Saturday, May 7, 2011

Santa Barbara Seventies Style

Long before botox, backbiting behavior, pretension that knows no bounds and over the top spending bordering on bankruptcy that we know as reality tv, there was the PBS groundbreaking show "An American Family." The twelve part series chronicled the lives of Bill and Pat Loud and their five children in upper class Santa Barbara.

HBO masterfully recreated a fictionalized account of the series "Cinema Verite"(you can catch it On Demand throughout the month of May). Tim Robbins plays the philandering husband with Diane Lane as his feminist coming of age wife and their trials and tribulations are literally played out in full splendor (everything from a gay son to infidelity and separation). Like many of the housewives that followed decades later, the call of fifteen minutes of small screen fame beckoned and fireworks ensued.

The show also offers a wonderful look back at the seventies in Santa Barbara. Production designer Patti Podesta recreated the Loud's ranch house (outside of Los Angeles) complete with the classic sixties and seventies accoutrement  -- white laminate kitchen table, Eames chair, tweed sofa and period Brown Jordan patio furniture. For more on the show's set designs, see writer David Keeps of the Los Angeles Times blog LA at Home.

The TV Loud family....

and the real-life Louds
Costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlab created the period wardrobe, a mixture of seventies
fashion moments blended with a relaxed California style. Modified Jackie O tortoise shell sunglasses, sheath tunic dresses, scarf tied hair and even Bill's crisp white shirts are just a few of the costumes that no doubt helped the characters channel the Louds.

Ali MacGraw meets Mary Tyler Moore in this look for Diane Lane

Seventies country club looks

Lane with James Gandolfini

Lolita Davidovich as the colorful boutique owner

Loud interiors above and below

Photo Credits: HBO

Sunday, May 1, 2011

And she cooks too....

Not only is she an Academy Award winning actress, singer, wife of singer Chris Martin, philanthropist, model, mother and writer, she can cook too. Enter the latest in the celebrity cookbook genre with My Father's Daughter: Delicious Easy Recipes Celebrating Family and Togetherness by Gwyneth Paltrow (Grand Central Life and Style, 2011).

Paltrow has established herself as not only a style icon but a respected foodie as well. Just witness the following of her website Goop that features everything that has to do with the words MAKE, GO, GET, DO, BE and SEE. While many of her recommendations on the site are vegetarian, I have always enjoyed reading what she will cook up next. She literally placed trainer Tracy Anderson on the map and her lifestyle habits have been a major influence to countless fans.

Flanked by Mom Blythe and brother Jake

The beautifully illustrated cookbook seems to be a natural extension from her blog with with recipes ranging from her mother actress Blythe Danner's healthy blueberry muffins to sole a' la grenobloise. Written as a tribute to her late fathwe (film and tv director Bruce Paltrow) who "introduced her to the joys of culinary exploration," it's obvious he instilled a deep appreciation of the art of cooking as a family affair. And while boiling water is a culinary feat for me, I appreciate the fact that many of the 150 recipes   require few ingredients and appear to be relatively simple. Those with children will appreciate the fact that she makes many of the adult recipes kid friendly as well.

Celeb chef Mario Batali penned the book's foreword who is also her partner in crime on the PBS show Spain...on the road Again. Coined as the "odd couple of TV," the thirteen part series is one big road trip as they  tour the countryside focusing on the food and culture. (Paltrow has loved Spain since she studied there at the age of fifteen).

Duck Ragu

The accomplished actress recently launched the book at a dinner and in attendance were the likes of rapper Jay Z, Jerry Seinfeld, New York Yankees Alex Rodriquez, Cameron Diaz and Martha Stewart just to name a few. The menu included Duck Ragu and Arugula Salad with Smoked Mozzarella Slow Roasted Tomato Crostini as a starter dish.

Tuna Rolls
Penne Puttanesca
Reportedly Paltrow has signed a record deal and given her penchant for style and couture, one wonders if she will follow in Stewart's footsteps.  Her entertaining tips were recently profiled on One King's Lane where she recommends the "four musts for a dinner party are good music, a relaxed attitude, alcohol and one funny guest." The self professed perfectionist's playlist includes REM, Santogold and MGMT....and  ironically no mention of Coldplay:)

Martha, move over...

As a Fashionista

Photo Credits: Grand Central Life  and Style