Thursday, May 17, 2007

City Views, Country Dreams

An early good evening from New York.

What a relaxed, glorious day. It is taking so much restraint for me to refrain from more comments to exmoorjane's celeb listing. One more from me, David Bowie and Iman three seats away from me in the stalls to see Michael Gambon in Skylight. He left her sitting there during the interval. Funny. Iman and I the only ones in the row, as everyone else went elsewhere.

Yes, I have seen many in their underwear. In the shop, I must add. Way back, Woody Allen and Diane Keaton one evening on Lexington Avenue, interrupted an open air argument between me and my then boyfriend. More recently, I see Mr. Allen and his young wife often. Elton and I splashed in the same puddle on Columbus Ave. in my neighborhood.

But, I have digressed far away from my intended subject. Jane, you do tempt me off the route.

It has been wonderful to be away from the stress of the shop for two more days. After I get this written, I will have to check in with shop/corporate e-mails and dread to see what might be there.

Last night was a night of a fierce thunderstorm, that left many parts of our region without electrical power for most of today. But...I slept through it and only saw blue skies all day.

Yesterday, I went across the Park to the Met to see an exhibition of the clothing designs of Paul Poiret. In the early 1970's I worked at the Met in various jobs, including the archives dept. It was a great place to work then, even if all of us were badly paid.

Still, memories die gelled, if not hard, and when I get into the queue to pay my admission to acquire the little colored fold-over-tabbed badge at the admissions desk and see above the desk, in the tiniest of print the word "suggested" before the larger fonted $20 admission, WELL, I do a bit of a 1960's freak out and try to warn any international visitors, or even out of NYC, visitors who might be lured into giving up their $20. I have to let them know that they have the choice to give what they might wish. The Met's physical building is owned by New York, and therefore, anyone can be admitted by contributing from their hearts.

I always do this, and to make sure that the visitors don't think that I assume that they cannot afford the $20, always mention that I am sure that they will also be visiting the restaurants or the gift shop, and can spend their money there. Every single time, I am happy to give this message, and the recipient is also soooo happy.

So, if any of you come to the Met, remember, pay what you want to! No pressure whatsoever.

Wow, finally past that threshhold, I headed for the Paul Poiret exhibit. I am such a fan of that turn of the century and beyond designer. Had been looking forward to seeing the show for months.

What a treat. It was not set up in the rather cramped current area of the Costume Institute, but had been granted a very elegant space off the newly re-configured Greek and Roman galleries. Sponsored by Balenciaga. Won't say more on that.

Because of the age of the clothes on display, the lighting had to be darker than for more hardier objects. There were a vast number of tableaux that had been set up within glass-fronted display areas. What was wonderful was that each of these environments had as backdrops a big painted back drop, similar to what might once have been common on the stage. These backdrops were painted in the style/color/taste of the period of the clothes and set the stage indeed.

The clothes were displayed on mannequins, and often the mannequins also wore incredible hats/ornaments of the period. Also, the tableaux included furniture of the period. There were also quite a few photos by Man Ray et al., of Mrs. Poiret in the garment being displayed in the case.

Two of the cases had an additional effect. A scrim was across the front of the display case, onto which was projected an animation that showed how a length of cloth magically was transformed into an incredible dress or coat. Then, the animation would fade away, and the lights would come up within the case to show the actual garment. Magic.

There were also lots of fashion drawings from the period, and a case that contained perfume bottles, fans, hats, SHOES, etc.

I will visit this one again, and hope that eventually the beautiful gold-covered hard back catalog will be available for less than the current $65. Usually if one waits a few years, these things will show up. Yesterday, I did see some Brits buying the book, and they commented that the strong pound made it possible.

Today, I did some more errands, but also finally got out my sketchbook and pencils, and did some close scrutiny of my rosemary and tarragon plants, and a few drawings.
I will let my observations percolate a while, and may turn the beautifully graceful flow of those green leaves into some other sort of picture. I like to translate direct observation into something else.

I did also turn some of those observed tarragon and rosemary leaves into seasoning for the delicious chicken with mushrooms and wine dish that I just ate. Really, it was good!

Earlier, I had thought of getting tickets to go to the American Ballet Theatre performance at nearby Lincoln Center this evening, but decided to wait until next week. A bit of creative input at a time. Today was a glorious, because I actually got my energies together to be a creative participant myself, instead of an appreciative bystander.

Pleasant dreams to all.



  1. Brings back memories of going to V&A in London to se their fashion, I did go to see an exhinition of clogs here but soemhow not the same, we lack this sort of thing out in teh sticks and I do miss it! Well done for warnign the masses re prices!!

  2. I would have loved that exhibition-just my type of thing.

    Sounds like you had a good relaxing break from work. Would love to see your drawings!

    warm wishes

  3. Lovely blog; the exhibition sounds fascinating... as do the celebs in their underpants!

  4. Hello Frances,
    What a super blog today. Your enthusiasm shone through and your discriptions of the exhibition gave a real sense of the beauty displayed in the garments. So pleased to hear it was followed on by your own creativity ,especially liked the idea of then, eating the drawing subject, a kind of full sensory experience. Again your enthusiasm shows and tells, what a pleasant day you had.
    Brushing shoulders with the rich and chance of that in my humble village, except Emylin Hughes, Captain of England football, opened the village Gala and I have his autograph on the ticket.Does that count?
    So glad you enjoyed your days off and must feel refreshed.
    Best Wishes Milly x

  5. The exhibition sounds great, I would have loved that. Thanks for the warning about admission charges!

  6. Glad you've enjoyed a few days of relaxation, exhibition sounds interesting.
    Oh, famous bods in their undies!

  7. I love popping over to see you in New York. I have to refrain too from commenting on the people I know or have met, to do so would be considered terribly rude.

  8. What a glorious blog Frances, so pleased that you are able to have a few days of relaxation. I adore Ballet, Swan Lake is my favourite.
    I would love to be able to paint, perhaps you may show them to us one day. Best Wishes.

  9. So glad that you are having a break, Frances. You make New York come alive! I used to go by train to NYC in the 70's when the Great Dane was stationed in Pennsylvania. We lived in a small town called Paoli and I could get on the train and go to NYC for the day. I remember the most wonderful linen shop called (sp??) Leron (or something like that - it was on 5th Avenue.
    I'd love to see the exhibit at the Met - see it all for all of us!

  10. Oh you lucky thing i know i would adore that exhibit..the turn of the century does that mean, the arts and crafts era with pre raphalite and the aesthetic movement designs..? xx

  11. I am green with envy, but thank you for sharing that.