Lunar, Geometric Splendor

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These two fashions from the Roksanda Resort 2016 collection are two fashions that I greatly admire. They are fashions that encompass a geometric modernity, bold colorations, and a subtle hint of a solar eclipse in the breathtaking, wondrous sky.

In these fashions, shapes and hues come together in an effortless way. The blocked colorations of black, off-white, white, pink, orange, and red create a contemporary design and structure that is simply marvelous. As you look at the dress with the a-line skirt (image left), you see rectangles, circular figures, and more, with defined, yet united edges–they are shapes that fit together as if puzzle pieces, they are shapes that collectively link. As you look at the dress with a form-fitting three-tiered skirt (image right), you see wraparound pinks, off-whites, and oranges creating a fantastic, vivid linkage of artistry–the smooth fabrics connect seamlessly.

There is this celestial atmospheric beauty to these fashions, circular orbs of moon-like appearance that bespeak to the extraordinary eclipses of the sky. In both fashions, a circle, a transformative moon, appears in all its enchanting glory. In the dress on the right, the eclipse boldly shows amid a backdrop of dark and light hues–the moon blocks the glowing solar light and materializes into a pitch black circle. The thin white borders surrounding the orb become the hints of the sun peaking around the moon, radiating in the Earth. In the dress on the left, it is as if the eclipse begins to disintegrate in a fascinating, otherworldly, magical way. The sphere embodies a mixture of black, gray, and white colorations that stretch and elongate, undergoing a mystical change–a change that leads to something unknown, a change that shows how vast and remarkable our universe truly is.

Image credits: Style.com

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The Beauty of Life

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As Monet’s Woman with a Parasol, (facing right) comes into view, I see a moment in time. I see a moment of glowing harmony. I see a moment of exhilarating motion. I see life.

The atmosphere of the painting is one composed of tranquility. There is a calming swirl of energy in the artwork, as the fluffy clouds in the blue sky shimmer in the invisible breeze, serenely encircling the woman with a parasol in the center. The long, continuous brushstrokes merge the ethereal, sparkling clouds together—the light (seemingly transparent), whitened hues twirling in a dance with the hues of peach.

The atmosphere of the painting is one composed of movement. The woman with a parasol stands on a sprouting ground of multicolored animation. The grasses and blossoms of the land effloresce in the same invisible breeze. With rapid, shortened brushstrokes moving in different directions, with the colors of orange, green, pink, purple, and more mixing together in a conglomeration of flourishing vivacity, there is such breathtaking motion to the terrain.

The atmosphere of the painting is one composed of life. The forces of tranquility and movement unite in a relationship that breathes, that radiates, that lives—the clouds of the azure and the blossoms of the land blend together, erasing any lined boundary between sky and earth.

The woman with a parasol stands in this moment, in the dazzling rays of the sun. As her lightweight scarf flows amongst the clouds, as her dress mingles with the colors of nature’s terrain, she becomes one with this living atmosphere. And with a blurred, unidentifiable face, it is as if you, the viewer, are invited to become this woman with a parasol. You are invited to identify as her. You are invited to enter and experience the beauty of life.

A Love that is Intertwined

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A pair of long-lost lovers individually enter a room. No distractions of the outside world are present. No problems or anxieties are near. There is no one else but them. They walk up to one another slowly until they are face to face. As their eyes meet, a breathtaking sense of warmth and remembrance courses through them. Love is awakened once more. A hand tenderly grasps a waist. A hand tenderly grasps a shoulder. And a pair of hands unite. 

Woodwinds, horns, and stringed instruments begin to sound. The waltz of the lovers commences. They glide, they twirl, they are connected with a poignant touch. 

Camille Claudel’s sculpture, “The Waltz,” inspires me to imagine the story behind the two carved figures and their dance with one another. There is such beauty in the admirable artwork, as it conveys an eternal embracement of form and spirit . The smoothly sculpted arms embrace. The hands grasp onto one another in loving harmony. The heads lightly rest in the crevice of the other’s neck…

And a gown lightly blows in the motion of the waltz, slowly disintegrating, as the curving forms of movement merge as one.

As the waltz comes to an end, the lovers gaze into the eyes of the other once more and smile.

Image Credits: Musée Rodin

Another Time, Another World

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When I look at Edward Steichen’s photograph, entitled “The Pond–Moonrise,” I am looking at nature in all its glory, in all its magical splendor. The wooded scene is aglow with a sparkling enchantment, as the parts of nature gather together in harmony and joy. Through this photographic rendering, nature’s ability to make you dream, imagine, and wonder is beautifully apparent.

It is as if you are alone in this forested realm, with no human presence near, with no signs of human life or interference–there is a purity to the scene, a shimmering tranquility. It is as if you are present in another time, another world, another dimension, in a painting or in a mythological work; all revealing the exquisiteness of nature.

The shining moon in a colored sky blossoms over the scene, exuding a bright radiance which brings light to the environment’s spirit of growth. The hazily defined pond of elongated reflection declares that what grows above in such magnificence, grows below just the same–the trees, the life of land above…the plants, the life of water below.

The fascinating photograph reveals that life is everywhere and that it is full of such enchanting beauty.

Image Credits: Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Memorable Artistry

Although the weather might have been gloomy, the fashions at this year’s Oscars were simply magnificent. With mesmerizing, dazzling encrustations, lace detailings, and more, the designs expressed such remarkable, unforgettable artistry.

Here are my top three looks of the night…

Rosamund Pike

Rosamund-Pike--aRosamund Pike looked incredible in this stunning red Givenchy gown at Sunday’s ceremony. This form-fitting design, with its richly hued coloration, textured floral appliqués, upper scalloped repetitions, cinched in corseted waist, deep v-cut on the bottom, and satin accents, evoked such beauty and craftsmanship in design.

Cate Blanchett

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Cate Blanchett is always radiant on the red carpet and this year’s Oscars was no exception. Wearing a striking black velvet Maison Margiela gown, Blanchett looked absolutely breathtaking. And she exuded only more beauty and boldness with the stunning turquoise statement necklace she wore. Complementing the dark hued fashion wonderfully, the dazzling turquoise jewels emanated a quality of magical brilliance.

Emma Stone

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In a glistening chartreuse Elie Saab gown, Emma Stone looked beautiful on the red carpet. This long-sleeved, sparkling creation exuded such finesse in design with its ornate beading and sheer detailing, patterned in such a way as to evoke the elements of the exotic world of nature. With Stone’s vivid red hair, the look was perfection.

I cannot wait for next year’s ceremony!

A Memorable Scene…What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

A desire to be admired…

As part of “Turner Classic Movies: 31 Days of Oscar,” when I sat down to watch What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect. I knew from the comments of family members, who had seen it years ago, that the film was a real acting tour-de-force, with Bette Davis portraying Jane Hudson, an unstable middle-aged woman (who was a mildly famous child performer, and ultimately unsuccessful actor in her later years), and Joan Crawford playing her sister Blanche, a crippled woman who was once a talented, popular actor, but became paralyzed after an ambiguous car accident.

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Well, the film did not disappoint. As it ended, I was overcome by what I had seen. The physical and mental brutality, the entrapment, the murder…within one household shared between two sisters.

There is so much to say about this powerful film, whether it be the seething jealousy of Jane towards her sister Blanche and her fury at Blanche’s attainment of a sustaining fame that lives on in the minds of those old and young; whether it be the frailness of Blanche, her physical inability to escape the clutches of her sister’s inner turmoil; whether it be the captivating dynamic between Davis and Crawford, as actors, overall—a relationship on screen (and supposedly off) that delves into envy and hatred.

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Because there is just so much to explore with this film, I decided to pick one scene that stood out to me in particular…And that is the final moment in the film in which Jane Hudson is dancing on the beach.

Jane, with two strawberry ice creams in hand, walks on the beach to her sister, Blanche, who is lying on the sand, near death (Blanche was trapped in her bed throughout the last moments of the film, arms tied up in rope, mouth taped shut, slowly wasting away, until Edwin Flagg, a piano player in need of some money, (played by the actor Victor Buono) finds her and runs out of the house in an intoxicated, active state of bewilderment). Jane, inebriated and overwhelmed, grabs the semi-unconscious Blanche and puts her in the car, driving them both to the beach—a place where they used to go when they were younger, when Jane was beloved. When Jane is walking to her sister, two policemen approach her, knowing who she is, knowing what she has done, and wanting to know where her sister is. Jane, instead of properly answering their questions, however, dances for the newly formed crowd of beachgoers that surround her.

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This scene, for me, is very saddening and really encompasses some of the overarching ideas evoked in the film—the desire for fame, for recognition, for a semblance of a past that can never be reclaimed. As Jane Hudson innocently twirls round and round, and as those around her snicker and look on confusingly, she performs as if she were the child performer of years ago. With a smile on her painted face, she looks upward with joy and happiness, with an internal glow, as if she were on the stage once again being admired. Different from the mental and physical cruelties of some of the earlier scenes of the film, this moment really stood out to me with its outer image of lightheartedness and deeper image of emotional suffering. In this scene on the beach, within her false daze of renown, Jane Hudson is in another world, another time of years past, a place where she was “Baby Jane Hudson” and was a star. Temporality has vanished in her mind. For her, the past is the present and the future.

I commend Bette Davis and Joan Crawford for their remarkable performances in this film. I recommend those who have not yet seen it to watch the film and enjoy the sheer talent of these actors on the screen.

Find out more about “Turner Classic Movies: 31 Days of Oscar” here.

Into the Depths of Modernity

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As my favorite painting, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) has appeared on my blog on multiple occasions. There is just so much to say about this daring artwork by Manet. When I look at this memorable creation, I can’t help but admire its breathtaking evocation of modernity, its mesmerizing rendering of the truths of the contemporary mid-19th C. city. Echoing the writings of Baudelaire, the French poet and art critic, Manet paints a work that delves into the concept of beauty being of the present. Manet renders the world and the people of his day.

This becomes evident when one gazes at the figure of Victorine Meurent. Victorine Meurent, an artist’s model and an artist in her own right, is painted in the nude, surrounded by men fully clothed. Rather than be covered up, her blue hued garments are cast off to the side, as her naked light skin glistens in the glow of an invisible light source. Rather than be portrayed uncomfortable, her posture indicates a sense of freedom and relaxation, with her elbow leaning against her knee and her hand cupping her chin in thought. Rather than be timid and fearful, she is bold and not ashamed. She is shown as a modern woman of the city, someone who does not abide by the gender norms of the past.

Manet does not depict a scene that conforms to academic traditionality, but chooses to depict a scene of authenticity, of everyday 19th C. life.

With a thick usage of paint, the dark, powerful eyes of Meurent look at you, the viewer, directly. Heightened by a slight upturn of the lips, her countenance evokes this sense of confidence and knowledge about the world and the people who reside within in it. Her gaze is a gaze of art’s future, of modernity, of a rejection of the conservative, of the truth. She does not look down. She looks up.