A Heavenly Garden

Of Earthly Delights

Dolce & Gabbana
”Penelope” wedding ensemble, S/S 2013

Evening dress, S/S 2014

Undercover, Jun Takahashi
Ensembles, S/S 2015, printed with iconography from Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych ”The Garden of Earthly Delights”

House of Dior
Raf Simons, Evening dress, A/W 2015-16
A more abstracted interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ”The Garden of Earthly Delights”

Evening Dress, A/W 2015-16

Jean Paul Gaultier
‘Lumiere’, Evening ensemble, S/S 2007

Steinunn Thorarinsdottir
Armors, 2016-2018

Rick Owens
Ensemble, A/W 2015-16.
With a pee(p) hole at the crotch, Owens’ playful,  subversive ”habit” evokes the popular literary stereotype of the lecherous, debauched and scandalous medieval monk, satirized by Geoffrey Chaucer in ”The Canterbury Tales” (1387-1400).

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

July 14th, 2018

Heavenly Bodies || The Cloisters

Well, I don’t know about the bodies but some of the gowns were heavenly, indeed! The exhibition was two-part, the main segment being at The Met on Fifth Avenue, and an annex displayed at the medieval monastic environment of The Cloisters, where the gowns seemed to have found their natural habitat, as if they had always belonged there. If I had to describe the display, setting & ambience in one word, that would have been ”sublime”.

Viktor & Rolf, ensemble, 2018 original design: A/W 1999-2000

Valentino, evening ensemble, A/W 2015-16

Philip Treacy, ”Madonna Rides Again II” hats, 1998 – 2001

House of Chanel, wedding dress, A/W 1990-91 by Karl Lagerfeld

The Unicorn in Captivity
Wool, silk and silver and gilded-silver wrapped thread
South Netherlandish, ca. 1495-1505

Altarpiece with the Virgin and Child and Saints
Master fo the Burg Weiler Altarpiece
German, Swabia, ca. 1470

Reliquary busts of female saints
South Netherlandish, Brabant, possibly Brussels, ca. 1520-20

Valentino, red silk velvet dress, S/S 2015

Thom Browne, wedding ensemble, S/S 2018

Olivier Theyskens, evening dress, S/S 1999

House of Dior ”Hyménée” wedding dress by Marc Bohan, 2018; original design: S/S 1961

House of Balenciaga, wedding dress, spring 1967

Fashion history has designated this garment by Cristobal Balenciaga the ”one-seam wedding dress.” If the dress were indeed made from a single length of fabric, it would claim a biblical source: Jesus’ seamless robe at the Crucifixion. The dress, however, is made of two pieces of fabric stitched together and it has three shaping seams – two at the shoulder and one down the centre of the back.

Grisaille Panels
French, probably Normandy, ca. 1270-80

Jean Paul Gaultier
”Regina Maris” evening ensemble, S/S 2007

House of Dior
Ensemble, S/S 2006 by John Galliano

Book of Hours
Simon Bening (1483/84 – 1561)
Tempera, gold and ink on parchment
South Netherlandish, Bruges, ca. 1530 – 1535

This tiny Book of Hours is one of Simon Bening’s prayerful jewels, intended for use at regular intervals throught the twenty-four-hour day (ideally every three hours). It was a reminder of the omnipresence of God, meant to be attached to its owner, or stored with precious possessions.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Chasuble for Saint John Paul II (reigned 1978-2005), 1997

This chasuble was created for Saint John Paul II to wear on World Youth Day in 1997.

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

July 14th, 2018

A Fashion’s Guide to Heraldry

How many hours did it take to create this modern coat of arms, would you say?

Jean Paul Gaultier
”Ex-Voto” evening ensemble, S/S 2007
Grey silk mousseline, white silk-metal lace, crocheted gold and silver silk and iridescent crystals, appliqued holograms and aluminum ex-votos

Ivory, silver and partially gilded mounts
Carved in Germany, ca. 1500-1525

This rosary’s Latin inscriptions read ”Think on death” and ”This is what you will be.”

Reliquary arm of Saint Valentine:
Silver, gilded silver and blue cabochon
Made in Switzerland (Basel), ca. 1380-1400

Alexander McQueen – Shaun Leane, A/W 1998-99
Silver and faceted red crystals

House of Givenchy
Alexander McQueen & Shaun Leane, S/S 2000
Silver-plated metal, resin and old gold

From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018

Ascetic Opulence

From over the top opulence to extreme modesty and back. Fashion is inextricably connected to human nature. To understand the former, you may want to start deciphering the latter first.

Spinario (Boy Pulling a Thorn from his Foot)
Bronzse, partially gilt hair and silvered eyes
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)
probably modeled by 1496, cast. ca. 1501

Seated Paris
Bronze statuette, partially gilt and silvered
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi)
Mantua, ca. 1500

Christian Lacroix
”Gold-Gotha” ensemble, A/W 1988/89

Gianni Versace
Evening top, A/W 1991-92

Gianni Versace
Evening top, A/W 1991-92

Gianni Versace
Jacket, A/W 1991-92

Jean Paul Gaultier
”Surprise de l’Icine” ensemble, A/W 1997-98

Dolce & Gabbana
”Idamante” ensemble, S/S 2016

Dolce & Gabbanna
”Angelica” ensemble, S/S 2016

From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018

Deep || Midnight || Blue

If I had to pick one from this plethora of extraordinary gowns, it would have to be this one; an eclectic combination of taffeta and lace, paired with leather biker trousers in Lee McQueen’s inimitable style.

House of Givenchy
Evening Ensemble, S/S 1999 by
Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

Black silk taffeta, white duchesse satin, white cotton lace, white silk organza, black leather

From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018


The Angels wear tiaras.

Fragment of a floor mosaic with a personification of Ktisis [Greek for foundation (of a  city or colony)]
Marble and Glass
Byzantine, made 500-550

House of Lanvin (Jeanne Lanvin)
”Incertitude” evening dress, 1936

And a closer look at Goossens’ tiara and accessories over the statuary vestment for the Virgin of El Rocio, by Yves Saint Laurent.

From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018

Heavenly Bodies @ The Met

Heaven Avenue beckoned and we followed, taking a couple of breaks along the way.

First stop, The Met on Fifth Avenue where, for a short while, some truly divine gowns had descended to take their rightful places next to precious jewels, crosses, relics, mosaics and other objects of medieval art from the Museum’s permanent collection.

When fashion crosses that fine line between ”nothing is sacred” yet ”everything is”, in supreme style.

Dolce & Gabbana, A/W 2013-14

Thierry Mugler
”Madonna” evening ensemble, A/W 1984-85

This ensemble served as the finale to Thierry Mugler’s tenth anniversary collection, staged awt Le Zenith, an indoor arena in Paris. The model Pat Cleveland wore it as she was lowered from the ceiling of the auditorium on a cloud of dry ice, as if descending from heaven.

Alexander McQueen
Ensemble, S/S 1999
Birch plywood and ivory leather’ ivory wool twill and ivory silk lace

Riccardo Tisci
Statuary vestment for the Madonna Delle Grazie, 2015 (original design, 1950)

Yves Saint Laurent
Statuary Vestment for the Virgin of El Rocio, ca. 1985
Tiara and accessories by Goossens

Yves Saint Laurent
Wedding Ensemble, A/W 1977-78

Christian Lacroix
Wedding ensemble, A/W 2009-10

Jean Paul Gaultier
Ensemble S/S 1994

House of Dior by John Galliano
Evening ensemble, A/W 2000-2001

House of Dior by John Galliano
”Madonna” wedding ensemble, A/W 2005-6

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

July 14th, 2018

Walk this Way

Walk This Way…

… was an exhibition of footwear from the vast Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes, on show at the New-York Historical Society between April-October 2018. Over a 100 pairs of these (mostly) wearable artworks were on display and I was in shoe heaven, barely able to restrain myself from trying them on – and walking away.

Scroll down and tell me you wouldn’t…

Sharon Von Senden, Jewels at Work – Swarovski crystals, stained glass, vintage stones
Robert Steele, Corrugated Curves, Cardboard
Unidentified maker, open-toe mules, ca. 1950s – Leather, plexiglas, rhinestone, elastic Spring-o-lator. These shoes  belonged to Ginger Rogers
Unidentified maker, Mary Jane shoes, ca. 1926 – Silk and metallic patterned fabric, embossed metal buttons

”Mary Jane” was originally a character in a popular newspaper strip, Buster Brown. In 1904, the Brown Shoe Company licenced her image to market children’s shoes. Eventually, any shoe with a chunky low heel and a strap across the instep became know as a ”Mary Jane”.

Terry de Havilland, Peep-toe platform shoes, ca. 1972 – Suede, leather
David Evins, Column-heel pumps, ca. 1970 – Plastic
Unidentified maker, Pumps, late 1920s – Silk, leather
Unidentified maker, Laced pumps, 1910 – Silk brocade, laces
Peal & Co., Buttoned boots, ca. 1920 (left) & Lace-up boots by an unidentified maker, ca. 1910-20 (right)
Unidentified maker from China, Ankle-strap sandals, ca. 1930s – Silk, kid leather, embroidery
Delman Shoes, Peep-toe evening shoes, ca. 1935 – Leather and mesh net
Fenton Footwear, T-strap pumps, ca. 1937 – Velveteen, leather
Unidentified maker, Buttoned boots, 1870s
Unidentified maker, Lace-up boots, ca. 1900 – Silk and silk brocade
Fenton Last, Open-toe slingback sandals, late 1970s – Leather, silk
Knight Shoe Ltd., Lace-up boots, 1910-15 – Leather, canvas, laces
C. P. Ford & Co., High-top shoes, 1905-10 from Rochester, New York – Leather, buttons
Krohn-Fechheimer & Co., Red Cross Noiseless shoes, ca. 1918, Leather
Enzo of Roma, Thong sandals, 1960s – Leather, synthetic
The Chelsea Cobbler, Peep-toe platform shoes, ca. 1972 – Suede
Frank Brothers, T-strap shoes, ca. 1930 – Silk satin, kid leather, mother-of-pearl button
Unidentified maker, T-strap evening sandals, ca. 1940s – Leather, silk, rhinestones
Herbert Levine Inc., Kabuki platform shoes, 1964 – Suede, wood
Robert Tabor, Cabfab – Acrylic, vinyl, rhinestones
The Red Carpet
Unidentified maker, Stilted bath clogs (qabâqib), 19th century. Ottoman, possibly Syrian – Wood, inlaid mother-of-pearl

Women throughout the Islamic Middle East wore stilted wooden bath clogs such as these for over four centuries. An adaptation of ancient Roman shoes called sculponea, qabâqib were similarly associated with bathing and bath houses. Nineteenth-century European orientalists considered these highly desirable collectibles, symbolizing an imagined ”Eastern” exoticism and eroticism.

Freed of London, Toe shoes, 1994-95 – Silk, canvas, leather

The ballerina Heather Watts wore this pair of pointe shoes on January 15, 1995 for her farewell performance as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, which she joined in 1970. Watts afterwards told the New York Times, ”I need to live in new shoes.”

Gregg Barnes, designer. T.O. Dey, maker. ”Kinky boots” ca. 2013, from New York City. Paten metallic leathers, rubber, fabric, metal

”The sex is in the heel / Fierce as you can make it / The sex is the appeal”, sings Lola, the drag queen at the heart of the musical Kinky Boots. The hit Broadway show is based on the true story of a struggling shoe factory that survived by producing high-heeled fetish footwear in men’s sizes.

New-York Historical Society, New York City

June 23rd, 2018

Sound Lab

On permanent view

Sound Lab: Interactive multimedia installations. Electric guitars, drums, samplers, mixing consoles are ready for jamming – all that’s missing is you.

Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses. Who would’ve thought they’d be a museum item so soon!

Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970. A travelling legend, at home in Seattle.

Museum of Pop Culture

June 13th, 2018