Wednesday, December 11, 2013
We are distraught. Distraught! There we were, walking down a very hip street minding our own business just the other day, when what should we see but George Clooney on the cover of W Magazine. We don't begrudge George the cover - he belongs on the cover of ANY magazine (except, possibly, Popular Mechanics, and then, if he did a car movie, why not?). We are just a bit offended that we weren't included. After all, what has George ever done to advance the cause of polka dots? Weren't we elected two of the fifty most stylish people in New York, and didn't we wear polka dots to celebrate that?
Here's George (looking absolutely fabulous, we might add) in an overwhelmingly polka dotted Armani suit, shirt, bow tie and shoes in a room to match, all decorated by Yayoi Kusama.
Well, here we are, self-decorated (we didn't need any help), also in a room created by Yayoi Kusama. And we were online first!
Here's George and his custom-decorated ride.
Well, here we our in OUR custom-decorated ride, and we did it weeks earlier!
Here we are with another Yayoi Kusama room behind us. (Don't lose sight of our polka dotted shoes.)
And here we are with an entire Yayoi building behind us!
And anyway, where is George's HAT?
So we ask you, shouldn't we have been on the cover with George?
(To read the W Magazine interview with George Clooney, click here.)
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BONUS: ANOTHER GENT IN POLKA DOTS
Giving credit where credit is due: The late Shail Upadhya showed the world how to do polka dots. The dapper retired diplomat, a fashion week fixture known for his amazingly unique wardrobe of tailored suits in the most outrageous patterns and fabrics, passed away earlier this year. (You may have seen in in some of our previous postings.) We take this moment to tip our hats to a true dandy. (Photo taken from the documentary Bill Cunningham New York. Mr. Upadhya was among Mr. Cunningham's favorite subjects.)
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AND FOR NUMBER NERDS...
Today is the eleventh day of the twelfth month of the thirteenth year of the new millenium. Here in the United States, we write that 12/11/13, which is okay, but in Europe they write it 11/12/13, which is way cool. Numbers fans should mark this day. (Think of us if you have a cocktail.) We won't have another really cool set of numbers for a while now.
In other number nerd news: we are three people away from 700 followers! Thank you all very much!!!
Sunday, December 8, 2013
In keeping with what has become our holiday tradition, we wanted to show you what Christmas looks like in New York this year.
The first sign in New York City that the holiday season is officially open is the appearance of the star at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with the iconic star in its place of honor, but before the tree was lit in Rockefeller Center, we hit Madison and Fifth Avenues to check out the Holiday windows! Our first stop was Barney's on Madison at East 60th Street.
Here's Valerie in front of Barney's main window on Madison Avenue - part of its collaboration with Jay-Z Carter.
Jean takes her turn at this great spot.
Visitors enter a futuristic cubist room on the sidewalk and stand in the pitch dark to view a holographic high-tech holiday image that looked like what we imagine Superman's Fortress of Solitude to be. [Video viewing tip: When you click on the red arrow in the center of this video -- and all of the others, click on the little picture frame on the lower right side of the frame to view it full screen. For some reason, our format squeezes the video unless it's on full screen. Hit your escape key at the end of the video.] Oh, and the voices you hear in the background of the videos are not ours. They belong to our fellow viewers.
Valerie beckons Jean to pose for a "selfie" of our crazy multiple reflections in the super polished mirrored surface.
This captures the starry end of the show. Barney's posts a sign warning that the flashing lights may trigger epileptic seizures.
We decided to check out the Jay-Z Carter collaboration on the third floor, which had its own separate entryway down a long hall behind the elevators. The collection is obviously geared to the uber-rich male clientele in the skyboxes at Barclays Center!
The small, highly curated collection of men's clothing and accessories includes precious items by designers like Cutler and Gross (limited edition black sunglasses, $695); Rick Owens (crocodile blouson, $58,000); Elder Statesman (white with black detailing cashmere ski mask, $695). A short sleeve cotton tee shirt with NYC in gold foil was a veritable steal at $75! Check our new Instagram account (@idiosyncraticfashionistas) for photos of the ski mask and crocodile blouson!
The customer reaches the collection after walking through a wonderfully disorienting space with grainy black and white projections of subway trains moving through tunnels at high speed. Mr. Carter's design team gets kudos for the technical excellence of its installations, each of which totally engages the viewer. Although we can't afford the clothes, we appreciated the opportunity to experience the environments created.
And as if all that wasn't enough, on leaving (or on entering, actually) you could also stop in and see Santa and his voluptuous helper, dressed in over-the-top Lady Gaga style. When the futuristic sleigh gets moving, screens whisk you through scenes worthy of The Fifth Element or Blade Runner or Star Trek's hyperspace. We were invited in, but there was a line. So many windows to see! So little time!
Tiffany's windows, by contrast, feature dioramas of pristine white townhouses at night like these. Last year, stores seemed to vie to outdo one another with amazing displays. This year we noticed that the competition was much more subdued, and many stores have opted out of the competition altogether.
Valerie in front of Tiffany's northernmost window on 5th Avenue. Judging by her face, she must have seen something (or many things) she couldn't afford.
Cartier wraps its Fifth Avenue store in a bright red ribbon and bow of lights.
Fendi's upside down red fur tree is like no red fir we ever saw.
Bottega Veneta's douglas fir tree is covered in small translucent handbags illuminated from within.
This silver and red confection provides the perfect backdrop for a holiday photo.
Henri Bendel has filled its window with illustrations -- both 2-D and 3-D -- by New York icon Al Hirschfeld.
Audrey Hepburn, this time not at Tiffany's, in pearls with her cup of coffee, is in the foreground; Whoopee Goldberg is over her right shoulder and the legs of Marilyn Monroe (on a step ladder) are over her left.
Bergdorf Goodman's windows are devoted to holidays of all types like the Fourth of July and Halloween. This is the romantic, pink Valentine's Day window, filled with cupids and all manner of cakes. Note the poodle in the lower left corner.
Even Jean's sentimental favorite holiday is included -- Ground Hog day, of course!
This will give you a better idea of the scale and how big most of the windows are. We loved this upside down holiday. What could it have been? Was it April Fool's Day? We should have looked more carefully.
Ferragamo filled its windows with wild animals.
Saks Fifth Avenue's use of traditional moving figures in a storybook format is a real crowd-pleaser. Visitors line up behind velvet ropes to walk past each of the windows, read the tale and view the action. This year, Saks has chosen an adorably friendly young Yeti as the hero of its tale (a portrait of the artist as a young ... Yeti!). Here, our intrepid young snowman bids his family adieu as he heads for the Big City to pursue his art, which has something to do with assuring the proper shape of snowflakes so they catch the holiday light.
Our hero in action, taking photographs from the prow of a boat. Note the dancing little figure in the photograph on the wall to the right of the shot and the fish moving in the water below the surface.
At one point, he catches a ride in a New York City subway car, behind a very colorful couple. Native New Yorkers will appreciate the "in" jokes involving advertisements on the subway car walls. This particular one parodies the ubiquitous below-ground rainbow festooned ads by New York dermatologist Dr. Zizmor promising clearer skin and advising patients to "call Dr. Z". This one promises more beautiful fur and suggests calling Dr. Y (for Yeti, of course). We had a great laugh over that.
The lady in red freshens her makeup while riding the rails. The rivets on the train doors betray the age of the car - the visible rivets are from a type of New York train that was taken out of service decades ago. (We know 'cause we were there!)
Every year, Saks projects snowflakes on its exterior facade. As the text on the window below informs the public, the Yeti climbed Saks to save the day by making brilliantly beautiful snowflakes and returns each year to repeat the tradition. To everyone's delight, the tale ends happily. As does our posting!
Not only is this a selfie of us on a refracted surface, it turns out it's also a selfie of us with a stealth photographer. LOL!
What we're wearing:
Jean is wearing a purple, turquoise and pink plaid Amy Downs mohair turban; 1980s vintage black faux mouton coat by French designer Jean Philippe Recifrier (from Another Man's Treasure); mid-century aluminum wire & marble earrings; Eileen Fisher harem pants; leather cross-body bag from street vendor; Miyake Pleats Please drawstring bag; customized Dansko clogs.
Valerie is wearing an unlabeled vintage hat from the most recent Pier Show. The removable polka dots on the hat are adhesive paper labels from Staples. Vintage earrings from Japan, polka dot scarf from a shop on Mulberry Street, turtle neck by Plantation, vintage velveteen polka dot coat by Cattiva, purchased at Sunset Boulevard, red glove by Jasper Conran, unlabeled yellow glove, pants by Betsey Johnson, polka dot socks by Tip Toe, red suede hiking boots by Cole Haan.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
If you're in the New York metropolitan area, this is your chance to meet Sue Bourne and Sue Kreitzman, director and fashionista respectively of Fabulous Fashionistas, and to see the documentary if you missed the chance to see it online.
Fabulous Fashionistas will be shown at Manhattan's Senior Planet on Friday, December 6, at 5:30. For details, and to order tickets, click here. It's free, but you do need to make reservations. Please note seating is limited!
SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES
Want more? After whetting your appetite on Friday, maybe you'd like to see these movies on Saturday:
In the heat of July this year, we went to see Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, the documentary about world renowned fashion emporium Bergdorf Goodman's, and reviewed it for you. Now it turns out that even if Scatter didn't play at a theater near you, you can still enjoy it, and in the privacy of your own home: it's now available on Netflix.
Want to see the preview? Here it is:
And here's a link to our review:
Netflix now also has The Eye Has To Travel, the documentary on legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland, which we reviewed for you last year. Documentaries don't tend to make $70 million their first weekend, so they don't get nearly the attention they deserve. That's where we come in. We're proud to claim Vreeland as one of our own - a woman of a certain age - although that's really the least of what she was. Here's the trailer:
And here's our review:
Also available is Bill Cunningham New York, the documentary about the New York Times' fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, who by now is more an institution than a photographer. Unbelievably, we did not review this movie even though we rushed to see it when it came out, fearful that it would disappear in a week's time. We needn't have worried. There was a line a mile long when we went to see it, and it played for quite a while. (If you asked, no, we're not in it!)
Here's the preview:
And don't forget: Netflix offers the first month free!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Just before Thanksgiving, we went to The Pier Antiques Show on the Hudson River. It was the first show after Stella Management sold its business to U.S. Antique Shows, so we were anxious to see if the same wonderful melange of vendors would be back. Thankfully, minimal changes were evident and nearly all of our favorite vendors (Karen McWharter, Sunset Boulevard, ICON Style, David Owens, Lulu, to name just a few) were all in the new space. One change the new management made was to add three masseurs. Vendors have a hard job putting up their booths, and sometimes manning them singlehandedly all day, so a massage really hits the spot. (Visitors trying to visit nine hundred booths in one day also have a hard job...)
People flock to the show to view the amazing treasures on display. Sometimes it's hard to decide which treasures are more fun - the people or the objects, so we're showing you some of both.
We fell in love with this mint-condition Indian motorcyle sculpture we saw at Frank's Specialties.
Way on the other end of the spectrum, we were also delighted to see these impossible Vivienne Westwood platforms from Nomad Vintage.
We always fall in love with Michal Feinmesser, who looks as fabulous as her wares, decked out here in a grey and white polka dot reversible coat from Israeli designer Kedem Sasson that both of us coveted.
In Michal's booth, What Once Was, we spotted one of the most unusual pieces either of us had seen in a long time: intricately woven dyed red Victorian horsehair earrings in pristine condition. The delicate jewelry was colorful and extremely lightweight.
Okay, what do you think this is? We present it to you as if we were showing the phases of the moon. (The varying sizes might throw you, but that's just our bad photography. Imagine they're all the same size. 'Cause they are.)
TADAAAAA!!!! Valerie models the fascinating folding Bakelite glasses we spotted in D. Brett Benson's booth.
We spied Maira and couldn't help but compliment her on how stylishly her glasses frames matched tones in her colorful scarves.
Loved the top and vintage bag sported by our friend Friederike. She introduced us to Michael who heads a rockabilly band. We love a man who appreciates and wears vintage clothing well. He was rocking an Eisenhower jacket, pants and boots by pairing them with a wide-brimmed hat. Even his moustache was tonsoriolly correct.
Or maybe Michael was going for the early Howard Hughes look. It's a marvelous coincidence if he's not!
Daniel is a perennial favorite of ours. Does he own any clothes that aren't vintage? One gets the impression he has a copy of every 1940s movie ever made, and presses the PAUSE button at just the right moment to look at the details. Daniel's better than the movies, though, because he's in color.
Jean was positively agog at the wide variety and selection of vintage Bakelite jewelry, like these colorfully carved resin bangles in Shiny Little Objects booth.
"Come to mama!" Jean spotted this incredible black and banana yellow Bakelite ring there. It fit her ring finger perfectly, so she had to have it. With less than twenty-four hours until her birthday, she treated herself.
Speaking of men who appreciate vintage style, here is Robert Bryan, who is always so immaculately and suavely turned out, and his friend Suzanne whom we ran into right at the outskirts of Fashion Alley. You should have seen the fabulous polka dotted turban she found at Walker's Collectibles!
While we tend to focus on the Fashion Alley for clothing, jewelry and hats, the show carries all sorts of antiques from Victorian silver sets to mid-century electronics like this kitchy but visually stunning television which looked like something out of The Jetsons.
For some reason, we were very drawn to plastics/resins/synthetics this time. At Suzanne Schneider's booth, we found this carved bag with pre-Columbian Mexican motifs. Great conversation piece for a night club table. The esthetics of the '60s (above) and the esthetics of the '40s (below) are like night and day.
In our travels around the show, we stopped and had a Mutual Admiration Society moment with La Juana. Everything about her is perfect!
Loved this lady's whole look, especially her silver bracelets and earrings and her thick round tortoise shell glasses.
Here's Joyce, of Lara Joyce Antiques , who had her hair done up in Gibson Girl style.
Renee, on the other hand, went for the totally modern look. At least one vendor at the show offered to buy her aluminum necklace.
Stephanie Rubin's very up-to-date look contrasted beautifully with her selection of antiques.
We ran into our friend Mo from Ohio and all three of us pledged to get together in January when she's back in the Big Apple.
Anne and Dr. Gerry Weissmann stopped to chat. We'd first met them and photographed her at the Sonia Delaunay exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.
We had the great good fortune to run into photographer Henny Garfunkel. First, we noticed her wonderful purple jacket. No, her hundred earrings. No, it was her gorgeous smile and great lipstick. No, wait, it was the wonderful glasses. No, it was the sock hat she was wearing way on top of her head, as if she were a dignified ancient Japanese aristocrat. Okay, it was the whole package. Henny's website features a photo of Johnny Depp, which gives us two degrees of separation from one of our celebrity heroes.
Hannah at David Owens' booth is new to us, but she's not new to vintage. In five minutes' time she showed us two great hats, both of which looked marvelous on her. And check out her vintage shoes.
Lara Kornbluh from "Icon Style" models an art deco style clear plexi and black earring which we both admired.
Lulu, of "Lulu's Vintage Lovelies", posed for our camera. Jean bought a hat from her, to be revealed in a later post.
Barbara Kennedy always has a stunning selection of hats. This one, which Barbara thinks might be from the '60s, is decorated with wonderful hand painted silk vegetables.
Readers of our Metropolitan Pavilion Vintage posting from October (which Valerie missed due to ankle issues) may remember Filippo and Pervis from Sunset Boulevard holding a black jacket with buttons resembling a Paris subway map. Here is Valerie with the guys, modeling it in obvious pleasure.
The proprietress of Past Perfect wore a fetching black hat and posed for a shot with us. (She said we had inspired her to wear hats. Yaaay!)
Just before we left, we ran into Cynthia Hardy - or really, she found us, and told us her daughter had just seen us in a film (which one???!!!). In our short chat, Cynthia told us she'd lived in Bali for thirty years, designing jewelry. Later, when we did what all modern people do now and googled her, we found that Cynthia is also co-founder, with her husband John, of The Green School in Bali, subtitled The Greenest School on Earth. (See more about it on The TED Blog. TED is a wonderful organization dedicated to what they modestly call "ideas worth spreading".)
The After-Party: Disembarking from the Pier Show's complimentary shuttle bus at Madison and 55th Street, we decided to head to The Modern, the restaurant at MOMA, to have a celebratory cocktail in honor of Jean's 64th birthday. We both selected The Modern's delicious and colorful take on the margarita, the South by Southwest (NOT on the rocks, of course - we already know what water tastes like).
The Birthday Girl:
The Toaster (so to speak):
What we're wearing:
*Other purchases and Jean's birthday presents from Valerie to be revealed in later posts, so stay tuned!
Jean is wearing: black wool conical hat with little fins from Amy Downs' Schiaparelli collection; mid-century black & white polka dot earrings; vintage black eyeglass frames from Fabulous Fanny's; Kyodan jacket and Eileen Fisher harem pants; long, pleated black, white and red "Yuuka" scarf designed by Yoshiaki Yuki from Gallery Gen; Tignanello red leather cross-body bag; customized Dansko clogs.
Valerie is wearing: a black and white vintage Schiaparelli hat (from Etsy), plastic target clip on earrings, a monkey fur coat (from Loretta), barely visible Mexican silver necklace, barely visible Charivari sweater (also from Loretta), faceted horn ring from Task, two headed goat ring from Athens, barely visible Comme des Garcons pants, two toned shoes by Apartment, AND NO BOOT.