The Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris’s newest museum of contemporary art, finally opened yesterday to the public. Designed by Frank Gehry and over 12 years in the making, the Fondation Louis Vuitton resides at the edge of the Jardin d’Acclimation in the Bois de Boulogne. Assuming the form of a massive vessel, the structure is made of 3,600 glass panels creating 12 sails. And although the design is fully of this century, the tremendous use of glass is a very intentional nod to late 19th-century garden architecture (think Grand Palais). The glass is also, quite clearly, in reverence for the natural beauty that surrounds it. Its inaugural event was rightly Nicolas Ghesquière’s presentation of the Louis Vuitton Spring 2015 collection during Paris Fashion Week. Opening programs include an exhibition of Gehry’s designs (sketches, models) for the Fondation and the construction of the building itself, a selection of works from the FLV collection, and a stellar series of concerts and live performance. Fingers crossed I’ll get there in 2015…


One of the most inspired exhibitions we’ve seen so far this fall is Dance & Fashion at the FIT Museum, quite superbly curated. It was lovely to see at close range costumes from some our favorite ballets, those of very recent years and also those from as far back as the early 19th century. It was also fantastic to learn of the work of designers I had no idea designed for dance such as Gianni Versace and quite thrilling to see iconic costumes like those worn by Martha Graham and Judith Jamieson. And it was such a treat to watch once more David Michalek’s Slow Dancing film featuring his wife Wendy Whelan that was part of the Dries Van Noten exhibition in Paris earlier this year. The catalog is well worth your time, and I imagine the two-day Dance & Fashion symposium on October 23 and 24 will be too.

Dance & Fashion will be on view through January 3     


Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Blue Nude II (Nu bleu II), spring 1952, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on paper, mounted on canvas. Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Purchase, 1984. 

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs has finally arrived at the Museum of Modern Art, from its first stop in London, at the Tate Modern. This show is monumental and quite significant, focusing solely on the last decade or so of Matisse’s life, spanning the 1940s and 50s. The large scale of many of these works is striking, as are the tremendous color relationships. Not to mention the genius technique itself. I’m still thinking about those pieces on view that retain the original pins or tacks placed by the artist himself or according to his direction. I also loved seeing The Swimming Pool (La Piscine) again, this time after a meticulous six-year conservation that actually initiated the idea for this exhibition. This massive work, nearly 54 feet in total length, was originally placed in Matisse’s dining room in Nice and has not been on view for more than 20 years.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs is on view through February 8, 2015   


Coco Chanel’s original “Maltese Cross” cuffs designed by Duke Fulco di Verdura circa 1930

A wonderfully special exhibition opened today, The Power of Style: Verdura at 75. This retrospective of master jeweler Duke Fulco di Verdura (1898-1978) features over 150 jewels designed and created by Verdura himself as well as his objets d’art, photographs, gouache jewelry designs and archival materials. Curated by Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, who were personal friends of the jeweler, and their daughter Patricia Lansing, The Power of Style celebrates the 75th anniversary of Verdura on Fifth Avenue. Duke Fulco di Verdura, an Italian aristocrat, began his career at Chanel in 1927 after being introduced to the fashion designer by mutual friends Linda and Cole Porter. In 1934, Verdura left Chanel for Hollywood and later New York where he established his own brand in 1939. Over the course of his nearly fifty-year career, he built a notable clientele that included Diana Vreeland, Joan Fontaine, Babe Paley, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Millicent Rogers and Greta Garbo, and became one of the most important and influential jewelers of the 20th century.

The Power of Style: Verdura at 75 is on view through December 23 at 745 Fifth Avenue, 12th Floor, in gallery space adjacent to the Verdura flagship store



This past weekend Yaddo, the hallowed and very private artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, opened its doors to the public for only the sixth time in its 114-year history. Situated on 400 acres of stunning wooded property, Yaddo has hosted (and continues to do so) well over 5,000 artists, across five disciplines, in stays that range from two to eight weeks. Yaddo’s roster of celebrated guests includes Leonard Bernstein, Louise Bourgeois, Truman Capote, Noah Baumbach, Sylvia Plath, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Langston Hughes and Aaron Copeland. There is something so tremendously inspiring about this place, we felt it all around us. Among the countless standouts we’re still thinking about are the lovely cocktail room, the communal dining room and the magnificent Tiffany & Company fireplace in the 19th-century art-filled mansion. A glass mosaic frontispiece depicting a phoenix rising out of fire and ember, illuminated by the glow of the actual fire behind it. We can only imagine how breathtaking it is when in use. We’re also still thinking about Katrina Trask, a poet in her own right and the founding patron of Yaddo, and a true romantic and visionary. It was she who envisioned this haven where artists could create freely and without interruption, this haven that has made such a profound impact on the development of the arts in this country. And no less important, we learned that white was her personal color, which she wore exclusively, and love was her chosen emotion. LOVE.        


Irving Sandler: Out of Tenth Street Into the Sixties, a most fascinating exhibition that just opened at the Loretta Howard Gallery, 525-531 West 26th Street, NYC. Curated by the celebrated art historian and critic Irving Sandler, this show offers an insider view on the shift away from Abstract Expressionism in American art from the mid 1950s into the early 1960s. On view until October 11.


Garry Winogrand (1928-1984), New York, 1965

One of the best exhibitions I have seen this summer is Garry Winogrand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Winogrand, one of the most important and prolific American photographers of the 20th century, created hundreds of thousands of images in his relatively short career. This installation contains some 175 photographs, a number of which have not been previously seen, even by Winogrand himself. My favorite images are those that document Manhattan in the 1950s and 60s, for me two of the most compelling decades in the history of this city.

Garry Winogrand runs through September 21.


Charles James with Model, 1948. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Cecil Beaton, Beaton/Vogue/Condé Nast Archive. Copyright © Condé Nast

A few weeks ago we finally went to see Charles James: Beyond Fashion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The gowns are of course gorgeous, and their construction phenomenal, and truly unparalleled. But what I love most are his dresses, suits and coats. Each completely stunning. In fact James himself stated, “You should know my most important contribution was always in tailoring; coats, jackets, wool dresses…so few of which went into the magazines.” And the exhibition catalog is a beauty.

Charles James: Beyond Fashion is on view through August 10.