Wednesday, August 29, 2012

At the Crossroads (of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue)

For the sheer fun of it, the other day we took over the stomping grounds of the New York Times' style photographer Bill Cunningham. He goes in the morning (we think); we went toward the evening. Remembering that the Yayoi Kusama promotion is still going strong at Louis Vuitton (the building on the corner), as you can see we brought the appropriate accessories.

Continuing with the polka dot theme:
We spotted this woman in black and white polka dots, but what really blew us away (can you guess?) was the HAT. We asked who the maker was - there are so few these days that we thought for sure we'd recognize it. The woman thought for a moment, shrugged, and said in a lilting foreign accent, "I got it in Paris." Kudos to this lady, who knows how to pose to great effect.

We thought you'd ask for a close-up, so here it is! Bill Cunningham would immediately dispose of this photo, saying trees and a light pole seem to be coming out of her head. Things like that separate the pros from the amateurs. But don't look at the light pole. Look at the loop at the top of the hat, and the small black ball suspended within it. That's why we're giving you the close-up. It's all in the details!

More polka dots. There was a woman standing just behind her with a polka dot bag, too (off camera).

We're thinking this shirt might have come from the LV boutique, but we haven't confirmed that.

She was going at a good clip, and we can't afford a Leica yet, so this photo is blurry, but we wanted you to see the marvelous white piping on her black shoes. She was dotted and striped, and looked SO put together!

Whom should we run into on the corner but designer and quilt artist Katherine Knauer, who was stopping by to check out the Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry windows on 57th and 5th? She'd worked on the installation of the fall collection and wanted to see the finished product. We had no idea that diamond jewelry designs also had "seasons". It reminded us of Mae West's famous line: "These are my summer diamonds ... some are diamonds and some are not." Mae's other famous response to someone' exclamation "Goodness, what lovely diamonds" was "Goodness had nothin' to do with it."

Valerie just happened to have two red polka dot balls in her bag (what a coincidence!) and couldn't resist displaying them.

Katherine turned the tables and took a photo of us. As you can see, we're our usual deliriously happy selves.

We are old enough to remember when there weren't gray haired ladies so much as there were blue haired ladies. But the blue haired ladies of our childhood never looked like the lady in the center of this trio. You go, girl!

We loved this woman's pixie cut (so right for her features!). And she's doing minimalist dressing with maximum effect.

Although this gorgeous lady relocated here from Haiti many years ago, she maintains a fabulous accent! Loved her cool combination of blue on blue, with marvelous shibori shawl, flat sandals and a white bag. She was sweet enough to indulge us and let us take her photo. (Her friend, who arrived just after, declined our request.)

Sorry we don't have more men in our selection. There were quite a few eligible guys out and about, but we weren't quick enough to get most of them. We liked this guy's clean crisp anti-button down look, and his Tuareg hat.

We liked how this lady put herself together but...

...the pieces de resistance were her neon sneakers.

We found this woman a block away on Madison Avenue, and were drawn to her big statement necklace, which is nevertheless extremely simple. We thought this would look terrific on a woman of any age!

Here's a close-up of that, too. When we asked her about the necklace, she happily reported that she'd gotten it in Chinatown last year, and paid about $10 for it. How's that for resourceful? Proof positive that style does not have to be expensive.

Too bad we didn't get this great looking couple from the front. (Well, we would have if they had been traveling in the right direction!) His turban looks traditional; hers is strictly fashionable. And love that dress on her.

Sometimes you just can't catch a break. We could have photographed this gorgeous woman from the front so you could see all her perfectly coordinated details (including hair and makeup), but we ASKED, losing precious seconds. She indicated that it would be ok when she got off her cell phone (oops - Valerie thought she was texting), and the next thing we knew she was on her way. New Yorkers are all busy! So we got this picture from this angle. There must be about five people in New York who can wear a bowl cut and look breathtaking. This lady is one of them. (And the peplum jacket - we think it's Zara - was made for her.)

This young gent, a study in black and white (down to the black hat and white headset), suddenly appeared in front of us while we were looking for our next Fabulous Person. We took this as quickly as we could while we - and he - were all walking.

When the light turned red at 57th Street, and all three of us were bunched at the corner, he turned around and asked if he could take our picture, and we burst out laughing because we really wanted to take his too (from the front, that is). We showed him the picture above that we'd taken secretly. Then he burst out laughing because he'd done the same thing when he was walking behind us!

In any case, of course we said yes, he could take our picture (we never say no), on the condition that he let us take his picture, too, and so began our Mutual Admiration Society.

Turns out he's a graphic designer. Rolly (Rolando Robinson for long) whipped out his iPhone with the red and white polka dot cover (homage to Kusama, he said), and we, with yet more laughter, responded by whipping out one of the red and white polka dot balls. (We used to be in the Boy Scouts, er, Girl Scouts, and are always prepared.)

We have to take a moment to point out that Rolly is wearing a shapeless round rib knit wool hat (think Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), but he's wearing it high on his head, not down around his ears, and he's pushed all the extra material to the front, so his hat appears to have a pompadour, and he's turned nothing into SOMEthing. Work that hat, Rolly!

At the top of today's post is the photo Rolly took with his iPhone when we posed for him. Below is the photo he took of us from behind, both of which he was kind enough to forward to us.

It's SO good to know we're not the only ones photographing people from behind.

What we're wearing:

Jean is wearing a vintage plastic black and white gumball necklace; black and white polka dot metal earrings; Theory tee shirt; H&M tube skirt; TUK creepers; black leather zipper cross-body bag from a street vender (under $20); black plastic bracelet and watch from Canal Street.

Valerie is wearing a vintage Perry Ellis jacket (thrift shop), the Issey Miyake dress she coveted for a year and only bought a few weeks ago (for a very good price), and unlabeled shoes (consignment shop).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer in the City

We've been hard at work swanning about all summer, so we decided to take a little breather today, and are doing a short (but sweet!) post.

As Labor Day fast approaches, once again, we're wondering "Where did the summer go?" We continue to have lots of fun and the weather can be expected to stay hot and sunny for a while. But just like school children everywhere, we still get that "back-to-school" twinge as August threatens to stretch into September.(Do we ever outgrow our school year inner calendars?) When we were in Brooklyn for the Anna Piaggi picnic, Valerie couldn't resist perching on one of a line up of cement orbs. Jean imitates the expression of the image on a black and white poster under scaffolding outside La MaMa Theater in the East Village.

After one of our recent jaunts in Soho, we stopped into The Diner (yes, that's really its name) on the Bowery just north of The New Museum. It has lots of stainless steel, high ceilings, interesting photographs on the walls, good french fries and tasty cocktails. Great nostalgic kitschy look! Just wish we could remember exactly what we were having. It is a safe bet that Jean's drink contained tequila and Valerie's contained some bubbly.

Just had to share photos of Ariel Krupnick on St. Mark's Place! We met him at the Yayoi Kusama reception at The Whitney Museum. On this occasion, he was on his way to a dinner party, wearing a blue and white toile suit and tie with red and white toile shirt and jacket cuffs.

To accent the red cuffs, he had painted his finger nails fire engine red. And note the fab Miro umbrella.

He also painted red toe nails onto what looked like white canvas shoe coverings with individual outlines of toes sewn across the front. Needless to say, it is quite the look.

What we're wearing:

Jean is wearing: at La MaMa - Ignatius hat; Rick Owens tee shirt; asymmetrical swim coverup; H&M skirt; Made Her Think bag with chain and leather strap; TUK shoes; Illesteva Frida glasses; charm necklace; and vintage bakelite dice earrings and rings. at The Diner - Tibetan hat from Ruben Museum; Ciel black top; glasses, bag, earrings, necklace same as above.

Valerie is wearing: atop the stone orb - green straw doll's hat by Daniele Meucci, glass bead from the flea market, shirt by Peplum for Yoshiki Hishinuma, bustier by H&M, pants by Betsey Johnson, coiled snake shoes by Inspirit; at The Diner - vintage unlabeled crocheted raffia hat, vintage ceramic blue polka dot earrings (which recently met their demise when one fell and chipped [sigh...]), blue polka dot reading glasses from Reading Glasses Shopper, polka dot jacket by Ellen Tracy, white linen shirt by Allison Taylor; possibly not wearing anything under the table, but not sure.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Daily Planet

As tireless observers of life in the big city, we want to take this opportunity to share a selection of people and events, to give you a flavor of New York as seen through our eyes. Metropolis has something for everyone, regardless of your age!

Today's News:

Celebrity News:
Imagine our surprise at running into this wonderful Bette Midler impersonator, Donna Maxon, in the East Village recently.

The Style Section

Our model shows how to be superfashionable on a shoestring budget.

Zink magazine's September Fashion Issue features lots of photos of body harnesses, cages, and something called "leg suspenders", so this young lady is really on to something. (Discovered off Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.)

Talk about the Daily Planet! This fabulous sweater is by Iniy Sanchez. (Found while aimlessly surfing the web. Colors are slightly darkened to help bring out the nylon base.)

How did these 2011 Kenzo geta escape our notice until just now? Spotted on, as you can see. Anyone who knows how to get hold of the top two styles should contact us! (Oh, and ditto the sweater.)

Free the shoes!

The Design Section:

The trend in New York (and probably elsewhere) is to make your bicycle stand out by giving it unique wheels and tires. Your bike will look stunning, and will be so much easier to spot when it's stolen.

The posh Mark Hotel encourages its clientele to visit the city on its stylish black bikes with black and white striped basket liners.

The Science Section

Can you identify this flower? (We can't.) Its seeds look like snow pea pods.

Dragonfly beautifies New York City for a brief moment.

Have you ever wondered about the life cycle a cat's whisker? (Doesn't everyone?) Clementine has grown a single white whisker in her old age, so it was easy to measure. The first one fell out on October 11, 2011. The next one fell out on June 18, 2012. So about eight months. (We'll let you do the math. This is the science section.)

This looks to be along the lines of stuffing your hat with aluminum foil to prevent the CIA from reading your thoughts.

The Arts


On the street, for free, where anyone passing by can enjoy it. Anonymous.


We spotted this bare-chested man dancing on a Soho street corner wearing a huge ram's head. His movements were lyrical and panther-like. At first, we suspected an advertising ploy, but he appeared to simply be enjoying himself. Don't you just love how blase the New Yorkers are, just walking past him like it's nothing out of the ordinary?


This turned out to be an ad for a drug company, but we liked the theme, GET OLD, and we loved the picture.

Parade Calendar:

Even if you forget the exact date and even if you don't actually attend, it is hard not to take notice of the Gay Pride Parade. This pair was out and about in the late morning in the East Village, before heading to the West Side to join in the festivities.

And this just in: It's a small world!

Hope you liked this little peek at life in the big city from The Daily Planet. Stay tuned for future reports from the front lines!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meandering in the Meatpacking District

It was one of those days that was so mind-numbingly hot that we found ourselves having this dreaded conversation:

So.... What do you want to do?
I don't know. What do you want to do?

And what we really would have liked to do was visit Tomas Saraceno's new super fabulous construction Cloud City on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But when we read the pre-nup (aka the release form), it said something to the effect of "If you visit Cloud City on a very hot day, the Museum takes no responsibility if you melt into a pool of salted butter." Okay. Change o' plans.

Soooo, because we had a lovely birthday party to attend in the Meatpacking District that evening, we went a bit early. Faithful readers will remember that we had a great bird's eye view of the MPD during our visit to the Highline a few weeks ago. We decided to see what we could see at ground level.

We met at the Apple Store on 14th Street and 9th Avenue, that mecca of all things digital, arriving almost simultaneously (a great feat for us!). On our way there, each of us had also had the opportunity to photograph some wonderful silver-haired ladies to include in a future post, and couldn't wait to play Show and Tell when we met.

The trip to Apple is worth it just to see the marvelous winding glass staircase. (See below. Why couldn't they have engineered a transparent elevator smack in the middle of it? We could have gotten up to mischief for hours in that.)

While we were hatching our plan of attack for the neighborhood, we were approached by Edgar, who was just starting his own street fashion blog. When he asked to take our photo, we agreed - with our usual barter banter: "You can take our photo with your camera if you'll also take one with our camera." To see Edgar’s new blog, Street Level Culture (and to see us on it), click here.)

Before we left the Apple store, we couldn't resist ascending and descending the aforesaid wonderful spiral staircase. Don't the stripes in Jean's hat echo the spokes in the spiral staircase?

Standing on the first floor under Valerie (who was wearing a dress) while she took photos on the second floor, Jean has a new appreciation for the reasoning behind frosting the glass on the all of the floors and stairs. (Ahem!)

Valerie was struck by the row of round black seats surrounding a table on the second floor, and insisted on being photographed on one. The first take just didn't work at all. (We are discovering, by trial and error - lots of error - that sometimes what you think will be a great shot is surprisingly so-so.)

In chic and edgy Jeffrey's, at the end of the block, Jean met a jewelry designer who, it turned out, knew Valerie through mutual friends. Small world, n'est ce pas? Now it's smack-the-head time. We didn't write down her name, and she didn't have her card with her, and we're little old ladies, and... need we say more?

Here is a closeup of an armlet she designed. All her work is very powerful and very minimalist. Aaaannnnddd, when we remember her name and/or get a link to her website, we promise to update this post.

We walked East on 14th Street and wandered into Alexander McQueen where Jean swooned over his skull jewelry and into La Perla where Valerie swooned over Jean Paul Gaultier-designed lingerie. Valerie swooned again when she heard the price. (And that was the sale price!) Then we headed to Krizia to check out the interior. We met Patrick, who's the major domo of the establishment, as well as its buyer.

Jean casually mentioned that we were drawn in because we had been admiring the Andy Warhol picture of Mariuccia Mandelli, the founder of Krizia, from our Highline vantage point a few weeks earlier. She still had the pictures in her camera, and showed them to Patrick, who exclaimed upon seeing himself in the photo. We reprise it here for those of you who were away in Cape Cod that week, and had no access to the internet.

Patrick couldn't have been sweeter - showing us around the gorgeous space and giving us a short history of the clothing line, with which we were both intimately familiar.

Here he is, standing under one of the spectacular lighting fixtures by one of our favorite designers, lighting genius Ingo Maurer. We kept telling him he was in the "cone of silence".

Animal prints and imagery loom large in Krizia's fashion vocabulary. This shot (from shows two Krizia sweaters from 19981 (left) and 1992 (right). Krizia is also known for her amazing array of innovative fabrics - the kinds that give the Italian mills their peerless reputation.

We also met Enrico, who was as utterly charming as Patrick.

Mariuccia Mandelli founded Krizia in 1957 in Milan, Italy and designed women's and men's clothing, handbags, perfume and shoes.

We paused briefly for one more photo in front of the Warhols before venturing back out into the steamy streets.

We wandered past the Standard Hotel, onto a side street and into a fabulous little boutique called Honor that seemed like a private boudoir-cum-performance room, and then stopped by Ports, with wonderfully architectural clothes and a small terrarium-like garden smack in the middle of the room that looks up to its rooftop space.

Just as the heat threatened to get the better of us, it was time to make our way to 13th Street to the Asian fusion restaurant Spice Market, which features not only terrific cocktails, but also gorgeous, comfortable and quiet private party rooms off the main dining room downstairs. We attended a marvelous birthday party bash for our friend Shawn in the Bombay Room, one of the larger private rooms. Friends came from far (Florida) and wide (Boston) for the festivities.

It was Shawn's 40th. Ah! These youngsters!


The above shot from the restaurant's website gives you an idea of the gorgeous interior of the restaurant's main floor. Jean-George Vongerichten's paean to Southeast Asian cuisine includes custom made furniture interspersed with artifacts and exotica from India, Burma and Malaysia. Chef Anthony Ricco's menu is indescribably delicious and yes, the food is spicy.

Below, David, head to toe in Missoni, overlooks the large square at the center of the Meatpacking District.

What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing unlabeled vintage hat from Helen Uffner, unlabeled organza polyester jacket, metal earrings from the annual West 4th Street Block Association flea market, silver and onyx necklace from Mexico, Issey Miyake dress, matching metal cuffs from Matsuya Ginza, Melissa shoes designed by Gareth Pugh.

Jean is wearing a hat by Ignatius; t-shirt by Tahari; jumpsuit by Lilith; off-white leather bag with black polka dots (gift from Kim White in the 1980's); Underground creepers; and a variety of vintage bakelite and plastic cuffs, bangle bracelets and jewelry, including a vintage bakelite necklace; earrings (black rubber love knots) designed by Kirsten Hawthorne.