Friday, September 4, 2015

Newport and Her Southern Sisters

Beginning this weekend, embark on an enchanting journey at Rosecliff as you explore the relationship between glitzy Newport, Rhode Island and the aristocratic American South. From New Orleans, Charleston and Baltimore to Virginia's fabled plantations and the winter playground of Palm Beach, relish in never-before-seen gowns, portraits, and furniture from a storied past. I live for this kind of history and looking forward to my visit later in the fall. 

The exhibit tells the tale of a war-torn history filled with wealth, romance and breathtaking fashion in four chronological chapters: the colonial period (1492 to 1763), the antebellum period (1789 to 1849), the post-Civil War era (1865 to 1877), and the Gilded Age (late 19th century). Revel in the mansion's newly upgraded gallery space where this collection will be on display and survey items hailing from several Preservation Society properties, as well as loans from the private collections of families with ties to both Newport and the South.

"The close bond between Newport and the South – through trade, tourism and marriage – didn't stop with the Civil War. In fact, Southerners like Alva Vanderbilt and Ward McAllister helped define Newport as the Crown jewel of Gilded Age society," Dr. Laurie Ossman, Preservation Society Museum Affairs Director, said in a press release.

Newport and Her Southern Sisters: Three Centuries of Art and Design is on display through January 3, 2016.

Photos // Nicholas Mele

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pantone Color Picks for Fall 2015

As September ushers in the end to summer and bitter-sweet start to fall, fashion aficionados will bid adieu to white linens and neutral cottons in favor of rich flavors and deep palates. Color plays an important role in setting the tone for the fashion season and no one knows this better than Pantone. Spearheading what's lust-worthy in pigments, paints and other pretty things, this global authority on color asked designers from New York Fashion Week to select the top color trends for fall 2015. Here's my take on what the experts had to say.

Dried Herb
Olive green was once designated exclusively for military garments and safari styles. Today, this earthy hue (flaunting hints of avocado and lime) commands the attention of Elie Saab who designs must-have pieces like this chic full-body jumpsuit and matching duster coat.

Desert Sage
Green + Gray = Desert Sage. Call it Dried Herb's distant cousin, if you will. Dennis Basso channels the softness of this muted tone in a plush pull-over. 


Stormy Weather 
I once wrote about Claire Underwood, the ice queen of television drama with a couture-lined closet a mile long. It wouldn't surprise me if Mrs. Underwood's wardrobe includes a plethora of steely Michael Kors like the ones found in the designer's ready-to-wear collection this season.


Oak Buff
Like golden rays peeking through turbid clouds after a storm-ridden day (literally and figuratively speaking), so is the intensity of Oak Buff. Badgley Mischka welcomes this fusion of mustard, canary and gold with a dazzling gown worthy of awards season.

Rich, dramatic and full-bodied are not only the words plucked to describe a palate-pleasing red wine. They're also elements found in Pantone's color of the year, Marsala. Mugler designs an alluring two-piece with clean lines and bold accents. I need this in my closet! 


Biscay Bay
Biscay Bay is where azure waters meet leafy green palms. Look closely and you'll notice the color is deeper than the undertones of the Caribbean sea and edgier than the brilliance of a gem. Michael Kors casts a wintry spell on summer's most sought-after hue with the production of this teal coat.


Reflecting Pond
Polished and refined - choice words that come to mind with Reflecting Pond. This solid navy commands sensible style. J.Crew takes a casual, yet elegant approach by pairing stone-washed denim with a swank blazer and ornate scarf dressed with gold embellishments. 


Cadnium Orange
Cadnium Orange pays homage to the vibrant styles of the '60s and '70. Both youthful and optimistic, this color is soulful while remaining seasoned. Balmin channels juicy tangerine in this delicate micro dripping with fringe. 


Cashmere Rose 
Cashmere Rose is not just another pretty pink. This divine choice speaks volumes especially when utilized by Chanel.

Amethyst Orchid
If purple is the symbol of royalty, then Amethyst Orchid is its crown jewel (so to speak). Imperial and feminine with a diverse palate in its depth, this violet and plum blend beckons nobles to court and inspires the likes of modern man, Tadashi Shoji.

images // Beauty Press and

Monday, August 3, 2015

An Afternoon at Westport Rivers

Summer is made for weekend day-trips like the one Mr. Chat and I took to Westport, MA. Located approximately 60 miles southeast of Boston, you'll find a rural enclave adjacent to the sea. There's a whimsical road and it's nestled between bountiful vines that sway along a country pasture. Welcome to Westport Rivers, a dream come true for proprietors Bob and Carol Russell who purchased the former dairy farm in 1982. 

The first vines were planted in 1986 with help from the couple's two sons. Six years later, Westport Rivers opened to the public. Today, this family-run business holds accolades galore that serve as a testament to the South Coast's thriving wine region. As the largest vineyard in New England, the winery boasts a sprawling 400-acre lot, but only 80 acres are cultivated for vinifera (the wine family that includes varietals such as pinot noir and riesling).
After years of buying Westport Rivers at our neighborhood wine shop, Mr. Chat and I finally took a drive to sample these luscious libations in person. The vineyard is open for tastings and tours Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A mere $10 will please your palate with six varieties – all generously poured, I must add. Here's a look at our tasting menu...


2007 Westport Brut RJR
An array of zesty bubbles dance through notes of brioche, green apples and candied lemon making this blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier perfect for entertaining. 

Farmer’s Fizz “Sec”
A prosecco-style blend of chardonnay and mouth-watering peach housed in a unexpected beer bottle. It's effervescent, sweet and frothy, but as a lover of dry wines, it's too overwhelming for my taste.

2013 Chardonnay 
France has made its way to southeastern Massachusetts with this crisp and dry white - a total 360 from the Farmer's Fizz. There's a glorious aroma of baked pear, rich cream and white cherry with added richness from the oak. Chardonnay lovers rejoice! 

2014 Cinco Cães 
I fell in love with this name immediately! Cinco cães means "five dogs" in Portuguese and is named after the five dogs the family owned. This zesty varietal is a celebration of five grapes: rkatsiteli, pinot gris, gruner veltliner muscat and chardonnay. The scent of lemon, lime, peach, pineapple and white pepper invite you to stay for another glass. 

2012 Pinot Noir 
This two-time silver medal winner is a delicious light bodied red harboring notes of cherry, plum and pomegranate.

Grace Pinot Noir Aperitif, anyone? The Grace is a darling after-dinner drink resembling a rich tawny port. With help from an outside vendor, pinot noir grapes are transformed into brandy. Once complete, pinot noir juice is added to the batch and the concoction is then aged in French oak barrels for five years. You’ll taste caramel, dried figs and dark cherry.

2014 Pinot Noir of Rosé

Oh. My. Word. This is an incredible rosé, my friends. It wasn't part of the official tasting, so I'm glad we scored a sample. White cherry and strawberry aromas hit your nose as you go in for the first sip. Refreshingly zest and with a firm acidity. One word: delicious.

Lastly, no vineyard is complete without a resident cat. That's right. I said cat. When's the last time a cat curled up to you and your chardonnay... and you weren't sitting on your sofa? Yeah, I thought so. Meet Mao. He's a pretty cool dude and it's safe to say that even dogs are afraid of him.!

Mao photo courtesy of Jessica Weeks

Monday, July 27, 2015

Angela Moore's 16th Annual Fashion Show and Champagne Brunch

Lisa Nula channeling Jackie O in a vintage Tracey Negoshian dress

Style connoisseurs and social tastemakers from the Ocean State and beyond flocked to the lush and manicured grounds of Newport's Rosecliff mansion on July 9 for an elegant morning with Angela Moore. As a nationally renowned fashion curator and designer for nearly two decades, Moore takes a sophisticated approach to coastal style. This purveyor of premier resort wear plucks éclat labels and exclusive designers for her tony Bellevue Avenue boutique. Moore’s style affords a modern feel, but also gives way to a savoir-faire from decades past when dressing was revered as fine art…even when running to the grocery store. 

My mom and I were invited to this year’s event which paid homage to the 70th anniversary of the Preservation Society of Newport. Upon entering the stately manor that was commissioned in 1899 by
heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs, we were greeted by local media eager to capture the bevy of well-dressed arrivals (present company included). Next, we digested an exhibit from the Preservation Society’s costume archives as effervescent mimosas refreshed our palate. After a mingle on the terrace with some like-minded ladies, we sat for a delightful brunch of savory quiche, fresh fruit and free-flowing Champagne. 

Moore designed her "Fashion through the Decades" theme as a tribute to American legends such as Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, and my personal favorites Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Grace Kelly. The show highlighted pieces these style icons wore in their heyday and included modern elements that depicted a trendy version for today’s woman. 

I almost jumped out of my chiavari chair when I spotted a snappy sea creature dress from B The Collection swimming down the runway. The red, white and blue shift-style was a nod to Jackie O and certainly one of my favorites. Coming in at a sultry second, two to-die-for looks inspired (again) by the former first lady -- a stunning seahorse-print maxi from Escapada Living paired with a beaded coral reef handbag from Moyna and a dark blue palm-print jumpsuit by Escapada Living paired with a beaded sailboat handbag from Moyna.

The crowd was awed by a Maggie Norris gown worn by Leah Cann during the finale. The dress was inspired by a Givenchy number Jackie O wore during a state dinner at the Palace of Versailles. Cann, well-known among Newport society, commissioned her dress in 2002 and it will now become part of the Preservation Society’s costume archives.

My mom and I had one of the best days in our long history of day-tripping as a mother-daughter duo -- the perks of being an only child with a fabulous mom, I tell you. And after years of chatting via social media with Andrea McHugh (the brains and beauty behind
Newport Stylephile), we finally met in real life. She is a doll and we've vowed to trade secrets soon. We were even featured in the style section of Sunday's Providence Journal. See you next year!

Rosecliff Garden


Kathryn Farrington channeling Jackie O in a snappy dress by B The Collection 
and Brianna Ralto showcasing a modern-day Jackie O style

Ashley Bickford Krager (Miss Rhode Island 2009) channeling Jackie O 
in an Escapada Living maxi and Moyna handbag

Alexandra Curtis (Miss Rhode Island 2015) channeling Jackie O 
in an Escapada Living jumpsuit and Moyna handbag

Ashley Bickford Krager (Miss Rhode Island 2009) channeling 
Brigitte Bardot in Manuel Canovas

Alexandra Curtis (Miss Rhode Island 2015) channeling Brigitte Bardot  
in Manuel Canovas

Kent Russell showcasing an Adurey Hepburn inspired look for men

Carolyn Van Petten channeling Grace Kelly in a 
garden party dress from Trinity Repertory Company

A Twiggy inspired look from Trinity Repertory Company 

Kent Russell pairing his dapper date night look with striking Louboutins

Preservation Society of Newport Costume Archives Exhibit 

Preservation Society of Newport Costume Archives Exhibit 

Preservation Society of Newport Costume Archives Exhibit

Rosecliff Salon

Preservation Society of Newport Costume Archives Exhibit

Preservation Society of Newport Costume Archives Exhibit 

Preservation Society of Newport Costume Archives Exhibit


Leah Cann showcasing her commissioned piece by Maggie Norris Couture

Angela and Gary Moore

Rue Le Chat and her mom

Newport Stylephile and Rue Le Chat

Photos // John Corbett