Thursday, October 25, 2012

A New York Interlude

A roster of stylish events in NYC
Iris Apfel at Stark Design
Iris Apfel. She calls herself a "geriatric starlet".
In 2005, Iris Apfel gained star status with an exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: "Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Barrell Apfel Collection".
"Since opening last month the show, assembled from the wardrobe of Mrs. Apfel, a New York society figure and a founder of a textile firm, has had people chattering with a heat and enthusiasm rare in the fashion world."
"Her approach is so inventive and brash that its like has rarely been glimpsed since Dianna Vreeland put her exotic stamp on the pages of Vogue."
 Ruth La Ferla, The New York Times, November 17, 2005
Mrs. Apfel, with her helmet of gray hair and big, black round glasses à la Le Corbusier, dresses in marvelous colors and textures with piles and piles of exotic beads, some the size of an ostrich egg. As she told Ruth La Ferla in 2005, her look is "either very baroque or very Zen -- everything in between makes me itch."

Recently I was fortunate to attend a talk with Mrs. Apfel at Stark Design, which purchased her company Old World Weavers some years ago.
I tried to dress in homage to Mrs. Apfel, with a cloche helmet 
of my own design, and big beads that I also made.
Gorgeous, Judith Boyd, writer of the blog, Style Crone,
was in from Denver and attended the event at Stark Design.
An article by Ruth La Ferla in the Thursday Styles section 
of the November 17, 2005
New York Times. I keep articles that interest me in my
 "Fashion Articles" box. 
A Luncheon to Honor Judith Boyd
Judith Boyd write the blog, Style Crone, for the creative, adventuresome and authentic older woman. She lives in Denver, Colorado, and I have always wanted to meet her. Recently she was in New York City, and I hosted a luncheon for Judith with a group of friends who I have met on the blog, Advanced Style. Judith is wearing an Elsa Schiaparelli hat.
Debra Rapoport came to my luncheon.
Debra made her earrings and hat.
Lina Plioplyte, photographer, filmmaker and director.
Lina is directing the documentary, Advanced Style.
Lina's shoes.
Lina wore this bracelet from Top Shop.
 Maryann Van Dongen in a lace-themed outfit.
She made the conch shell necklace.
Judith purchased one of my helmet cloches.
I am thrilled that it will find a coveted spot in
 Judith's Hat Room in Denver.

A Luncheon at The Museum  of Art and Design
Maryann Van Dongen invited a group of us to the Museum of Art and Design for lunch at the restaurant, Robert, and to see two shows: Doris Duke's Shangri La and the paintings, sculptures and objects of Daniel Brush.

Shangri La was Doris Duke's (1912-1993) Honolulu home throughout her life. She began designing and building it after her 1935 honeymoon trip around the world where she encountered Islamic Art. The exhibit shares with us large color slides of her gardens, interiors and exteriors of the beautiful house perched over the sea. There are textiles, jewelry and objects in the show, as well as drawings for the house itself. The exhibit was inspiring to me as I worked on a new hat today, and incorporated some intricate designs like a Shangri La mosaic.

Maryann at Robert with her signature diamond headband and black bow
framing her fringe of black bangs.
Ari Seth Cohen, writer, photographer and blogger. We are all happy to be included in Ari's blog and book, Advanced Style and form new friendships. Ari's book is available from Amazon.

Debra Rapoport and Richard Cramer at Robert.

See you next week, when we will go
 to Nice, France.
À bientôt!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Once more in Paris ...

"Well," she said, after a pause, "that is a shop!"
The Ladies' Paradise (Au bonheur des dames) by Émile Zola
"Thus The Ladies' Paradise, after eight-o'clock, blazed
forth beneath the clear rays of the sun, in all the glory of its great sale of winter novelties."
"...whilst in both streets the windows developed symphonies of displays, the clearness of the glass showing up still further the brilliant tones."
"Do you require anything to-day?" he asked her.
"Of course, or else I should not have come. Have you any silk
for morning gowns?"
 "Does madame require a cheap pair of garters?" asked a salesman of Madame Desforges, seeing her standing still. "All silk, twenty-nine sous."
"I really think I shall lose my skirts in this crowd," remarked Madame de Boves.
"Mouret's unique passion was to conquer woman. He wished her to be queen in his house, and he had built this temple to get her completely at his mercy."
"His sole aim was to intoxicate her with gallant attentions, and traffic on her desires, work on her fever."
"It was an exhibition of silks, satins, and velvets, arranged so as to produce by a skillful artistic arrangement of colours, the most delicious shades imaginable."
"...the head-dresses alone appeared, decked with feathers and ribbons. A few men's hats introduced here and there a black spot, whilst the women's pale complexions assumed in the fatigue and heat the transparencies of the camellia."
The Bon Marché department store, one of the models for the great department store which is the subject of Émile Zola's novel, The Ladies' Paradise (Au bonheur des dames).

"Just at that moment Madame Desforges, after having nearly had her mantle carried away in the crowd, at last came in and crossed the first hall. Then, on reaching the principal gallery, she raised her eyes. It was like a railway span, surrounded by the balustrades of the two storeys, intersected by hanging staircases, crossed by flying bridges. The iron staircases developed old curves, multiplying the landings; The iron bridges suspended in space, ran straight along, very high up; and all this iron formed, beneath the white light of the windows, an excessively light architecture, a complicated lace-work through which the daylight penetrated, the modern realisation of a dreamed-of palace, of a Babel-like heaping up of the storeys, enlarging the rooms, opening up glimpses on to other floors and into other rooms without end. (Zola liked long sentences.)

A visit to Paris is not complete for me without a stop at Le Bon Marché. This year, Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche is celebrating 160 ans de création. Zola spent 4 to 5 hours a day for a month at Le Bon Marché and the Louvre (another store) before he began his novel, compiling over 380 pages of notes on the demoiselles of the stores and their environs: their rooms, overheard conversations, love life, clothing, hours and salaries.
Le Bon Marché has an exhibition showcasing the 160th anniversary. I  purchased this postcard which shows an original design detail from the store.

A few fripperies from Le Bon Marché.
In honor of the 160th anniversary of Le Bon Marché, the store windows featured wonderful vignettes of the grand dame of French cinema, Catherine Deneuve. Here they are for you to enjoy too.

Le Parc Monceau
On a lovely Sunday afternoon with the temperature pushing 80, Richard and I spent some hours at an intriguing park in the 8th arrondissement, Le Parc Monceau. The place was buzzing with people lounging on the lawns, with children playing, and others strolling. 
The park began in 1778 as a duke's private garden.
Now it's more a play ground for the young-uns of the Dukes of Hazzard.
Some of the children are very chic indeed, 
like this little girl all in white linen and a dapper white fedora cap.
The tricycle is Lilly Pulitzer pink & green.
 Le Parc Monceau  has fanciful faux ruins.
The park is a paradise for kids,
with pony rides, no less.
Thank heaven for a little girl in a pink, be-ribboned bonnet.
Notice the little drawing of a Parisian shopping street 
on the hem of her skirt?
I mean I half expected to see this child in
Le Parc Monceau, for heaven's sake.
 This scene takes on the quality of a Seurat.
French Daddy is minding French baby.
Every Paris park has a carousel!
Ma mère parisienne est très jolie.
A Journey to rue Barbette
It started with an issue of British Vogue. I comb the pages of my fashion magazines, and when an arresting object, say an incredible parasol adorned with fantastic black palm trees, stops me in my tracks, I focus my eyes on the teeny-tiny type to see from whence this object hails. The caption read, "Umbrella, Tsumori Chisato, Paris." Bingo. What a coincidence. I will be in Paris soon, I say.
A google search finds the Tsumori Chisato boutique on rue Barbette. Ah, just the kind of hunt I love. An obscure street, an under-the-radar label, and the promise of magic. So one morning in Paris, we ordered a taxi, and the driver took us to rue Barbette a mere alley in the wilds of the Marais
An art installation in the entry gallery to the Tsumori Chisato boutique on rue Barbette, Paris.
Chisato's Autumn-Winter 2012 pieces use a motif inspired by the Alps.
The lantern-like objects are ski lifts, represented on the printed dress to the left.
Tsumori Chisato was the head designer for Issey Miyake Sports in 1977. In 1990, she started her own line featuring luxurious textiles, intricate beading, embroidery, appliques and prints.
Chisato opened her first shop outside of Asia in Paris in 1999. 
The dress that I purchased.

A story-book Alpine landscape on the hem of the dress. 
Perhaps Heidi and Peter the Goat Herd live in this chalet.

The dress has a bib of black sequins.
 La vendeuse lovingly wrapped my dress.
 Richard handled the financial transaction.
Like a coddled baby girl, my dress is
 safe and sound back in our hotel room. 
P.S. When I got back to New York, I found the Chisato pieces
at Kisan in Soho. My dress, however, was sold out.
Good thing I bought it in Paris, n'est pas?
Le Grand Déjeuner au Grand Véfour
Our big-splurge lunch was at Le Grand Véfour, a beautiful and venerable restaurant next to the Palais Royal. Le Grand Véfour has been a gourmet rendez-vous of haute Paris for over 200 years.
To wear a tie, or not to wear a tie, that is the question.
Richard wore a tie, while other, less sophisticated patrons, did not.
The extremely gilded, and decorative,
 dining room of Le Grand Véfour.
It's all about the gorgeous room here, but the food, by Michelin-
starred chef, Guy Martin, is wonderful too.
This one's for you, Philippe Montanari,
my Napoleon-obsessed French teacher at The New School.
We sat at Bonaparte's table. The manager told us that Woody Allen had also sat at this table while he was making Midnight in Paris. In fact, the manager had a brief cameo in the movie.
Ok, so I got this text from Richard to have his oysters ready at 6 o'clock.
So where is he?

Next week, we're off to Nice, France
I hope to see you there on Femme et Fleur.
À Bientôt!