Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

7/14/14, Paris Fashion

Posted on July 14, 2014

Hi Everyone,

Unlike (ready to wear) fashion week, which is a wild 10 day relay race, as store buyers, press, movie stars, celebrities, and anyone associated with fashion professionally, dash from one venue to the next to see as many as 7 or 8 major fashion shows a day, in 4 cities (New York, Paris, London, Milan), repeating the wild week again and again, until everyone is exhausted and has seen the wares of every ready to wear designer. Unlike ready to wear, Haute Couture fashion shows happen only in Paris, and whereas once upon a time, a dozen or so years ago, and for many years before that, the Haute Couture shows were the Big event, now Ready to Wear is where everyone wants to go and be seen. I guess I’m dating myself when I say that the Haute Couture shows used to be absolutely knock out, and attracted the most elegant women in the world. The front row at the fashion show was every socialite you’d ever heard of, important dignitaries and movie stars, and presidents’ wives, along with well known royals, and the women who attended the shows actually wore haute couture in their daily lives. The shows were beautiful, dignified, the clothes were spectacular and it was a rarefied scene and atmosphere that took your breath away if you loved beautiful clothes. But like it or not, the world has changed. My daughters and I were reminiscing about those shows a few days ago, since I started taking my 5 daughters to them when they were very young, like 7 or 8 years old. And the shows were dazzling then, for them, and for me. I’ve always loved fashion, and the haute couture shows were every woman and young girl’s dream.  All of Paris buzzed with the excitement, and the women who attended them (by invitation only) were stunningly elegant. But that world no longer exists.

For those who haven’t read about my talking about Haute Couture, what defines haute couture from ready to wear, is that every single stitch is hand made. There is not one machine made stitch on an haute couture garment. The seamstresses who worked on them had to be apprentices in the workrooms for twelve years before they were allowed to touch the clothes. The way it works is that there are two haute couture shows a year by the designer, in January (to show summer clothes) and in July (to show winter wear). The designer would put together about 70 designs, complete outfits, a sample of each one is made by hand, and usually famous models wear the samples down the runway in a beautiful show, so everyone can admire the clothes. Appointments are made afterwards for clients to try on the samples, and if they like them, the client will order a dress or outfit, and it will be handmade to her precise measurements. She will then have three fittings, sometimes more (the first one in a sample of the garment made in muslin, not the actual fabric), and about three months after the process began, the haute couture outfit or dress she ordered is delivered to the client. That process is still true today, and hasn’t changed. Haute Couture clothes were always expensive, but not the way they are now. A dress or outfit cost around $10,000 not that long ago, a spectacular evening gown $20,000. A wedding gown 50 or $100,000.  Today those same clothes can easily be 75 or $100,000 for a wool dress, $150,000 for a suit, up to $300,000 for an evening gown, and $700,000 for an elaborate wedding dress. At those prices, there are only a handful of women in the world who can afford them. And not only have the Haute Couture clients changed, but so has the world. I went to two of those shows in the last two days, as I do twice a year, and have for most of my life, as an admirer of fashion (I went to Parsons School of Design and studied fashion design, and three of my daughters work in fashion, so it’s a family passion), and there were no Presidents’ wives at the shows I attended, only one major movie star, no royals, and the famously well dressed women are only a memory now. I occasionally see well known movie stars at those shows (Jennifer Lawrence at Dior yesterday), and have seen Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Kirsten Dunst, and Rihanna in recent years, but on the whole people go now for the spectacle, and many to be seen, and very, very, very few are going to buy haute couture. The haute couture client of today is a very different breed. And the world we live in a very different place. Money is tight, jobs are scarce and the economy strained in many countries, the entire world wears jeans and sneakers, some even to work, exercise clothes are considered okay in every public place. Luxury is often frowned on (though secretly envied), men rarely wear ties now, it’s considered fashionable not to shave, and most people have nowhere to wear the fabulous creations of Haute Couture. And all but 3 of the once numerous haute couture designers still produce haute couture collections, which are labor intensive to make and out in the stratosphere in price. Many of the clothes one sees on the runway are then put in the designer’s museum, and never made for any clients. Sadly, haute couture has become an exquisite beautiful, absolutely spectacular dinosaur from another age. A few people still buy it, but most people’s everyday lives, even those with money, just don’t lend themselves to those fabulous creations anymore. And there are sometimes simpler clothes in the collections too, but always at an astronomical price, due to the fabric, or embroidery, or the remarkable labor and expertise that goes into them. I go to look, and am in awe of the workmanship and the creativity every time. » read more »

5/19/14, Tattoo

Posted on May 19, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I just had the ultimate compliment and had to share it with you. This morning I got an email from one of my daughters, it was a photograph of someone’s “Instagram” of a person we don’t know, who had a tattoo of my face (taken from a photo on a book jacket), which went from the top of her thigh to her knee. Above and below it, it said “Everyone reads Danielle Steel” (one of the phrases my publisher uses for my books, and in ads). And the likeness was perfect, an exact replica of the photograph, with every hair and feature. Getting that tattooed on her leg, must have hurt like hell!!!  I’ve never known a man who tattooed my name on his arm, in a heart, or paid tribute to me in a tattoo in any form. But to have a nearly life size likeness of my face tattooed on her whole leg!!—–WOW!!!! That is loyalty from a fan and then some. And I am not making light of it—-I was actually really touched and flattered. I can’t think of anyone I know who would do that!!! It is an amazing tattoo, and I don’t know the person who has it, but I am EXTREMELY touched and honored by it!!! It is astounding and quite spectacular, and an incredible tribute from a fan, and a person who doesn’t even know me!!!

I had to tell you about it. It was truly amazing!!! My daughter was vastly impressed too. Who do you know who has a tattoo of their face on someone else’s leg??? And to the person who has the tattoo, thank you for making such an enormous gesture in my honor!!! I was totally bowled over!!!!

I hope you have a great week!! This was definitely the high point of mine, and the most unusual tribute I’ve ever had.

love, danielle

Art Week in Paris

Posted on October 28, 2013

Every October, there is a big art fair in Paris, called the FIAC, which happens at the Grand Palais, a beautiful old glass structure where many big exhibits, special events, and fashion shows take place. In this case, galleries from all over Europe, and I think some from the States, come to exhibit, and it’s always fun and exciting to go and see it. I look forward to it every year, and am lucky enough to get a pass to take a look the day before the opening. The art there tends to be on the ‘edgy’ side, which isn’t always my cup of tea, although I love contemporary art. But it’s fun to see who is doing what, and what the trends are in advanced contemporary art. And there is a little bit of everything at the show. (My favorite thing at the fair—or my two favorites actually—-were a bronze piece with a silver finish, which was an exact replica of an Hermes Kelly handbag, which was terrific, but too steep for my budget. And my other favorite was a life-sized, lifelike statue of a boy/young man, which seemed like it was in resin. He was fully dressed, with a totally lifelike expression, and it would have been fun to have. But I didn’t ask the price). I managed to enjoy the entire show, and didn’t buy anything. But it was a fun experience, as always, seeing the show. » read more »

Special Events

Posted on October 21, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Since I share fashion shows and art openings with you, and events I go to, I thought I’d tell you about two remarkable events I attended recently. One was great fun, and absolutely adorable, and the other a more unusual evening.

On a recent trip through New York, to visit my daughters, my oldest daughter was in town to celebrate her five year old daughter’s birthday, and she had organized a luncheon at the American Girl Doll Store on Fifth Avenue. It is a haven for little girls, paradise on earth. They are among the most popular dolls now, and already were when my own daughters were small, not so long ago. Each doll has a story and a history, her own special look, with an assortment of hair and eye colors, different ethnicity, and they have elaborate wardrobes, furniture, cars, pets, kitchen appliances. A dizzying array of accessories for each doll. And the store is an overwhelming and exciting series of departments which sell the dolls, clothes, and all the stuff that goes with them. Some are even twins, and they have added some ‘babies’ to their repertoire. And amidst this extraordinary store all dedicated to these dolls is a restaurant where children and their parents shopping there can stop for lunch or have a birthday party. It’s been a while since my own kids were that small, and to be literally in a department store full of little girls clamoring for dolls, with dolls everywhere you look was amazing. The store is every little girl’s dream, and when we walked into the restaurant, there was a huge long table covered with dolls you could borrow, with little high chairs to seat them, in case you had forgotten to bring your own doll to lunch. It was an incredible scene. Dolls were being fed, talked to, dressed, undressed, there were several borrowed dolls at every table. We were mostly adults at our table, and only three children (two of them boys, who looked shell shocked to be surrounded by all the little girls and their dolls). Lunch was actually delicious, the birthday lunch was a huge success, and in a crazy way I loved it. It almost made me want to take a doll home, and as we left, my daughters and I threaded our way through three floors of ecstatic little girls picking out their new dolls and as much equipment for them as they could talk their parents into. Everyone was having fun. It was innocence at its best, and we all left smiling, and had a ball. » read more »

Filed Under Art, Kids, Music, Paris | 3 Comments

Awww……Come On!!!

Posted on November 14, 2011

As I’ve often mentioned, I love going to art fairs in Paris (or anywhere else for that matter. I went to the art fair to end all art fairs, the most illustrious one, in Basel, Switzerland last year. And have gone to fairs in London, New York, San Francisco, and LA. I thoroughly enjoy them all).  I went to three this past weekend, in Paris, one of which is very respected and highly regarded and I go every year and enjoy it. And the other two are smaller and lesser known. I enjoy the smaller art fairs a lot too. One of my passions is art, and since I still miss my art gallery, which I closed a few years ago, I love seeing what’s happening in the art world. And I still curate one show a year for a wonderful gallery in San Francisco, who very generously has me curate a show for them every year. It keeps my hand in the art world.  There is an art fair in Paris in the spring that I particularly love, but the one I just went to is a great one too. » read more »

Filed Under Art, Paris | 5 Comments

One Night Stand

Posted on August 22, 2011

Well, that caught your attention, didn’t it??? I forgot to tell you what I did in San Francisco the day after I came back from Europe. Did I have a One Night Stand?……well, actually, I hate to disappoint you…..no. But I curated an art show at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco, and the theme and title of the show was “One Night Stand”—-the owner of the gallery’s idea, not mine…..but it turned out really well. » read more »

Filed Under Art | 5 Comments

Art Fairs

Posted on May 31, 2011

After ten years of no longer having any art fair at all in San Francisco, we got our first one back last year, much to my delight. A fair of contemporary art. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s new in the art world, discover new artists, see work by familiar artists, and just enjoy a whole lot of art in one place. And this year, the theory of ‘more is better’ must have taken hold, and we had TWO art fairs in SF on the same weekend. And art-hog that I am, I went to both fairs on the (same) opening night. It was a bit of a race to get to both, but I couldn’t resist. Soooooo much art in one night!!! » read more »

Filed Under Art | 2 Comments

Fantastic Antique Fair

Posted on April 25, 2011

For years, I have wanted to see the biggest and most impressive, and best known antique fair in Europe, which happens in Maastricht, Holland every year. The Paris Biennale is incredibly impressive too, and happens every other year in Paris in September, and I always enjoy it. But Maastricht is supposed to be the very best there is, and it’s yearly, in March. Although I am usually in Paris for the month of March, somehow I always get busy doing other things. My college age kids have spring break then, and I try to convince them to come to Paris and sometimes succeed, and my three daughters » read more »

Filed Under Art, Travel | 5 Comments

Why Not?

Posted on October 4, 2010

In one of my books, I explored how limited some of us get in our thinking. We follow a familiar path, do the things we always did, and have a lot of preconceived ideas about what we can’t and won’t do. Part of that is due to age, but some of us get pretty well locked into our positions even in our 20’s and 30’s, and time doesn’t improve it. I do it myself, and I think I’ve been saying “At my age,” since I was about 25. » read more »

Filed Under Art | 11 Comments

Many Thanks and Art Show

Posted on September 7, 2010

Dear Everyone,

Thank you for all the lovely responses to my blogs. I really appreciate it, and the chance to share my thoughts with you, and hear yours about them. I was particularly touched by the many people in their 20’s who responded to what I had to say about those years. I really respect the challenges you face, and I know that it’s not an easy time. Everyone thinks it’s ‘so cool’ and ‘easy breezy’ to be young, but I know just how challenging, hard, and even scary it can be!!! Thank you for writing to me!!!

I wanted to tell you about » read more »

Filed Under Art, Current Events | 6 Comments