Archive for February, 2008

Sue Webster and Tim Noble

February 28, 2008

While I’m luckily surrounded by beautiful jewelry nearly every day, I’m not always able to get out and see as much art as I’d like to. That’s why I was thrilled to be able to spend some time this week with British artists Sue Webster and Tim Noble while they are in town unveiling an installation at Rockefeller Center. (I was introduced by Stephen Webster, my good friend and rock-and-roll jewelry royalty, who is not related to Sue.)

Webster and Noble, if you didn’t know, are two of the most celebrated artists of their generation. They attended art school together, and have been collaborating in work and life for nearly 20 years. Their projects are diverse, but are often alike in using found objects and humble, everyday products to create extraordinary works. My favorite of their projects are those made from discarded trash, then expertly lit with cheap lightbulbs to project gorgeous, detailed silhouettes on the wall, often of the artists themselves. (See above. The top piece, called Dirty White Trash, is actually the artists’ own rubbish collected over six months. Definitely commentary on the wasteful consumerism of today, the work also shows how something ugly can be turned into something beautiful.)
Their work has been displayed at the Guggenheim, the Tate Modern, and nearly everywhere in between. Now, they’ve collaborated on a public art piece that is currently up and running in Rockefeller Plaza called the Electric Fountain. Created from steel and a huge supply of LED lights, the piece aims to look like running water in the middle of the most urban of jungles. 
Also, running through March 29, their work can be seen at Deitch Projects in Soho. A fantastic installation called Polymorphous Perverse (first seen at the Freud Museum in London) is an odd jumble of wires, machines and doll parts that have a life of their own. I highly recommend checking both out if you’re in town over the next month. 
If you need an art fix in your own home, I would immediately click over to this great piece by Helen Frankenthaler that’s currently up for auction. I am a huge fan of this NYC-born artist who is known for creating the Colorist Field movement of painting. The limited edition etching, aquatint, stencil and mezzotint called “Untitled: A Book from Page III” is from 1997 and perfectly embodies her abstract yet detailed style of painting. (I actually use her Grey Fireworks, c. 2000, as my computer wallpaper.)

The Kelly Connection

February 27, 2008

There’s an old saying that tells women to wear a nice coat and carry a great handbag in order to project an image of class and sophistication. Well, there’s great handbags, and then there’s the Hermès Kelly. If you don’t know the history of the iconic carryall, here’s a quick rundown:

Created in 1892 as a saddle carrier (Hermès began as a saddlemaker), the Kelly was downsized in the 1930s to be used as a purse. The bag was well-loved in certain social circles, but it wasn’t until movie star and Princess Grace Kelly appeared on a cover of Life magazine carrying the bag that it became supremely coveted. The photo (above) ran on the cover in 1956, and showed Kelly using her crocodile bag to discreetly hide her burgeoning pregnancy.
Thus began the life of the first real “it” bag–a distinction it still holds today. Some debate the differences between the Kelly and its sibling the Birkin (click here to read an assessment in The Washington Post), but most maintain that the Kelly is the ultimate status symbol. What makes it so special? Each bag is handcrafted by a single artisan using only the best luxury materials, and production is limited, insuring a wait list every season.
Don’t want to be stuck on line with general public? You’re in luck. Portero has managed to acquire a large stash of Kellys in a variety of colors and leathers. With a few clicks, you can make yourself a member of the most exclusive handbag club in the world. Now that’s instant gratification. Click right here to see Portero’s sublime collection of genuine Hermes Kelly bags.
Image from Life magazine

Seeing Red at the Oscars

February 25, 2008

If you’re anything like me, the Oscar pre-show is quite possibly the best part of the telecast. Don’t get me wrong–I’m very much into movies and can’t wait to hear the winners (and losers)–but Oscar night is really the holy grail of red carpet events. And, sadly, last night proved to be a little too safe to qualify as the cutting edge style I was hoping to see. 

Beauty, elegance and style were in strong supply for sure, but where were the divas? The Chers, Barbara Streisands and Bjorks of yesterday were nowhere to be found. Even red carpet rabble-rousers like Vanessa Paradis (wife of Johnny Depp) played it safe in traditional black. There were some standouts, which I’ll discuss tomorrow, but first let’s talk trends. We did see much of what was expected, and luckily, these looks are extremely adaptable to real life. 
First up, the color of the night: Red. My favorites were Anne Hathaway in Marchesa and Harry Winston earrings (above left) and Katherine Heigl in Escada (right). Coincidentally, they both also chose one-shoulder silhouettes, the style of the moment. I’m so glad to see this va-va-voom color in full force–one look at Hathaway’s dark features and Heigl’s blonde bombshell-ness shows you that the color works on all types. They both chose diamond drop earrings to accentuate their gowns. I would try these on for size:
Anne Hathaway kept it simple with diamond drops. Try a low-cost option with these Mauboussin 18k white gold crystal diamond drop earrings. Katherine Heigl wore longer drops with a little edge, just like these Kwiat 18k white gold drop earrings
There was also a mini-trend of layered necklaces with strapless gowns. Keri Russell aimed for the subdued version of this look, wearing H. Stern’s vintage floral necklace with her champagne Nina Ricci gown. Nicole Kidman really went for it, though, in a custom creation by stylist (and Mick Jagger girlfriend) L’Wren Scott over her Balenciaga black. Try these multi-strand necklaces with your next strapless dress:
Marco Bicego 18k yellow gold 5-row Paradise semi-precious necklace. Why not mix it up with this multi-colored accessory that will go with nearly everything. 
Jose Hess 3-strand 18k white gold diamond necklace. The perfect necklace that can read formal or informal based on the particular situation. 
Lastly for today, we had our usual smattering of black. I did like the interest in this year’s dresses, though, most of which had rouching, pintucking or tulle layering. Many of these ladies went with earrings and serious diamond cuffs to offset the dark gowns. Kristin Chenoweth (above left) chose Kwiat jewels while Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton wore Damiani’s Sahara Cuff featuring nearly 48 carats of diamonds. Here’s some similar wrist-bling:
Stephen Dweck Sterling Silver Diamond Floral Chain Bracelet. A couture look without the unattainable price tag. 
Andy Gotz 18k diamond floral botanical hinged bangle bracelet. A perfect mix of Art Nouveau and modern drama, this bracelet won’t go out of style. 
Images courtesy Frazer Harrison, Frederick M. Brown, Vince Bucci; Getty Images. 

Spring (Home) Cleaning

February 22, 2008

I know it’s only February, but during the cold winter months, it seems like Spring can’t come fast enough. My favorite home decor magazines obviously agree, because the upcoming season has been a hot topic in this month’s books. 

If you don’t know of it, I strongly recommend Britain’s Living Etc.–it’s a lovely take on modern interior design with a dash of whimsy. One of their current features, Get Your Home Ready for Spring, already has me thinking about what I can do at home to escape the winter doldrums. 
An easy trick they suggest for bringing some cheer to your abode? Adding colorful mix-and-match glassware to your daily routine. I think most people get a little too caught up in using full sets of china and glassware. Why not make it interesting? Think along the lines of those great little jewel tone Moroccan glasses–isn’t it both cheery and beautiful seeing the array of colors together?
Try these selections to get a little Springtime lift at your next dinner party, or even sitting down to a simple breakfast for one:
Mingle Turquoise Crystal Tumblers. This set of handblown glasses made in Sweden are perfectly imperfect. 
Orrefors Mingle Lime Small, Medium, Large Bowls. These in fact match perfectly with the Chartreuse trend going on in fashion right now. 
Laure Japy Blue Sapphire Water & Juice Crystal Jug. I think this lovely pitcher would make even tap water seem like a special occasion. 
Image courtesy Living Etc.