An upside-down cake dotted in pineapple slices and maraschino cherries. Shaved cucumber sandwiches with chevre and spinach pesto. A tray of full-sized crudités. The stuff of a Julia Child spread circa 1964? Only pals Ruth Handel and Lloyd Scott manage to do it out with all the swanky zip and zing of a Jack Sheldon number.
Ever the early adopters, the duo rolled out a cocktail-flowing welcome at their restored Gregory Ain digs in Mar Vista to toast the forthcoming release of friend Stan Williams book. The title says it all: The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details.
Stan is the man behind Elegant Thrifter, a blog devoted to “Living Frugally, Always Fabulously!” But the former fashion director at lad mag Maxim, and before that menswear trade bible DNR, offers a modern sense of frugality–the overriding M.O. being chic than cheap. To Stan, the elegant thrifter loves a good deal, and a good deal is not junk but a good investment. It also makes good sense for the environment when we give new life to a lost treasure.
Much to Lloyd’s minimalist chagrin, Chez Handel-Scott is filled with just such a bounty of fabulous, “eco-friendly” finds thanks to Ruth’s keen eye and even keener sense of sniffing out a great garage sale. Her talents do not go unrecognized in Stan’s new book.
Most of the guests at the house Saturday night share in Ruth’s mania, er, interest, yours truly notwithstanding. So, too, jewelry designer Liseanne Frankfurt and her husband-producer Peter Frankfurt; entertainment journo Gina Piccalo; Chelsea Hadley, the director of major gifts at LACMA and her husband Justin Reinhardt (Sidenote too crazy not to share: As a child, dear Justin survived being run over by Burt Bacharach. Now he’s a jazz composer/musician. It’s a factoid just rife with questions of cause and effect, right?)
Charles Phoenix is an avid garage sale and flea market hunter, too. In his case, it’s searching out the cast-off boxes choc-a-bloc with slides of family holidays and other once-important life events. Charles then narrates an invented storyline of these vintage slideshows. His God Bless Americana enterprise also conducts school bus tours of vintage pop culture curiosities and related books.
Lloyd collects, of course. His habit is music—jazz, bossa nova and the like (their son's name is Jobim as in Antonio Carlos…). But Lloyd and, for that matter, no one can compete with the vinyl collection of fellow party guest Señor Amor. I first met Señor more than a dozen years ago as he was among the first anywhere in the world to revive lounge music and elevate it to cool kid status. Now he and his other half, interior designing doyenne Jonona, helm Retropia, a furnishings and furniture emporium in Hollywood and just the kind of place showcasing the eclectic pastiche of classic craziness which we all can’t get enough of, from abstract oils on canvas to coffee tables propped up with giant horns.
Or live without, noted fellow guest and interiors writer David Keeps, who was there with a photographer to cover it all for The Los Angeles Times Home section.
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