|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.
One of the most resonating markers of the end of summer in Saratoga Springs is the conclusion of the racing season, this weekend, at the Saratoga Race Course. Now in its 151st year, this fantastic, historic track is the second oldest in the country. In the art and literary world, the Saratoga Race Course has been the setting in more than one work of fiction, and the artist Matthew Barney actually filmed part of Cremaster 3 at the track in 2002. We especially love to visit in the early morning, before the track opens, to watch the horses train. Really lovely. Until next summer…
Another favorite blog here at THE BATON is Mimi Thorisson’s Manger. If you love food (yes), all things French (indeed), and stunning photography (of course), you too should be reading Manger. I think it is best described as one big, gorgeous, glorious feast. Thorisson’s new book A Kitchen in France, A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse is due out on October 28 — no doubt just as splendid as the blog that inspired it.
A Kitchen in France, A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse by Mimi Thorisson (Clarkson Potter, 2014)
LOVING our new GoPro! Here is a glimpse from its unforgettable maiden voyage this week.
Among my favorite blogs of the moment is LA GARÇONNE, one of the most inspired out there. Each post is a thoughtfully curated gem, with a strong visual presence and few words. I love it. And I love La Garçonne’s online shop and their boutique on Greenwich Street, equally as inspired.
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.
One of our favorite daily reads here at THE BATON is Brandon Stanton’s blog, Humans of New York. It is the most poetic and beautiful celebration of the people of this great city. I just received a copy of his stunning book that includes photographs not seen on the blog. I simply cannot tear myself away from it. Indeed the perfect gift.
Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton (St. Martin’s Press, 2013)
|The final stretch of the 1975 Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées, Paris. Photograph www.letour.com
We are huge fans of the Tour de France, now in its 111th year, and are so excited for opening day on Saturday, July 5. At the start of the Tour, I always think about Louis Malle’s 1962 documentary short Vive le Tour and more recently, Jason Berry’s fantastic 2010 documentary Chasing Legends, both very much worth your time. The 2014 Tour de France culminates on July 27.
|Marja Helander, Buollánoaivi, 2001, from the series Modern Nomads.
Photograph on aluminum. The Sámi Collections.
Last week I went to see Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People, a fascinating installation at Scandinavia House. I must admit, prior to this show I really didn’t know anything about this indigenous group that inhabits parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, commonly known in the English language as Lapland. Sámi Stories presents a wonderful history of the people and examples of art and handwork by artists of Sámi descent. Highlights of the show for me were definitely the contemporary works. Photographs by Finnish artist Marja Helander and Norwegian artist Arvid Sveen, and a magnificent 78-foot-long embroidery on linen by Swedish artist Britta Marakatt-Labba.
If you’ve not been there, Scandinavia House is one very special place. Fantastic exhibitions, films and programming, a lovely Scandinavian cafe, and one of the best shops in the city.
Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People runs through August 23