Two weeks ago, my husband Sammy and I were on our annual beach outing to San Diego, where many El Pasoans get their beach fix.We stayed at the landmark Crystal Pier Hotel in Pacific Beach because it allows neither my husband nor I to have to compromise on our beach criteria. Who woulda figured that a husband and wife might have different ideas about vacations?
I want to go to a deserted island and read a book a few feet from the water’s edge. I don’t want to just be near the beach. I want to be so close to the water that I can leave the windows open at night and fall asleep listening to the waves.
Sammy, on the other hand, wants to go to a hip, happening beach town with nightlife and great restaurants where he can join the crazies roller-blading on a boardwalk.
Fortunately, Crystal Pier has helped save this marriage. The hotel is a collection of renovated 1930s cottages built on a pier over the ocean. The views are amazing! When I’m in the cottage or on the deck I hear nothing but crashing ocean waves and see only the vast sea and skyline. But at the other end of the pier is all the energy of Pacific Beach. Paradise for both of us.
This year we encountered a delightful surprise as we checked in. The hotel office is at the base of the pier with an automatic gate to allow guests to drive onto the pier. If someone stops at the gate while they are checking in, other guests are blocked from driving onto the pier. I went to check in while Sammy waited in the car.
When I came out, someone’s big black Mercedes-Benz GL was blocking the way. I asked the young lady standing beside it if she knew whose vehicle it was so I could ask them to move. The young lady pointed to the office and said, “She’s in there, checking in. She’s an actress.”
So off I went to ask the person to move their vehicle. I stopped in my tracks. “Whoa! She really is an actress. Wait, what is her name?” I asked myself.
I went back to my husband waiting in the car and said, “What’s the ‘Annie Hall’ actress’s name?” “Diane Keaton,” he replied, and then said, “Well, did you ask her to move her car?” Of course not! I couldn’t bring myself to ask Diane Keaton to move her vehicle.
Not to worry – Sammy said he would go ask her. He later confessed he just figured I was confused and it wasn’t really Diane Keaton. But it was!
He did ask her to move her vehicle. And she was totally lovely. Keaton stayed in a neighboring cottage on the pier, and, of course, I had to get a photo.
I was so amazed that she was still true to her signature style. She was dressed in a fantastic navy pin dot menswear-inspired pantsuit with a crisp white cotton blouse, a handkerchief in the pocket, bolo-inspired necklace and oxford shoes.
The next day she wore all black including a haute couture winged skirt and a hat, which is part of her signature style. In person she is friendly, open, warm and energetic, just like you would think she’d be.
As you know, Diane Keaton’s first famous film role was playing Kay Adams-Corleone in “The Godfather” more than 40 years ago. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall” (1977), the role in which she established her iconic style. Her film credits go on and on, including co-starring with Woody Allen in other comedies and with Jack Nicholson in “Something’s Gotta Give” (2003). In addition to acting, she is also a photographer, real estate developer, author and occasional singer.
What can we learn from Diane Keaton about style? Her trademark is sporting menswear as womenswear. She is famous for tailored pantsuits, vests, hats, polka-dot ties, matching handkerchiefs, turtlenecks and quirky hats.
What made it work all these years is that Diane Keaton is always being true to herself. Like other style icons – think Jackie O, Audrey Hepburn – she embraces who she is with confidence and isn’t deterred. She changes what she wears, but not the personality and panache of the look. She isn’t afraid to take risks.
In a September 2013 People magazine article about her, Diane shared some of her Fashion Must-Haves. I like her list:
• Pockets: Pockets are my life! I do not carry a bag ever, because I hate it.
• Expert tailoring: I’m interested in tailoring because when you have a body like mine, without shoulders, you don’t really have much of a silhouette.
• Hints of color: Colors as accessories punch more. If it’s the whole show, count me out.
• A smile: As you get older, there are certain things you can show off – your attitude and how you feel – the smile. Because it reflects warmth. Warmth is really a plus when you’re older.
It was such a thrill to meet such a talented actress and important fashion influence – and to see what she was wearing each day! You never know who you might run into in California, right?