Category Archives: art

The Thaw Legacy

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Eugene and Clare Thaw began collecting Native American art in 1987 when they lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  They donated the collection to the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York where it currently resides in the downstairs gallery across from the Herb Ritts exhibition.

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The life of Eugene V. Thaw is eloquently reviewed in an obituary written by Holland Carter for the New York Times, which I have included in this post.  It documents a man’s life-long passion for the arts.  His dedication to collecting, amassing more like, and also preserving and selling art is a gift to the world.

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In this case, American Indian clothing, jewelry, pottery, and both decorative and functional objects depict the powerfully dignified beauty of a culture/civilization.  Although the collection began in the Southwest, the Thaws expanded it to include every region of the US.  The pieces are exquisitely displayed via region.

I am especially drawn to the costume, the leather hides, the intricate beadwork and the colors.  Just fabulous!

Thank you, Mr. & Mrs. Thaw, for your life’s work and vision – preserving American history through the beauty of its art. ❤

The Fenimore Art Museum is open today 10am – 5pm.

5798 STATE HIGHWAY 80 (P.O.BOX 800)
COOPERSTOWN, NY 13326
607-547-1400
INFO@FENIMOREART.ORG

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****From the New York Times website

Eugene V. Thaw, Influential Art Collector and Dealer, Is Dead at 90

By Holland Cotter

January 5, 2018

He was born on Oct. 27, 1927, in Washington Heights in Manhattan. His father was a heating contractor, his mother a schoolteacher. They named him for the socialist leader Eugene Victor Debs, who had died the previous year.

As a young teenager, Mr. Thaw took drawing classes at the Art Students League on West 57th Street in Manhattan. But he did not pursue the hands-on practice of art.

“I can’t create the objects I crave to look at,” he later said, “so I collect them.”

After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx at 15, he entered St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and began making day trips to art museums in nearby Washington.

Returning to New York in 1947, he took graduate classes in art history at Columbia University with Millard Meiss and Meyer Schapiro. He also followed the city’s contemporary-art scene, getting an early immersion in Pollock’s work at the Betty Parsons Gallery.

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***From the Fenimore website

EUGENE AND CLARE THAW: A MEMORIAL TRIBUTE

April 2 – December 31, 2019

Discover the most outstanding items from the Thaw Collection American Indian Art. Objects of transcendent beauty that span the continent—from the Arctic to the Southwest, and from the Eastern Woodlands to the Pacific West–encompassing close to 2,000 years of artistic tradition and innovation in North America.  

 

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Rock & Roll Authenticity

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Herbert Ritts was a California boy.  Growing up, he lived in Steve McQueen’s neighborhood in Brentwood, which, according to many biographies I have read recently, was an instrumental synergy that launched his comfort level with celebrity.

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The quotes from his high profile portrait subjects include statements about how using daylight was his strength and that they felt at ease in front of his lens:

“Herb made me look how I wish I looked when I woke up in the morning.” – Cindy Crawford

“In his sweet disarming way he suggested that we work together again and I agreed to it. And that was the beginning of an incredibly long and fruitful working relationship, but it was also the beginning of a great friendship.” – Madonna

“Working with Herb was more like just hanging out with a friend. We’d joke, chatter and gossip and at the end of the day he would have captured the whole thing in the lens. He was a great guy.” – David Bowie

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Herb Ritts – The Rock Portraits is on display at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York (5798 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY 13326).  The photographs are on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio until September 2, 2019.

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The show is a mirror of my youth.  So many images that I have seen on album covers, in music videos, in fashion magazines – Herb Ritts is like an old friend.  It is as if you know him.  Knew him.  You can envision him working because it is evident that it was not work.  It was more like a relationship, the way he presented people at ease in the present moment, not thinking about what they must do later in the week or later that day, but being in the now.  You can see this in the eye contact, in the way the light shines on their faces and in the crispness of the images.

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Ritts captures the essence of his subjects.  What I see in the photographs is the “authentic self”, the real person behind the fame.  The Bob Dylan pictures are gritty, as though the man cannot hide a lifetime of struggling with inner demons.  The Bruce Springsteen images reflect a certain shyness beneath the success.  And the Madonna images are, to me, the most iconic, spanning the ’80s and ’90s and showing us a vulnerable, little Italian girl who grows in confidence and artistic resonance with every click.  We get to witness that evolution, that living history, and that is a beautiful thing. ❤

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It is this contrast between the legend and the human spirit that gives credence to Ritts as artist rather than commercial photographer for hire, and is the reason why these photographs and videos belong in a museum.  They are evidence of the art of living, the art of performing, the art of communicating a visual language of persona, and the art of documenting artistic merit as an art.  It is all about authenticity.

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The photographs are accessorized with costumes and musical instruments, also on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  This is Madonna’s.  I could totally rock this – OMG, I know it would fit me.  Unfortunately, it was on a mannequin and encased in lucite or else it would have been my #ootd.

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Trina Turk top and skirt, BCBGMaxAzria belt and sandals, Coach bag, Fossil bracelets, Marc Jacobs sunglasses

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I took these pictures yesterday, took a day trip to Cooperstown, which I highly recommend!  You must go to there!  The drive was spectacular – from Syracuse, New York, it is an hour by New York State Thruway then an additional forty minutes down Route 28.  Cooperstown is truly a magical place.  Home to so many attractions – the Glimmerglass Opera House, the Baseball Hall Of Fame, the legendary Cardiff Giant (on view at the Farmer’s Museum).

And the Fenimore Art Museum is on the lake.  It is just incredibly gorgeous there – it was my first time and I felt like Cinderella arriving at the castle for the ball.  Just spectacular!

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They are open today 10 am – 5 pm.  Call (607) 547-1400 for more information about this wonderful place. ❤

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****From the Fenimore website

HERB RITTS: THE ROCK PORTRAITS

April 2 – September 2, 2019

Known for his elegant and minimalist work, and his mastery of photographing in natural light, photographer Herb Ritts (1952–2002) had a gift for turning stars into icons. Here, in the first curated collection of his photos of some of music’s most celebrated artists, visitors will see how he captured the likes of David Bowie, Tina Turner, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Prince, Cher, Madonna and many more—the world’s biggest music stars—and in the process, helped define their iconic status for generations of fans. See many of his best-known portraits alongside stage costumes and guitars from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

As a native of Los Angeles, Herb Ritts was uniquely attuned to the natural light of the California sun, and preferred to shoot outdoors. He took work seriously and was renowned for posing his subjects in classic, sculptural styles, with little or no pros. He also had a unique, understated way of making his subjects feel comfortable in front of his camera. They trusted him and it’s often that trust and human bond that you see reflected in his portraits. When he died of complications from AIDS at the age of 50, Ritts left behind an extraordinary body of work, that when we see as a whole, demonstrates his undeniable impact on contemporary culture.

Organized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in association with the Herb Ritts Foundation

The exhibition is sponsored in part by The Clark Foundation, Fenimore Asset Management, and NYCM Insurance.

 

 

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RELATED PROGRAMS

Panel Discussion – Fenimore Rocks! Herb Ritts and the Image of Rock Music
Saturday, July 13 • 2:00–4:00 pm

Join us as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president, Greg Harris, moderates a lively talk and cocktail party focusing on Herb Ritts and the impact his photographs had on the image of rock music in the 80s and 90s. The event also features Laurie Kratochvil, former Director of Photography at Rolling Stone magazine, John Covach, Professor of Music Theory and Director of the Institute for Popular Music at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and Rory Ritts, Herb Ritts’ younger brother. After, join them for cocktails and a buffet on the terrace (cash bar, weather permitting).

The talk is free for museum members; otherwise, included with regular admission (Adults: $12, Seniors: $10.50). Seating in the auditorium is extremely limited and will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Overflow seating will be available with live viewing via a flat-screen monitor.

 

Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – I’m Not There
Saturday, July 27 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)

Several actors portray legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. (2007, R)
More info

Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – Burlesque
Saturday, August 10 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)

A backstage musical film starring Cher and Christina Aguilera. (2010, PG-13)
More info

Food For Thought – Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits (Lunch)
Wednesday, August 21 • 12:30 pm

with Paul D’Ambrosio, President and CEO of Fenimore Art Museum, and Kevin Gray, Manager of Arts Education
More info

Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – Madonna: Truth or Dare
Saturday, August 24 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)

Documentary chronicling the life of Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. (1991, R) Otsego County native John Draper, former Tour Manager of Madonna’s Blonde Ambition World Tour will be present for a live commentary on the film, giving a rare behind-the-scenes look of what it takes to manage a tour for one of music’s original megastars.
More info

Live Music with Wurliday
Friday, August 30 • 7:00–9:00 pm (takes place across the street at The Farmers’ Museum) FREE ADMISSION!

Hailing from Albany, NY, Wurliday brings together some of the most exciting, dynamic musicians in the live music scene for a lively injection of soul-funk goodness, direct to your ears. You’ll dance all night long! Free admission.
More info

 

® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.

Motion Forward

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Summer is a time where time doesn’t matter to me.  I get up when I want.  I do what I want.  It is not slow or fast motion.  It is pure bliss.  Today was a bit wonky in that it was cloudy-ish – it rained last night and seemed like an indoor-all-day kind of day.  I worked on a fun, creative project, I practiced on piano, watched some TV (I cannot get enough of Million Dollar Listings on Bravo) then I noticed that it was actually nicer out than I thought.  So, I decided to go for a hike.  So satisfying!  When I returned, I stumbled upon information that there was going to be an art reception and I still had time to get ready to go!  Can someone hashtag #ootd fast enough?  Could this day get any better?  Yes and yes!

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Halston Heritage dress, Michelle DaRin Jewelry bracelets, BCBGMaxAzria sandals

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I was delighted.  For some reason I thought SU’s galleries went on summer hiatus but that is not the case with POC this time.

Syracuse University’s Point of Contact gallery is located in the Warehouse Building in Armory Square (350 W. Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York 13202).  It is primarily a space that features latin artists, although from time-to-time they curate other exhibitions, like the annual Sum Art show.

Time Changes Everything is the current exhibition.  Curated by Sara Felice, Managing Associate Director of the gallery, it features Margie Hughto, Beth Bischoff and Darcy Gerbarg with an art and video installation by Franco Andres in the back space.

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It is a magnificent show!  It was such a thrill to meet and speak with three of the artists.  I have met Margie Hughto before but this time – OMG, her new work is breathtakingly beautiful, the kind of thing that moves me to want to make art, moves me to the tears that form the essence of joy.  They are ceramic assemblages that sort of bridge the space between archeology and modernism.  Each piece is fired separately then the artist uses intuitive rhythm to create movement in each piece, a swirling that truly captivates.  Her inclination here is to showcase climate change.

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Darcy Gerbarg blends her history as an Abstract Expressionist painter with her knowledge of digital technology.  She has always been on the cutting edge in her field and these pieces are digital prints created by utilizing virtual reality software.  Like a conductor wielding her baton, she executes a rhythmic flow of movement that then gets translated into digitized color on a monumental scale.

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Beth Bischoff spent six years living in the Yucatan.  Her photographs of this landscape are taken with a unique panoramic camera then digitally printed.  The imagery created transports the viewer to a jungle habitat lost in time.  Again, the sweep of rhythm thrusts mightily, albeit in black and white.  It appears in tree branches and tall grass, as well as in the contrast of the stone facades.

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The time changing element to this show is that feeling of having been here in the present moment and everywhere simultaneously.  Time doesn’t stand still.  It swirls and dances upon the landscape of photograph, painting, print and bas-relief.  I feel changed for the better blessed by the momentum of art.

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If you would like to view this show and find out more about the 4th artist, Franco Andres, (I did not get the opportunity to meet/speak with him), the exhibition runs through August 9, 2019.  Point of Contact is open Monday – Friday 12 – 5 pm.  Call (315) 443-2169 for more information or visit the POC website at www.puntopoint.org ❤

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***From the gallery website

TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING

MARGIE HUGHTO, BETH BISHOFF, DARCY GERBARG, FRANCO ANDRES

JULY 12 – AUGUST 9

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Each artist in Time Changes Everything battles the temporality of human existence and the material world constructed around it.

Bischoff’s photography expresses a harmony of the past and present depicting the ruins left in the world’s progression. Bischoff’s Ruins series functions as a reminder of the care our planet deserves.

Ceramist Margie Hughto draws inspiration from landfills and remains left by humans in the creation of her Excavation Series. Hughto’s work embodies the transience of the human experience in a world heavily structured by transitory material objects.

Bringing together numerous modes of digital art, Gerbarg forms The Syracuse Pictures. Her artwork abstracts the world into its own heterotopia, existing in both the past and present.

Andres realizes the difficulty of authenticity for artists as he utilizes an accumulation of mediums in the formation of one’s identity. The process of his artwork becomes a depiction of time and change as his work spans from ancient processes to contemporary modes of video.

These four distinct artists come together in “Time Changes Everything” to pose a larger challenge to the viewers through the ultimate tool, their artwork.

Time Changes Everything will be on view through Aug. 9th.

 

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Scientific Whimsy

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Donna Atwood of Moravia, New York, is a former Science teacher turned full-time professional watercolor artist.  Intuition is her guide.

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She applies the watercolors (usually one hue per piece as a starting point) onto a variety of papers. Then she plays with abstractions and visual textures, adding found and household objects – plastic bags, rags, torn window screens – and weights to hold everything down until the next morning.  When she removes the objects, she assesses what she has and begins to deliberate.  She asks her husband what he sees, like a fun Rorschach test game and they laugh at the disparity of their visions.

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Ultimately, she makes her own decisions about what she sees, as though the paper truly speaks to her alone.  I delighted in her enthusiasm, positivity and passion as she spoke of this process when I met her at the First Friday event last night at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, New York, where she is the featured artist this month.

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Once Donna decides on the spirit animal, she goes to work rendering the composition focusing on the eyes.  Tiny details are emphasized, allowing for the animal to disappear into the colorations.  These are paintings that need to be seen in person.  The photographs do not do them justice.  They truly imbibe the artist’s joyful spirit.

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Donna Atwood originals and prints are available for sale at Gallery 54 (54 E. Genesee Street, Skaneateles, New York 13152).  If you would like to meet her too, perhaps ask her further questions about her process, Donna will be doing a demonstration at the gallery today (1:00-3:00 pm).  ❤

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  • Excerpt from the gallery web-site

Even though Atwood was a science education major in college her interest in creating art, which began as a child, continued to flourish. It wasn’t until 2012 that she started practicing watercolor, she says describing her artwork as abstract impression. While she creates her share of surreal landscapes her preference, as the Gallery 54 show will demonstrate is for paintings of animals.

“I decided to create surreal animals and found many different ones lurking in patterns,” she notes. As she describes her work, the backgrounds start out as abstract colors and shapes, but “by manipulating shapes in to eyes, ears and a noses,” she can get the viewer to see” what she sees . . . “the face and body of a creature.”

Atwood is particularly fond of finding animals that are endangered or under represented in artwork generally. Many people, she notes, relate to specific creatures or what she calls “spirit animals.” She likes that viewers of her paintings relate to her whimsical version of “their animal” and that the colors or faces in her paintings make them smile.

“Keeping the background of a painting as untouched as possible allows the animal to grow from it,” she says, adding, “I want to express the presence of the animal, not highlight every hair or whisker.”

Atwood’s work has received awards at the New York State Fair and well as numerous local art exhibits. A resident of Sempronius, NY she has had artwork shown at the Cortland Public Library, the Dryden Community Cafe and the Gilded Lily gallery in Connecticut. Following her show at Gallery 54 she will have an exhibit at the Cortland Guthrie Hospital, from September through November and currently has work displayed at the Tully Artworks Gallery.

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Gallery 54 July Hours
Monday – Wednesday: 10-5
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 10-8
Sunday: 10-5

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Come This Way or That Way

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The five pieces that make up this whimsical installation by Abraham Ferraro of Albany, New York, are the reason children grow up to be artists.  (What kid didn’t have a sticker collection in the ’80s – am I right, people?)  Arrows wrapped in brightly colored postal tape direct viewers towards this behemoth labyrinth of recycled cardboard and stickers.  You can’t take a bad picture – every angle is perfection.  It is just so incredibly fun!  There is this feeling of discovery, the idea of packages – think Willie Wonka meets Amazon Prime via the U.S. postal service.

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It is located in the main gallery space at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, the featured items in a three-person show called Made and Remade:  Re-Imaging Industrial Systems and will be on display until August 18, 2019.  The other artists in this exhibit are Landon Perkins of Bentonville, AR and Sherri Lynn Wood of Cincinnati, OH.

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Apparently, Ferraro mailed the boxes and arrow-shaped sculptures to the Schweinfurth then added more tape and arranged them to create the eye-popping playground-like display.

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Tonight was the gallery’s First Friday event.  In addition to viewing the artwork, browsing the gift shop and enjoying delicious snacks, there was a free re-purposed art project (creating a self-watering planter from a wine bottle) set up in the basement – led by my friend Davana Robedee, Program Coordinator.

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Michelle DaRin Jewelry, BCBGMaxAzria dress and sandals

The next First Friday will be August 2, 2019.  Edgy Folk will perform.

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SCHWEINFURTH ART CENTER
(315) 255-1553
205 Genesee Street, Auburn, NY 13021
mail@schweinfurthartcenter.org

HOURS
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 1pm – 5 pm
Closed major holidays and during exhibit installations.

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The Gourmet

A trip to Vince’s Gourmet Imports (440 N. Main Street, North Syracuse, New York 13212) inspired my new still life painting project.  The Studio in Art students completed the course with these epic 16″ x 20″ acrylic paintings.

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I have paired them here with their inspiration photograph.  Students selected the picture then began with the contour line drawing.  These were transferred to canvas with the magical help of graphite paper, placed onto gessoed and burnt sienna-stained canvas panels.

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My main educational tip – begin with white in your mixing tray.  Add raw sienna and whatever main color to the mix (blue, yellow, etc).  This will insure that you don’t make too much of a color by starting too dark and adding crap-loads of white, lol.  The other thing to keep in mind is to not homogenize the mixture so that you can utilize dark and light variations of the color while painting with one brush.

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I am an advocate for students developing and maintaining their own styles as artists.  We looked at the work of Alice Neel and Janet Fish.  Some students went with the black outlines à la Neel.  And Fish’s representation of glass was helpful to their decision making.

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They took the paintings home today, but their images are on display in the counseling offices and will remain there throughout the summer months. I made 8″ x 10″ color copies of the paintings, mounted them to black construction paper and placed them in frames.  I love this new gallery space!

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I feel incredibly blessed to have shared this artistic adventure with these very talented fourteen-year-olds.  Studio in Art is an accelerated high school level class that I teach to 8th graders at Chittenango Middle School in Chittenango, New York.

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Final Countdown

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Trina Turk top and pants, BCBGMaxAzria belt, BCBGeneration sandals
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C by Bloomingdale’s cashmere cardigan, Trina Turk dress, Marc Jacobs booties

Nine days left of the 2018-2019 school year – I wonder what I will wear?

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Free People cardigan, Max Mara top, 7 For All Mankind jeans, Marc Jacobs sandals
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Free People cardigan, Rachel Zoe dress, Marc Jacobs boots

The classroom will be messy until next Friday.  We are still painting.

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Banana Republic cardigan, Free People top, Alice = Olivia pants, Calvin Klein booties
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Michelle DaRin necklace, Free People tunic, BCBGMaxAzria top and pants, Marc Jacobs booties
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Honora necklace, BCBGMaxAzria sweater, top and skirt, Nine West booties
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Kobi Halperin top, BCBGMaxAzria pants, BCBGeneration sandals
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Theory sweater, BCBGMaxAzria pants, Marc Jacobs boots
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Cinq a Sept silk top, French Connection leather skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
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Theory cardigan, Rachel Zoe dress, BCBGMaxAzria T-shirt, Marc Jacobs boots