The legendary design house of Hermès has uncovered a piece of forgotten history from their private archives. Pulled from their vintage collections are handsome pieces of bespoke luggage produced in the 30’s for Karen Blixen, the famed Danish author of Out of Africa. The tobacco colored crocodile skin cases include every imaginable article an aristocratic author could need on a grueling journey to Africa.
The famed Parisian house of Hermes notes that the more detailed of the two pieces of luggage took its craftsmen nearly 368 hours to create. Both cases feature superior engraving and inlay, with the majority of pieces ornamented with a baroness' crown and the author's DBF monogram for Dineson Blixen-Finecke, this being a combination of her maiden and married names.
The cases feature countless compartments and leather boxes for liquor and cigarettes, pen and paper, perfume bottles and cosmetics, jewelry and brushes, playing cards and sewing items, small tools and more with most items finished in tortoiseshell and sterling silver. Hermès insists that the items appear to be unused and probably never made it to Africa where Blixen established a coffee plantation…….and therein lies something of the mystery! When the first case was ordered in December of 1930, Blixen was somewhat down on her luck and preparing to leave Africa. Hermès believes it not likely that Blixen ordered it for herself even though the archives are unclear. Could it perhaps have been intended as a gift from her blue blooded lover, Denys Finch Hatton, the dashing big game hunter and pilot???
Due to a tragic turn of events, we will never know for certain. Blixen’s lover, Finch Hatton died unexpectedly in a plane crash in May of 1931. That same year, after being plagued by drought and financial troubles that lead to her coffee plantation’s economic collapse, Karen Blixen left Africa and returned to her native Denmark where she later wrote the book Out of Africa in 1937. Even though many of us may not have read the autobiography, I’m sure most of us have seen the movie that was made decades later starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Karen Blixen died in 1962 after a long illness. To this day both her literary reputation and the Hermès cases remain untouched.
Was browsing one of my favorite blogs and came across a post that literally made me take a second look and maybe even a third! Geeze Louise I thought! Wish there was a more masculine catch phrase, but I digress…this interior by Ken Fulk almost had me doing the “GIMME GIMME” MAN dance! You had to be there but thank GOD I was home alone! Check out one of my most favorite blogs ‘All The Best’ by glam girl Ronda Carman to get the FULL story and visuals! Geeze Louie!!!
Not a fan of blue but these blue suede chesterfileds ROCK the Kazba!
The entertainment value of this bed goes without saying!
Even though I'd be excited to show you more, I wouldn't be much of a gentleman if I let the cat out of the bag. Please take a moment and enjoy the blog post by All The Best. It's a month old post but I'm tellin' ya, you've gotta see this creative man-view! Click HERE!
It’s time for SHAMELESS PRODUCT PROMOTION! I’ve been following for some time an up and coming company called Warby Parker! This hip and happening eyeglass company offers a variety of affordable, WAY COOL set of frames. Not only are these visuals easy on the pocket, they have an online VIRTUAL try on easily accomplished from sitting in front of your laptop. And if that weren’t enough already they also offer a FREE, yes I said FREE, at home try on before they incorporate your prescription lenses! I kid you not! The Warby Parker aesthetic is vintage-inspired, with a fashion forward twist and every pair is custom fit with anti-reflective, prescription lenses. The glasses retail for only $95!!! You think Jimmy Dean would be sporting a pair?
What makes this company even more special is their MANtra. They believe that everyone has the right to see. It’s unfortunate that millions of people around the world today don’t have access to proper vision care. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with renowned non-profits such as Restoring Vision to deliver one pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair that is sold. Warby Parker enables the buyer to share the gift of vision with someone who can’t see today and shares the opportunity to read, work and live a fuller life with a vision!
I feel a bit in a pickle today. Should I or shouldn’t I fry some?! A true southern tradition, well anything “fried” is southern, fried pickles are a favorite appetizer amongst the true blue southern gentlemen as well as one of my all time favorites. The recipe I normally use is pretty basic so when I stumbled upon a more detailed version of a fried pickle, I definitely wanted to give this a try.
• dill pickle slices or spears
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup milk
• hot sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
• 1/2 cup flour, divided
• 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
• kosher salt
• canola or vegetable oil
1. Lay pickle slices on a paper towel and pat dry.
2. In bowl whisk together egg, milk, a couple drops of hot sauce, Worcestershire and 1/4 cup flour.
3. In another bowl mix together remaining 1/4 cup flour, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder and ground pepper.
4. Dip a dried pickle into batter then dredge into panko mixture to coat completely. Transfer to a plate, repeat with remaining pickles. Allow to sit while the oil heats.
5. Heat 1 inch of oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, sprinkle in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles the oil is hot enough. Fry pickles in batches until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately.
Even though the fried pickles are the star of the show, it just wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t have some variation of sauce to dip them in. Ranch dressing is probably best known as the dipping sauce of choice, however go out on a limb and make a chipotle ranch! Your taste buds will be happy you did!
When I think of the wild, wild west I don’t really imagine a picturesque MANsion sitting handsomely in the midst of the rugged prairie with breathtaking views of the Colorado Rockies…NO siree Festus! I’m thinking more of a small shack of wood where the kitchen consists of a kettle on an open fire with the bathroom tub parked in the middle of the front room and Miss Kitty standing not so patiently by to warm the tepid waters WITH that kettle from the open fire we just spoke of! Thank the holy smokes Architectural Digest brought to light a beautiful piece of architecture designed by Studio Sofield to change my way of thinking!
Madderlake Designs landscaped the grounds and extended a water feature from the front of the main house which also doubles as a trough for horses. Also, notice the architecture to the right on the house with a hand operated louver system that filters lighting into the house.
Very creative fireplace with a mantel pattern composed of hundreds of nailheads. Talk about tedious work! Robert Thompson chairs surround a 1940s English oak table with reclaimed wood flooring.
The rugged yet contemporary design of the bedroom features 12 foot ceilings and walls made of salvaged granite.
The “caboose” guesthouse.
Look at the view behind this single room guest house. Absolutely takes your breath away!!!
A Reynolds Still favorite! Notice the vintage Westinghouse light bulb display on the shelving above the bed. I want one!!!
I tip my drugstore cowboy hat to New York designer William Sofield for constructing such a creative architectural masterpiece. Job well done partner!
Thanks for the heads up from this months issue of Architectural Digest. I definitely have a new appreciation for Festus and the wild, wild west! Photography by David O. Marlow
Reynolds Still does not own a copyright to the images on this blog. They are acquired through random search and discovery. The Reynolds Still blog therefore does not take credit for the images posted on the blog and will do his best to give those responsible for their creativity FULL credit. If you see or have noticed any image that you own a copyright to and wish to have it removed, please make the Reynolds Still blog aware and it will promptly be removed with my sincerest apologies. Best regards, Reynolds Still