If you find yourself in Atlanta in the next six months, the Iris van Herpen retrospective, currently on view at the High Museum of Art is a must-see. It is the first fashion exhibit at the High Museum and I could not think of a better one to inaugurate what I hope becomes a tradition. Actually, I am sure it will, as the 2,3000-strong crowd that came for the exhibit’s opening left no doubt about where the public attention is channeled today.
Last week Raf Simons left Dior after only three and a half year tenure. Some weeks before that, Alexander Wang exited Balenciaga. Both designers cited the desire to concentrate on their own brands as the main reason for leaving and made the obligatory public statements of gratitude to their corporate employers. But some in the fashion press took the opportunity to voice the old refrain – the fashion system is broken and it needs to be fixed.
It used to be that when a designer showed an item in a particular season and you did not get a chance to buy it, you were out of luck. And if you really wanted it, a hunt ensued. You would call stores in other cities. You would pray that the item would pop-up on Ebay or Yoox in your size, or at your local consignment store. Or you would have to accept defeat.
But as designers have become savvier at business, they realized that if the customer wants something, they should give it to them, again and again. Perhaps they learned the lesson from watching luxury houses fling it-bags season after season with great commercial success. If it could be done with bags, why not with clothes?
I first came across the work of the Belgian art collector-dealer-interior-designer-manufacturer-real-estate-developer Axel Vervoordt when I reviewed his 2011 book, “Wabi Inspirations.” I was struck by how the interiors Vervoordt conceived reflected the beauty of simplicity, decay, and aging that are championed by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. It was not anything I expected from a major European collector, raised on Louis XIV furniture and antiquaries, whose roster of clients includes major celebrities and the old-time aristocracy.
If you find yourself in Tokyo in the next few months be sure to visit the 25-year retrospective of Undercover, called Labyrinth of Undercover, which opened last weekend. We were privileged to get a preview of the exhibit last Friday. The show is divided into several spaces. The first part lets the viewer immerse himself into the videos of Undercover shows. The videos are decidedly low-fi and unedited, so you can spend a lot of time in those rooms getting lost (in the best sense of the word) in the footage.
I first met the singer Chelsea Wolfe at an understatedly swank, dimly lit bar in downtown Los Angeles a year ago. The place looked newly minted and was completely empty. Over drinks and small bites Wolfe and her collaborator Ben Chisholm, talked about their work and life in the desert (they recently moved outside of LA). Wolfe’s forth studio album, “Pain Is Beauty,” came out the year before. It was well received by critics and has found her a new audience. Unrelenting, Wolfe was already working on a new album, “Abyss.”
One of the defining qualities of photography is that it can cast the familiar in a different light, to make you look again. The photos in Alexey Titarenko’s new book The City Is a Novel (Damiani, $60) do just that. Titarenko’s signature style is a washed out grayscale that recalls early platinotypes. If you lived in the Soviet Union, as did Titarenko (and I), you would understand where the grayness comes from. Everything in the Soviet Union seemed gray, reflecting the drabness in the water supply, from the country’s soul to its streets.
Last week marked the fourteenth anniversary of 9/11, a tragedy that radically changed the political landscape of the world. There were memorial services held in New York and across the United States. The Givenchy Spring/Summer 2016 show was another unlikely place where 9/11 was invoked. The show was held at pier with a view of the new Freedom Tower, and was art-directed by Marina Abramovic. The presentation was supposed to pay respects to 9/11 and celebrate the spirit of human unity. The entire thing – from having an Italian designer who works for a Parisian house preaching to New Yorkers to Givenchy offering special guests tours of the 9/11 memorial – was tone-deaf, if not insulting. There was not a shred of the political in the clothes he presented, making the show’s art direction even more jarring as mere trappings.
Several days after his Spring/Summer 2016 men’s show Haider Ackermann was in his showroom, which was buzzing with buyers. Ackermann came down from the top floor of the building where he was already shooting the looks for his e-commerce platform, to be launched soon.
GUIDI – NEW YORK