metropolitan museum: 2 posts

Charles James: Beyond Fashion : New Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibit

There are three places in New York I miss the most: Lincoln Center, Kalustyan’s and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lincoln Center houses not only The Metropolitan Opera, The New York City Ballet, and The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, but also a range of other performing companies. Kalustyan’s is a paradise for spice lovers. When it comes to art, the scene in Brussels is quite lively, but what in the world can compare to the Met? I love the way they curate their exhibitions, especially at the Costume Institute, and next spring there will be another interesting showcase. “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” will focus on Charles James, America’s best-known couturier, and will run from May 8 to August 10, 2014.


James was known for his architectural designs, and his study of human anatomy and mathematics. He was also generous in his use of color. As the WWD reports, “the Costume Institute will examine James’ entire career, including the years he dressed society doyennes like Millicent Rogers, Austine Hearst and Dominique de Menil, and was associated with his close friend Cecil Beaton, through his later years at the Chelsea Hotel (he died in 1978).” There will be 100 pieces on display.

“He really is a one-of-a-kind designer,” said Harold Koda, curator in charge of the Costume Institute. “Even if you look through the history of French haute couture and all the English couture designers, James stands out as a very idiosyncratic personality and artist and one of the few designers who, in his own lifetime, felt that his work transcended the medium.”

Photo via WWD: Nancy James in Charles James’ Butterfly Gown, 1955. Photograph by Cecil Beaton, The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s.

Schiaparelli Shocking : Vintage and Modern Perfume Review


Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The Muse

Elsa Schiaparelli was a designer who set lasting trends in fashion with her richly embroidered jackets, shoe shaped hats and lobster dresses, but I discovered her whimsical side through Shocking, a perfume she released in 1937. Shocking was a dazzling collaboration between Schiap, as she was known, Jean Carles, who created the perfume, and the Surrealist artists Marcel Vertes and Salvador Dali through whose drawings the sultry fragrance came to life.

This month, the Metropolitan Museum in New York opened the exhibit “Schiaparelli & Prada, Impossible Conversations.” Running until August 19th, the collection explores the work of two designers in a compare-and-contrast setting. It was the first time I’ve seen Schiaparelli’s work close up, and I was mesmerized. The clothes weren’t simply beautiful; they offered a glimpse into the designer’s vibrant imagination.

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