The Vintage Woman Goes Hollywood
By Laurie Bogart Morrow
Academy Award Winning Actress MARGARET O'BRIEN
It is strange but true that world-renown fashion photographer Rob Van Petten (www.robvanpetten.com) and I have never been formally introduced. We’ve worked together—and worked together brilliantly—for a year. We simply haven’t had the time for formal introductions. The cataclysmic energy that surrounds The Vintage Woman has superseded all else and thrown us together like a lightning bolt.
The first time we met was at Rob’s studio to shoot the images that are currently on display at the Forbes Magazine Gallery at 60 Fifth Avenue, New York—a photo-complement (featuring Rob’s gorgeous wife, Carolyn, an international fashion model) wearing necklaces, earrings, brooches and bracelets from my museum-quality vintage costume jewelry collection. The concept proved combustible, making for one of the most visually exciting exhibitions ever produced for the genre.
The exhibition was set for three months duration…then six. Now, due to exceedingly popular demand, it runs through Labor Day 2010. A year-long exhibition in New York City, well…unless it’s the Egyptian temple at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, doesn't remain up that long, you know? It speaks for the jewels, for Rob’s amazing art-photography, and for the seemingly electrical, fused way we work together. Thing is, we still haven’t been formally introduced. Haven’t had the time. Probably never will…
You see, from the moment we were thrown together by the Universe, we began creating in tandem, like two oxen pulling the same yoke. But it was more than the combination of Rob, as a photographer, and me, as a writer, that makes it all flow like Devonshire cream: the project seems to have a life all its own. It’s got legs—pardon the pun. The Vintage Woman celebrates women of integrity and of accomplishment—women who, like fine wine, have aged with grace and wisdom—and the notion is wondrous, surprisingly unique and, remarkably, unexplored. Rob and I—indeed, all who have been involved in our project—have embraced The Vintage Woman with zest, commitment and it’s given us all such unmitigated pleasure.
The vintage costume jewelry is the tie that binds. It simply serves to accentuate the women we’re profiling—women over forty, some of whom are well into their nineties. But it’s what they possess—the coveted, sparkling knowledge that, when applied wisely, can relegate age to a mere number, not a condition or an expiration date. Indeed, Time has little influence upon “our ladies.” In fact, they utterly defy it.
Stay tuned as we continue to introduce us to “our ladies.” First, let’s start with legendary, Academy Award winning actress Margaret O’Brien (vintage 1937), who we worked with just two weeks ago, when Rob and I were out in Hollywood. Accompanying us was "Team Vintage"--our talented makeup artist, model/actress/singer Devon Diep of New York City, and truly gifted couture designer/stylist Peg Lutz of Santa Rosa, California (http://www.plus-size.com), who is currently expanding her line to include The Vintage Woman Collection, from sizes 6 and up, including those hard-to-find plus sizes.
As a child actress, Margaret O’Brien was in a class all her own; she starred in such classics as Jane Eyre with Joan Fontaine, The Secret Garden with Herbert Marshall, The Canterville Ghost with Charles Laughton and Robert Young, Little Women with Elizabeth Taylor and perhaps best-known of all, Meet Me in St. Louis, with Judy Garland. With over forty movies to her credit and countless television episodes, Margaret has separated her career from the pure joy of living a thrilling life and ha traveled the globe in pursuit of adventure, thriving on new experiences, new people and new places. It is, she says, something passed down to her from her mother, Gladys Flores, a celebrated flamenco dancer in her day (Margaret’s father died tragically, just before her birth.) Even more tragically, she lost her mother when she was only eighteen years-old; and yet, this beautiful lady, throughout her life, continued embraced her mother’s memory and legacy with love and passion.
That, in a nutshell, is the very heart of The Vintage Woman. It’s more than a book—it’s a lifestyle and a new concept for mature women the world over. By painting a portrait of these remarkable women in words and in pictures, their stories are nothing more or less than inspirational, spiritual, educational and full of love, laughter-and-sadness and most of all hope--an invaluable lesson to us all.
The Vintage Woman sets out to redefine women and age. For life is a very great adventure, and living is an endless and energetic journey--provided we travel the road with undying enthusiasm, unvanquished purpose and unbounded energy.
Welcome to the world of The Vintage Woman…and soon to follow, its companion book and lifestyle concept, The Vintage Man.