May 29, 2011

My Trip through Alexander McQueen's SAVAGE BEAUTY

The Loss of a Creative Genius Weighs Heavy.  Still.

It is often that we don't fully recognize someone's talent until they are gone.   We might get glimpses of it,  but we don't look at the full picture or understand and recognize the full scope of  the work that they do.   Maybe within the boundaries of their trade their peers can recognize the magnitude of the talent. But Fashion is not only for the people who work in fashion. It is for us, the every day people who simply love fashion, and beauty– whether we can only afford to shop at Target or select boutiques.  We dream to be something else, to be somewhere else, and be transported into our fantasy adorned with the art of a genious.  And Alexander McQueen, did just that.

I have always loved Alexander McQueen, because he was the gothic, punk, renaissance designer that fed my love of all things with skulls, bone, texture and drama.   But did I know about his history?  Did I know about his education?  Did I know about every single line that he made, and the theatrical fashion shows that he created?  No, I did not.

I certainly never went to these shows, because I'm not in the business.  Any you have to be "somebody" or have some ties to be invited. 

Oh that I could have. But, as I said, it is only until such a great artist passes away– dramatically right in the peak of life– that the rest of the world has a glimpse into the soul and the genius of this life.

"As you enter the exhibition, you’re faced with two mannequins—the two mannequins that I think represent many of the themes and ideas that McQueen revisited throughout his career: polarized opposites, whether it’s to do with life or death, lightness or darkness, predator/prey, man/machine. - Andrew Bolton"

I finally got that chance, last Friday.   My mother-in-law was visiting from Denver, and as usual she had more information on what was going on in my neighborhood than I.   Although I knew I wanted to go see the Alexander McQueen show I could not figure out when!   Having her in town made it a priority.   I canceled my morning pilates, we got up, dropped off the kids at school, and quickly stopped at Mile End for breakfast, all before we jumped the train to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I recommend getting there right when the museum opens, at 10:00am.  We were there by 10:30, and there was no line!   On our exit, however– an hour and half later– there was a very long line!

I'm not sure I can describe the amazing impact this exhibit had on me.  The curator of this exhibit held to the challenge of a McQueen show.   It fit like a hand in a glove, just as the mannequins fit into their very own leather headgear–  All of which worked magically, connecting them to the art on their body.  

Each room worked together following the stories between each period of his work.   Working it's way from, impeccably tailored and complex suits to the more theatrical gowns that told stories of shipwrecks, and ravaging wars, to a future involving Darwin's theory of evolution. http://www.mod-tv.com/video/playlist/alexander-mcqueens-last-paris-show/5434/.   McQueen was an amazing craftsman. He was able to use the skills of his craft, from his days as a tailor in in Savile Row, but also to use fashion as a vehicle to express his very complex ideas and concepts.

"The second room, “Highland Rape,” is comprised of raw wood. Highland Rape was very provocative when it first was shown in 1995; many people interpreted the rape as being the rape of women. McQueen was very adamant in the fact that the rape in the title referred to the rape of Scotland through the Jacobite Risings of the eighteenth century and the Highland Clearances of the nineteenth century."- Andrew Bolton

Top Middle: Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims (1992), three-point “origami” frockcoat.

Bottom and Bottom right: The “Cabinet of Curiosities”.

I'm not sure you can get the full picture unless you rent the audio tapes.   I bought the book after, and even the book doesn't give the antidotes and history you get on those tapes.   So I insist!  You MUST RENT THE AUDIO TAPES!!

I don't want to give you a full review or story of the exhibit, you can get that [ http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/about/].   But I will say, I can't think of another exhibit that impressed me so much.   Andrew Bolton, the curator behind it, did an amazing job staying true to AM, and showing us his magnificent art.

My favorite pieces have the most imaginative stories like in the Romantic Primitivism room: shipwreck at sea:

and the inspired It’s Only a Game, from his spring/summer 2005 show, which was staged as a chess game inspired by a scene in the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which pitched the East (Japan) against the West (America).

and as before mentioned, Plato’s Atlantis from the spring/summer 2010 collection. "The last fully realized collection the designer presented before his death in February 2010. Inspired by Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859), it presented a narrative that centered not on the evolution of humankind but on its devolution."

A note on the book.   The mannequins in the book, are different than that in the show.  At first, I thought I didn't like them so much. Something looked off.   Not quite right.  But then when I was reading through it, I learned the reason why I  felt a bit uncomfortable with them was because they were NOT mannequins!  They were models, painted with latex paint of some kind, with rubber bands around their joints, and put in awkward positions to emulate mannequins.  Later their heads were photoshopped off! 

 Now looking back throughout the book… well, let's just say:  I'm impressed. 

May 22, 2011

Intro to Fashion Meet: Exteme Makeovers!

I am loving my new class, Intro to Fashion with my fabulous Little Ladies Fashion Club.   This Monday is our Extreme Makeup class.   I (and hopefully a few volunteers) will be doing extreme makeovers on the little Friendzees, just like they do on America's Next Top Model.  When everyone is made up, I'm going to photography them individually and as a group!  Can't wait to share that with you.

Wait, that's not all!  I, Lady Warfield, will demonstrate how to walk the runway!  Yes, I did it once or twice, in college back when I took the occasional job to pay for my art supplies and food.   It's going to be a blast!

Here are some sample ideas:

May 15, 2011

The Ladies Lemon Tart Cook-off

Last Thursday I signed up for a baking class at One Girl Cookies, on Dean Street in Brooklyn.   What lead me to sign up for backing class?  I was sitting in One Girl, one afternoon working on my writing and having my usual Americano, when I noticed this amazing lemon meringue tart.   It called to me in the way that tarts do.   So I had to have a slice.  It was perfect.   The lemon is a curd, and the meringue tasted wonderful.   I mentioned how delicious it was, and how I would love to learn how to do those lovely peaks for my own tarts.  So the barista, told me they were doing a lemon tart class, in 3 months.  So I signed up.  And so last week, I attended.

Baking the crust.  This method is called blind baking, and we used beans for weights! You can prepare the dough the day before (or week before), and bake the crust at least a few hours before you make your curd, otherwise the curd will react to the warmth of the crust.

We made one or two batches of curd in class, the rest was made ahead of time, and ready to go.  The curd is made in a saucepan, refrigerated over night then added to the pie crust. You don't bake it all in the oven again.

Ah, the Merinque...   Our pastry chef, held the bowel over a pot of hot water, and whisked.   You can do the same thing in a double boiler, but it takes a lot longer.  She was very good at her little gnome hats!

A little video demo of torching the meringue.

Well, mine was delicious!  Truth be told, the night it was made I didn't enjoy it so much. The curd was too soft, as I think my pie shell was too warm.  But I refrigerated it over night, and the next day it was perfect.

(this post is also featured on my new blog, Tarts and Whiskey, a work in progress.

May 13, 2011

The Sullivans graces the cover of Livingetc

I have been meaning to post about this amazing photo shoot with my friend Victoria Sullivan for some time. But, alas, my recent involvement in teaching and numerous other projects has kept me from blogging.   Erg but I wish I could split myself in two at times!

This if from the April edition of Livingetc, a British interior magazine.  It's so exciting because I know the all about the love and sweat that went into the renovation of their house.  And the most exciting and inspiring part was after the contractors went home– they merely did the plumbing, the wiring, the structural stuff and window installation.  The inspiring bit comes with the two talented carpenters, artists and interior designers– the owners themselves: Nick and Victoria Sullivan.   Nick built shelves and installed molding.  He put in the hard wood floor, and with the help of a friend build new stairs!  He even build the deck out back!  And Victoria, a DIY lady of the utmost quality, painted and restored found objects, and painted the walls and molding of the house, top to bottom ALL BY HERSELF!!  And after all those details, comes the personality.   The bits and pieces of their history and life shine through each nook and corner.  It adds life and polish,  to an amazing warm and lovely dwelling.

If not because of my glorious company,   I do hope that the heart and love that went into their home will keep them from every going back to England!

May 4, 2011

The May 1st New York Tour passes through Brooklyn

We are so lucky to live in such an amazing place. Brooklyn is so gorgeous and now, with the new park, at Pier 6 to Dumbo, it rivals Battery Park.

So Sunday we wet out for a walk, and on the way, we were lucky to see the New York Bike Tour.

May 3, 2011

The Ladies Best Friend

This is the Magnificent Rikke and her lovely Great Danes: Olive and Rufus. Rikke has had a lot of amazing Danes of the years. I first met Cleavon, who was big and adorable. She later adopted Belle, who took over, literally. She was tall and had a lot of spacial issues– her tail seemed to get in the way a lot. But were adorable, and I loved the way they would sit on my lap. I soon realized it's a Dane trait. Both of them, passed away, within the same year. It was very very sad. But Rikke, an amazing dog trainer, and Dane rescue volunteer, who helps find homes for abused and unwanted danes, gradually took in another, whom she fell in love with. First Olive, and now Rufus. Olive, reminds me of Belle, as she's thin and.. a female. But she is very different than Belle. Mellow. Rufus, is the sweetest dog, who had been had been through a bit of trauma, as his former owners had one of those nasty electric fences, and used to change the property line, so he was not able to learn the boundaries, and instead get shocked, unfairly. Rikke could tell this story better than I. But the good news is, they decided to give him up, so that he could go to a better home, like Rikkes. She is supposed to be his foster parent, but we'll see if she can give him up. Maybe if she finds a really good home. If not, I have a feeling Rufus has found his already.