Go See: Picasso and Chicago

Picasso's Nude Under a Pine Tree, Cannes or Vauvenargues, 1959, oil on canvas
“Nude Under a Pine Tree,” 1959, oil on canvas

ONLY SIX DAYS LEFT!  Run to The Art Institute of Chicago to catch “Picasso and Chicago,” an expansive exhibit that explores the integral relationships Picasso had with both the city of Chicago and the AIC.  Having interned in the museum education department during college (giving tours to school groups), I was aware of Picasso’s strong presence at the Art Institute, but did not understand the depth and breadth of their affiliation until I viewed this fascinating show last week.

"Bust of a Woman (Fernande)," 1909, bronze
“Bust of a Woman (Fernande),” 1909, bronze

From the Art Institute’s site:

A century ago, in 1913, the Art Institute of Chicago became the first art museum in the country to present the work of a young Spaniard who would become the preeminent artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso. This February the museum celebrates the special 100-year relationship between Picasso and Chicago by bringing together over 250 of the finest examples of the artist’s paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and ceramics from private collections in the city, as well as from the museum’s collection, for the first large-scale Picasso exhibition organized by the museum in almost 30 years.

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The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 South Michigan Avenue

Open everyday from 10:30-5pm, Thursdays open until 8pm

Picasso and Chicago closes on May 12th

Anxiously Awaiting Spring

A detail from Cornelis van Spaendonck’s Vase of Flowers on a Stone Table with a Nest and a Greenfinch, 1789. The Louvre

I am desperately craving everything spring.  Crocuses.  Tulips.  Daffodils.  Longer days.  Cool breezes.  Light layers.  Skin-warming sunshine.  Open windows.  Digging in the dirt.  GreenI want green.

Daffodils exploding on Martha Stewart’s Bedford Farm

Is anyone else sick to death of wearing heavy knits and of boots as the only option for your feet?  Sadly, it is going to be awhile before we can pack them away here on the Third Coast (the Weather Channel is pushing a winter weather advisory as I type), but there are ways to bring elements of spring into our lives and wardrobes now.

Pale pink hyacinth.
Pale pink hyacinth.

A high impact/low cost must is to grab a bunch of spring flowers from the market.  I bought the above bouquet at Trader Joe’s for a mere six dollars.  The fragrance was amazing and they lasted for an entire week!

The next easy way to get a spring fix is to inject color into your wardrobe.  Almost every shade of colored denim (above pair available here) looks fabulous with grey, black, or winter white, so wear your spring hued jeans with a chunky neutral sweater (don’t you think the above outfit is crying for an oversized grey cardigan?) and throw on a pair of ankle boots.  Done.  I’d add a messy updo and a thick chain link bracelet but that’s just me.

Bold black and white was a heavy hitter on the Spring 2013 runways.  This body skimming number (here) is a great transitional piece.  Wear it now with tights, booties and a jacket, then bare your arms and legs as the mercury rises.

This soft and flowy iris print blouse (available here) will look perfect peeking out from under a blazer and paired with rolled up boyfriend jeans.

I was thrilled to see ultra-feminine lace return as a spring trend.  This dress (available here) would look chic with a loose blazer or a hip length jacket now.

Spring stripes and pastel button downs are a breath of fresh air for men and women.  This cotton cashmere sweater (available here) will transition beautifully through the next three seasons.

I’m crazy over this silk tie with its pale pink back ground and graphic chain-link print (available here).  Justify it as an Easter Sunday splurge and wear it all spring and summer.

Let’s ignore the fact that the above model looks like an extra from Less Than Zero and focus on the fabulous floral prints from the Prabal Gurung for Target collection.  Run, don’t walk – it’s flying off the shelves (see the entire lookbook here).  If you’re on the fence about investing in florals, this ultra-reasonable line would be a good place to start.

J. Crew’s spring collaboration with Liberty of London showcases the latter company’s famous floral prints on everything from the above collared shirt to shoes, pajamas, swimsuits and pocket mirrors.

A spring inspired pedicure will make you smile every time you glimpse your toes.  Mint green polish (above available here) is on every beauty editor’s hit list for spring, but I say choose whatever cotton candy color makes you happiest.

My daughter has this light purple on her fingers right now and I am a little jealous.  Must copy.

Uniqlo is finally available online, and this ultralight down jacket (available in several colors here) is a steal at $69.90.

Leather is another huge trend this spring, and this muted metallic cap-sleeved top from Skaist Taylor (available here), while definitely not a steal, would be a fabulous layering piece now and an absolute stand out when the weather breaks.  It truly makes me weak in the knees.

So from now until sunshine coaxes the first crocuses through the snow, I will plan my gardens (finally getting to the landscaping this year), watch spring training games on mlb.tv (the Cubs, of course) and shop like it’s already here.  You?

Image one via The Louvre, image two via The Martha Blog, last image via The Gifts of Life Tumblr.

Valentine Hints

Pink Valentine

“…the next thing I knew, I was kissing her all over – anywhere – her eyes, her nose, her forehead, her eyebrows and all, her ears – her whole face…” – Holden Caulfield

I haven’t exactly been in a sweet sort of mood, though if anything on this list were to come my way, I certainly wouldn’t refuse it.  Especially the Rothko.  But considering his Orange, Red, Yellow recently sold at auction for $87 million, I’d settle for a museum date and a bunch of luscious peonies.

Kimono Robe
$40 – ae.com

Fleur of England Bow Bikini
$180 – journelle.com

Fleur of England Plunge Bra
$145 – journelle.com

Bottega Veneta Perfume
$120 – harveynichols.com

Diptyque ‘Feu De Bois’ Candle
$90 – nordstrom.com

Mark Rothko’s Red and Pink on Pink, circa 1953

Coral Pink Peonies

The Adventures of Alice

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

This weekend, while watching Alice in Wonderland with my daughter, I was reminded of what is perhaps my favorite fashion editorial of all time.  World-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz shot Natalia Vodianova as the inimitable Alice for the December 2003 issue of Vogue.  Several of the world’s top designers dressed Vodianova in their Alice inspired creations for this spread.  The icing on the (tea)cake was that each designer was photographed with her, posing as characters from the famous Lewis Carroll novel.

Down the rabbit hole with Tom Ford, above.  In the first image, Vodianova wears a cobalt blue dress by Helmut Lang, who looks on from the hanging portrait.

Vodianova on the mantel in Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere.

Lost in the woods with, and wearing, Marc Jacobs.

In Dior Haute Couture with John Galliano.

Rochas by Olivier Theyskens.

In Chanel Haute Couture, with Karl Lagerfeld.

Viktor and Rolf, dressed as Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

Jean Paul Gaultier as the Cheshire cat.  Vodianova wears a Gaultier Paris gown.

The fantasy frock created by Christian Lacroix.

Vodianova wears Atelier Versace, with Donatella Versace.

All images from Vogue, December 2003.

New York Revisited

Let us go back to New York and revisit three favorite experiences (after Freemans, of course):

The famous French macaron shop, Laduree (see above). Located on Madison Avenue between 70th and 71st streets, Laduree’s only shop stateside is as beautiful and sweet as the amazing confections it sells.  My first impulse was take one of each (there must have been 25!) but I chose Salted Caramel, Pistachio, and Cassis Violette (a jammy blackcurrant).  I have had many macarons in my life as they are among my favorite sweets, and Laduree’s live up to their reputation as the best of the best.

Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid (1666-1667)

Turner’s Fishing Boats Entering Calais Harbor c.1803

Mere steps from Laduree, the incomparable Frick Collection.  Built in 1913, the neoclassical mansion was designed to house American Industrialist Henry Clay Frick’s collection of paintings, sculpture, furniture, and decorative arts.  Viewing the steel magnate’s breathtaking collection in such an intimate setting was a rare and moving experience.

And finally, Saturday afternoon with a college friend brunching at DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Daniel Bouloud’s casual space in the East Village.  After catching up over Bloodys and omelets (with a side of their famous house made sausage), we worked off the calories perusing the fabulous shops in SoHo.  Kirna Zabete may be my new kryptonite!

New York State of Mind

As the sun rises over Chicago, I will be off to New York with a great friend for the weekend.  I’ve packed.  Repacked.  Edited the repack (what is it about New York that turns me into a complete style schizophrenic?).  The plan is to soak up as much art as possible – we met as museum education interns at the Art Institute of Chicago, after all.

Everything at The Frick: http://www.frick.org

Unusual and fascinating at Marlborough Gallery:http://www.marlboroughgallery.com/exhibitions/le-cabinet-de-curiosits

Wild and amazing at Luxembourg & Dayan:

http://nymag.com/listings/art/grisaille/

Last but not least, I cannot wait to see this in all its new glory:

http://www.metmuseum.org/en/collections/new-installations/american-wing

And in between, there will be new restaurants to enjoy, drinks at a favorite spot or two, lunch with a college friend, and hopefully a run through Central Park!