Barneys To Turn Window Dressing Into Dressing Room
With Daphne Guinness

Daphne-Guinness As we have said, for better or worse, there is no end to the surprises coming out of Barneys these days. The latest item is the announcement that socialite and fashion icon Daphne Guinness will be dressing for this year's Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Gala in Barneys' Windows.

It's a new twist to the time honored wager to take off one's clothes in Macy's windows, but Ms. Guinness does not appear to have lost any bets. It is part of a six week collaboration between the two called "Fashion as Art" which will reportedly include several performances and an installation featuring items from Guinness's own vast closets as well as some belonging to the late fashion figure Isabella Blow (whose entire wardrobe was posthumously purchased by Guinness).

Whether all this qualifies Daphne Guinness as a bona fide artist is open to what is certain to be a noisy debate, though many have considered her ever more elaborate style of dressing to be a form of performance art. It's worth noting that this Year's Costume Institute exhibition will focus on the late Alexander McQueen of whom Guinness was a major customer if not one of his biggest.

Set your calendars for a minor fashion media frenzy

Dressing in Barneys window (NYPost via Racked)


Sonia Delaunay Gets A Long Overdue Showcase At The Cooper-Hewitt

CooperHewittDelaunay-1 Designers love to talk about the mixture of Art and Fashion, but few, if any, have been able to straddle those worlds with the skill and integrity of Sonia Delaunay (pictured in 1925 at left, in her studio), a name that should be familiar to scholars of both disciplines. The Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum opens “Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay,” the first major American exhibition devoted to the artist in 30 years.

The Russian born Delaunay alternated painting and design throughout her life. She married artist Robert Delaunay in 1910, and most of her clothing design took place during the 1920s. The museum has a few precious examples of her fashion work on display including hats, bathing suits and a spectacular embroidered coat made for the actress Gloria Swanson (below, right). Such things are extremely rare and so the opportunity to see them in person is well worth the visit to the Cooper-Hewitt. As the show focuses mainly on her design work (it is at the Cooper-Hewitt, after all), it contains only one full oil painting, though it is a stunning one, but includes early design collaborations with poets Apollinaire and Tristan Tzara to name a few which gives you an idea of the kind of avant-garde circles the Delaunay's frequented. Interestingly, Delaunay never directly translated a painting to a textile design. She kept her disciplines discrete, but her colorful aesthetic naturally pervaded both efforts. Though she stopped making clothes CooperHewittDelaunay-Coat after 1929, and devoted herself to painting by the mid-30s, her textile designs continued through the support of Dutch department store Metz & Co. Much of the exhibition consists of these original designs, many of which remain familiar and popular today, and are shown from initial design sketches through variations to the final product. Never has a bunch of textile samples seemed so fascinating.

Delaunay has long been a inspiration for fashion designers over the years including Perry Ellis, Emanuel Ungaro and Yves Saint Laurent among many others, and her textile designs continue to be popular today. Most visitors will be struck by how, decades later, her work continues to look modern and fresh. One of the things The Shophound appreciated most, however, was the way CooperHewittDelaunay-swatch Delaunay managed to make that Art and Fashion connection seem so natural, especially when compared to some of the overhyped, heavily marketed collaborations we see today. Aside from a timely recognition of Delaunay's talent and contribution, the exhibition reminded us that great design often happens on a smaller, more personal scale, and when outside business comes in for support, it can happen without all of the corporate commodification we are so accustomed to now.

The exhibition runs through June 5th, and if it is not enough of a draw by itself, you can always make it a double header with the continuing Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition. If Jewels and Design aren't enough to get you up to the Cooper-Hewitt, then we aren't quite sure why you are reading this blog at all.

Color Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay through June 5th at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street at Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side

Click all images for a larger view in a new window


Hugo Boss Shows A Neighborhood Tribute

It's difficult to show in a photograph, but its worth taking a trip down to Hugo Boss's 14th Street boutique for a look at Béatrice Coron's intricately cut and painted Tyvek panels called "Hooks & Hookers", depicting the history and mythology of the Meatpacking District. Subjects include, according to the artist's website, "voyeurs, artists, decision makers, writers, readers, posers, lovers, shoppers, patrons, computer addicts, carnivores, party-goers, bikers, cyclists, New Yorkers and tourists. Among the scenes, there is a shepherd on the high line, a cow swims at the Gansevoort Hotel, an Egyptian cow is at the Standard Hotel, an angel is partying, and a Hugo Boss patron has a leashed piglet."

We can get behind pretty much any artwork with that point of view, which should be plenty entertaining to anyone who can remember the grittier days of the Meatpacking District. The artworks were listed as being on display through July 12th, but as of Monday, they were still there, so be sure to stop by on your way to pick up an iPhone.

Béatrice Coron (Official Site) at Hugo Boss, 410 West 14th Street between 9th & 10th Avenues, Meatpacking District

Pop-Up Report:

Ryantown At Earnest Sewn

British artist Rob Ryan has taken over the back room pop-up space at Earnest Sewn with a vast array of his signature stenciled artworks and textiles. Ryantown will be up through the end of May. Venture towards the far side of the rustic denim dealer, and you'll find a profusion of items ranging from the inevitable printed t-shirts to greeting cards, tote bags, painted tiles, pillows dishes and all sorts of other baubles and novelties. All are touched with what looks like vintage folk art patterns which, upon closer inspection, reveal poetic musings and inventive designs. It's one of the more charming pop-ups that Earnest Sewn has hosted, and definitely worth a visit for anyone in search of Mother's Day gifts.
Ryantown at Earnest Sewn through May 31st, 821 Washington Street between Gansevoort & Little West 12th Streets, Meatpacking District
Rob Ryan (Official Blog)

Costume Exhibition Du Jour:

FIT Pours On The Seduction

Halstonseduction If you haven't made it down to The Museum at FIT to see its outstanding exhibition, Gothic: Dark Glamour, then we strongly suggest you hurry on down there since it closes on February 21st. While you are there, be sure to stop into the museum's Fashion and
Textile History Gallery on the street level for Seduction: 250 Years of Sexuality in Fashion, a survey of what constituted alluring apparel over the last two and a half centuries.
While our contemporary culture has no shortage of sexy clothes and the people who wear them (hello, Pussycat Dolls), it's always interesting to see how in times past the hint of a waistline, fabric softly draped over the bosom and a slightly low cut shoe equated major flirtation.
The show is pulled entirely from FIT's treasure trove of an archives, and runs until June 16th which coincidentally is the day the museum's Isabel Toledo retrospective is scheduled to open.
Like all FIT's exhibitions, Seduction is free of charge, no small consideration these days.
Seduction: 250 Years of Sexuality in Fashion through June 16th 2009 at The Museum at FIT Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, closed Sundays & Mondays

Designer Tribute Department:

Louis Vuitton Revisits
Stephen Sprouse In January

If all goes as planned, January will be Stephen Sprouse month as the art, publishing and luxury worlds combine to pay tribute to the late designer. Sprousebook While lasting commercial success sadly eluded Sprouse, he has become an admired cult figure among the fashion crowd and especially with collectors who covet his increasingly rare original pieces.
Deitch Projects will open a Sprouse retrospective called "Rock On Mars" on Jan. 8 at its Wooster Street gallery and Rizzoli will publish "The Stephen Sprouse Book" shortly thereafter. Joining in the fun, and likely to garner the most attention, Louis Vuitton will be revisiting its 2001 collaboration with the designer with new versions of the graffiti monogram he designed as well as a signature day-glo rose motif that will adorn bags, shoes and a special capsule apparel collection that will all be available on January 9th.
Sprouse-marc-bazaarThe special collection was suggested by the gallery, and Vuitton will not be reissuing the original collaboration pieces, but offering new variations in a similar vein. “I tried to take what Stephen had done at Vuitton and then kind of flip it in my head, and make it Vuitton’s work for Stephen, not Stephen’s work for Vuitton,” creative director Marc Jacobs tells WWD, “I just felt it was a funny way to play with it, to pretend to be Sprouse for a bit, and use the work that he did, and then bring it back to the work that he did before I collaborated with him.” With Sprouse's heyday, the 1980's, an increasingly influential touchstone for the fashion world, a visit with the designer's colorful, rock-influenced aesthetic should be a welcome and timely distraction for our suddenly gloomy times.
To further promote the event, Jacobs has been photographed by Terry Richardson for Harper's Bazaar in his favorite outfit- nothing, of course- strategically carrying a Sprouse/Vuitton duffel, keeping the image publishable in a major national magazine.
Vuitton Brings Back Sprouse (WWD)
Marc Jacobs Exposes The Latest It Bag (Harper's Bazaar)

New York Nostalgia Moment: Keith Haring's 50th Birthday

Regular shoppers at the Bowery Whole Foods have been able to track the progress of a loving recreation of a Keith Haring mural at the corner of Bowery and Houston Street. Deitch Projects and the Keith Haring Foundation are sponsoring the artwork in honor of what would have been the artist's 50th birthday yesterday. Haring's appeal has proven to be remarkably durable since his untimely death nearly two decades ago, and his mural sized works mostly did not survive (although adventuresome art fans can find an original one preserved at a men's room in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center on West 13th Street too explicitly erotic to picture here). The cheery scene pictured above was originally created in 1982, but faded shortly afterwards.
For anyone looking for a more permanent souvenir, UNIQLO has a new batch of  tee shirts featuring Haring's designs specifically to commemorate the occasion while supplies last.
UNIQLO 546 Broadway between Prince & Spring Streets, SoHo

UNIQLO Goes Manga Mad

Today marks the debut of a feature we like to call Cell Phone Photo Show, otherwise known as "Our Camera Battery Died and the Other One is Charging". That would explain the somewhat substandard quality of the above photo, although the more we look at it, the more we like its increasingly abstract qualities.
We know that its barely a few weeks since our last UNIQLO post, but we are endlessly fascinated by the Japanese retailer despite the fact that they are always out of our size in the underwear that we like.
We are also fascinated by their UT tee shirts of which UNIQLO has just received a fresh shipment. Ths time there's an extra emphasis on Japanese manga art, and maybe we are still feeling the effects of yesterday's Takashi Murakami show, but we could have bought out the whole range. Somehow, it seems like a good time to wear a picture of a cartoon character whose cultural importance is completely obscure to us. So far, we haven't seen any of our favorite Astro Boy designs, but we usually pounce on those. To provide a proper setting, UNIQlO has cleverly covered parts of the store in manga cartoons. There was also a second helping of Keith Haring T-Shirt designs and more from Jean-Michel Basquiat, in a series apparently commemorating American artists of the 1980s who, sadly, met with early demises.
More pictures after the jump.

Continue reading "UNIQLO Goes Manga Mad" »

Murakami's Moment At The Brooklyn Museum

Now that we have all waded through the exhaustive coverage of the Louis Vuitton sponsored opening party for ©Murakami exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, anyone could be forgiven or thinking that the event was a great big Louis Vuitton boutique with a little art exhibition attached.
Lets get a few things out of the way. Those faux counterfeit vending carts we heard about were only set up for the opening party, so don't feel the urge to swing by the museum for a quick Vuitton fix. The much-talked-about Vuitton boutique inside the show is but a very tiny corner, and accessible only to those who have paid to visit the special exhibition. Murakami has called it "the heart" of the exhibition, and in many odd ways, it is. Interestingly, there is no sign or mention of the cashmere sweaters made in collaboration with French designer Lucien Pellat-Finet at around the same time as the handbag collaboration. Perhaps Vuitton as a sponsor banished all other designer labels from the premises.
Murakamiwallpaper There is, however, an entire exhibit to see aside from the merchandise, and it would be well worth visiting without a single handbag to purchase. We won't go into heavy detail about Takashi Murakami's work, but it is inspired in equal parts by traditional Japanese arts, manga and animé cartoons and commerce which all mix together to create a fascinating brew with meaning on many different levels for diverse audiences. It's an entertaining show, but if you care to look below the shiny surfaces, there are all sorts of hidden layers of meaning that can range from the humorous to the erotic to the downright disturbing. What seem like cute, animated children's cartoons reveal themselves to be about loss, war and isolation but also farting and pooping.
Like we said, there's a wide range there.
For those with no familiarity at all with Japanese pop culture, there are plenty of alarming aspects to the show, particularly its unique point of view regarding sexuality in many of the pieces. For that reason, despite the fact that the museum has special descriptions geared for young museumgoers, this may not be such a great show for kids. Much has been written about the large sculpture of a girl with streams of  milk emanating from her engorged breasts that create a jumprope. If that's not weird enough, few have mentioned her male companion who has made a lasso out of his own milky discharge. Together, they are enough to turn anyone into a stereotypical, giggling  Japanese schoolgirl, which is part of the point, but Mrdob might be difficult to explain to a young visitor.
Murakami has created (with his workshop, it must be noted) special pieces tailored specifically to the museum's interior including wall coverings in camouflage which, upon closer inspection,  is formed by overlapping skull shapes.
Overall, it's a fascinating show, and even a bit draining, but even if you are lured there by accessories, you will now be able to place those colorful logo-print bags into a much richer context.
©Murakami at the Brooklyn  Museum runs through July 13th

Louis Vuitton/Murakami Shop Confirmed for The Brooklyn Museum

Murakami1NewYorkology has all the official details of the temporary Louis Vuitton shop opening in conjunction with the © Murakami exhibiton opening at the Brooklyn Museum next month. The shop opening on April 5th will feature a selection of past designs from artist Takashi Murakami's previous collaboration with Vuitton as well as a new group of bags called Monogramouflage designed exclusively for the exhibition which launches on June 1st before rolling out to select Vuitton shops. The shop will also feature special signed editions of the Vuitton items costing no more than an arm and a leg, we are sure. Murakami calls the Vuitton shop "The heart of the exhibition" and we are not yet sure if it will be open to those not visiting the entire show.
In addition to the sure to be mobbed Vuitton shop, the museum will be offering it's own assortment of Murakami merchandise starting on April 4th including the Frazzled Kiki Stuffed Doll pictured for $35. While they are not exactly cheap, they are a far more affordable souvenir option than the handbags. The Museum Shop is now previewing it's selections online, and given the craze for all things Murakami, we expect that they will go fast.
Brooklyn confirms Vuitton/Murakami shop, exclusives (NewYorkology)
Brooklyn Museum Shop (©Murakami page)