Lisa’s Closet Cravings

Interiors maven Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, who writes one of our very favorite blogs, A Bloomsbury Life, will be discussing her current obsessions on our Editors' Blog every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few...


I’ve experimented with many different looks in my life—preppy, punk, Madonna, monastic—and my fashion journey shows no signs tapering off. And honestly, why would I want it to? Part of celebrating your individuality is having the self-confidence to wear what you want. Right now, I am loving the tension of opposites: Wantonness coupled with restraint. Hippie with traditional. Historical with modern. Below, some prime examples:

When I lived in NYC, my wardrobe was predominantly dark. Now I live in LA and it’s predominantly pattern and color. This beaded floral dress from 3.1 Philip Lim is perfect for those days when you want to achieve instant glamour without bodily constriction. And the embellished neckline functions as a beautiful piece of built-in jewelry. For fall, wear it with opaque black tights for an ultra-modern edge.

I’ve long been obsessed with Victorian society and its morés: all that constrained clothing coupled with all that unbridled eroticism. (Read Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White and Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now to see exactly what I mean.) This close-fitting Hanii Y leather jacket combines my love for period drama with a modern dose of sexy androgyny. Now all you need is a hansom carriage and some darkened windows.

This Betsey Johnson crinoline coat is elegant and just slightly bizarre. I love its dark Victorian goth vibe, and the crinoline details provide just enough drama to keep it from looking like an ordinary trench coat. If Sherlock Holmes had a female counterpart, she would so wear this.

Hunter wellies have been around forever, but I’m including these in my picks because if you don’t already own a pair, you should. Besides being oddly flattering, these boots work with everything from tweed to leather and in between. I even think they would be particularly fetching with the coat above.

For day, I love wearing my Maya Brenner Santorini Coin Link necklace. The delicate link chain conjures up a sexy bohemian vibe and the little ancient coin on the end makes me want to apply Bain de Soleil from a ship idling in the Aegean. (Some day.)

For night, there’s nothing more dramatic than one of jewelry designer Patricia Knop’s chunky necklaces. No two pieces are the same and each is more stunning than the other. Made of semi-precious stones, ancient talismans and the occasional ammonite, they’re very Marni meets Tony Duquette. Contact:

I have my share of “It” bags cluttering up my closet, and while I still use them, what I’m craving now is something more artisanal, handmade and unique. LA designer Maria Sarno totally gets it. Her latter-day antiquarian handbags are made from distressed, overdyed leather and recycled materials. Bonus: This lizard print bag is equally adored by me, my husband and my seven-year-old son—how often does that happen?

My favorite makeup artist Mario Lara uses Christian Dior Airflash Foundation on me and swears by it. According to him, it “provides complete coverage, but is still light enough to give a youthful dewy appearance.” The sun in this town is like a klieg light, so who am I to argue?

Last year, my friend Belinda gave me three bottles of Memoire Liquide perfume and I have been hooked ever since. One of them, Eau de Pluie, evoked a Proustian childhood memory: the long-forgotten scent of my grandmother’s summer garden. With essences like Bois de Figuer, Champagne et Mure and Basilic, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose just one. Wear them alone or roll on several at once to create your own bespoke fragrance.

Never, but never underestimate the power of a new cocktail ring. It’s an instant way to harness self-confidence. Put it on your finger and your outfit becomes fancier, your anecdotes become funnier and your personality becomes a tad more fabulous. This one from Yves Saint Laurent will have them hanging off your every gesture, so be sure to make them grand.

Lastly, I think it’s high time we reconsidered the lowly glove. It’s an accessory with such sophisticated possibilities and it’s usually the last thing we think about when dressing for fall. Just look at this pair from Chester Jeffries, England’s premier glovemakers since 1936. Dubbed “The Gauntlet”, it’s handmade and comes in 44 colors. I can’t decide if they evoke Angelina Jolie in the sky, Tilda Swinton on a motorcycle or Helen Mirren in a merry widow and thigh-high boots. All I know is that if I stuck my hand in the air wearing these, they’d stop traffic, human and otherwise.

See Lisa’s previous posts here. And don’t forget to check back on Thursday for her next installment.