There were some shows I wanted to see in my favorite city, San Francisco, so I left my studio and my sewing machine and the last of my orders from the Baltimore show and flew down to the beautiful city by the bay.
French designer Jean Paul Gaultier had a show at the De Young Museum.
Monsieur Gaultier himself, in one of his famous striped shirts. An image of his face was projected onto the mannequin. And it was moving. The eyes were blinking. He was smiling. And talking. And looking around.
Actually, many of the mannequins were talking, or singing, closing their eyes then opening them. It was,… a bit unsettling.
The most amazing designs were the heavily encrusted pieces, with all kinds of beads, ribbons, shells and embroidery.
From his mermaid collection.
The iconic Gaultier piece of clothing is the bustier. Remember Madonna’s cone bustier? That was from Gaultier.
This one is covered with a beautiful pleated silk.
If not exactly a bustier, then a reference to one.
A fitted dress with a leopard skin wrapping around the body.
Only not an actual leopard skin. Can you see what it is? Beads, thousands of beads. Amazing.
The next day we went to the Lafayette Reservoir, close to Oakland. A party to celebrate a graduation.
We walked around the lake. It was hot. It felt like summer.
Hot and sort of dreamy, like mid-August when all you can think about is finding a place in the shade.
Back in San Francisco, where the air was cool and crisp, we went to the Legion of Honor to see the show I had been looking forward to; The Cult of Beauty, The Victorian Avant-Garde.
A reaction against the industrial revolution and the rational world of science, the British Aesthetic movement looked to beauty, to art for arts sake and to surrounding yourself, your house, your world with grace and harmony.
“Laus Veneris” by Edward Burne-Jones
There were lots of dreamy women in draped fabrics. The Aesthetic movement disapproved of the tight corsets and huge skirts in fashion at the time.
“Summer Solstice” by Albert Moore.
My favorite; James McNeill Whistler, a proponent of art for arts sake. Beautiful compositions, no sentimentality, spare shapes and quiet colors. Gorgeous.
His titles often referenced music, this one for example; “Symphony in White, Number 1”
Or this; “Nocturne in Blue and Gold”.
The Aesthetic movement looked to eras before the predominance of science, especially to the medieval or to ancient Rome or Greece. And also to other cultures, including Japan.
This is so reminiscent of a Japanese print.
How about this?
In a room with sculptures by Rodin, one of my jackets.
As we left the museum I could just see, between the trees, the Golden Gate Bridge.
The perfect ending to a wonderful trip.