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.
I remember Oscar de la Renta best from moments like these, backstage at his New York Fashion Week shows, about to take his bow on the runway, always letting the models go first and lingering modestly in the back of the podium, always surrounded by smiling employees who were so proud to work for such a generous and elegant man. He understood, better than most designers, that style is about so much more than what you are wearing.
Wendy Whelan, the prima ballerina and arguably the greatest ballerina of her generation, retired last night from the New York City Ballet. I wish I had seen her farewell performance, but I feel lucky to have seen her dance on so many other occasions. Most memorably in a rehearsal I was invited to watch back in 2004 when I served on a fund-raising committee at the NYCB. I remember being stunned by the beauty and perfection of Whelan’s dancing. Even in rehearsal, when other dancers simply “mark” steps, Whelan was so present and precise. Her timing was incredible and her performance–it was a performance more than a rehearsal–was sharp and crystalline. She was astounding to watch. I had once been an aspiring dancer so I had seen many great ballerinas perform–Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, Natalia Makarova. But this was different. There was something so unique about Whelan’s style and discipline. I rushed home and told my husband, who writes for the New York Times Magazine, that he had to write about Whelan. I couldn’t remember reading an in-depth piece on Whelan in any national magazine. (Here’s the link to my husband’s story) Whelan has retired from the New York City Ballet, but she’ll keep dancing. I’m excited to see what she does next.
I first met Liya Kebede back in 2000 when she was starting out in Paris, modeling for Tom Ford at Gucci and Saint Laurent. Liya always impressed me with her intelligence and poise. At the time she was balancing a new family and a demanding career, all with incredible ease and grace. We later worked together on the cover of the first issue of Time Style & Design. It didn’t surprise me when Liya was named a WHO Goodwill Ambassador to Maternal Health and simultaneously started her own foundation and a line of beautiful clothes woven by artisans in her native Ethiopia. Most recently she has partnered with Monique Péan to create a capsule collection of jewelry inspired by geometric interpretations of the shape of the African continent. Necklaces and rings are made of recycled 18-karat gold, conflict-free diamonds, fossilized walrus ivory, and one-of-a-kind sustainable blue sapphire. The proceeds of sales will go to Liya’s foundation, which supports maternal, newborn, and child healthcare globally. www.moniquepean.com
Forget the “it” bags that come and go – hot one season, cold as ice the next. Gucci’s Jackie bag has been hot since 1961 when the Italian leather goods house named it after one of their favorite customers: Jackie Kennedy.
Ever since, the Jackie Bag has been reinvented in a multitude of colors, fabrics, and sizes. During his epic Gucci reign, designer Tom Ford shrunk it down to the size of a book. More recently, designer Frida Giannini has reintroduced the Jackie bag in a palette of soft pastels. I’ll take the blue one, but I’d settle for yellow, green, or pale pink too.