Wednesday, September 2, 2015

China: Through the Looking Glass at The Met,
Part 2 -- Qipao Inspired

This is the Qipao [cheongsam] Inspired section seen in the Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Metropolitan Museum.
Taking photographs was difficult with all the reflections and crowds of viewers, so I pulled out my sketchbook.
Sketches, left to right:
Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, spring/summer 2011. Black silk duchasse satin embroidered with tassels. [see on Met's Pinterest]
Floral chiffon qipao over a black slip. circa 1920s-30s (not in catalogue)
Brown cut velvet qipao, circa 1920s-30s (not in catalogue)
Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurant, fall/winter 2004/5, Silk satin embroidered with sequins.
Qipaos worn by Hu Die (Butterfly Wu) circa 1920s-30s (not in catalogue)
Brown cut velvet qipao, circa 1920s-30s (not in catalogue)
Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurant, fall/winter 2004/5, Silk satin embroidered with sequins.
Left to right:
John Galliano for Dior, autumn/winter 1997/98, Silk jacquard embroidered with beads [see on Met's Pinterest]
John Galliano for Dior, autumn/winter 1997/98, Silk jacquard embroidered with beads 
Jean Paul Gautier, autumn/winter 2001/2, Lacquered silk satin and embroidered silk tulle
Tomorrow, I'll feature the Manchu Robe Inspired section of the exhibition, both with my sketches and photos.

Note: I relied on the exhibition catalogue China: Through the Looking Glass and The Met's website for information, especially for details about the garments. Selected Images from the catalogue can be viewed on The Met's Pinterest board.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

China: Through the Looking Glass at The Met,
Part 1 -- The People's Republic

The fantastic exhibition "China Through the Looking Glass" at The Metropolitan Museum in NYC closes on September 7th. I saw it when I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to work out how to present my findings. It's a very impressive array of fashion, art, and Chinese artifacts, scattered through multiple levels and galleries of the museum, including the Egyptian Galleries, the Chinese Galleries, and the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It is a multi-media extravaganza with garments (couture, costumes, and antique Chinese), thematically related art pieces from the Met's vast collection, and movie clips curated by director Wong Kar Wei.

One is lead to the portal tucked away amidst the Egyptian Galleries (Gallery #132, very hard to find).
This first section references the era of The People's Republic of China.
Inspired by Mao left to right:
Vivienne Tam, Dress, spring/summer 1995, Polychrome printed nylon mesh
Any Warhol, [12 versions] Mao, Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, each 12 x 10", 1973 [?]
Vivienne Tam, "Mao Suit", spring/summer 1995, silk jacquard
Unidentified Artist (Chinese, active 1960s), retouched by Chen Shilin, Chairman Mao, Gelatin silver print, 12 x 9.75", 1964
My blurry photos don't do these garments justice --
at that point I didn't realize the "no photography" edict was not being enforced.
Vivienne Westwood, Ensemble, spring/summer 2012, cotton poplin
John Galliano for Dior, Ensemble, spring/summer 1999
 Jacket: silk shantung with red piping and gold metallic frogging, Skirt: silk jacquard
After this gallery, one is then lead to the lower level Anna Wintour Costume Center.
Once there, I pulled out my sketchbook, to help examine garment silhouette and construction.
I took photos as well, though I have found that sketching really helps one focus on what one is observing when it comes to garments. I guess it's the great training that I had at Otis, where Jack Handford, our History of Fashion instructor, insisted that we sketch during his slide presentations.

Tomorrow, I'll feature the Quipao Inspired section of the exhibition, both with my sketches and photos.

Note: I relied on the exhibition catalogue China: Through the Looking Glass and The Met's website for information, especially the details on the art and garments. Selected Images from the catalogue can be viewed on The Met's Pinterest board.

Monday, August 31, 2015

iSpy Product Review: the Wrapurse Handbag Protector

"What's living on the bottom of your purse?"
This provocative question opens the splash page of Cyndie Heap's website for her invention, the Wrapurse.
She goes on to say, "I’m a single mom of two very active and athletic boys. I’ve sat on bleachers, benches and fields cheering on my kids’ teams. Generally I have my purse with me. I won’t leave it in the car, but who wants to hold it in their lap the entire time? So…I put it down. Right on the bleacher...
Later that day, I found a sticky, dirty, chewed-up piece of bubble gum stuck to the bottom of my Coach bag. I was so mad. As I tried to scrape it off, I started thinking…I could see the gum…what else was on there that I COULDN’T SEE??? After ruining several expensive bags with mud, rust and unknown sticky gooey stuff stuck to the bottom­–not to mention all those gross germs–I thought, “There has to be something to protect my beloved bag???”
Right???
WRONG. With that, Wrapurse was born."

I thought this was a very interesting concept and asked for a sample to give it a try.
The wrapurse arrived nicely wrapped in tissue.
Cyndie sent me a black Medium 5 x 19" one. It came in a compact 4.5 x 5.5" pouch with a snap closure.
I don't own any high-end purses, but that doesn't mean I'm not concerned about where I'm setting down the ones that I have! 
I first tried the Wrapurse on my sparkly black soft bag:
It was a little bit large (the base of my bag is 4 x 10") and I tucked the poking out ends into an inverted pleat. I then looked for a gross environment to place it in, and went to our sad desiccated back yard which is a bunch of dirt with a few resilient weeds.
The purse stayed clean!

Next, I tried my "tape measure" bag from G.O.D., Hong Kong
(Base is 5 x 6")
I tried to get Lou interested, but he would have none of it.
He thought the catnip stash in the closet was WAY more compelling.

I should have left the Wrapurse on the bag -- later on, Severo and I went out to hear some favorite bands play at Molly Malone's. I could have used it for my butt! I sat down on the carpeted bench seating ringing the club. Drinks had been spilled so it was all wet (and it was too dark to tell beforehand). Gross!

Cyndie is currently running an Indiegogo campaign [until 9/9/2015] to help raise production funds.
Go check it out and make a pledge -- I did!
Wrapurses can also be ordered on the website, for instant gratification.
They come in black [midnight], chestnut, or merlot, in a variety of sizes, and retail for $17-$23 depending upon size.

Full disclosure: I was sent a free Wrapurse for review. 
All verbiage is mine (except for the italicized quotes at top), not vetted by Wrapurse.