Books on Deck: Beauty, Art, and an Aristocrat

More books on deck of wealthy, stylish people and crazy actresses of Hollywood’s golden age. Are you surprised?

This book coming out is like Christmas and my birthday combined. I had always wished for Karl to have a newsletter, and this is as close as it gets. No photos, sadly, but still has fun quotes. I follow his cat on Twitter… so, clearly I’m biased.


I’m searching for this one to pick up, so far she gets married a lot, is a crappy mom, and the lawsuits are here, there, and everywhere. Only interesting thing so far is her relationship with designer Charles James.


Poor thing, and she’s been on a no carb diet since the day she arrives in Hollywood and is suicidal (I would be if I couldn’t eat carbs anymore). I think she turns out okay in the end.


Miss Barbara Hutton went on a diet at Miss Porter’s School (Gene also attended there) eating nothing but biscuits and coffee. That doesn’t sound half bad! I haven’t cracked this open yet, but this is a random fact I know for some reason.


Excited to read this, a fellow CalArts alum who also paints in a way that isn’t preplanned. Of course, one who is not born a woman will automatically have a better art career than one who is.


British aristocracy? Yes please! Especially after this interview. I’m glad this memoir only goes up to when she’s 24 or there about, as I don’t care about David Hicks very much.


A lot of things I already knew, but so far, a few I didn’t. I quick read as I’m already half-way through it, but you know how I am about anything Joan Crawford. I love that it’s called a “divine feud”.


Books About Hot Bitches!

Some things I’m trying to read, or am about to read depending when I get my attention span back to normal.

La Belle Otero: The Last Great Courtesan

The out-of-print English version is short and sweet and gets to the point — although I am curious about the Spanish volume that is thicker and with better pictures. This is a combination of what she said in memoirs but it also has many diary entries from her personal maid which are a fun. She was the Dita von Teese of her time, unfortunately she had a major gambling problem which was her undoing.

Enchantress: Marthe Bibesco and Her World

I knew nothing of Princess Marthe Bibesco beyond the Boldini portrait. Then I saw a reference Cecil Beaton made in his diaries about how she was a writer and friend of Proust; of course Cecil being Cecil, he did nothing but talk of how old and ugly she had gotten — but, she still had good taste in decor — which made up for the fact she was old in his eyes. Never mind her accomplishments or that she was a big ole smarty-pants.

Mae West: She Always Knew How

Most people don’t know that she was a playwright, and that every good line in any movie she made she wrote. There’s a photo of her with Alice Cooper and Keith Moon in one part of the book, so I have a feeling this will be a good one.

Court Lady and Country Wife

If the name Northumberland means anything to you, then meet the Percy sisters. Their daddy got locked up in The Tower for conspiracy in the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot, but it seems he had no part from what we can tell. No matter, for daddy got treated better in prison than at home by the monster wife it seems and was given all the modern luxuries of the day by the king. So far from what I gather in the first 1/4, Court Lady has all the fun in Jacobean England, while Country Wife is busy being depressed and constantly preggo while her husband can’t seem to land a decent job.

The Duchess of Windsor: The Uncommon Life of Wallis Simpson

Alright, she isn’t hot, but if you like women who are well-dressed and look like an ostrich….I had read The Secret Life of Wallis Simpson and was a little “meh” about it since all it really did was go into what an annoying weirdo the duke was. It digressed way too much, and only liked to highlight the fact Wallis was a mega whore in China, a mega whore in the dressing rooms of Schiaparelli, as well as her and the duke being Hitler lovers and listing other dubious friends. This book seems to be a more even portrait of her. I know the subject is light in calories and she is kind of boring, but I like reading about weird ticks and such. Did you know she always had her money ironed and coins washed before going out for the day?

Diane: A Signature Life

Things have changed and developed since the publication of this book (like the divorce of Alex and Alex), but I wanted to know more about the lady behind my fabulous wrap dress that I got when she re-launched her line in the 90s.  Everyone commented that it showed off my tits a little too much, which being I’m a B cup, I don’t see why that’s a problem! Anyways, she seems like a swell gal. My mom says Barry Diller is gay and isn’t really her man, though. Is that true?

Recommended Reading for the Fabulous

This past weekend, I had an excellent slumber party with a few friends at my pad while the husband was out of town. I think we’ve all discovered that adult slumber parties are much more fun than when you are twelve, mainly due to the fact that Bordeaux, Moroccan food, good cheeses, and champagne are involved. The only hiccup was my cat acting like a total douchebag the morning after.

The movie selection had a mild theme:  Sassy, classy, bitches! “Valley of the Dolls”, “Mommie Dearest”, “My Man Godfrey” and “Auntie Mame”. So I got to thinking (as the gals went through my pile of books), why not give a list of some recommended reading for you all? I am certain that if you are like me and love old Hollywood, decor, fashion, and people with too much money — well, you’ll appreciate these biographies and such.

DV by Diana Vreeland. Totally embellished, many delusions, and some flat out lies. But still, a fun read. They don’t make them like her anymore.

Cecil Beaton diaries, as he wrote them. Granted there are many volumes, but I liked this later one simply because I knew all the now obscure characters in his life and was interested in his take on them. There are lulls in it — as Cecil thinks he’s most interesting than he actually is most of the time — but his scathing observations and the life of the rich are worth it.

Bare Blass, the life of Bill Blass. What a wonderful human being! He writes most of it, but there is input from friends like Nan Kempner and Mica Ertegun as well. Love the photos.

Madame. I’ll admit I knew nothing about Helena Rubenstein, but this biography of her later life by her assistant is just fabulous. Cecil Beaton was most accurate in saying, “a witty and heartfelt valentine to an old monster.”

R.S.V.P. by Elsa Maxwell. The people, the parties, all the places she’s lived. It makes you wonder how much it actually true!