Obsession Marlene Dietrich – The Pierre Passebon Collection

The word legend can sometimes be overused, but it is certainly the only word to use when talking about Marlene Dietrich. A formidable actress, style icon, stage and cabaret star, Marlene was unconventional, original and beautiful, elevating androgynous style into an art form. Now, in a new book from French publishing house Flammarion, Marlene’s effortless style is celebrated once more.

The book, ‘Obsession Marlene Dietrich’ by Henry Jean Servat, uses rare photographs of the actress from the collection of Parisian tastemaker Pierre Passebon. An interview with Passebon is included in the book, and it is there that he details the depth of his obsession with the actress, one which stretched far before he started his incredible photographic collection.

The book is a mini coffee table tome, with many double page spreads of images of the actress running throughout her career. The images include rare stills from her movies, including the iconic Blue Angel image shown in both a censored and uncensored version (so fascinating to see them side by side). There are also images from her public life which show off her androgynous style, something that was quite shocking in 1930s Hollywood, and also publicity stills taken by legendary photographers like Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn, Milton Greene and Edward Steichen amongst many more illustrious names. The images are all in atmospheric black and white, just adding to the allure and glamour of the golden age.

This is a book that is as stylish and glamorous as the actress herself, beautiful enough to have on display, small enough to be able to keep it in your bag to read on the train home. This book captures the essence of a woman who was utterly modern and non conforming, and yet managed to have Hollywood eating out of her hands, creating an indelible legend that will never fade.

You can find the book at Amazon by clicking here.

The Iconic World of Cartier

When it comes to naming the most iconic jewellery and watch brand of them all, there is only one name that springs to mind. Cartier is a name that is synonymous with style and elegance, a brand that has been beloved of Kings and Queens, both of the royal and movie star variety. As a status symbol, it is hard to beat, as Emily Seares says in an article for The Watch Gallery “…The vibrant, strong red of the Cartier packaging, the spine tingling flash of red like a Louboutin red sole and the prestige associated with it. It is like no other…”

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, and by 1902 it was a favourite with royalty, shown to excellent effect by the fact that King Edward VII ordered 27 Cartier tiaras for his coronation in 1902. He was just the first of many royal fans of the brand, reaching right up to the current Duchess of Cambridge who was given a Ballon Bleu De Cartier watch by Prince William for her third wedding anniversary. This was a lovely touch from William, perhaps in tribute to the Cartier tiara Kate wore at her wedding.

Another royal fan who wore Cartier on her wedding day was Princess Grace of Monaco. The former actress Grace Kelly was given a Cartier engagement ring by Prince Rainier in 1956, and then wore a three strand Cartier necklace for her wedding.  She then often wore Cartier pieces for state occasions right up until her untimely death in a car crash in 1982.

Other iconic Cartier lovers include Elizabeth Taylor, who owned what became known as the Taylor-Burton diamond, a Cartier piece which was one of the largest diamonds in the world, and Wallis Simpson who owned the stunning panther bracelet (one of my favourite pieces of jewellery ever). More recently Karen Elson was the star of a Cartier campaign which fully acknowledged the allure of the brand, channeling Marilyn Monroe in her ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s best friend’ guise as she is surrounded by beautiful Cartier jewel boxes.



And Cartier is not just the domain of female fans. The iconic Tank watch has been a favourite since it was donned by Cary Grant and Clark Gable in the 1940s, with stylish male celebs like Tom Ford and Warren Beatty all fans of the rectangular faced watch.

A Cartier piece, whether it be jewellery or an iconic time piece,  is a beautiful sign of love and luxury. If you receive one of those special boxes, be sure to cherish it.




The Verdict – Gripping Courtroom Drama at Wolverhampton Grand

You may know of ‘The Verdict’ from the 1982 film starring Paul Newman in a tour de force role that brought him yet another Oscar Nomination. The story of an alcoholic lawyer reduced to ambulance chasing for cases, who decides to fight a case of malpractice that could be settled out of court, is firmly in the proud tradition of courtroom dramas. And now, in the hands of Clive Mantle and Jack Shepherd, the play version which is currently playing at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, delivers a powerful punch as it shows how fatal mistakes can be covered up, and that those you trust with your life may just be undeserving of that trust.

Set in 1976, four years after Deborah Ann Doherty suffered irreversible, devastating brain damage during the delivery of her baby, The Verdict is a story of malpractice, and human redemption. Mrs McDaid, Deborah’s mother, wants to provide care at home for her daughter, and to look after her grandchildren. Her lawyer, Frank Galvin, a barely functioning alcoholic, thinks the case can be the answer to his problems, it will be easy to settle out of court, and the money will alleviate his own personal problems linked to the rent of his office, his family and the IRS.  But a visit to see Debby in hospital changes his mind on settling out of court, even when Bishop Brophy (Richard Walsh in one of two roles) offers a cheque for $300,000 and a new professional role. Galvin decides to fight the malpractice case for $5 million, but this is never going to be a fair fight, as his witnesses disappear and the Judge seems set on hindering his case. Can justice actually prevail for Deborah Ann?

This is a play dominated by two central performances. Clive Mantle dominates the stage as Frank Galvin, his height and build giving him a real physical presence, and his portrayal of a man falling apart physically is raw and powerful. Jack Shepherd, as Moe Katz his former partner and best friend, is perfect foil – a tea drinker who has to stay calm for the state of his health. Jack’s quietly sympathetic performance works so well, especially in his poignant scene with nurse Mary Rooney (Veronica Quilligan).

The beauty of ‘The Verdict’ is the attention paid to the lesser roles, the performances truly stay with you. In particular, Hannah Timms as Natalie Stampanatto who beautifully brings to life the pain of a nurse who did nothing wrong, and yet lost her career, and Okon Jones as Lional Thompson MD, a doctor for hire in the witness box maybe, but one who brings class and humour to the proceedings.

The first half of The Verdict is a little slow, if truth be told, but that is more than made up for with the blistering second half, with courtroom scenes that enthrall and bring the audience to the edge of their seats. The ending is neat and satisfying too.


Wed 3 May – Sat 6 May

Click here for ticket information