Leah McCloskey in her studio in Salem, NY
Leah and I have known each other for a very long time. Although I did not know her when she was a model, I certainly knew her well when she was a model agent. Tall, gorgeous, and talented, Leah is simply amazing. And disarmingly nice. With her “hey, gang, let’s put on a show’ approach to life, she is also a lot of fun.
Just when I thought I had her pegged, Leah followed her calling to be an artist, left the world of modeling, and got a studio upstate. Now she splits her time between Salem, NY, where she shares her life with a chef (who is into sustainable agriculture, we love that), and NYC where she’s Director of the Exhibition Outreach Program at the Art Students League.
The rural bit doesn’t surprise me since Leah grew up in a pre-revolutionary farm house in Pennsylvania with masses of siblings (7!), 12 dogs, 4 cats, horses, goats, and yes, chickens.
Also not a surprise, animals are primarily the subjects in her work. Her chicken paintings (of the chickens she raises) are my favorites, especially the mixed media ones on newspaper. Leah does pet portraits on commission and I may have her paint a few members of my own personal animal kingdom (3 dogs and our horses, past and present).
We caught up at her recent solo show and thankfully, Leah agreed to be a KiC profile!
What inspires you? Life, art, food, colors; I love to take drives and really look at the view out the window, (it’s even better when I am not driving! Ha!). Conversations with complete strangers, slowing myself down to really see where I am and what is going on around me. Talented people who have been able to cross the great divide between creating art and having it sell, inspire me the most.
Favorite book? It started with Grimm’s fairy tales as a child and recently, I loved the Stieg Larsen books. There is nothing like a book to take you to another place in time and that you can’t put down– I hadn’t read anything that had kept me from sleeping in a longtime. I got one sent from London because it was released there before it was released in the US.
Movie? “A Face in the Crowd” if you haven’t seen it it’s a must. A 1957 film starring Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau, directed by Elia Kazan, and the screenplay is by Budd Schulberg. Coming from a business that was all about making stars, it just rang true, still does.
Music? I am all over the place with music. I listen to classical, especially Baroque, when I paint and I can’t forget to mention Tom Waits, he’s a genius. My secret pastime is tuning into the country station when I am driving around, songs about International Harvesters and Pontoons seem easier to handle.
Style Essentials: Black, black and black with a GREAT Bag and Hermes scarf. Men’s shirts, and flats.
Cannot live without: A men’s white shirt, my readers, and Dan who is the love of my life.
Next Destination: I haven’t wanted to travel on a plane for the past decade; I have been very happy just traveling back and forth from NYC, gardening, painting, seeing family and basically going places that I can drive to like Maine, and PA. I am getting the bug again, especially since I got an email from an old friend who has opened a bed and breakfast in Malta called 37GOZO. I think I need to go!
Wear Now, Wear Later
Proenza Schouler tweed, Oscar de la Renta black lattice, Derek Lam woven stripes, Bottega Veneta silk chiffon print, Nina Ricci red floral print
I’ve had ‘ladylike’ on my mind recently. Ironically, as I get older, I’m not as drawn to super feminine and fastidiously put-together looks– I worry they age me. But there are times and places where I need to look polished and grown-up, and ladylike actually suits me.
A dress is always a safe bet and this season there are a plethora of good ones. However, the best ones are, for the most part, sleeveless. I have never been a huge fan of sleeveless, but a feather-weight cardigan thrown over my shoulders makes it feel less bare. Or a trim little jacket works too, at least until the weather warms up.
There seems to be no end in sight for skinny jeans (I’m guilty too), but the relaunch of Seafarer may give your slim-fits a run for their money. With a storied history– Seafarers were once the uniform of the U.S. navy, and their St. Tropez-circa-60s/70s-vibe, these cool blues may be the next big thing.
Seafarer’s inspiration images
I mentioned yesterday that I am compiling my spring wish-list and the Balenciaga rings below neared the top. But after seeing the above picture in February Vogue, I realized that I am already half way there (1 Trinity, a signet and numerous stacked simple gold bands). I also prefer the mix of styles and placement.
Balenciaga SS13 rings
Gaia Repossi in her Barbere rings © Tommy Ton for style.com
I have been asked a number of times about a tan tote that I carry. It’s by Anya Hindmarch and it’s on sale at the The Outnet. Black is good too…
After a long weekend working on the first phase of KiC’s redesign, I am catching up at home. I’m going through the fall issues of magazines, putting together my spring wish-list, and watching ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’. Perfect way to spend a very cold day.
The photo is a tad tongue-in-cheek, I call it ‘the blogger’ pic…
Malgosia Bela © Paris Vogue, September 2012 issue
Baby, it’s cold outside. And I hear it’s unusually cold and that it snowed in Paris during the couture shows, a rarity. Spring will be all the sweeter after this cold snap. Like Malgosia, I want to pull on a big sweater, get cozy, and dream of little summer dresses with sandals.
Sienna Miller from January British Harper’s Bazaar
Okay I’ll admit it, I’m excited to see what Michelle Obama wears to the inaugural festivities today. Will she wear a graphic piece from spring? Doubtful.
I admire Mrs. Obama for re-wearing looks, that’s what great clothes are for. And as much as I love the checks from Vuitton SS 2013, I am not sure I would buy one as it’s a memorable print and I’m worried that it would scream ‘repeat’ every time I put it on. An added concern, I have already seen it out and about. Actually, this has become a bit of a pet peeve; seeing the best pieces from collections on celebrities before they are available to buy. Last year I was besotted with a Valentino lace dress, but I saw it so many times on so many celebs (and show-goers), that when it came in to the shop, I passed on it. I felt it was already over-exposed and that I was the last person to wear it.
I think I am circling around to my affinity for under-the-radar pieces that have longevity. I rarely, if ever, buy something that can only be worn one season. This does not mean that I buck trends completely, I just buy carefully with longevity as the goal.
The Dolce & Gabbana striped dress on the far left below is more of what I am considering. An on-trend piece with it’s bold stripe, yet it may not be as identifiable to this season when I pull it out in say two years time.
Dolce & Gabbana SS 2013 campaign
I grabbed this photo from RDuJour, one of my favorite blogs. The mix of modern and traditional is right up my alley. What is it about a gilt-frame mirror and black lamp shades? Irresistible.
Perhaps it’s time for a return to fun, not-too-serious, heels. I bought these Sophia Webster sandals above for my daughter to wear to a holiday dance. Paired with her little black sheath dress, they were show-stopping.
The Aquazzura sandals below are good too, and not as whimsical.