November 12th, 2013 Brooklyn
In the last 3 years I've seen an explosion in Brooklyn that is unprecedented. Outside my living room window, which faces the harbor of New York and the promenade, I now see throngs of tourists from Spain, Italy and France walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and migrating towards the promenade in large tour groups... Brooklyn is becoming what it was probably originally intended to be when it was created as Breuckelen, the first city in what's now New York State.
There's something beautiful about the appreciation of Brooklyn, but at the same time there's also something slightly melancholy about it. Brooklyn feels less and less like the respite from New York that it used to be
When I was growing up in Brooklyn, if you lived here it was something to be muttered under your breath. Living in Brooklyn came with a string of presumptions of poor behavior, middle class, slightly Neanderthal traits - and definitely not as sophisticated as the people from Manhattan.
These days you'll see Brooklyn-based brands being sold in Manhattan, the New Jersey Nets moved to Brooklyn, and the branding of Brooklyn has become a capitalistic venture on its own: "Brooklyn" branded shirts and hats are being sold everywhere, there are Brooklyn-themed children's books, mugs, beer, etc... Brooklyn has become a brand that is globally recognized.
I read in the Wall Street Journal that a development company based in China agreed to back the majority stake of an apartment project in the Atlantic navy yards site that they're estimating at about $4 billion. This will be one of the greatest real estate investments in the United States by a Chinese company. It was a little odd to see a headline in The Wall Street Journal that read "Chinese Builder Charges Into Brooklyn." It was definitely a sign that Brooklyn has crossed into a new period...
I hope Brooklyn will maintain some remnants of the old Italian bakeries, the Muslim clothing shops, the Irish pubs, and all the things I love. We'll see...
November 11th, 2013 From The Sidewalk To The Catwalk
I recently checked out the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The museum has been taking on a few initiatives lately to reinvent itself and move into the modern world....and I think that they've been very successful. The Gaultier show is an international exhibit originally conceived in Montreal, Canada, and it's moved to a few locations before landing in Brooklyn. It's an absolutely enormous show, documenting the different themes of Gaultier's work from The Odyssey in the '70s to his Chic Rabbis collection.
At first glance, the clothes seemingly lean towards pure costume and runway pieces. There's something about the way that they're constructed that feels very temporary, but at the same time, I can relate to the frenetic pace of designing for a one-time shoot. By the time I was halfway through the exhibit, I realized I had a profound respect for his endless creativity. I could feel his eagerness to share the visions that he had in his mind immediately and not wanting to wait... which ultimately resulted in an overflow of fantasy that ran the gamut.
Gaultier is definitely a dream come true for a movie or a runway. The dramatics abound.
As an extra point a fascination, there was state of the art technology used with the mannequins that creates the illusion that they're coming alive....that alone is worth going to see if you get a chance to go.