Sometimes you must make a journey to find the best art and fashion. My annual pilgrimage to San Francisco proved fruitful on both accounts, although I still had one leg of the journey left to go: the trek from South of Market all the way across the city to the elusive and exclusive De Young Legion Of Honor. The High Style exhibit was the intising glitter that made the 35min cab ride worth it.
It really was worth it!
The setting and the museum itself were transportive. The European style colonnades that sat high on a golf course hill with a 360 degree view of the city, ocean, the bay and Golden Gate Bridge. I already felt high and stylish.
A thoughtful Rodin (the largest collection outside of his Paris Museum) greeted me at the entry way to this jewelry box of a building.
I proceeded to to the down stairs to the elegant and dimly lit special exhibit where Charels James was posed at the threshold.
The collection was amazing, a little 1920 Liberty of London, a little Dior some American designers, a lot of Charels James who was a remarkable craftsman. Seen his intince stuctures deconstructed was truly enlightening, His architectural ball gowns x-rayed and reconstructed via video. A genius, master of material and body transformation. I am positive that wearing one of his dresses would have been like wearing a custom fitted sculpture.
However, even amongst all of the my favorite pieces in the collection were by the amazingly eccentric (pause for Shocking Pink) !!! Elsa Schiaparelli!!!
This could have been due to my latest book find; Schiaparellii and Prada: Impossible Conversations by Andrew Bolton (more on that to come). What struck me in the moment was a revelation so simple yet so amazing: Schiaparelli's vision was so advanced it transcends all time and fashion norms. The way she designed and presented fashion was not only for the MODERN WOMAN of the 1940's and 1950's but beyond, to arrive in 2015 looking completely striking and completely on trend. Her ideas of utility and whimsical surrealism were are so clever that she was a sensation in her own time and still an innovative today.
What I saw was an array of playful prints paying homage to insects, the coining her signature color (the shocking Pink) on a black beaded bolero, and the well placed sequins on the astrology coat. This coat must have been made for a hot blonde to hit the club scene in a la 2015.
The most simple and clearly innovative was the use of utility zippers as accents on the sleeves of a Green Agate print dress. Remember in the early 2000s when an exposed zipper on the back of a dress was the most IN thing! Well, this divine sheathe, with shots of gold thread in the fabric designed specifically by Schiaparelli herself, was revolutionary all the way back in 1937. Given less rigorous security, I would have worn this dress out the door!