Wednesday, January 28, 2015

FASHION'S GARDEN OF DELIGHTS, THE PARIS COUTURE (c) By Polly Guerin

Karl Lagerfeld's Fantasy Garden Spring 2015 Collection
Paris haute couture takes a walk in the garden of fantastic delights for Spring 2015. Karl Lagerfeld, the master creator for Chanel, fashioned and Eden of Haute, a beautiful paradise filled with mammoth flowers in a bucolic stark white garden filled with stupendous floral and fauna that only our wildest dreams could imagine. Here's the scoop!!!
   The Grand Palais was the site of this extravaganza, which in a way, eclipsed even the fashions that paraded around the garden on a circular stage. Yet, as the models walked the white carpet a most extraordinary thing occurred. The flowers cranked open in full bloom to reveal the most enchanting colors---orange, yellow, pink and red. And then, the fashions replicated in those colors, came forth embellished with intricate laces, embroidered tweeds, plastered linens. Floral appliques emerged, such as deep borders on an orange coat, on the bottom of a long tunic and fashioned as cuffs on the sleeves of a jacket, while breathtaking sheer skirts with floral border hems sashayed around the runway
   Some critics say that such showmanship often overshadows the actual fashions on review, but Lagerfeld did not disappoint with youthful silhouettes that had fashionista appeal.
   Then, too, there was Raf Simons for Dior, who went on a different curve of interest and fused a
Raf Simons for Dior Spring 2015 Collection
powerful, couture collection, drawing on past eras in a modern revivalist extravaganza---evoking the Fifties' romance, Sixties' experimentation and the wild freedom of the Seventies It was a heady mix of familiar themes, even miss-matched motifs on a body suit---dots, stripes, floral, and geometric motifs juxtaposed together in an eye-popping print. .In sharp contrast, a bright yellow demure three-quarter coat, with neat school-girl point collar made a stunning classic entry.
   Ditto for Schiaparelli posted fifteen teenage girls from the choir, Les Cherubims, who stood in windows ringing the show and sang out with sweet voices to Ravel's Bolero. Thus paying homage to the legendary designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, who in her halcyon days partnered with the surrealist Salvador Dali and even Jean Cocteau in creating some of her avant garde fabrics and embroideries.. Elsa's famed trademark, shocking pink, drenched the show, with archive-inspired
Ditto for Schiaparelli's Green Silk Gown
prints with mirrors and colorful hearts on jumpsuits and femme fatale tuxedos. Other embellishments that Elsa would adore included ribbon embroideries, cascading stars and tiny feather applique. The dramatic entrance of a show-stopper green silk evening gown was printed with blue swirling ribbons and floating white lady hands, a la Schiaparelli, while other dresses came forth in other quirky prints and intricate embroideries.
For more on the Paris shows: see WWD.com/runway.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I remember it well, haute couture is the quintessential fashion theater and the best show in Paris.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and click on the Blog of your interest, just click the link  listed in the left hand column  for Blogs on amazing women, remarkable men and Polly's poetry.

Monday, January 12, 2015

CHINA, Through the Looking Glass, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute (c) By Polly Guerin

Yves Saint Laurent by Tom Ford 2004
The Palace Museum in Beijing, China was the setting recently where the Metropolitan Museum of Art held a press briefing about its spring 2015 Costume Institute exhibition, "China Through the Looking Glass," an exhibition that explores how Chinese art and film have influenced Western fashion design for centuries.
   This show is expected to attract a great Chinese interest in tickets so you may want to book your tickets early. It will open on May 7th,  three days after the Met's Costume Institute benefit. The gala evening is being hosted by Silas Chou, one of the key investors in Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger who has extensive business interest in China, and actors Gong Li and Jennifer Lawrence.. Wintour has organized the Costume Institutes annual gala dinner since 1995 and last year the museum named the Costume Institute after her.
The Celebs in Beijing: Of course, Anna Wintour was there to celebrate the event and the Chanel-clad editor explained that the decision to unveil details in the Chinese capital rather than in New York, stemmed from a desire to acknowledge  the country that had inspired the exhibition. Wintour, the artistic director of Conde Nast and Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue was not alone on the trip. There was a  high-ranking entourage of delegates on the occasion, and what a prestigious mix it was, culled together, no doubt, as a sign to indicate just how important the exhibition is to the museum and quite possibly to the State Department. Dignitaries included Charles P Campbell, director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum; Shan Jixiang, Director of the Palace Museum; Max Baucus, U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China; Andrew Bolton,curator in the Costume Institute. Wong Kar-Wai, Artristic Director of the exhibition also attended the briefing.
Roberto Cavalli gown reflects Chinese export porcelains
Forbidden City Fashion Andrew Bolton discussed how the exhibition will juxtapose Chinese art and historic costumes with high fashion to demonstrate the World's fascination with Chinese imagery. Wong Kar-Wai brought up the role of film in the exhibition and showed a montage of the film clips that will be used in the exhibition to illuminate the impact of the cinematic arts on Western fashion. For instance a Yves Saint Laurent dress by Tom Ford 2004 was inspired by the dragon robe  by Puyi (1906-1967), the last Chinese emperor for his inauguration in 1906; and there is a stunning blue-and-white Chanel beaded grown, by Karl Lagerfeld, 1964 and a show stopper, the Roberto Cavalli gown (2005) whose patterns reflect those on Chinese export porcelains.
China Through the Looking Glass will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Institute Center through August 16 and will feature more than 130 haute couture and ready-to-wear fashions juxtaposed with traditional Chinese masterpieces in jade, lacquer, chinoiserie, and blue-and-white porcelains. Andrew Bolton, curator of the exhibition noted: "From the earliest period of European contact with China in the sixteenth century, the West has has been enchanted with enigmatic objects and imagery from China, providing inspiration for fashion designers from Paul Poiret to Yves Saint Laurent. Through the looking glass of fashion, designers conjoin disparate stylistic references into a pastiche of Chinese aesthetic and cultural traditions."
Ta Ta darlings! No, bless your heart, I did not go to China but received this scope  through the fashion grapevine.Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc.gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com.

Monday, December 22, 2014

HOLIDAY RECALL, A Musical ChannelingTruman Capote's A CHRISTMAS MEMORY by Polly Guerin

Young Buddy (Silvano Spagnuolo) and Sook (Alice Ripley)
Top: Ashley Robinson, the writer Photo by Carol Rosegg
On Thanksgiving it has become my tradition to revisit Truman Capote’s 1956 short story, “A Christmas Memory.” This nostalgic story with its riveting sentimentality has been made into TV specials, radio plays, an opera and now just when I thought that that was the end of its production life, a new musical, “HOLIDAY RECALL,” makes its debut at the DR2 Theatre in New York City.
  CAPOTE'S CHRISTMAS MEMORY: The story itself, one of Capote’s earliest works, is rather biographical. It tells the story of a young boy named Buddy, whose parents are off on some travels or other entertainment, In the film version, Buddy has returned to the Alabama house where he spent the happiest part of growing up with his cousin and best friend, called Sook.  In the movie, she was brilliantly portrayed by Geraldine Page, who evokes the character as a simple, country folk woman in her house dress and apron, the kind of woman you might find in a farm house kitchen. 
   FRUITCAKE PARTNERS: Together these unlikely companions spend most of their activity engaged in their pre-Christmas ritual discussing and making fruitcakes.  They count their pennies that were stored in a jar under the bed and determine that they just had enough to purchase the ingredients and moonshine. With a rickety old baby pram as their article of conveyance they triumphantly walk off from the modest farm house to the village to purchase the condiments. The highlight of their tour is a visit to HaHa Jones, the moonshine purveyor, a man whose Native American Indian ancestry superimposes on his personality. He is a rather scary character, especially to young Buddy.
  CELEBRATING DUO:This pair of unlikely characters end up in the farm house kitchen making numerous fruit cakes and carefully wrapping them, and sending them off in the mail addressed to assorted friends, random acquaintances and even dignitaries.  The making of the cakes is a happy occupation and with the last bit of moonshine left in the bottle Sook and Buddy celebrate.  Sook, however, makes the grave mistake of giving Buddy just a wee bit of the moonshine, and that is when Sook’s two haughty sisters in their finery arrive to scold Sook for serving alcohol to Buddy. With the inevitable serious consequences, Buddy is banished to military school and Sook is bereaved by the lost of the one dear friend she ever had. This is an uncanny relationship that tugs at your heartstrings and I wonder--- "Wouldn't it be wonderful, wouldn't it make a difference, for every lonely young child to have a person like Sook in their young lives!"
   However, before the end of the film, Sook and Buddy spend one last Christmas together. They both secretly, make kites for one another, but life for Sook would never be the same, a few letters arrived from Buddy but that was short lived and sadly Sook passed away shortly afterward.
HOLIDAY RECALL Sorry, to be so verbose, now back to the musical, Holiday Recall. Alice Ripley, “Neck to Normal,” tony winner plays Sook and Buddy is played by Ashley Robinson According to a review of the musical by Vincentell in the New York Post, the shows fragile charm comes through best in numbers like “Mighty Sweet Music,” in which all seven cast members take up ukuleles.Vincentell says, “With musicals, as with gifts, the best things come in small packages.” Efficiently directed by Charlotte Moore for Irish Rep, the show has nostalgia layered on top of nostalgia. Your in for a treat!!! At the DR2 Theatre, 103 E. 15th St. Shows are scheduled through January 4th. .Ticket info 212.727.2737.

Ta Ta darlings!!! PollyTalk is off to Holiday Recall this weekend to see my favorite film, now a musical. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Pollytalk’s Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column for the Blog of your choice on fashion, amazing women, remarkable men, hidden treasures or poetry

Monday, December 15, 2014

HOLIDAY INN and WHITE CHRISTMAS: A SONG TO REMEMBER By Polly Guerin

There’s more than a White Christmas in the staged production of the musical, “Holiday Inn,” currently at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut.  New York is also getting its share of nostalgia in movie theaters this week, and just in time for the holidays when the film White Christmas, inspired by the song, will be shown by Fathom Entertainment in theaters around town.
      Irving Berlin’s deeply sentimental timeless classic, “White Christmas” was the first time a song inspired a movie. It was called, “Holiday Inn,” and brought about the first pairing of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, yet Astaire would come at a high price. As a concession to satisfy the studio, they agreed to cast lackluster (Really!!!) leading women, virtually unknown: Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale.  Here’s the scoop!!!
   In the winter of 2013, Universal Stage Productions, the theater division of the renowned motion picture studio, invited the Goodspeed Opera House, the quintessential producer of musicals, to be the development home of the stage adaptation of the wonderful tuneful film. By the way, be assured you are in for a treat, Goodspeed knows musicals better than any other in the world. 
   PollyTalk can attest to that!!!  I recently saw Goodspeed’s production of  “Holiday Inn” on their jewel-box stage and I was transported to the fictional town of Midville, Connecticut, yet the production felt like a full-scale Broadway show. This jolly romp and spirited cast of very talented, high kicking performers, gave an energetic and memorable performance that really set the tone for the holidays, while the singers regaled us with sentimental charm.  
     According to Joshua S. Ritter, Goodspeed Education & Library Director’s program notes, “Our  quaint surroundings share some resemblance to the Connecticut sanctuary sought by Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) in Holiday Inn.” Of course, dear readers, Mr. Ritter  is referring to East Haddam, a gem of a storybook town itself. What better place for Holiday Inn?
     The Goodspeed production of Holiday Inn has been produced with original format, and in addition to the memorable White Christmas,  several scenes include the celebration of major holidays with all time favorite Berlin songs including: Let’s Take an Old Fashioned Walk; I can’t Tell a Lie; You’re Easy to Dance With and Be Careful, It’s My Heart---all featured in Goodspeed’s Holiday Inn.
*****For HOLIDAY INN: Contact Goodspeed Opera House Box Office, 800.873.8668 for a schedule of performances through December 28 and there is an additional matinee on December 22 at 2 PM.  Or boxoffice@goodspeed.org.
     About Goodspeed: The Goodspeed Opera House had endured as a majestic presence on the Connecticut River since it was built in 1876 by William H. Goodspeed, a shipping and banking magnate and avid theater lover. Goodspeed’s history goes back to its opening night on October 24, 1877, when a repertory group presented the comedy Charles II and the farces Box and Cox and Turn Him Out. It is interesting to note that featured performers of the day were brought to East Haddam by steamboat, many directly from theaters in New York.  Goodspeed’s roster of musicals continues throughout the year. Follow their show schedule on goodspeed.org.
******For Theater and Schedules for the film White Christmas contact fathomevents.com
Ta Ta darlings!!! Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Follow PollyTalk on www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the Blog that interests you on fashion, remarkable men, hidden treasures or poetry. Cheers!!! Very best wishes for a very Happy Holiday, Hanukkah and May the New Year be your best yet!!!

     

Monday, December 1, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AT BARTOW-PELL MANSION IN THE BRONX By Polly Guerin

Raggety Ann Tree
There's magic in the making at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx where the museum's highly-popular Storybook Christmas Trees, nine trees altogether, are inspired by children's books and decorated by New York City,Westchester and the Bronx interior designers.
   The season's festivities start this Friday, December 5th with the traditional holiday luncheon when guests can indulge their holiday pleasure looking at the lovely trees and browsing for gifts and home-baked goods at the holiday shop (stocked as usual with the help of Kensington Papers.
  That evening the holiday romp continues with Holiday First Friday, music and the convenience of the Bronx Trolley, which makes a continuous loop from the #6 Pelham Bay subway station to Partow-Pell mansion.
   Then, too, let's not forget the Saturday night Holiday Party when it's time to celebrate in style with cocktails and caroling, a delicious buffet dinner, live auction, a raffle with sumptuous prizes, and much, much more reasons to celebrate. Go to the BPMM website to check out the prizes. www.bpmm.org.
   There's more to come including music with the Bronx Arts Ensemble, candlelit tours of the holiday mansion and Victorian carolers---all magical ways to enjoy the holiday season. The annual Family Day: A Storybook Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 6th starts with storytelling in the morning, caroling by the Morrisania Glee Club, holiday crafts and photos with Santa ...space is limited so call Santa to make a reservation..
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
   The spirit of Christmas never seems to end with Saturday's night's part  and the Bronx Arts Ensemble's Holiday concert on Dec. 13, 1 and 3pm and Sunday, December 24, 1 and 3 pm are free, but reservations are required at 718.601.7399.
   It's a magical experience when you experience the mansion by candlelight with costume docents highlighting the 19th-century holiday traditions. Reservations are required.  Please check out costs and make your reservations for all or any of this wonderful events at 718.885.1461
  Dear reader you may wish to ask just who/what is the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, BPMM?. It is a fabled New York City landmark; operated by the private, non-profit Bartow-Pell Conservancy located in Pelham Bay in the Bronx at 895 Shore Road. During the year the mansion and carriage house are open to the public Wed, Sat. and Sun. from noon to 4pm. For more info about Bartow-Pell visit www.bpmm.org.
   Ta Ta Dear readers, fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc.gmail.com.
Visit Polly's blog a www.pollytalk.com

Monday, November 10, 2014

ADAM RETURNS TO THE MET AFTER 12-YEAR CONSERVATION By Polly Guerin

Wonders never cease to amaze...ADAM in all its poetic glory is reborn at the Metropolitan Museum of Art after a near tragic ending when he crashed to the marble floor in 2002. It's the kind of fairy tale story that has a happy ending as does the fairy tale theme making New York City the land of make believe wonder. Here's the scoop!!!
Tullio Lombardo's Adam
TUILIO LOMBARDO’S ADAM: A MASTERPIECE: ADAM FELL OFF HIS PEDESTAL…but All the King’s Men:  dozens of scientists, engineers and conservators at the Metropolitan Museum of Art have put, the 500 year old sculpture, Adam, back together again. It is stunningly restored and will be on view starting tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th.
   Adam's fall  happened under seemingly mysterious circumstances, On one Sunday night, when no one was there, Adam’s downfall came unexpectedly in the silent gallery, His youthful head crowned with a halo of hair, the envy of any damsel, crashed to the marble floor and the rest of his body broke into many devastating pieces.  It was a dreadful blow to the Museum and it took twelve years to mend, put the gorgeous colossus black together again.  That in itself makes it worthwhile make a trek to the Museum to view the revival of the Adonis.
  Take time to view the videos which show how conservators Jack Soultanian and his colleague Carolyn Riccardelli and Michael Morris with dozens of other technical wizards recreated the statue, which by the way needed a new nose job, as well as hand, knee and foot replacements---all made to precise respect to antiquity and recreating the color integrity of the marble. It is such an amazing restoration that only an expert could tell that anything had happened.
   Feast your eyes, dear readers and find yourself stepped in history--- the sculpture dating back to 1490-1495 was commissioned for the monumental tomb of a Venetian doge, Andrea Vendramin, now in the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice. It was acquired by the Museum in 1936.
Polly’s Movie Pick of the Week THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA subtitled in Japanese and dubbed into English take the viewer on a magical journey in an animated feature by The Studio Ghibli.  In his first animated feature in over ten years, the stalwart Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”) weaves at tale that transcends the ordinary concerns of life into an exquisitely drawn imagery with watercolor delicacy that never fails to draw you into the depth of the story---
   A Japanese folk tale about a miniature country girl who is discovered in a bamboo flower. Enchanted the bamboo cutter who discovers her takes her home to his wife and as her parents they decide that she will be brought up to be a princess. The accompanying music throughout the film adds to the overall enjoyment right to the end when the princess ascends in the sky on a huge cloud populated with Buddha figures with captivating musical rendering that makes some us wish they could follow.
At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, ifccenter.com. Check newspapers for local time schedule.
VAN CLEEF & ARPEL’S FAIRY TALE: Continues the fairy tale theme and casts a spell of romance on New Yorkers. The jeweler shows what fairy tales are really made as it unveils its holiday windows at the brands Fifth Avenue flagship shore, with its Peau d’Ane high end jewelry collection at the center of the luxury display.  The holiday windows mark the U.S. debut of the collection which originally was launched in France this summer.
   The name Peau d’Ane is the title of the fairy tale, written by Charles Perrault, from which the collection finds its inspiration. “It’s a love story and you have all the element of a fairy tale---a princess, a castle, et cetera,” Alain Bernard, chief executive of the Americas,  recently told Women’s Wear Daily. “We love to tell a story through our jewelry collection, and this was a way to retell the recurring themes of Van Cleef  & Arpels, which is all about nature, couture and, of course, romance.”
   Bernard explains, “We wanted the window to feel as though you are reading a book, and as you walk down Fifth Avenue, you’re turning the pages. Artist Douglas Little with a specialty in animation and envisioned and executed the engaging theme.  Take a stroll and find enchantment on 57th Street.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Veteran’s Day parade is tomorrow and for the first time, six heroic dogs will be honored on a float in the parade. I’m just saw Princess Kaguya…if you want your spirits lifted this is the film to see. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com  Visit Polly’s Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column where you will find topics on amazing women, visionary men, poetry and rare finds.
  



Monday, November 3, 2014

ARTISTIC IMMERSION AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART (c) By Polly Guerin

The frigid weather is starting to send us indoors and what a delightful way to spend a day immersed in the arts and discovering ancestral painters, nearly forgotten. All three exhibitions discussed here are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on view now through February 1, 2015.. Here's the scoop!!!
Jupiter and Antiope (1595-97)  By Spranger
BARTHOLOMEUS SPRANGER: Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to view the first major exhibition devoted to this fascinating artist who served a cardinal, a pope, and two Holy Roman Emperors..
   You may ask, "Just who was Spranger?" It's no wonder we haven't heard anything about him before this exhibit. He is a forerunner of other great artists who emulated his oeuvre. Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611) emerged as one of the most prominent artists at the court of Rudolf II in Prague and the most significant Northern Mannerist artist of his generation. Through a selection of rare paintings, etchings and drawings his remarkable career is revealed.Image: Jupiter and Antiope, oil on canvas. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.
  Spranger employed a bravura technique and elegant style and he had an immense aptitude for composing allegories feature amorous couples entwined in complicated and seemingly impossible poses. Where did Spranger get his training? Good question! 
   In the 1560s Spranger studied with Guilio Clovio (who was also El Greco's mentor) and garnered the illustrious patronage of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Pope Pius V. He reached the apogee of his fame when he headed north: first to Vienna where he was court painter by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and then in Prague where he became a celebrated painter and draftsman.Works from Spranger's mature period comprise the bulk of the exhibition and include paintings Venus and Vulcan (ca. 1595) and the Allegory of the Reign of Rudolf II (1592).
   A kunstkammer, or chamber of wonders, has been especially created for the exhibition featuring exotic objects from nature along with the works of various artists.
PAINTING BY EL GRECO commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos, (1541-1614) with the finest exhibition (European Paintings, Gallery 608, 2nd floor) that brings together all the artist's paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection November 4 to February 1, 2015. 
   In effect, it is a mini-retrospective of the artist, with ten paintings spanning El Greco's entire career from his arrival in Venice in 1567, through his move to Rome in 1570 and his long residence in Toledo, Spain, from 1577 until his death in 1614.
View of Toledo by El Greco (1598-99) 
   El Greco's religious paintings, portraits and The View of Toledo, a masterpiece of the Museum's collection, make this presentation a unique experience. Few Old Master painters have exercised a profound influence on modern art as has El Greco, one of the most original artists of the European tradition
CARLETON WATKINS' YOSEMITE And now an artist of a different venue I give you Carleton Watkins (1829-1916), the consummate photographer of the American West. Considering how encumbered he was in his travels carrying heavy equipment over the terrain on donkeys it is surprising that his photographs survived at all, but the quality of his photographs in those early years are very clear and in remarkable condition. The exhibition includes a suite of photographs made by Watkins during his encounter with the sublime typography of Yosemite in 1861 as well as a larger group of studies from his later visits to the valley in 1865 and 1866.Watkins was a virtuoso practitioner of the difficult wet-collodion process, and the remarkable clarity of this "mammoth" prints (18 x 22 inches) was unmatched in his day. Ir was partly due to the artistry and rugged beauty of these photographs that President Lincoln signed a bill on June 30, 1864, declaring the valley
inviolate and initiating the  blueprint for the nation's National Park System.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I cannot wait to go to Yosemite, never been there, you should go there, too. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click on the Blog of interest in the left hand column.