Monday, August 20, 2012

New York International Gift Fair: Day One

Saturday was our first day out in the city, so we decided to catch up on what’s fashionable and stylish these days in the Big Apple by first walking the streets and then shopping the toniest boutiques and stores we could find. You can tell a lot by what’s hot and what’s not, about the color and fashion as they’re trending across the globe, because it’s already on the streets here. 
It’s not only about the colors they’re wearing, but how they’re wearing it, and then noticing how they live with it by seeing what’s available in home fashions, furniture, textiles, linens, and lighting. Just walking on the broad, not so crowded sidewalks (half the population has gone to the Hamptons for the weekend) makes me feel like a participant, even if only an observer. I think this is one of the reasons people love to come to New York City.  Store display windows give insight to the things that we will see over the next several days at the New York International Gift Show, which began Saturday.

We quickly saw an affinity, a distinct trend, toward the color Blue. Not just any blue, but a blue with a provenance, if you will. 

Photo, left:
We saw this particular color hue on dozens of fashion conscious woman and men (sans those eating ice cream and wearing “I Love New York” tee shirts). 
Here the design house of the late Alexander McQueen, he who had such a fondness for the skull in all things fashion, would not be disappointed in this high 'tone' pump in the 'new blue'. 
This suede number features a gold plated Skull with a prominent Mohawk top.  

We saw this particular color hue on dozens of fashion conscious woman and men (sans those eating ice cream and wearing “I Love New York” tee shirts). It was on handbags, gloves, and on shoes for both men and woman at Barney’s New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Gucci, 

Ferragamo, Cole Haan, Hermes, and SAKS 5th Avenue, and even in the windows of luxe 
jewelers  Cartier and Harry Winston. It was the obvious new “it” color.

      As my wife tried on a Nancy Gonzales handbag in 'that' blue (above, left), I was intrigued by the salesman assisting her at Bergdorf Goodman, a young man dressed in “that blue” from head to toe. Obviously savvy and hip to the new color, I inquired as to its origin. 

“Oh, that’s been the color since Celine showed it in their Spring Collection”, he said, looking a bit surprised at my question.
“Oh, uh, yes,” I replied. “Of course”! I thought that everyone must know this…and now so do I! 

“Celine showed it in Paris first and then in their Spring collection here” he went on to say.
I nodded appreciatively, and knew that I couldn’t wait to say that to all of you, my readers! But of course, you probably already knew about the Spring 2012 Celine Collection, so please accept my apology for not bringing this color to your attention sooner! 
Photo above: Even a decorative gold leaf mirror is decorated in "the blue" colored Murano glass flowers.

Photo above: Even chic melon hued shagreen covered boxes and trays from de'Nace & de'Orient - Paris, at Bergdorf Goodman, are complemented by a "Celine blue" shagreen clad bracelet cuff.

Actually, I must declare that I’d already know about this color, but I knew it as something else prior to Celine! I knew it as Yves Klein Blue, named after the French artist, which debuted in his 1957 show Proposte Monochrome, Epoca Blu (proposition Monochrome: Blue Epoch). So, Celine wasn’t the first, but the latest, and it is the “latest color”… for today, anyway!
And here’s another little tidbit of insider info: Celine is owned by French luxury brand company LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moet  Hennessy). 

A Dining room display at Bergdorf Goodman, left, and a Living room setting featuring a French Recameier, shown right. No 'new blue' in these traditional settings, but perhaps a hint of colors to come...berry tones?

Photo above: LA designer Kelly Wearstler who recently launched her ready to wear collection at Bergdorf Goodman, got her start in home furnishing and interior design. Above, is the room devoted to Wearstler's contemporary wares, which feature the 'new blue' on a leather covered "head" sculpture and other items.

Photo above: I must mention the Waylande Gregory ceramics and porcelains we found at Bergdorf Goodman that were recently featured on the Cabana Home facebook page. Pictured above with gold plated metal candlesticks imported from Paris.

Pictured above: The infamous Celine 'blue', which the French design house calls Royal Blue.

Photos, above-
Left: Chairs at the recently remodeled shoe salon (for both men and woman), at Barney's New York. Great design with an obvious restraint of hand on both the chairs and the slender tables, with paper-thin marble tops.
Right: After walking umpteen blocks, we decided to take a break and use one of the readily available Pedi-Cabs. However, I must warn you that they are very expensive, the price for a six block ride: $50.00. Rider beware!

Photo above: We even found a combo donut/ice cream shop that featured "make your own donuts", and immediately spied this "new blue" speciman!

Photo above: Even menswear gets into the Celine blue act.

Photos above-
Left: Fortuny porcelain plates; Right: A contemporary Regency style table sports the new blue.

These gals get into the spirit in their Celine blue accessories (the surf board and the camp chairs), at the weekly summer beach party at this Eastside restaurant, LAVO

I purchased a new Sony camera and was taking different kinds of pictures to try out different settings, and shot the two photos, above, as I walked up 5th Avenue.

Photos below: Also doing their own thing was Louis Vuitton on 5th Avenue, the iconic French fashion house, who seems to be into polka dots, or perhaps just dots. Shown below left, is the dot covered store, and below right, the stores display windows featured dot covered walls and floors, mannequin and octopus like sculptures reaching up from the floor.  

With all of this fashion hoo-ha, it seemed only fitting that we would close the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), seeing the show, ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”,  put on by the museums Costume Institute (which closed today!). This exhibition was billed as one that, “explores the similarities between the two Italian fashion designers from two different eras”, and that it did. What I though was particularly interesting was that Schiaparelli used this color, call it Celine Blue or Klein Blue, in the 1940’s. So what’s new? Anything? No, I don’t think so.

New York's famed Metropolitan Museum of Art featured the show, SCHIAPARELLI AND PRADA: IMPOSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS 
NOTE: The show closed yesterday :(

The show was divided into seven groups, not chronologically, but by attitude and style: Classical Body, Exotic Body, Hard Chic, Naif Chic, Surreal Body, Ugly Chic, and Waist Up, 

Classical Body, above

Exotic Body, above right.

Hard Chic, above.

Naif Chic, above.

Surreal Body, above.

Ugly Chic, above.

Waist Up, above.

Prada, like Schiaparelle was influenced by the exotic Far East in the dress, above.

Photo above: It seems that in this vintage piece, the designer must have been influenced by Yves Klein Blue, long before 'Celine Blue' made its appearance last Spring. 

Photo above: 
Both designers employed mirrors in their designs at one time or another. Mirrored dress by Prada.

After the show we took the elevator to the museums roof top garden, named the Roof Top CafĂ© and Martini Bar, which overlooks Central Park, for a spectacular sunset view of the Manhattan skyline. The roof top is also an outdoor sculpture garden, which we’ve had the opportunity to visit before, and I highly recommend it to you on your next trip to NYC.    

This summers commission for the roof garden is, “Tomas Saraceno on the roof: “Cloud City” (pictured, below), which is on view through November 4th, 2012.

Saraceno’s sculpture is a 28-foot-high aggregate of 16 interconnected 12- and 14-sided polyhedrons the size of small rooms that are made of polished steel and clear plexiglass. 

In a review by New York Times Art Critic Roberta Smith, she calls the piece, “Participatory art” that “resembles an enlarged model of molecules or a cluster of shiny if quite heavy soap bubbles.” She said, “Walking through it is an elaborate, often dizzying, interpenetrating reflection of its structure, the sky, the Met, the city, Central Park. Up becomes down; the towers and facades of Central Park West seem to change places with Fifth Avenue’s. You see yourself, or your fellow visitors, everywhere”. 

Photo above: Many early New York skyscrapers featured "house" tops, structures finished off with what looks like a mansion plopped on top of the building. This one, was atop one of the buildings adjacent to the MET on New York's tony 'Eastside'.   

Photo above: An August summer night in New York is rarely this cool and beautiful. The temperature hovered around 85 all day long and dipped down to about 78 in the evening.

Photo above: We stayed until twilight, and watched as the city came alive awash in lights, with a backdrop of a summer sunset

Photo below: Oh yeah, couldn't help but notice the headlines on the New York Post regarding the sentencing of the Russian girl band, Pussy Riot, for their protest against the Russian President. The girls were  brought to trial on trumped up charges of civil disobedience. 

Photos below-
We decided to end the day with a libation at the famed Oak Bar at the recently refurbished, historic Plaza Hotel. And no visit to the Plaza is complete without paying homage to the painting  that hangs in the corridor of the fictional character, Eloise, brought to life by the author Kay Thompson (no relation to me), in her delightful childrens book by the same name.
Left: Fictional resident of the Plaza Hotel, Eloise, and her pets, Skipperdee (the turtle), and Weenie (her dog).
Right: The historic Plaza Hotel

Join me tomorrow for, Day Two: The New York International Gift Show.


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