Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Hat Party

Hot Fun on a Hat Afternoon
It was the second hot day of summer. We had been extremely lucky in New York City, not to have had any heat waves up to third week in July. So when the 90-degree, humid weather finally hit, who could complain? Are you kidding, plenty of people.
At Debra's and trying on a quirky, handmade straw.
Many of the hats will need TLS (tender, loving steaming).

It was within this context, as I have described, that I took the F train, and then the A, to a hat party given by Debra Rapoport at Westbeth in the far West Village. She had inherited a trove of vintage hats from a friend's deceased mother, and had invited us to come and choose and play dress up.
Vintage hats, arrayed for our choosing pleasure.
To my eye, the hats were of the 50's and 60's.
Debra shows us a flower-bedecked dome hat.
A pink pie plate with pink roses.
 My tunique, from Paris, is 
by Suleiado.
 Lily Pink in a bit of veiling and a few feathers, with Debra.
 Jewelry designer, Diana Gabriel, in a 
feather-swathed pillbox.
Diana went for feathers again, but
decided it was for the birds.
Lily in a wide-brimmed straw boater.
 Debra adjusting the same straw boater on Iman, 
a fashion design student at Parson's.
 Iman and Lily.
 I brought home the straw with the wide velvet ribbon
So perfect for a garden party.
Perhaps I will take it to Orient, Long Island
next week when Lazy Girl goes to the country.
 And it's from I. Magnin, no less.
I. Magnin was a luxury department store in San Francisco.
The underbrim in covered in velvet too.
Debra's "Hoop Hat with Beaded Flowers" from 1993.
This hat appeared in a wonderful exhibit at 
The Philadelphia Museum of Art,
"Ahead of Fashion, Hats of the 20th Century."

Thank you, Debra!

À Bientôt!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Vogue's Shop-Hound

Quaint, Charming Prose
from the Shop Hound
In the 1930s, in response to the Great Depression, Vogue Magazine initiated certain editorial spots intended to help readers stay chic on a budget.

One such column was "Shop-Hound". An unseen shopper combed New York City in search of delightful objets de mode, labels and trends, and cost-effective home decor and accessories. And they named a store and its address so that the reader might trot right off to the desired destination.

Of course, pity the poor woman living west of New Jersey, who was, by dint of distance, outside the magic ring of thrifty chic.

Shop-Hound was fond of drinks,
and discovered Ganger's Bar Mart, a whole
store devoted to rows of glasses, stirrers,
trays and swizzles.
At random, you can pick out dozens of things
that are "naturals" for wedding
56 West Forty-Fifth Street
Camilla Shanahan's
Delightful Shop
For those (i.e., this Hound) who like to pause in the rush, rush of shopping about town, Camilla Shanahan's delightful shop at the Ambassador Hotel has a sort of haloed atmosphere. Here you can sit back and assemble -- anything from an inexpensive little wool dress to an extravagant evening gown. There are plenty of young evening clothes at small prices, too -- about $40. We loved a day ensemble consisting of a short cape of emerald green imported velvet and a crepe shirt-waist dress. Each element is adorned with large red flowers. The skirt of the dress sports upside-down tulips. Cost is about $80. Miss Shanahan has a fine selection of Germaine Monteil's clothes. Lovely imported accessories, too.  Vogue, 1938
Dress by Miss Carol Markel,
a very young designer who we want
to keep an eye on.

From time to time, Shop Hound will trot
back to keep you up to date on what's
new and old and thrifty.

À Bientôt!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Paul and Robin

Part Two: Robin
Last week I talked about Paul Levitt, one half of an amazing duo -- friends Paul and Robin who live in Hawaii. Paul just published a memoir of his visit, as a young art student, to the Paris studio of Man Ray, the great Dada artist.  Update! In addition to being in the Museum of Modern Art bookstore, Paul's book, "Gathered Reminders" will be carried at the Whitney.

Now it is time to focus on Robin Lung, a documentary film maker, and weave in with her story, our visit to the splendid exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "China through the Looking Glass." The exhibit is particularly apt, because for the past six years, Robin has been working on a documentary called "Finding Kukan," the story of a lost Academy-Award-winning film about war-torn China, made in 1942.
Robin at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
exhibit, "China through the Looking Glass,"
standing in front of a clip from the film, "The Last Emperor."

"China through the Looking Glass" is collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art. It is a splendid, exhilarating exhibit marrying high fashion, Chinese costumes, masterworks of Chinese art and stunning cinematic segments.
The Met's exhibit depicts the impact of
Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion.
Filmmaker, Robin Lung bathed in red light.

For the past six years, Robin Lung has been creating her film, "Finding Kukan." What Robin had to find, was an Academy-award-winning documentary called "Kukan."

Realizing that China was suffering great losses at the hands of the Japanese in World War II, a Chinese-American woman named Li Ling-Ai decided to make a film to bring attention to the war in China. She  hired a photographer, Rey Scott, to go to China and film scenes of war. Made in 16 mm Kodachrome color, the film was a success and and won an Academy Award in 1942.
Robin at the Met creating a shadow
play against a cinematic sky.
Li-Ling Ai and Rey Scott
Although "Kukan" was Li-Ling's production,
she was uncredited in the film.
By finding a copy of "Kukan," and making this
documentary, Robin in  addressing that
omission some 70 years later.
 Li-Ling Ai could have worn this
seductive number shown with
an ancient Chinese robe.
Blue and White gowns showing Chinese influences.
 A Jeanne Lanvin gown with an
imperial Chinese motif.
Me at the Met with a gilded
Chinese jacket.

Please take a look at Robin's website, here

You can watch a trailer for "Finding Kukan," and if
the spirit moves you, donate and help Robin
finish her wonderful film.

À Bientôt!