About Claire

Claire est passionnée d'art depuis toujours. Elle aime tout particulièrement et depuis toujours aussi, raconter à ses proches, avec liberté et imagination, ce qui lui a plu, que ce soit à l'ecrit comme à l'oral. En particulier, Claire est fana de musique, que ce soit classique (opera, concerts au Philharmonic), ou pop. Mais aussi de danse classique et moderne, et d'expos d'art. D'ailleurs, en plus de sa passion pour l'art, Claire chante (chorale) également depuis 15 ans à New York en l'église de Saint Ignace de Loyola, prend des cours de danse, dès qu'elle le peut, et joue aussi régulierement au tennis. Française depuis toujours, New Yorkaise depuis 15 ans, américaine depuis 5 ans, mariee, deux enfants, Claire est depuis 2014 bloggueuse, après avoir fait du fund raising pendant 4 ans pour l'ecole américaine de ses enfants, et avoir été publicitaire en France et aux Etats Unis avant pendant 15 ans (chez BDDP et Leo Burnett à Paris et chez FCB et Grey à New York). Claire is passionate about art and has always been. She especially likes to share whether in writing or in person, with her loved ones, what art triggers for her, as it unleashes her vivid imagination. In particular, Claire is fanatical about music whether classical (opera, concerts at The Philharmonic) or pop. Adores as well dance whether classical or modern, as well as Art exhibits ( Paintings, Photography...). Besides admiring art, Claire also sings (at Saint Ignatius Loyola for the last 15 years), takes dance classes every chance she gets, and plays tennis regularly. Married with 2 children, Claire has become a blogger since 2014, after having led fund raising events for her children's school for the last 4 years, and having led a previous career in advertising for 15 years in Paris (BDDP, Leo Burnett) and in New York (FCB, Grey).

“About Time” Fashion and Duration exhibition: a glamorous celebration of The MET museum’s 150th anniversary through fashion, interconnects unusually and powerfully, past and present, allowing to dream of a future of community, collaboration and sustainability for the (fashion) world…

Sunday January 3rd, 2021- “About Time” Fashion and Duration exhibition: a Costume Institute’s 2020 exhibition at The MET Museum Fifth Ave: October 28, 2020-February 7th, 2021- Organized by Andrew Bolton, with support from Amanda Garfinkel, Assistant Curator, and Jan Reeder, Curatorial Consultant. Made possible by Louis Vuitton.

Greetings Friends, and Happy New Year!

This week, to start off 2021 in New York City, beautifully, with optimism, energy, and awe, let’s dream away, at the MET Museum Fifth Ave, with gusto, imagination and joy, in a way, unique to fashion, for some of us, who had not yet discovered, in person, this exhibition last year, still fortunately, on-going.

Yay!

This stunning, imaginative, and incredibly original, fashion exhibition, celebrating the MET Museum’s 150 years anniversary, (which one can still see, fortunately, in person, with timed tickets, until February 7th 2021), presents, in a dazzling, modern, and whimsical way, an exploration of 150 years of fashion (originating mostly, from The Costume Institute) in which the notion of duration, as French philosopher Henri Bergson believes, has the past, coexist with the present, thus creating a continuous flow, and freeing time, from chronology.

Wow!

To symbolize physically, this notion of duration, in which past and present coexist, two different timelines have been developed for this exhibition, featuring each, fashion “ensembles”, beautifully showcased, after walking through a “time-capsule corridor”, into two adjacent sci-fi “Hall of mirror”-like galleries, in which, enormous and beautifully designed clock faces, outline 60 minutes of fashion.

Wow!

It feels like I have just entered a land, suspended, in time and space.

Yay!

Visual artist and stage designer Es Devlin, known for creating large-scale performative sculptures and environments that celebrate light, music, and language, beautifully created this exhibition’s stunning, sparkling and modern design, with The Met’s Design Department.

Yay!

Virginia Woolf serves as the “ghost narrator” of the exhibition, yet I did not pay attention to these “readings”, and would have probably preferred, hearing a beautiful and meditative soundtrack, instead. More on that later.

Yay!

Each “minute” features a pair of ensembles, with the work on the left, presenting ensembles in chronological order (60 ensembles from 1870 to present); and the work on the right, featuring another 60 ensembles, from various decades, with a unique element, connecting each pair, either through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration. 

Wow and yay!

Interestingly also, in terms of color palette, to emphasize and accentuate silhouettes, and probably to create a “chic” effect, as well, if you ask me, all the ensembles featured, are/were presented, mainly, in black.

Let me take you through some of my additional reactions, when discovering these ensembles, and a few of my favorite items, of this pizzazz-filled exhibition.

Yay!

Firstly, my initial thought was that, choosing fashion, as a popular vehicle to celebrate in an uplifting, joyful, and relevant way, to a huge audience, the MET Museum’s 150th anniversary, was brilliant; because so many of us around the world, admire this art form, and are inspired by it, even, at times, in our own sartorial choices, and love to be educated on these matters, both historically speaking, as well as love also to understand, the continuous and ephemeral aspects of fashion.

And Max Hollein, Director of The Met, summarizes well “how employing flashbacks and fast-forwards reveal how fashion can be both, linear and cyclical. The result is a show that presents a nuanced continuum of fashion, over the Museum’s 150-year history.”

And it is important to remember, that the Metropolitan Museum of Art (also called MET museum), in its initial statement of purpose, reflects that educational purpose: “The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, in New York City, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a Museum and a library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred spirits, and to that end of furnishing popular instruction”.

How about that?

Yay!

Secondly, to find ourselves in the presence of so many iconic fashion designer names, from various continents around the world, opens up immediately, a huge time continuum, for fashion aficionados, which allows us also, to reflect breathlessly, and with awe and glee, on past and present historical times.

What a feat!

How wonderful!

And how inspiring!

Yay!

Specifically, so you can see how large a “universe”, this exhibition dives into, let me give you, the long list of amazing designers, whose work(s) is/are on view, in this hugely creative, dramatic, glamorous, and epic exhibition.

Designers include (in alphabetical order): Virgil Abloh (for Off-White), Azzedine Alaïa, Jonathan Anderson (for JW Anderson and Loewe), Cristóbal Balenciaga, Boué Soeurs, Thom Browne, Stephen Burrows, Sarah Burton (for Alexander McQueen), Gabrielle Chanel, Christian Dior, House of Drecoll, Tom Ford (for Gucci), Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, John Galliano (for Maison Margiela and John Galliano), Jean Paul Gaultier, Rudi Gernreich, Nicolas Ghesquière (for Louis Vuitton), Hubert de Givenchy, Georgina Godley, Madame Grès, Jacques Griffe, Halston, Johnson Hartig (for Libertine), Iris van Herpen, Marc Jacobs (for Perry Ellis, Marc Jacobs, and Louis Vuitton), Charles James, Victor Joris, Norma Kamali, Donna Karan, Rei Kawakubo (for Comme des Garçons), Patrick Kelly, Lamine Kouyaté (for Xuly.Bët), Christian Lacroix, Helmut Lang, Karl Lagerfeld (for Chanel), Jeanne Lanvin, Martin Margiela, Claire McCardell, Malcolm McLaren, Alexander McQueen, Issey Miyake, Kei Ninomiya (for Noir Kei Ninomiya), Norman Norell, Shayne Oliver (for Hood by Air), Rick Owens, Jean Patou, Elsa Peretti, Emile Pingat, Miuccia Prada, Paco Rabanne, Zandra Rhodes, Olivier Rousteing (for Balmain), Yves Saint Laurent (for Dior and Yves Saint Laurent), Elsa Schiaparelli, Raf Simons (for Dior and Jil Sander), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (for Viktor & Rolf), Jun Takahashi (for Undercover), Gianni Versace, Madeleine Vionnet, Junya Watanabe, Weeks, Vivienne Westwood, and Yohji Yamamoto.

Wow!

Of course, many more exist from the past and the present, but this is definitely, right there, an impressive list of groundbreaking designers, especially when trying to show off only 120 ensembles.

I just wish we could have seen also, some innovative works from the modernist/”space age” 1950’s and 60’s of Pierre Cardin, and 1960’s from André Courrèges, which were so unique and revolutionary for their times:

Here is a “bubble” dress from Cardin:

And here is a “space age” dress from Courrèges :

And as I walked through the exhibit, the overall idea that struck me most, is how much mankind, has mostly liberated itself from stiff, formalized fashion, and has birthed over time, thanks to great designers, much more freedom of movement, and of expression, as the world ventured into modern, post industrialization times (including world events, such as world wars, exploration of space, pandemics), which have all influenced and changed not only designers fashion codes, but mankind’s self expression styles, in clothes, and even regarding gender (in some cases), as clothes have become more readily accessible to all.

And cyclical trends have a tendency to show up, to respond to excesses (too much austerity, creating for example, a need for lavish elegance; the reverse, being equally true).

How fascinating!

Of course, in addition to admiring all these incredible black ensembles, from the iconic designer names presented, evoking all rich worlds; I realized, how some of these names/brands, especially the older “maisons”, immediately conjure up, for me, specific images, and emotions.

Yay!

I will not mention all of them, otherwise this post will be too long, just a few, in between the two world wars, six designers, who trigger immediate and strong reactions for me:

First, let me mention Jean Patou, who immediately evokes to me, a few things: beautiful 1920’s evening dresses, reminiscent for me, of the glamour and chic of Hollywood’s golden era movies.

Wow!

Patou’s perfume for women: “Joy”, considered as the pinnacle of sophistication and elegance for many, and “the most expensive perfume of the world”, for a long time, which stars from Vivien Leigh, to Jackie Kennedy, who also wore his designs, absolutely adored.

Wow!

He also started liberating women’s clothing, with his venture in women’s sportswear, in particular tennis skirts, to be able run freely on tennis courts.

Yay!

Yay!

And for men, Patou started the trend of designer ties, which perhaps, are not quite as liberating, but so decorative and distinguished.

Yay!

Second, (Jeanne) Lanvin, evokes for me Art Deco elegance: her 1920-30’s gowns, furs, and an art of living store, offering furniture, rugs, curtains, stained glass, wall paper, and 1930’s fragrances such as “Eau de Lanvin” and “Arpège”.

Yay!

Third, Madame Grès, in the 30’s evokes mastery of the wrapped and draped dress, as well as critically acclaimed costumes, for the Jean Giraudoux 1935 play, “La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu”, and of course, designed as well for many Hollywood stars and celebrities: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, or the Duchess of Windsor, to name a few, all models of chic and poise.

Yay!

Fourth, Madeleine Vionnet, whose iconic “maison” from 1912 to 1939, also resonated with me, as she evokes elegant grecian style dresses and “biais cut”, and designed generally speaking, sleeker, softer dresses; and designed as well, for famous dancers, such as Isadora Duncan.

Yay!

Fifth, (Gabrielle) Chanel, evokes to me as well, iconic, flattering yet practical sophistication, originating in the 20’s, designing slightly more bold fashion, with a preference for navy, black and white colors, with added use of innovative textiles, such as jersey. And whose accessories, like many fashion designers, would also become iconic, and synonym of timeless elegance: such as, for example, hand bags, fragrances of course (starting with Chanel no 5), and jewelry (lots of pearls).

Notably also, she was friends with many artists of the time, including having designed costumes for the Ballets Russes, for example.

She was and is still, relevant with numbers of celebrities, here, Catherine Deneuve, decades later.

Wow!

Sixth, Elsa Schiaparelli, was another prominent figure of the fashion world in the 1930’s, and between the two war worlds, Italian, and an illustrious rival of Chanel’s.

An innovative designer, introducing her “shocking pink” to the world, and for notably, having designed as well, for Mae West and Daisy Fellows.

Wow!

And Schiaparelli’s use of pink was pretty groundbreaking for the times, as the pink color, had been associated by many, for the longest time beforehand, with youth, and innocence, rather than with femininity, as in Fragonard’s 18th century painting “The Swing”).

How fascinating!

Wow!

Also, notably, Schiaparelli’s work, was often, heavily influenced by Surrealists, such as Cocteau and Dali.

Wow!

Lobster dinner dress, designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dalí, 1937.

And to get back to the exhibit, many iconic historical relevant garments were on display, from Chanel iconic “Little black dress”, to Dior’s 1950’s iconic “New look” hip padded, and wasp waisted, to Yves Saint Laurent’s 1960’s “Le Smoking” tuxedo suit for women — and paired extremely interestingly with great designers –go and see these, in person, if you can, at the exhibit, these are stunning!

Yay!

I wanted to share now, a few of my favorite “ensemble” pairs, on display in the exhibit:

  1. A 1996 Yamamoto coat including a fun “pouf” of nylon, (on the right), inspired by a 19th century “pouffy” American black dress (on the left), adding a voluptuous quality to the coat.

Wow!

2. A 2020 Galliano for Maison Margiela coat (on the right), inspired/paired with a 1918 American red cross uniform (on the left). Inspired by our current pandemic perhaps.

Wow!

3. A 1997 Galliano spider dress (on the right), inspired/paired by/with a 1928 American black and white dress (on the left), including trapped alphabet letters (as if trapped by a spider web).

Wow!

4. A 1978 Yves Saint Laurent “broken mirror” jacket (on the right), inspired by a 1938 Schiaparelli sophisticated Sun king (Louis the XIV) and Surrealist inspired (Cocteau, surely), “pair of mirror” jacket (on the left), whose mirror pieces, belonged and echo Versailles’ own “Galerie des Glaces” gallery (glaces in this instance, meaning mirrors in French); and it is interesting to keep in mind as well, that mirrors in the 17th century, were a symbol of wealth, as were very expensive to obtain; and Versailles’ “Galerie des Glaces” being set between the “Salon de la Paix” and the “Salon de la Guerre”, expressed as well, the designer’s fear, of the world war to come.

Wow!

5. A 1958 Cristobal Balenciaga, hip enhanced elegant dress, with a “shiny” ribbon (on the right), inspiring in terms of silhouette, a 2018 Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton, equally “shiny” and similarly hip enhanced, and similarly elegant, leather dress (on the left).

Wow!

6. A 2019 Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen whimsical “earrings” crystal embroided ensemble (on the right) inspired/paired with a 1983 Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, heavily jeweled dress (on the left). So sophisticated and yet whimsical.

Wow!

7. A 1939 Charles James “mermaid” dress (on the right), inspiring an incredibly chic and sophisticated, 1994 Alaïa dress, (on the left), in terms of hip “drapé”.

Wow!

8. A 1939 Madeleine Vionnet, sophisticated and chic evening gown (on the right) inspiring/paired with a 2005 Viktor and Rolf ensemble (on the left), in terms of “ribbons” details. Spectacular!

Wow!

9. A 1951 Charles James Ball Gown (on the right) inspired/ paired with a 2012 Iris van Herpen dress (on the left), in terms of silhouette, whose sci-fi sculptural look, evocative for me, of Cronenberg’s atmospheric/weird movies, takes one’s breath away.

Wow!

Of course, to end the exhibit, a sole incredible piece was shown to showcase by end of 2020, the fashion’s world trends of community, collaboration, and sustainability for the future, with a beautiful 2020 design, again by Viktor and Rolf, whose head piece evokes for me, the wonderful possibilities the future holds!

And who knows, if practical and political garments will keep on dominating the fashion agenda, and what trends will emerge moving forward.

Exciting!

Yay!

For more information on this incredibly rich and beautiful “Fashion and Duration” exhibition, tune in next Sunday, for a “Met speaks” conversation, with Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, The Costume Institute, and exhibition designer Es Devlin moderated by Asad Syrkett, Editor in chief of Elle Decor, about the inspiration behind the exhibition, Sunday January 17th, 2021 from 11 am to 12 pm.

Yay!

Of course, as I exited the exhibit, I wished the exhibit, had also shown the importance and relevance, in terms of creativity, of fashion designers collaborations over the last 150 years, with other art forms, in NYC and around the world; whether with opera (and many have done so, for operas such as: “La Traviata”, “Norma”, “Tosca”, “Lucia di Lammermoor”, “Thaïs”, “Cosi fan tutte”, “Elektra”, “Agrippina”, “Marnie” to mention/name just a few), dance (for example, the NYCB for its Fall Fashion Gala, has had many great designers collaborating with them, over the last few years), plays, musicals, televised awards (such as the Oscars, the VMA, and the MET Gala), films (for example, from “Top Hat”, “Roberta” , “Il Gattopardo”, Gilda, “Gone with the Wind”, “Et Dieu créa la femme”, “Barry Lyndon”, “Prêt à porter”, “The devil wears Prada”, or “Phantom Thread”), television series (for example, from “The Peaky Blinders”, “The Crown”, or “the Queen’s gambit”), and online performance art shows, of all kinds, lately.

And here is an example of a 1939, lost jazz age version, featuring Louis Armstrong, of “Midsummer Night’s dream” whose designs for the fairies, to me, are simply enchanting:

Yay!

Hopefully, we will see soon, exhibits about the fashion world’s collaboration with other art forms, as well!

Yay!

And finally, in terms of soundtrack/music for this “Fashion and Duration” exhibition, I would have loved to discover it, while listening to Ravel’s “Gaspard de la nuit”, (the “Ondine” movement), since all the fashion displayed, was mostly black (like the night), for its beautiful meditative quality.

Yay!

Enjoy!

Until next time friends!

Soft…

Fluttering…

Sunny…

Joyful…

Happy…

Loving…

Eternal butterflies 😊