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Since time immemorial, or since maybe 2004, we have received missives from a person called The Earl Grey, who is the greatest social documentarian of our time. As frequently as possible, we print these letters as a service to society.

What A Difference A Year Makes

Part One: IVANA TRUMP 12 October 2007 4:00 pm Madison Ave. betw. 63rd & 64th streets.

4:00 pm, 12 October, 2007, I'm strolling down Madison on a perfect autumn afternoon. IVANA TRUMP walks towards me, accompanied by a 60-ish looking man of short stature. Ivana is quite tall, I would say close to 5'10" without wearing any kind of high-heeled shoes. I understand she was a model in Canada in the mid-1970s? It's not impossible to believe, she has the right body-type still. It's all in the genes. She was also an alternate on the Czechoslovakian Olympic ski team in 1968? Her resume sure beats mine, what have I been doing with my life?

Ivana's hair is well-coiffed, kind of an elaborate, tousled beehive style, Priscilla Presley meets upper Madison Avenue. It's so well-arranged I suspect she's had her hair done just today. Her hair is blonde, but it's kind of a brassy, medium-to-dark blonde, it's clear that her natural hair colour is closer to brown, and you can see lots of darker hair showing through her medium blonde beehive. To me, she has too much makeup on. She has thick red lipstick on, I think it gives an effect of 'wanna-be sexy' that is just too much. Remember that SPY Magazine cover with the brutal close-up of Ivana's mouth? Gosh, that was a vicious image, and her bright red lips today are not too far off from her cracked and bloody SPY cover shot. She appears to have a covering of brownish-olive makeup all over her face, it looks like she might have caught some sun recently, she sometimes resides in San Tropez? The dark tone of the makeup has the odd effect of actually darkening her skin colour, perhaps not to an Al Jolson-like opacity, but on the way.

Ivana is wearing a lime green jacket, and a matching lime green blouse, I'm not sure who makes these but it looks like it could be Valentino or Ungaro or that type of designer. I think Versace used to use this acid-y, lime green colour a lot, there's that 90s super-model visual memory again, and there was a certain sheen to the fabric. Oddly enough, as Ivana approached, I noticed that the fabric on her blouse was bulging at 2 or 3 of the button closures- she is slim, in no way was her tummy protruding, and yet the shirt front opened slightly at the buttons on her tummy area. Maybe the blouse doesn't fit right? Is it too small? She had on light brown slacks, a full cut trouser, kind of a Katherine Hepburn look.

Ivana's shoes were my favourite part of her ensemble. They were emerald green leather, a fairly basic flat shoe shape, but the leather had a kind of a sinew and delicacy to it that bespeaks quality. At the toe of the shoe, there was a little rosette shape decoration, a jewel-like leatherette sculpture, a happy little emerald green pinwheel shape, a cute little leather lollipop. I thought the combination of the lime green blouse & jacket with the emerald shoe was a jaunty and rakish fashion look, she's thinking.

Ivana's companion looked to be about 60 or 65. He was substantially shorter, maybe 5'6" or so. He looked like he was Italian, I know Ivana has had a few Italian bfs in recent years, but I thought he looked more like a friend. Perhaps even a relative or in-law? He had on tinted aviator sunglasses, kind of a brown tint to the lenses. He most resembled Yogi Berra, but a trimmer, desiccated version, not as solid & stocky as the great Yankee catcher, even the slimmer Yogi of recent years. He wore a beige hacking jacket, the kind that Beretta sells just across the street. Madison Avenue shopping really can't be beat. I think Ivana prefers men a bit younger than herself for dating, and this fellow seemed at least 5 or 10 years older....

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Part Two: The RAVEONETTES at Bowery Ballroom 12 October 2007 11:30 pm:

I saw the Raveonettes Friday night at Bowery Ballroom, a marvelous show previewing their third LP.
They played all their established styles from Jesus & Chain feedback pop, to Cramps-like psycho-billy, to 60s-esque girl group pop.

The new songs are more light pop with harmonies and really smart orchestration/arrangements that actually reach a Cocteau Twins-like kind of spiraling ethereal beauty.

The set highlight was a cover of StereoLab's "French Disco," which sounded like the archetypal dance-rock template - the Rapture & even LCD wish they could write such a good melody as StereoLab's, & play it as sleek & punchy as the Raveonettes did.

Based on last night's preview concert the Raveonettes third LP sounds like its their best work yet, very much classic 60s girl group pop with a smart post-modern edge and sophisticated arrangements that recall orchestral pop like 1960s Beach Boys or St Etienne circa "So Tough."

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Part Three: IVANKA TRUMP, 16 September, 2006:

IVANKA TRUMP: 2:15 p.m. I'm heading up Madison to check out some fall art shows. As I cross 69th St. on the East side IVANKA TRUMP and a girlfriend turn the northeast corner of Madison and head south. I've seen Ivanka before and she is a tall young woman, I would say today she was about 5'10" in ballet flats. She presents herself impeccably well. Her hair is a very light shade of blonde, peroxide white-yellow blonde actually, and it had that ironed-straight look that was so popular about 2-3 years ago. Even on a Saturday afternoon, when most of us are more casual or even sloppy, her hair was beautifully cut & coiffed, hanging as white-golden curtains below her shoulders, long straight & lustrous. She has fantastic skin, a peach pink shade, and absolutely clear. She had the faintest, subtlest covering of light makeup on her cheeks & forehead but it was barely perceptible until I was close up. Her lips, which are a bit thin & pursed, had the faintest, palest colour on them, also perhaps a very light peach or pink. Her styling & beauty look was highly evolved & yet also girly & natural this afternoon. She wore a black dress with shoulder straps in an interesting fabric pattern, appearing to be a light delicate silk. Imagine the Chase bank logo, the 4 linked lines with cut corners at the sides and a small square hole in the middle? Ivanka's dress had that repeating graphic pattern over & over on the dress, each one about the size of a penny, over & over on her dress in black. And the inside square of each little silk element was sheer, you could literally see through the center hole, which created a lightness & also a subtle peek a boo effect all over the dress. There may also have been a faint light coloured lining to the dress, Ivanka looked supported at the bust and waist, but still the feminine peepshow effect existed on this artfully patterned black silk dress. There was also a dark blue hem of perhaps 2 inches at the bottom of the dress, which fell just at her knees. I love the interplay of black with midnight blue, and the designer of Ivanka's dress worked in that palette and also with the girlish, free feelng of the lattice-worked, basket-woven, Chase pattern, all over in the black silk. Ivanka wore ballet flats, they were leather, I believe of a silver tone, possibly with a very small bow. The design & shape reminded me of a Belgian loafer design, but since I'm not Chuck Jones, I don't know that much about women's shoes & I don't fetishize over various Trump family members' footwear.

Ivanka was accompanied by a preppy looking blonde friend. I would estimate Ivanka's age at about 22. I would guess her friend more like 25-26. They looked like they might work together, her friend had a very 'young banker' vibe to her, serious, stable, in control & precise. Her friend looked fairly stiffly preppy, her blonde hair was pulled back on her head. Her clothes were neat in a Connecticut manner but definitely unspectacular, as opposed to Ivanka's ensemble, which was truly stylish, flirty & impressive. If I had to guess the brand of Ivanka's black/blue silk shift dress, I would say Louis Vuitton first, then maybe Stella McCartney, or even Marc Jacobs or YSL, but again some of you out there are going to know ladies' clothing significantly better than myself, understandably.

Ive seen Ivanka before, more than 2 years ago, and I am going to make a personality evaluation here. I last saw Ivanka at Sin E on the Lower East Side, December 2003, when we attended model Karen Elson's spine-tingling solo singing performance [followed by Secret Machines blowing the roof off]. At Sin E, no one recognized Ivanka & her brother Eric, she was simply standing at the bar complaining about something in his ear, looking supernaturally radiant, but no one approached her at all, including myself. Fast forward almost 3 years later, Ivanka is hugely famous on "The Apprentice." She was acting that way this afternoon. Her head was tilted back high in an arrogant manner. She knew I & probably hundreds more were recognizing & checking her out on Madison today. Her friend more or less revelled in my attention and smiled as I sized up Ivanka's high fashion look. Between the harshly fake blonde hair & her arrogant, The Donald-like self-satisfied complacency, I found Ivanka, just 2+ years later, far less attractive in a real-life way than that night at Sin E when she was pretty much unknown. When I saw her in an ivory silk dress & cream cashmere overcoat at Sin E, I thought to myself, it's amazing that beasts like The Donald & Ivana could create such a sweet creamy-complexioned cherub like Ivanka. Well, post-"Apprentice," Ivanka is suddenly acting much more like her arrogant & egotistic [short fingered vulgarian] father The Donald, and it affected her over-all beauty vibe & personality appeal.

That's just the way I saw it this afternoon on Madison Avenue.

- The Earl Grey, 10021