When Life Gets Ugly, Focus on the Pretty

Jesus, this month. How much heartbreak can we take?

To lighten the mood a bit, last week I met my friend Angela in New York and spent a delightful day with her. We walked from Battery Park to Chinatown, where we feasted at Nom Wah (Thanks to Rosie for sending us there. Best. Dim Sum. Ever!), then we caught the train uptown to see the “Manus Ex Machina” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So here are some pictures to remind us that when the world gets ugly, and God knows it’s been one ugly-ass summer so far, there is still beauty all around us.


Neoprene couture wedding gown by Chanel opens the exhibit


But what’s with the drag lines?


McQueen metal dresses


Can’t sit in this one


Hussein Chalayan




Crappy cell phone detail of the embroidery on the Dior dress


Dior’s Petale




Dior by Yves Saint Laurent


This is made of plastic drinking straws


Clear sequins over printed ombré silk jersey




Dior side by side with McQueen


70s Givenchy, IIRC


Iris van Herpen is one crazy lady!


For those days you just want to look like a wooly bear caterpillar


Valentino and Gres on the left, Iris van Herpen on the right


Mummy couture


Classic Chanel? Kinda sorta. That “tweed” is plastic


Here you can see the “weave” of the Chanel tweed


Cool idea for a shirt dress from Prada: zipper instead of button placket

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Only a sewing nerd would stick her camera under the dress to see the innards


Hand crocheted lace


Chanel fron the 30s




The exhibit has been extended into September. If you have the chance, do go see it.

Happy sewing!

19 thoughts on “When Life Gets Ugly, Focus on the Pretty”

  1. andib says:

    Thank you for some beauty in these crazy times!

  2. raquel from JC says:

    Thank you so much! What a treat!

  3. Elle says:

    What a treat! Thanks for posting. I just saw “Valentino, the Last Emperor”. Great older movie–highly recommend for a dose of beauty, compassion and humor. And recognition of the work of the “petits mains” behind the scenes.

  4. Carol S. says:

    Those aren’t drag line, they’re pleats.
    I was really excited to see the Dior Bar Suit.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Mmmm, respectfully disagree. Those are drag lines on the sleeves, not pleats.

      1. Stephani says:

        on a dress form with unnaturally shaped “arms”…

  5. Chris Taylor says:

    Thank you for sharing your photos, I do hope this comes to London like the McQueen exhibition.

  6. Rosie says:

    Ann, so sorry I missed spending time with you and Angela and very happy that you ladies got to have dim sum. I love that place. Hoover wants to know where his dim sum is. Thanks for sharing your photos.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Sorry we missed you, Rosie! Next time, for sure, and Nom Wah – nom nom nom! The salt and pepper shrimp were TDF.

  7. I love Dior’s dresses! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Anne Frances says:

    Thanks for this – just fascinating! No way I can get across the pond to see it, so it’s lovely to have the pictures. I agree- those Chanel sleeves are off. But Oh! that Dior embroidery! Such a beautiful dress.

  9. Jessica A says:

    It’s a slow day at work, on Sunday, in Georgia, far away from these pretty dresses and things. Thank you for sending me pictures, I might have to learn how to embroider now.

  10. Alix says:

    so divine! sometimes you just need the pretties!

  11. JJ says:

    Wow, what spectacular garments. It is amazing to see the creativity (dress made out of drinking straws) and the fantastic design elements that are incorporated. So much inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Meg Allen says:

    Thank you for the beautiful diversion. It is much needed, and this sampling is welcomed!

  13. Terri B'Hymer says:

    Funny how the older gowns look like they could be worn by (very fortunate) real people, and the newer works look highly conceptual, in the line of “Hey, see what I can do with fabric!!” Dior for the win!

  14. Thanks for the exhibit review! How hard is it to get from Boston to NYC to see the museums? I’ve never been…

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      It’s super easy, Sewing Faille. It’s a 4-hour or so car ride, you can take Amtrak from South Station to Penn Station, or you can take any of myriad busses. Oh yes, you can fly, too, but then you have to get from the airport to midtown.

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