Monday, October 5, 2015

Timelessness of Blue and White Porcelain

I am so glad I had the opportunity to see the Met's "CHINA: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit before it closed, a joint collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department within the museum.  I hadn't heard much about this show, but am so glad I stopped in before the show was about to end its months long run because I thought it was truly awe inspiring!   The purpose of the show, stylistically speaking, was to show how modern Eastern fashion juxtaposed with Western traditional costumes and decorative art is turned on its head with an Alice in Wonderland feeling.  The show's intent was to recognize the cultural history of the past and present a new appreciation for Orientalism in the present.  The visual conversation between the West and the East creates a dynamic cross cultural, inspirational journey with stunning results.

It is hard to interpret exactly what you are seeing in these pictures.  There were many vignettes of a contemporary dress designed by a well known designer juxtaposed with a large convex mirror in the center (similar to the one Alice crawls through in her home that transports her to an alternate universe.)  Hanging beside that is an exquisitely beautiful, traditional, antique, embroidered silk robe.

Couture designers such as McQueen, Rodarte, Galliano for Dior, and Roberto Cavalli created fashions inspired by the timeless, signature porcelain from the Yuan Dynasty.  I was wowed by the fashion, but I walked away with a renewed love of blue and white porcelain.

A woman's warrior dress made of blue and white pottery taken from the Qing archeological dig called "The Weight of the Millennium" by Li Xiaofeng was a showstopper among many.  The back and forth conversation between periods, places, artists, and media speak of the inspiration each has in a globalized world where cultures collide.

Art imitates life.  Included in the exhibit was James Whistler's Purple and Rose, The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks, 1864, on loan from The Philadelphia Museum of Art  ~

Lange Leizen, which is the Dutch term for "Long Ladies," is the name applied to blue-and-white Chinese porcelain decorated with images of slender women. Whistler's interest in East Asian art can be seen here in the accessories surrounding the model, many of which are based on his own art collection.

The story of blue and white chinoiserie porcelain encapsulates centuries of cultural exchange between the East and West.  It was created in the Jingdezhen region during the Yaun Dynasty (1271-1368) and was exported to Europe and beyond.  As its popularity increased, potters, inspired by the look, put their own regional spins on the porcelain: think Delft, Meissen, Minton

From the 15th century through today, in any form, it always works.  It always feels fresh.  It's timeless, it can be had at any price point, and best of all ~ it's perennially chic!

Mary McDonald

Mark D Sikes

The Rinfret Group

Tobi Fairley

Donald Romualdez

In fashion as well as design, you must understand the past as you move through the present and into the future!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Color My World

I used to love to color as a kid.  Why do we stop?  We doodle, we journal, we draw in some cases, but why do we stop coloring?  Adult coloring books are trending.  I hope it's not just a moment, their 15 minutes, but that the art of coloring stays alive throughout a lifetime.

Studies show there are so many health benefits to being in a meditative state, and one can conjure this just by the mere act of sitting down to color in a coloring book.  Your heart rate slows, your stress level decreases, your brain has a chance to "reboot."  When I am engaged in something like high intensity cardio, my brain doesn't have a chance to think about anything else except the job at hand.  That's why I think my husband loves to play golf, he thinks of nothing else in the moment.  His brain is at rest.  It's the same with coloring.  Your mind does not tend to wander, thinking about the minutia in life that must be attended to.

Also by balancing the creative right side of our brain with the logical left side, coloring helps us process, become more aware, and better focused ~ all good for aging.  Also, the act of play becomes increasingly important as we age.  We play as children, we play with our children, we may even play with our grandchildren, but often times we, ourselves, stop playing.  Don't stop playing!

So if those are not enough reasons to pick up a colored pencil, magic marker, or crayon, you might even find a little inner Picasso in you that has been hiding all along.  Playing like a child is a good thing!

Click here to down load a picture now and give it a try.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Art of the Shoe

Manolo Blahnik is on a slight whirlwind tour these days, celebrating his 40 years in business and a new tome, Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions.  This couture cobbler remains steadfast in his feelings about designing his sexy, signature pumps and mules that give the illusion of an elongated leg.  No platforms for him!  Inspired by art, architecture, film, travel and more, the designs and look of the book are lavishly displayed.  "It's all about the  balance," Manolo explains.  The same holds true for interior design, so I thought it would be fun to use the shoes as inspiration; one inspiring the other, because often times, they do.

Manolo can credit becoming a shoe designer to a happy accident.  He was asked to design shoes for an Ozzy Clarke fashion show.  His inexperience worked to his advantage because the models were forced to assume an unusual gait as they walked the runway so as not to fall flat on their faces.  The critics and show-goers stood up and took notice.  The rave reviews motivated Manolo to study the business of shoe design and he has since gone on to create more than 30,000 different designs.

He strongly believes in the importance of referencing the past to inform the future ~

His designs are sharp and timeless ~

Attention Grabbing and Sexy ~

Festive and Unique ~

Classic and Elegant ~

and Neutral and Sensual ~

Manolo stumbled upon his life's passion and spent a career pursuing the perfection of the art of the shoe.  That's not what I call a fleeting obsession!

shoe photos:Michael Roberts