Artists rarely make for good interviews.

François Demachy

François Demachy on the right trying to explain his creative process.

I attended what seemed to be the worldwide launch of Dior’s latest perfume, Joy by Dior.  It happened here in Montréal by non other than its creator, François Demachy, who is Parfums Dior’s nose.  I paid money to hear him talk and although I was pumped I knew not to expect too much.  You see, for years I’ve been watching interviews on YouTube and although some are stupendous, many are lacklustre because creators often can’t express themselves in words.  This was NOT the case with François Demachy, his spoken French was excellent but I felt that Public Relations wanted to keep him “on message”.  Fair enough.  I was proved correct when at the end of the hour, he was very quickly escorted off the stage indicating to the one hundred or so attendees that there would be no question period.

The best interviews that I have ever seen have been on the Dick Cavett show because he had some very interesting guests… Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis come to mind.  And, of course, because they talked about their lives and their craft, I learned something.  Actresses and actors really get off track when they talk about politics (I’m looking at you Roseanne!).  The Marlon Brando interview was a complete yawn because he didn’t seem to want to talk at all!

Ricky and I went to see the André Leon Talley documentary, The Gospel According to André.  It was excellent but, of course, André is a great communicator.  He’s a writer… so words are his specialty.  And the documentary was edited.  Anything silly or crazy was certainly cut out… as it should have been.

I, myself, have been suffering from writer’s block… or as Fran Lebowitz would say, “writer’s blockade”!  But, I’m hoping this post brings me back to life, as it were.

Probably the craziest and most fascinating interview was the one Dick Cavett did with Katherine Hepburn.  She had NEVER appeared on television.  (She famously avoided the Oscars, although she won many awards.  Her excuse? She had no dress!)

If you only watch a few minutes of this interview (it is long), watch the first 10 minutes.  Miss Hepburn had agreed to come to the studio to simply see how it felt and then, once there, insisted on doing the interview to an empty theatre.  It gives me a chuckle every time!


I love Old World technology.

I know this may be an odd statement coming from someone who has worked in computers his whole life, but I absolutely love old world technology.  Now… I know that this sweeping statement may lead to confusion.  Exactly, how old is old world?  Well… let me give you some examples.


From my grandmother’s desktop gramophone.

My very first love affair with old technology started when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old and my dad took me up to my grandmother’s attic in her country house to show us her Victrola gramophone.  You see, the country house didn’t have electricity when it was first built and so it must have come in handy to provide some entertainment during the long summer evenings.  (By the way, lighting came by way of gasoline lamps.)  I was in my thirties when my aunt called to see if I wanted the old Victrola.  It’s been in my many living rooms ever since along with a collection of Enrico Caruso recordings and all kinds of oddities.  As a kid, I remember dancing to Dorothy Shay’s Feudin’ and Fightin’. Another favourite was I’ll Dance at Your Wedding, the 1948 version.

I’ve also always loved trains and boats.  The lovely art-deco inspired Normandie comes to mind as does the Orient Express.  Planes leave me cold.  As for computers, phones and tablets… their functionality is essential (!) but their designs are boring!  Maybe we shouldn’t have left the design up to the technocrats.  Whenever someone holds up an iPhone and tells me that that phone contains more technology than the Apollo mission computer, I am so unimpressed!  It doesn’t speak to me.  I’m much more impressed by a player piano!  Or, how about this?  The postal service!  It is totally beyond me that I can write a letter and HANDWRITE an address on the envelope, pop it into a red mailbox and it is hand-delivered to the right city, the right street and the right house for only about $1. Cdn.  I still don’t understand how they can do that!

I consider perfume to be old world technology.  How can you mix different chemicals and convince people that they are smelling a bouquet of gardenias.  That amazes me.  And, I find that a major attraction of old world technology is the romance and mystique and perfume has that in spades!

And so, my recent fascination with fountain pens, another example of old world technology, was bound to happen sooner or later.  I’m not much fascinated by ballpoint pens but I find fountain pens totally amazing.  Anyone else out there?

I’m suffering from the perfume enthusiast’s curse… a sinusitis.  But, as soon as I can start smelling perfumes again, I’ll be back with a review.

Have a nice week.


So dreamy!


Exhibition : Balenciaga – Master of Couture (June 15th – October 14, 2018)


Elise Daniels with street performers, suit by Balenciaga, Le Marais, Paris, 1948. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Hello everyone!

From the McCord Museum website :

Revered by his contemporaries and future fashion designers alike, Cristóbal Balenciaga represents the pinnacle of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s. His exquisite craftsmanship, pioneering use of fabrics and innovative cutting set the tone for the modernity of late 20th century fashion.

Discover the creations, the exceptional skill and the legacy of Balenciaga through a major fashion exhibition organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum and a North American exclusive premiere.

I don’t know what else to say other than if you’re coming to Montréal this summer, take some time to visit this exhibit.  I think pretty well any exhibit organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum is worth a detour even if you’re not a fan of his work.  And, while you are here, take some time to buy yourself a perfume that will remind you of your trip to Montréal.  We now have 2 boutiques specializing in niche perfumes and I recommend both of them for their curated collections but also because of their  friendly, knowledgeable staff.  Learn about Etiket here and the new kid on the block, Henriette L.

If you can’t come to Montréal this summer, then plan a trip in winter to see “Thierry Mugler: Creatures of Haute Couture”, the first exhibition dedicated to creator Thierry Mugler.  From the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts website :

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is pleased to announce the presentation, in February 2019, of the first exhibition on French creator Thierry Mugler. Conceived, produced and put on tour by the MMFA, this exhibition will reveal the multiple universes of this undeniably artistic figure – visionary couturier, director, photographer and perfumer – in a retrospective of his work, especially his ready-to-wear and haute couture creations.

This impressive exhibition, premiering in Montreal, will bring together more than 130 outfits, most of them never shown before, created between 1973 and 2001, as well as many unseen archive documents and photos by great artists and photographers.

I’ve been in a little under the weather recently but suddenly the future looks promising!

Be back soon.

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