December 28, 2016
In early October I was skimming through my favorite rag sheet, the New York Post when I spotted a paragraph that really caught my eye. It said, “China Machado [pronounced Cheena] – the first non-Caucasian model to appear on the cover of a major American fashion magazine (Harper’s Bazaar in 1959) has loaned 75 pieces from her collection for an exhibit titled Inspiration: A Muse Among Friends: The Personal Collection of China Machado that is opening on October 3rd at the National Arts Club.”
China Machado was the first non-Caucasian model to appear on the cover of a major American fashion magazine (Harper’s Bazaar, in 1959)
This really rang a bell. Why? Well, back a bit, I had passed a huge, spectacular black-and-white shot of China Machado in the window of the Cole Haan Flatiron store at 141 Fifth Avenue at 21st Street. It stopped me in my tracks. Since this was on my route from home to office I viewed it a number of times.
In addition to Machado, three others were featured in the window: writer Maya Angelou, photographer Elliott Erwitt and astronaut Jim Lovell. The photos were part of a print and digital ad campaign titled, “Born in 1928” that was created to celebrate the 85th Anniversary of Cole Haan.
“These people are all vibrant examples of how timelessness and true style are born out of a confidence that never expires,” said the Cole Haan VP of marketing, Erin Riley.
All of the “models” were given customized Cole Haan shoes for the shoot (at Pier 59 in Manhattan) based on classic styles ranging from a tall riding boot to a wedge bootie.
A VERY PERSONAL EXHIBIT
Of course, I decided this was a must-see exhibit. So we headed off on a sunny afternoon in mid-October for The National Arts Club, located at 15 Gramercy Park South. This building is truly one of the most elegant historical structures in our fair city.
An elegant staircase in the National Arts Club in NYC
The exhibit was only scheduled to be up in the Grand Gallery of the Club from October 3rd to the 16th. I knew we had to make a definite point of going or we would miss it.
One of the nicest aspects of this exhibit was that it was very personal. The small signs with the entries had descriptions such as, “His pictures are never retouched.” One could tell these comments came from Machado herself.
China Machado – taken in 2012 when she was a fantastic-looking 84-years-old
“SHE’S PROBABLY THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD,” SAID RICHARD AVEDON IN 1967.
And he should know because he photographed a mind-boggling number of beauties over the course of his long career.
Machado was a model for Givenchy, Dior and Balenciaga and then became an editor for Harper’s Bazaar as well as a television producer. She also worked with photographers Bruce Weber, Francesco Scavullo, Jerry Schatzberg and Steve Meisel among others. In the exhibit, paintings and drawings by Andy Warhol, Geoffrey Holder and many of fashion’s top illustrators were also featured.
A portrait of China Machado done in 1971 by Michael Vollbracht, illustrator
While we were viewing the exhibit we became aware of a young man who was obviously rehearsing material for a future event. Our curiosity got the better of us and we found we were speaking to Jason Suran who was getting ready for “It’s All In Your Head” his magic show that was taking place on October 17th.
He urged us to come and told us where to RSVP on the web. Then he clinched with, “IT’S FREE!” We submitted our names 10 minutes later and on the appointed night turned up for one of the best evenings we’ve ever had. Roughly 100 people showed to enjoy every minute of this stellar performance. Suran received a huge applause and a standing ovation at the end.
China Hitting the Streets of New York: You’ll love the music! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xweYmQ01_IQ
Comments will be approved before showing up.
October 22, 2020
I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”
The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair
October 14, 2020
Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!
October 06, 2020
I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.
My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.