06 November 2011

tete a tete : a Classic Autumn in New York

Which interior designer extraordinaire would I want to spend several days with in New York-(hint hint) tete a tete?
The inestimable Charlotte Moss of course.

the bouquet that awaited me in my room

It was a delight to attend the Royal Oak Foundation Gala with Charlotte on Wednesday the 19th in October at the Metropolitan Club. "The foundation engages Americans in the work of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, one of the world’s largest and most progressive conservation organizations." 

A beautiful sea of faces and tables, I met several of my design heroes- Mario Buatta for one, and had a dinner tete a tete with the spiffing Miles Redd.

 Charlotte before the dinner began
(from the NYSD pages)

Awards presentations highlighted the evening.  Designer Ashley Hicks accepted  the Timeless Design Award for his father, the late David Hicks. Hicks resurgence in popularity today is testament to his singular way with geometric pattern and explosive color -now considered Classic Interior Design. Richard Broyd's considerable investment in the perpetuation of historic properties was recognized with the foundation's Heritage Award. Broyd added three historic house hotels to the National Trust treasury,  Hartwell House, Bodysgallen Hall and Middlethorpe Hall.

 the tables
(from the pages of the NYSD)

Lunch at La Grenouille, cheese soufflé- a visit to Charlotte's office to see her new  fabric collection from Fabricut  rounded out the day and an evening tucked into Charlotte's library completed it- I was, as you can imagine, in absolute heaven.
Charlotte's new fabrics are wonderful and an upcoming post will feature them this week!

The flowers of La Grenouille are as lauded as the cuisine, and the little gem of a book (above) is one I highly recommend. Like that perfect soufflé- the base of the flowers provides the flavour and above that- the airy leaves provide the wonder.  At the time Charles Masson's father founded the restaurant flowers were limited to a stem or two on restaurant tables-if seldom ever seen when dining. One day after being particularly bothered by the sun streaming in while eating lunch at one of his tables, Masson came upon the perfect solution-a grand bouquet of flowers to filter the light!  A Baccarat vase was purchased and another La Grenouille legend was born. Soon more flowers appeared. One day the restauranteur found Salvador Dali with his head in a bouquet- "Monsieur Masson, you throw money out the windows, but it comes back to you through the doors."

Charles Masson with La Grenouille flowers-this photograph from 2005, shows an autumnal arrangement very much like the  ones in the restaurant the day we had lunch.
Change is GOOD, yes- but Only If it is Better.
The Classic exuberance of the flowers at La Grenouille is perfection.

A day of museum stops and breakfast at the Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show made the day fly by, and I flew home that evening.

 What we saw-

 at the Antique show-Charlotte and I both stopped when we saw this- Jannoit's ELEGANCE from 1933.

 Ingres at the MORGAN gives over 17 fine drawings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867), one of the greatest draftsman and portraitists in French history.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Odalisque and Slave, 1839, 
graphite, black and white chalk, gray and brown wash. 
Thaw Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum

and do notice the pattern in Ingres' Odalisque-
Very Hicksian I'd say!

Ingres'  Odalisque with a Slave
commissioned by Charles Marcotte d'Argenteuil in 1839,

Ingres many odalisque paintings were influenced by the writings of Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the Turkish Ambassador- whose diaries and letters Igres was fascinated by.
The men of Ingres drawings are dynamic while his studies of women in and about society are a far far cry from his slightly writhing Odalisque.

David, Delacroix, and Revolutionary France: Drawings from the Louvre-, again at the Morgan. Included are eighty drawings by such noted artists as David, Prud'hon, Ingres, Géricault, Delacroix, and Corot.

The Morgan is a beautiful and dynamic place, while staying true to the opulent splendor of the original- a Classic- the Classically modern- Renzo Piano additions launch the Morgan into the future.

rendering of the proposed library for Morgan by McKim, Mead & White, ca. 1902. 
Watercolor over pencil

View from 36th Street of the Annex (left), the new "cube" gallery (center), and the McKim building (right)
Photography by Michel Denancé

at FIT

the Sporting Life

Christian Lacroix, 1990

My in depth story on the Guinness FIT exhibition here

Yes, this was almost 3 weeks ago-but I had to regroup and rest when I returned.

I was woefully remiss in snapping my own photographs- no apologies, I see more without it- at some point I hope to walk and chew gum simultaneously.



  1. Gaye Dahling,
    What a fabulous time you had!
    And I know CM was equally moved and excited to be in your presence.
    I leave for NYC on Wednesday.....somehow I do not think my trip will be as exciting as yours!

  2. Oh Gaye, what a WHIRLWIND! A glamorous whoosh of Beauty and Memories for the Golden Days off in the distance. Remember the glow of pink off the Bubinga paneled walls of Masson's room, the gilt, carved and painted Sanford White ceiling of theMetropolitan Club and of course I hope you giggled with Mr. Buatta.

    I think Elsie de Wolfe was there in spirit thru Ms. Moss. I can see your SMILE!

    A true honor that your presence is so desired...but then again, how can a SOUL like yours not shimmer Coast to Coast attracting Stylish spirits!

  3. Sounds like the perfect trip! Looking forward to reading more...

  4. Another smorgasbord, for which thank you.

    So L'odalisque seems to you to be writhing? The word that always comes to my mind is lassitude.

    And I wish you all the best with your noble ambition!

  5. What an unbelievably stimulating trip. Definitely no time to take photos - you would have been too busy drinking in the moment, breathing in the sparkles of bright thoughts and looking, looking, looking.

    Just a bit jealous....

  6. Oh, I am remiss in not accompanying you or meeting you for an exuberant lunch. Might I beg of you to allow me to accompany you with sketch pad in hand. I always prefer my sketch pad to my camera when I travel. It causes me to really see that much more and to slow down.

  7. What a simply marvelous week!! And of course it's true that visitors often see more than those who live there (or close to there) - I MUST get myself to the Morgan!!

  8. Oh, how much to enjoy!! The dinner the museum the art!!
    I went to The Morgan Library last year, and it is one of New York's secret jewels. Have a lovely Monday!

  9. What an amazingly splendiferous adventure. Pure fantasy. How does anyone top this? Thanks for sharing. Mary

  10. Gaye, this post is truly a feast, your usual mix of art, history, architecture, style and stylish living! And, of course, wit. Here I offer a bit of my own whimsy, in tune with a part your post:

  11. La Grenouille is not a restaurant. If it were, there wouldn't be any others.

  12. You lucky duck! And to sit with Miles Redd -- oo la la!

  13. read this the other day, and can't stop wondering on the sheer glory and beauty of it- the happiness it brings!- true bliss (and the Swan's comment- just now reading it- sent sweet chills up my spine: for she is very right, as ever, and especially about the shimmering).

    what joy, what utter and complete joy!



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