Designs for Living

I was at the Margaret Mead Film Festival a few weeks ago and saw a film called “Ever the Land,” directed by Sarah Grohnert. The film describes the process of building a Living Building, the highest standard for sustainability, for the Te Wharehou o Tūhoe and the Ngāi Tūhoe Maori people of New Zealand. It was designed by the architect Ivan Mercep, who won the project by pitching it with a blank sheet of paper.  

The Living Building Challenge requires that buildings be net zero energy, water and waste. All materials must be sustainably sourced and non-toxic. The final goal is the creation of true ecological sustainabilty. The founder of the Living Building Challenge, Jason F. McLennan, means for green buildings to be not only ecologically sustainable, but also to promote social justice and support cultural heritage. Truly a challenge for those who work in built environment fields, it is a way of looking at and preparing for the future in a positive manner that incorporates preserving and promoting cultures and respecting our earth and it’s bounty. 

The film describes and shows the building process from community meetings, to hiring and training of local workers to the celebration of the building opening with a Tūhoe ceremony. Also interwoven throughout the film are the ongoing negotiations with the Government of New Zealand that resulted culminated in an historic apology and settlement for the Tūhoe last year.  

    

    

Lottie Hedley Photography

 

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Timeless Shakespeare and Ephemeral Fashion

So I finally did get a New York Fashion Week invitation from Miu Miu and went there on Thursday night to a gathering at their 57th Street boutique. The charming Lorena greeted my friend and me at the door and showed us the new perfume that was just launched as well as the new handbags – gorgeous but unaffordable for me, I purchased the fragrance.

  
My friend and me at the event, on the second floor, amidst the fall fashions.

  
A coat very much like my grandmother’s (which I inherited after she passed away almost 25 years years ago now.)

  
Grandma’s coat – I’m not a fan of fur, but this is the only item that belonged to my grandmother that I have – so I do keep it and wear it in the winter.

  
A lovely suede boot.

  
We stayed at the party briefly and then headed out for drinks and appetizers at the Harvard Club and I went to a lecture by Neil Rudenstine on Shakespeare’s Sonnets. I hadn’t seen him for 20 years, so it was delightful to hear him lecture on his speciality, Renaissance literature, after last knowing him as President of Harvard.

 

Glyn Maxwell’s review of Ideas of Order in The New York Times, on January 30, 2015, ends with this paragraph:

Who is the poet of Shakespeare’s sonnets? Not who was he — who cares? — who is he? Which is it? Now or forever? Life or work? Rage or resignation? Boys or girls? It’s so hard to describe him, except to say he constantly changes his mind, thinks of everything, states it beautifully and cannot entertain an idea without imagining its polar opposite. He should probably write plays.

And returning to Miu Miu, the brand has been running a series of short films called “Women’s Tales” with the latest by Agnès Varda. The contradiction between the offering of a gift of fashion to a young girl more interested in education is a compelling one. I have enjoyed watching the whole Prada and Miu Miu brand concept of Muiccia Prada  develop over the years. As a feminist, former Communist and a woman with a Ph.D in political science, Ms. Prada is not your typical fashion designer. The Jolie Laide concept of the lines and their advertising campaigns have always drawn me in. Though I love brands that are simply gorgeous with beautiful feminine dresses such as those produced by Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera, Prada and Miu Miu often have a certain awkwardness or ugliness that makes them more intriguing. As if they were works of modern art – you need to understand the background and philosophy of the artist before you can appreciate what you are being offered. 

I was happy to see the button collector also featured in “Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse” in the short film below – enjoy!

http://www.miumiu.com/en/women_tales/10/film?cmp=internal_mail_en_ENG_comm_les3boutons_04092015