May 25, 2011 § 8 Comments
After returning from spending a fabulous and very busy week in New York, and making two trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am finally able to find the energy to muse over my adventure, and what an adventure it was. I’ll start with the McQueen bits, and come around to the other bits later.
The first McQueen stop was the boutique in the Meatpacking district. Ramon was too intimidated to go in, but my sister went in with me, and ogled with her eyes, while I groped with my paws.
The second McQueen stop, though, not known at the time, was MOOD on 37th, between 7th and 8th, right around the corner from Parsons, the New School where they film a little show you may have heard about. Three floors of heaven, I quickly became overwhelmed, but stayed for another 45 minutes, my mind, and heart racing. I learned that they still had a few yards of Alexander McQueen silk charmeuse, one of the ones that was out at MOOD in Los Angeles when I went last year. My sister once told me the story of a friend of hers, who went into a two-story Target and found herself, who knows how many hours later, walking around the second floor with a cart full of items. Having no recollection of what the items were, why she had them, or why she needed them, she called her husband for help. His response? “Just back away from the cart … ” I was having one of those moments at Mood. I had to make a trip on Friday to actually purchase fabric. I did buy the McQueen fabric. I think that should go without saying.
And next there was The Met. Closed on Monday, we opted out on Tuesday, as we got off to a late start by trying to get up early, walking 2 miles to Bouchon Bakery for known good coffee—terribly hard to find.
We inadvertently wound up sitting right outside the filming for the Today Show. We walked the two miles back in the rain, then feeling a bit under the weather, needing a nap, we decided to wait on The Met, as it was already noon, and heading off to the New York Public Library—OMG, fucking amazing artifacts on display here—and so Ramon and I went to The Met first thing on Wednesday morning, not long after it opened, before the throngs of locals and tourists would be flooding the gates to avoid the sheeting rain later in the afternoon.
Before the rain, and the crowds, with my Audio Tour in hand/over ear—best $7 spent on the entire trip, other than the admission to the museum—I spent about 3 hours in the exhibit, taking my time in front of each and every piece, sketching, staring, and listening. So many things to think about and so many things learned. Tid-bits and interesting facts interspersed throughout, but in such a way that by the end you actually feel like you could have known him. As if he was the one holding your hand, walking you down the garden path the entire time, and the things you didn’t know you were just too blind to see, because it all became so clear, it is all right in front of you.
Even though I saw countless others taking pictures the entire time, I did my best to remain respectful, but I do shamefully admit that I snapped one—very bad—iPhone picture at the very end of the Gallery. Because my picture really shows, well, nothing, I feel I am not hurting The Met or the Savage Beauty exhibit by posting it, especially because my entire post is so pro go-to-nyc-to-see-this-exhibit-RIGHT-NOW-as-it-is-quite-possibly-the-most-amazing-work-of-modern-art-that-will-be-on-view-to-the-public-for-decades-to-come.
I feel like I am seeing much more of the big picture, which really means that I am asking a lot more questions. I have always looked at McQueen as an artist, who’s medium was garments and fashion, but I now understand that this is much, much deeper than I initially believed. Part of me wonders if he even wanted to create “fashion” at all—fashion that participates in style as opposed to a message, a deeper meaning, something personal, political, loved or feared. I have even started thinking a lot more about other designers, and their goals, as well. McQueen’s work was so personal, and imbued with stories and messages. While at The Met and also at the boutique I read that McQueen wanted the women who wore his garments to feel powerful, a thought from him that I truly feel when I wear something that he created, and often opt for those garments when I need to courage or the power on that particular day. Throughout the exhibit I also heard and read that he didn’t have a specific muse for any of his collections, rather that he imagined powerful women during a time period, but not one woman specifically. Which makes me honestly doubt that he was ever designing for a “specific market,” but creating stories through garments and presentation that women wanted to adopt into their own world as extensions of themselves.
On the way back out airline had Satellite TV, and I started watching a show about a Norwegian base jumper, Karina Hollekim. Fascinating individual, extremely unique personality. An only child with a difficult childhood—a father who didn’t want children, and a mother with a brain injury—she spent all of her free time raising her adrenaline. After thousands of jumps, in 2006 she experienced a parachute failure during a standard skydive, and hit the ground at over 100 km/h. Not only did she survive, but defied the doctors when they said she’d never walk again. In the an interview she says, “It’s ironic how I’ve spent decades of my life trying to be someone special, and now, suddenly, all I want is to be normal.”
I honestly feel like I can say I share some of this feeling, that I have always wanted to be someone special. Going to New York, The Met, and seeing McQueen’s work, I realize that he was a very unique, special breed, and maybe he even shared this feeling. Haunted by his own character, living and breathing only for his work, utterly talented in his craft, and an amazing storyteller, we all know that he was his own demise. And so, maybe it is ok to be “normal,” but this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try like hell to be my best. Who knows the stories in my mind yet untold.
Last year, about this time, someone asked me what I wanted to do with my career and also my life. I remember responding, though I spoke without thinking. My own voice sounded otherworldly as it came from a place of truth, but still unknown to me, “I want to tell interesting stories.”
I will end with one final thought: To anyone thinking of going, spend the thousands of dollars it will cost, take out a loan if you have to, this museum special exhibition has changed my life, forever.
December 15, 2010 § 7 Comments
There were a few who took my fabric lust a little too lightheartedly, clearly not seeing the depth and gravity of the problem. However, one of you, my friend Jenson, got it, and offered a trip down to LA, as he had a press product launch to attend on the afternoon of December 14th, in Irvine.
Having made a number of glutten free sandwiches, acquired a case of water, apples and two bags of kettle chips, Jenson and I were in the car and driving by 6 am yesterday. My lead-foot worked to our advantage so that even with 4 bathroom stops—I drank a lot of coffee, then a lot of water—we pulled into Mood Fabric’s Beverly Hills parking lot at a squeak after 11.
Oh great holy ground. I found you.
There they were, hanging from the ceiling. The store owner was there, and quickly pointed me in the direction of the McQueen silk charmeuse bolts. Amazingly beautiful, bold, intricate and, well, striking, I slowly pulled the price tag out of the round bolt. Expecting the DVF silk prices that I’d previously witnessed at Britex of $350 + a yard, I almost fell over when I read $50/yard. Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
They had very little McQueen left, but I did find another digitally printed silk charmeuse animal print that I felt like I couldn’t live without. Wondering through the isles, Mood has more selection than any fabric store I have ever been to before, even despite it’s small size. Upon discovering the Wool Wall, I almost peed my pants. Want pinstriped wool? Well, name the color of the wool, color of the pinstripe, thickness of the pinstripe, width between the pinstripes, and they have it, and here is the best yard, it’s just about all between $18–25/yard. Wait, what?? Really? You can’t even buy a wool remnant at Britex for less than $100/yard. And it just goes on, and on, and on …
After a phone call to my mother, concerned I was going to spend too much money—”Well, what did you go down there for, again? And, you haven’t been spending any money on anything just in the hopes of buying one yard of one thing down there. 800 mile trip … just buy the fabric”— I was all lined up to buy two yards of two McQueen prints, only to discover that there was only 1 1/2 yards of one of them, and other than the 1 1/2 yards hanging from the ceiling, that was it. Micha, the very patient gal that was helping me gave me all 3 yards for the price of two.I figure it is enough to working with other fabrics or leathers to make something seriously amazing. Micha told me that the FIDM students that had scheduled to come in that afternoon would be “literally crying” when the realized that I bought the last of their fabric. Sorry, but know it went to a good place!
All three of these prints are large prints, and were shot over a tabletop.
3 1/2 yards (for the price of two)
1 1/2 yards (Not McQueen. It was in the Cavalli bin, but I am not positive it is Cavalli)
I thought about getting some wool for some of the projects, but decided that that should be another trip where I can spend more time, and know a little bit more about what I am doing regarding tailoring. So, I was reasonable and stuck to what I drove down there for.
After heading over to Irvine for the most disappointing product launch I’ve ever witnessed at Fox Head, Shift, we got back on the road, and feeling a little bonkers we got back home at 11:30. Totally worth the trip, and I can’t wait to do it again. Biggest fabric selection I have ever seen, everything is high quality, and a quarter of the price I can get similar items up here. So organized, everything is clean, has a home, and is somehow easy so see. No searching for a needle in a haystack. Great staff, super helpful, and as I mentioned, patient. I love you Mood. I love you.
Miles travelled: 786
Total Hours: 19
Glutten Free Sandwiches Eaten: 3
I5 Bathroom stops: 6
Fabric Acquired: Priceless!