Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Legend of Love

It’s the story of forbidden romance and the man who broke the rules in the name of true love. Legend has it that when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for soldiers in ancient Rome, Valentine ignored the risks and chose to marry young lovers in secret. Though he helped new marriages blossom, he paid the ultimate price and was put to death after he got caught. 

This may or may not have been the way Valentine’s Day truly started, but the fact remains that the holiday continues to inspire expressions of love and beauty.
"Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss" by Antonio Canova, 1757-1822
Love and romance have served as artistic inspiration for painters and sculptors for centuries, and as art inspires life, the romance often finds its way to the runways.
A love story often begins with Cupid’s arrow, but what about Cupid’s kiss? The power of his kiss helped bring Psyche back to life according to the Greeks. The mythical story came to life with the classical lines and flowing tunics on the spring Valentino runway.
Years after the Greeks penned the story of Psyche and Cupid, the 12th century love affair of Tristan and Isolde found its way into classic literature. The story is laced in tragedy, but continues to hold us captivated as we imagine the heroine holding the hearts of two men as she navigates the tumultuous path of a love triangle.
"Tristan and Isolde" by Edmund Leighton, 1902
Temperley London Spring 2017 
The late 18th century world of the French Rococo movement was full of flirtations and romantic intrigues, and is more light hearted after the heavier story of Tristan and Isolde. From the halls of Versailles to the lush gardens of the countryside, Rococo sweethearts employed the playful demeanor of the period while wearing voluminous gowns ready for romance.
"The Stolen Kiss" by Fragnoard, 1786
Chanel Spring 2017 Couture
A kiss on the cheek, a rendezvous on the garden swing under the watchful eye of Cupid, picnics in the parkall of the dreamy scenarios are translated from paintbrush to fabric with the help of Chanel, Dior, and Alexis Mabille.
"The Musical Contest" by Fragonard, 1755
Dior Spring 2017 Couture 

"The Happy Lovers" by Fragonard, 1765
Alexis Mabille Spring 2017 Couture
When words can’t express all that you want to say, try turning up the music and dancing the night away like the ladies and gentlemen of Victorian society.

After Cupid’s done his part, do yours and seal the love story with a kiss.
"The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt, 1908-09

Runway Photos: Vogue.com

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Language of Flowers

Flowers of every shape and size bloom each spring, adding life to the dull landscape of winter. They add color and texture to the world around us and never cease to make their way into fashion and art.
Alexis Mabille Spring 2012 Couture
Every Valentine’s Day millions of flowers are given to sweethearts around the world. But with every bud and bloom, what message are we really sending? Just like there is a spoken language, body language and even love languages, there is a language of flowers. Entwined in their petals and colors, are secrets waiting to be told. 

The classic flower of choice for the holiday is of course the rose. Meanings range from love and passion, to respect, devotion and friendship. One of the most iconic flowers, the rose was first illustrated in Pierre Joseph Redoute’s 1824 watercolor collection.
Alexander McQueen Spring 2007
Among the over 100 million roses sold each Valentine’s Day in the US, nearly half of these are red. The deep and vibrant hue is is the perfect color to share a message of passion.
Oscar de la Renta Spring 2016
The red rose’s more demure cousin is the peach rose. Rather than passionate love, she brings with her a message of longing.

Alexis Mabille Spring 2013 Couture

The alstroemeria looks a lot like the lily, and brings with it a hint of possibilities. The flower symbolizes the chance of new friendship as well as a new love connection. It also represents following your dreams. So if passion isn’t necessarily on your Valentine’s radar, but the hope of something special is hovering on the horizon, this is the bloom for you.

John Galliano Spring 2008 

The bright yellow color of the daffodil is cheerful and since it is often one of the first flowers to bloom at the start of spring, it symbolizes the start of something new. 

Dior Fall 2010 Couture

Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly,  from You’ve Got Mail said it best when she called daisies “the friendliest flower.” Their innocent white color lends itself to a sweet disposition, but daisies also send a message of new beginnings and true love. 
Oscar de la Renta Spring 2015
The simple purity of the daisy represents true love since the it’s actually made of two flowers. The center petals of one flower surround by the ray-like petals of the 2nd flower, making it like the marriage of flowers. Perhaps a Valentine’s Day proposal would be better made with the daisy than a red rose?
Oscar de la Renta Spring 2015

If wedding bells are in your future, or you simply hope that they are, the peony is a perfect choice. The lush petals  have long symbolized good fortune, love and a happy marriage. 

Chanel Spring 2017 Couture

When acknowledging that love is patient and kind, you can send the lush aster blooms.

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2016

The message of the hydrangea is rooted in gratitude. When they look as beautiful as they did on the Alexander McQueen creations from Spring 2007, why not add them to your bouquet to say thank you?
The garden is full of so many other flowers and meanings. Regardless of the message you want to send, there’s a flower to beautifully illustrate all that’s in your heart. 
What will you be saying this Valentine’s Day?

Runway Photos: Vogue.com
Flower Images and Meanings: Teleflora.com

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fashion Meets Art: James Rosenquist

The news isn’t your only source for current event updates and commentary…just visit your local art gallery. For over six decades, artist James Rosenquist has used his art to foster dialogue on everything from politics and advertising to celebrities and science. 
 "New York Says it All," 1980
With a career that began as a billboard painter, he made the transition to fine art, continuing his use of large scale designs that began to get attention in the 1960s. 
"The Bird of Paradise," 1989
Though rooted in the Pop Art movement alongside artists like Andy Warhol, Rosenquist also integrated Surrealist techniques by placing seemingly unrelated images together to create a larger statement.
"China Bugle," 1988

This juxtaposition technique was clearly used in his portrait of Marilyn from 1962. The pin up beauty immortalized by Andy Warhol as a sex symbol, was portrayed by Rosenquist in a fragmented form alongside pieces of the classic Coca-Cola logo. 
With his interest in advertising, this was perhaps one way of looking at the portrayals of the film starlet. As a consuming public, we were only exposed to pieces of who she really was, and when those pieces were revealed, they were neatly packaged by media in ways that never truly allowed anyone to see the real Marilyn.

 The fragmented designs and collage techniques used throughout many of Rosenquist’s works remind me of Anna Sui’s Spring 2017 collection
"Sand of the Cosmic Desert in Every Direction," 2012
Using different colored, textured and printed fabrics, the designer found ways of taking a 2D collage technique and translating it into a 3D form to be worn.
"Shriek," 1986
Her designs exist outside the confines of a time period or single style as she combines details from sources as varied as 1970s folk art, 1950s Navy uniforms, vintage postcards, western wear and tropical imagery. 
"Electrical Nymphs on a Non-objective Ground," 1984
By combining images, fabrics, time periods and styles together, both artists prove that every subject is multifaceted. There are always new ways of looking at an idea and we must take a step back to see the full context and all the pieces that make the whole. 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com
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