I’ve been missing you terribly, but somehow unable to open my laptop and start typing. The combined forces of election anxiety and pandemic despair annexed the small part of my brain reserved for creative efforts and my heart didn’t have the power to compensate.
I realize that one could fairly say, “A true artist creates from the world in all its beauty and horror. Did not Picasso paint Guernica under circumstances far worse than these?” Fair enough!* But I am not a true artist. I am just a lawyer with good taste writing to entertain myself and my friends. Thank you for your kind messages and comments over the last three months. And special credit to Jeffiner because — if anything could have pulled me out of the doldrums, being asked my views as a dancer (you honor me!) should have worked.
On to business!
Some of you have asked how The Directrice has been dressing for this extended period of remote work.
The short answer is: She is over-dressing. The Directrice gets all dressed up — dresses, hard pants, belts, and everything else — to work in her dining room.
The summer was all about dresses and hideo-marvelous sandals.
But in fall and winter, we have turned to eye-catching accessories that fit in the Zoom frame: large brooches, statement necklaces, and scarves.
My goal is to inject a little visual interest into every Zoom meeting.
How fortunate, then, that a colleague found Lilian Asterfield and shared this find with me!**
Lilian Asterfield is the alter-ego of Nicole Deponte, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art who trained as a sculptor. Nicole works in mixed media paintings and collage, but Lilian . . . she is sculpting with textiles, turning vintage ties and dead-stock fabrics into exquisite cravats and ascots.
My enthusiasm for Lilian Asterfield (and Nicole) really cannot be contained. In addition to the structural ingenuity of her designs — part origami, part Gehry — her work with color and pattern is amazing.
Please take a spin through her website and look at each piece. I promise: You will be delighted. Her color and pattern combinations are brilliant. Perhaps what I love most about them is that they are created with re-purposed goods. She is literally working with the material available and creating things of heart-stopping beauty.
Perhaps you have noticed that there is no pattern-mixing in this particular ascot?
That is true. This one is made from a single extremely groovy fabric, patterned like marble.
I thought this mixed-blue marble would work well now with black and grey sweaters (of which I have many) and later with these Jil Sander dresses when we return to the office: navy and teal. Won’t that be Very Effective?
But don’t you worry: I bought a few of these pieces and the others involve elaborate pattern mixes. You have that to look forward to.
Lest you think that I am suggesting material acquisitions = emotional boost, allow me to clarify.
I am just delighted to see something so original and unexpected — and it has livened me up sufficiently to bring me back to my blog with something to say.*+
Relatedly, Allie Brosh’s new book — Solutions and Other Problems — is out and has several chapters of such brilliance that it makes me laugh until I cry. I recommend it highly.
Top to bottom, for Zoom, I am wearing a tuxedo style blouse, a sweater vest, and some cropped trousers with s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
For photos, I have worn the mules that my mother does not care for. But my feet tend to get cold+ when I am sitting at my computer, so I am more likely to wear fancy sneakers+* these days.
For the Zoom meeting that requires a jacket, or for the return to the office, here’s my plan.
Here is a another close-up view, allowing you to appreciate the ingenuity.
In addition to their striking looks, these pieces are resilient. I think they will pack beautifully. I am looking forward to taking them on a business trip some day.
So, back to the title of this post.
APPLAUSE for Zoom Hero, Lilian Asterfield/Nicole Deponte. Her work pre-dated 2020 and it will last long beyond this year, but it is perfectly suited for this moment — in which we are spending so much time inside very small boxes.
2020 has been a devastating year for so many. Artists and skilled craftspeople have been hit hard by the loss of craft show circuit. If you’ve been looking for a gift for your best friend, daughter, sister-in-law or your fantastic, deserving self — I think we’ve found it!
You should also check out Art Party Central, a collective effort to bring makers and appreciators together.
As for me, I’ll do my best to post at least weekly. How does that sound? I do have a several sets of photos stacked up.
As a show of good faith, I’ll leave you with the best part of myself: Mr. Orange and Philo. Do not judge the unmade bed. It was early in the morning.++
* To present the full record, though, Picasso was not in Spain when he painted Guernica. He was in Paris.
** The Lilian Asterfield discovery was shared between me and several colleagues, and led to an evening of intense correspondence and then shopping. That will be the subject of a future post as, between us, I think we will have at least eight pieces to share. Having delightful colleagues who share one’s interest in clothes is such a treat.
*+ Obviously, there is a lot I could say about the state of the nation, but we agreed long ago that this blog would stick largely to one topic: dressing for work.
+ There is a Thermostat War going on in my household. By March 2021, there may be no survivors.
+* Fancy (or Dress) Sneakers is a rapidly growing area of my closet.
++ While I may not be the most rigorous of housekeepers, the bed must be made every day before everyone sits down to work.