Saturday, May 13, 2017

Wednesday with Carol, May 10, 2017

Kawabonga Kawakubo
This week I spent a few hours at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the new show at the Costume Institute: Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons, Art of the In-Between.

Let's put the emphasis on ART here because as clothes, the garments in the exhibit are virtually unwearable. That is the modus operandi of Ms. Kawakubo, the famously reclusive and mysterious madame of the far out.

Comme des Garçons (like boys) is Ms, Kawakubo's retail conduit to reality. At her stores around the world, clothes that people can purchase and wear, including tee-shirts with the Comme des Garçons logo, are for sale. In New York City, we have Dover Street Market, her emporium in an old bank on Lexington Avenue.

Meanwhile, she is holed up in an atelier in Paris or Tokyo conceptualizing themes like Then/Now, High/Low and Absence/Presence, like a high priestess of Clothes As Art, on the order of the artist Louise Bourgeois who was a high priestess of Art as Art.

Rei Kawakubo = Art + Commerce = Avant-Garde.
 I favor the red dresses because I like color.
This one has a plastic bodice
and bubble wrap hair.
 Intense bondage
and strange protuberances.
A flat skirt in felt.
 Gaga for Gingham.
The exhibit installation is stunning.
All white with curved shapes.
The installation reminds me of the Guggenheim Museum.
The dance of the Sugar-Plum Tailors.
Stark black lines on white tulle.
I like the large red circle on the skirt.
The ballet's costume designer
used up all the red tulle on the skirt.
The bodice is a composition
from the rag bag.
Dress meets coat flattened
by steamroller.
 The black against the white walls
is so effective. The sculptures on the heads
are a show stopper.
The silhouette is reminiscent of
a 19th century lady leaving
the Bon Marche with her shop-lifted
booty hidden in her booty.
After the Met, I walked for blocks and blocks
down Madison Avenue, finally hailing
a cab to take me to 58th Street near Second Avenue.
 My destination was Bon Vivant,
a cafe and shop selling
petit fours, coffee, tea and pastries.
 I met the lovely owner, Maya Hormis, who explained that
the exquisite cakes are made with  buttercream and
marzipan fillings and covered with a fondant icing.
This was my perfect treat on a Wednesday
afternoon, as I sat by the window gazing out
on a sun- dappled New York Street.
The petit four was scrumptious,
the Macchiato coffee was served in a perfectly sized cup.

The petit cakes may be ordered here.

À Bientôt!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Wednesdays with Carol, May 3, 2017

Linda at BG!
On a bright, breezy Wednesday in May, I travelled by the F train to 57th Street, on my way to Bergdorf Goodman, the elegant bastion of luxurious chic on New York's 5th Avenue. The occasion was the opening of Linda's, a shop created and curated by Linda Fargo, head buyer and senior vice president, fashion and store presentation of Bergdorf's.

The shop, on Bergdorf's 4th Floor, is a bon-bon box of edgy, colorful clothes and accessories, reflecting Linda's taste in downtown, uptown and every thing in between with a little bit of outrageous thrown in for good measure.
A mannequin styled as Linda.
I was fortunate that Linda was in the shop while I
was there. She can't be missed in her signature silver bob
and red lip stick.
Linda's has the exuberance of an African bazaar.
The Matisse-like colors and patterns on the fur coat
are stunning.
 An expansive beach hat by Lola.
 A frock both prim and unique
with it's flouncy cape.
A tableau of jazzy colors
 The shop is a jumble of color in 
the midst of its refined neighbors on the 4th floor.
 Aprons for kids.
 Fun sandals with Linda faces.
 Stars and hearts and red lipstick.
 The dressing rooms are wallpapered with
invitations that Linda has received for runway shows.

 This fancy dress is shown with a woven
bag from Africa that you could find
at a street fair.
But don't expect bargains here.
The prices are strictly Bergdorfs.

Here is the back of a rain coat hand-painted by
artist and filmmaker, Suzan Pitt.
It is held aloft for me to photograph by Linda. 
I believe it was sold shortly thereafter.

À Bientôt!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesdays with Carol, April 26, 2017

A Spring Adventure
in Beacon's Closet
My friends, Valerie and Jean, The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, told me about a store called Beacon's Closet where you can shop for second-hand clothes. They have found some wonderful items there, and I was curious to see the place for myself.

Beacon's Closet also buys clothes. You bring your bag of clothes to a counter in the back of the store, where an employee will review your pieces, and if they accept an item, price it on the spot. You get 35 percent of their retail price. In winnowing my wardrobe, I had found things that either did not fit me anymore or which had been a purchase mistake in the first place.

So on this cloudy, drizzly Wednesday at the end of April, my friend, Tobi, joined me for a visit to Beacon's Closet on west 13th Street, just off 5th Avenue.

 Employees reviewing items.
They hold up your item,
look it over, and if they want it,
declare a price with a question mark at the
end of the sentence.
I said yes every time. Why quibble?
 Tobi and I were tempted by these
boots, but our podiatrists
would have had serious objections.
 The store was full of shoppers
perusing the jam-packed display racks.
I sold this pink Agnès B sweater
with a bizillion silver snaps down the front.
Too hard to snap all the snaps.
I sold almost all my items and netted $70.00
 Lunch with Tobi was at Mi-Ne, a Japanese restaurant
on 6th Avenue.
 Tobi and I shared the shrimp shumai which
was delicious.
My lunch was shrimp sushi, tuna avocado roll
and salmon sashimi. All tasty.
The staff was delightful.
 After lunch, Tobi took the 6th Avenue bus
to return home, and I stopped at the
Angel Thrift Shop on 17th Street.
I donated my unsold items here.
 The Angel Thrift Shop curates their windows and
items are sold when the shop opens on
Saturday mornings.
 Next door to the Angel is Pippin Vintage with
a glorious hodge-podge of  jewelry,
hats, handbags and what-nots.

 China candy dishes full of pretty pins.
 On the same block, Ariston Flowers
does spring bouquets.

Since I was in the neighborhood, 
I thought that I would like to walk through
the Union Square Greenmarket.
It's the most popular greenmarket in New York.
 Ramp up your Ramp recipes.
Only in Spring....

 Every Spring I like to buy at least one
bunch of Lilacs. But these looked picked over
at the end of the day, so I passed them up.
 I am channeling Bill Cunningham,
the great New York Times photographer who
died last year. He would always make visits to the greenmarket
on a beautiful day and find color and pattern to photograph. 
 I love the patchwork umbrella.
She did smile at me after I took this shot.
 Statue of Ghandi in the
Union Square garden.
 Union Square on 14th Street.
Transportation hub and scene of protests,
performers and events of all kinds.
 Like -- the hari krishna who
have returned from their long exile in
 From Union Square, I took the Avenue A
M-14 bus to 9th Street and walked home from there.
My final stop was the excellent vintage shop,
Edith Machinist on Rivington Street.
Edith Machinist has a superlative
collection of shoes and handbags.

À Bientôt!