The Art of Style

You can have

anything you want in life

if you dress for it.

Edith Head


JDR by Richard Alvedon

Who defines your sense of style when dressing for the holidays?  A celebrity, a designer, a brand? How do you filter through the noise of advertising and social media to choose what is right for you?

Jacqueline de Ribes, 86, French socialite and muse who reinvented herself as a designer, has graciously lent a few dozen evening  gowns from her wardrobe to the Met’s Costume Institute for inspiration. She is known in Parisian society for her elegance and style despite her strong belief growing up that she wasn’t beautiful. “I wasn’t brought up in a family that told me I was beautiful–quite the opposite. I had a problem with my nose. I thought it was too big and too pointed.” Her relationship with her mother was strained, assuring her for years that she could never learn to walk like a lady.

Encouraged by Diana Vreeland to embrace her adventurous spirit, Jacqueline’s insecurity was quelled by Diana’s advice “Jacqueline, don’t be afraid. Whatever you do, just remember: Follow your instincts and you’ll never be wrong.”

The dresses can’t tell her full story though. Jacqueline had an irreverent flair for extravagantly mixing and matching pieces, piling on accessories and even splicing together garments to reflect her mood. Because she dressed to please and express herself, Jacqueline’s wardrobe has a sense of individuality, consistency, and timelessness. Her ambition for this exhibit is to inspire people to embrace the freedom and confidence of self-expression through fashion, saying “You can be elegant and chic by being yourself.”

Harold Koda, curator-in-charge at the Costume Institute sums it up, “It requires a certain discipline to say: This is what’s good for me, this is who I am, and whatever trend is out there I am only going to buy to the extent I can use it to frame the best portrait of myself.”

Of course, a little money to spare for haute couture never hurts. 😉

Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style is at the Metropolitan Museum until February 21, 2016.



How fun to be a fanciful belle of the ball!


Though I’m not a fan of black, I love the lace and feather detail of this velvet piece.


A sculptural one-shouldered gown from de Ribes’ inaugural collection as a designer.



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201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

China at the Met

Be not afraid of growing slowly.

Be afraid only 

of standing still.

Chinese proverb


Couture inspired by Anna May Wong’s costumes in her Hollywood classics. Among my favorite pieces is this very easy to wear hot number with seductive tassels as shoulder straps and as a dramatic train sweeping the floor.

If you’re near Manhattan this weekend, get to the Metropolitan Museum early (or very late to avoid the crowds) and catch the end of their hit exhibit China: Through The Looking Glass.  Attracting more foot traffic that the Alexander McQueen exhibit a couple of years ago and even more than their King Tut exhibit in 1979, this latest feature of the Anna Wintour Costume Institute is a collection of haute couture influences flowing East to West and vice versa.

China as a collective fantasy began when it was still beyond the reach of most Western travelers. Chinoiserie by the best artisans, creatives and film makers have since perpetuated the myth of this land as one of wealth. elegance, mystery and romance. Sample the best of the best at the Met on its last weekend of display.  Museum hours extend until midnight this Friday and Saturday (September 4 and 5, 2015) and this exhibit closes on Monday, September 7th.

Dragon dress inspired by an imperial robe, John Galliano for the House of Dior


Intricate embroidery and silk are among my favorite things!


In the China Pavilion, a collection of John Galliano pieces for the House of Dior


Haute couture in a forest reminiscent of the bamboo scene of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


A lotus flower ballgown by a Chinese designer


Mao and Chinese calligraphy as design elements


The Weight of the Millennium artwork made of porcelain shards by Li Xiaofeng 2015


Glamour couture inspired by designs on Manchu robes


Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what country captivates you best.


Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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