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).

“In America: a lexicon of fashion”: spotlight on an array of emotions, American fashion embodies today…

MET Museum’s Anna Wintour Costume Center–/Tuesday November 16th, 2021. On show until Sept 5th, 2022

 

Welcome back friends!

This week, friends, welcome to a wonderful, unusual, and fun, art exhibit experience!

Welcome to a strikingly emotional and intellectual experience of American Fashion!

Yay! yay! yay!

In particular, the curators of this terrific fashion exhibit, have chosen to showcase a representation of American fashion (which often stands for sportswear, as well as ready-to-wear; emphasizing principles of simplicity, practicality, and functionality), based on a historically relevant, and iconic symbol, of Americana’ folk art: the quilt.

Wow! and Yay! yay! yay!

A historical and cultural gem, “Tumbling blocks”, by Adeline Harris Sears (1839-1931), is one of America’s illustrious quilt, begun in 1856, and ordinarily housed, in The Met’s American Wing collection.

Wow!

And this symbolic and “signature” quilt (pun intended), opens up our exhibit, to illustrate the United States’ diverse cultural identities and articulations, and echoes a famous political speech, given by Jesse Jackson, in 1988, to describe America:

“America is not like a blanket—one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. America is more like a quilt—many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread.”

—Jesse Jackson, 1988 Democratic Convention

Yay! yay! yay!

So what makes this iconic quilt so special?

Harris Sears gathered 360 signatures, from renown Americans (and some Europeans), on small pieces of silk, sent to them; which she later stitched up, into a unique quilt; and believe it or not, but these famous Americans include: eight American presidents, as well as a few Northern military heroes from the Civil War, some anti-slavery political leaders, and a couple of eminent figures, from the world of science, religion, education, and the arts.

How about that?

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

Let’s now admire it:

Yay!

Is it not fabulous?

I love the quilt’s vibrancy, arising for me, from the wonderful uniqueness, and yet unity, these various patterns, “patches”, colors, and of course signatures, display.

Wow!

And the idea, for this American Fashion exhibit, is similar: all of the designers’ works/”pieces” presented, (over 100 ensembles), are each symbolic of a quilt “patch”, which are all displayed, as if stitched together, to all the other “pieces”/”patches”, creating thus, a “quilt like” result.

Wow! and Yay! yay! yay!

And each fashion “piece”, worn by a mannequin, is presented in a “box”, either, standing next to another box, or standing on top of each other.

Wow!

Yet, when the boxes are on top of each other, the work is less easy to admire, because it stands so high up. Still, the impression it gives architecturally speaking, is mesmerizing.

Yay!

And for each fashion “piece”, a single descriptive word, has been chosen, to capture, as a unifying thread for the “quilt”, what each “piece” stands for emotionally; and for each piece, the chosen “word” is “titled”, on top of the mannequin’s head, while the fashion piece itself, illustrates visually, both the emotion conveyed first, by the garment itself, as well as the various influences, the actual “outfit” takes its inspiration from, and it is fun to observe also, of course, the garment’s visual resonance with the written “title”.

Wow! wow! wow! and yay! yay! yay!

And interestingly, and not surprisingly, the emotional qualities this American Fashion exhibit feels it embraces, include mostly, uplifting and empowering notions: Belonging, Delight, Joy, Wonder, Affinity, Confidence, Strength, Desire, Assurance, Comfort, Consciousness, and Nostalgia.

Wow! and Yay! yay! yay!

And of course, the end result, is as wide, in its display of expressions, and as diverse, as is America!

Wow! and Yay! yay! yay!

I will now share, just a few, of my favorite pieces, which struck me for various reasons: either, for the sheer beauty of the outfit of course, or at times, for its historical relevance, or, for the originality of its inspiration.

Yay!

1)Let’s begin with four, incredibly figurative, “quilt like” inspired “pieces”, which stand out for me, in the way they “hammer on” evidently, each, with its own style, and with poetry, on the “quilt like” concept of the exhibit:

a)First, by Ralph Lauren (American, born 1939), here is a “nostalgia” ensemble, autumn-winter 1982-83:

Stunning, folksy chic, and to me, evocative of amish cultures, and the nostalgia of a simpler, tolerant, and wonderfully collaborative time.

Wow!

Just awesome!

Yay! yay! yay!

b)Second, by La Réunion (American, founded 2019), here is a “commemoration” ensemble, 2021.

So evocative of hippie cultures, in its celebration of freedom of exploration for all, expressed boldly here, fashion wise, from simple, flowing, comfortable fabrics, to interesting patterns, to strong color choices, to mixing up men and women’s clothing items, and to the importance of commemorating, key historical moments.

Wow! And yay!

Just delightful and free!

Yay! yay! yay!

c)Third, here is by Puppets & Puppets (American founded in 2018), and it “celebration” dress, Fall-winter 2021-22

So original, imaginative, joyful, and evocative to me, of a world traveler, embracing various historical periods, crammed into one outfit: with complex fabrics, chosen from around the world, embracing the past, and various cultures, in its form fitting, yet, including unique drapery, in its unusual silhouette (evocative of African dresses), built from various fabrics, including an old fashioned, nostalgic and elegant, red and white, French toile de jouy fabric, for this classic, multicultural, chic, and original dress), while also, embracing the present, to be celebrated: the joy of life returning to some sense of normalcy, including celebrations, and blooming again, with its powerful springlike, and nature oriented visuals!

Wow!

So joyful!

Yay! yay! yay!

d)Let’s move on now, to another expression of “quilt”, a fourth expression, which celebrates figuratively this concept, and this time, with only, one key fabric: denim; which has always been a huge part of American culture, whether relating originally, to historically relevant, rural, or strategic industrial projects (such as, for example, the long and lengthy railroad construction project across the entire country, as citizens, settled out west), and worn by all Americans at the time, and still today (from construction workers, to cowboys, to farmers, or to more urban professions).

Wow! and Yay! yay! yay!

And here is my favorite denim “patchwork” piece (there are a few more in the exhibit, as you may imagine), it is an “awareness” ensemble, from threeASFOUR (American, founded in 2005), Pre-fall 2019, which displays with a fun twist, its unique design, not quite a dress, not quite a pair of pants, not quite a shirt and skirt, not quite “overalls” either, a new, unique “ensemble”, made comfortable, by the denim fabric, and yet, stylish and original, speaking to me, of the designer and the wearer’s creativity, spunk, openness, and joyful confidence: not sure though, about the “awareness” qualifying notion, I would have probably chosen the word “confidence”, personally.

What a piece!

Wow!

So unusual and confident!

Yay! yay! yay!

2)Let’s now move on, to another important symbol in America: the American Flag, which also, unsurprisingly, is very much present as well, in this fashion exhibition about America, and we will see the unique “take”, many famous American designers, from yesterday and today, offer, on this powerful national symbol :

Wow!

The American Flag of course, holds a huge number of associations, in highly patriotic America, whose 1789 constitution, states in its preamble, the following: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”.

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” is also a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence, which gives three examples, of the unalienable rights, which governments are created to protect.

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

And here, we can admire, by Tommy Hilfiger (American, born 1951), an evidently “patriotic” sweater, from circa 2000, which to me, embodies as well, all of these constitutional values, and unalienable rights.

Wow!

Wow!

So evidently patriotic!

So of course, huge pride is linked to the idea of belonging to a nation, which embraces such great principles; and the flowing, the holding, or the “planting” of the Flag, found in American culture, in many instances, and among various age groups, is a strong reminder of this: from the Flag code requiring that the U.S. Flag, be flown in federal institutions, including in public schools, to outdoors games played by kids, to professional sports, to wars, to space exploration, to art; the American Flag’s strong presence, in the country, is a constant visual reminder, to all citizens, of these great values.

Wow!

And here, by Gypso Sport (American, founded in 2012), let’s admire an enthusiastic and vibrant “athletic” ensemble, autumn/winter 2020-21: to me, expressing its joyful pride, and patriotism, at the idea of belonging to a land which has always promoted strong athletes, and also, has always been unapologetically proud, to belong to “the Land of the Free, and the home of the Brave”.

Wow!

Yay! yay! yay!

So free, so happy, so patriotic!

Wow!

Yet, of course, for other American designers, whose works are displayed at this exhibit, we can see other view points, how for one of the designers, LRS (American, founded 2014), his “American stripe” dress, worn on the mannequin, in the middle of the picture; the flag, worn as a dress, represents, to me, at least, a pressing need for the country, a need for unity.

Wow!

So true.

And we can understand as well, how also, for still, other American designers/brands, the disappointment they feel towards their country, towards America, is even stronger, and is illustrated also, at times, in different ways, and within this picture, we can see another illustration of disappointment through another powerful symbol: stars.

And one of the designers, has chosen to display his disappointment of how America embraces all of its citizens, by showcasing a few “stars”, falling off of an upside down flag, from a spring summer 2019 ,”Falling stars” sweater, by Willy Chavarria (American, born in 1967), as you can see, on the left wall, the second sweater, in the picture.

Wow! and yay! to various points of view!

That is what art exhibitions are for, as well.

Yay!

And here as well, with this starless “Veil flag” by S.R. Studio. LA. CA. (American, founded 2019), here, is yet another powerful expression of disappointment, discontent, and dissatisfaction, with America, expressed through “absent” stars.

Wow!

Wow!

Yet, I must say, that what stood out, even more, for me, in this exhibit, despite the various points of view, was the presence of optimism, even if the need for unity in America, is still hugely important.

And actually, the message from this exhibit, which I was the most moved by, was a simple, short, and direct message, of needed unity, for the country, embodied by the “American stripe” dress by LRS (American, founded 2014):

“Stronger together”.

As unity creates strength.

Yay! yay! yay!

Is it not so true?

And so moving.

3) And now, let’s move on, and take a look at a few other American fashion pieces, which appealed to me as well, for their resonance with empowering values:

a) Here is, by Diane Von Furstenberg (American, Born in Belgium, 1946), a “Freedom” polychrome, printed, jersey dress, the “wrap” dress, which, when it was launched, in 1974, dispelled the notion that a dress had to be fussy or constrictive, which would be at odds, with an active, confident, strong, professional woman.

Yay!

So comfortably elegant, assertive, and flattering as well!

Yay!

b) Here is now, by Donna Karan (American born 1948), a “conviction” ensemble autumn/winter 1985-86, 2021, in which the designer, introduced a concept known as “the 7 easy pieces”, in which she coordinated separates: bodysuits, trousers, skirts and jackets, which could be combined in various ways, by the wearer.

Wow! and yay!

So empowering, self assured, and feminine!

As is, by Carmelo Pomodoro (American, 1955-1992), this circa 1989, “strength” wool suit, as self assured for the wearer, and still feminine and sensual, in its own unique way.

Wow! and yay!

So beautiful and feminine, in its form fitting accentuated silhouette (although I must say, I would have probably dropped the tie, but then, it may have be considered more, Dior like)?

But Wow!

And here is, by Narciso Rodriguez (American, born 1961, an “allure” dress, autumn-winter 2001-02), so understated, yet so feminine, and confident, and probably, my very favorite piece of the show.

 

4) And now, let’s move on, and admire two contemporary pieces, which to me, pay homage to iconic American movies from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, and the chic exuberance, and ebullience which overflowed then, which added so much magic to everyone’s lives: first, by Christopher John Rogers (American, born 1993), let’s admire the “exuberance” polychrome plaid, silk taffeta ensemble, autumn-winter 2020-21. I can’t help, but smile, and think of “Gone with the wind”, the 1939 Victor Fleming movie, adapted from the 1936 novel, by Margaret Mitchell.

Wow! and Yay!

So stunning and extravagant!

And here is, by Rodarte (American, Founded 2004), Kate Mulleavy (American, born 1979) and Laura Mulleavy (American, born 1980), an “ebullience”, Blue silk organza dress, autumn /winter 2019-20, clearly inspired by “musicals” of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and which for me, conjure up Ginger Rogers’ spectacular dancing.

Yay!

A bit much perhaps?

Yet, so enchanting, and evocative of a wonderfully dreamy and glamorous period of American Cinema, in the 30’s.

Yay!

And in terms of extraordinary “dressed up” dress, I also, really loved this “wonder” pink synthetic taffeta dress, by Marc Jacobs (American, born 1963), spring-summer 2019.

Just enchanting to me!

Yay!

4)And finally, unsurprisingly, the notion of comfort, was very much on display in this American fashion exhibit, comfort relating at times, to the “belonging” associated with sports, to physical closeness, to the notion of equality, which brings so much optimism, or to the joy brought on by art.

Wow! and Yay!

Here is, by Perry Ellis (American, 1940-1986), a “fellowship” wool knit ensemble autumn-winter 1978-79, inspired by the carefree, preppy insouciance of the cheerleading uniform.

So effortlessly feminine.

Wow! and Yay!

And here is, by Tommy Hilfiger, an “association” wool/cotton ensemble, autumn-winter 2018-19, and the designer’s take, a few decades later, on Ivy league style: even more comfort oriented.

Super cheerful, and comfy, but a little too bulky for my taste.

Wow!

And here, by Bstroy (American, founded 2013), Brick Owens (American born 1990), Dieter Grams (American, born 1991), are “closeness” Sweatshirt and cotton trousers ensembles, from 2018, which convey the need for physical contact/closeness.

Wow!

A tad too close for comfort (pun intended) perhaps?

Wow!

Finally, here are the three last pieces, I will mention in this post, which resonated with me, for their originality; the first two, of course, also, evoking the beautiful world of ballet for me:

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a) by Rudi Gernreich (American, born in Austria), an “optimism” belted, unisex jumpsuit from 1970, sleek and elegant.

Yay!

 

So timeless!

Yay!

b) by “Off white”c/o Virgil Abloh (Italian, Founded 2013, Virgil Abloh (American born 1980), here is a “reciprocity” ensemble autumn-winter 2020-21, combining the delicacy of tulle, with weather resistant nylon of an anorak.

Wow!

So fun and irreverent!

Yay!

c) And finally, here is, by Conner Ives (American born 1996), an imaginative, polychrome felted wool “reverence” ensemble, autumn-winter 2021-2022, influenced by an American folk art collection, promoting a whimsical, joyful, poetic, new Americana, which to me, seems to combine purpose, responsibility, levity and style.

Wow! and Yay! yay! yay!

So, to sum up my feelings, about this unique and original American “quilt” fashion exhibit: “In America: a Lexicon of Fashion”, admired last Tuesday, at the MET’s Anna Wintour Costume Center, in great company: what a terrific and rich fashion exhibit, beautifully threading various personalities, often influenced by America’s values, history, and by art, and which allows us, to pause, and think about what American fashion used to embody emotionally yesterday, and what it now, embodies emotionally speaking, for many contemporary designers.

Yay!

And how wonderful to realize, that American fashion often stood for, and still mostly, stands for, uplifting, optimistic, and empowering emotions, concepts and notions.

Yay! yay! yay!

So terrific!

Wow! Wow! Wow! and Yay! Yay! Yay!

Until next time friends, after the holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Soft…

Fluttering…

Sunny…

Joyful…

Happy…

Loving…

Eternal butterflies 😊