Ladies decked out in their Easter brunch bonnets at Sirio Ristorante in New York City.
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Nurturing an abiding love for Latin America, I've traded big city lights for sunshine and grapes in Mendoza, Argentina. A perennial traveler and writer, I'm inspired by locals, culture and creativity. This is my patchwork.
In the spirit of Milan fashion week, I wanted to highlight The Met’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition dedicated to the Italian fashion designers: Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada.
The Impossible Conversations exhibition juxtaposed around 100 designs and 40 accessories by Schiaparelli (1890–1973) from the late 1920s to the early 1950s and by Prada from the late 1980s to the present. Behind the collections were video reels of the two fashion icons talking about their experience with fashion, how it’s shaped them, and how they have shaped the industry.
In the themed gallery Waist Up/Waist Down, Prada’s famous footwear is paired with Schiaparelli’s iconic hats.
Each designer in her own way pushed the boundaries of fashion, simultaneously creating and deconstructing society’s ideals of what is “beautiful.” Schiaparelli was one of the first women to adorn trousers and was faced with a fierce backlash for appearing in public wearing “men’s attire.”
Unlike Schiaparelli who embraced typical beauty, Prada loved the challenge of making “ugly” appealing. The “Ugly Chic” gallery is full of brown tones because it is not conventionally considered a pleasing color, yet she found a way to challenge most people’s dislike for the color by creating a design that exemplifies “good taste.”
Prada is always looking for unique ways to express beauty while steering clear of clichés. Even she was surprised that her outlandish Carmen Miranda inspired spring 2011 collection became her most commercially successful to date.
She wasn’t convinced that many women would want to wear clothing with monkeys and bananas emblazoned on it, but the sales absolved her doubt.
In the later years of Schiaparelli’s career, she began collaborating with artist Salvador Dali. After the creation of her “lamb cutlet” and “shoe” hats, Schiaparelli became more frequently categorized as a surrealist designer.
Schiaparelli always felt that designing was an art form. Prada, on the other hand, wholeheartedly disagreed. She felt that designing clothes was creative but not an art because you make clothes to sell them.
She does however comment on fashion’s ability to respond to current events quickly and critically with the ability to shape identity, both individually and collectively. No doubt influenced by her political science background, Prada celebrates the accessibility and democracy of fashion because everyone wears clothes and can relate to them.
Completing the exhibition I felt empowered by both women’s strength of character: daring to go against the grain, endeavoring to change people’s minds and prompting them to reeimagine their definitions of beauty.
Before I left the exhibit I jotted down a quote from Prada that summed up her spirit of rebellion and was a welcome reminder for any woman to stay true to her sense of style without acquiescing to society’s ageist cages:
“Women always try to tame themselves as they get older, but the ones who look best are often a bit wilder. Thinking about age all the time is the biggest prison women can make for themselves.”
The Independence Day Spirit Award goes to this lady!
If you liked the Alexander McQueen 2011 Spring Costume exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, which I covered here, you may also like the new fashion exhibit: ‘Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations’.
The exhibition compares the two influential female designers, Schiaparelli from late 1920s to the early 1950s and Prada from the late 1980s to the present. About 100 designs and 40 accessories will be featured.
Dates: May 10, 2012 - August 19, 2012
Address: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York
More info: (212) 535-7710; www.metmuseum.org
*Photo Credits: Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the most practical purchases I made before going to Hawaii was my Sun ‘n’ Sand hat from California Sunshine for $19.99. You can buy your own here.
It’s so convenient because it rolls up small enough to fit in my purse and still maintains a fashionable shape when unrolled. I brought it with me everywhere and saved my face from sunburn.
Last fall I was introduced to Kiran Rai, who is pictured below tying a scarf on one of her customers. She owns the colorful fashion line Sir Alistair Rai.
Sir Alistair Rai was born after Kiran created a line of t-shirts for her and her friends with kitschy slogans such as “Adopt Me Angelina” and her Gandhi Portrait T-shirt. Her designs are not only beautiful and one-of-a-kind, they also promote peace, global awareness and incorporate ancient Indian teachings.
Kiran Rai at The Pierre, A Taj Hotel.
My Sir Alistair Rai scarf has become a staple in my wardrobe. I use it to spice up a formal outfit, or I throw it on with jeans and boots when I’m traveling or traipsing around the city.
My next purchase: The Evil Eye Scarf from her latest collection.
Strange Loop Gallery in the Lower East Side is opening the “Love Conquers All” art exhibition this evening at 6pm ,and it is FREE!
It is a collaborative project between photographer Alesia Exum and fashion designer Claire Fleury. If you think you are in for something mushy, you are way off the mark.
Thirty four artists from both the United States and Mexico have generously donated original works of art inspired by Juarez that will be available for sale at the tonight’s auction event. All proceeds are donated to a nonprofit organization that helps keep youth away from local gangs.
Ciudad Juárez is a vibrant border community of hard working people. Sadly, since 2006 violence has escalated and the community has endured unprecedented levels of crime. More than 6,500 people have lost their lives in drug-related incidents in Ciudad Juárez, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
This situation has also affected the local economy: more than 80,000 young people are out of school and unemployed, about 30% of businesses have closed, and approximately 100,000 jobs have been lost.
A group of young professionals from the Ciudad Juárez/El Paso area who live in New York City have come together to form Project Paz. Their mission is to promote peace and development in their hometown, Ciudad Juárez.
Understanding they may not be able to immediately end the violence, they work to spread hope and peace to future generations one project at a time.
I loved Indian designer Bibhu Mahapatra’s spring 2012 collection, his designs were fun and interesting: colorful, v-slits, sheer, sexy and seductive. Fashion stylist Natalie Decleve looking fabulous in an YSL scarf, Chloe skirt and Louboutin boots at the tents. http://www.nataliedecleve.com Argentine Designers: Cardon, Cora Groppo, Daniela Sartori, Desiderata, Mariana Dappiano, Min Agostini. Cardon was my favorite for its gaucho bohemian chic overtones. Rolando Santana at his runway show at Exit Art. He is one of my favorite designers who I wear often. Fashion bloggers busy posting at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. .