Wednesday, March 25, 2015


It was the evening of one of this year's major snow events in New York. We've had a few this season, snow that stops traffic and keeps most people indoors having stocked their refrigerators with hearty soups and their bars with plenty of bourbon. Not a night for trekking across town and down from West 89th Street to the New York Design Center on Lexington Avenue and 33rd Street. However, whenever there's a sponsored event by theNYDC and we're in town we feel a certain responsibility as members of the Access to Design group that we show up and lend our support. The evening's event was being held at the Hickory Chair showroom. It was billed as an introduction of Celerie Kemble's new line of outdoor furniture during NYDC's salute to spring and the outdoors. Given the conditions outside they may have been rushing the season.
The talk was to be moderated by the new editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, Sophie Donelson. The fashion designer, Lela Rose, would also be sitting on the panel. The night wasn't helping with attendance so I was glad I had put on my imitation Hunter boots and sloshed through the slush to the event. I was girding myself against an expected sales pitch and a dissertation on the evolution of outdoor furniture. I don't drink but I picked up a glass of chardonnay to get me through and potentially keep me awake. After some mingling the audience took its seats and Sophie, Celerie, Lela and Lela's ever present dog, Stitch, began.
Now I need to add that I'm pretty up to date with the current interior design royalty but not so much with fashion, especially women's fashion. I wasn't familiar with Lela and had totally confused her with Laila Rowe, the discount accessory line with shops around the city selling three-dollar necklaces and two-dollar umbrellas. I apologize. The three women sat on chairs at the front of a brightly lit room in front of a projection screen showing images that were barely visible due to the room's ambient lighting.
As it turned out I didn't end up having to try to decipher what exactly I was supposed to be seeing on the screen. The presentation wasn't dependent on those images or any data about projected sales in the outdoor furniture market. What I expected and unnecessarily fortified myself against never transpired.  What happened was a bunch of girl talk spiced with humor and the genuine friendship of two women who adored each other. It turns out that both women lived in the same building, Lela on top of Celerie or the other way around, I really can't remember. They've been friends for twenty years and have been feeding off of each other in their respective design careers for most of that time. Even in the washed out images on the screen you could see how each woman influenced the other. You could also hear it in their stories as each talked over the other in a non-stop trail of anecdotes. Sophie would barely get out a question and the two would be off on something that had more to do with their children or what they served at last week's dinner party or the cocktail they'd evented for one of their soirees than it did about outdoor furniture. The discussion could have gone on for another hour and I don't think I would have been bored. I don't think anyone on the panel would have been disappointed either. They really seemed to enjoy their time even if the audience was diminutive their personalities filled any of the empty seats.
Oh, by the way, Celerie's outdoor collection is well worth looking at even if you don't have her and her sidekick Lela to guide you through a personal tour with Stitch nipping at your heels.

Every year there's a theme introducing the flower show at Macy's. I happened on the show by accident this year. I thought I had heard it wasn't scheduled to start until next week. What I had heard was the closing date I might have missed the whole thing if I hadn't stopped at Starbucks for a frappuccino on my way downtown. I only stopped at Macy's because I had to pee and I knew they had a bathroom I could use without having to go back to another Starbucks and stand in a long line of tourists or hold my breath at one of the subway pissoirs.
The theme this year connected flowers to different artists and genres.
Standing just inside the front door was a replica of Michelangelo's David, this time with a fig leaf for modesty. Projected patterns danced over the rest of David's naked body as he stood on a pedestal of asters in a bed of orchids.
The art of Picasso
and Klimt were referenced.
Pop Art made an appearance
as well and ballerinas in flowered tutus spun around in the windows outside.
Spring is on the way.

Herald Square and Macy's looking south
Image found on

No comments:

Post a Comment