Monday, February 23, 2015


Left: 18rh Cent Festival Robe/Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent dress
China has sparked fashonistas imaginations for centuries but nothing meets the eye more fascinating than the juxtaposition of ancient court robes with haute fashion designer's creations, paintings, films, porcelains and object d'art. Such is the upcoming show, China: Through the Looking Glass, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's China exhibition staged in the Chinese Galleries and the Anna Wintour Costume Center from May 7 through August 16th. Pictured right: A woman's court robe with a Ralph Lauren dinner jacket ensemble. More recognizable are the blue and white Chinese porcelains including the 15th-century "Jar with Dragon" and 2005 Roberto Cavalli's evening dress. Next to it is an Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton evening dress with a dramatic fishtail skirt. The exhibition features 130 couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear pieces juxtaposed with Chinese costumes, which served as inspiration.
   Fashions are displayed from the 1700s to today through an assortment of interactive displays. Styles reflect their relationship to decorative arts from Imperial China in the Chinese Galleries to the AstorCourt, which houses costumes worn by Chinese opera star Mei Lanfang, the inspiration for John Galliano's spring 2003 Christian Dior couture collection. Other designers are well represented including: Coco Chanel. Dries Van Noten, Jason Wu and Balenciaga. FILMS also illustrate how our image of China developed with video clips including"Raise the Red Lantern," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Farewell My Concubine."  
In celebration of the exhibition's opening the Met's benefit will take place on May 4th andthe red carpet guests will no doubt be as interesting to watch as the show itself.  Now is the time to pull out your mandarin collared dress of richly patterned Chinese evening gown. Now is the time to schedule "Through the Looking Glass" on your calendar.
Ta Ta darlings!!!  I must say the press preview was a voyeurs delight.  Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at on fashion, remarkable men, poetry and amazing women. Just click on the link in the left hand column to go directly to any Blog.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Yves Saint Laurent + Halston: Fashioning the 70s (c) Recount by Polly Guerin

Who better among the celebrated designers to define the sexy and glamorous fashions of the 1970s than two of the best-known fashion designers in modern history: Yves Saint Laurent and Halston. The juxtaposition of these two designers' fashions in tandem in a breathtaking retrospective shows us what really beautiful clothes is all about and no museum presents the exhibition better than the world-class fashion museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT),  Here's the scoop!!!
YSL and Halston  Lounge Pajamas
THE TIMELINE:  A dynamic illustrated timeline at the entrance to the exhibition begins in the early Fifties, with Roy Halston Frowick's move from Des Moines, Iowa to Chicago, where he took a job as a window dresser, and, Yves Saint Laurent's from Oran, Algeria, to Paris, where he won the first and third prizes in a fashion illustration contest, and had his top design produced by Hubert de Givenchy. The timeline ends in the early Eighties with Saint Laurent's retrospective at the Met curated by Diana Vreeland and Halston's loss of his name and business.
SIMILAR IDEA: During the first few years of the 1970s, Saint Laurent and Halston held remarkably similar ideas. At one end of the spectrum was Saint Laurent's broad range of creativity, which encompassed his brilliant use of color, drama and fantasy.  The other end was Halston's mastery of  haute modernism and minimalism.
   For instance, the simply elegant casual ensemble of YSL featuring fur collar and cuff on a sweater set with multi-color wool skirt is as elegant today as it was in the 70s.
   Alas the red carpet fashion shows today leave a lot to be desired. I would like to see similar elegant 70's-influenced fashions, but so much of what is shown in the press just does not justify the addition of gimmicks or attachments that do nothing to make a fashion statement.
Yves Saint Laurent, Evening Gown
MAKING AN ENTRANCE;: At the entrance to the show you come upon a pair of silk crepe pants (sets) in intense prints. Saint Laurent's pink, red and violet paisley and Halston's royal blue floral lounge pajamas that might go to any party by night. The overt opulence of Saint Laurent against the minimalism of Halston
is clearly obvious in a black Halston cut out dress and an Yves Saint Laurent red cut out. No two designers defined and dominated the decade more than YSL and Halston.  They were the era's most influential and celebrated clothing creators.  Saint Laurent is viewed as the great colorist who imbued his clothes with a sense of drama and fantasy, while Halston is seen as the era's master of modernism and minimalism.
   The exhibition is drawn exclusively from the vast holdings of The Museum at FIT. For instance, the museum's collection hold the Halston archives---the most comprehensive records of his work in the world---as well as a vast array of significant Yves Saint Laurent pieces donated by important clients, fashion editors, friends, and colleagues of Saint Laurent.The exhibition is organized by Patricia Meers, deputy director of The Museum at FIT, and Emma McClendon, assistant curator The exhibition will be on view through April 18, 2015. There will be a talk and tour of the exhibit on Wednesday., March 4 at 10:30 am, Monday, March 23, 6 pm and Wednesday,  April 15, 10:30 am.  Reservations are required call: 212.217.4550
Ta Ta darlings!!! .I've been to the YSL/Halston show. It's worth the trip and all shows at The Museum at FIT are Free admission. Fan mail welcome at In the left hand column of Polly's website, you can click onto any of Polly's Blogs that might interest you on remarkable men, amazing women, poetry, and, of course, fashion.

Monday, February 9, 2015

LINCOLN SPEAKS: Words That Transformed a Nation (c) By Polly Guerin

President Lincoln by Alexander Gardner
"If walls could speak what would they say?"  Abraham Lincoln for one speaks volumes. Now a new exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum titled "LINCOLN SPEAKS: Words that Transformed a Nation" brings to light Lincoln's skill and command of language. Largely self-taught, he achieved a mastery of the word not only as a writer but as a speaker that helped him win the presidency. This photograph was taken less than two weeks before Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, two-and-a-half years into the Civil war. Here's the scoop!!
   Sources of Lincoln's Language:Throughout history  we have read of men and women of humble means who have brought themselves out of ignorance to high standards of the written and spoken word. However, Lincoln's legacy is an amazing example of how reading the bible, the classics and the plays of Shakespeare can mold one's character with a sense of what is right and wrong. The Morgan exhibition open until June 7th,  gives us an opportunity to explore how his words changed the course of history and defined the true meaning of America's founding principle of human equality. In his writings and speeches---many of which are woven into the historic fabric of America---he vigorously strove to defend the Union and the Constitution, while also salving the wounds of a country torn by civil war.
   The Emancipator: Works on view include photographic portraits, books owned and used by Lincoln. He felt strongly about the injustice of slavery yet he had to be especially cautious when addressing slavery's future. For these reasons Lincoln relied less on the spoken word than the written word as reflected in his carefully crafted and widely circulated public letters. speech manuscripts, military memos, and personal letters to family and friends. He used words penned with a lawyer's precision and a poet's send of rhythm, confidant in their power to persuade an audience..He reread the language of the King James translation of
The Emancipation Proclamation 
the Bible, he revered Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.
  The Commander-in-Chief: Lincoln was not a natural warrior nor had he any real military training and like many other of his pursuits, he had to teach himself about command. Yes, as commander-in-chief he was uncompromisingly clear in laying out military strategy. Lincoln's words circulated in the military camps through publications that addressed the troops. He also spoke to many volunteers individually. They admired the common touch of a president who lacked airs and graces and remained approachable, and mixed kindness with good humor jokes and easy familiarity.
 Lincoln's Words Live On: It is interesting to note that Lincoln's words have lived on through their intrinsic power.  In essence, Lincoln continues to speak to people throughout the world. Mohandas Gandhi recognized in Lincoln a model of nonviolence. In Britain during the Second World War his words stiffened resolve and  Ghanaians used him to legitimize liberation from British colonial rule. When breathed his last. his words could scarcely have been more prescient.
The exhibition,accompanied by a short in-gallery film, features former president Bill Clinton and a group of celebrated authors and scholars who address various aspects of Lincoln's remarkable life and legacy."Why is Lincoln Still Relevant? a conversation with historians takes place on April 28, 6:30 pm. Check other programs on
Ta Ta darlings!!! By delving into the great books of history and honing his skills Lincoln penned works that
inspire today and all the tomorrow's to come.  Fan mail welcome Visit Polly's Blogs on fashion, amazing women, remarkable men and poetry on click on the link in the right-hand column to the Blog of your interest.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

FASHION CELEBRATED in FIT's New Lecture Series (c) By Polly Gueirn

The world of Fashion and Culture at The Museum at FIT (MFIT), the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion,opens another stunning exhibition and a selection of world-class lectures that kick off this month. Here's the scoop!!!
YVES SAINT LAURENT + HALSTON: Fashioning the 70's is worth a visit to indulge in the luxury of fluid silk printed gowns and pantsuits, in the Museum at FIT, Special Exhibition Gallery, February 6 to April 18, 2015.Admission is always Free. Check the hours on the museum information hot line: 212.217.4558. At the same time see FAKING IT: Originals, Copies and Counterfeits in the Fashion and Textile Gallery.
From a schedule of 8 Fashion Lectures, here are some of my favorites, the last one on April 1st. All lectures
are held in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater and start at 6 pm. Advance reservations are required. Email museuminfo@fitnyc or call 212.217.4585.
MADEMOISELLE: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History, Thursday February 19 features author, Rhoda K. Garelick's seminal biography of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel. Yes, dear reader, one can never get enough of Chanel and Garelick paints a portrait of one of the greatest designers of the 20th century, presenting Chanel as a woman of daring and a designer who branded a century and remade the world in he own image.A book signing follows the presentation.
FILM SCREENING: Passage #5: Christian Dior, Spring/Summer 2011. A rare opportunity with nostalgic charm. Dr. Alexandra Palmer will introduce the documentary film Passage #5, on Tuesday, February 24. The film chronicles the creation of a sensational Christian Dior gown, commissioned along with the film, for the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.
VINTAGE BLACK GLAMOR: Join fashion, lifestyle, and arts journalist Nichelle Gainer for a presentation of her new book, Vintage Black Glamor, on Tuesday, March 10. This stunning publication's nostalgic insight into the stories of black fashion icons of the 20th century is another reason why black women---entertainers, dancers, actors, writer---carved a niche of their own in the annals of fashion history.
THE BATTLE OF VERSAILLES: Robin Givhan in conversation with FIT's Patricia Mears on
Wednesday, April 1. The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled into the Spotlight and Made History is not to be missed.. Robin Givhan, Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic for the Washington Post, presents her first book, The Battle of Versailles, the story of a 1973 face-off between five American designers, including Halston and Oscar de la Renta---and five French designers (Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin among them). Buoyed by a decision to use ten African American models (unheard of then) the underdog Yanks pulled off a victory, cementing American fashion as a major player on the international stage.
A series of Talks and Tours are also scheduled on selected evenings and weekday mornings, and begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are required. For a complete list email: museuminfo@fignyc.
LAUREN BACALL: The Look on Wednesday, March 11 at 10:30 am  and Monday, March 6 at 6 pm is my favorite. The look examines Bacall's distinctive style within the context of her modeling, film and theater careers.
Ta TA Darlings!!! Pollytalk will be present at several of these lectures, do say hello.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs on remarkable men, amazing women, poetry and landmark finds...go to and click in the left hand column on the link that gives you direct access.