I didn’t just go to the Met for fashion. It’s always a visual treat. And no visit is complete without a few minutes admiring the sheer cheek of snatching an entire temple and dragging it back to New York. It’s breathtaking, with the moat around it and the massive window looking out into Central Park and the surrounding megabucks real estate.
The Egyptian artifacts on display at the Met are impressive as a whole. Heiroglyphic covered walls, jewelry, pottery, statuary… you can easily slip into a reverie and daydream yourself into ancient Egypt while visiting.
But there’s more!
Tastefully appointed rooms perfectly preserved. Silk carpets and marquetry tables, and ornate candelabra. Perfect setting for romances and horror movies. There never any in between.
I have never seen this area before. It’s spectacular, and completely new to me.
This is one of my favorite paintings. This girl is feeling herself and here we are, hundreds of years later, feeling her, too. The color of the gown is what’s known as ‘everything’.
Right after I came back from Paris I ended up going to see the latest offering from Anna Wintour’s Costume Center at the Met. For once I actually had someone to go with, so it was a raucous afternoon of laughing at things that other people take seriously and day drinking wine at lunch. Not a date, just two ladies cackling their way through a cultural institution.
I need more of that in my life, tbf…
Anyway. we met up at the museum and wound our way through the excellent display of stolen goods in the Egyptian wing to the museum. The exhibit was in a little room that you could easily miss. The line for the exhibit is over by the Temple of Dendur.
The show centers around American fashion, and the first items that you see on display explain ASAP Rocky’s red carpet quilt. Patchwork and quilting are as old as those little houses on the prairie. It’s an integral part of the American legend, homie and comfortable. It’s a symbol of how disparate parts can come together as a rich and cohesive whole (which we are capable of, but that’s a whole other blog post).
The museum is actually doing the show in two parts, so right now it’s just a dodgy little display in a smallish suite of rooms in the basement. And because of the times we live in, the narrow aisles feel like a death trap. And there’s this horrible music, that resembles no American music trend, droning on in the background, raising the hackles. Yes, I’m complaining. Better to wait and do it properly instead of this, but no one asked me about that, so…
I will say that they had a ton of black designers so I’m excited to see what the larger show will look like. Featured in the exhibit were Pyer Moss, Patrick Kelly, Stephen Burrows, Dapper Dan and for some reason a look from Rihanna’s Savage underwear line. Not to slight her, but she also did a pretty respectable fashion collection that could have been included.
If you’re in New York, I’d definitely go and take a look at it. Try going early or mid-week so as not to be stuck in the maze-like aisles with a crowd. You can get tickets here.
Way back on August 29th, I took my first trip out to Hudson Yards to attend Sniffapalooza, New York’s own fancy fragrance party. It has been years since my first visit, back in 2015, thanks to winning an instagram contest. It was a much bigger affair than this post covid get together, but the fun of learning about new fragrances was the same.
I have a reason for going besides drinking prosecco and sniffing perfume, but I’ll post about that tomorrow. Anyway. For a small sum we all assembled in the Style Lounge and immediately got glasses of bubbly and bags stuffed with samples. Conversation got livelier with each presentation as we sprayed and sniffed the afternoon away.
Once presentations were over, we streamed out into Hudson Yards to shop. I had an antsy half hour waiting for the group to hit The Conservatory. I am not the sharpest dresser, I don’t wear heels, and can barely remember to do my nails or wear makeup but I love anything that makes life more beautiful. It could be a set of cotton sheets, a cashmere sweater, or a new bowl, anything that makes you feel good about life is a luxury to me. The fragrances they showed off intrigued me, and the atmosphere and merchandise presented in the shop had my credit card burning in my pocket, yearning to be out and tapping. I ended up buying two travel sized fragrances from Bastide, a Coriander candle from La Bruket, and a lovely bottle of Rose 1845 scented hair oil. I’m also working on manifesting a ring and bracelet from Marina B, or a fragrance from Michelle Pfeiffer’s heady Henry Rose label. There one called Dark as Night that makes you feel positively vampiric.
So, I meant to do a bunch of posts, but there are only four Saturdays in every month and we STILL have more Paris vacation to go. So, even though no one asked, I’m just going to post every day until I reach my self-determined goal. Today is a recap of my pop-up experience at Regeneration in Williamsburg.
It’s not good.
I was excited about being asked to participate, and I was excited to be selling in Williamsburg, and it seemed like it would be a perfect fit. But the day came to set up, I realized that it was def not the place to be. The atmosphere felt dead to me. Then the person next to me started acting out because the pop up staff asked her to move her clothing rack over. Just instant drama, and I was just standing there, uncomfortable. As soon as the staff person left my neighbor runs over and grabs my rack and moves it, muttering to herself, then stalks back to her side. I still haven’t said anything. I’m just taking it in.
$280 to spend the weekend next to someone with territory issues. Great! I start unpacking, slowly realizing that everyone else had massive amounts of stuff, but I (oldest, obedient child energy) had brought a small amount as stipulated in the contract. Then my neighbor, out of the blue, goes ’what did you say your name was?’ and I was just done. Like, never do this. Introduce yourself, don’t demand another person’s name. It reeks of bad attitude. Also, if the person is me, they won’t tell you. And you’ll be frustrated and angry while the person (me) ignores you.
So that was move in day.
The next morning, before opening, I brought in some more stuff and a little table. There was someone from the popup staff walking around and I heard her talking to people and being friendly. Then she gets to me and says, ”is this your little setup?” and I was once again, done. Like… its minimalist, ok? Damn. But being me, I just said ‘yeah’, and left it at that. And stood there in my little setup feeling demoralized.
“Little” setup. FML.
Moving on from the unpleasant beginnings, I proceeded to sell three items the whole weekend. A handpainted camo jacket with sashiko stitching and an embroidered patch that I designed when the country was burning down last year. I sold a cute minidress from the French flea market, and a maxidress that I purchased in the metro. For some reason the lady that bought the maxidress left me her skirt. She didn’t ask for a discount or to trade. She just gave me her skirt.
The next thing that happened was these two girls came and one tried one my tie dyed denim vest with feathers while the other filmed her and hyped her up. I kind of tried to sell it, but tbh I was just curious. The hype one was talking to someone on the phone in an exaggerated way and I couldn’t tell if I was dealing with a kpop sensation and her stylist or two social media wannabes.
Also, none of the people selling around me spoke to me. Except once. I was outside eating a burger and one followed me outside, suddenly talkative and smiling. Meanwhile, I’m legit trying to eat quickly without choking so I can go back to my booth. It was just not a good time. Plus, why wait two days to speak? And why do you have to come outside like it’s a secret?
That burger was insanely good, though.
So, def not going back. They make a lot of demands about marketing and social media, but they never once promoted me prior to the pop up, and they skipped over my booth during the weekend. And I only made half my money back, so there no financial incentive. It’s just a lost weekend.
I’m kind of shocked at how much I stuffed into a four day visit. But when you only have a few days, it makes sense to stuff them full of activities and adventures. Its also about staying up late on the internet, stewing over only having a few days and looking for things to do. I didn’t want to fly all that way just to sit in a hotel room alone. Friday afternoon I went to the Louvre , Saturday morning I went to Porte de Montreuil, and Saturday evening I went on a four hour bike tour in the streets of Paris with Fat Tire Tours.
I don’t have a helmet cam, and I’m too anxious of a rider to film on the bike, but trust me… it was incredible. I would not have covered so much ground just walking, and taking the metro is just burrowing through tunnels. Biking on my own was not going to happen, either. The bike tour was a genius idea.
One little travel tidbit? Google works everywhere. If it weren’t for google maps I would have been SOL finding places. So one ongoing adventure was just following google directions all over Paris. Finding the Rue Edgar Faure successfully, was literally the hardest part of taking this tour. Once there we got outfitted with vests, helmets and big, muscular bike. After a quick instruction, we lined up and headed out after our (AMERICAN!) tour guide into the warm Parisian sunset.
But, for real, it was actually sunset.
We rode through traffic and through crowds, along the streets and along the banks of the Seine. We stopped along the way to learn about French architecture, culture and history. Then we stopped for ice cream.
We stopped at the oldest ice cream maker in Paris, Berthillon, for a quick round of cones while listening to a piano player as the sun left streaks of light across the sky. I had roasted pineapple with basil and it was heaven. Then the lights that city is famous for started coming on.
We were supposed to end the night with a boat cruise but that got canceled and we ended up drinking wine in front of the Eiffel Tower, which was better. I bought a mess of keychains and a lightup tower toy to take home. As if it couldn’t get any better, the whole tower sparkled like champagne for about five minutes. All this magic cost me $55.
So, if you don’t know this, I have a reselling side hustle and I’m always looking for new ways to get inventory. I wanted to go to Paris, which is known for croissants, the Eiffel Tower (which they didn’t even want and Eiffel had to pay for it himself), and flea markets. The first time I visited, I dragged my ex-husband to the Port de Vanves open air market, happily haggling over a silver piggy bank. This time around, after doing some research, I decided on the lesser known Porte de Montreuil marche aux puces.
I’m gonna be honest, I was lost for about 45 minutes trying to find this place. First mistake was getting off at the wrong station. There are two Montreuil stops and I had forgotten to screen shot the metró directions before leaving the hotel (no free wifi in the subway there). After realizing that I should have trusted my instinct to get out at PORTE DE MONTREUIL, the literal name of the market. Then I managed to walk in every direction but the right one. Why? Just wild. If you go, just walk towards the highway when you leave the station. Towards the big glass buildings.
I took euros with me, but some vendors will take cards. It’s just all manner of stuff in there. I was laser focused on vintage and clothing, but there was so much more! I could have happily stayed in there browsing and shopping.
I ended up tagging out after about 20 minutes. I filled my bag, even after rolling everything to make as much room as possible it was still full. I left with some good vintage, a raincoat that I’m keeping, and a still fat wad of euros.
I photographed every piece as soon as I got back to the hotel.
Wrong station, great photo. This is not the flea market station. Just trying to save you time.
Next time? The story of a bike ride through Paris.
OK, we’re back in Paris. My first stop, after dropping my stuff off at the hotel, was the Louvre Museum. I’ve wanted to go there for years, and a museum seemed like the perfect place to start my vacation. Not too stressful, lots of art, maybe a little meal. Nothing too crazy. Meanwhile the place is 8 miles long, I had no map and I was late to pick up my audioguide. They were nice and gave me one anyway? But for the life of me I could not figure it out. So I just walked around, headphones around my neck, completely lost. I don’t think was the only one, a lot of people were wandering around with the headphones off.
After getting lost in the Egyptian section, then finding myself in the basement viewing the medieval stones that are the museum’s foundation, I finally found my way to the painting galleries. The walls are filled with landscapes and religious iconography. There are small canvasses tiled on walls and paintings so large that they fully occupy walls that are longer than my studio apartment. It is an onslaught of artistic endeavor. I tried to find the Mona Lisa, but I got turned around and found a hall of Objets d’Art and from there I somehow found Napoleon Bonaparte’s apartments.
Red velvet and gold everywhere. Crystal chandeliers, and paintings of cherubs on the ceiling. It’s garish and unbelievably tacky, but also sumptuous, luxurious and outlandishly royal. What’s wild is now understanding what was in my mom’s head when she decorated. A lot of people are copying this oplulent style unconsciously. I remember going to the homes of relatives and seeing elements of this and now here it was in front of me. The whole thing made me sad about my lack of pillars and corniches and gilded flourishes. Don’t get me started about the dining room.
I got there at about 4pm and they close at six, so it was a sprint. Next time I’m downloading a map and prepping before I get there, but for a first time I feel good with how much I saw. It definitely lived up to the hype. It was also the first time that I used my Nikon dslr since I bought it two years ago, and I got some lovely images. It was my first time going to the little Maxim’s shop in the lower level and my first cannelle. My first day in Paris and I ended up sitting on a bench with the sun beaming down on me just being grateful for being there.