Valentino Paris Fashion Week : riffs on filigreed wrought iron gates

Valentino : Paris Fashion Week features enchanted gardens

by Jeanne Beker

valentino_wrought_iron_gatesSpeaking of torch bearing, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli continue to wow Valentino devotees by remaining true to themselves and to the legacy of the house.

They, too, got their gardening gloves out and cultivated an achingly romantic collection that paid homage to the classic Roman garden. Presented in the swish salons of Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, there were riffs on filigreed wrought iron gates, masterfully recreated with swirls of piping, and embroideries that suggested garden mazes. Many dresses featured long sleeves, and novel cape-dresses were particularly modern.

A rested-looking Valentino watched from the front row, leaping to his feet at the show’s end to hug the designers as they passed by to take their bows. Evidently, the master is as proud of this talented duo, who have blossomed so beautifully.


Wrought iron design for the Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Melissa Gorga

Melissa Gorga’s New Jersey Home


The Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Melissa Gorga has listed the home she shares with her real-estate developer husband, Joe. They built the six-bedroom manse in Montville Township, New Jersey in 2009. It’s now up for sale for $3.8 million.

Gorga’s New Jersey home sprawls over 2.24 acres, and has an English slate roof.

The Italian marble foyer in Gorga’s home has marble staircases with wrought-iron bannisters, and cedar French doors.

Chandeliers, carved bookcases, golden detailing and domed ceilings fill the property.

Two bedrooms belong to Gorga’s three children, including one room with a sports theme.

The other child’s bedroom is all done in girly pink, with soft drapery as a headboard and a chandelier over the bed.

The 13,500-square-foot home also has a home theater with luxe leather seating and wood detailing.


Wrought iron balconies for the new house of Chris Hardwick

Comedian Chris Hardwick, whose offbeat humour embraces nerdiness, has purchased a house in the Hollywood Hills for $2.05 million.

Out-of-the-ordinary features include an outdoor mosaic tile bath with a 200-year-old faucet and a log cabin art studio. The 4,200-square-foot home, built in 1924 and recently renovated, has wrought-iron balconies, vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces, four bedrooms and four bathrooms. There are terraced gardens and stone walls on the quarter-acre lot.

Hardwick, 41, founded the cross-platform Nerdist entity; hosts Talking Dead (2011-present), a talk show that follows new episodes of The Walking Dead; and voices a lead character on Nickelodeon’s Back at the Barnyard (2007-present).


Wrought iron and Henri Matisse

‘Matisse: In Search of True Painting’: Examines the artist’s quest

By Dan Bischoff

Art historian Kenneth Clark once said that the definition of a classical artist was someone who returned again and again to the same theme, seeking its perfect expression. An artist whose every work was original, inspired, unique, was by definition a romantic. And by that standard, the painter we see in “Matisse: In Search of True Painting,” a show of 49 pictures that just opened at the Metropolitan Museum, is as classic as Praxiteles.

Because what “In Search of True Painting” is really about is the way Henri Matisse (1869-1954) throughout his long, long career worked in series. There are at least a score or so included: The full scale charcoal and two painted versions of “Le Luxe” (1907-8, a miniseries that is the original core inspiration of this exhibition); two “Interiors” with a Fez vase, one in “Red and Blue” and the other in “Venetian Red” (1946); three “Large Cliff” paintings showing either “Two Rays,” “Eel” or “Fish” in the foreground (1920); three “Portraits of Laurette” (1916), the dark-eyed professional model from Italy who would smoke cigarettes nude at the window of Matisse’s studio in Paris, indifferent to the shocked gendarmes in the street — we could go on and on.

What we are encouraged to see on the walls of the Met is the way these series moved into Matisse’s life and reordered it, occupying his thoughts and skills for months, sometimes years. (They could have surprising effects — Matisse’s son, for example, fell deeply in love with Laurette, who came from the nest of Italian refugees waiting out World War I in Montmartre, penniless, more than a little desperate, and keeping body and soul together by offering to pose nude for the city’s artists. Of such situations are boys’ dreams made.)

Even when we only have one painting, like the “The Dream” (1940), the Met has surrounded it with some 15 photos commissioned by Matisse that show the various states of the picture as it developed, almost as if it were a print shown in stages of artist’s proof. Matisse himself had the painting shown this way, at the Galerie Maeght in Paris, in 1945.

The obvious analogy is to “Regarding Warhol,” effectively just around the corner from “Matisse,” with its many photo-based series, even including strips of mugshots taken in a photo booth (still up through the end of this month). Met Director Tom Campbell made a point of telling critics at his luncheon last week that, no matter how much they hated “Regarding Warhol,” the show was a phenomenal success, drawing 750,000 visitors so far, sometimes as many as 7,000 a day; linking “In Search of True Painting” to such a hit can’t be bad for a traditional painting show.

Organized by modern and contemporary curator Rebecca Rabinow, “In Search of True Painting” definitely emphasizes Matisse’s “search,” which we quickly understand to be more involved than the typical one on Google. It’s almost as if the artist were a translating device, moving his initial inspiration in color harmony, shape, and subject into inevitably more simplified and geometrical versions. And following his mind through these paintings definitely revives that original joy in viewing Matisse — the sudden luxury of his arabesques, the hard geometries that underlie every picture, and most of all the colors, exquisitely balanced between sweet and sour.

If you think Matisse is so famous you can no longer see his work, this is the show for you. Your mind will fall effortlessly into the Modernizing gaze; you’ll start to make Matisses out of everything you see around you once you leave. Which really is a pretty good way to tell whether an exhibition of paintings is ringing your chimes.

“In Search of True Painting” is organized chronologically, and stocked with famous masterpieces, but it never seems dutiful or scholarly. Everyone has their favorites, no doubt, but the conjunction of “Interior with Goldfish” (from the Pompidou Center) and “Goldfish and Palette” (from the Museum of Modern Art, both 1914) has to be a high point. And not just because of the wonderful ultramarines, gray-blues and sudden red-gold highlights. The way the colors and shapes, particularly the wrought iron rails outside the studio window, become patterns in a far more abstract picture is simply delightful. Matisse, as always, makes painting look so easy.

It isn’t, of course — though thinking it must be is a common effect of true classicism. Painting’s not like sitting in a photo booth. But these series of series almost make you think you painted them, because they let you see so many steps along the way. And that is very easy on the soul.


Wrought iron design for the Patrick Maisey’s home

Artists’ retreat


Patrick Maisey’s home is a true labour of love. He built it himself, using locally sourced materials, in a prime spot at the end of a peninsula in the Tasman district that has been in his family for generations.

Not surprisingly, the place means an enormous amount to Maisey, his partner Christine Boswijk and their family. The house has grown gradually over time as work commitments and the mood allowed.

Today it’s a substantial build, able to house the blended family of 14 when they are all together at Christmas.

Design features include wrought iron around the balcony and doors opening to verandas and pockets of garden.

“We will start by picking our own homegrown cherries with the grandchildren on Christmas Eve and always gather around the long table to eat on Christmas Day,” says Christine Boswijk.

There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a massive living dining space and huge farmhouse kitchen. An adjacent structure of similar proportions allows the artist pair to pursue their individual passions – Christine in ceramics and sculpture and Patrick in the restoration of old cars.

The house has been developed in three stages including a second level with master bedroom and en suite.

“It’s perfect for Patrick,” says Boswijk. “He can get out of bed, look through the telescope and check on his boat moored at Mapua and then go to his workshop and the classic cars.”

While the house design has been Maisey’s preserve (with help from a draughtsman friend and then Nelson architect John Palmer), Boswijk had input too. She is quick to point out her walk- in wardrobe and dressing area in the angle of the roof pitch.

There’s plenty of quirky and distinctive detail to the property. A daughter’s former partner crafted steel porthole window frames and old wharf supports, hand positioned by Patrick and helpers using a block and tackle, form the main structure of the build. The clay exterior wall in the living area, added seven years ago, has a huge open fire and French doors in the new addition have created indoor-outdoor flow to the pond, water feature and view over the estuary.

“We have two planes- the vertical of the mountains and the horizontal of the sea. We have unbelievable light and life in this environment,” Boswijk says.

The house is about functionality – everything has to have a purpose and a use, so it doesn’t become a relic of the past. The house and surrounds continue to develop, a canvas for two artists.


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