Georgia O'Keefe: Living Modern closes July 23rd.
In my early days as a fashion writer, the subject of personal style reigned supreme. Every publication I wrote for back then was on the hunt for the next red carpet style star, or the bona fide 'fashionista', eager to pinpoint her signature moves. As everything about celebrity became highly personal thanks to social media, and designers came to rely on influencers, I watched the quest for 'personal style' fade.
Some claim that personal style is dead. Others, from time to time, declare it revived. Both sides might be right, but, as far as fashion journalism goes, having it, owning it and celebrating it is just not that interesting anymore. And yet, the importance of style as a statement was shining ever so brightly at the two exhibitions I visited on my last trip to New York. They couldn't be more different, at first glance. yet had so much in common.
The first, Art of the In Between at the Metropolitan Museum, is dedicated to the craft of visionary designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. The second, at the Brooklyn Museum, is Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern, diving into the painter's wardrobe and taste. Both exhibitions were clearly destined to delight fashion addicts of all kinds. While the Met built impressive white installations to display Kawakubo's imaginative designs (plus those wigs!! perfection), and the Brooklyn museum displayed O'Keeffe's clothes in simple, straightforward quarters, the goal was achieved. But each experience hits your fashion palate differently, leaving strong flavors of individual style - and food for thoughts.
O'Keeffe would have never worn Kawakubo's exaggerated, curvy and bold dresses. Divided into simple dichotomies like High/Low and Life/Loss, the designer pieces at the Met are elaborate, sometimes grotesque, larger than life. "How could you sit in this?", quipped one jeans-wearing lady to her friends, as I stood behind them in front of one exhibit. It's very clear, however, how to sit, walk and lay down in O'Keeffe's simple linen gowns and sturdy jackets. She loved designers too, and commissioned the likes of Balenciaga and Chanel to create her simple wardrobe, but hers was a understated, stripped-down aesthetic, almost monastic and, smartly, totally ageless.
Inspirations may vary. Kawakubo, 74, is known for her keenness on privacy, and once said in a Vogue interview that "young people get satisfied too easily, they're too soft on themselves". She reported that, being hard on yourself, true inspiration is harder and harder to come by. O'Keeffe, who died at 99, famously bought her New Mexico home because of its black door - an element she fell in love with and immortalized in her paintings. Both women, seemingly polar opposites in their views of style and fashion, have had the same force moving them forward - their gut feeling. No one works with volume and lines like Kawakubo. No one wore black in the desert (or painted. Or behaved) like O'Keeffe. Visit their exhibition back to back, and you might just scratch the surface of what personal style is really about; an inevitable extension of the self no red carpet review or Instagram feed can capture.
Rei Kawakubo: Ar of the In Between closes September 4th.
Georgia O'Keefe: Living Modern closes July 23rd.
I first met Ksenia in Israel. We both were at a mutual friend's birthday party on the beach, and she stood out - a tall, beautiful girl from Moscow. We never met again, but our paths crossed professionally; after writing and editing for a Russian travel magazine, Ksenia, like many creatives, decided to embark on a tech adventure. She joined the team behind a new Russian-based travel app named Friendly Cities, where I later became the Bay Area editor. Then, by the force of Facebook, I found out she moved across the world, to South Africa of all places, and soon founded Gummie, a curated travel experienced website. Wait, what?
Summer, I think, is for European travel. Last year I visited Moscow, and this summer, flying out of Israel, I had a chance to spend three days in London with my mom - a girly getaway, much needed reconnecting time and best of all - no 'must see' or 'must to' bucket list items. Both of us had been to London before and took our sweet time doing absolutely nothing. Stylish, delicious, fun nothing. If you ask me, you truly start feeling at home in a city when you find a favorite neighborhood. East London is my favorite - Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Soho, were all walking distance this visit, and solidified this cozy feeling.
When I was little, a movies captured my imagination. It was The Road to Wellville (the irony of its name escaped me back than), an extremely funny and grotesque depiction of an old-timey, wonderful and slightly eccentric wellness resort, where people wore matching swimsuits and underwent rejuvenation 'procedures' in the hopes to get their mojo back (again, a notion I was unaware of at the age of 11). I couldn't ever imagine that, 20 years later, I'd spend a night at a place that will bring me back to Wellwille - in the best way possible.
When I was invited to check out the historic and wonderfully preserved Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga a month ago, I didn't know much about it, besides driving by its beautiful premises a couple of times. Upon arrival, though, it became clear - this is one of those resorts. It wraps you in a stylish time capsule, gives you a white cruiser bike, surrounds you with whiteness and tile and bathrobe softness, until you forget where you are and suddenly remember, ever so clearly, who you are, away from the everyday noise and worry. Let me demonstrate:
Back in December, amidst a very rainy holiday season, I was craving a romantic tropical vacation. Tanning and exploring instead of bundling up and enduring Christmastime music on the radio sounded pretty sweet, so I swapped my usual Israel-bound Hanukkah visit for our first ever South American trip.