Saturday, November 23, 2013

FUTURISTIC HOLIDAY WINDOWS (c) By Polly Guerin

New York puts on a grand show with holiday windows that glitter and dazzle with futuristic themes. It’s the best show in town with acrobats scaling a luxury retailer’s fa├žade to scenes of a nostalgic department store and video projections that transform the island of Manhattan. Now is the time to catch magic, catch the glittering show, catch the entertainment!!! It’s the best of New York and Only in New York my friends, Here’s the scoop!!

BARNEY’S entertainment has futuristic visions with performers from the improvisational group, Upright Citizens Brigade, who wear Space Age costumes by Zaldy. Christmas gets a high-tech spin where Santa and Mrs. Claus ‘virtually’ spin around the city in a souped-up sleigh that looks strangely familiar, like Batmobile. Shoppers are invited to take part by entering the actual window to ride the Santa’s sleigh. It looks like entertainment art at its most forward thrust into the future.

BERGDORF GOODMAN’S Holiday on Ice theme features icy frozen dioramas that depict holidays throughout the year, the kind that can give you glacier chills. A frozen garden party takes some dexterity to view. A window depicting July 4th takes some dexterity to view. It depicts a frozen garden party installed upside down. Valentie’s day is frozen in pink time with rich cakes and desserts and a pink fur clad mannequin seated at a desk. Outside 3-foot-high icicles adorn the windows.

LEE’S STATIONERY while these windows showcase a treasure trove of Christmas gifts, the most eye-popping display is a tall ornament decorated Christmas tree that has a constant cascade emerging from the top of the tree sending snow falling down on its branches. Inside the store every imaginable color scheme is coordinated; silver, gold, traditional red, green, even blue for Hanukkah. Charming are the toys for children and adult--- Santa’s climbing a ladder, merry-go-rounds and snow-packed sky lifts.

LORD & TAYLOR delights as usually with a traditional theme that strikes at the nostalgic note in our hearts. Elegant windows with sophisticated figures depict shoppers in 20s to 40s era fashions in a store of yesteryear, a store with fairytale images where shoppers gaily carry packages with bright red ribbons. Most endearing is ‘Holiday Cheer’ a depiction of Santa in his traditional pose waiting for children at the top of the stairs.

BLOOMINGDALES goes international and adhere to its slogan “Like no other store in the world” with large gift boxes that rotate to reveal holiday scenes from different countries. Whimsical and magical scenes from Great Britain, Italy, France and China and New York reveal holiday windows in world venues. ‘Festive Greetings from Paris’ replete with the Eiffel Tower and pink poodles. Enchantment here is at its most worldly interpretation-- it’s a storybook adventure.

Ta Ta darlings!! I’m just an old-fashioned gal, I loved L & T’s windows, but the visions planted in my head of futuristic themes were the most inventive. Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net. Visit Polly’s Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the link to Blogs on fashion, remarkable men and women.



 

Monday, November 18, 2013

TIFFANY, A JEWEL-BOX GALLERY, MCNY By Polly Guerin

At the end of the nineteenth century New York was an unprecedented vibrant place, where the elite class expressed their high status through extravagant fashions, jewelry and the decorative arts. It was the era of Edith Wharton’s “Age of Innocence,” and the Museum of the City of New York pays homage to the gilded trip in an extravagant exhibition, “The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Gallery, “ which opened recently on the Museum’s third floor. It was during these years the United States, and its cultural capital, New York City, achieved a new level of sophistication in painting, sculpture and architecture, and when absolute decorum ruled. Image: Portrait of Cornelia Ward Hall and her children by Michele Gordigiani.

THE GILDED AGE New York had its own upstairs and downstairs when the existence of cooks, coachmen, valets and lady’s maids were deemed “de rigueur". Industrial titans, such as Jay Gould and John D. Rockefeller erected mansions that marched up Fifth Avenue. It was a display of sumptuous consumption, when, there was no income tax, enabling the nation to compete for the first time on the world stage, giving rise to the epithet of the era, The Gilded Age.

A JEWEL BOX GALLERYIt was an enviable time, but for other citizens, cut from a less fortunate
lifestyle, they could only observe how the leading industrialists vied with one another to exhibit their wealth by adoring their wives with glittering jewels and magnificent gowns created by the House of Worth in Paris. Onlookers could observe the guests attending fancy dress balls in glittering costumes or watch their horse-drawn carriages where ladies showed off rich accoutrements—on exhibit, a diamond and emerald broach worn by Metropolitan soprano Emma Eames. Walls were adorned with American and French paintings of the era’s social and financial figures. Most fetching in the gallery is the portrait of the exquisitely dressed entourage of Cornelia Ward Hall and her children by Michele Gordigiani, and Louisa Van Rensselaer Baylies by Carolus-Duran.

DOMESTIC INTERIOR The Museum’s jewel-box gallery does not disappoint but evokes a Gilded Age domestic interior with decorative wallpaper, mirrored window shutters, draperies and herringbone wood flooring, as well as an historic chandelier and fireplace mantel form the Museum’s collection. Step into the ambiance of the elegant space where display cases present the most opulent jewelry that hallmarked the rise of Tiffany & Co. and the fine craftsmanship of eye-popping jewels composed of gold, pearls, plique-a-jour enamel and diamonds.

FASHIONABLE LADIES Charles Frederick Worth, founder of the French Haute Couture, was the fashion superstar of the day. His stunning scarlet silk damask evening dress in chrysanthemum pattern showcases the trend toward a glamorous look. Decorative objects in silver and gold and elaborate silver flatware draw attention as does the artistic wares that could rival those in Europe. Silver presentation pieces marking important sporting and civic events such as yacht races grew in size and grandeur as the century progressed. Stylish interiors also included Venetian glass from Italy acquired on the Grand Tour to Europe. One of a fashionable home’s most prized possessions was fine furniture by Herter Brothers, sofas carved with high dimension roses or inlaid and gilded side chairs.

Make your way up to The Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, between 103 and 104th Streets and find out for yourself how the Gilded Age shaped the city’s metamorphosis into a cultural capital. www.mcny.org The exhibit runs through November 30, 2013.

The accompanying book GILDED NEW YORK: Design, Fashion and Society examines this period and coordinates with the

Polly Guerin is author of the book THE COOPER HEWITT DYNASTY OF NEW YORK (History Press 2012),  The Tradesmen, Craftsmen and Artisans of New York, publication date 20l5.

Monday, November 11, 2013

FASHION MERGES WITH CULTURAL TREASURES (c) By Polly Guerin

The culture capital of the world invites you to experience a wealth of museum treasures revisiting icons of historical reference from Alta Moda to The Salon and Botero. It’s more than meets the eye, the best of New York and Only in New York my friends. Here’s the scoop!!

ALTA MODA by MARIO TESTINO Known primarily for his work in fashion magazines, Testino makes a bold departure with his series Alta Moda---literally “high fashion” in Spanish. The exhibit at Queen Sofia Spanish Institute documents Peruvians in their vibrantly colored and ornately adorned traditional and festive dress from Cusco, one of the highest mountain regions of Peru. While Alta Moda appears to reference traditional ethnographic photography, Testino has, in fact, captured several stories within each photograph. “I usually try to capture the moment,” says Testino. “But with this series I wanted to do something very different. I tried to fit as much tine and history into each frame as possible from the traditional and festive clothing to the Chambi backdrops to the Peruvian people in them. Alta Moda will be accompanied by a series of related public programs. Check the website www.qssi.org for a schedule of events. Opens November 20-through March 29, 2014.

THE SALON ART + DESIGN which the New York Times dubbed a “museum in the making,” returns to New York for its second edition this fall November 14 through the18th at the Park Avenue Armory at 65th street. Seeking to reflect the eclectic style of today’s interiors the Salon combines the works of modern art and the design from 1890 to the present with older items that could be considered forebears, as well as ethnographic pieces. Fifty-three leading international dealers participate; half are members of France’s prestigious Syndicat National des Antiquaries, from the venerable Kraemer specializing in the very finest 18th century antiques and objets d’art, to the hip, forward looking Carpenters Workshop gallery, which collaborates with both established and emerging talents. For further details visit: thesalonny.com

FERNANDO BOTERO, CIRCUS PAINTINGS & DRAWINGS The artist’s latest book title marks the first time the complete circus series has ever been published together as a collection and represents all of the Botero’s work on one of his favorite subjects. In the tradition of great painters also inspired by circus fantasy-Renoir, Picasso, Chagall, and Calder, among others-Botero explores light, colors, style and space with a poignancy that highlights through the extravagant disproportion of his figures the exceptional beauty of the human body. In CIRCUS, a collection of more than 130 paintings and 50 works on paper, the esteemed artist uses bright colors and unexpected movement to artfully manifest the poetry of the circus, inviting the viewer to participate in a circus with Botero as the artful ringmaster. Available on Amazon.

Ta Ta darlings!! Alta Moda is my choice this week. Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net. Visit Polly’s Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the link to Blogs on fashion, remarkable men and women.



 


Monday, November 4, 2013

Cultural Venues: THE SKY'S THE LIMIT (c) By Polly Guerin

Frosty weather may direct us indoors but this week it is certain to percolate our agenda with diverse cultural venues. Whether you are a space age aficionado or looking for a place to entertain your creative sensitivities the sky’s the limit in New York City’s ever amazing events. Only in New York my friends. Here’s the scoop!!

DARK UNIVERSE A spectacular new Hayden Planetarium show at the Space Theater, American Museum of Natural History, sends you soaring into the universe with amazing images that dramatically show the recent dramatic advances in our knowledge of the universe and explores what’s to come in the future of cosmology.

PARACHUTE TROUGH JUPITER Dark Universe lets the visitor observe the night sky at the historic Wilson Observatory in California—where Edwin Hubble first discovered galaxies outside our own—then soar across the Milky Way Galaxy, and parachute through Jupiter’s atmosphere with a probe from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. In this breathtaking show you find out how discoveries over the past 100 years have led us to two great cosmic mysteries: dark matter and dark energy.

NEIL de GRASSE TYSON, astrophysicist, prolific science communicator, and the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, who I first met years ago when I was a member of ARCS, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, narrates the new Space Show. In his rich sonorous baritone he keeps you riveted to your seat as he introduces viewers into the mysteries of dark energy, the force that is accelerating the expansion of the universe.

PIVOTAL DISCOVERIES The new Hayden Planetarium Space show celebrates the pivotal discoveries that have led us to greater knowledge and history of the universe and our place in it, and to new frontiers for exploration. Featuring exquisite renderings of enigmatic cosmic phenomena, seminal scientific instruments, and spectacular scenes in deep space. Dark Universe was produced by an innovative team that includes astrophysicists and science visualization experts. Tyson said, “Any kid can get something out of the show, and then comeback to get a little more, a little more of its layering information” Obviously this show takes time to assimilate into our mind's view of the universe. Dark Universe is not a one-time visit, it is an enticing 'come back' experience for children and adults of all ages. Member Tickets are $13.50 adults; $8.50 children. Location: 81street and Central Park West. Advance tickets are available by phone: 212.769. 5200 or by visiting amnh.org.'

Ta Ta darlings!! “DARK UNIVERSE” is my choice this week. Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net . Visit Polly’s Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the link to Blogs on fashion, remarkable men and women.


Polly Guerin author: THE COOPER HEWITT DYNASTY OF NEW YORK (HISTORY PRESS 2012)