Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dress of the Day / February 22, 2012

My pick for today was inspired by Katharine Marris, my former history student at Moore College of Art and Design. Katharine told me she suspected I'd love Zac Posen's Resort 2012 collection, and she was right! Those of you who follow my blog note a definite bias toward fashion pre-1960. One of the things I love about Posen's designs is his obvious knowledge of and interest in the fashion of earlier eras. His clothes are modern and classic, with a high quotient of glamour. Posen said about this collection: "It's about how to be dressed up and poised, but still cool."

I selected a few of my favorite looks from Resort 2012. The model is Coca Rocha. To see all 33 looks, click here.

The two most prominent silhouettes in the collection are the structured jacket and the mermaid skirt. Here they look boldly feminine together.

The extended shoulders and nipped waists on the jackets remind me of the 1940s, one of my favorite fashion periods. Add a peplum, and I'm gleeful.

This white dress also evokes the 1940s, its crisp lines and detail at the shoulders and neckline give it interest as well as simplicity.

Here are two dazzling mermaid dresses. The first is flamenco-like, the ruffles of the sleeves balanced by those on the skirt, the sheer insets at the sides help the crisscross front streamline the entire look.

This vermillion gown is a pièce de résistance in 720 hand-dyed yards.

I love how Posen can combine the most extravagant styles with the simplest in the same collection and make them feel part of an organic whole. Here, a classic trenchcoat looks dressy and elegant.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dress of the Day - February 20, 2012

Today's dress is a sequel to yesterday's, as it is also inspired by the Opera Company of Philadelphia's production of Mozart's opera "Abduction from the Seraglio" I saw yesterday. This opera, which tells the tale of Europeans held captive by a Turkish pasha, is a vivid example of 18th-century musical orientalism, with Mozart's evocation of the music of the Turkish janissary bands. The alla turca style was not closely related to actual Turkish music; it was more like an imagined version of this exotic style. Its hallmarks were march tempi, percussion instruments such as triangle, cymbal, and bass drum, and often the keys of C Major or A Minor.

In the OCP production, one of the main costumes for Konstanze, by designer Guia Buzzi, reminded me of the "lampshade dress," a famous look by the great French couturier Paul Poiret. He revolutionized fashion in the early part of the 20th century by freeing women from the confines (and corsets) of the Belle Époque. Captivated by images of the Orient after seeing Rimsky-Korsakov's Schéhérazade at the Ballets Russes in 1910, Poiret created looks inspired by the Near East, such as "lampshade" tunics and "harem" pants. Here are two examples of this striking look, one from the Victoria & Albert Museum and one in a drawing by George Lepape from the Gazette du Bon Ton. Note the use of exotic headgear, turbans and a band wrapped across the forehead, as well as necklaces and the risqué, transparent bodice in the drawing. The second example also shows Poiret's "hobble skirt," a narrow silhouette that made walking difficult.

Paul Poiret (1912)
Lampshade dress
Victoria & Albert Museum

Paul Poiret (1914)
Le Collier Nouveau evening gown
Georges Lepape, Gazette du Bon Ton

Dress of the Day 2-19-2012

I'm back with "Dress of the Day": Madeleine Vionnet (1922). Famous dancer Irene Castle wears draped Vionnet gown complete with foliage theme, jeweled tiara, long strands of pearls, and extravagant ostrich plume fan. Why did I think of this look today? I'm about to see Opera Company of Philadelphia's production of Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" and think this exotic number would be perfect for enjoying this Turkish-themed opera. Not exactly practical...but should fashion always, or ever, be practical?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rehearsal video - Vivaldi Piccolo Concerto

Here's a video clip of me rehearsing Vivaldi's Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra in C Major, RV 443 with Spartanburg Philharmonic and conductor Sarah Ioannides, a few days ago in South Carolina.

It was fantastic getting to work with Sarah again. We were friends and made a lot of music together when we were students at the Curtis Institute of Music. She's a wonderful musician who combines great skills as a conductor with fine leadership of the orchestra.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hello my friends!
Clearly I haven't been a very active blogger these past few months. I've been extremely busy playing concerts, practicing, rehearsing, teaching, and generally furthering the cause of Dolce Suono Ensemble. But I still make time to be a consumer of culture as well as a producer of it and will be sharing news as it comes up. I read a very interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday with a forecast for fall colors in fashion. The Pantone company evaluates orders and collects data from designers to predict the most popular colors in wardrobes this fall. Here are the findings, with descriptions by Pantone's Leatrice Eiseman. Notice how the "women only" colors are slightly punchier or warmer versions of the "men only" colors.