the un-met muse

The Dilettante's Guide to Fashion, Art, Beauty, ETc.

Happy New Year!

This dilettante’s slipped down the rabbit hole, but stay tuned 2014, our hiatus is temporary.. 

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"I can hardly imagine people thinking I’m intimidating. I think I’m the most down to earth person in the world"
-Karl Lagerfeld, to NY Magazine.

"I can hardly imagine people thinking I’m intimidating. I think I’m the most down to earth person in the world"

-Karl Lagerfeld, to NY Magazine.

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Double Dutch.

The most famous fashionista in Dutch history has made a rare trip to New York and is in residence uptown. The Girl with the Pearl Earring will be at the Frick until January 19th; pay her a visit. With iconic accessories, youthful complexion and unguarded countenance she is arresting, and you will fall in love (and likely spend your evening experimenting with turbans; its ok, nobody has to know).

And Vermeer’s girl is bang on trend this season as the Italian masters at Valentino drew inspiration for their AW 2013 collection from the Old Masters of northern renaissance portraiture and still life.

Starched white collars, royal blues, intricate embroidery and pulled back hair: the collection strikes an unlikely marriage between Calvinist simplicity and Valentino’s theatrical femininity.

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Weekend Agenda: Preview this auction
PHILLIPS: Contemporary Art November 11 and 12
above: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1985
ps. The day sale has some lower ticket gems: see here and here.

Weekend Agenda: Preview this auction

PHILLIPS: Contemporary Art November 11 and 12

above: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Self-Portrait, 1985

ps. The day sale has some lower ticket gems: see here and here.

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Cardio Queen.

Today’s marathon in NYC is just the kick up the rear we mere mortals need not to succumb to the plummeting mercury and head for the duvet for the next 12-16 weeks. 

Not convinced? New spandex should do the trick. 

Channel your inner road warrior and fake it till you make it with these additions to your gym kit.

Elite fitness finery.  

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You ruffle my feathers.

November 1st:

A date that heralds the impending annual doom of the ever-earlier, ever-expansive holiday party circuit rising on the horizon and its pursuant canapé hang-overs, small-talk fatigue, and ferocious “NOTHING TO WEAR” laments.

This coat from our favorite Antwerpian offers a solution to at least one of the above. Part of his Fred and Ginger inspired Fall RTW collection, its Astair’s debonair masculinity married perfectly with Roger’s flamboyant showgirl. Less gender-bending, more gender-blending.

Don’t worry about whats going on underneath. Simply don this fabulous Dries Van Noten coat and a pair of sky high heels. Keep your movements swift and purposeful, adopt a regal wave and your fellow party goers will simply assume they caught you on your way in or out. ‘Tis the season for double-booking, after all.

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Welcome to Brooklyn.

Jean Paul Gaultier brings his Fashion World to the Brooklyn Museum

Coneheads citywide rejoice.  

October 25th- February 23rd

I’m down on my knees, I wanna take you there..

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That’s clutch.


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You say tool bag, I say handbag. 

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In leather or canvas, this zipper bag is perfect for toting your essential hardware no matter what your trade. 

Utility wear. No hard-hats required.

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Yesterday was Giorgio Armani Day.
" Because I am a strong, powerful man."

(image: WWD)

Yesterday was Giorgio Armani Day.

" Because I am a strong, powerful man."

(image: WWD)

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The importance of the spit-shine.

For a girl who (for better or worse) lives by the sartorial rule of thumb, “if in doubt, pair it with a combat boot,” to be struck down by the following is a terror of untold proportion. Akin to stepping on a land-mine of emotional distress and wardrobe woes.  

Yes, ladies and gentleman, a dodgy zipper and a leaky sole.

Whilst, thankfully, trench foot is not the primary cause for concern here, the reality is almost as fearsome. To face a heavy barrage of wardrobe quandaries unarmed and be forced to leave the barracks and hit the western front (or, in this case, the west-side) sans one’s secret weapon can be deeply unsettling.   

Doing battle with the pavements of NYC can take its toll on the most loyal comrade and the need for compassionate R&R should be expected, routine, mandated even. But although these boots were pushed to their limits once more, their unexpected loss feels like friendly fire on the eve of a sartorial skirmish. Enter: the shoe guy.

The prognosis, tragically, isn’t good. An old wound reopened, ill-treated and exposed time and again to the elements: dirt, mud, rain, snow, salt, sand. They’ll be stitched up once more but chances are their days on the battlefield are coming to an end… 

This cautionary tale is to serve poignant reminder that all closets should be equipped with a basic triage center (horse hair brushes, buffing cloths and kiwi polish- once staples of every household, well-heeled or otherwise), so that our faithful companions can continue to fulfill their duties- be they worn with sequins, sundresses or skinny jeans. Indeed, in her youth (much prior to the days misspent), this dilettante was taught to polish her school shoes every day; to go to class with scuffed shoes was about as grievous an offence as not having one’s name embroidered in one’s P.E. knickers.

So use some elbow grease and give your boots a good spit shine, because when your soul-mate’s sole starts to leak, you’ll be the one shedding the tears.

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Sir Anthony Caro

"I think we’ve got to keep trying new things, and without going too far over towards craziness…I think we’ve still got to go as near craziness as we can." Caro1924-2013

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According to the gospel, an Hermès delivery van was robbed this morning in Milan while the drivers went for cappuccino.
A suspect has been apprehended. An orange jumpsuit sounds about right, no? 

According to the gospel, an Hermès delivery van was robbed this morning in Milan while the drivers went for cappuccino.

A suspect has been apprehended. An orange jumpsuit sounds about right, no? 

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Tomes for the Times

These books remind us that the first autumn chill is no excuse for style atrophy. 

New and up-coming releases that will give your closet a major case of coffee table envy:

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Perry Ellis: An American OriginalRizzoli. Release date: Oct. 22nd

Feted this weekend with a launch party hosted by the CFDA at Parsons New School of Design, this all-American Original wrote the book on elevated sportswear. An aptly grand tribute to a designer who was all about exaggerated proportion. 

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Naomi, Taschen. Coming soon.

At 470 pages, this two volume signed and limited edition bound in regal red pays homage to the triumphant Catwalk Queen. Added bonus: it’s probably too heavy to throw. 

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Memos: The Vogue YearsRizzoli. Release date: Oct. 15th

To ensure the omnipotent Ms. Vreeland’s words are honored in perpetuity. Consider it adult ed and be sure to take notes. Because life lessons such as the following are not to be forgotten: ’A Floppy Brim- nobody in their right mind would wear a floppy brim as it would cause exactly the disturbance that a romantic woman wouldn’t want to make.’

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Private: Giancarlo Giammetti. Assouline. Release date: Nov. 6th (available online now)

Oh. It’s all just so fabulous. The deep tans, big shades, the heavily accented glamour… the perfect antidote to impending seasonal sins of thermals and acrylic blends. 

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Dior Impressions, Rizzoli. Release date: September 17th.

When winter’s bell begins its heavy toll this beautiful little book will sing a melody of eternal sartorial springtime. Stock up on fresh flowers and St. Germain, flip the pages and float away until the warm weather returns. 

(All images courtesy of respective publishers)

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Nude: What Colour are You?

Stiletto king Louboutin launched Les Nudes collection this week.

It’s about time.

Because the magic of leg lengthening should be an equal opportunity endeavor. 

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Weekend Assignment: Viviane Sassen 

"Most fashion images aren’t art, they’re fashion photographs, which is fine, but if you put them in a museum, enlarged and in a frame, they become something else. They aren’t meant to be that way…It’s a kind of puzzle that has to be solved." Viviane Sassen, BJP

Viviane Sassen, a Dutch photographer who studied fashion design and had a brief modelling career before studying her craft at the Utrecht School of Arts, is perhaps best known these days for high fashion campaigns for designers such as Carven and Miu Miu. Though many would say Sassen’s work skillfully straddles the art/fashion divide (or even challenges the very existence of such a divide), the photographer insists that art and commerce are mutually exclusive. To Sassen, who’s images are often brilliantly colourful, the delineation between the two facets of her oevre can be read as series of black and whites:

Fashion photography vs. Art.

High vs. low.

Art images are shot in Africa, fashion shoots in Europe,

Fashion photography is shot digitally, art photography on film.

Fashion photography serves purpose, art photography need not? 

One might question whether such a harsh viewing rubric is necessary. The elevation of one side needn’t dilute its counterpart, after all. Especially when considering the quality of Sassen’s campaigns. Both model and clothes are utilized as neutralized, sculptural props for the purpose of creating a compelling image in her fashion work. Faces are often obscured, the individual becomes the archetype and there is a shift in focus from person to form. Her photographs can be disorienting at times, the eye first works to discern the arrangement of shapes before apprehending the subject of the images (a Carven coat, a Miu Miu bag, a Missoni dress). The viewer isn’t simply being thrust a pair of sunglasses on a lush lipped, bikini-clad, sun drenched goddess.

So are fashion images art or something else as Sassen believes? At this point one could certainly delve into a post-structuralist discussion about the validity of the notion of artist as sole authority over meaning, etc., but it’s the weekend, and there’s no need to rehash the conversation you all had over last night’s pint. In an effort to keep things simple, the dilletante’s take: the delineation between the two feels about as nominally arbitrary as your insistence that you and the guy in 9F are just friends.

And as far as purpose is concerned, beauty trumps context in our book.

A retrospective of Viviane Sassen’s work, In and Out of Fashion, opens this weekend at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. So for those of you in Edinburgh head down to Queen Street, it’s probably raining anyhow. The rest of us will just slink on back to Barnes and Noble and settle for the book.  

Images © Viviane Sassen

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