Art of the Table, 2015

For the 5th straight autumn as the temperatures start to dip and the design events begin to heat up after summer vacations, Art of the Table has become quite popular on the design calendar.  Bilotta Kitchens invites talented designers to take over one of their kitchen vignettes in the New York showroom.  They add their aesthetic voices and personal touches to make our date with a plate all the more magical.  Prouna, fine bone china founded by 2 sisters with a passion for exquisite design, was used in each of the settings, enhancing each designer's vision with their shared attempt at bringing attention to the smallest details that are functional as well as beautiful.  Many of the place settings are set with crystals and hand painted 24 carat gold .

Glen Gissler ~

Tim Buttom of Stedila Designs ~

Patrick Hamilton ~

Jen Going Interiors ~

Byron C. James- Rodriques ~

It's amazing to go back year after year and see the same kitchens completely transformed in the hands of different designers.

Fashion Is Art

The Christopher Guy Showroom hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the collaboration with Christopher and Dame Zandra Rhodes.  Fashion is Art showcased a limited edition series of canvases inspired by Dame Zandra's textiles.  Zandra, with her bright pink hair and over the top persona, has really been a force in the fashion industry for decades.  The "Princess of Punk" as she was coined in the 70's, was on the forefront of the International fashion scene and a huge presence in London.

 "Button Flower" is an iconic Zandra Rhodes print.  Inspiration hit from a button store and by a collection from Yves St. Laurent.  She put an added twist on that by adapting the buttons and petals into a bold Matisse like pattern that looks stitched onto the background fabric.

Zandra's mother was a fitter for the House of Worth, so she adopted a love and deep understanding of textiles from a young age.  Her designs were considered too outrageous for a traditional Brit, so she struck out on her own, opening her own shop.  Zandra was following her dreams while staying true to her unique look.  Soon after she was discovered by Diana Vreeland in America.  Vogue came calling.  She has dressed royalty, celebrities, and costumes for operas,  

Her original printed textiles with their feminine themes, bold patterns, and use of unique color combinations make her a stand out.  Christopher thought they would make the perfect subject matter for wall art and his showroom the perfect backdrop to accentuate the art and designs.

"Lips and Nails" was created in the late 60's.  Inspired by a Christian Dior make up advertisement, the painting has a pop art feel and was featured in Vogue.

"Gallardia Daisies" is part of Zandra's sketchbook collection.  The flowers are bold, but the overall look is feminine.

It was really interesting hearing Zandra's stories.  We were enthralled ~ She has dressed everyone from Princess Diana to Debby Harry, Freddie Mercury to SJP in Sex and the City.  She designs costumes for the opera and inspires a new generation of creatives.

The evening was moderated by supermodel Pat Cleveland, above and below, also a Diana Vreeland protegé.

ph:Cedric Buchet 

Her vintage textiles are considered highly collectable and her clothing is in a touring exhibit.  "Zandra Rhodes: A Lifelong Affair with Textiles" has been exhibited in museums across the globe.

Timelessness of Blue and White Porcelain

I am so glad I had the opportunity to see the Met's "CHINA: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit before it closed, a joint collaboration between the Costume Institute and the Asian Art Department within the museum.  I hadn't heard much about this show, but am so glad I stopped in before the show was about to end its months long run because I thought it was truly awe inspiring!   The purpose of the show, stylistically speaking, was to show how modern Eastern fashion juxtaposed with Western traditional costumes and decorative art is turned on its head with an Alice in Wonderland feeling.  The show's intent was to recognize the cultural history of the past and present a new appreciation for Orientalism in the present.  The visual conversation between the West and the East creates a dynamic cross cultural, inspirational journey with stunning results.

It is hard to interpret exactly what you are seeing in these pictures.  There were many vignettes of a contemporary dress designed by a well known designer juxtaposed with a large convex mirror in the center (similar to the one Alice crawls through in her home that transports her to an alternate universe.)  Hanging beside that is an exquisitely beautiful, traditional, antique, embroidered silk robe.

Couture designers such as McQueen, Rodarte, Galliano for Dior, and Roberto Cavalli created fashions inspired by the timeless, signature porcelain from the Yuan Dynasty.  I was wowed by the fashion, but I walked away with a renewed love of blue and white porcelain.

A woman's warrior dress made of blue and white pottery taken from the Qing archeological dig called "The Weight of the Millennium" by Li Xiaofeng was a showstopper among many.  The back and forth conversation between periods, places, artists, and media speak of the inspiration each has in a globalized world where cultures collide.

Art imitates life.  Included in the exhibit was James Whistler's Purple and Rose, The Lange Leizen of the Six Marks, 1864, on loan from The Philadelphia Museum of Art  ~

Lange Leizen, which is the Dutch term for "Long Ladies," is the name applied to blue-and-white Chinese porcelain decorated with images of slender women. Whistler's interest in East Asian art can be seen here in the accessories surrounding the model, many of which are based on his own art collection.

The story of blue and white chinoiserie porcelain encapsulates centuries of cultural exchange between the East and West.  It was created in the Jingdezhen region during the Yaun Dynasty (1271-1368) and was exported to Europe and beyond.  As its popularity increased, potters, inspired by the look, put their own regional spins on the porcelain: think Delft, Meissen, Minton

From the 15th century through today, in any form, it always works.  It always feels fresh.  It's timeless, it can be had at any price point, and best of all ~ it's perennially chic!

Mary McDonald

Mark D Sikes

The Rinfret Group

Tobi Fairley

Donald Romualdez

In fashion as well as design, you must understand the past as you move through the present and into the future!