Bridges of Madison Avenue, a brief but passionate affair with my credit card
Madison Avenue is to fashion what Amadei is to chocolate, the crème de la crème. Here you will find the floating hangers of Emanual Ungarowhere a skirt goes for $2000 a piece or the original bandage dress byHerve Leger– made famous by our very own Ms Priyanka Chopra. This French fashion house would be considered quite the filly in comparison to the rest of the French stable and was started by Hervé L. Leroux in 1985. While the house was always known by its signature clothes that were made from foundation garments, its recent success is due to a complete rehaul by its new owner BCBG Max Azria. An old mummy in new bandages, one might say. I find the dresses in themselves are heavy but made for our curvy Indian figures. After the liquid silk of Ungaro, this seems hard and structured and more like body armor- the perfect weapon to rein in that extra thigh. Another filly in the world of fashion is the new shoe czar,Guiseppe Zanotti. This Italian shoe maker boasts the highest level of craftsmanship that results in stunning feet jewellery. A particularly macabre take was the skeleton of a fish encrusted with crystals that found its way onto Samantha’s feet in Sex and the City – the movie. After all she had to match her shoes to her sushi!
As you walk down Madison Avenue, and the street numbers keep increasing, you also find yourself moving away from the tourists. The shops become boutiques and luxury becomes the standard for everything from bed-linen to sunglasses. Be sure to stop at Tom Ford for your eyes, PETA’s pet peev- Dennis Basso for all things fur, Pratesi for your home and Sonia Rykiel for iconic Parisian knits for those Delhi winters. It’s not all bank account purgatory though as the odd luxury outlet store like Intermix can loosen that financial corset a tad and give you an all access pass to trendy designers like Mellisa Obadash, Carlos Falchi and Zac Posen.
If you’re like me and are keeping that credit card zipped up you should find yourself at Christian Louboutin in about a couple of hours. If you want to linger before our next stop, there’s no place better than Calypso, that haven of resort wear. Otherwise, hail a cab and head straight to our destination for the day – The MET Museum.
Fashion imitates Art imitates Fashion
You might wonder why the Metropolitan Museum. What does that have anything to do with fashion? I used to ask myself the same thing every time I saw E – Entertainment cover the annual MET gala and interview Madonna on why she was dressed like the white rabbit from Louis Vuitton’s version of Alice in wonderland. I was fortunate enough to find the answer when I had visited the MET last July to be first in line to witness the museum showing off its extensive Picasso collection. Once I had finished taking in the paintings from his blue period- my favorite, I came upon an exhibition: American Woman- Fashioning a National Identity. Inside was a veritable treasure chest of costume clothing designed to take us through 1890- to 1940 as the American woman evolved in both her sense of fashion and herself. This was the first costume institute exhibition of the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.
Here was the heiress in Charles Fredirick Worth, the French born designer who was
the darling of the Hamptons. The clothes remind me of images of our own royalty with jewel crusted afternoon dresses. It traces the evolution of the Gibson girl where the American woman finally stepped into the sunshine and inspired Jo in that favorite of novels-Little women. The bohemian 1920’s where Lanvin fashioned decadent flapper dresses and down through to the 1940’s and 1950’s Hollywood that inspired so much of our own film industry. The most revealing feature of the exhibition was how 100 years of fashion is more than just the rise and fall in hemlines as it is a way in which we perceive ourselves through what we wear and I came away in the knowledge that as much fashion has moved forward, so much of it has remained the same.
Our hunger pangs now snap us out of our fashion reverie and we head outside to satisfy ourselves by biting into a luscious mince hot dog roll.Try not to miss the ME
T shop on the ground floor on your way out, especially if you are a lover of scarves. Square, oblong, Tiffany or Picasso, you neck will be spoilt for choice. And as fingers run through silk chiffon, a certain Hermes scarf might float into your mind and you will see just how fashion imitates art imitates fashion.