Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exhibitions and Broadway!

Because of the confusion of museum and gallery openings throughout the week, M&M accompanied me to the two fashion exhibitions on at the Fashion Institue of Technology on Tuesday morning. Japan
Fashion Now, which was curated by prominent fashion theorist Valerie Steele, explored the history and examples of Japanese experimentation with dress and ornamentation throughout avant garde and pop culture. It was a colourful journey through distinguished movements like the 1980s Japanese Avant Garde when designers like Issey Miyajke, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto exploded onto the fashion scene with fresh and innovative ways of remoulding the body and dress through innovative technology and shapes. The pop culture part of the exhibit featured examples of mainstream adaptations and styles of dress, including notable figures like Gothic Lolita, Kamikaze Man and Sailor Moon schoolgirl. The exhibition was thoughtfully curated with atmosphere and mise en scene, utilizing media devices and technological enhancements to improve the curated experience.

The His and Hers fashion exhibition, curated from an archive of men and women´s periodical clothing, explored the evolving discources in gender and dress throughout history. On a personal note, once you´ve seen one exhibition like this, you´ve kind of seen them all…and this exhibition certainly wasn´t one outstanding from the million I have seen in my lifetime. As pointed out by my sartorial connosieur companions, many of the dress conventions, particularly in the menswear were either outdated or incorrect…and it is true that the `resentation of the garments certainly would have benefited with better use of mannequins, or better mannequins for that matter. I liked the space age section though…

We treated ourselves to a Broadway production that night, and decked out in style, took ourselves to see the Mary Poppins production at the historical New Amsterdam theatre. This theatre is the home of the original Zeigfield Follies of the 1920s, and there was a gorgeous monument cabinet dedicated to the preservation of those golden days in the lobby bar lounge. Mary Poppins was fantastic…I thoroughly enjoyed myself, mostly because I was an insane fan of the story as a child. And the production still captured moments of magic such as the rooftop chimney sweep routines and of course what Mary could pull out of her bag. The costuming was quite amazing (aside from the annoyingly huge bustles on the ladies skirts), and explosion of colour and frills. I would say though, that the most astounding part of the production was the set design, which revolved with each scene, transforming from room to room on suspended platforms.

I can´t get ¨´spoonful of sugar´out of my head…

Monday, November 29, 2010

Balenciaga and the Fabric District

We had planned to see a couple of fashion exhibitions today with the group, but as we discovered upon reaching the Museum of the City of New York all the way up at 103rd st, many of the galleries and museums are, in fact, not open of a Monday. Woo. So, rearranging plans, we decided to view the fantastically curated Balenciaga exhibition at the Spanish Insitute in New York first before discovering the orgasmic Fabric District.

Hamish Bowles worked with Oscar de la Renta to curate the exhibition and pay dutiful homage to the legendary career of Christobal Balenciaga. Displayed across 3 levels in the graceful Institute building, the exhibition was an exploration of his work and inspirations throughout his career, featuring notable garments (including his famous pleated=sleeve coat of 1969) as well as a collection of various points of reference and illustrations within his work. The exhibition was breathtaking, and as a fond admirer of his work since a very young age, I felt truly privileged to be in the same room as some of those recognizable pieces, where I was able to appreciate and admire the intricacies of his techniques at an arm´s length distance. On a side comment on the curatorial of the exhibition, Bowles created a particularly compelling impact on the viewer by strategically placing each piece among pieces of cohesive concepts and inspirations. It was utterly beautiful.

Inspired once again by the grace of Balenciaga´s career, it seemed naturally perfect to venture back to the Fabric District to source ideas and materials for my own studio collection. Alas, I was completely overwhelmed by the extent of the district, which runs across 2 avenues and 4 streets between 33rd and 37th near Union Square. I walked out of Mood (225 W37th) without any amazing swatches…however, I did purchase a large wooden button to inspire initial concept development. I will definitely have to have a better idea on my direction before I return to that part of Manhatten again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Battery Park

With slightly heavy heads from a fantastic night before, Marc and I ventured down to Battery Park and the World Trade Centre site after a long sleep in. There is a really big memorial there for the victims of September 11, in a church next to a massive graveyard site. I was particularly interested in spending a lot of time there to build concept research, however it was late afternoon and the church was closing so we wandered down to Battery Park and the sights of the Financial District (uber boring). Again, we’d picked the perfect time of the day for sightseeing architecture and landscapes, and the lighting from the sunset at Battery Park produced some photos of brilliant quality of objects like the Statue of Liberty as well as the city docking bays.
I will have to go back down to that area of Manhattan to spend more time at the memorial site. I´m also quite interested to see whose skins and bones are buried in the cemetery.

Marc and I attended dinner with the girls at a Japanese Restaurant on 8th Av down the road from their hostel. All I had was Tempura Shrimp, and unfortunately felt the uneasiness of food poisoning.

I can´t believe it has been a week and I´ve not seen any celebrities…boo!

Chelsea Flea Markets and the High Line

Yesterday we ventured to the flea markets in Chelsea with the girls. The flea weekend markets in New York have gained immense popularity, and even on a Sunday have replaced the traditional morning church activity. Flocked by the masses on a chilly Saturday, we navigated through the antique strips along 28th St and 7th Av with eagle eyes, determined to find some rare gems. Flea Market activity is popular amongst young and old in New York, attracting the likes of artists and avid collectors, as well as tourists and passers by. There is something on offer for anyone, I guess...any individual going in without much intention could find something, as in the case of Marc, who ended up purchasing a pair of opera spectacles (although I actually haven´t seen them be put to use yet...)
I wouldn´t say that there is much variation in the type of product offered in the New York market manifesto, but certainly there is much more of it. In one particular warehouse, some of the best deals I found were, for example, current season´s Bally shoes in perfectly new condition for a third of the retail price, hipsters‐eat‐your‐hearts‐out poloroid camers for under $30, and I saw in one particular stall a collection of 80 belt buckles from the art deco period ‐never used‐ for $400. Mark picked up some original edition covers of the classic New Yorker publication magazines...and I found an antique gold telescope on a keychain for my papa for $10. I could literally have spent all day there, but there were surrounding hubs to discover that morning, including an insanely amazing jewellery store 2 stores down which was frequented by the likes of Zoie Deschnal among other raging whimsical startlets.

Mark and I didn´t continue with the group to the Young Designers Markets, but we still have plenty of time to check them out. There is, however, a common chain of second hand stores in New York called Housing Works, which often have a pretty good collection of brands like Brooks Brothers, so Mark and I wandered off to find the local store. We were pretty unimpressed with the collection on offer at the Chelsea store, although they did have some pretty unusual colours in the Melissa for Vivienne Westwood range of shoes.

Not sure whether it was jetlag or general sleep deprivation, but Mark and I fell into slumbermode when we got home around lunchtime. We woke up to a really nice sun setting in the early afternoon, and so after Marc met us home we decided to go and investigate the everspoken about High Line down on W23rd. The High Line is a recreational park transformed from an existing train track which was partly suspended through the sitting near the Meatpacking District. Despite all the grass being dead from the cold weather, the views were fantastic and particurly spectacular at 3pm sunset. I imagine it would be a very popular place in the summertime...and it is a very good example of New York´s use of rooftop attractions to create into recreational spaces and gardens, which I have seen a fair amount of so far.
The High Line was a really nice way to end the afternoon, and we celebrated the fine weather with a sneaky gin cocktail at Don´t Tell Mama´s with Ali and Allanah (a gorgeous little cabaret piano bar on W46th, hilarious entertainment well into the wee hours of the morning). Fun times.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Madness

Marc, Mark and I woke up super early to get to the Thanksgiving Parades and say Hi to Kylie gal for Australia....we actually got incredibly bored after about 20mins and left to wander up to Times Square after lunch. By the time we neared there, the crowds began to dissipate after the parade concluded, and so we absorbed the mass swarm of millions of people sitting on the red Australian Designed steps at Times Square. It was probably one of the most breathtaking of experiences.... But admittedly, I am glad nobody opened shot that day :)

We made a super yummy turkey and ratatouille for late lunch/dinner and got super drunk off Jacobs Creek Australian Shiraz before starting Thanskgiving shopping at Gap at 12am. It was so cold. The boys bought out half the store and I bought nothing because I was sleepy and cold and grumpy...so after another costume change and dumping bags at home, Mark and I went back out to Macy's at 3am where I bought out half of M.A.C and purchased some sweet little wedge heels in purple, silver and black. We actually got home at around 6.30am, crashed for abotu 4hrs and then went back out to shop some more. The boys spent like 7hours pickign socks, and I spent 20mins spending $200 at Zara...but we got home in one piece looking fabulous.

I fucking love Barney's. You have NO IDEA how amazing that department store is. Mark and I would spend 20mins on each desigenr section analysing the detail and construciton of each garment...soooooo amazing. We have to go back tomorrow to finish off anaysing the 3rd floor, as poor Marc fell asleep waiting for us.

Anyway, definately time for a good rest.
I miss you all, and am thoughtfully keeping my eyes open for little trinkets which remind me of you.
I bought Norty J a pair of chinos, somoene tell him I love him please....I assume his phone still doesn't work, he works too much to access internet, and is never home to answer the landline. But boy I miss him.


Vintage Shopping

We had organised for Mark and Kay o give us a guided tour of some vintage shopping hotspots around Chelsea and Uptown on Wednesday, which was super fun as I hadn't properly hung out with the gals since the flight and it was good to shop with someone other than picky boys. It was also super fun that my friend Hamish could come...he'd moved to New York 6 months ago, and so it was good he could check out some pleaces he didn't already know about. We started out at some local joints in Chelsea, there was a hand-made bonnet I really wanted to buy in the first store which was downstairs from an old cathedral. It was super cute, but I couldn't spend $200 on it :(
In the second store, however, I found a most amazing buy...a vintage full length dress, which Kay and I dated to late 60s with it's ethnic inspired concept and print. It is super warm because the bottom is heavy wool and appliqued with an amazing red, black and white print.

My favourite store was the City Opera Thrift Store in Chelsea, which had all kinds of decadent treasures including a charmingly well dressed man I spotted in the store collecting objects to adorn his wardrobe attire. He told me he had attached the fur to the jacket....clever.

phtos aren't uploadig at the moment ;( I will try again later to upload them

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Marc and I made an amazing lentil bolognaise on Monday night, so with full bellies we awoke quite ate on Tuesday morning, so spent it roaming around Uptown before meeting the tour group for a guided tour of the Chaos and Classiscm exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum of Art. Marc really enjoyed it....I think I was too sleepy to absorb all the information, but I still really appreciated the tour. The museum itself is a curated legend, with a spiralling concept to the museum and art gallery...and of course the dome ceiling.

We all looked fabulous, and so as a group, many people approached us to ask whether we studied fashion. Haha.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Central Park and Columbus Circle

The first few days in New York were surprisingly and pleasantly warm....around 19* C, which meant muchos costume changing throughout the day. On Monday Morning, Marc took me around to the Meatpacking district where we absorbed the sleek commercial designs and "stumbled'' across a few neat stores like DVF and AmQ...I die. Being in the space of the final products with McQueen at the head of design was breathtaking...I had no qualms taking my time to analyse the detail and technical work into each garment. McQueen's concept of design and the pursuit of flattering and embracing women at large extended into the concept store, whose floor staff were friendly and the clothes were presented in a warm, inviting environment. They were even playing a bit of old Black Betty instore, ha.
We wandered back through to Chelsea Markets, and into a milk bar which was terrible, but the general observation of places like Chelsea Market is similar to the kind of grocery shopping experience equivilant to James St Markets...there is a niche appreciation of organics, and fresh, wholesome food that people don't mind paying the extra couple of dollars to ensure quality eating. At home, we love local grocery store Wholefoods, who are like the Woolworthes of James St...sah gewd.

Mark had gone to Uniqlo that morning, so we met up for lunch at Columbus Circle (a shopping mall near Times Square) where there was an exhibition of Salvador Dali sculptures and sketches. I personally adore Dali's work, so the exhibition was really exciting for me. And some of the sculptures were inspired by Dali's famous (and my favourite) paintings about the essence of time. Afterwards we wandered up through to Central Park and spent some quality time absorbing the early afternoon sunset and park activity. The sun sets beautifully over the park at around 3pm, and throughout the whole park, buskers and performers every few hundred metres are really entertaining. My favourites were a string quartet + guitar, who did covers of Radiohead in this gypsyish sort of genre; as well as a man who blew insanely big bubbles; and also this crazy lady who was doing interpretive dance to her ipod on rollerblades while chasing her dog. Off her rocker.

Marc wanted to reach the Jacqui Onassis Resovoir, which we did, and then he went home to sleep while Mark and I went to Strand Bookstore at Union Square. I picked up a few fashion theory books I'd been anticipating for years, and bought Marc an excellent book on the history of Saville Row which he really enjoyed. The shop is so cheap and glorious! I reccomend it to anyone who is after any time of niche book genre,,,as per example, the fashion section extended across 3 large shelves as well as several long tables with books ranging from $10 in perfect-condition-second-hand, to about $120 for a recently released or distinguishable book.

It is funny how you get to the point of sleepiness, that even if you are dead tired, you manage to walk into a store and be instantly replenished. This was the case after Strand bookstore...at about 9.30pm, while hailing a cab home with Mark, a shoe store caught my eye. 2 pairs later, we came home and crashed.

My honest cure for jetlag is retail therapy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New York I am in you

12hours after departing home on 3hours sleep over a week, I flew into an LA sunrise and was pleasantly surprised that Customs let me into the country. My officer was even more excited than i was to stamp my virgin international passport... but then, after sitting next to a melodramatic for 12 hours who was convinced she had developed kidney failure in the course of the flight, I think I can be excused for being less - than - cheery.
I flew into JFK 8 hours later, and had a sleek 7hour nap at home on 25th. Our apartment is cute. Our landlord is a bit dodgy.... we had to change apartment locations because the other one had bedbugs, and at our new address, we are staying there 'as friends' of his.
within 17mins of being in New York, someone propositioned me on the street. I call him Crazy Eye, and he calls me Lucy. He's a freakazoid, but I play nice.
I had a premonition dream.... Prada released their shoes from the Spring Summer collection, and I had a pair before Deb Quinn, win. I wish.

I can't count American coins, they all look the same. I can't get my head around driving on the right side of the road. I can't get my head around the power switches and locks. But I can hail a cab!

Today Marc and I strolled through the Meatpacking district, and I 'stumbled' into McQueen. I die. More updates and photos later. He also taught me how to use the subway, and on my first train a bunch of hipsters broke out into boombox and impromteau breakdance on the train, which was tres cool. We then met up with Mark and made our way to Columbus Circle for lunch, where there is an exhibition of Dali sculptures and rare sketches. I wish I could fit $15 999 in my budget to buy one....alas.
We spent the afternoon exploring Central Park which was beautiful at the 3pm sunset. Marc wanted to walk all the way up to the Resovoir, and then bailed on the Strand bookstoe, so Mark and I continued our way there and I gave my credit card a good workout qith books and shoes.

Anywho, starbucks is kicking me out...my favourite song is playing, Hallelujah, I don't want to leave til it finishes.

til the next post, mss you all, wisihng you were here, photos soon

adios amigos x