When I was l6, living in Brooklyn and attending Erasmus Hall High School, alma mater of both Barbara Stanwyck and Barbra Streisand, my Sweet Sixteen Party was held at a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan – hey, every Jewish girl in the neighborhood had her sweet sixteen at a Chinese restaurant – that was the cool thing to do. At any rate, something interesting happened there: they gave me a Chinese robe to wear for the night.
You can see me in the red kimono in the picture with my parents. Fast forward to today, where I own at least 10 of these Chinese coats, being obsessed with antique Chinese clothes. Of all the many things I own – varied and numerous as they are – the Chinese are my favorite. The embroidery, the quality of the silk, the vivid colors, the vibrancy, the feel, the peonies: these do me in and I swoon.
When I first saw Hou Hsiao-hsien’s film, Flowers of Shanghai I nearly fell out of my seat. I wanted them to stop every frame so I could examine the costumes more closely – both the men and women were gorgeous.
It’s all I want to wear.
Court Artisan: Tziporah Salamon