Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Off to the Big Apple

I´m off to New York City next week! Here´s a photo of me at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens last summer for a friend´s wedding. Dress: IRO, shoes: Jimmy Choo, hat purchased at boutique in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: Douglas Scott Photography.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fashionistas Become Auctionistas

The past decade has seen radical growth in the fashion industry worldwide, with web portals allowing fashionistas to practically order clothes straight from the runways. Still, somehow, vintage fashion has long been held hostage from the rest of the world by stylists and collectors in the few capitals where boutiques even exist.

While presenting their newest collections, the major fashion houses are returning to honor the heritage from which they came with Gucci opening a Museum in the center of Florence and Hermes’ ad campaign highlighting the date of their establishment “contemporary artisans since 1837”. The success of the Costume Institute’s Gala, in collaboration with Vogue, and the epic Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art have broadened the presentation of fashion as a living art form to the wider public. And so men and women everywhere have embraced the idea that fashion is art that you wear, an opportunity for individual self-expression; anyone can be an artist, everyday, any day, an idea further reinforced by bloggers such as The Sartorialist or Face Hunter.

And so the moment is right for this niche market to be brought out to the fashion-lovers everywhere who would like to source rare pieces from the comfort of their homes. Auctionata, the first online real-time auction house announces the launch of their newest division: Vintage Couture and Accessories. Fashionistas must now become Auctionistas to participate in Auctionata’s curated, concise auctions featuring the world’s premier vintage boutiques and private collections.

The inaugural auction, which will take place on October 18, 2011 will offer 65 vintage handbags with designer labels such as Hermes, Chanel, Prada, YSL, Gucci, and Judith Leiber to name a few, all without reserves. The category will continue to expand with plans for an exclusively Louis Vuitton auction followed by a vintage Chanel auction next on the calendar.

To take part in this groundbreaking event, register now by clicking here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Recent Trip to Vienna

This blogpost could have also been titled: "major changes in my life" but considering I´ve frequently announced that I´m turning a new leaf or going in a new direction and it hasn´t always panned out, I didn´t want to sound ridiculous. But the truth is, I am now starting a completely new adventure.

Last week , I went for the second time in the last few months for a visit to Vienna, Austria. It is an amazingly beautiful city, so different than the French cities I know so well. I´m going to have to switch my profile description from Francophile to Europhile because I feel the former is just too limiting at this point.

So what is the new direction? I am now the official "category manager" for "Fashion and Accessories" for the new online auction house Auctionata. Haven´t heard of it? You will. Just wait.
Now, you are probably wondering how I went from antiques and design to fashion and auctions. It is actually a very logical transition so here goes the explanation in a nutshell.

If you have been an avid follower of this blog, you have from time to time experienced my posts about a Chanel fashion show at the Grand Palais or shopping for vintage dresses from Les Merveilles de Babellou. You also know that for some time I have carried a vintage jewelry collection at Alhambra (Antiques). The auction world and the antiques world have always been very closely intertwined with many dealers buying solely through auctions or selling at auction. My experience with auction houses has been limited due the way our business was modeled, but I did attend an auction here and there in Paris or Lyon or New York. That world peaked my interest again when I read Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton, in which the opening chapter on auctioneers and the vital role the auction house plays in the art market candidly revealed many insider secrets long held sacred.
Every year at the annual Original Miami Beach Antiques Show, I seem to meet someone intriguing (John Mayer, Michael Bruno, etc), and 2011 was no exception. I was miserably ill but managed to man the booth the entire length of the show even being interviewed for the morning news and being featured in the Spanish version of the Miami Herald
but in the end it was a brief acquaintance with one of the founders of Auctionata that sealed my fate. I hope you enjoy the ride...in the meantime click over to www.auctionata.com and register to watch my inaugural Vintage Handbags auction on October 18th.

(All photos taken by me on location in Vienna.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Home and the American Dream

A funny thing happened to me after a few months of having gone from homeowner to renter. I slowly became less and less interested in anything that had to do with the aesthetics and improvement of my living space. Where in my previous two homes—which we owned—I was constantly thinking about potential improvements that would benefit my daily quality of life, all of a sudden I thought the piles of shelter magazines to which I subscribed were wasteful and superfluous. This emotion became so prevalent that I even began to disparage my profession, my writing, and participation in the world of design. Home, really is a funny thing.

For a long time my husband had been adamantly opposed to the idea of becoming renters. But this idea—that it makes a difference in your daily life whether or not you own your home, did not become tangible to me until nearly two years later once we began looking for our own home again.

Sure, the house we have been living in has been lovingly maintained and decorated beautifully, but that transitory feeling prevented us from ever gardening (something I now really miss) or re-thinking how furnishings should be arranged and the like. Then, came the time when our landlord notified us that we should be moving in 3 months due to the sale of the house we have been occupying. As soon as I began looking at houses to buy and began visualizing myself living in each of them, feelings of creating a home with a specific atmosphere, ambiance, function all quickly began to invade my mind. 24 hours a day I thought about rooms and color and landscaping. I literally dreamt about our new home.

So, what is it about owning a home that makes this switch turn on and off? Is the prized goal of achieving the “American Dream” so embedded in our psyche that we cannot control our feelings regarding the matter?

I remember at one moment while being a tenant that the issue of taxes came up. Someone mentioned that the federal government was considering eliminating the deduction of mortgage interest for homeowners. As I reflected on the subject, I thought, perhaps this is just. Why should I pay more taxes this year because I am in a transitory stage in which I do not own a home? Surely that doesn’t seem fair. In addition, this deduction or incentive must have fueled the fire of the crazy real estate boom in which people who could not afford to buy homes were buying them. So, I thought, yes, let’s get rid of this incentive in order to level the playing field for all hard-working Americans, whether or not they are currently in the position to own a home. Perhaps it would alleviate a bit of the shame all those Americans who have lost their homes feel, now that they have lost these coveted “privileges.” I realize this would never be a politically advantageous move for any lawmaker as all Americans dislike taxes more than they dislike just about anything I can think of. Taking their money is like outright refusing certain unalienable rights.

Now that I’m buying a house, I will be looking forward to next year’s interest deduction but could I live without it if I knew it were for the greater good of my country? Probably.

So I’m still trying to understand what it is about the human psyche that makes us want to own our little piece of earth. And isn’t that desire ultimately the source of countless wars and disastrous social experiments, such as communism? Or this is a Western construct?

Yes, now that I’m hoping to close on a house sometime soon, I think I’ll be blogging again too. How ironic and funny that thing called home really is.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Steve Williams' Show Opens This Thursday

I'm very excited about the new artists I have had the opportunity to exhibit and represent once we made the front portion of our store a gallery space. The first artist we showed in June and July was Asser Saint-Val. His work is surrealist with a whimsical nature that really captured me. He works with all sorts of media trying to achieve an array of textures. This collection was known as "The Melanin Project." I had to take home two pieces. Here are a few we showed:

I have also shown the work of a ceramist named Gerbi Tsesarskaia. She makes all her work out of soda fired grolleg porcelain which means it can be used functionally as it is safe to eat on, or aesthetically as art.

This Thursday is our opening reception for Steve Williams, who created a show entitled "Currency" for us. For those of you who may not know, I also maintain a blog on our website where you can read more about Steve and how he created this exhibition. If you're in the area I hope you will stop by to have a little wine and cheese with me, this Thursday, January 27th at 7 o'clock.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

More random thoughts and commentary

A few days ago I attended a lecture given by a few very successful bloggers in the interior design field. One of the questions that came up was what parameters they applied to their blog subjects/writing. All three said that they only say positive things. If they see something they don't like, they simply won't bring it up on their blog. Sort of a "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything" rule. While I completely understand the logic behind this attitude, I simply can't subscribe to it. Is that terrible? Sure, I'm not going to go out of my way to blast someone personally, but I feel that the whole purpose of my blog is to have a personal space where I can feel what I feel and say what I want to say. That includes being self-deprecating from time to time or commenting on something I find ridiculous. And, the posts in which I have been most honest have been the ones that elicit the most responses from my readers. That said, I don't have "over 5000 subscribers" as one of the panelists said she does. But for me, that's ok, I want to be me, and if that means less people like me, so be it.
That said I am going to be outright critical of something I saw recently. This is the cover of the current issue of Town & Country:

This is a case in which I feel that the Editor should have applied the "only positives" rule. "What he really thinks about your plastic surgery?" "The divorce of the year" "I wish I'd married rich". WHAT!!??? Thank you T&C for underlining everything wrong with our society and putting it in bold letters on your cover. You have successfully alienated every non-gold-digging-plastic surgery boycotting-married woman in the United States. And yes, the editor in chief did lose his job this week so thankfully I wasn't the only one who felt something is very wrong with this picture.
I hate to make promises I won't keep, but one of my new year's resolutions is to write more often--and not to have any parameters. Hope you enjoy the ride....dancing through my figurative Paris.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Art and The Artist (thoughts on the subject)

For a while now I’ve been trying to understand the definitions or categories of what is “art”. Or as a corollary what it means to be an “artist”. For some art forms, this description is very clear. Or I should say if one finds success, then it is very clear. A person who paints and can sell his or her works at a price on which he or she can make a living is easily defined as an artist. A musician who finds employment in a band or orchestra, likewise. But what if an artist cannot make a living with their art and so takes on other responsibilities, does that mean they are not an artist?

Or take the instance that is a bit closer to home for me. I recently had a discussion with a friend in the same situation. I trained for many years to be a dancer. As performers, dancers certainly fall in the category of performing “artists”. But then, I stopped. Or my friend, got injured. From one day to the next we weren’t dancing anymore. But does this mean that overnight, we were no longer “artists”? So then that would mean that to be an artist is not to “be” something but to “do” something. Both of us feel that we are still artists. Artists without an art form, but still artists.

My former classmate Sara Webb in Stanton Welch's "TuTu" (Houston Ballet)

Then there is the whole question of the limits of sanity. Or perhaps I should say, the praise for what has gone beyond sanity. I recently saw the film “Black Swan” and read many critiques on it both before and after. No writer fails to discuss the fact that artists are expected to push beyond what is humanly possible in the name of “art”. And that somehow that is perfection or “absolute art”. In the scene at the end of the movie when “Nina” has reached that supernatural point, her only words are “I was perfect.”

Yet, what exactly did her performance achieve?

Did the audience experience the same supernatural euphoria that she was feeling as she was spinning her way into a physical transformation?

What was the purpose of her “art”?

Why do we have such a fascination with the abnormal?

And if it’s not beyond the limits, then is it not art? Is a dancer who is not mad, less of an artist than one who is?

Is no one really crazy, just very creative? Or the reverse, are some of the things we categorize as art just something totally insane?

This was a question I pondered more than one while walking the halls of the many art shows during Art Basel week here in Miami.

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