Cars that go BOOM

USA // VIAJES

Nibbling the Big Apple VIII

At around 07:30 hrs, Stephen Korte, myself and his Dodge

It was such dreary and cold weather to begin the day. Walking down the street half frozen and half awake, I expected nothing to happen, at least not before the first triple vente whole milk latte at the first Starbucks. And then I heard, an unexpected hip-hop beat in the far distance. At 07:30 hrs in the morning?

As I walked, the street beat got louder and louder. It was catchy. So catchy, I began to walk to the beat of the music, not caring if the DKNY black patent coat looked displaced in the hip hop genre. Perhaps it was a club that forgot to turn down their music from the previous night?

New York by Horse

USA // VIAJES

Nibbling the Big Apple VII

At New York’s poshest address, where 5th Ave meets Central Park South, you are invited to take a 19th century horse carriage ride through Central Park.

These horse carriages, which define New York City as much as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, can be found parked along the oval roundabout almost directly in front of the toy store FAO Schwartz.

The city sight at this particular spot where the skyscrapers tip the doorstep of nature, is fantastic! Standing with hands outstretched where the horse carriages are parked, you can almost touch with your fingertips, Trump Tower, FAO Schwartz, Cartier, Saks 5th Ave, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

The Empire State Building and Macy’s

USA // VIAJES

Nibbling the Big Apple VI

Empire State building from the corner of Broadway and 34th west street

It’s easy to slide between fantasy and reality when walking around in New York. The city has featured in so many movies that you begin to recognize places you’ve never actually visited in real life, places that render you a feeling of déjà vu, when really, it isn’t.

Prada along 5th Ave, New York

Moda // USA // VIAJES

Nibbling the Big Apple V

A pair of Prada boots from their Runway, RTW S/S 2008 collection.

I couldn’t help but bound into Prada along 5th Ave after spotting it from across the street. Their Spring 2008 collection on the Runway seemed interestingly creative this time around, with inspirations from the 60s and 70s, woven into swirls of fairy mystic. The cut out boots I was trying on in the picture above, are quintessential in exhibiting the spirit Prada in Spring 2008. It’s also one of the more wearable of shoes and boots this season from Prada, without looking too much of a fruit cake.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

USA // VIAJES

Nibbling the Big Apple IV

The Statue of Liberty, New York, May 2008. An appropriate and symbolic view. This is the view you will have at the exact moment you are told that your ticket does not include a visit to the monument itself, i.e. this is as close as you’ll get. Tickets for checking out if the X-men actually could have had that final fight inside the monument needs to be booked at least two days in advance.

A stay in New York is not complete without a visit to the Statue of Liberty, with a visit to the former immigrant facility office at Ellis Island included. Tickets can be bought at Clinton Fort, Battery Park, at the south western part of the Manhattan Island, just a few blocks away from “ground zero” where the WTC Twin Towers once stood.

Staying at The Roosevelt, New York

USA // VIAJES

Nibbling the Big Apple II

An official picture from The Roosevelt Hotel, showing the hotel lobby.
The picture, from their Internet web site.

The Roosevelt is a good place to stay close to the middle of what many may want out of a short stay in New York. Located at Madison and 45th, it’s a stone’s throw from the Broadway theaters, merely three blocks from the Times Square and just around the corner is the Grand Central Station with its old fashioned Oyster Bar Restaurant in the basement. With 5th Ave not too far away more or less “everything” is within reach, by a few short cab hops.

Fashion: an expression of Hegelian geist

VISUAL SEMIOTICS

Oyster Dress by Alexander McQueen for S/S 2003. Ivory silk chiffon and silk organza.

I’ve been revisiting Adressing Fashion by the Metropolitcan Museum of Art (the avatar to the left will bring you to the MM’s website) and have picked out my favourite pieces from the their exhibition, to write about in this post. This is a subconscious streaming of thoughts, as it were, back on my favourite ponder on fashion, its connection to language, inspiration, geist and towards an understanding of a people.

My favourite pieces from this exhibit were the ones with a fuller silhouette, with soft flowing volume; their diaphanous design and characteristic, bordering on the ethereal. Even the ash grey of Theyskens piece below, with tones of grey darker than that of Badgley Mischka’s on Sarah J. Parker didn’t pull down my spirits or enthusiasm for the dress.

Evening dress by Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci, S/S 2007 in steel grey crinkled silk organza.

I’ve always thought fashion and personal style as a broad language of sorts. Looking at how the various designers expressed themselves in their pieces and how clothing changed with the times, the pieces in this exhibition called to mind Lars Svendsen’s philosophical take on fashion in his book, Fashion: a Philosophy. Svendsen (2006:64ff) didn’t quite agree with Lurie (1983) when she wrote that clothing was language. He was rather more convinced of Barthe’s (1967) theorizing on fashion as a system, paralleling that of Saussure’s signifier and the signified. I haven’t as yet read Lurie’s (1983) work but in light of Kress and van Leeuwen’s (1996) work on The Grammar of Visual Design, perhaps a more concrete theory on the grammar of clothing isn’t too far away?

As fashion today is so diffused in culture, the grammar of clothing and thus clothing as a concrete language is difficult to assume diachronically. Fashion is studied diachronically, most of the time with regards to their transformation, perhaps as a commentary on the life and times of the people, “an immediate expression of our zeitgeist” as the Met Museum has it. What for example, could have expressed a certain meaning for a sub-culture, is today more diffused. High heels in the late-1800s associated with street walkers for example, are today standard office wear for most women. And most people today would gawk at the thought of one equating wearing high heels solely with prostitution purposes (which tangently reminds me in this instant, of the song Free Your Mind, by En Vogue).

For Halliday (1994, and almost all works from the 1960s ff), the system of language and meaning making is a conscious choice of words, people choose what they want to say it and how to say it, to fit the context. I think that point of view can be broadly associated with the fashion system. The fashion system, in designing and building up a wardrobe within one’s limits and means, is also a choice. It is a choice of textiles, textures, cut, silhouette, colour, function etc. Synchronically, perhaps fashion is an expression of personal spirit, as defined closest to Hegel’s geist.

Madame Grès (French, 1903–1993). A hand-pleated silk jersey dress by Grés herself, from 1971.

The work of Madame Grés (1903-1993) was part of this exhibition and she is to me, the epitome of self-expression in clothing design and manufacture. A tragic biography to behold, Grés reached the peaks and depths of the fashion industry. A legend already in her time with a Golden Thimble award in 1976, she passed on without word and in poverty in 1993.

Madame Grès silk jersey draped evening gown, c.1945. Picture from Vintage Textile.

Grés was a sculptress at heart and in training. In her 50 years or so as atelier, her designs shifted not with the raveling fashion trends of the time, but towards a concretion of a greater sense of personal style, personal achievement and perfection of her technique.

In light of Grés, I see many out there who use fashion as an immediate expression of personal style and spirit. From designers such as Westwood, McQueen and Galliano to individuals on the street who use current trends to their own understanding and purposes. Even those who are uncomfortable with being ‘fashionable’ haven’t missed a beat, as Stella Blum has observed,

Fashion is so close in revealing a person’s inner feelings and everybody seems to hate to lay claim to vanity so people tend to push it away. It’s really too close to the quick of the soul.

And so it goes that to understand a person or a people’s history, in addition to the study of events, language, culture and architecture, one would do well to include a study of the people’s sense of style, their choice of clothing for a particular era or period of time in order to understand their history, their lifestyle. Perhaps likewise in getting to know an individual.

Adressing Fashion in blog format is now closed, and I hope the Met Museum will have more of such showing formats in future, since it allows for an international audience to view and comment on the pieces on exhibit.

References

  • Barthes, Roland, 1967. The Fashion System. Translated by Matthew Ward and Richard Howard. Published again in 1983 and 1990. New York: Hill and Wang.
  • Halliday, M.A.K, 1994. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold.
  • Kress, Gunther and van Leeuwen, Theo, 1996. Reading Images: the grammar of visual design. London, New York: Routledge.
  • Lurie, Alison, 1983. The Language of Clothes. New York: Vintage Books.
  • Svendsen, Lars, 2006. Fashion: a philosophy. Translated by John Irons. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

May 7th, 2008

Louis Vuitton Monogram Glacé porte-billets monnaie zippé, Grizzly

LOUIS VUITTON // Moda

Louis Vuitton monogram glacé

Louis Vuitton Monogram Glacé porte-billets monnaie zippé in Grizzly.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Depending on what you’re looking for in design, this porte-billets monnaie zippé / wallet in collectible Glacé monogram holds bills, change and credit cards – zipped in. So why not that lipstick too between its covers if it fits?

Louis Vuitton monogram glacé
Louis Vuitton Monogram Glacé Grizzly

The colour is Grizzly or a rich dark chocolate brown that under certain light would look a sophisticated matte black. Embossed and soft to the touch, the glacé leather oozes understated luxe.

Measuring a 11×11 cm, it might not sit well in the back pocket of any pair of cigarette jeans but personally, I’m loving the feel of this wallet in the hand and in the bag. It comes from Vuitton’s men’s line for small leather goods, now no longer in production.

This Grizzly is for keeps, as far as androgynous goes.

The Porte-billets monnaie zippé wallet in Glacé monogram features:

  • Monogram Glacé embossed leather
  • Zipper closure
  • Silver grommet pieces, stamped with Louis Vuitton
  • A snap closure inside coin pocket
  • 3 credit card slots
  • Measures 4.5″ x 4.5″ or 11 cm x 11 cm
  • Datecode: CA1014
  • Product code: M66510

May 4th, 2008

Saturday inspiration: Lynda Carter

People

Lynda Carter

I think most people would remember Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman when the TV series aired for 3 years during the 1970s.

When I was a child, I think I made sure to have watched Wonder Woman regularly, nevermind if her character was boring and not as comprehensively depicted as perhaps that of Batman or Superman. I remember I liked most everything about Wonder Woman, from her tiara, her big hair, to her red, blue and gold colour scheme in her superhero costume. I think I dreamt I might grow up to become Wonder Woman one day. Well, today, I know I can, at costume parties.

Dinner onboard the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg III

Culīnaria // Life // SWEDEN // VIAJES

“You’ll be dinin’ with the captain.” – Pintel to Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) But unlike that scenario, I wasn’t disinclined to acquiesce to the Captain’s request.

Just noticed in DN that Gotheborg III was now visiting Stockholm. The reconstructed 18th century Swedish sailing Ship Götheborg III has made its trip to Canton in China, and back. It was time now to hold a final Board of Directors meeting to close the books on the entire adventure of building the replica ship and its sail to China and back. On the agenda was also the ship’s future adventures. Her upcoming Baltic Sea Tour 2008 looks to be enough of a challenge to keep even the most hard core sailing enthusiasts happy, but even so, it sounds a breeze and a walk in the park compared to the high sea sailing to China.

After the meeting, it was dinner onboard the East Indiaman Götheborg III.