Sunday, October 31, 2010

it's witchcraft

This week was so full of appointments and adventures. I am leaving out the Friday afternoon spent with Jeanne Rohayton touring the New Museum and Bowery galleries. She was engaging and authentic and eager to share her world with us.

I am leaving out my five minutes of fame conversing with Mr. Pierre Cardin following the fashion show at MILK Studios. I wanted to help some fashion students meet him so mustererd my courage, spoke passable French, and landed them a group shot that I hope will inspire and motivate them for years to come.

What pops out at me for the purposes of my blog are these few impressions below -- definitely a week for unusual encounters, magical moments and subtle transformations...

THE Cat:
On Tuesday, I make a field trip downtown to meet Marisol Mercado, designer of Temple de Mexico accessories, in a vast studio on Houston Street.  I climb up a very steep set of steps to a shiny red door and knock, feeling not for the first time this month much like I am about to enter Wonderland.

In fact, it is more of an Almodovar scene. Marisol, tall as the red door, doll like, perfect in a grey wool sheath dress, greets me, high cheekbones, almond eyes, arms and legs thin and long, click of heels on the hard wood studio floors, and a mellifluous voice that is actually all business, moving things along to the purpose of the visit, to view her collection of hand crafted enamel and copper belts, footwear, and jewelry, made in her native Mexico.

All is fine until the slinky grey cat decides to join the party, leaping up on the red leather sofa beside me, his bluegreen eyes like marbles. Each time he pounces, Marisol picks him up and there he is, all fours extended, in front of her, grey against the grey dress.

"Gato, Gato," she scolds and walks him to another room of the pretty much wide open, art filled loft, only to have him return with more force, louder cries, and the desire to sit in on our meeting.  My eyes itch and I try to keep my fear in check. Mainly I am so fascinated to be a character in the scene, that I just play through it, watching each time as the action repeats itself, click of heels, return of Gato, pounce and begin again.

Later, itchy eyes under control, I attend the Assouline book signing party at the Plaza Hotel for Mr. Pierre Cardin in celebration of 60 years of innovation. It is a who's who of bloggers, editors, fashion executives, fashionistas, public relations pros, and more. Mr. Cardin signs books for two hours from behind a large desk, his muse Maryse Gaspard at his side for much of the time, impeccable in dark glasses and a black wool pantsuit with patent leather trim.  Others from the Paris team and Assouline family look on, welcome guests, and pose for photos.  When it is my turn for the designer to carefully scribes his message, I get goosebumps.

THE Cape:
The book signing is followed on Friday evening by the Pierre Cardin Spring 2011 Show at MILK Studios.  It is packed and the crowd is a great one.  I take special note of the several men in black velvet 'smokings,' a dramatic brunette in a vintage Cardin chain mail skirt worn with sleek fitted boots that hugged fabulous mile high legs, and a Betty Boop flapper type in oversized sunglasses and daring mix of patterns from head to toe.

The show is a playful projection into the future, or is it the past present at times? -- cones and circles and hoops, rubber and patent and other innovative materials worked into jumpsuits, hats, dresses and pantsuits imagined by the maestro couturier. Wrap sunglasses, silver astronaut suits, tribal pendants on bare-chested men -- possibly possessing magical powers?-- then the most cerebral of palettes in muted greens and apricots, subtle suits and dresses topped by exaggerated felted wool hats, followed by a spray of happy colors and flowers and bows and tulle and crinoline hoops and not one but at least six brides in white dresses, my favorite being the one in the mini with red plastic ballerina flats. Shifts in music register as shifts in mood and place - space, Earth, ocean, garden - with the audience in a willing trance.

At the end, a defile of men and women, and Mr. Cardin himself rises from the front row in the audience and advances quietly to meet the crew of photographers at the end of the runway. He then walks backstage and comes out once more for a slow and dignified procession with Maryse Gaspard, taller than tall, draped head to toe in a cape like sweep of golden silk and adorned with a silver choker simple as a ring around Saturn. The only thing missing is a scepter but the spell is still cast.

THE Gloves:
We are six after the show, running for dinner in the cold without a reservation, first to Spice Market (1 hour wait),  then to The Standard (2 hour wait), Five Ninth, "No" at Pastis, "No" twice at Scarpetta, and finally to La Bottega where we collapse in a booth and enjoy pizza and pasta and our own review of the evening. "Was it wearable?" "Who is designing with him?"  "Is it a comeback collection?" and so on ...

A European party girl, so tall and so tipsy she can barely stand, stumbles past our table in black stretch pants, stilletto heeled boots, black sweater. She drops a pair of long fingerless bi-color calfskin gloves. As she stoops to retrieve them, she states emphatically to anyone who cares, "They are not Martin Margiela. They are not. Everyone thinks that they are but the are not." She pulls them on snugly and smooths them over her elbows, shakes her head of long brown hair and scowls to bring home this most important point.

At home and in bed just past midnight, images from the week reel through my mind in cinematic form -- Gato in the outstretched arms of Marisol; the Paris 'mannequin' Maryse in a royal march befitting of a Queen; the last word from the party girl, because someone must always have the last word, and of course, my encounter with a fashion icon who, with the flourish of his pen and a line up of of haute looks, reminds me of where I have been in my own fashion time travel and points to the possibilities of where I might still journey.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

dressed for the party

friday, 11 a.m, headed towards Soho, i detour along my favorite Bleeker Street, intimate and charming and fully dressed for Halloween. it happens to be about an hour before all open for the day and i am catching a behind the scenes take on familiar haunts....

black crows and bats in the windows at marc jacobs, a scarecrow with a vintage sugar sack at RRL, and a clever line up at Jack Spade - take out meets astronaut meets banana for a kind of Project Runway display.

little marc teases with a full size web made of elastic cable cords, and at Ralph kids, a Jack-O-lantern on a grand scale lighting up the street by sheer virtue of size and color alone!

at Mary's Fish Camp on west 4th, staff on counter stools folding oversize white cloth napkins.  quiet, industrious, they share their own pre opening moments.

Silvano signs for his daily produce outside on 6th Ave. there he is, green glasses, green scarf and green jeans, leaning on the cartons on this crisp fall morning, yellow and orange mums neat in a row beside him, colors ablaze in the trees above. visions of pumpkin ravioli race through my head....

i turn the corner onto west 4th and walk a few yards, hair blowing wildly in the high wind. a man calls to me from the sidewalk. earnestly and emphatically, he says, " Nice Afro. THANK you, for keeping the Afro alive."   i smile and thank him and carry on with my day, curls on parade, my own accidental costume du jour...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday School

corner of west end and 98th street, 3:15 pm

Yard Sale:  tightly edited assortment, colorful signage, clean display protruding not more than a few feet from building facade (wonder if that is some kind of urban yard sale regulation?); one lone Urban Outfitters shopping bag holding i did not pause long enough to tell what; small ''feature" table; amicable father/daughter sales team; passer by who just passed by after gently fingering a velvet dress on the hanging rod

as good as any pop up shop i have seen lately.............

Sunday, October 3, 2010

fashion is love, sunday, santa monica

fashion is love!

today is the first day of my blog!
i am sitting on the boardwalk in front of Shutters.
it is Sunday and though still before 9 a.m, the beach is busy with the usual suspects: surfers, cyclists, bladers, walkers and more ...
i am sitting on the concrete wall along the beach when HOP, a little girl lands next to me!
bunny? princess? ballerina? all three?
pouf! pigtailed and smiling and perfectly pink from head to toe, she goes hop hop hopping along the wall, then jumps down just as quickly to her pink bicycle and attending father...
if i had not been camped out with cappuccino, NYT, and tote, i would have hopped right after her as she dashed to the sand and flirted with the gulls, her tiara and tutu a vision even from afar.
instead, i stayed where i was and thought of the coincidence in having just seen Alice and Wonderland on the flight out.
this confection of a child would never lose her muchness!