July 31, 2012

Summer Thoughts

My Personal Photo

“In summer, the song sings itself.” – William Carlos Williams 

A few months ago, I picked up another pair of K. Jacques. When I find something that speaks to me aesthetically and fits- I keep going back to it. I smile every time I steal a glimpse of these sandals in my closet. 

We all know how much I love a well-made and gorgeous pair of shoes, but it’s not the sandals themselves that make me smile. It’s the idea of throwing caution to the wind and enjoying life’s beautiful little moments. Perhaps, I long to be a bit more carefree- to be; instead of constantly doing.

Sandals that are waiting to be worn to perfection are a reminder to leave the office before sunset (it never happens, but I can dream) or to linger over dinner alfresco on a terrace or rooftop. They’re the subtle nudge to head out to the Hamptons for the change of pace at the end of a long week.

Currently, I’m pairing my sandals with dresses in breathable fabrics- my version of casual perfection on days away from the office. The beautiful navy color (I can’t get enough of all things navy) compliments my wardrobe and is a nice alternative to the tan leather and gold handmade sandals that I’ve been living in. 

One thing that I cannot say enough, is to fill your wardrobe with things that you love and enjoy wearing. Pieces that you feel good spending your money on... Whether it’s a piece of jewelry that has been passed along to me, or a newer treasure- I genuinely enjoy the wardrobe I'm building.

July 23, 2012

An Evening at the Ballet

Diane Von Furstenberg Zarita Dress and Chanel Necklace 

Thursday evening, the gentleman and I made our way to Lincoln Center to see the Paris Opera Ballet’s 217th performance of Giselle. There’s nothing like Lincoln Center lit up at night. If you follow me on twitter, then you know how much I’ve been looking forward to the company’s first visit to New York in sixteen years. As Brigitte Lefèvre, the director of the Paris Opera Ballet succinctly put it “It’s a renewal of a relationship with the public and also an approach to a new public which has never seen us.” You could sense the entire theater’s anticipation as we settled into our seats. 

The Paris Opera Ballet is always superb- the elegance, precision, attention to line and legibility. It gets me every time. The spirit of the company takes precedence over personality and individuality. To put it simply the performance was a celebration of the purity of form and specificity. We both left the theater breathless… 

This dress seemed perfect for date night at the ballet. I purchased the Diane Von Furstenberg’s Zarita Dress almost two years ago for an event. Yes, her dresses last. On the hanger, the dress looked deceiving, which always piques my interest. Since it was a new arrival at the time, all of the sales assistants were eager to see how it fit. Little did we know that this dress would go on to become one of Diane Von Furstenberg’s most popular dresses. 

I fell for the lace, bateau neckline, scalloped trim and the deep V in the back. I love the subtlety of a deep V in the back. The exposed two-way zipper adds a touch of needed insouciance. There’s a jersey lining that makes the dress nice and comfortable. 

As you can imagine, my hesitation was the fitted silhouette. I have long limbs (I know, not a bad problem to have), so fitted and short- is too much for me. I think the key here is balancing the silhouette with the demure sleeve and a closed-toed pump

A touch of aubergine gloss, a statement necklace and out the door we went. 

July 17, 2012

Fashion, A-Z Part 2

Martin Margiela, sleeveless jacket, beige linen, spring 1997, France, museum purchase. Photograph ©The Museum at FITThe sculptural jacket is firmly constructed to resemble a couture dress form.

Over the Fourth of July holiday, I finally had the chance to see Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection of The Museum at FIT Part Two. It felt quite decadent to leave my office in the middle of the day and head over to 27th Street. In my mind an afternoon at a beloved museum is a small luxury. The Museum at FIT is one of the city’s great gems- a highly specialized fashion museum committed to advancing knowledge of fashion. 

The Museum at FIT collects, exhibits, conserves, interprets and documents fashion. Since 1975, the museum has been producing award-winning exhibitions. Isabel Toledo: Fashion From the Inside Out and Madame Grès Sphinx of Fashion are two of the museum’s exhibits that have lingered in my mind- both feature innovative designers who leave me in awe.  

Charles James, Tree dress, pink silk taffeta, pink and lavender netting, 1955, USA, gift of Robert Wells In Memory of Lisa Kirk. Photograph ©The Museum at FIT. The Tree dress exemplifies James' mastery of construction. James made fewer than 1,000 dresses during his career-the Museum at FIT has 40 of his dresses in the permanent collection and is the largest collector of his work.

I know I’ve said it before, but hands down the best way to learn about quality is to closely analyze construction. The opportunity to get so close to couture garments, that have been taken apart and reconstructed is what made last year’s Daphne Guinness exhibit so special. There’s something very intimate about the museum. The guards put you at ease when the alarms are accidentally set off and encourage you to take a closer look. 

The permanent collection contains more than 50,000 garments and 30,000 textiles and Fashion, A-Z: Highlights from the Collection. Curated by Jennifer Farley and Colleen Hill under the watchful eye of Director and Chief Curator Valerie Steele, the exhibition breaks from the museum’s conventional chronological organization. Instead, the curators opted to organize this exhibition alphabetically- beginning with Adrian, Balmain, Comme des Garcons and continuing through the alphabet.

Madeleine Vionnet, dress, black silk taffeta, 1936, France, gift of Carole K. Newman. Photograph ©The Museum at FITMadeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès dresses still look so modern.

I love that this is not an exhibit of greatest or best designers, but a look at the breadth of the museum’s holdings from the 20th and 21st centuries. I enjoyed the diversity displayed in Part One and Part Two doesn’t disappoint…

There’s a Christian Dior Trapeze Dress by Yves Saint Laurent from spring 1958 that speaks to the curators’ desires to draw connections between original house designers and their successors. Martin Margiela’s brilliant construction is displayed along with Ferragamo’s penchant for experimenting with unusual materials- raffia, cellophane, and cork.  A dress by Jean Patou left me wondering if it might be time for a retrospective. 

Alexander McQueen, dress, digital printed silk chiffon, spring 2010, England, museum purchase. Photograph ©The Museum at FIT. Computer generated prints, saturated colors and that signature couture cut.

Careful consideration was placed on selecting pieces that are representative of each designer. The exhibit features 60 items and the tight editing that I’ve come to expect from the Museum at FIT. If you are in New York, I highly recommend stopping in to see this. 

The Museum at FIT 
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street 

July 9, 2012

House of Mirth

My Personal Photos

“Summertime is a good time to reexamine New York and to receive again the gift of privacy, the jewel of loneliness. In summer the city contains (except for tourists) only die-hards and authentic characters. No casual, spotty dwellers are around, only the real article. And the town has a somewhat relaxed air…”
- E.B. White from Here is New York

For those of you who celebrated the fourth, I hope you had a safe and relaxing holiday. My favorite days are the holidays where everyone heads out of the city. An empty city affords the luxury of being able to steal a few peaceful moments alone.

Being alone with ones thoughts is the ultimate small luxury. There’s something inherently elegant in taking pleasure in your own company. I find nothing more peaceful than a beautiful gilded age garden (straight out of the likes of Henry James or Edith Wharton.)

This secret garden, with its shaded nooks is perfect for those quiet moments of respite that are essential for recharging, reading a book, or a picnic for two. Rarely do I feel that spark when I visit a space, but this space, along with the Frick and Alder Manor* make me feel that little stroke of genius.  How beautiful would an editorial featuring Fall 2012 couture here be?

Do you have any spaces that inspire you or small luxuries?

* Who could forget that wonderful Grace Coddington line in The September Issue? Pure brilliance.

July 2, 2012

Summer Hues

My Personal Photo

Banana Republic Eyelet T-Shirt,  Behnaz Sarafpour Lace Skirt & Tiffany & Co. Bracelet

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

There’s something about summer with its longer days and carefree spirit that makes me reach for a few of my favorite summer hues. We all know I rely on neutrals- navy, gray tones, black, touches of ivory and burgundy, but I’m not averse to injecting a bit more color into my wardrobe.  

I love deep coral, persimmon, and poppy on sun-kissed (SPF protected) skin. It’s quite apropos, given the predominance of deep coral everywhere… I particularly liked Monique Lhuillier’s Resort 2012 collection (looks 26, 32 and 34 are perfection) – a fresh approach to evening with bright poppy dresses in silk faille and silk organza with pockets. Upon walking into Carven’s Resort 2013 presentation I was instantly drawn to the deep coral skirt suit.

Like salmon pink in the autumn and winter, I have a penchant for deep coral, persimmon and poppy in the summer. I still haven’t figured out all of the colors that work for me, but I can humbly say that these hues flatter my skin tone. They’re uplifting colors that consistently garner the sweetest compliments. Deep coral can easily be paired with navy, white, and gray to anchor it a bit. I’m already picturing it with my pale blue cotton voile bespoke shirts that are on the way. 

On a trip to Behnaz Sarafpour’s studio, I fell for this lace skirt. The details are exquisite while remaining subtle. I tried on the skirt while the designer herself looked on approvingly, which is always a humbling experience. In addition, to the intricate lace design the skirt has a proper lining.

Last weekend, I wore this skirt for the journey out to Coney Island (hence the T-shirt) with the gentleman, for a wonderful dance recital that one of the students I mentor was in. After all, how can we possibly help shape a younger generation of leaders if we don’t support them? That alone was motivation enough for me to make the long trek out. 

Hope you had a beautiful weekend. What summer hues are you reaching for?