A truly rare book. Happened upon it in a car boot sale. It accompanied the 1977 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The photographs are by the late Irving Penn and the introduction was penned by the irreplaceable Diana Vreeland. Some of the garments are quite famous, especially the Vionnet knotted 1930s satin sheath and her famous “4 square” dress. Others are less so. The patina of age – yellowing pages, classic typography, dainty but linear mannequins in elegant [is refusal] poses – make this a treasured possession. There can’t be many about. Especially love the way Madame Grès was referred to by her lesser known first name Alix.
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Not sure if the Vionnet retrospective is still on at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs at the Louvre in Paris. If you’re in that neck of the woods it’s a must-see. All those immaculately preserved pieces viewed en masse in one space is a truly remarkable experience. Vionnet’s always been one of my favourite designers but I just never truly understood how forward thinking she was until I saw the show. Awe-struck. It blew my mind to see how much fashion hasn’t moved on from her pioneering work. Fashion lesson indeed.
Andy Warhol: Triple Rauschenberg, 1964. From the Sonnabend Collection
I once had the pleasure of sitting on the same bench in the line-up room (Mid-town Manhattan NYPD) that J Lo and P Diddy sat when he got arrested! Claim to fame, hey! Lucky for me I was the victim that instance and not the criminal. I ended up there after waiting 4 hours to see a detective after being scammed on Craig’s List with a bogus apartment sub let. Since then found out that sub letting in Manhattan’s actually illegal so I was actually breaking the law anyway. Gawd, that place was ancient. You’d have thought that being the busiest precinct in Manhattan things would be a bit more 21st century. Nada. It was like stepping back on the set of Cagney and Lacey. They’d only had computers , at the time two years ago, for a year! Push button phones? I don’t think so. Archaic.
Anyway, whilst waiting I snuck a few photos on my iPhone. Talk about holiday pics! Never saw the deposit on the apartment. The scheming devil had fled to Peru. But I got the experience of a lifetime – got to see a real slice of New York far from the touristy breeding grounds. The posters reminded me, in a way, of one of my favourite Warhol pieces: The Triple Rauschenberg. Adios.
Some more New York pics. Williamsburg and Downtown Manhattan_
Couldn’t really do a series about New York without a “big up” to one of my favourite bloggers – The Photodiarist. Its such a simple, beautiful concept. One woman, her camera and one of the most amazing cities in the world. Genius.
23:59 G.M.T. 31/12/ 2009: Looking forward_
Helmut Lang, Autumn-Winter 2001. NEW YORK
Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
Her lips are like some roses fair. She has the sweetest smile the gentlest hands. And I love the ground whereon she stands. Nina Simone – Old folk song