The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have landed in New York City. The Empire State Building is lit up in homage to the Union Jack. Royals: always a good distraction.
About: Kate Betts
Recent Posts by Kate Betts
Wouldn’t it be nice to look at this view all day? A few weeks ago I was in Los Angeles visiting the showroom of Thomas Lavin who introduced me to Trove, a company that sells digitally printed wall paper. It sounds kind of tacky, but the images are incredible, especially this one of a French garden–Jardin à La Française. Check it out at Trove.
There’s an expression in French for someone who is really crazy about fashion and totally immersed in the world of fashion: Bête de la mode. I love this expression because it’s not common or slightly derogatory like fashionista. Instead bête de la mode describes someone who is passionate and knowledgeable. To my mind few people in the fashion business possess the depth of passion and knowledge that the photographer Steven Meisel expresses in his work. His photos can be sophisticated, brutal, mysterious, vulgar, strange, and just plain beautiful. Every photo demonstrates Meisel’s expertise, not only with photography, but with style, fashion, history, form, art, light, hair, makeup, cloth, silhouette, expression, gestures, and communication. He communicates on so many levels it can be baffling, channeling Diane Arbus, Brassaï, Weegee, any number of iconic photographers, but then also making the image his own through his exacting standards. As a journalist, I dream of interviewing Meisel, but he won’t talk. I respect him for that, but I often wonder why. Is it a let-the-work-speak-for-itself stance? Or is he so immersed in his craft that he can’t explain himself in mere words? The auction house Phillips has just announced a traveling sales exhibit of Meisel’s work, beginning in Paris on November 20th and going on to London December 16th and New York on January 23rd.
Marcia DeSanctis’s new book, 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go is a great holiday gift for the Francophile in your life. Marcia takes readers on a wonderful adventure from Colette’s Palais Royale to M.F.K. Fisher’s Aix-en-Provence and Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite Plage de La Garoupe in Antibes. She also makes perfume in Grasse, introduces the sisterhood of wine makers in Bordeaux and provides a short cut through the Musée D’Orsay by way of the ten best paintings featuring women and a short explanation of each. I love this book.
In a previous post about collecting I mentioned the idea of collectors and their ability to “go there,” meaning to hone in on an idea or an aesthetic and then to take it beyond any imagined limits. If you want to see an exhilarating example of this idea, go see Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MoMA. The pieces are simply beautiful and the choreography of the exhibit is thrilling–beginning with the artist’s small maquettes which he created while working out composition for bigger projects and finishing with giant scrolls of color and form dancing across gallery walls. It’s interesting to note that in 1942 Matisse wrote to his friend the writer Louis Aragon that he had “an unconscious belief in a future life…some paradise where I shall paint frescoes.” And, several years later, in 1947 Matisse talked about the “greater space” of Islamic art. This show expresses the confluence of Matisse’s aesthetic and his intuition and vision of that greater space, a realm that will lift you with its pure expression of joy and freedom. You cannot help but smile and skip on your way out.
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