Friday, November 13, 2015

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Two "Throwback Thursday" Events

Beth signing copies of her book
All photos Laurel Marcus

Last night in what ended up being a tribute to "Throwback Thursday" I attended two interesting events. The evening began with a visit to Doyle & Doyle, (no relation to the Doyle Auction House), a jewelry store on West 13th Street in the Meatpacking District specializing in vintage jewelry and antique engagement rings spanning eras and styles from Edwardian, Victorian, and Art Deco and where noted author, jewelry designer and consultant Beth Bernstein was launching her soon to be released stateside (already available in the UK) third tome entitled "If These Jewels Could Talk: The Legends Behind Celebrity Gems."


Guests

Beth and our fearless publisher Ernest Schmatolla go way back to the days when Bernstein was the editor of Accessories Magazine and Schmatolla, then a noted fashion photog, shot runway fashion for the publication. Their reconnection seems fitting since the idea for the book was born at around that same time. "This book was 22 years in the making" Bernstein said. "It was inspired by my childhood when my grandmother and I would re-watch old movies starring actresses such as Lana Turner and Grace Kelly."

Fashion journalist Lynn Yaeger

But first they would raid grandma's jewelry box in order to view the films in style as a nod to what they saw worn by their favorite screen stars. Somehow this book idea got temporarily shelved as Bernstein instead penned her memoirs ("A Charmed Life") and then "Jewelry's Shining Stars" (a look at 38 of the fine jewelry industry's most impressive talents). A review of the new book will be forthcoming on this site so stay tuned.


Doyle & Doyle vintage jewelry on display
(Click image for full size view)

Guests at the well attended event drank Champagne, ate cupcakes and viewed and tried on Doyle & Doyle's special exhibition of sentimental vintage jewelry. The primarily female invitees were from the worlds of publishing, jewelry and fashion as you might expect. I learned from a representative there that millennials are embracing vintage engagement rings with many of them coming in to try on and purchase these throwback styles every day. We were shown a rather understated diamond choker necklace from 1915 -- one of the more important pieces currently in the collection. By today's standards those diamonds were just a mite disappointing-- more likely to adorn a Kardashian ankle than to circle the neck of anyone over the age of 16.


David Bowie by Masayoshi Sukita
(click images for larger views)

Next it was off to Soho to the Morrison Hotel Gallery (116 Prince Street) which was hosting the first ever U.S. exhibit of Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita and his David Bowie images. The event was sponsored by Double Cross Vodka. Sukita (now 74 and still working as a cinematographer on commercials) photographed Bowie for over four decades including the iconic cover for his 1977 album Heroes.

Masayoshi Sukita and David Bowie circa 1989

Sukita first discovered Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust glam-rock era circa 1972 while in London to photograph Marc Bolan, another glam rocker and the force behind T-Rex. Bolan had once been a session player for Bowie. Something about both of these rock gods intrigued Sukita and he decided he must photograph Bowie. In order to show what he was capable of he sent some black and white images to Bowie's manager that were of a surrealistic nature reminiscent of Magritte. It worked and Sukita became a chronicler of Bowie's "ch-ch-ch-changes" as he "shape-shifted from the glam space alien of Ziggy/Aladdin Sane to the stark monochromatic Berlin phase to the more earthy sophistication of his more recent guises."

Masayoshi Sukita at the event

The two have remained artistic collaborators and friends although Sukita's lack of fluency in English has made the relationship somewhat difficult. In 2013 Bowie re-contextualized Sukita's classic Heroes album cover by visually placing a white "sticker" over a large part of the cover image reading "The Next Day" (his 24th album) to much consternation from fans; who saw it as a sellout.


"Loves to be Loved"

Sukita published a book of over 300 photos of Bowie but I don't believe it was available in the U.S. and was not featured at the gallery exhibition. What is for sale are the archival prints which go for between $250 to $15,000 depending on size and how many are in the edition. Bowie's career was enhanced as well by the photos which were recently a part of an internationally touring exhibit called "David Bowie Is."


The smallish gallery was so packed that it reminded me of a sample sale (yes, I'm guilty of checking a few of those out lately) -- a line formed outside admitting only those whose equal number had left. There was an Asian contingency around Mr. Sukita (who spoke through an interpreter) and all manner of Throwback Thursday-types who, unfortunately, did not seem to be in costume as they sought to relive their 1970s glory days.

The exhibit begins today through November 19th. For more information: www.morrisonhotelgallery.com




- Laurel Marcus

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