Portrait Perfect: Gilded Models, Glittering Stars and Galas

Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible ConversationsThe fashion and art worlds were abuzz on Monday night, May 7, as stars from all sectors of the celebrity universe sparkled on the red carpet at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala –  The fashion-meets-art extravaganza in New York City. Celebrating the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibit, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” movie stars and models, musicians and fashion icons, sports stars, singers and stage actors all appeared at the evening event.

A common thread running throughout the couture culture was the stand-out theme of metallics (and some shimmery gothic blacks) for the haute gowns.  Futuristic fabrics woven from glittering golds and sparkling silvers were the trendy highlights of the evening. Resplendent in sequins and see-through, peek-a-boo lace, as well as yards of organza and slinky silk, there was no skimp of spectacular with the dressed-to-impress women on the red carpet.

Dazzling designs by fashion superstars such as Michael Kors (accompanying Hilary Swank) and Valentino (on the arm of Sara Jessica Parker), had eyes riveted on the festivities, as this was the first year the Gala was broadcast. Known as the “Oscars of the East Coast,” the annual Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala is a place to show off art for the body.

Renoir - Dance in the CityFashion and a fascination with glamor also played a large part in so many masterpieces, a reflection of the eras in which they were created, capturing the elegant style of the day.

From RenoirDance in the City; Dance in the Country; Dance at Bougival These three pieces exemplify various tiers of French society. In Dance in the City, the “upper crust” dances in glamorous formal wear, while the latter two are separated by degrees in by attire.

In his Luncheon of the Boating Party, as well as La Grenouillere (The Frog Pond) Renoir captured the everyday elegance of ordinary people reveling in relaxation, reflecting glamor with ostentatiousness, refinement without self-consciousness. An embodiment of the time in which he lived, Renoir loved to capture people engage in recreation, joyous in the pleasures life had to offer.

Finally, Renoir’s Irene Cahen d’Anvers portrait and his Two Sisters (On the Terrace) portrait, this Impressionist master captured simplicity and style on canvas, a quiet – yet glowing – satisfaction and happiness. In all his paintings, Renoir captured the light and color of life, bringing joy to all his works, or as the French say, “joie de vivre.”

Some other works that reflect the cross-pollination of society, art, glamor and fashion:

From DegasThe Millinery Shop; The Orchestra at the Opera; Star Dancer (On Stage) – a view of fashion, of society and music, and society and the performing arts.

Finally, the epitome of fashionista portraiture?  The opulence of Gustav Klimt’s works: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and Signora con Ventaglio, as well as the high-fashion pose of Black Feather Hat. His use of golds and silvers weave throughout his works –just like the fabrics of the gowns at the Gala.  One can only imagine the riotous time he might have had at the Met on Monday night!

About the Author

I was raised in Wichita, KS and I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I paint the interior of my house according to the season and could not imagine a world without colors. I am a writer, mother, and grandmother - My motto in life has always been "Any day you wake up is going to be a good day".