Last night while live tweeting under my handle @bethbjeweled and instagraming under the same handle, all while downloading photos from celebrity photo agencies and writing my blog for Indesign.jewelry, my youngest brother called (read: youngest who has a teenage son and a daughter in her second year in college) –anyway—
I picked up the phone with my usual charm when I am stressed. Without even saying Hi. I launched into “I can’t talk now—too much going on—computer, iPad, iPhone all going at once—and I am trying to keep up.”
“But it’s only 7:30. The show hasn’t even started yet,” he commented.
To which I tried to explain about red carpet arrivals and then ended with a quick, “love you, gotta go, call you tomorrow.”
He tugged at my heartstrings before he let me off the phone, with “remember when we all used to watch the show together with Mom and Grandma Ida.” How could I forget? –it was one of my favorite times—rating the outfits and the jewels, jumping off the couch and yelling at the TV when some one we thought should win, didn’t—basically acting, well, like my two brothers during the Super Bowl.
But isn’t that what the Oscars are —the Super Bowl of actresses bringing on their A-game to jewels and gowns? My mom ( a Vice President of a sportswear company, who before marriage and kids was studying to be an actress and my grandmother –with very strong opinions and taste in jewels) loved dishing with me about who was wearing what or what was wearing who. We also went over what we we would wear should we be receiving an award. I think my mom had her speech planned since she was seventeen. But –I stray – we all cried when Diane Keaton won for “Annie Hall” and then asked if after she won, she always had to look like the character she played. Diane channeled Annie for at least another 10 years of Oscars. We rooted for Barbra Streisand and her antique jewels—“Fred Leighton?” my mother would guess, which she would have basically had to do even now—since Ryan Seacrest still isn’t of any use –unless you want to know about someone’s shoes.
In the late seventies and eighties, most of the gowns looked like they just stepped out of Studio 54, like they belonged on Las Vegas showgirls or like the actresses were impressed by the ruffled customs of the performer formally known as Prince, who I believe is known as Prince, again. My mom passed away suddenly n the early ’90s just as old Hollywood glamour was starting to make a comeback. A cross between Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn with a bod like Natalie Wood—she was straight out of her era and she would have rocked the red carpet. My grandmother lived until 2009, just a month shy of 97 and we still watched together; she still formed extremely strong opinions and could be as sarcastic though not as snarky as some of the live tweets of jewelry insiders.
After hanging up on my brother, I began thinking about what their picks would be for this year’s Oscars best looks in jewels and gowns. Since I have to write specific blogs for online magazines and websites, I figured I should rejuvenate my own blog and present my favorites of the evening by channeling my mom and grandmother. I remember their voices, humor and the way we all interacted. And, so here’s a look at a few of our “choices” and what the woman who inspired me might have said:
Me: “Loving Charlize Theron—she’s got old Hollywood glamour down with a bit of hip thrown in. And that necklace. What I wouldn’t do for long sautoir style necklace like that.”
Mom: “Predicable. Red on blondes. Although the silhouette of the gown is good. The lines on the necklace are just right for the plunging neckline of the dress. Does the dress actually have a neckline when it dips that low? Anyway you have a necklace like that. You are antique jewelry addict and you should be saving for your retirement. Perfect time to sell the similar necklace—it will be on trend and appreciate in value every time another writer like you shows it on a blog, tweet or what’s the Instagram thing called—oh yes, post.”
Grandmother: “All we saw are diamonds. Are they all going after Madonna’s version of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” or Nicole Kidman as Sateen in “Moulin Rouge’s” version or “Marilyn Monroe”? Do these young starlets even know Carol Channing who sang it, dripping in diamonds for the original play. And what neckline?—that dress is so low. I’m no prude—that’s not what I mean but such small breasts, maybe she should of worn a dress that dipped down the back. That would have worked. And, don’t sell that necklace—I taught you to choose your jewelry well. Oh, and red looks great on blondes—I wear red. And, don’t start with me about it being out of a bottle. Do you think Charlize is a real platinum blonde. Girls give me a break.” (my grandmother is basically having this convo with herself now as no one is disagreeing).
Me: She can never do wrong. She always look totally polished and pulled together, from the dress to the shoes, to the jewels. Ever since her first time on the red carpet, she has been one of my three favorites (I will make you guess the other two). She is the embodiment of Old Hollywood glamour. Hey do you think I should have lived in that era—I always want the new actresses to conjure up the looks of, well , one of your time periods.”
Mom: “I agree wholeheartedly about Cate. I wish I could disagree with at least one thing you said. It’s so much more fun that way. I even love when Cate went bold with the black dress and multi –strand turquoise necklace at an earlier award. She’s got a great stylist. (Your two other modern favorites on the red carpet are Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway) with the exception of complaining that Nicole’s beautiful face doesn’t move anymore and it’s always worse around awards’ time because you think she gets it done too close to the shows. ” (my mom is correct about all). She continues, “And you just wrote a book about the legends behind celebrities jewels –of course you are obsessed with them. You have been watching old movies, reciting lines, commenting on the jewelry with your grandmother—since you were six.”
Grandmother: “Your mother knows of what she speaks.” And, Cate is definitely pulled together. Just look at that color—pale blue. You girls always wore too much black. See how beautiful a pale shade of blue, pink or lavender can brighten up a women’s entire persona. And the jewels—Tiffany & Co—remember when I used to take Beth to FAO Schwartz to look at the dolls and she would drag me down a few blocks to press her nose against the glass and peer into the window of the Fifth Avenue flagship Tiffany’s. Then I would take her to Worthworths to buy tiaras and ropes of rhinestones and pearls so she could pretend she was Audrey Hepburn as Holly GoLightly. Come to think of it –maybe Beth, you should have lived in an earlier time. Your taste in jewelry certainly veers to…a grandmother’s jewelry box…but your paternal grandmother—my jewels were more bold and colorful–and earrings! I always wore earrings! And regarding Nicole, She’s still so young. And whatever happened to aging gracefully?”
(My grandmother strays from the topic but my guess is that she’s down with Cate)
oh here, my mother chimes in–“I think you mean aging naturally. Because age gracefully means going in for a “refresher” to your dermatologist –a little botox here, some juve there. Is that what they are still using?
“Can we get back on topic please?” I steer them back.
Me: “Another one who never disappoints. Emily has this cool classicism that evokes a nonchalant elegance. I love the gown with the earrings. It just flows perfectly together.”
Mom: “Here I need to agree with your grandmother about pink, although I thought that would be a cold day in hell—can I say that on your blog—anyway if the dress was a brighter color she would look like she was lit up like the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center but this is subtle and beautiful and she is wearing just the right amount of jewelry. She might be my favorite this year.”
Grandmother: “Pretty in pink.” See I know what I am talking about. And earrings. The earrings make all of the difference. A woman should never leave the house without them. I know all of the jewelry enthusiasts (crazies) were asking why no one was wearing a necklace for a few awards seasons and I agree –it was a time when actress on the red carpet went too bare around the shoulders, neck and décolletage… but earrings light up a woman’s face like nothing else. They also detract from your flaws. (I interject—“stop looking at me like that”)— “you have no flaws but you could use a little color, sparkle, shine around your face—I have been telling you for years not to pile on the rings and instead remember earrings.—you nmight gaze longingly at those rings the English Aristocracy made famous but others look at your face and earrings just add a little something. Like lipstick does Besides this isn’t about you. “(Isn’t it?).
Other picks of the evening were:
—my mother likes that she is a more mature actress who is “stunningly beautifull”, knows her own style and plays it to the hilt. My grandmother also appreciates this. Personally, I love that she isn’t wearing green gems to this award show. Although no one looks as good in emeralds as she does, not even Angelina Jolie.
My grandmother chimes in, “Angelina Jolie Pffff .” And that was all she said
For more on the Oscars and how to borrow the inspiration of the diamond looks for day—head on over to indesign.jewelry.