Saturday, March 31, 2012

Men: How (& Why) to Find Your Inner Gaultier

Museum visitor fascinated by the projected face and
conversation between man and mirror.

At the Gaultier show, it's worth spending a few quiet moments watching and listening to this projected mannequin as he has a conversation with his reflection in the mirror. Is he a narcissist? Not any more than the rest of us. Who hasn't stood in front of the mirror and asked themselves how they looked, whether they looked tired, or was their outfit working? But this man is pushing the limit of what men normally wear. He has on a button-down shirt and tie, but wears a beautifully feathered lace corset and bustle over it. "I feel exposed" he tells his reflection. The reflection responds that man didn't always wear a suit and tie. In other centuries they wore ruffles, lace and skirts. "Garments don't have gender. Express yourself!" "Your image is a game, be fluid and free!" "Be yourself!" "You have a number of faces, just like a Picasso." After the words of encouragement, the man responds to his reflected image, "By, the way, you look very handsome." "So do you," the refection answers.

The Modern Man collection, 1996-1997
Lace corset bustier with cock feathers. 

The mirrored self-image that talks back.

Last Saturday when my friend Karen and I attended Gaultier's conversation with Suzy Menkes at the de Young,  Gaultier said he started doing men's clothes in the 80's because he was for the equality of the sexes. "It's an injustice, men's jackets have a pocket for the wallet because he pays. Stupid times, but the times were changing. Men were traumatized by an education trying to make them like John Wayne."

A masculine man pushing the traditional gender envelope by wearing items normally thought of as feminine can be extremely sexy. And it's not only JPG exploring this. Think about Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean with his ruffles, long hair, earrings and black eyeliner. Every woman I know think he's hot!

In the show's catalog, Florence Muller writes: "Beyond the shock waves sent out by this inversion of virility's status [when JPG showed men in skirts] it gave men a new right, the right to express their fragility, their power to seduce, their sensitivity. This was the advent of the couture man, whose wardrobe was enriched by soft, delicate, colorful materials possessing a refinement and variety lacking in the traditional three-piece suit." I concur.

The Modern Man collection, Men's pret-a-porter, 1996-1997.
Romantic brocade riding coat with black leatherette pants.
(Apologies for the blurry image! But it's such a dashing ensemble,
I had to include it. When I go back to the show I'll take a better one.) 

Gorgeously beaded.

Great pecs and lace, a sexy combo. 

Tight tattoo T and exotic jewelry.

Rock Stars collection, Men's pret-a-porter fall/winter 1987-1988

Tweed skirt and boxy leather jacket.
If you squint, it looks a little like a Chanel suit. 

Gaultier on the men's skirt: "My first skirt for men was constructed like a trouser: with two legs cut fairly wide and a panel of fabric covering them in front, like the aprons worn by waiters in Parisian bistros. Throughout history, many very virile men have worn skirts, from samurais to Scots, who have always worn kilts. I don't believe that fabrics have a gender, any more than certain garments do. I've always presented the skirt in a very masculine way, on the "manly" models wearing thick socks and heavy boots. That might explain why heterosexual men have taken to it more than homosexual men: they didn't have to prove their masculinity. That said, I could never have anticipated the effect my men's skirt would have on fashion...The men's skirt has nothing to do with drag." from The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, p. 214. 

Gaultier wore this himself!

The window of the men's suiGENERIS, a very cool San Francisco consignment shop in the Castro. The women's shop is a few doors down. I found a Gaultier charcoal grey pleated skirt (and a bunch of other great things) that I wore to the member's preview at the museum. More on this shop later. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Go Go Gaultier

Here's a quick peek at the Jean Paul Gaultier show that opens today at the de Young Museum, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. My friends Karen, Larry, hubby Matt and I attended the member's preview yesterday. The show is several large rooms filled with mannequins in his designs, many with faces digitally projected that moved and spoke. It was eerie and captivating, I felt they were looking and talking directly to me.  The show is overwhelming for one visit. We decided we needed to go back at least two times to take it all in. We also saw the American premiere showing of Jean Paul Gaultier ou les Codes Bouleverses, done by his longtime friend and model Farida Khelfa. She translated the title to Jean Paul Gaultier or How to Subvert Haute Couture. The documentary was elegantly done and Jean Paul sparkled with his charm, humor and warmth.

As soon as I can get my black cigarette pants and pointy boots on, I'm headed back to the Museum this morning to meet Karen and attend the conversation with Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune's fashion editor and Jean Paul. I'm not sure who I am more thrilled to see! More to come.

"Guadalupe" gown. Virgins (or Madonnas) collection
haute couture spring/summer 2007

Ex-voto gown. Virgins (or Madonnas) collection
haute couture spring/summer 2007

"Auerole" gown. Virgin (or Madonnas) collection,
haute couture spring/summer 2007.

Russia collection, haute couture fall/winter 1997-1998

Nana, Jean Paul's first teddy bear
wearing the first cone bra and his grandmother's make-up.

Above and below: Madonna's corsets from her
Blond Ambition World Tour 1990

Costume sketch from Madonna's
Blond Ambition World Tour, 1989-1990

On the right, Women Among Women collection,
Women's pret-a-porter fall/winter 1989-1990

From Gaultier's first show in 1977, raffia placemats!

"Moins que zero" ensemble,
haute couture fall/winter 2010-2011.

The Hussars collection, "La Mariee" wedding gown
haute couture fall/winter 2002-2003.

First collection, Women's pret-a-porter
spring/summer 1977

The Concierge is in the Staircase collection,
Women's pret-a-porter spring/summer 1988.

Buttons collection, "Passe-passe" suit,
haute couture spring/summer 2003

Buttons collection," La Dame aux boutons" dress,
haute couture spring/summer 2003.

French Cancan collection,
Women's pret-a-porter fall/winter 1991-1992.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Our Little Piece of Mexico

Early morning, my Tia and I in front of Casa Gil,
in Colonia San Antonio, Calle San Juan.

Once I start talking about San Miguel de Allende it's hard for me to stop. I've shared with you some of my favorite places but I couldn't say adios to my SMdeA series without sharing Casa Gil. This will be the last post about San Miguel -- until the next time! Casa Gil, named after hubby Matt's paternal side of his family from Andulacia, Spain, is the home we finished construction on four years ago. And it's a work in progress. Matt and I enjoy the design process and we don't get there as often or for as long as we would like, so we've convinced ourselves to relax into the fact that the casa will take some time to be "done". But we love watching the place evolve and hope our family, friends, friends of friends and renters that stay there do too.

The entry. Antique bench found in El Centro. 
Brand new shelf built by Matt. 

Behind the big brown door.
Matt working in the studio. It's a large high-ceilinged space
that's great for a designer or painter. 

Walking from the entry to the patio. We just got the chairs and the new patio table design is 
with Maestro Rodrigo (right around the corner) for fabrication. 

The dining room. I always wanted a reason to buy equipal chairs and table. 
And for between the palm and lamp, the hutch design on the way!

The kitchen. The tiles were made in SMdeA. 
The papier mache chickens on the top shelf were made by local artist Rosa. 

The living room. Sofa and chairs made by Grace's Sofas in El Centro.  

The Master Bedroom. I found that gorgeous gold-leafed tin heart
in the back of the tiniest stall in the Mercado Artesanias. Matt made the end tables. 

The bed frame was made in the neighborhood.

The master bathroom. The light fixtures,
mirrors and glassware from the Mercado Artesanias. 

The upstairs guest room.  Art for the walls to come!

The upstairs guest bathroom. The green is integrated in the concrete, 
called a pullido finish. A little more dramatic than expected, but why not?

The upstairs terrace with spiral stairs to the roof. 

The view from the roof. And as they famously say,
 "You can see the Parroquia from here!" 

Another part of the view. 
It's very nice at night sitting on the roof with a glass of wine. 

I was charmed by some tiles I had seen with paw prints in them. I learned that when the tiles are made they're put in the sun to dry and dogs, cats and roosters often walk across them leaving their prints. And they're thought to be good luck. I mentioned to our builder that I liked them and now we have them all over the casa. Many more than I expected, and some with unidentifiable large claw prints (pterodactyl?), but it's another one of those unique things that I love about our casa and Mexico. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

San Miguel de Allende, Part Tres

Call me Gringa Loca, and I'm sure some people do, but on my visits to San Miguel de Allende I go to the Artisans Market nearly everyday. There is usually something I need for our casa or for gifts or just because it caught my eye. Under this curved metal roof and through this handmade stone arch is a treasure chest of wonders to outfit yourself, your home and your friends and family. Need a beautiful hand crafted hanging star light (a specialty of San Miguel)? You'll find them here in all sizes, finishes, encrusted with colored marbles or not. Need an amazing hand embroidered Otomi textile? There's a number of stalls that sell all colors and sizes for your bed, table or wall. Would you like cheery brightly colored straw placemats to impress your brunch guests? Buy 'em here by the dozen. Enough handblown margarita glasses to serve everyone you know? They got 'em. Or how about charming and very affordable Mexican pottery? Not to mention shining Mexican silver earrings, necklaces, bracelets, belts and intricately beaded Huichol Indian items. See? I get a little beside myself just thinking about it.

And there are a few things you might need that you never thought you needed. How can you resist a dress or handbag made of crocheted pop tops?

Incredible accessories and wearables made right here,
all from pop tops. 

I bought a bracelet, but I'm fascinated by this outfit!

No visit to the Mercado de Artesanias is complete without stopping by Senor Jose's small but extremely productive table. Give him any name or phrase and using a jeweler's saw he hand cuts and notches brass flat bar creating personalized key chains. He's been at this spot in the market for over eleven years. I've gotten numerous key chains from him for myself and as gifts.  

Here's a couple of the key chains I've gotten from Senor Jose. They all have that 70's hip "Keep on Truckin'" type style. 

Once you've completed your shopping for the day at the Artisan's Market, and still have room in your bolsa (if not, you can always buy another one!), Chaskis is near the market and always surprises with a great cotton embroidered top, scarf or panama hat. No faux in this boho. 

At this point, I've got so many purchases I'm looking like I need a burro or that I am a burro, but there's always one more alluring shop. The colorful logo and fluttering ribbons beckon to enter. And I can't resist. Mixta is a sophisticated mix of art and kitsch. 

So many artisans, shops and boutiques -- this is just a taste. When they say "Comprar sin Parar" ("Shop 'til you drop") in San Miguel, it's serious.

The terrace at La Azotea, right before opening for the evening.

Fortunately, there are many fabulous bars like this one, La Azotea, where we refresh ourselves with "two for the price of one" Negronis after a big shopping day. Even the cafe at the Biblioteca serves margaritas. You gotta love a library that serves cocktails. And you gotta love a town with endless creative shopping possibilities.