Thursday, July 25, 2013

Silver, Gold and Noir

If you're a fan of noir film and/or literature, you might have observed Raymond Chandler's 125 birthday this past Tuesday. Raymond Chandler's gritty crime novels, such as The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye, primarily focus on the hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe. Through Marlowe's biting commentary and razor wit, readers are given a cynical glimpse into the Los Angeles of the 1930s-50s and its all too troubled inhabitants. Chandler's novels are always gripping to read as his cast of devious characters and their sordid lives and secrets make for numerous twists and turns in the plot of each intricately spun mystery.

The archetypal femme fatale always makes her appearance in Chandler's fiction. While I'm not really the femme fetale type, I tried to wear something I thought might look period appropriate and the red gives a little femme fetale flair. My silver clutch features a car that I suppose could be a Packard driven by one of Chandler's characters, or at least the well-heeled ones.

The pictures above were taken at the Oviatt building, which has a starring role in the first chapter of Chandler's novel The Lady in the Lake. The Oviatt building, which was the vision of entrepreneur James Oviatt, originally housed an opulent men's store on the bottom floors, professional offices on the upper floors, and Oviatt's personal penthouse at the top. The swanky Cicada Club, where you can dine, drink and dance the night away,  now occupies the bottom floors, professional offices still occupy the upper floors, and the penthouse is available to rent for special events weddings. In the first couple pages of The Lady in the Lake, Chandler describes the decadent exterior and the lavish perfume store contained within the Oviatt, although in the novel the building is called the Treloar.

While you may not know the Oviatt building by name, I guarantee that you've seen something featuring it, be it a music video, television show, or motion picture. The building's art deco exterior and interior seem to pop up everywhere. For example, scenes from the The Sopranos, Mad Men, and the motion picture The Artist were filmed there. The music video for Let Me Blow Your Mind by Eve and Gwen Steffani takes place primarily at the Oviatt as well.

Below are pictures of another prominent building in the life of Raymond Chandler, the Los Angeles Athletic Club.  The building turned 100 years old last year. The club is situated across the street from the Oviatt and we attended an event there to celebrate Chandler's birthday. Since Chandler worked at the Dabney Oil Company, which was a stones throw away from The Los Angeles Athletic Club, he often frequent the club after work (or during work) to play cards or have a drink (or several). I wish I could do that during work, although after becoming a vice president of the oil company Chandler was fired within a year due to slacking off and his alcoholism. Below you will see the picture of the Athletic Club's gorgeous upper floor indoor pool and one of its rooms.

Perhaps the ghost of Chandler still haunts the club and the other landmarks associated with his life and work? I certainly enjoyed visiting these landmarks, which played a pivotal role in the life and work of Raymond Chandler.

Outfit: Dress: J. Crew (old), Car Applique Clutch: Prada, Belt: Forever 21


  1. that library is just stunning! you look lovely in this dress - the pattern is gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Laura! Yes the library/bar area which I believe they renovated recently is quite impressive.


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