I wanted to be in too many places this week!  So many events were happening, making a choice was difficult. In the end, Berlin and the opening of the new exhibition at the Helmut Newton Foundation won my heart…
But I am still dreaming to have been at the same time in Miami at Art Basel; at La Scala for the opera, and in New York at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute to see the Delphos dresses designed by Mariano Fortuny.  The Delphos dresses took their name from The Charioteer of Delphi, a bronze statue found in 1896.  Fortuny, born in Spain but a resident of Venice and the cross currents of Byzantine and Ottoman influences, designed the Delphos and the now lost art of creating these amazing pleats. Today we talk a lot about registering ideas to protect your intellectual property……Mariano Fortuny regarded this dress as an invention,  and registered it in Paris in 1909!

Finally – after years and years (and years!)  of endless construction,  the new area of Milano that surrounds Corso Como was inaugurated on December 7th,with great delight by all Milanese and of course those of us that work at 10 Corso Como. Finally we can see the new area we have watched being built from our terrace, now open to the public.  It is a great achievement in which we all take pride and the choice of the square’s name, Piazza Aulenti,  after one of Italy’s great 20th century architects and designers could not be more appropriate or better chosen to express this new change in the Milanese cityscape.

In 1968 Gae Aulenti created the Ruspa light, a table light which, much like a toy, is composed of many adjustable articulated elements.  Still produced by Martinelli Luce, this light is always next to my desk because it has so many ways to direct the light.  Gae designed it when she was inspired by the arm of an excavator….

and it became a sculpture that became a lamp.

The Italian Space Age design movement was started with this lamp.


Gaetana Aulenti (Gae) architect, industrial, and lighting designer, was a great lady who quietly made a revolution in Italian design.   She was one of the very few women architects in postwar Italy, and surely the most famous internationally.

Her ability to work on projects on the smallest scale to projects the size of the redesign of the Musee D’Orsey

in the heart of Paris secured the respect of the international community. Her love and curiosity for the new contributed greatly to the evolution of architecture and design.

Every time I am with June, it is a pleasure I always treasure. A great talent in her own photography work and an amazing eye in editing her husband’s pictures.
As she says, “he was very prolific” – an understatement to be sure! The exhibition just opened in Berlin on Friday night ” World Without Men”,  highlights many of the iconic photographs Helmut Newton took in Saint Tropez, Paris, London, Los Angeles and Milano in the 60’s,70’s,80’s.

The London magazine Queen was made famous in the 60’s under Beatrix Miller, whose editorial direction had created this chic society publication.  Even before Willie Landels took over the modernization as art director in 1970, this remarkable photograph was taken for Queen in 1966.  Here, at the Helmut Newton Foundation’s show, it still appears new.

Another great picture by Newton. Also inspired by the grecian style, a Madame Gres dress, shot in Paris in 1966 for Queen magazine.
While an unusual Newton photograph, it still carries his signature strong light which nobody ever could match.  Now you see it has often been copied but never equaled.

This week in New York was the opening of the Mariano Fortuny exhibition.  Fortunately, it is one I have until March of this year to go and see.
All those Delphos dresses are such a strong part of our image of beauty and femininity.  Here a drawing of Isadora Duncan made by illustrator Georges Barbier in 1917 in the signature Fortuny pleats.

Isadora was not the only one wearing the famous Delphos dresses, so was Peggy Guggenheim, Sarah Bernardt and here  “three muses”.  These imaginary Greek garments with their shape and soft colors, murano beads and kimono jackets in velvets and silks can now be admired at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute.  The exhibition has been conceived and curated by the great designer Oscar de la Renta.

Like many great artists, the use of light is a very important step in the creative process. Strongly influenced by his experiments with reflected light, Mariano Fortuny first created this lamp in 1907.
One of the most beautiful lamps ever created, it  still is modern and since 1985 has been reproduced by Pallucco.

Posted on: Sunday, December 9th, 2012

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