Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Met Museum Of Art Manus X Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology

Every year I look forward to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual fashion exhibit presented by the Costume Institute. For the past few years, Andrew Bolton, Curator in Chief, has arranged exhibitions that are both fantastic and historical, taking extreme care to preserve the art of fashion. Several months ago, it was announced that this year's exhibit would be titled Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. I'd read that the show would explore the difference between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina), but more about the union of both. Being a lover of couture, I was excited about the possibilities of the topic and to view the pieces that would be included. On a rainy Monday in May, I could barely contain myself as I walked into the Robert Lehman Wing

I paused as I entered to take a survey of the space. The walls were built high with white pristine mesh screens and metal bars. There were rounded archways and high above, a domed ceiling with a kaleidoscopic projection of metallic sequins. Brian Eno's soothing "An Ending (Ascent)" filled the air making the space simultaneously feel cavernous and warm. In the center under a soft glow, a 2014 Autumn / Winter Chanel Couture wedding gown with a 20 foot train hand painted in gold, machine printed with rhinestones, and hand embroidered with pearls. It serves of an outstanding example of what can be created when hand and machine combine. My first thought was my God, The Met has built a two story cathedral for those of us who would worship at the alter of fashion where Karl Lagerfeld is our shepherd and well made garments are our religion. The only thing missing were dramatic slowly moving doves and winged baby faced angels.

The smaller rooms were all dedicated to the traditional workshops, or m├ętiers, that allowed couturiers to create one of a kind masterpieces. Every niche held a treasure demonstrating trades such as featherwork, pleating, lace making, and leatherwork. Included were basic patterns hand made from paper and muslin to garments molded from polymers by machines. Some looks were accompanied by small projectors showing the creative process. 

In the debate of hand versus machine, I personally will always favor the hand. I do not believe that a machine will ever be able to replace the love and care from the hand of a skilled artist. However, that does not mean that I do not recognize the extraordinary union formed between the two. At one time all clothing was made by hand. The sewing machine revolutionized the way and the speed at which we could produce clothing. The invention of techniques such as 3D printing, laser cutting, and heat bonding fabrics will only take us further. I am certain that technology, as it has effected nearly every aspect of our modern lives, will provide us with endless possibilities of wearable art. 

This exhibit isn't just for the fashion enthusiast. You don't have to love fashion to discern the extraordinary craftsmanship on display. More than 160 garments are presented close enough for you to view the countless sequins and thousands of tiny shiny beads. Bolton has meticulously organized and curated another exceptional exhibit. I'm already eagerly anticipating what he has in store for next year. What new fashion will 2017 bring us... 



Sunday, April 03, 2016

Fashionable Art - Georgina Chavez

Instagram continues to present me with many talented fashion illustrators and that's where I found GEORGINA CHAVEZ from Chihuahua, Mexico (chihuahua, like the dog), an artist who favors an ink and digital coloring technique. Naturally, I was drawn to the detail in her work and vibrant use of color, but mostly to her unique style. Her subjects feature signature pointy shoulders and large oblique eyes that make me imagine a fashionable race of extraterrestrials who travel the universe shopping for frocks on distant planets. This makes me wonder if the shopping is better on the other side of the galaxy... 

CHAVEZ often creates artwork inspired by major fashion houses and was generous to make a custom piece for me. I sent photos from my last trip to the Republic of Kenya and asked her to interpret it in her own style. As I admired her work, I believed that Chavez accurately captured the emotion of that day. It was a mixture of excitement and joy, a combination that made me feel strong and grounded to the Earth as I walked through the valley. 

I had an 11 x 14 glossy print made and purchased a slightly distressed gray wood frame to showcase it in. My art gallery is slowly growing and I'm loving every piece. 


Sunday, October 04, 2015

True Blue

Since 2012, the RICHMOND MURAL PROJECT has been sponsoring talented artists from all over the world in an effort to establish Richmond, Virginia as an international destination for art. The founder, Shane Pomajambo, believes that the many murals around the city will help promote tourism and support local business. It is currently the largest grouping of murals in the U.S.

After being introduced to the project by a friend and wanting to support the arts, I headed out to explore what the city had to offer. I wore my STELLA MCCARTNEY Ridley Stretch Cady Dress from the Resort 2012 collection. When I came across the frock in store, it didn't have much hanger appeal, but the striking blue did appeal to me in a way that meant I had to try it on. The classic seam work and subtle top stitching was a winning combination. I couldn't decide if the dress seemed more azure or perhaps cerulean, but I did decide that it was coming home with me. My only alteration was a shortened hem. I paired the dress with my beige GUCCI Noah half D'orsay patent leather heels and LULU FROST jewelry. The necklace features two chains, one gold, one silver, several small diamond like studs, and an interwoven yellow ribbon.

I discovered this impressive mural by TAYLOR WHITE. Located at 100 S. Addison Street in the Carytown neighborhood, it appears to be a human body in shades of blue and purple intertwined with what I interpreted as life in the form of stranded ropes. Life being something that consistently keeps us enveloped and is inescapable. White states that her "work is an unending pursuit of the delicate harmony that exist in that sweet spot between order and chaos." This statement easily holds true for me by simply replacing her "work" for fashion. My love for the art of fashion is something that sometimes manifests as chaotic, but it never fails to provide a sense of order in my life. But, I wouldn't want it any other way...