have been gratified to see how many people have fallen
in love with Cece's vintage wardrobe. I am often asked
how I come up with some of her amazing outfits. The
answer is sometimes I invent them whole cloth (no pun
intended), and sometimes I cheat.
Call it inspiration: it comes from all over the place:
old movies I rent, people I see, clothes I own, clothes
I fantasize about owning, vintage clothing sites, art/fashion
histories I read.
Then, there are the magazines I devour with religious
fervor. Suffice it to say, when VOGUE arrives every
month, my family knows to steer clear of me for several
hours. If I see something that strikes me as particularly
Cece, I tear the picture out, and stick it up on my
bulletin board, where it stays until it the edges of
the paper start to curl up from the humidity in my garage
office. That's my benchmark: if I haven't used it in
a book by then, it goes in the trash. After all, another
VOGUE is always on its way.
In the opening scene of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece is
wearing a "Gina Lollabrigida goes beatnik"
outfit: cropped toreador pants and a shrunken black
turtleneck. The model in the picture has Cece's long,
brown hair and Jackie O sunglasses, but I like to think
of Cece as covering a bit more of her midriff (she's
pushing forty, after all), and wearing a different pair
of shoes: the ones in the picture, which I think are
by Michael Kors (I ripped it out without taking note
of the designer) look like they kill, especially around
the base of the big toe, where I myself have suffered
blisters on more than one occasion. Also, the outfit
is too matchy-matchy for Cece, who not only doesn't
have the money for a purse like this one, but wouldn't
carry it if she could. It's too serious. Well, maybe
she'd wear it lightened up with a flouncy, wraparound
Etro sundress, halter-style, mid-calf length, with multicolored
bangles from Little India up and down her arms, and
huge gold hoops...oh, dear, I want to go shopping...)
In Chapter Six of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece and her
two best friends, Bridget and Lael, set off on their
Nancy Drew-esque road trip to Palm Springs. Bridget
is wearing skintight black leather, and looks like the
star of a blaxploitation flick; Lael is wearing stained
lavender painter's pants and a puffy-sleeved smock;
and Cece is wearing a white, lace-up mini-caftan with
big, bell sleeves, a white head-scarf, and white-rimmed
Jackie O glasses. Once again, she eschews total looks,
and in my mind, would be carrying a pair of lace-up
Greek sandals, natural leather, and a vintage Pucci
beach bag, wildly colored and patterned. Cece has very
short nails (she's a biter), so they are never manicured,
but her toes are impeccable.
Fuschia. No, orange. Bright orange.
In Chapter 12 of NOT A GIRL DETECTIVE, Cece takes a
walk up to Eurotrash enclave Sunset Plaza to visit her
favorite bookstore, Book Soup. Her outfit is by Prada--purchased
on sale, and a size too small, unfortunately. I describe
it as "Andalusian retro, with hair pulled back
into a bun, an off-the-shoulder blouse, and a matching
silk chiffon skirt with tiered ruffles." Cece wears
the beige, white and red outfit with beige suede spike-heeled
boots, as opposed to the flimsy kitten heels in the
picture, which I do not like at all with the outfit.
They are sixties space-age where they should be bohemian
Check out www.enokiworld.com
under dresses for the teal, ruched Giorgio di Sant Angelo
dress from the seventies that Cece spies in the window
of On the Bias, Bridget's store, in Chapter 15 of NOT
A GIRL DETECTIVE. The writers at enokiworld, who are
truly brilliant, describe di Sant Angelo's dressmaking
talents thusly: "Like his hand is resting on a
cluttered table and his pinky pushes a small stack of
paper, which the wind catches and turns into some psycho
origami Noah's Ark..."
Talk about inspired. I wish I could've
come up with that.
Hadley's Fruit Orchards (in
Cabazon, off the I-10, 16 miles west
of Palm Springs). A beloved pit stop since 1931. These
people invented trail mix. You can purchase an unholy
variety of dates here-- Medjools, apricot-stuffed Medjools,
Deglets, Deglet Noors, Honeys, Khadrawis, Golden Princesses,
Barhis, Thoorys, Zahidis-- but order the classic date
shake and be done with it.
Albert Frey's Tramway Oasis
Gas Station (2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Highway 111).
Sixties modernist icon, now the Visitor's Center. If you're
driving in from Los Angeles, it's the first thing you'll
see. The roof is a parabola of steel I-beams and corrugated
metal that juts out over what used to be the gas pumps.
If the Jetsons were real, this is where they'd fill their
Sonny Bono statue (155 South
Palm Canyon Drive, Plaza Mercado). Sonny Bono served as
mayor of Palm Springs from 1988-1992, and was a driving
force in its revitalization. Go pay homage to the man
who outlawed bikinis on Palm Canyon Drive. You can even
pose for pictures on his lap: the life-sized bronzed likeness
sits on the edge of a bubbling fountain, a big smile on
his face. And no wonder. Sonny Bono gave the world "I
Got You, Babe," and Cher, who headlines many a Top
Ten list herself.
Korakia Pensione (257 South
Patencio Road). A Moroccan jewel in the shadow of Mt.
San Jacinto, decorated with doors from Afghanistan, couches
from Thailand, and showerheads from Mexico. The villa
was the hidewaway of Scottish painter Gordon Coutts, who
built it in 1924 to recreate a favorite place in Tangier.
After his death, it fell into disarray: astroturf, linoleum,
and acoustical tiles appeared. In 1989, it was brought
back to life, and then some: no TVs, no DVD players, just
the outdoor fireplace, the billowing white curtains, the
brilliant blue pool, and thou. Korakia means "crows"
Melvyn's Restaurant and Ingleside
Inn (200 West Ramon Road). Guests here have included Howard
Hughes, Salvador Dali, and Norman Vincent Peale. Still
the best place in town to sit around the piano and listen
to show tunes with mob bosses, wheelchair-bound B-actors,
post-operative trophy wives in head-to-toe silver lame,
and miscellaneous hipsters, just taking in the show. Order
a Manhattan, and be assured the bourbon will be top-shelf
and poured with a liberal hand.
Indian Canyons (South Palm Canyon
from Highway 111, two miles to the tollgate). The canyons
are the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente tribe of Cahuilla
Indians, and still considered ritual lands. The Andreas
Canyon trail is an easy two-mile hike that follows a stream
wandering through California fan palms. The lush environs
will make you think jungle, not desert.
Swiss Miss Houses (Las Palmas
district). Fifteen of these Alpine-style A-frame houses,
designed by the father-and-son team of George and Robert
Alexander, are said to exist. Imagine a Tahitian hut crossed
with Heidi's cottage in the Swiss Alps, and you get the
idea. The most famous Alexander house in Las Palmas, however,
was Peter Lawford's. Located in close proximity to Marilyn
Monroe's Palm Springs home, it was a place JFK was said
to have visited more than once. A must-see for conspiracy
The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies (the historic Plaza
Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive). The all-new fourteenth
season show will pay homage to the late, lamented Chi
Chi Club, where everybody from Sophie Tucker to Sammy
Davis Jr. performed. The long-legged lovelies in the show,
as always, are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and the
host, Ray Markowitz, has the suavity of Cary Grant and
the patriotism of John Wayne. Word to the wise: hit Melvyn's
(#4, above) for a drink prior to showtime.
See's Candies (323 Palm Canyon Drive). Dark Scotchmallows.
For any occasion.
You won't be
Patsy's Clothes Closet (4121 East Palm Canyon Drive).
Vintage leopard-skin. For any occasion.
won't be sorry.