Fairies and Fairy Tale Wishes

When you have young children, you become a believer in all things make believe like you did when you were younger.  It is a Child's belief in fairies that make fairies real to everyone. Mermaids, unicorns, fairies...are all part of a happy childhood.

My daughter Zooey recently had a visit from the tooth fairy and we've had many discussions about how fairies look, sound, and smell.

With very serious thinking, my daughter has decided she will be a tooth fairy when she grows up. Zooey was in tears the night she told me of her future job and said, "Oh Mommy, I'm going to miss you so much because tooth fairies don't live at home, they live in castles." To calm my emotional little girl down I agreed to be a tooth fairy with her!

According to Zooey a tooth fairy looks like Tinkerbell, sounds like whispers and wind, lives in a beautiful pink castle in the sky, and smells like cinnamon.

When I think of fairies, Peter Pan's Tinkerbell is the first to come to mind, Abby Caddaby from Sesame Street is another fairy we are very familiar with, and my favorite ballet (Giselle) has many fairies in the magical romantic forest and mountain regions known as the Rhineland where the Wilies dance from midnight until four o'clock in the morning. I would imagine the Rhineland to be like Pixie Hollow and the Wilies to be the most beauiful of fairies.

Fairies bring joy, magic, and laughter whenever you think of them. Like butterflies... fairies are light, whimsical, and beautiful to look at; lathered in pixie dust- they are full of magic. To touch a butterfly is like being kissed by a fairy and if you're lucky enough, they will leave some of their pixie dust from their beautiful wings with you. Anything related to the touch of fairies and butterflies is laced with magic.

One of my second grade students, Emma, has a wonderful grandmother who knows of a special tree that fairies like to play in. They leave Emma little fairy treasures as small as her thumb for her to play with like a tiny journal with her name, a little fairy broom, and the smallest hair brush you've ever seen. Emma is very proud of her fairy treasures and she made other children believers when she shared them.

After all, don't we know that all the best things in life are invisible? Magic happens everyday-sometimes we just have to think of the right thing and be willing to believe in order to "see" it. Though they may not last forever, dreams do come true... Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!

Photos: One of my daughter's favorite things to play with, "My Fairy Sandbox" and a wonderful book to read when you lose a tooth, "My Tooth Fairy Tale."

Texas Fashion Collection: hosting treasures that are appreciated

You know those times when you anticipate something really exciting that you are about to do? Last week, I had one of those experiences as I walked into the Texas Fashion Collection in Scoular Hall at The University of North Texas; my expectations were exceeded past my wildest dreams. I can’t believe here in Denton, Texas (the city in which I was born and raised) were so many hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered.
Walking into to UNT’s 4,500 square foot space I was astonished of the amount of clothing that looks like it goes on for miles. The 15,000 plus collection is so nicely organized from the earliest pieces (including garments and hats from the late 1700s) to today’s contemporary fashions.  
UNT began housing the collection in 1972 but it actually began in 1938 when Stanley and Edward Marcus began preserving works of fashion that belonged to their Aunt, Carrie Marcus Neiman.  Once the collection got too vast, it moved to UNT and has been overseen by Professor Myra Walker, director and curator since 1987.
In the beginning, designers would send pieces to Stanley Marcus to build his collection. He tried to get very high end couture and eventually ran out of space. His collection was about 1000 pieces before coming to UNT.
The earliest garment, a small blue dress from 1795, looks like it would fit a twelve year old. People were smaller then due to what was typically a more meager diet than we enjoy. In the designer section, most works are represented in alphabetical order. It is fun to see how the changes in silhouette and size reveal what was going on in history.
I felt like a kid in a candy store and my candy was fashion. It felt like I was in Milan, Italy in an important fashion warehouse and every moment BIG names were jumping out at me. I thought of Patricia Field and how she must feel all the time going to work and being surrounded by beautiful things from fashion history.

My favorite piece was an Adele Simpson daytime dress from the 50’s (I would wear it today). Simpson, like Chanel, was part of the post war fashion movement and into more comfortable sportswear. She took French couture and gave it an American lady-like feel.
The Texas Fashion Collection hosts a list of designers that will make you want to stand-up and applaud! Designers like: Chanel, Dior, Scaasi, Cashin, Pucci, Trigere, Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, Galanos…it’s enough to make your head spin!  Some stars of the collection include: Chinese bound foot slippers, intricately beaded handbags, 1890s Texas prairie dresses, silk wedding dresses from 1840s-1900s, Japanese kimonos, a blue pregnancy outfit that Jackie Kennedy wore during the campaign…
Clothing carries memories. Think about when you put on something you haven’t worn in a while, you’re clothing and accessories tell a story and they hold the feelings you had the last time you wore it.
Fashion is THE best tool to study the past. When styles change it’s because the times have changed. Sometimes it happens so quickly we don’t even realize that fashion is slowly evolving.
Walking down the aisles of the TFC and observing the racks and racks of changing styles, I was able to see a clearer picture of what was happening during those times and how fashion was influenced.

I specifically think of the 1920’s (one of my favorite time periods) and also the 1960’s (because it was so drastically different from the former periods).
The 1920’s brought along an avant-garde change in fashion. Women were seen wearing bustless, waistless silhouettes. It was the beginning of the flapper style and the popular cloche hat. Coco Chanel popularized the sporty athletic look with the use of jersey knit, clean lines, and outdoor living. One of the TFC highlights includes a gorgeous 1920’s beaded flapper dresses from Paris. I was lucky enough to hold it and can tell you it was extremely heavy AND extremely fabulous!
Walking down the 1950’s rack you suddenly get hit with the drastic change from the 1960’s and can’t help but say, Whoa! Dawn Figueroa (assistant curator of the Texas Fashion Collection) explained that textiles and products from other countries played a key role in fashion. There were restrictions of the dies and fabrics designers used in the 1950’s. During this time the economy was good and TV was culturally influencing designers because people got to view the world through television. When the 1960’s came around there was a radical change; Dawn Figueroa says this about the 60’s, “It’s like you’ve only had a ten-pack of crayons then you get a four-hundred-pack of crayons and the colors go all over the place.”

Carrie Marcus Neiman's squirrel coat

One of the many wonderful things about the TFC is that it is a place to learn. Some of the pieces in the collection are designated for study and can be taken apart and turned inside out, but most of the pieces are museum garments with minimal handling. This is a unique educational fashion museum that enhances our understanding of society through the study of clothing. The archived items serve as teaching and researching tools for students, faculty, and anyone interested in fashion history. The goal of the TFC is to preserve and exhibit its ever expanding collection of clothing and accessories and make materials available for all who want to learn.
The TFC staff has the fun job this summer of opening up boxes that haven’t been opened in years to photograph and catalog the treasures that they find. Can you imagine the excitement every time they open a box?
The Texas Fashion Collection is lucky to have such generous Dallas donors like oil heiress Claudia de Osborne, Mercedes Bass, and Texan turned Parisian ballerina Nita-Carol Miskovitch.
Claudia de Osborne donated 371 pieces to the TFC (many of those were works by Spanish designer Balenciaga). It was her sense of style that put Dallas on the map for fashion in the 1950’s. She once said, “Mr. Marcus can tell you how I love clothes. It is sort of a religion with me. I am terribly happy that these things are in the hands of people who appreciate them.”

The Texas Fashion Collection is VERY special; there’s nothing like it in the entire world! Clothing from every vocation, class, and occupation from socialite, housewife, leisure, nine-to-five…you can sing Chaka Khan’s I’m every woman when you see every woman represented in the Texas Fashion Collection.
As a lover of fashion, I can relate to what Claudia de Osborne said and I wish I could tell her and Carrie Marcus Neiman just how much their clothes and all the 15,000 plus items are being appreciated at UNT’s Texas Fashion Collection.

Midnight in Paris: Let's do it, let's fall in love...

This summer if you can’t go to Paris, I have a movie recommendation that will transport you there. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (which opened the Cannes Film Festival) takes you into the nostalgic era of music, art, and writing of the 1920’s. A romantic time of pleasure, joie de vivre, art, whimsy, and enchantment.
It’s about a young engaged couple who realize they’re not meant for each other once they’re in Paris; and then there is the illusion that life in a different place and time would be better. When life is unsatisfying, it’s easy to wish you could escape into a different period by time travel, that’s why most people love fantasy.  
The beauty of going to the movies is we can be transported back in time.  We turn to movies and books to escape, Midnight in Paris is the whole package that is a pleasure to behold and then again and again.
Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard
Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson
Paris is zee world’s GREATEST city, bien sûr!  Midnight in Paris is a beautiful love letter to the divine 1920’s Paris.  Gil (Owen Wilson) thinks Paris looks best in the rain, but no matter the weather or the time, Midnight in Paris will take your breath away and leave you wanting to stay in the theatre and experience it again and again.
In a world full of wishes that are easily granted, Gil (a discouraged TV writer) dreams of becoming an expatriate writer. His fiancée, Inez (Rachel McAdams) wants Gil to keep doing what he does best so she can keep enjoying his credit cards. Gil and Inez meet up with Inez’s old flame Paul (Michael Sheen) who is an arrogant intellectual arguing with the museum guide of Musée Rodin who happens to be Carla Bruni (model, singer, first lady of France, now actress).
We later learn from Gertrude Stein that Gil’s novel may not be half bad. This gives Gil hope.
It is a fantasy of mine to become an expat writer and live in Tuscany like Frances Mayes. I totally get Gil!
Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald
The fun begins when Gil (who is a little drunk) goes for a late-night stroll and gets lost. At midnight a gorgeous antique Peugeot pulls up with happy socialites drinking champagne. He does the right thing and gets in to join the party. He finds himself at a club where Cole Porter is playing the piano and he’s introduced to F. Scott Fitzgerald and his beautiful southern belle wife, Zelda (my favorite character).


 I remember the summer I took a Hemingway to Fitzgerald English class at the University of Alabama. It was the perfect place to learn about Zelda because she was from Montgomery, Alabama. Alison Pill, who plays Zelda, lights up the screen and has a spot on southern accent that is fun to hear in Paris (especially when she says s'il vous plait)!
Gil befriends the ultra masculine Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein (the fabulous Kathy Bates), fashion designer ingénue Adriana (Marion Cotillard), Picasso, Matisse… Each time Gil meets one of his golden era heroes his mouth falls to the floor.

Adriana (Marion Cotillard) has to be the world’s most beautiful woman past and present. She’s been Picasso’s, Braque’s, and Modigliani’s lover. I guess you could call her an art groupie.  

Woody Allen’s always witty dialogue is sharp and hilarious. Some of my favorite Woody Allen movies I love because they satisfy my “I want to travel to Europe now” bug. Hop aboard the Woody Allen European tour: Match Point (England), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spain), Mighty Aphrodite (Greece), Midnight in Paris (France)… As much as I adore a European backdrop, I think Woody Allen could turn a place that is not known for being romantic like Tuscaloosa, Alabama into a city of magic. Woody has that je ne sais quoi that works well in any place.
Do you ever feel like you should have been born in another time? I think this often because I like to read and escape into a fantasy. I also crave culture like water and Midnight in Paris satisfies my craving and puts me in a happy place.
Midnight in Paris reminds me of a Merchant and Ivory film because it has that international flair, beauty, and intelligence that those films produce but also the romance of the movies like Before Sunrise and After Sunset which put you in a love bubble.

In the end, Gil realizes that no time is idyllic and he can find happiness in the present. He decides to make the best of life in our own time and the ending is the REAL fairy tale, walking off in Paris in the rain with a beautiful Parisian. As they walk away I imagine they’re both singing Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love.  Merci Woody!
To get you in the “American in Paris” mood, enjoy these quotes then watch the trailer to the best movie you will have seen in a long, long time.
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. Hemingway
America is my country and Paris is my hometown. Gertrude Stein
History takes time. History makes memory. It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself. Gertrude Stein
First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. F. Scott Fitzgerald
You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say. F. Scott Fitzgerald