Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Still Remembering 9/11

Lower Manhattan as it looked in a photo collage from my graduate school days at Pratt Institute - although the balcony of my high rise dorm had a pretty good view, this was probably taken from the Empire State Building.

Another photo collage taken years later in a snowy McCarren Park when I first moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 2000- just a year before the attack on the World Trade Center. The faint outline of the Twin Towers can be seen just to the left of the Russian church. I just moved from Tribeca where the enormous buildings loomed high above my sublet in a dizzying vertical trajectory into the sky. Every time I neared the apartment, they were there; two stalwart figures. As I sat on the incredible roof deck at the top of my building, I remember always feeling a sense of unease at their scale as my thoughts trailed off, "if those things ever fell".... In my wildest dreams, I never, ever felt those musings would actually come true.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tulips Galore! Celebrating Earth Day

In northern New Jersey, you won't find windmills, canals, or Delft blue pottery, but you will find more tulips than you ever imagined outside of Keukenhof Gardens or the famous tulip fields of the Netherlands (and, even some wooden shoes). If you can't make it to Holland in the springtime, there are rows of colorful tulips right in northern New Jersey that rival those found outside Amsterdam. Just a short distance from Trenton and Bordentown, Holland Ridge Farms have planted millions of tulip bulbs in newly-forged beds. In the fall, the spectacle turns into sunflowers worthy of a Van Gogh painting. For the past two years, the former dairy farm has dedicated over about 153 acres to the cheery spring flowers complete with a pollination expert (straight from Holland). Visitors can freely roam the rows and pose for the camera with multiple varieties of photogenic tulips. 
I'm looking forward to taking the country roads of the Garden State during the fall season, and enjoying equally as many sunflowers- perhaps during the exquisite lighting offered at a sunrise or a sunset visit. Either way, they're beautiful no matter what!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Fabulous Fashion at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

I often wait for an exhibit to be almost over before I'll force myself to go- especially during these cold months fraught with all kinds of weather. Seeing the latest fashion exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art was no exception. Fabulous Fashion: From Dior's New Look to Now had been on my list since before it opened in mid-October. Whether  you are a fashion addict or casual observer, it was a really nice selection of cocktail dresses, glorious gowns, shoes, hats, handbags, and bridalwear.
A Dior silhouette with classic cinched waist, 1948; Woman's Fumo (Smoke) Evening Dress - silk shell detail by Roberto Capucci, 1985
These two designs reminded me of my own prom dress from the 1980s- Pierre Cardin and Jacqueline de Ribes, 1990.
My favorite ruffled detail on a light and fluttery dress by Pierre Cardin.
Issey Miyake's colorful  and unique "Flying Saucer" dress was a crowd favorite, 1994; Detail of cocktail dress by Emilio Schuberth, 1961
Evening dress and petticoat designed by Anne Fogarty in 1953 (above); Draping as shown by Marc Bohan (yellow dress with cape, left), 1983
Pierre Cardin - Woman's Evening Ensemble: Top and Skirt, 1989

Friday, February 22, 2019

Fashionably Fierce Street Divas - The Art of Bradley Theodore

As I was driving to work earlier this week, I heard the shocking news that Karl Lagerfeld, the creative genius behind Chanel, had suddenly passed away. I always thought of Karl as an immortal, vampire type; someone who just might live forever.

I immediately recalled the work of street artist, Bradley Theodore. A doppelganger in many ways for Basquiat,  and walking the same NYC streets; only the subjects have changed from jazz legends to fashion insiders and royalty. Over the years, I had seen and documented many of Bradley's neon, patchy, skeletal renderings of familiar "faces" such as columnist Diana Vreeland and Karl Lagerfeld. The image of Grace Coddington with blazing red hair and outstretched arms (below), is my favorite. His use of the existing basement door is quite clever.
Tom Ford - style icon for Gucci and YSL
Grace Coddington, Chinatown, NYC - April 2015

With his own iconic style (that distinctive white ponytail, the oversize sunglasses, and the perfectly-pressed Edwardian shirt/ suit jacket/ black denim combo), Karl had been lovingly given homage throughout the walls of New York City numerous times. Not meant to read as morbid renderings, these paintings represent the interior of all human beings. The skeleton, colorfully painted in these wall murals has become the great equalizer- an ever-familiar reminder or iconic base that applies to us all. How ironic. In the end, it would appear that we actually do all put our pants on one leg at a time. They just may not come with an extravagant price tag! Looking forward, I anticipate that the House of Chanel will continue to endure through spectacular runway shows as the brand transitions to a new creative heiress. For now, as we recall over-the-top never being quite enough, and through designs coveted and cherished by devotees, Karl is indeed eternal.
Mr. and Mrs. Pineapple, Union Square; Queen Elizabeth I, Lower East Side
Fashion photographer Terry Richardson (2014); a life-sized Karl Lagerfeld lingers in a doorway

Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss (originally mistaken for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen)

Karl Lagerfeld in profile; Diana Vreeland (2013); and a Christie's emblem