Art & Fashion: 14 posts

Georgian National Ballet : Dance and Dazzle

If Georgia’s cuisine is any indication, this country’s other arts are equally dazzling, especially music and dance. The first time I saw Georgian dancing was when the Georgian National Ballet Sukhishivili-Ramishvili visited Kyiv during my childhood. By then I had already studied classical ballet for several years, so it was hard to impress me with complicated turns or jumps, but when the Georgian troupe took stage, it charged up the whole auditorium with so much energy that for the two hours of the performance I felt myself soaring. I have since seen hundreds of dance performances, both folk and classics, but this feeling of intoxication and euphoria returned only on a few occasions since, the most recent being during Natalia Osipova’s performance of Giselle.

And it’s hard not to be moved watching Georgian dancing with its energy, rhythm, complex technique and precision. The clip above is the rehearsal of the same troupe I saw as a child, but of course, with a new generation of dancers. Sukhishvili-Ramishvili Ballet is based on traditional Georgian dancing, though they incorporate classical ballet elements to polish the movements further. Men dancing on bent toes, though, is part of the traditional repertoire, predating ballet’s en pointe technique. Although this clip is only the rehearsal, it gives you a sense of the troupe’s virtuosity. I watched it at least ten times, and I still hold my breath when the dancers do pirouettes on their knees, then raise themselves en pointe before jumping in the air and holding a trinacria-like shape for what seems like minutes.

Continue reading →

Christian Dior’s Guide to Colors, Scents and Elegance

The world moves in cycles and so does beauty writing. A few years ago magazines were awash with articles singing paeans to the ineffable allure of French women who’ve solved the mysteries of bringing up bébé and tying scarves better than other creatures on the planet. Now we learn that French style is too limiting and severe. And–here comes the major revelation–that you can’t enjoy your croissants and fit into slim jeans too. Apparently, French women do get fat along with the rest of us.

It’s true that French style has a distinctive aesthetic based on a series of subtle subtractions. Like ballet, it makes difficult things look effortless. It’s limiting, I suppose, since the way to achieve it lies in removing, rather than adding elements–paring down accessories, color palette, shapes, etc. But it’s never boring, which is why it continues to fascinate us. Once beauty magazines are finished instructing us on how to look like Scandinavian amazons and achieve hygge and lagom with scented candles, we’ll be back to reading how to breathe like French women.

Despite its vintage (circa 1954), Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion (public library) is still a good guide to the art of French style. Fashion and the world in general have changed dramatically since Dior wrote it, but the basic premise of the attention to shape, quality and elegance holds. Mind you, at no point does Dior talk about his Dictionary as French; it’s his guide to fashion in general.

Continue reading →

Paris Exhibitions Not To Miss Summer-Fall 2017

“Paris is a veritable ocean,” wrote Honoré de Balzac in his novel Father Goriot. Balzac was conveying the mysteries of Paris that will always remain out of reach, but whenever I have a couple of days in the city and try to decide which museum exhibits to visit, I feel the same sentiment. Is it possible to see everything, explore everything, touch everything that Paris has to offer? Of course not, but trying to do so is a heady pleasure in itself. Below are my highlights from this summer in Paris. If you scroll further down, you will find an additional list of coming attractions.

Christian Dior at the Musée des Arts décoratifs until 7 January 2018

An exhibit that will make you appreciate the genius of Christian Dior and his obsessive attention to detail. Covering several floors of the Musée des Arts décoratifs, a few steps from the Tuileries Garden, the exposition traces the rise of the fashion house. It starts from the early days when Dior contemplated a career in political science and art and ends with the tenure of Maria Grazia Chiuri, the current artistic director. There is a special section on perfume.

Continue reading →

Postcard from Paris

Anyone care to make up a caption?

The illustration was drawn by the artist Elisabeth Branly (1889-1971) in 1911. It was presented as part of the exhibition celebrating the work of female artists and artisans at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. I thought that it was ideal for our Women in Perfumery series!

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

The Belgians : An Unexpected Fashion Story

Belgians seem to be as surprised as anyone else that their small country could produce a seismic shift in fashion, starting with the success of the original Antwerp Six in 1986. This explains the title of a new exhibition at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, The Belgians: An Unexpected Fashion Story (on display till September 13). But as I walked through the exposition in tribute to the Belgian fashion scene, I wondered if it really should be so unexpected. After all, Belgium is a politically complex case, balanced precariously and unsteadily between Flemish and Wallonian interests. It has a rich, if sometimes combustive, blend of cultures, influences, and languages. In moments of crisis and stalemate, the inspiration and yearning for change take on different forms–consider the blossoming of the avant-garde movement at the turn of the 20th century.

the-belgians1athe belgians1

Belgian fashion is anything if not avant-garde. It makes a powerful statement, it casts conventions aside, it makes you look at things in a new way. It can be an experience that is both disconcerting and inspiring, and living in Belgium I have come to see it as an essential part of local culture. Fashion is taken seriously here, although not in the sense of social expectations of looking a certain way that exists in Paris or New York. It’s an idea. It’s an art form. You can wear it, if you want, or you can simply admire it. Which is what I usually do when I head to Rue Antoine Dansaert, a dynamic part of Brussels and a place for fashion pilgrimage. Young and established designers have their boutiques there, and although I rarely buy anything, I go to the stores for a dose of beauty–or a jolt–and I treat them like museums.

Continue reading →

From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Elisa in Perfumista Bait: It took me a long time to feel confident in, and “ready” for Coco too! Isn’t that strange, how we can completely fall in love with something but not buy… November 21, 2017 at 11:42am

  • Sandra in Perfumista Bait: I fell for fragrance when I smelled Obsession in the 90’s and Cristalle. Some fragrances that captured my attention, but at that time I was no confident enough to wear… November 21, 2017 at 11:37am

  • Elisa in Perfumista Bait: I’ve experience the same thing, Nora — I now love things that I originally thought I hated, whether it was materials or styles. There are now very few things that… November 21, 2017 at 9:47am

  • Elisa in Perfumista Bait: It’s like the Area 51 of perfumes! November 21, 2017 at 9:45am

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2017 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved.