Since standing on her father’s polished wingtip shoes while he taught her how to dance, Lana has created a grown-up world that makes her feel as good. While searching for garments that she wanted to dance in once her son grew up and left home, Lana stumbled into a passion for collecting clothes and she is so possessed that she refers to them as her best friends. “We tend to things that are inanimate as something without life, or without spirit, but everything has it. You walk into a room, you know that there is something that calls you in, something that makes you feel good, makes you feel warm,” Lana feels. Her favorites are tea length ’50s dresses with their defining waistlines, but Lana also dazzles in her exquisite red embroidered ’20s dress whose style she loves for its freedom of movement. She wears it with a ’40s kind of Robin Hood cloche hat that she put a feather in to give it a ’20s feel.
Lana’s free spirit doesn’t only resonate with her love for the 1920s. When she travels, it’s often by herself and without plans or reservations so that she can change her mind on a whim, including getting back on the plane to another place if she’s not liking the weather. “When traveling… “[I] think about what I want to do, stay where I want to stay but, more importantly, trust the ‘something’ that you can’t hear when you do all the time. You can stand still. You can hear somebody else. You can hear nothing. Do many things on your own, and when you come back you’re even more powerful.” If Lana takes someone away with her, it is her grandson and her family refers to the duo as Auntie Mame and Cameron for eccentricities like her ritual of bringing postcards along on trips that she writes to herself so that she receives them at home – one trip can bear as many as 250 of them.
Being alone in order to know herself better is as much a theme for Lana as is her three hundred plus hats and commitment to never leaving the house without gloves. The three-tiered Gothic pair that she made look runway worthy have lace lining that was taken from an old shawl. I love how she looks like a Jan Van Eyck portrait in them with her medieval capelike hat that I could see Philip Treacy making for Isabella Blow with a cream floor-length silk evening coat. Considering her fervor for the elegance of the ’50s – seen in her veiled cloche that she wears with an embroidered Mandarin jacket, raw silk palazzo pants and am embroidered box clutch from her favorite decade – it’s ironic that Lana Turner was not named after the movie star but was born on the same day.