Friday at the MET

I think the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC) would be on my top ten list of places I like to be. It's an art feast and I am eating it up! Often, especially on cold, winter (even though it's March) days, I want to ditch New York and go back to Cali. But a half day looking at what mere humans are able to create, is incredibly satisfying, inspiring and uplifting.  I leave the MET saying, I love New York and I'm not even in a Woody Allen film.   

James Tissot, The Shop Girl

Today I saw Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity.  The name alone tells you why I wanted to go!  It was a fabulous collection of mostly full body portraits by celebrated impressionist. Many of the painting were from the d'Orsay, so it felt like a museum visit in Paris. 

There was mention that the impressionists were enamored of their own era. Thereby paining, what we would call today, lifestyle pictures, paintings rich in detail and expression of everyday life. A curious thought. Am I enamored of the era I'm living in?  Perhaps I am, yes and no... 

Tissot's works were my favorite.  Surprising, because he was the least impressionistic. 

A silly take away; I need more stripes in my wardrobe! 


My girlfriend and I followed up our pretend Paris visit with paninis and Champaign at Sant Ambroeus.  I had an answer to my earlier musing... Yes, at this place, I am enamored with my own era!  The impressionists would have captured a buzzing, delicious, sophisticated, fashionable moment in my very own time!   

My Fair Gent

A few weeks ago I roped my friend LB (you don't really have to rope her though, she's up for almost anything) into to seeing an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.  I knew I would enjoy the exhibit, Cecil Beaton, the New York Years, but I didn't know what to expect from the museum.  It's a beautiful landmark building undergoing an $85 million expansion on 103rd street, a gem.  The Beaton exhibit is big enough to spend time at each photo and illustration, reading about the fabulous life of this accomplished, photographer/designer, but not too big that you just can't take it all in.

I think most of us know that Beaton was the designer behind the costumes in both the movie and stage version of My Fair Lady.  He started his career in fashion photography for all the big New York mags, chronicling the most popular designers of the 30s, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli.  His shots were very theatrical and staged, a technique that is actually getting more popular today.  Beaton then turned his focus toward design; interiors, costumes, sets.  He lived in and redesigned suites at posh New York City hotels, including the Pierre and the Sherry Netherland.

This exhibit flew in the face of all those well meaning career advisors that encourage creative people to pick just one thing, and do only that, and that is what I liked about it best!   Now through February 20th.

L'Amour Fou

I saw the Yves movie the other night at the Pelham Picture House. Unfortunately they were playing the movie in their classroom space, which I’m sorry to say, is not a good place to watch any movie. Even a great movie is painful to watch in folding chairs, okay they were padded, but still we had to get up and stretch at one point. The screen is too close and too high and frankly the space just felt odd. I was excited to get Tom to the Picture House (finally) and I was apoplectic about seeing L’Amour Fou, so imagine our disappointment when we found ourselves alone in the “classroom.” Perhaps we could have done more with this circumstance... but well, we didn’t.

As for L’Amour Fou, sorry gals, it’s a rental. There isn’t much fashion in it, however the interiors are deliciously drippy, I thought so anyway, Tom found them to be “High Frog Clutter.” The story surrounding Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge’s art collection and relationship is significant and understanding the life and creative process of yet another “tortured” artist never seems to tire. However there were lots of cliche shots– Berge looking out a window at an ocean view with a worried, longing face... Geez.

While you’re waiting for it to come out on disc, do see the Bill Cunningham movie and Valentino darlings, both grand.

Cino De Mayo!!

For fashion, celebrate Cino De Mayo and dress bohemian chic! Here's some inspirational photos! All scanned from Amanda Brooks's great style book, I Love Your Style; How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style. This is a good book from the style genre. Worth having in your STYLE library. Got one of those?

For travel check out Max Hartshorne's (my editor from GoNOMAD) award winning story, Ecotourism in Cancun; Wilder than Expected.

Isabel Toledo, not just for an Inauguration

A test: Did you know of designer Isabel Toledo before Mrs. O wore "her" at the inauguration? It's both remarkable and disconcerting the way one outfit worn by a single woman can catapult name recognition of a designer to astounding heights. Isabel has been designing beautiful clothes for the last two decades. I saw a dreamy collection of her life's work at FIT in Manhattan recently. The show was called Isabel Toledo: Fashion from the Inside Out. It's worth noting that Mrs. Obama's inaugural sheath and overcoat was the least interesting piece in the exhibition, however tasteful and beautifully tailored.

Besides the clothes, what was truly romantic about the show was the way Isabel's genius illustrator husband, Rubin Toledo, augmented the exhibition with oversized fashion illustrations of Isabel's designs. These hung from the ceiling on very large format paper, essentially wallpapering the upper fifth of the wall, all the way around the exhibition space. Most of you will probably recognize his illustrations from Nordstom's stylistic identity.

Even if you're not into fashion, you can appreciate this show. Toledo's designs are such works of art, calling them fashion, just isn't lofty enough. Displayed with some of her creations is a little diagram of the dress's pattern; both simple and complex the patterns help you figure out the idea behind the garment's structure. And she does love structure. Some of the gowns are 3D.

The show is free. With just one gallery, it's manageable. It breaths creative ingenuity and gives you license to dream about wearing fancy dresses.

Photo: The Museum at FIT, Irving Solero. Illustration: Rubin Toledo, Google Images