Ayn Rand At Lululemon And Bloomingdale's: Individualism, Inspiration, And Self-Improvement

Ayn Rand quote at BloomingdalesThe yoga-pants crowd is apparently huffing and puffing (mindfully, I imagine) over the "Who Is John Galt?" shopping bags being handed out at Lululemon. (There's a good photo, with both sides of the bag, at the bottom of this blog post.)

“Galt would not likely have proclaimed, as Lululemon’s bags once did, that 'what we do to the earth, we do to ourselves,'” notes the NYT's Ian Austen--a deadpan understatement that demonstrates just how often (the right kind of) politics goes unnoted on shopping bags.

But, he reports, the company's website relates Ayn Rand's celebration of excellence to the company's philosophy: “Our bags are visual reminders for ourselves to live a life we love and conquer the epidemic of mediocrity. We all have a John Galt inside of us, cheering us on. How are we going to live lives we love?”

Or, as Molly Worthen writes on Slate, “Yoga and Rand have both spawned subcultures of devotees not because Americans are either pantheistic mystics or objectivists but because they are individualists who belong to the church of self-improvement.”

Worthen's observation is borne out by another Rand sighting, this one in Bloomingdale's (click photo for larger view), where a Rand quote appears alongside similarly inspirational lines from Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Diana Vreeland, Betty Friedan, and Raquel Welch: “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplacable spark....The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” Oprah couldn't have said it better.

[Photo by Virginia Postrel. You are free to use it with a link back to this post.]

DG Contest: Win A Modern Classic, The "Darcy" Shirt From Electra Lang

ShopperTo celebrate Black Friday, our friends at Electra Lang, interviewed in the post below, are offering DG readers a chance to win one of their modern classics: the Darcy shirt, with its flattering Edwardian collar and adjustable length.

Don't worry, you don't have to show up at 6 a.m. and fight the madding crowds. To enter, just leave a comment below before midnight Pacific Time on Friday, December 9.

The winner will be picked using Random.org. Contest open to U.S. residents only. Pattern and color of shirt will depend on availability. DG reserves the right to delete comments deemed to be commercial spam.

DG Q&A: Electra Lang Founders On "Sensible Chic" Clothing For Real Bodies

4) Favorite glamorous movie? Breakfast at Tiffany’s

5) What was your most glamorous moment?

Electra: Living large at the Ritz in Paris

Kristi: My wedding day. I felt beautiful, confident and on top of the world.

Laura: New York City to see my friend, Patricia Heaton’s play on Broadway. I had lucked out earlier in the day when I found a perfect Marc Jacobs 40s style dress and a pair of Dolce & Gabbana Mary Janes with lamb edges!! We had dinner at Babbo, saw the play, had drinks with the actors afterward in the theater district, then ended the night at Marie’s Crisis—I felt so tall and pretty and slender…

6) Favorite glamorous object (car, accessory, electronic gadget, etc.)?

 Electra: My old 3.0 CS leftover from when I was swingle.

Kristi: My Missoni silk pajamas

Laura: My gold and pearl cuff from Sonya Ooten that my husband gave to me on Valentine’s Day 2009.

7) Most glamorous place?

Electra: Lounging the Chateau Marçay in my Julian caftan

Kristi: Lunching at the La Colombe d'Or, in St-Paul-de-Vence, France

Laura: Positano, Italy—my Jane tunic with Capri pants, gladiators, big sunglasses and my huge straw hat---I feel like Jackie “O”

8) Most glamorous job?

Electra: Salesgirl at Fiorucci in 1976 with Joey Arais as manager!

Kristi: Being an Electra Lang partner.

Laura: Fashion Designer of course!!

9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't

Electra: Plastic Surgery

Kristi: Buying only designer labels

Laura: Living in LA, I see young women heading to clubs at night in their ubiquitous uniform: skin-tight super short black dress with stilettos. It’s boring and cheap looking.

10) Something or someone that you find glamorous whose glamour is unrecognized

Laura: A mother pushing her child on a swing in the park, laughing and enjoying the moment.

Electra: How can I top that answer!

Kristi: Agree with Laura, a mother’s love and adoration to her child is priceless!!!

11) Can glamour survive?

Kristi: Absolutely

Laura: As long as women want to feel attractive, there will be glamour—we can’t help it!

Electra: In spite of children!

12) Is glamour something you're born with?

 Electra: Yes, if you were born before 1930. For the rest of us, we have to work at it.

Kristi: For some it comes naturally.

Laura: You can definitely be born with a great eye, but it takes a bit of work to cultivate it.

1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? CB
2) Paris or Venice? How can you choose between two lovers?
3) New York or Los Angeles? Los Angeles
4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace
5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Kyoto
6) Boots or stilettos? Boots!!! (I [Electra] have ten pairs..)
7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Nouveau
8) Jaguar or Aston Martin? Aston Martin
9) Armani or Versace? Armani
10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Vreeland
11) Champagne or single malt? Some days I need BOTH.
12) 1960s or 1980s? 60s
13) Diamonds or pearls? Pearls
14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Moss
15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Connery (loyal, handsome, ages well, sense of humor)

[Photos courtesy of Electra Lang: Sensible Chic]

Iconic Glamour Images From Blade Runner And Basic Instinct

[This post is by new DG contributor Cosmo Wenman.--vp]

Virginia recently tweeted and posted on Facebook asking, "What photos should absolutely be in a book on glamour?"

While putting together this collection of recommendations from pop-culture, I sought out the two photos below, of Sean Young in Blade Runner and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. But it wasn't until I saw them side by side that I realized how similar they are. Not only do both women know how to hold the hell out of a cigarette, but the images' contexts are nearly identical.

Both are from interrogation scenes in which the women are suspected of concealing their true natures. Both characters are extremely poised and confident, and both become romantically involved with their interrogators. There are several other parallels as well. I put together a comparison:

These twin scenes are following the same formula and mix of glamorous elements: smoking (even the question of permission to smoke), composure and confidence, deception, emotional distance, and danger. Is there an older film noir scene both these movies are paying homage to?

BTW, Virginia told me she thinks the Sean Young photo "is a little too calculatedly retro for my purposes. It lacks sprezzatura. It's more like an imitation of glamorous photos from the '40s." I think it evokes glamour, but I know what Virginia means - Sean Young's character does look almost artificial...

You Read It Here First: The Remarkable Story Of J.R. Martinez

J-r-martinez-300I don't follow Dancing with the Stars, so when I saw J.R. Martinez on the cover of last week's People I didn't realize he'd been in the news lately.

Isn't that the guy Charles Oliver wrote about for DeepGlamour? I asked myself. And, sure enough, it was. For those of you who missed it, here, straight from J.R.'s hometown of Dalton, Georgia, is that 2008 guest post about how an injured veteran turned himself into a soap opera actor.