Even though I spent a lot of time in 2012 stranded on the island of Manhattan, I still managed to do some continent-hopping to a bunch of my favorite foreign locales--and one city that I'd never been to before.
In January, Diane Pernet sent me to Rio again (I had to pout and beg a little bit and she finally relented because it was during my birthday) at the invitation of Monica Mendes and ABIT (Brazilian Textile & Apparel Industry Associaton). We stayed in Copacabana which is really the more authentic, egalitarian Rio experience as opposed to trendy Ipanema.
I celebrated my birthday with Rosario, Suleman and lots of complimentary champagne at the chic Fasano Hotel. (We craftily piggy-backed on a party the hotel was throwing for Mario Testino.)
And I made some new friends at the beach!
I set my camera down on the windowsill next to my bed in my room at the Windsor Atlantica so that I could jump up and capture this gorgeous sunrise on the far end of Copacabana called Leme.
Me hanging out at the treehouse restaurant Aprazivel in Santa Teresa.
In September, I took my yearly trip to the magical music-box-like city of Vienna, where I am invited to cover MQ Vienna Fashion Week.
I usually stay close to the Opera House, but this year for the first 3 nights I stayed in the rarely visited district of Margareten. After World War I, Vienna was known as "Red Vienna" because of the left-wing government that put a lot of Socialist programs in action, including municipal housing projects for the poor. There are quite a few in Margareten (and the highway that borders the district is nicknamed the "Ringstrasse of the Proletariat") and I did my own self-guided tour of the area. This one was my favorite communal housing project: the elegant Reumann-Hof, built in 1924 (above).
Lovely late-day light in Margareten.
Backstage at the Tiberius show at Vienna Fashion Week.
Designer Mariella Morgana Meyer at the "White Mask" afterparty for the Tiberius show at the fabulous Le Meridien Hotel (where I stayed for 3 nights).
One of my rockstar hosts at Vienna Fashion Week, my friend Zigi Mueller paired stars & stripes with rainboots (it always seems to downpour for one day whenever I visit Vienna).
I really enjoyed the "Reflecting Fashion" exhibit at MUMOK in Vienna's Museum Quartier. (Maria Oberfrank of MQVFW kindly supplied me with passes to all the museums.) One of the highlights was the inclusion of Elsa Schiaparelli's collaboration with Salvador Dali, the iconic lobster dress, which was very conspicuously absent from the Met Costume Institute's disastrous Prada/Schiaparelli show. Even though I am a Freudian, I was very amused by this feminist provocation (above), "Flow My Tears 1" by Mai-Thu Perret. The mirrored face is meant to reflect back all Freudian theories projected onto women, making her impervious to them.
After Vienna, I passed through Berlin for 3 days to visit my nutty "cousins" Vaginal Davis and Isabel. (Isabel has since fled the cold shoulders of the Germans and is now somewhere in sunny northern Thailand.) Isabel and I went to the Humboldt Cube museum and I took these photos from the veranda of the museum's restaurant.
Mitte is packed cheek by jowl with trendy, soulless boutiques that all seem to sell the same bougie "design" pillows and lamps for 50 euros a pop. One moment of respite was an interesting bookstore (the entrance, above) that also hosts reading.
Vaginal Davis in her studio in Schoneberg.
After Berlin, I took a 5-day holiday in Amsterdam--my first time!--and I was instanly won over by this charming little city.
House of Cheese!
Amsterdam street style
My friend Marcelo took me out to a marvelous dinner at the Silver Mirror, a restaurant that has not changed much since the early 17th century! We quaffed champagne and supped on foie gras brulee while sitting inside the fireplace. Those tiles!
View from the window of my suite at the delightfully quirky Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy
My suite at the Conservatorium Luxury Spa Hotel
Happy art at the recently re-opened & re-vamped Stedelijk Museum
Me + Moet at the Amsterdam premiere of the amazing DIANA VREELAND: THE EYE HAS TO TRAVEL
Artist Scott Neary took me on a tour of "his Amsterdam."
We stopped by the Theater Tuschinski to check out the eye-popping interior.
Ilanga met me for green tea out on the terrace of the Amstel InterContinental Hotel where I stayed for one very royal night.
From pristine canal-lined streets to the gritty hutongs of dynasties past: non-stop flight from Amsterdam to Beijing!
Alice McInerney of Anywearstyle.com & I at Dada bar
Design writer Laura Houseley & Beijing Design Week Creative Director Aric Chen
Full moon over the Lama Temple
Partying with rich Communist Party brats at Baby Face
Madame Cat & Monsieur Fish at Wuhao Curated-Shop
Me & Jeffrey Ying aka Oscar Madison & Felix Unger at the Baccarat champagne toast in Sanlitun Village.
Rem Koolhaas's CCTV Tower which generates almost as much propaganda as Fox News.
Beijing's arbiter of elegance, Jeffrey Ying, gave a party for the Party on China's National Day in his glamorous penthouse.
NYC-Vienna-Berlin-Amsterdam-Beijing-NYC: This was literally a trip around the world as my return flight to NYC traveled over the Pacific. Thanks for taking this journey with me.
Above: Robert Mapplethorpe by Tom Scott, gold-dusted take-out container by Joselle Yokogawa & Mrs. Vreeland by Adrian Milton and Patrick Lehman
Dear holiday hussies, New Yawk punk-rock casualities & Studio sluts,
New York may be turning into an uninspired playground for bland honkies from the 'burbs, but on Saturday night I transported my apartment and my party guests back to the fabulously crime-ridden, decadent, gritty and glamorous '70s. The theme of my tree-trimming party this year was "1970s New York" and my guests certainly rose to the occasion with ornaments and shenanigans. The party was a mix of Old Home Week (friends I hadn't seen in years like Aaron Rasmussen & Tom Scott), new friends I met on Facebook (Carly Sommerstein, Carol Vanderkloot) and in Beijing (Charlene from Tranquil Tuesdays brought me some lovely ancient tree raw pu'er tea--it's what I drink when I'm in Beijing).
Peace in the Middle East in my kitchen!: Aaron Rasmussen, Carly Sommerstein & Mohamad A Canaan. Carly brought a dollop of Chanukah, the Communist Manifesto & Cultural Revolution porn to the party (more on that later). Mohamad, who is visiting from Beirut, quickly became the life of the party. When Mark Morgan Perez arrived later in the evening with a big bottle of top-shelf tequila, Mohamed jumped in and got us all plastered with several rounds of his take on traditional Lebanese "Dodo shots": tequila, salt, Frank's Hot Sauce, and an olive followed by a wedge of lime.
Icon alert! Justin Vivian Bond, NYC's most revered transgendered artiste, & Patrick McDonald, the Big Apple's most important dandy institution, had a long, intimate chat in the library nook of my kitchen.
Icon alert #2! Lesbian rock goddess Carole Pope blessed my pagan disco Druid tree with a splash of unholy water: unconsecrated prosecco.
Sylvia Heisel & her husband Scott Taylor (a bartender at Studio 54 in the late '70s who invented the phenomenon of shirtless male bartenders) of Postmodern Productions erected a conceptual installation in my Mao Zedong VIP Room: spinning disco balls and revolutionary Red lights! Talk about a cultural revolution!
Marisa Crawford, now a photographer and former stylist whom I assisted back in the day, and her daughter Justine were the first VIPs admitted into the Mao Room. Marisa's uncle, Paul Morrissey (yes, THE Paul Morrissey) recently screened his comeback film at Lincoln Center, which I attended at Marisa's invitation.
Artist Scott Neary, Persian intellectual Suzanne Batmanghelichi, moi avec Andy Kaufman, and Justin (who was on the floor looking for her diaphragm after it fell out of her purse.)
Nancy Stout, author of the soon-to-be-released Cuban revolutionary Celia Sanchez biography, and her pal Antonia van Drimmelen engage in dialetical Marxist Melba Moore hijinks. Do the hustle!
Sizzling hot soul sisters Joselle Yokogawa & Danielle deciphered the conundrums of the Mao Room.
Knitwear designer (right) Tom Scott won the tree-topper award this year with his Robert Mapplethorpe ornament. A Satanic star for my tree--take THAT, Jesus!
Patrick Lehman won the Charles Nelson Reilly look-a-like contest with more than a little help from his Chester Weinberg scarf and witty repartee.
Antonia & Christopher Voigt discussed Tibetan Buddhism while keeping a safe distance from the Mao Room (and as David Hemmings documents it).
Glamour puss & Eve Kitten creator Nancy Bacich & Patrick cooled their heels in my boudoir-slash-office.
Musician and radical guitar-pedal inventor Johnny Steele and his girlfriend showed up dressed for a night at the Mudd Club circa 1978!
Tom's sublime Robert Mappelthorpe ornament reigning supreme at the top of my tree (sharing the title with Joselle's glam take-away carton...)
Old-Skool East Village diehard artist John Toth battled his way through drunken, vomiting frat boys on the street to deliver his hip-hop graffiti ornament to my party!
Scott Neary made this ornament because he wants the world to know: I Saw Bette at the Palace!
Santa Claus is subjected to a terrifying "The Fly" fate after he's morphed with Factory casualty Edie Sedgwick. Ornament by Corey Sabourin.
My Truman & Andy ornament & Carol Vanderkloot's NYC taxi. Goes well with Andy considering all his excrutiatingly boring taxi ride documentations (how much he paid for each ride or who paid for him instead) in his diaries.
Joselle's glam-bam-thank-you-ma'am New York Dolls shoe ornament.
Viva Angela! Nancy Stout made this ornament that documents "On October 17, 1970 FBI agents arrested Angela Davis at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in New York City. President Nixon congratulated the FBI for capturing a 'dangerous terrorist.'" !
More from Nancy: Fidel Castro's 1979 visit to New York purportedly cost the city $170,000 in overtime for 2,000 policemen! But what I want to know is: Did Fidel get turned away at the door of Studio 54?
Christopher Voigt brought some groovy interior design to the party, which he interprets as a 1970s Nativity scene...the "virgin" in this case is on birth-control pills....
A hot dog (love the glitter mustard) and dolls--sounds like a typical '70s New York snack! (Suzanne brought the hot dog; Mark brought the empty prescription bottle.)
Bruce Benderson brought the Crisco to the party--but my house rule required that it be used only in the hallway or outside. I didn't want any greasy fist marks ending up on my champagne flutes and antique sconces!
Carole Pope's punk decoupage creation is centered around "an inflated used condom"....or so the legend goes. (I can't imagine Carole putting her mouth ANYWHERE where a cock was.)
Aaron's high-concept ornament is supposed to be me when I'm 70....or me in the '70s....or something like that....
Elegant disco cocks by Cator Sparks
Vintage Hello Kitty toy from Nancy Bacich.
Rachel Spaeth brought an ornament that's supposed to be "how a disco ball looks after a night of doing too much coke" and Johnny got all pre-hipster DIY punk rock and just made his ornament from the PBR he drank at my party (he brought it himself--I would NEVER serve PBR at one of my parties!)
Bruce & Justin
The boys in the backroom: Patrick McDonald, Patrick Lehman, Cator Sparks and friend.
Marisa Crawford brought a Chinese-character version of Mao's Little Red Book
The aforementioned Cultural Revolution porn that Carly brought!
I love getting presents at my Xmas parties! Danielle gifted me a a St. Germain & Cava cocktail kit!
Back in the 1960s it was the December issue of Vogue (during Diana Vreeland's reign) that was the big issue of the year, not the September issue. My article on Mrs. Vreeland's magical December issues can be read here on the official Diana Vreeland website.
For the December 1967 issue,
an infamous Richard Avedon shoot featured an entirely nude Rudolf Nureyev. When
the legendary Russian ballet dancer emerged naked from behind the screen in
Avedon’s studio, Mrs. Vreeland described the spectacle thusly: “My dear, you know how it is with men in the morning? Well, it was
like that and we had to wait a half
an hour for it to go down and it was very strange but rather beautiful.”
Melting disco balls at the grand Oude Kirke Cathedral
Dear gouda gourmands & red-light lollygogs,
I've always wanted to visit Amsterdam and finally after all these years, I was able to add it to my September jet-set schedule. Here is a collection of my art, design, film premiere, hotel and food reports that have been posted on A Shaded View on Fashion:
This past Saturday was the 30th anniversary of the Mermaid Parade in the now-transformed Coney Island. (Which looks great, by the way. The new Luna Park is pretty top-notch, especially after all the baleful warnings that the park's demise was certain in the faee of condo development.) Ruby's Bar & Grill, which has also been battling eviction for the past few years, got a facelift (new interior/paintjob/bathrooms but most of the old charm and historic photos intact) and it seems unlikely that they will be forced out for at least a few years.
Only complaint is this year there were too many police barricades in awkward positions, like around the Cyclone (which I believe is a UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site now), making it a nightmare to get around. And thanks to the parade being a trending topic on Twitter (among other internet bullhorns), the crowd seemed to be three times larger than usual this year.
And while it was too claustrophobic to watch the spectacle on the boardwalk (thanks again to too many barricades) we found our way to where gaggles of parade participants were spilling out into a parking lot--an ideal locale for photo-snapping.
I loved this woman because she reminded me of a more svelte version of Edith Massey as Queen Carlotta in John Waters' "Desperate Living."
One of the Queen's foot soldiers
After a few beers at Ruby's, one of my friends thought this pirate sail read, "THE TALIBAN." Well, I'm sober right now and I still don't know what the hell it says.
This mermaid is made entirely of little cupcakes! (Calm down, curmudgeons--they're not from Magnolia....this float is the creation of some cupcake bakery from Washington, D.C. I thought it was cool that they came all the way to New York to be in the parade.)
A new addition to Luna Park: some kind of bungee jump that requires two crazy people per ride.
A bejeweled schlong! Some Radical Faerie/Cockettes realness in Coney...
This woman introduced her daughter as "a character from fiction who died of consumption." Charmed, I'm sure.
Ruby's has a new sign!
And--wow!!--a "reclaimed lumber" ceiling. Recognize it? It's the old Coney Island boardwalk!
One of the old Ruby's signs, preserved with care inside the bar.
We loved this woman's corset.
My friend Suzanne Batmanghelichi and I. It was Suzanne's first Mermaid Parade!
Also, Suzanne's first foray into the world of raw clams. I ate so many that day.
Nancy Stout, Corey Sabourin and Suzanne
Vintage photo, probably from the early 20th century, of the elephant rides they used to do in Coney. (They also had camel rides. You can see a glimpse of that in the film clip from 1905 I posted in my 2010 report--link below.)
The 1979 cult film "The Warriors" is having a bit of a resurgence lately. There were a few Ruby's patrons sporting these vests and also Warriors t-shirts.
"The Warriors are from Coney Island. Now, they're in the Bronx--27 miles behind enemy lines!"