Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesdays with Carol, April 26, 2017

A Spring Adventure
in Beacon's Closet
My friends, Valerie and Jean, The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, told me about a store called Beacon's Closet where you can shop for second-hand clothes. They have found some wonderful items there, and I was curious to see the place for myself.

Beacon's Closet also buys clothes. You bring your bag of clothes to a counter in the back of the store, where an employee will review your pieces, and if they accept an item, price it on the spot. You get 35 percent of their retail price. In winnowing my wardrobe, I had found things that either did not fit me anymore or which had been a purchase mistake in the first place.

So on this cloudy, drizzly Wednesday at the end of April, my friend, Tobi, joined me for a visit to Beacon's Closet on west 13th Street, just off 5th Avenue.

 Employees reviewing items.
They hold up your item,
look it over, and if they want it,
declare a price with a question mark at the
end of the sentence.
I said yes every time. Why quibble?
 Tobi and I were tempted by these
boots, but our podiatrists
would have had serious objections.
 The store was full of shoppers
perusing the jam-packed display racks.
I sold this pink Agnès B sweater
with a bizillion silver snaps down the front.
Too hard to snap all the snaps.
I sold almost all my items and netted $70.00
 Lunch with Tobi was at Mi-Ne, a Japanese restaurant
on 6th Avenue.
 Tobi and I shared the shrimp shumai which
was delicious.
My lunch was shrimp sushi, tuna avocado roll
and salmon sashimi. All tasty.
The staff was delightful.
 After lunch, Tobi took the 6th Avenue bus
to return home, and I stopped at the
Angel Thrift Shop on 17th Street.
I donated my unsold items here.
 The Angel Thrift Shop curates their windows and
items are sold when the shop opens on
Saturday mornings.
 Next door to the Angel is Pippin Vintage with
a glorious hodge-podge of  jewelry,
hats, handbags and what-nots.

 China candy dishes full of pretty pins.
 On the same block, Ariston Flowers
does spring bouquets.

Since I was in the neighborhood, 
I thought that I would like to walk through
the Union Square Greenmarket.
It's the most popular greenmarket in New York.
 Ramp up your Ramp recipes.
Only in Spring....

 Every Spring I like to buy at least one
bunch of Lilacs. But these looked picked over
at the end of the day, so I passed them up.
 I am channeling Bill Cunningham,
the great New York Times photographer who
died last year. He would always make visits to the greenmarket
on a beautiful day and find color and pattern to photograph. 
 I love the patchwork umbrella.
She did smile at me after I took this shot.
 Statue of Ghandi in the
Union Square garden.
 Union Square on 14th Street.
Transportation hub and scene of protests,
performers and events of all kinds.
 Like -- the hari krishna who
have returned from their long exile in
 From Union Square, I took the Avenue A
M-14 bus to 9th Street and walked home from there.
My final stop was the excellent vintage shop,
Edith Machinist on Rivington Street.
Edith Machinist has a superlative
collection of shoes and handbags.

À Bientôt!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Wednesdays with Carol, April 19, 2017

A New Way of Thinking about
Georgia O'Keeffe:
She's a Style Icon
We are familiar with the paintings of American modernist, Georgia O'Keeffe. But did you realize that her style, in photographs and clothing, was carefully managed by her to project a serious and individual persona? In the age of Instagram, she could have been posting iconic photographs of herself, but I expect she would have thought of social media as not lofty enough for her purposes.

This past Wednesday I travelled to Brooklyn, to meet my friend, artist and designer, Elke Kuhn at The Brooklyn Museum. On our agenda was the exhibition, "Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern".

An early portrait of O'Keeffe.
 Arriving by the 3 train at Eastern Parkway.
 The facade of The Brooklyn Museum.
 First things first.
The gift shop. I covet this daybed.
Elke and I lunched in the museum cafe.
We shared a table with these lovely ladies from Japan.
We started to chat, and they recognized us
from the book, Advanced Style,
by Ari Seth Cohen.
An early illustration by O'Keeffe not only shows
her delicate drawing style, but also
gives us an idea of her fashion sense.
 O'Keeffe sewed these all-white costumes
for herself in the 1920s.
The workmanship is impeccable.
O'Keeffe in a simple dress.
In photographs, she maintained this serious demeanor.
The exhibit contains many photographs of her by
Alfred Stieglitz, her husband, and Ansel Adams,
Phillipe Halsman and Yousuf Karch.
 This handmade evening coat
is my favorite piece in the exhibit.
It has a painted-silk lining. The
geometric ribbon ornamentation at the top
has an Art Nouveau quality.
This painting of leaves has the orange-yellow
palette of the silk lining in my
favorite coat, above.
I was inspired by O'Keeffe's evening coat
 to make this drawing.
 Portrait of O'Keeffe with
a large, black bird.
This dramatic black and
white dress alludes to the
black bird in the portrait above.
At least in my mind.
 Elke, photographing the dress.
 She is wearing a Japanese cape.
Elke has a background in textiles, and has
worked with fibers and made jewelry and hats.
O'Keeffe wearing a black sweater
over a white blouse, intentionally
creating a black/white color-block look.
Painting by O'Keeffe with cut out shapes
like the white of the blouse.
I am wearing a fedora by Lola in this
shot with some later paintings by O'Keeffe.
Oh, how ordinary.
A trio of O'Keeffe's work shirts.
Jeans and navy-blue Keds for ranch work.
Elke looking fabulous
against the backdrop of some Japanese kimonos.
O'Keeffe projected a progressive, independent
style in her clothing, exemplified by these harshly simple
black suits.
O'Keeffe looking like a
small version of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Dress by the designer, Claire McCardell.
O'Keeffe loved this dress and had copies
made in other colors.
She called McCardell "the best woman designer
we've ever had."
 A Marimekko dress.
A group of O'Keeffe's more colorful
dresses. The blue one is from Neiman Marcus.
Photo by Elke Kuhn
This show was a revelation because I never thought of
O'Keeffe as an artist who would use fashion to promote her
brand. But clearly, she loved it and saw a direct correlation
between clothes and art.

À Bientôt!