This weekend there is an Yves Saint Laurent retrospective opening at the Denver Art Museum. The NY Times comments that Denver is an unlikely place for such an exhibit, but I am sure it will be mobbed. I can't attend the opening this weekend because I'll be on my way to visit my friends Nicole and Michael in Sarasota, Florida...which is like visiting a museum.
When I met Nicole, she was the head patternmaker for Oscar de La Renta and we were both working out of the same silk dress factory in Hong Kong. Her background as a couture patternmaker includes working with Christian Dior, Adri, and she was the head patternmaker for Halston's NY runway shows.
Nicole has a closet full of couture clothes and evening gowns. The last time I visited, she said "I don't know why I keep them - none of them fit anymore." However, we both know why she keeps them. That closet is a museum-worthy treasure trove.
I'll be staying at their house, which is full of art, antiques, textiles and stories. The two of them met in the 80's, when we all lived in Hong Kong. (Nicole and I were flatmates for awhile too.) They've lived all over the world, and their home is a reflection of their past and ongoing travels. Nicole especially likes to show Sophie the antique jewelry from China....
We love to hear their stories. The one I like to hear again and again is when they went to a royal wedding in India, which lasted for over a week in a historic palace. I have lots of good stories about living and traveling abroad, but this couple definitely tops me, with tales of traveling in the USSR in the 60's, and visiting the interior of China before it opened up to Nixon.
Nicole is a fanatic textile collector, and whenever I visit, she always manages to bring out another vintage treasure with a detailed story to match. Every time I stay there, I learn something new about museum quality antique textiles. Handmade lace tablecloths, embroidered silk robes from the Qing Dynasty...there's always something new to explore in her closets. Nicole was the first person to show me what it is to be a feverishly passionate textile fanatic, and I've been collecting ever since. Gives the word "Stash" a whole new meaning, hmm?