In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: I had a little operation that’s limiting my pinkie-ring-wearing ability and Lady Gaga has Prince’s flair for an exciting exit.
- Tuesday: My colored-gem rings — including one with amethyst, February’s birthstone — are getting some love.
- Wednesday: Order your PERSIST necklace here.
- Friday: Heart jewelry for Valentine’s Day does NOT have to be tragically basic.
Over on Instagram, I featured a pair of earrings I did WAY back in the day that you can have for a mere $95. They’re white gold with diamonds and smoky topaz (topaz is November’s birthstone). They’ve been lurking in the back of the safe way too long, so I’m selling them for a song! Email me at info at wendybrandes dot com to purchase.
Something I didn’t get to post about earlier this week was the death at age 45 of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, a British “It Girl” of the 1990s.
When I was a teenager, I fell in love with British punk, pop, and New Wave music, and that interest later expanded to include British “famous for being famous” celebrities. In the 1990s, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson became “It” after being photographed embracing Prince Charles during a skiing trip in Switzerland. (Her father, also named Charles, was a former Olympic skier who taught the prince to ski in the 1970s. The families remained friends.)
After that, she was everywhere, all the time. Her almost boyishly thin frame reminded me of the 1960s American It Girl Edie Sedgwick, and like Edie, she made bold fashion choices, the most notorious of which was the Bond Girl-worthy white bikini she wore to her 27th birthday party. “T P-T,” as her name was sometimes abbreviated, fabulously accessorized her two-piece with tall boots, a fur coat, and a snorkel and mask. Unforgettable!
Unfortunately, many of Palmer-Tomkinson’s nightclub antics were fueled by cocaine use that first sent her to rehab in 1999. The drug destroyed her septum, and her collapsed nose required several reconstructions, the first done in 2006. You can see the problem here in a photo from 2006.
She got her nose touched up for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, but last year, it looked collapsed again.
She was open with the press about her regrets about her drug use, which she said was driven by deep insecurity. More recently, she said she’d been diagnosed with a a non-malignant pituitary-gland tumor and an autoimmune disease. I won’t be surprised if it takes a while for the cause of death to be determined.
The facts above make T P-T sound like nothing but a pretty girl turned train wreck, but Palmer-Tomkinson actually had a lot of personality, which was displayed on a number of reality-television shows in the 2000s. In 2007, right before she won the charity-fundraising show Comic Relief Fame Academy, a critic for the Guardian wrote that Tara couldn’t sing but:
“From the moment she arrived and declared herself mad as a box of frogs, she has been at the very least a good value booking. But when she sang Jolene? Or Rainy Days and Mondays? … nothing could be more poignant than Tara emoting her way through Karen Carpenter. It works on many *many* levels.”
Her most memorable moment on that show was when she belted out “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” You get a sense of her charisma here. She sure knew how to work a cut-out black dress and high boots, too!
RIP, T P-T. You were always fascinating!
UPDATED FEB. 16, 2016, TO ADD: Palmer-Tomkinson’s family has announced that she died in her sleep of a perforated ulcer and peritonitis. They said she did not have a brain tumor. Her sister also tweeted that Tara wasn’t Prince Charles’s goddaughter, as has been frequently reported.