Tuesday, May 3, 2011

City Views, Country Dreams

Hello from New York on an evening in early May.

I've had the luxury of two days off from work in a row. Yesterday was a day to tend to many errands, and then enjoy the fun of meeting up with a dear friend to sample delicious coffee and pastry, while having a long-postponed catch up. Our conversation ranged over many topics, from sudden current events, to family matters, to travel plans and wishes, to springtime's beauty.

We had a quick walk in Central Park and visited the Turtle Pond. The friendly turtles were very disappointed that we had not brought them a snack.

Today began with my having to take care of yet more errands, but with a list scribbled on a little square of paper clenched in my hand, I managed to get past those errands by midday, and then got to treat myself to my first visit to Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibit that has just landed on the second floor of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

While I was still in mid-town on errand duty, I had snapped this photo of one of the Bergdorf Goodman shop windows now devoted to showing McQueen styles.

The BG windows are as imaginative as ever, but this time around I would give my applause to those who designed the Met's settings for the McQueen exhibit. The various gallery rooms offer lots and lots of atmosphere, information and ... if you are patient and wait for other eager viewers to move out of your intended viewing space, the possibility of really, really seeing how beautiful, crazy, traditionally inspired, historically reverential, beautifully tailored, and sometimes even scary, garments might actually exist.

Most of the rooms in the exhibit are moody and dark, with display cases holding four or five or maybe, three mannequins. There is dramatic lighting. There is music that is eerie and beautiful. There are lots and lots of captions and credits on labels. No way to read much of this because of the crowds with their elbows.

Over the years, of course, I saw many magazine photos of many of these designs, and saw some of the garments for sale in some expensive shops. However, the impact of having so many designs now displayed at the Met is so much more dramatic. How I do wish that Alexander McQueen were still alive, and able to quietly visit the exhibit and see the reactions of all those folks who are being introduced to his talent.

If you are in New York this spring and are at all curious about fashion, you would be very wise to pay a visit to the second floor of the Met.

It seemed so odd to leave the Museum and return to the early afternoon sunshine. I made a point of taking a photo of the tulips along Park Avenue for a certain resident of Vienna. The tulips are a bit past their prime, but still putting on a fine show.

And then, I hopped on a crosstown bus that obligingly arrived just when I hoped it would. As we traveled westward through Central Park, I took my camera out and clicked just one final photo, of the area of the Diana Ross playground, to show some of the beauty of springtime 2o11.

Rain is due tomorrow!

I will be returning to work, and taking along my umbrella, and know that from time to time, my mind's eye will return to the fantastic visions under glass that I was fortunate to see today.

Sometimes a city view can provide a city dream.


  1. What wonderful pictures and delightful story. Alexander McQueen. Isn't that the house that designed and developed the dress for Miss Catherine's wedding to Prince Wills?

  2. Thank you so much for leaving such beautiful comment on my post today. It is true: getting to know the ins and outs of a certain technique really triggers all the aspects of creativity. And even though it's not alway all that fun, it does feel like 'I made that' rather then, 'I bought it and applied it' ;)

    I browsed through your lovely blog this morning and suddenly found myself in the middle of NeW York. Loved seeing all the changes of seasons and events that you captured. Thanks for the journey! :)

  3. Frances, I absolutely loved this post and felt it was the next best thing to being there. The only thing is you've whetted my appetite to return to your fabulous city again and, of course, to visit the Met. I loved your description of the McQueen exhibition - what a tribute to the designer.

    After some very hard work, I hope to be back in cyberspace soon!Cx

  4. I would love to have been there. Somehow to see a whole exhibition of one designer's work makes it more 'real', and his clothes were so ahead of fashion without being overplayed.
    What a beautiful Spring photo of the tulips, such a gentle colour.

  5. I am forever in awe of your posts.. They take me places I may never go and leave me feeling as tho I have actually been there.. Thank you!

  6. Oh Francis,
    what gorgeous dcolor those tulips on Park Avenue, thank you so much! I am smitten. And I still remember the last time I walked down there, turning one last time. I am so glad you give me this gift of returning there virtually, big merci!
    I wished I could come and see the McQueen exhibition at the Met!
    Warm greetings and hugs,

  7. I am seriously trying to justify a trip to New York this spring just to see that exhibition!

  8. I am sure that the McQueen exhibition must have been absolutely fantastic. Please could you send some rain over here - we are desperately short of it!

    Pomona x

  9. I'd love to see those designs. Never in a million years could I wear one, never mind afford one, but just to look and admire would be splendid.

    I agree that clothes can be works of art.

  10. I am sure doing those chores in such an amazing city would be enviable, with the backdrop of so many famous landmarks and the chance to glimpse a shop window display in Bergdorf Goodman!

  11. Amazing to think Alexander McQueen's fashion house will always now be associated with Catherine's wedding dress.

    Love those tulips, F


  12. I do wonder what AM would've thought of Sarah Burton's dress for Miss Middleton.

    Fabulous post Frances, you took me there.

  13. Loving your impressions of the Met exhibit...
    I rather liked the BG windows, though a bit too full as you said and you couldn't really SEE the clothes so well, but they were clother one could possibly wear rather than extravagant show pieces. I wonder who else will do homages..? I wish I had seen Daphne Guiness get dressed for the Gala in Barney's windows Monday night, But I was in McQueen recovery.

  14. I just wonder if a female designer would make her own sex look as
    Sado-Masochistic as some males do?

  15. Frances,
    So glad you got some time off at last!
    I had not heard of the Alexander McQueen exhibition
    and will rush to see it.
    Yes, very tragic that he will miss the show. Great talent often masks great sadness.
    Miss C. was an intern at the Met's Costume Institute when she was in high school.
    Loved the idea of you shooting the tulips for our mutual friend.
    Buster says he MUST get to the park this summer.

  16. I know very little about fashion, but even I would love to see the McQueen exhibition. Thanks once again for the trip around New York

  17. Hello Frances:
    The massed display of Tulips look wonderful. They are amongst our favourite flowers and really do herald spring with a dramatic flourish when planted in such numbers.

    Alexander Mc Queen was such an original talent with such an eye for detail and a wizard with tailoring. We should love to see the exhibition, but, alas, the Atlantic Ocean separates us from it.

    We have much enjoyed reading your most engaging and eclectic blog and look forward to more in the future.

  18. It's such shame that your two days off had to be so occupied by errands, but then again, it's good to get the necessities of life done. The Alexander McQueen show must be a real privilege to see, how fortunate you are. He was very, very talented, such a shame he couldn't be helped to avoid his own death, very sad. I'm fortunate enough to own a top by McQueen, it's inspired by stained glass windows, is stretchy,and when it's worn you can see the pattern, all in black spider's web fine patterns. I treasure it. Love Vanessa xxx

  19. I'm glad you went to the exhibit, it is something I would love to see, even with the crowds and their elbows.

  20. Just catching up Frances. Those tulips are stunning, you capture the greenery of the city so well. It looks such a beautiful lace, hopefully I will get to visit it one day.... How fantastic to see the Alexander McQueen exhibition, it must also have been very spectacular, such a loss that he is no longer around, but lovely that his work lives on and inspires so many. Youngest loves designing and creating her own sense of fashion style, she would have loved to have seen the exhibition.
    Best wishes.

  21. Catching up late again, but I just loved this post. The McQueen exhibition sounds just wonderful. I agree - it makes one really sad to think if only he could have seen the interest generated by his exhibition, and experienced the honour of being chosen to design Kate Middleton's wedding gown...
    And your pics of the park are just fabulous - the one with the pink tulips deserves to be blown up and framed. I've so enjoyed your documentation of New York in all seasons.

  22. What a contrast between the exhibit and the tulips outside....but that's life in your wonderful, big city.

  23. it sounds like you had a lovely two days off, its odd but I loved new york when we came, the buildings, the bustle but more i loved central park much more than i thought, it looks so pretty in your photos! fliss xxx

  24. Hi Frances, Would dearly love to see this exhibition. It's so great to see the detail up close. Wonderful photos and love the tulips. Just back from Paris. Went to The Yves St.Laurant and Madame Gres Exhibitions. Its a great year for designers' exhibitions. The Valentino exhibition in Brisbane was amazing.I was so overcome, I burst into tears, and was itching to touch the fabric! Off to blog about Paris.

  25. Hello Frances.!

    What lovely pictures, and those Tulips look splendid.! always loved the Tulips.

    How I wish I could be at that McQueen exhibition, wonderful tribute to a great designer.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us Frances.

  26. Frances what a treat I would adore seeing the McQueen exhibit!!

    A nicely rounded time off for you!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my Great Giveaway from Serena & Lily!

    You will love it!

  27. Hello Frances,
    You really do have amazing exhibitions, it must have been wonderful to see. The spring weather has been overtaken by such heavy rain showers, need to take a brolly as I venture out. Then the sun pops out and in an instance it is a different day.
    On the subject of clothes, it is hard knowing what to wear. I am going to check out your spring collection, to see the colours.
    Best wishes Millyx

  28. Hi Frances,
    I love, love all the pink tulips. The tulip is just the most wonderful and welcome spring flower.
    You lucky girl being able to see the Alexander McQueen exhibition.
    All the best,
    Ingrid xx

  29. I would loved to have seen that McQueen show, maybe it will tour. I am going to see the Cult of Beauty exhibition at the V&A museum in London, can't wait. I have made a promise to my son to take him to New York, just need to save up first!

  30. great photos, great blog full of life and vivid moments. Your life is so very different from mine and it's great to get a glimpse!

  31. I am thinking then of a show called
    "Even with Crowds and Elbows" the
    suicide of a true Mama's boy dear
    dear Alex. I am getting all weepy.

  32. Thank you all for your comments. How can it now be the end of May, without my finding time for another post.

    No absolute answer. Many thanks for your interest in my City Views.

    I am hoping to give you another view very soon.


  33. The tulips looked beautiful – I did not see any in Paris, just roses and other flowers but it was too late I guess. I would have loved to see the high fashion show windows with my mother, if she was still with us. I don’t know if you saw it but a while back I wrote about my mother sewing for the House of Worth, let me find it, here it is: http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2010/05/recollection-mothers-youth-and-house-of.html it was a year ago. She knew so much about fashion – it was fun talking to her about it. So nice that you had two days off and was able to see those McQueen windows. Thanks also for writing such nice comments on my blog – it was a treat to read them.