shoot without being a total idiot, think again:

Grayson Clothing - Part One

Hello Fashionistas,

Today I am very excited to share with you my collaboration with the new clothing brand 

Grayson

. They specialise in junior (stop laughing bitches) fashions at awesome prices. 

Last week I was lucky enough to receive two items from their current collection. Here is the first: a sweet, striped, cropped top - showcased here in my #threewaystowear

My model today is the actress Catharine League, who played Fredrika in 'A Little Night Music' with me in Palm Beach. Catharine is currently working at Disney World playing Ariel in the Little Mermaid. She is also a figure-skating-diva. Check out her video at the end of this post.

Here she is, enjoy darlings! Oh and check out Friday's post to see the other item they sent me, modeled by another actress from the show, Cristina Flores. 

RD xoxo

#1 Wear with a vintage petticoat. (Gone-With-The-Wind-chic?) The black booties give it a more modern feel 

"Flatley my dear, I don't riverdance"

#2 For a forties nod, wear with high waisted linen trousers and an adorable headscarf. Catharine The Riveter

 ladies and gentlemen:

#3 For a more elegant look, wear with a satin wrap-around skirt and the obligatory Louboutins. Accesorise with palm trees, natch.

A big Thank You to Grayson Clothing and Catharine my model. 

Visit their website 

here

 and you can follow them on social media on these links:

instagram

facebook

twitter

 and 

pinterest

Before I leave you, here is Catharine being ridiculously good at figure skating. Stop having so many talents dammit #upstager

Rachel Marie Designs

Hello Fashionistas,

Yesterday I landed in West Palm Beach, Florida, to begin work on 'A Little Night Music' at the 

Palm Beach DramaWorks

. Hurrah! Of course I'm playing a Countess (FINALLY, the role I was born to play #royalty) and I'm in glorious Palm Beach. This means you can expect an upcoming #threewaystowear post featuring either Edwardian ballgowns or the Palm Beach uniform of a turban and kaftan, smoking a cigarette through a 2ft cigarette holder.  Something to look forward to...

Today on the blog however, I am featuring the beautiful jewelry of

Rachel Marie Designs

. I absolutely love her collection: glamourous yet subtle, with a distinctly vintage feel. Check out her

website

for more of her fabulous creations.

Here is the necklace she kindly gifted me worn #threewaystowear

#1 Wear with a high-necked dress so that the necklace has the perfect backdrop. Very Audrey Hepburn-chic. 

#2 For a more urban feel add a splash of neon. #downwiththekidsbruh

#3 FULL.OUT.GLAMOUR. This is not the rehearsal divas. "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got, I'm still, I'm still....mainly shopping at H&M...."

Necklace: 

Rachel Marie Designs

Neon Necklace: River Island

Collar Necklace: H&M

Photos by the wonderful

Denton Taylor

Happy Friday Darlings!

xoxo 

Snowman NYC

Hello Fashionistas,

Sometimes barging into someone's office and demanding they give you a raincoat to wear on your blog, actually bloody works! 

#Gobigorgohomeson 

Of course, it probably helped that Korean was the main language spoken in the office - I think they just said "yes" to get rid of the odd, British girl stumbling about in white sunglasses. 

Anyway, who cares, it's the destination not the journey or something like that so, long story short, in this post I am collaborating with the NYC based outerwear company 

Snowman NYC

.

With this inclement

 weather, a light, "shove-it-in-your-handbag" raincoat** is exactly what I need right now. 

(

**not official name.....yet....)

Here is one of their waterproof raincoats styled up #threewaystowear. 

Love,

Ruthie Darling xoxo

#1 Just because I'm not an Upper East Side mother yet, doesn't mean I can't dress like one. Wear your yuppie Hunter wellies with pride darlings! 

Optional: Accessorise with a baby named Gulliver or India.

#2 Wear over some wide-legged polka-dotted trousers and cinch that waist to within an inch of its life - you don't need to be able to digest until after lunch anyway.

#3 For more of a vintage feel, wear over an A-line skirt and matching crop top. Then hang out near a bunch of outdoor eateries hoping that someone will buy you a cheeseburger. (No one did btw and yes this is a overt attempt at a Shake Shack collaboration).

Raincoat: 

Snowman NYC

Outfit One: Dress: Forever 21, Scarf: Primark, Wellies: Hunter

Outfit Two: Trousers and Shoes: Primark, Scarf: Bought in Istanbul @The Grand Bazaar

Outfit Three: Top and Skirt: H&M, Shoes: Primark

Photos by the wonderful and amazing 

Denton Taylor

Thank You all at Snowman NYC!

At one point during the shoot I attempted to sit on one of these planters and, let's just say, well, I appeared to have the balancing skills of a drunk on an express subway train. We did manage to get one shot though, however I was so excited to have done it I look like a mental Morton Salt girl.

#classy

Aubrey Mae Davis - Three Ways To Wear

Hello Fashion Darlings,

Today I am thrilled to introduce to you a friend of mine starring in her own #threewaystowear shoot, the actress Aubrey Mae Davis.

I know, I know, I have some gorgeous friends, it's a nightmare ;)

Aubrey hails from Sonoma, CA and moved to NYC in 2007 after studying at The Meisner Technique Studio in San Francisco. Upon graduation she toured internationally with the musical Hairspray. She was also cast in the national tour of Catch Me If You Can (with Vanessa Dunleavy who appeared on the blog 

here

). This summer Aubrey will be playing Cathy in The Last Five Years with Sight Glass Theatre, tickets available on their 

website

Today we are styling Ms Davis in an ASOS black skater skirt with a white trim. 

#1 Go with the monochrome stripe theme and pair with a striped leotard and striped wedges. Accent the waist with a red belt and throw on a wide brimmed hat for ultimate joie de vivre!

#2 Wear with a simple black crop top - a little peek of waist is sexy, yet demure. Layer on a bunch of necklaces and add a splash of colour with some orange pumps. Accesorise with a vintage handbag.

#3 For full on glamour add a shirt and bow tie, fascinator, and eye watering heels. Oh and wear sunglasses so you can get places without your fans recognising and accosting you.

Skirt: ASOS

Outfit One: Leotard:American Apparel, Belt: Thrifted Vintage, Shoes: Gap, 

Outfit Two: Top: American Apparel, Shoes:Vintage, Leaf Necklace: H&M, Bag: Vintage

Outfit Three: Shirt: H&M, Fascinator: Accesorise, Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Photos: 

Denton Taylor

Thanks darling Aubrey, you look fabulous!

Oh one final thing. The school across the road from my apartment had a sign up advertising the PTA. I made Aubrey pose next to it and called her a "Yummy Mummy." Just as we took the shot, a real yummy mummy walked by and said "I never look like THAT at pick-up!"

Until next week fashionistas!

RD

xoxo

Silk Philosophy

Hello Fashionistas,

Happy Saturday, I hope you are having a wonderful and relaxing day where ever you are.

Today on the blog I am excited share with you my collaboration with the NYC based company 

Silk Philosophy

. Run by three fabulous women "three ambitious girls, one style affair" Nishta, Milda and Rasa, this company produces handmade, limited edition, beautiful silk accessories. They use fine silk fabrics from select merchants here in NYC. Anna Sui and Oscar de la Renta are just a couple of the design house that their fabrics are sourced from - so you know you're in good company. 

Most importantly for me, this is a woman-run company using their creativity and business savvy to create something beautiful together #sisterhood

The scarf they gifted me is one of their bestsellers, a gorgeous vintage floral print which reminds me a little of a Cath Kidston design (shout-out to all you English readers with one of her tea towels currently hanging on the cooker!) It comes with a gold ring that enables you to style it in many different ways (perfect for me!)

Here it is #fourwaystowear (yeah four, I'm value for money this week biatches). 

Check out their

website

to see more of their designs. I particularly liked the red scarf with the anchor print on it, very nautical chic.

#1 Wear it as a headscarf for a little 60's cool.

#2 Wrap it around your ankle to add some zing to plain pumps

#3 Wrap it around your arm. This look made me think of that Carrie Bradshaw outfit (photo below) that she wears when helping an old lady up a curb as the lady comments "well that's a crazy outfit" 

#4 The most classic way it to wear it, around the wrist as a bracelet.

Thanks Nishta for the collaboration!

Scarf/Ring: 

Silk Philosophy

Top: Topshop, Skirt: Primark, Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Photos: 

Denton Taylor

Emily Cremona Part 2 - Gothic Wedding

Hello Darlings!

This week I have teamed up again with the fabulous Deena Wassef of 

Emily Cremona

 - the NYC/Beirut based fashion house.  In this post I am wearing her beautiful bridal coat. Over the next few posts we will see a few more of her designs styled in the Ruthie-Darling way, so keep an eye out for that.

I am dedicating this post to my dear, dear, friend Gemma Glynn who is marrying her sweetheart next year in England! Congrats Gem and Jonny (aka Cookie The Bookie) - I can't wait to see you both soon. 

xoxo Ruthie Darling

Coat: Emily Cremona, Dress: Vintage

Photos: 

Denton Taylor