I live life to a syncopated beat – literally.
Like millions of fortunate people, my heart has a strong, regular rhythm. But also like them, every once and a while it kicks in a premature beat. And that anticipation is a kind of syncopation.
Of course, we all move to a fascinating syncopated rhythm culturally. It’s what’s driven our music since the push-pull rhythms of ragtime first beguiled at the dawn of the 20th century. This month we salute the music that enjoyed a renaissance in the 1970s, inspiring an acclaimed E.L. Doctorow novel that was born in the same city WAG was, New Rochelle.
But if you know us – and we know you do – then you know our “Rag” Time issue is really about something more, in this case the “rag” business or fashion industry.
WAG Country, of course, is no stranger to fashion – either to those making it, like Wilton’s Sarah Phillips, who designed Hillary Clinton’s first inaugural gown and is plunging back into the biz after a hiatus. Or those wearing it, like former WAG editor Emily Liebert, who’s launching lines of jewelry, dresses and nail polish to accompany her debut novel “You Knew Me When.”
Among the rising stars in the fashion world is our cover subject, Rolando Santana, whose artistic yet approachable cocktail dresses are featured this season at Neiman Marcus, The Westchester in White Plains, where he first dreamed of being a designer. For these, Santana drew on John Chamberlain’s contemporary metallic sculptures. But for his spring collection, which bows during Fashion Week this month, Santana took his cue from the boldly colored, symbolic portraiture of Frida Kahlo.
It’s a reminder of the continuing love affair between fashion and art. Other reminders include wearable fiber art by Scarsdale’s Elena Rosenberg, who brings her handmade knitwear to Crafts at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown later this month, and Art to Wear Too in Cold Spring, a boutique where the clothes and accessories are as creative as the objets d’art that surround them.
The fashion-art connection is but one trend you’ll be seeing a lot of this season. Others include variations on the jeans theme – and to go right along with them – tough-tender bomber and biker jackets that let you tap into your inner Maverick (think “Top Gun”) or Brando or Dean.
Red, the new black, is everywhere – sometimes starkly, sometimes subtly. It threads some of the fine bedding you’ll find this fall at the Lexington Clothing Co. in Greenwich. Luxurious cashmeres and velvets notwithstanding, Lexington is all about extending summer into fall this year with crisp, nautical linens and bedding. So, too, is Tiffany & Co., whose Beyond the Sea Collection shimmers with Montana sapphires, teal tourmalines and creamy pearls.
But when it comes to extending the soft season few do it more stylishly than the guys from Vineyard Vines. Shep and Ian Murray, who live in Greenwich and run their business out of Stamford, keep the Martha’s Vineyard vibe going with colorful, fun, marine-themed shirts, shorts and ties, just for starters.
And when you think about it, isn’t that what the ragtime rhythm of September’s song is all about? Yes, we want to fall in love with autumn. But we still want to let summer linger. Just a bit.
Editor’s note: This month we give a special shout out to Audrey Ronning Topping, who’ll be writing for us regularly. This month she writes on a time when fashion was lethal, “The Battle of the Pigtail.”
For WAG’s October “Extremities,” Audrey will write about the controversial Chinese art of foot-binding. It’s an issue all about hands, feet and feats.
We’re sure Rex Ryan will love it.