Hi-Ho Silver!

Paco Rabanne Fall Winter 2017
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Runway photos Vogue.com

It may be all about the red, white, and blue as we head into the 4th of July, but from my perspective, it’s all about silver. How do I love thee, let me count the ways!

 Loeffler Randall silver Jasper oxford

Silver is modern, edgy, timeless. It adds just the right amount of shine, is the perfect neutral, and goes with everything. It pairs as well with denim as chino, and nothing looks as good with black or white, (or both). While its sister metal gold is warm, silver is the height of ‘cool’ both literally and figuratively. The best and easiest way to look chic and effortlessly pulled together regardless of how high the temperature goes? Add a silver accessory (such as these gleaming Loeffler Randall Jasper oxfords) to a crisp white shirt and black skirt or pant, and you are all set.  More info/purchase

Travel in style with Tumi’s large suitcase in silver aluminum

With everyone heading out of town and going on holiday these days, you are guaranteed to be the chicest traveler with Tumi’s silver aluminum ‘Short Trip’ bag. In addition, it will be easy to spot on a conveyer belt at the airport at baggage claim and I can guarantee that nobody will try to steal it from under your eyes. More info/purchase

Paco Rabanne silver disc dress

If you’re really bold, you can go whole hog in this iconic and timeless 60’s Paco Rabanne silver disc dress. More info/purchase

Paco Rabanne Fall Winter 2017

If ever there is a label that is synonymous with silver, it is Paco Rabanne and the creative director, Julien Dossena, has single handedly revived chain mail, showing many of his asymmetrical, draped chain mail pieces for fall winter 2017 with silver metallic platform oxfords.

Chanel Fall Winter 2017

Karl Lagerfeld is another designer taken with silver. He transformed his fall winter 2017 Chanel runway at the Grand Palais into a giant space rocket and showed insulated glittery silver leather suits, padded space stoles, and lunar boots, imparting it all with a futuristic, space age, mod vibe.

‘New York Silver Then and Now’, exhibition
Photo: Cesarin Mateo

By the way, the upcoming fashion exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (in November) will be devoted to Mod fashions (60’s and 70’s), but the timing of their current exhibition, ‘New York Silver, Then And Now’ could not be better (it opened on June 28th and runs through July 2018). Presented in the museum’s Tiffany & Company Foundation Gallery, it is a dialogue between the past and present and a historical narrative on the use of silver as a reflection of time and culture. It is not your grandmother’s silver. Or rather, it’s not JUST your grandmother’s silver (www.mcny.org).

Jeannine Falino, Curator, New York Silver, Then and Now
Photo: Cesarin Mateo

The exhibition is organized by Guest Curator Jeannine Falino, an independent curator and museum consultant who has curated exhibitions, lectured, presented workshops and written extensively on American decorative arts, craft and design from the colonial era to the present. Her specific expertise is in metalwork, jewelry, and ceramics and she engaged 25 contemporary artists, silversmiths, and designers (all from the greater metropolitan area), to create pieces inspired by their historic counterpart, culled from the museum’s formidable silver collection and effectively displayed side by side.

Whitney W. Donhauser, Director of the Museum of the City of New York
Photo: Cesarin Mateo 

I attended the press preview on Tuesday morning at which time Ms. Falino was on hand, along with many of the designers, and the museum’s director, Whitney W. Donhauser. She called the exhibition a “great experiment” and explained that the since the role of silver has changed over the years, it was conceived as a way of “activating their incomparable and historical silver collection”, modernizing it, and making it relevant for today. Indeed it was hard not to notice the social discourse which ran through it, tackling pressing issues such as women’s role in society and slave labor (most silver in the colonial era most came from mines in South America excavated using forced and slave labor).

Sheila Bridges’ sketch for her spoon
Photo: Cesarin Mateo  

This was exemplified by a hand-wrought spoon conceived by interior and product designer Sheila Bridges (wearing a silver necklace and cuff of her own design at the preview). It was chosen for its symbolism and based upon designs for ships used in the transatlantic slave trade. It is paired with a late 17th century silver spoon made by Cornelius Vander Burch.

Amy Roper Lyons , ‘Women’s Work #1’
Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

Amy Roper Lyons was inspired by the Tiffany & Co. Golet Prize for the Sloops, 1889, for her trophy, ‘Women’s Work #1′. It was literally completed last week which is perfectly symbolic given the fact that a woman’s work is never really done anyway, right? FYI, the oldest piece on display is a memorial spoon that dates back to 1678.

 Brian Weissman’s ‘Pasta-Loving Cup’
Photo: Jacob Tugendrajch

But New York Silver, Then and Now  not only touches upon social issues and abstract musings on the meaning of life and death; there are items that are purely decorative, such as Kiki Smith’s ‘Bee-Guile’ honeycomb bracelet in 3d printed cast in silver, the only piece of jewelry in the exhibition, which was inspired by a Tiffany & Co. bonbonniere made of platinum, gold, pearls, diamonds, and sapphires. There is also a whimsical side, and a palpable sense of humor. Brian Weissman’s ‘Pasta-Loving Cup’ is made of bronze cast and silver plate in assorted pasta shapes and sizes, with handmade lasagna handles, displayed next to a Tiffany & Company Loving Cup from 1888.

Surveillance Tray
Photo: Cesarin Mateo 

Alongside a Tiffany & Co. Presentation Tray from the early 1900’s is Michael Gayk’s Epner Technology ‘Surveillance’ Tray, 2017.

Constantine Boym’s ‘Pillinger’
Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York

Constantine Boym created his silver ‘Pillinger’, inspired by John Hastier’s porringer ca 1750. What a perfect ode to the times we live in if ever there was one.

Robert Lobe’s ‘Forest Moonlight’ on back wall
Photo: Cesarin Mateo 

For pure drama, it was hard to beat Robert Lobe’s massive ‘Forest Moonlight’, from 2017, made of aluminum, stainless steel, fine silver, hammered, and exhibited on a wall at the far end of the exhibition hall.

Wendy Yothers’ Gotham tete-a-tete beverage service, 2017
Courtes the Museum of the City of New York

As I surveyed the positively gleaming salt cellars from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the silver pieces that make up Wendy Yothers’ ‘Gotham tete-a tete’ beverage service, 2017, I was reminded of my own rarely used silverware and could not help but think what an undertaking it must be for the museum to keep their collection in such pristine condition. When I asked Ms. Falino what the secret was, she told me that the cases are designed with seals of rubber gaskets to ensure that no air enters. She also pointed out that you should never put your silverware in the dishwasher as it changes the color, and emphasized that using your silverware and enjoying it, is the best way to keep it from tarnishing. Okay Jeannine, you convinced me.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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