Saturday, October 29, 2005

- Rara Avis (meaning rare bird) is the title of this fabulous exhibition (until January 22nd) at The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A selection of the stylish, taste-making octogenarian, Iris Barrel Apfel's collection. An American original in the truest sense, she is one of the most vivacious personalities in the worlds of fashion, textiles, and interior design and has cultivated a personal style, starting with her owlish "trademark" round eye glasses a la Groucho Marx. Her style is both witty and extravagant and it's originality is typically revealed in her mixing of high and low fashion: Dior haute couture (designed by Gianfranco Ferre) with flea market finds or Dolce & Gabbana striped leather trousers with a Zuni belt. Her wildly eccentric tastes in clothing and accessories project a boldly graphic modernity, which I can truly relate to.
And, while you are at the museum you must also see the remarkable exhibition of Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings (until December 31st)."Drawing is the root of everything." van Gogh wrote to his brother and though at first I found the drawings rather gloomy and conventional, as I went from room to room, it was not until the early 1888's (two years before his suicide) that the van Gogh we know of emerges. The first sign is in Three Cottages: Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (1888), reed pen, brush and ink graphite "The energy that had charged his stroke became channeled in blunt swipes of the brush. The bold contrast of black and white were recreated in clashing hues." reads the caption. Is it partially thanks to the reeds plucked from marshes and sharpened with a knife that Vincent developed his style? I give this exhibition a five star rating - a must!
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