My favorite part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the Robert Lehman Collection, a sort of mini-Frick in the back of the ground floor that’s something of a collector’s dream: paintings and drawings and sculptures and antiques from a period of over seven hundred years. I spent several hours there this past New Year’s Eve day, and grew particularly attached to this Kees Van Dongen painting 1925, “Avenue du Bois”:
I loved the crush of automobiles (particularly the Boston Cream Pie-colored car in the front right) and the three horses in the back who, though rendered in such rough brushwork, seem so disdainful of the motorcade they’re forced to navigate. And then there’s the Arc de Triomphe in the back, just smudged out of the gray day and wintry trees.
The best part, of course, is the throng of fashionable pedestrians, beginning with the elegant, twig-legged woman hopping into the car, and then the the mother and daughter, the former dressed in a gray sheath (very Chanel) and a beautiful caramel fur coat, and her daughter in a kind of flippy tennis skirt with straw-colored bob. The couple next to them has the wonderful sketchiness of a fashion design illustration, I think: mostly silhouette and insinuation. Behind them, everyone is reduced to a mass of black hats. Add a Sidney Bechet tune and that’s it.
Avenue du Bois (now Avenue Foch) was and remains one of the most fashionable and expensive streets in the city of Paris, and the portrayal of the street as a kind of runway for fashionable dress and automobiles charmed me.
When I returned to look at the painting again a few days later, it had disappeared. They must have rehung the gallery at the very, very beginning of 2013. Much of it—di Paolo’s Creation scene, Ingres’s Princesse de Broglie, Balthus’s nude—remains in tact, but ”Avenue du Bois,” I suppose, no longer invites our gaze.
Weird things women wear, EXPLAINED!
Do U knowwww what it feeeels liiiiike for a giiiiiirl
“Lindsay’s hat was not this way—and to me, the hat began with Lindsay. I would like to know which Hollywood stylist put a fedora on Lindsay Lohan’s head because I think that person is a genius. Lindsay first began to appear in hats after the first cycle of her eating disorder, post-rehab, during her lesbian relationship with Samantha Ronson. It was Lindsay’s funny way of saying that she was the femme—because of course Ronson, a DJ with a UK skater-boy thing, would always out-butch her: tight pants, big shoes, greasy hair tucked back, vampiric dark circles. In photos Samantha was always snarling like a tough orphan, though under the soot and freckles you knew she had nice parents. Instead of just wearing lipstick to imitate a woman, Lindsay wore a fedora to imitate a man imitating a woman—imitating, more specifically, a sort of closeted ’50s homosexual whose excessive display of formal masculinity revealed how much of life was costume. On Lindsay the hat said: Yes, I am experimenting, but not in the way you think. Also: leave me alone. This is an essential quality of hats: they announce one’s desire to be unannounced. A hat is an advertisement for a disguise.”
Take yourself, multiply it by 10, add a sprinklez of Cool Potion from the witch down the street, and you will be Dayna Tortorici.
Fedora, by Dayna Tortorici, from n+1.