Thursday, March 29, 2012

EMAIL THANK YOUs...I HATE THEM!!! (c) By Polly Guerin

I hate “Thank You” emails. They miss the beat on social etiquette and reveal a person who thinks that an email is all that is needed when a written note is most likely the correct thing to do. For every step forward in electronic communications it seems that we have stepped backward as social communicators. People know how to use the computer and high tech devices but have forgotten how to connect with one another. That’s because thank you emails have no real voice, they are so impersonal, they lack sentiment, they make me feel like my largess is tossed off as if it meant so little that all that the sender need do is to email a one-liner thank you and be done with it. Nothing doing. Polly Manners says that if you want to make the right impression consider becoming the fashionably correct in these uncivil times.
THE BIRTHDAY LUNCHEON/GIFT When you have been invited and treated to a birthday lunch and a special gift is given as well it would behoove you to send a written thank you note as soon as possible after the occasion. That note, which in the old days was called, “a butter note,” can be brief, but it should include something about the gift and what pleasure you expect to derive from it. You might start your note with a one-liner, “Thank you so much for the special birthday lunch, sharing it with dear friends made it so special. I am also deeply touched by the gift of the (blank, blank) and it will bring me years of pleasure. I shall never forget this warm and touching expression of your friendship.”
THE DINNER INVITATION It may not be a special occasion, like a gala, but even if you are invited to dinner at someone’s home, the afterglow of the event should inspire you to send a written thank you note. If you are lucky enough to be invited to as a guest to a gala, a fund raiser dinner, or an organization’s annual event it is sufficient to say that a courteous hand written thank you note on your finest stationery is appropriate. For a gala you might say, “It was a pleasure to attend the (blank, blank) gala, and I thank you most heartily for inviting me to participate in the celebration, which was so impressive, and, for me, a memorable occasion. Sincerely, Your Name.
QUALITY NOTE PAPERS It is a good idea to invest in some quality note paper and letterhead, which can be individualized to your specifications. Or you can find some nice note cards at the Metropolitan Gift Shop with a gold icon of a butterfly or heart motif. Always have different quality note cards handy to dash off a thank you note. You can’t imagine the pleasure the recipient has upon receiving such correspondence. It actually makes a person feel that their effort to include you in a dinner or gala really resonated with your finest sensibilities. A note like a letter should express some quality of yourself in the language used and the form you choose in the shape and style of the paper, the color of the ink, and even the design of the postage stamp.
PLEASE AND THANK YOU I have noticed plenty of executive men and women who do not know how to hold a knife and fork properly, but the lack of kindness and consideration is far more egregious. The inability of people to relate to one another has really deteriorated. There are far too many people today that have not learned how important it is to take time to say, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘Please’ or ‘thank you. A gentleman friend of mine related how he held the door open for a woman who sailed through and never said, ‘Thank You.’ I recently stepped aside to let a senior person pass onto the bus before me. You bet, no thank you came forth.
FIRST NAMES BOTHER ME If you’re like me there is the inevitable phone call from a firm and the person on the other end of the line, a perfect stranger, addresses me by my first name. I’m immediately annoyed with this overstepping the boundaries of social etiquette. They might at least, ask first, ‘Do you mind if I call you by your first name?” I most probably would say ‘Yes.’ However, I never let my college students call me by my first name. It was always Professor Guerin.
Enough Said!!! If you are deeply moved by some experience, write a thank you note or brief letter. It will give the recipient great pleasure. Of course, the obligatory note can be avoided by the simple expedience of a brief telephone call, but it should recapture the moment and, yes, be sure to include your impression of the event that made it so memorable. But, don't blow it away and leave a message. You would have to call back when your host/hostess is available.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PEPLUM...Trendy Fashion Revival (c) By Polly Guerin

What can we say in favor of the peplum? “The dictionary describes it as a short full flounce—an extension of a garment below the waist covering the hips.” In one way it accents the waist and conceals a small tummy but in another more egregious way it just adds more fabric to a part of a woman’s body about which she is most sensitive.
POLLY'S OPINION In my opinion the peplum is a carry-over from another era and fashion designers' penchant to reinvent a woman’s figure. Whatever the reason, the peplum has re-emerged in red carpet fashion shows and while the look is stunning on model-like figures, if you are short or slightly overweight there is no way you should consider bringing more attention to your figure flaws than is necessary. So ban the peplum…but if you’re model-skinny the peplum is a charming new way to wear your fashion.
BLAME DIOR When the celebrated “New Look” made its debut in 1947 the picture of a fashionable woman presented a silhouette with nipped-waist jacket that had rounded hipline creating as it did, the dernier cri, hourglass silhouette. Full skirts, curves and slightly padded and nipped waistlines recall the elaborate designs of the 19th century. If you are a model-type like Kate Middleton, who has been spotted wearing peplum dresses, you can get away with wearing anything and it just looks perfect, but oh that flirty peplum gives me pause to reflect on my not-so-perfect figure.
THE CURRENT PEPLUM REVIVAL The craze for the peplum was more vividly popular on television in the 1980s. Remember the TV soap operas “Dallas” and Falcon Crest” and those female fashion victims with their broad shoulders and peplum silhouettes. Women viewers got the message and peplums were fashionable again. I ask you, “Is the peplum a reincarnation, a modernized throwback to the bustle of the Victorian era? Yet, for spring fashion collections pay homage to the peplum and for many women the peplum poses a problem. If you are not runway-model slim the peplum will just accentuate your hips and if you have a short waist the peplum only exaggerates how short your waist actually is.
KUDOS TO THE PEPLUM Some praise is needed to thank the peplum for accenting the waist and making it look smaller. It is a refreshing change in silhouette but I protest adding anymore fabric to my body than is necessary to look fashionably chic. However, there are still those fashionistas shoppers out there falling prey to the peplum craze, even if the look just doesn’t work for them. So I ask you. “Are they going to wear the peplum fashion to impress their girlfriends?” Believe me no man concerns himself about whether you are wearing the latest fashion trend; he is more interested if you are interested in ‘him.’ Yes, of course, darling you should look band box pretty, but consider seriously whether the peplum is right for your figure type.

Polly Guerin

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Louis Vuitton, one of the world’s leading international fashion houses well known for its LV monogram is one of the most counterfeited brands in the fashion world due to its image as a status symbol featured on luxury trunks and leather products to fashion ready-to-wear accessories, jewelry and footwear. It is the subject of an exhibition, “Louis Vuitton-Marc Jacobs” at the Museum Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris and runs through Sept. 16, 2012. Marc Jacobs, as you know, has been Vuitton’s artistic director since 1997. The multimedia exhibition examines the vastly different periods in the fashion industry: the 19th century world of steamer trunks by founder Louis Vuitton, and the exuberant global business generated by Marc Jacobs. VUITTON ON THE PARIS RUNWAY Vuitton’s originals were always luggage, steamer trunks and cases meant for elite travelers and Marc Jacobs’ Paris show took off with a spectacular presentation that harkened back to the glory days of travel and suitcases. At the recent Paris showings two massive steel doors parted and a full-scale 1890s navy blue locomotive with the name Louis Vuitton on the tank in gold lettering, pulled into the temporary LV station at Cour Carree du Louvre in a bath of steam. Elegant models disembarked one by one wearing richly adorned dresses; each greeted by her own uniformed porter with armloads of Vuitton bags. It was a fantasy production with even a suitcase-inspired crocodile train cases with giant Swarovski closures and baggage that went from miniature to oversize in a spectacular display of Vuitton workmanship. Viva Vuitton!!! It just made me want to board the Orient Express, piled high with LV luggage. THE LUXURY BRAND Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton is a fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton who introduced his flat-bottom trunks in 1858 making them lightweight and airtight and easily stackable. It is curious to recall that before the arrival of Vuitton’s trunks, rounded-top trunks were used, generally to promote water runoff, and thus could not be stacked. Within short time luggage makers began to imitate Louis Vuitton’s flat-bottom style and design. To protect against duplication, Vuitton changed the Trianon design to beige and brown stripes and copywrited the lightweight, waterproof trunks in 1867 with the “marquee L. Vuitton deposee, which translates into “L. Vuitton registered trademark to curtail imitation of the famous Vuitton look. The famous monogram, LV, as we know it today was produced in 1896 as an homage by Georges Vuitton to his late father.LOUIS VUITTON REVISITED Louis Vuitton did not merely step up to the stage of celebrity luggage maker, he honed his skills. After spending seventeen years apprenticing at one of Paris’ packing specialists, house founder, Louis Vuitton set up his own operation on Rue Neuve des Capucines in Paris, France, noting “English Spoken” on his first label. It was the Golden Age of luggage when well-to-do women would change dresses up to seven times a day a dozens of trunks were required for a voyage. The exhibit in Paris clearing illustrates this point with a trunk from 1888 bearing a plaque from the House of Charles Frederick Worth, considered the father of haute couture. With the genius for marketing in 1897 Vuitton participated in the universal exhibition in Paris as well as other exhibition venues which contributed to establishing the company as a worldwide corporation. THE MARC JACOBS ERA The street-smart New York designer enlisted to launch Vuitton into the international marketplace with ready-to-wear and fashion accessories also gets his due recognition at the exhibition. Louis Vuitton may have seen a world mobilized by travel and industrialization, but it was Marc Jacobs who represents modern communication and global expansion through collaborations with celebrated artists. Stephen Sprouse, for one, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs designed a limited-edition line of Vuitton bags that featured graffiti written over the monogram pattern. In 2003, Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with Marc Jacobs masterminded the new Monogram Mulicolore canvas range of handbags and accessories in 33 different colors on either a white or black background. Murakami also created the Cherry Blossom pattern. THE LVMH HOLDING COMPANY Louis Vuitton worldwide sells its products through standalone boutiques, lease departments in high end department stores, and through the e-commerce section of its website. 1987 saw the creation of LVMH. Moet et Chandon and Hennessy, the leading manufacturers of champagne and cognac, merged respectively with Louis Vuitton to form the luxury goods conglomerate.