Heavenly Bodies

By suzi click on Monday, January 14th, 2019 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

“Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination- was an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018. The exhibit was in three locations – the Met Fifth Avenue in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, continued in the Anna Wintour Costume Center and concluded at the The Met Cloisters in northern Manhattan, where elements from French monasteries have been rebuilt as four cloisters.

It featured the work of designers who for the most part were raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. While their current relationship to Catholicism varied, most acknowledged its enduring influence on their imaginations. On the surface this influence is expressed through explicit Catholic imagery and symbolism as well as references to specific garments worn by the clergy and religious orders. On a deeper level, it manifests as a reliance on storytelling and specifically on metaphor – which the sociologist Andrew Greeley describes as the essential characteristic of a particular sensibility he defines as – the Catholic imagination” (excerpted from the exhibition brochure)

My favorite was the Jean-Paul Gautier which is the featured image. I also recognize that Lacroix t-shirt by with the cross from the time it was on the cover of Vogue. I went to this exhibit on a field trip organized by the San Francisco Textile Arts Council and we enjoyed curator-led tours to this fabulous exhibit.

Evolution of Shape in Fashion at FIT

By suzi click on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

In March I visited the FIT gallery in New York City and this is one of the exhibits there. “The Body: Fashion and Physique”, curated by Emma McClendon, it explored the complex history of the “perfect” body in fashion.

“Fashion is inextricably linked to the physical form of the wearer. The cut of a garment draws the eye to zones of the body, simultaneously accentuating and concealing in order to achieve a desired silhouette. Elaborate undergarments, diet regimens, exercise routines, and even plastic surgery have all been promoted as necessary tools for attaining the ideal fashion shape. However, the idealized fashionable body is a cultural construct. Over the last 250 years, full hips, narrow hips, feminine waists, and boyish frames have each, at different times, been hailed as the pinnacle of beauty. According to a Vogue article from 1950, “A ‘figure’…is considered good or bad only as related to clothing generally, and current fashions specifically”

Here are some of my favorites – see if you can spot the Norma Kamali and the Paul Poiret.

Norman Norell at FIT

By suzi click on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

I saw this exhibit when I was in New York City in March at the Fashion Institute of Technology Gallery. Although the 50’s and Norman Norell were not my favorites in fashion I gained an appreciation of his aesthetic with the show.

Curated by Jeffrey Banks and Patricia Mears. “Born in 1900 Norman Norell had an extraordinary career that spanned six decades. Working in the theater, film, and fashion industries, he incorporated the highest quality couture construction techniques and workmanship in all of his designs. Norell won numerous industry awards and was the first American to launch his own perfume. Not only did he spearhead the concept of luxe ready-to-wear decades before his European contemporaries, but many of his classic works are still wearable today. Decade after his death, Norell’s legacy lives on.”

Here are some of my favorites, especially the sequined gowns.

“Veiled Meanings” Fashioning Jewish Dress

By suzi click on Thursday, September 13th, 2018 in Events, Reviews. No Comments

After reading a review by Carolyn Benesh in ORNAMENT magazine I made sure to see this exhibit when I was in New York City in March. “Veiled Meanings” was at the Jewish Museum on 5th Avenue at 92nd. It is in a former mansion residence and has a wonderful permanent collection and superb restuarant -Russ and Daughters.

This exhibit, on loan from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, showcased over 20 countries and 100 examples of Jewish costume from the 18th to the 20th centuries to show the diversity and complexity of Jewish identity and culture.

“With Jewish migration historically worldwide, the exhibit addresses this subject thematically in four sections – Through the Veil, Interweaving Cultures, Exposing the Unseen and Clothing That Remembers. Largely subsumed by non-Jewish cultures, it is not surprising that Jewish clothing was identical to or a tweak of the dominant nationality, as well as having characteristics identifiably Jewish such as badges, the color yellow, the Judenhat (Jewish hat) and specific types of robes and face gear marking them as different from Christian and Muslim societies.”

Here are some of my favorites

Dora de Larios ceramic artist

By suzi click on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 in Reviews, The Artful Life. No Comments

Early this year I saw an exhibit of native Angeleno ceramic artist Dora de Larios at the Main Gallery in downtown LA.
she died in January of this year (2018) at age 84 after a notable career. She grew up in LA near Silver Lake where she was surrounded by Mexican and Nisei Japanese immigrants. This diverse community, as well as her childhood trips to the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City, inspired her to create artwork that blended influences from ancient America and Japanese ceramics. She studied with potters Otto and Vivika Heino and Susan Peterson at USC and was exposed to the work of radical ceramic artists, notably Peter Voulkos, whose abstract work encouraged her to explore non-functional forms in clay. After graduating in 1957 she set up an independent studio in LA and sold her work thru venues that included Gump’s in San Francisco. In her figural sculptures, she developed a distinct style that derived from traditional Japanese Haniwa. In the 60’s artist and impresario Millard Sheets hired her along with other notable ceramic artists to design tiles for the Franciscan Ceramics division of Interpace in LA. She began experimenting with bronze, creating sculptures based on her personal experiences. Inspired by her participation in the Mask Festival at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, De Larios began experimenting with the mask form in the 80’s, drawing on religious and spiritual traditions from around the world.

in 2009, the Craft and Folk Art Museum hosted Suenos/Yume: Fifty years of the Art of Dora De Larios a retrospective of her work, curated by Elaine Levin.

In 2011, she was prominently featured in Art Along the Hyphen: The Mexican-America Generation at Autry national Center. The same year she was included in Common Ground, ceramics in Southern California 1945-1975 at the American Museum of Ceramic Art both organized by the Getty Founation’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. Initiative.

Her work is featured in many public commissions throughout the Southern California area.


Marimekko Exhibit

By suzi click on Monday, July 10th, 2017 in Featured, Reviews. No Comments

On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest I visited the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. A small but worthwhile exhibit of the Finnish design firm, Marimekko, that was so popular and influential in the late 60’s and early 70’s, really was “a blast from the past.” The pop imagery and vibrant colors really evoke the exuberance of that time in fashion – still one of my favorites. The company was founded in 1951 and they are still going strong today. You can find out more about their heritage and where to find their products on their website click here

Carla Fernandez – designer

By suzi click on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 in Reviews. No Comments

Although I missed the exhibit , Carla Fernandez – The Future is Handmade, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston last summer I was able to see it in downtown LA in September.  I love the way this Mexican designer  honors the craft and heritage of Mexican textile art but in her own updated way.  And she collaborates with many of the craftspeople to produce her line of clothing and accessories.  The exhibit highlights the style and technique of five Mexican states – Chiapas, Yucatan, Campeche, Mexico and Mexico City.

To learn more click here

Kimono for a Modern Age

By suzi click on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 in Reviews. No Comments

This is an exhibit at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During the early 20th century, a majority of Japanese women continued to wear traditional kimono but it evolved to reflect the introduction of vibrant synthetic colors, new modes of textile production, and bold abstract and figurative design motifs, often inspired by Western art movements and important current events. The exhibit features more than thirty captivating examples from LACMA’s permanent collection exhibited for the first time. Most were worn for daywear so many were not saved like the ceremonial kimono. Most were worn from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.

Presenting Bejeweled Bedazzling

By Gretchen Schields on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 in Reviews. No Comments

Gretchen and painter Marianne van der Veer recently presented their two woman show at Forest and Ocean Gallery.  The show, Bejeweled Bedazzling, is an inspired exhibit of two different artistic interpretations of adornment.  Marianne’s watercolors portray women wearing Gretchen’s exotic jewelry, a new collection which was on display.  We will stage the show again so check our Events page for the next exhibit dates and venues.



Frida Kahlo photos at MOLAA

By suzi click on Monday, August 11th, 2014 in Reviews. No Comments

We attended a show of photographs of Frida Kahlo at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach recently.
Although we adore Frida Kahlo we were disappointed in the content and presentation of the show –
many very small black and white photos unimaginatively hung on plain white walls.
Frida was about color and pattern so we do not think it suited her.
However, Frida in any form is worth seeing and the the photos were an interesting insight into her life.

Frida is one of my personal style mentors and I love that she said “Dress everyday like it is a fiesta!”

She wore the peasant costumes and jewelry of her native Mexico with such flair
and definitely had her own unique spin on it.

I meet women all the time who love Frida like we do – she is a true style icon and great artist.