Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wunderkind - Proenza Schouler

“What’s subversive and young and cool now is to be old again - it’s anti-anti” -Lazaro Hernandez

The fierce fashion duo Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough created their formidable house Proenza Schouler in 2002 as a thesis project while studying at Parsons School of Design. The collection immediately catapulted them into star status when it was quickly purchased by the powers that be at Barney’s. The team perpetually sent parades of models swaddled in sporty, youthful, 80’s inspired attire sauntering down the runway. And have, in a relatively short period of time, become one of today’s most influential designers. Now, the boys decided to stretch their design wings a bit by introducing a collection of textiles for archetypal interiors powerhouse Knoll. The collection reflects the designers idea of “Nonchalant luxury” by combining simple neutrals with dramatic colors.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stormy Weather

A bit of a conflicting post, I'll be the first to admit that, but this oddly rainy season has inspired todays post in two directions; sight and sound.  For your listening pleasure a haunting rendition of the classic Stormy Weather performed by the wildly talented Martha Wainwright.  And, for your viewing pleasure (not that the video of Martha isn't enough) a few umbrella art installations.  So, without further ado...

Images 1 & 5 - Abri No. 177 by OzCollective
Image 2 - Cumulous Light Canopy by Steven Haulenbeek
Image 3 - Bloom by Sam Spencer
Image 4 - Umbrella Installation by Ingo Maurer
Images 6 & 7 - Unknown

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shop Talk

Like most working Americans I hustle through the work week in anticipation of the freeness of yet another weekend. Once they arrive, in all their glory, it seems almost inevitable that they dissipate far too quickly. I try in vain to savor every little minute of the brief 48 hours work release, but find myself slipping easily into the standard weekend comforts of which I've grown accustom -brunch, booze, and shopping (in no particular order, and sometimes all at the same time!).

There are three shops in DC that I jones for weekly; Good Wood, Ruff & Reddy, and Miss. Pixie's. If I haven't had the opportunity to patronize these haute haunts by mid-afternoon Saturday, the design junky shakes are inexorable.

The following pictures are from last weekend. Follow Louie and I on a little virtual shopping adventure!

First stop: Good Wood! www.goodwoodDC.com
Proprietor and proprietoress Dan and Anna Kahoe masterfully amass the cities most modern, relevant, witty, and approachable antiques. This shop is always beautifully well appointed and the product assortment changes often -- so, be sure to check it out each week! Oh, and Louie wanted me to add that they also provide yummy doggie treats! I'm sure that my life would be infinitely more satisfying if I had this lovely dolphin lamp!

Next stop: Ruff & Reddy 1908 14th Street NW
Named after Hanna Barbera characters from the 1950's, Bill Troy's Ruff & Reddy is a veritable design junkies dream! There are many treasures to be found, if one has the patience to deal with the crowd. The more often you go, the easier it is to navigate in and out quickly. Trust me, it is well worth the temporary inconvenience of dealing with the close quarters when you walk away with a fantastic new addition to your home at a ridiculously economical price!

This desk is beautiful -the hardware, legs, leather top!!! With a little love this could make for a very smart work space!
OH, if I had a dressing room I would have snagged this victorian gem in a second!!

And, lastly: Miss Pixie's www.MissPixies.com
Shop owner Pixie Windsor (what a flippin' awesome name!) offers a great selection of quirky effects and wacky paraphernalia. She also uses her store as a launch board for local artists -great idea!
I'm absolutely mad about this corner pagoda style etagere!

***photo at the top of the post is of a great little mannequin available at Miss Pixie's***

Thanks for joining us on this little simulated shopping trip. Now, I'm off for the real thing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Art and Money; or, The Story of the Room"

Deep within the formulated beauty of the Freer Gallery of Art one gets a glimpse of an almost overwhelmingly stunning display of richness, The Peacock Room. 

Designed in 1876 by architect Thomas Jeckyll for wealthy London gent Frederick R. Leyland, the room served two purposes 1.) a place in which Leyland could entertain, and 2.),possibly most importantly, to display a carefully crafted collection of priceless Chinese porcelain. An elaborate network of shelving was designed to best highlight said impressive collection.

James McNeil Whistler was then commissioned to provide a work of art to serve as a focal point above the fireplace. Understanding the importance of the porcelain collection, which Whistler’s benefactor had amassed so thoughtfully, and perhaps because he was paid to do so, Whistler created “Lo Princess du Pays la Porcelaine” to proudly occupy the valuable space above the fireplace.

After his work was complete, Whistler was then brought in to act as a consultant for the finishing touches to the room’s decor. And, provide finishing touches he did!

The ceiling was guilded with a paint technique designed to emulate a peacocks feathers. Whistler didn’t stop there, although he was supposed to. He was so proud of his work, and insistent on self promoting, that he decided to start receiving company and lavishly entertaining in Leyland’s dining room sans permission. Once news had reached Whistler’s benefactor of his behavior he immediately requested that Whistler cease any further work. Upset at Leyland’s reaction Whistler released his emotion in the only way in which he knew how -he painted. He covered the expensive leather upholstered wall panels in Persian-blue paint, and decorated the wall opposite the fireplace with a scene of dueling peacocks.

One bird is believed to represent Leyland and his overbearing and controlling ways, while the other the docile and innocent Whistler.

After Leyland passed away the room was purchased from his London home by Charles Lang Freer to be disassembled, shipped, and reassembled in Freer’s Detroit home where it, I’m sure, acted as a chic backdrop for many nights of entertainment. Following Freer’s death, the room was again disassembled, shipped, and reassembled in Freer’s newly constructed art gallery in Washington, DC where still it rests quietly as if anticipated its next great move.

For further reading: The Peacock Room A Cultural Biography by Linda Merrill