Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer On The Run

I can relate to the girl on the go in the amazing Elmer Batters photograph above. Over the last few months, I have been absolutely mad trying to prepare for a gallery exhibition while still venturing out on my almost daily hunts for all things beautiful and fabulous. I have been wearing many hats, both figuratively and literally.

My art making process and my vintage hunting and gathering process have many similarities. The art making process begins with a concept and then a pursuit resulting in an often frenetic gathering of images and materials. My eyes are trained like an aesthetic athlete to sort out the rubbish, to know when, where, what and why. When hunting for vintage pieces, I must be able to instantly size up whether I can see it being worn by a fantastically chic individual, and I must stress the word individual.

Below is a wonderful summer photo of Grace Kelly about to set sail, at least, in her imagination.

My art has taken me all over the world and given me a chance to peruse insane, labyrinthine flea markets where I have found countless treasures, some too genius to share, like in France, where I found my beloved original Paco Rabanne chain link bag, or in Holland, where I found a divine and perfectly cut leather jacket that I wore until the lining began to disintegrate into a long, black fringe that would trail behind me like a gothic pirate or an urchin in a Dickens novel. At my favorite flea market in Berlin, rusty dental tools share company with unbeatable Soviet movie posters and stacks of black and white photos of questionable characters in unsavory situations, often in uniform.

Below are a few gorgeous photos of the Austrian actress Romy Schneider.

I love this photo of Romy Schneider looking sexy and happy, caught in the paparazzi's flash.

I am the first to admit that I have never been the summery type. I am much more suited for drizzly days that cast silvery shadows on wet cobblestone streets, the type of weather that begs for velvet and greatcoats. Born in the wrong era, a constant refrain...

The summer does bring me a few sublime delights, such as the first bloom of my rare Oriental lilies. Their color, saturated and sublime, like fire roasted peaches in Champagne.

This summer, New York City is awash with superb art and fashion exhibitions. "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of fashion and the direct role art plays as an inspiration for a designer. My love of Elsa Schiaparelli's designs is well known, and this is a perfect and unprecedented opportunity to see into the grand dame of the surreal's wonderfully twisted mind. The exhibition runs through August 19th.

At the Whitney Museum, Yayoi Kusama wraps you in walls of "Infinity Nets" and dazzles with unbridled obsession, sometimes magical and sometimes frightening, but always genuine and inspiring. This exhibition runs through September 30th.

Below is a photo of a free spirited mother and child that reminds me of my earliest summer memories.

Summers in California were dry and smelled of wildflowers. Color abounded on the summer frocks girls would wear with wild hair and beachy tans and on children's faces with the designs of flowers and clowns painted on flushed cheeks by hippie chicks with braids and macrame bags.

I have an affinity for the psychedelic. I love bold patterns that have a hallucinatory kaleidoscopic effect. I am happy to see girls today embracing wild psychedelic maxi-dresses this summer. It looks so fresh and easy, but still dressed up. I love the pairing of wild patterns and ethnic jewelry topped off with the perfect floppy hat.

Summer in the city is all about garden parties held under lantern strung trees. These festive settings are the perfect occasion for dressing up. I prefer an exotic look, maybe wispy chiffon in the deepest emerald green paired with an armful of 1960s jeweled bangles, wild and gorgeous clamper bracelets with glittering, snarling animal faces, or Chinese silk pajamas worn with a coolie's hat and golden Moroccan slippers, what could be more chic?

Below is a beautiful 1920s photo of the Brooklyn born and bred vaudevillian actress Lilyan Tashman, fully embracing the Chinoiserie glamour I adore, perhaps she even graced a garden party right here in Brooklyn.

Keeping cool as temperatures rise is priority number one and everyone knows that the best way may just be a proper cocktail. This summer, we are spicing up the mix and then throwing it on ice in a concoction that we have created in honor of the best of summer fashion that we call "The Psychedelic Sizzler".

Cocktail Of The Week: "The Psychedelic Sizzler"

serves four


4oz silver tequila
3oz pulpless orange juice
4tsp sugar
1c fresh raspberries, rinsed
1tsp sriracha
3oz chilled champagne
shaved ice


in a blender, blend tequila, sugar and raspberries until smooth.
pour mixture through a fine sieve into a glass bowl
in a cocktail shaker, combine orange juice and sriracha, shake well
add champagne to orange juice and sriracha mixture
in four champagne flutes, divide champagne/orange/sriracha blend equally between glasses
to each flute, add shaved ice to about 3/4" below rim of glass
spoon raspberry tequila mixture over shaved ice equally between the glasses


In closing, we have one of my favorite Japanese jazz bands - Soil & "Pimp" Sessions - with their classic song "Summer Goddess".