Friday, April 16, 2010

Samples from Our Demographic: A Trip to SOFA

Jean says: SOFA is, hands down, THE BEST venue for seeing and being seen. Everyone dresses! To paraphrase the late Isabella Blow, everyone "makes a bloody effort". Thursday's opening night provided a front row seat not only to some of the most interesting and provocative sculptural objects beautifully displayed and lit, but also to some of the best put-together women on the planet. Diamonds and emeralds are eschewed in deference to artistic, substantive statement jewelry and the most exquisitely creative clothing. Well-dressed women of a certain age are the rule, not the exception. It is truly a feast for the eyes. Valerie and I were in such sensory overload, we had to return on Sunday to actually try to focus on the exhibition. Here I am at the entrance of the Park Avenue Armory awaiting Valerie's arrival. For the record (but who's keeping score?), I was late last year and Valerie was late this year. (Valerie protests: for the record, I was fifteen minutes late this year; Jean was about 45 minutes late last year. But who's keeping score?)

Above, Jean looks down on her adoring public. Valerie, barely arrived, already looks disheveled.

New York City milliner Leah C., wearing one of her own designs ( and her friend Cedric stopped for a photo before entering the show.

Artist Kiyomi Iwata (right) and her friend stopped for a chat before entring the Armory. Kiyomi's work was among those exhibited by Browngrotta Arts.

Masako Dempo Yuki, co-owner of Gallery Gen, wears a kimono designed by her husband, artist Yoshiaki Yuki, with an obi in material by Junichi Arai.

Dorothy Black, painter and potter, with Shinya Ueda, Mrs. Yuki's right hand man.

Susan is a member of the Glass Society.

Above right is a close up of the necklace Susan wore opening night.

We ran into Susan again on Sunday afternoon, and found her wearing a black coiled wire necklace and a black and white graphic top by Ona.

Kate de Renouard of Moon Mountain Studios ( in Sonoma, California.

Glass artist Flo Perkins, seen here in dreadlocks, was among the artists exhibiting at Chiaroscuro Gallery of Santa Fe.

Three generations of gorgeous women: Jessica Webb of New Mexico and her mother and daughter.

Jane Milosch from the Smithsonian Institution with Jessica Webb's mom, who was wearing a bias cut Carter Smith silk shibori dress.

A close up of Jane's fabulous necklace.

Suzanne Golden of Wearable Art. At right is a close-up of the beaded necklace Suzanne made herself.

Couples' therapist Jill Edelman (

Left photo: Lesley Mallyon (left) and Katie Jones (right) of the Katie Jones gallery on opening night. Right photo: Lesley Mallyon on Sunday, in a jacket by Ray Harris of London. Lesley calls him "Issey Miyake for real women". We wanted to get Katie too, in another great outfit, but didn't get the opportunity. Get a better view of what Lesley’s wearing by clicking here for a link to Ray Harris’s yummy website.

A woman in a fabulous vintage hat and vintage Issey Miyake. She formerly designed children's clothing in Brazil and is now associated with Spa Ja in Manhattan. (

Left to right: Patricia Malarcher, fiber artist and editor of Surface Design Journal , Jean, Christa Thurman, Curator and Chair of Textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Gail Martin, whose gallery shows a wonderful array of antique and contemporary textiles, including some stunning ethnographic headgear.

New York interior designer Dennis Rolland and two fashion designer friends.

Camera-shy Sara Basch, an Israeli goldsmith and jewelry designer, wearing a cork necklace of her own design (shown in detail at the right).

Vicki from the Berkshires is wearing a necklace of hammered stainless steel purchased some time ago from one of the exhibitors, Sienna Gallery in Lenox, MA.

Before we headed into the 68th Street Subway station, we paused for one last photo op in front of Tau, a sculpture by acclaimed minimalist sculptor Tony Smith. Smith was for many years a Professor of Art at Hunter College, one block away from the Armory, where Tau is a formidable presence by the 68th Street subway entrance.

BONUS PHOTO: Jean wears socks in living color!

Jean says her multi-colored skull socks were her one concession to color on Sunday.

On Thursday, Jean wore a black and white striped Zara Summer Collection BNL (Basic Nautical Line) viscose and elastane jacket made in Portugal, Donna Karan V-neck top, Brigitte harem pants, Yeohlee wool kimono coat, vintage Jean Allen black felt hat, Moss Lipow glasses and Dansko clogs. On Sunday, she wore a DKNY neoprene jacket, fleece wrap, Atrium turtleneck, Ronen Chen skirt (made in Israel) from Rosebud in Soho, vintage black felt hat with feathers by Bellini Originals, vintage black bakelite necklace, assorted black and white bakelite bracelets, glasses by Moss Lipow and Dansko clogs.

On opening night, Valerie wore a perforated folded white leather hat by Antoinette, white linen shirt from Sym's, red shibori yukata from around 1930, red and white black earrings of plastic and zebra mussels from the Metropolitan Pavilion vintage show, red plastic ring from El Museo del Barrio, and white nubuck shoes by Arche. On Sunday, she wore a red and black hat of vegetable fiber, black wool Plantation shirt and culottes, red lacquered bud vase, red Issey Miyake leather, metal and elastic belt, red wood bangle, red leather boots by Frye, and coat of many colors by Christian de Castelnau.

NOTE: We wanted so much to get ALL our details in by Sunday night, but it just wasn't possible. For more information (hyperlinks, etc.), please come back Monday night. Tuesday at the latest. If you don't see this caveat on your next visit, it means we've filled in all the blanks. In the meantime, hope you enjoy the photos!

SOFA UPDATE: 4/26/10 - Check out What Linday Pollock has to say about us and about SOFA: Lindsay Pollock: Art Market Views | 'Idiosyncratic Fashionistas ...Apr 16, 2010 ... Last night I came across a pair of women who call themselves the “Idiosyncratic Fashionistas” and blog about their eccentric fashion ... - Cached

EASTER UPDATE: Yesterday (a week later than usual), the Sunday New York Times Style Section showed its photo array from the Easter parade. Had we made it into the photo array, that probably would have gone at the top of this posting. Or it would have been the entire posting, leaving us enough spare time to eat an extravagant brunch and toast ourselves and the New York Times with a bottle of champagne. But it's all good, as everyone says these days. Next year, Valerie will wear a gigantic topiary from a local nursery on her head if she can convince Jean to dress up as Edward Scissorhands. That ought to do it.

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