Eugene Rabkin is the founder of stylezeitgeist.com
. He has contributed articles on fashion and culture to The Business of Fashion, Vogue Russia, Buro247, the Haaretz Daily Newspaper, and other publications. He has taught critical writing and fashion writing courses at Parsons the New School for Design.
Francesca Woodman was one of those art prodigies who has never quite found her place in this world.
She died young, but she has left a rich body of work that consists of photographs that could easily be mundane in the hands of a lesser artist, but in Woodman’s hands become enigmatic.
This past men’s fashion week was marked by a sense of schizophrenia more than anything else. Half of the shows in Paris were held in opulent palatial spaces and the other half in basements stripped of everything but their concrete foundations. The reactions of critics and buyers were similarly split. The editors I spoke with mostly shrugged shoulders and talked of consistently lowering expectations, while buyers thought the season more than solid.
If you happen to be in Venice in the next few months, don’t miss the Sarah Moon exhibit at Palazzo Fortuny. Moon is a perennial favorite, and this sensual, melancholic series of photographs taken at the Palazzon is no exception.
This year is drawing to a close and a lot has happened in fashion, most of it not so good. I am not talking about the departed: Raf Simons from Dior (good for him), Alexander Wang from Balenciaga (good riddance), and Alber Elbaz from Lanvin (good lord!). I am talking about the arrivistes: namely, Gucci under Alessandro Michele and Vetements under Demna Gvasalia. And not just about them, but about the reaction on the part of the fashion media to their work.
New Order, a band that came out of the tragedy that ended Joy Division, is one of those rare acts that have somewhat inexplicably achieved critical acclaim and dance floor popularity. Much ink has been spilled by music journalists to trace the ups and downs of the band over the years. (Former) band members have weighed in – most notably the bassist Peter Hook who has left the band in 2007 and in 2013 released a memoir called “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division,” documenting the band’s fraught existence and his fallout with Bernard Sumner, New Order’s singer.
The closest I got to Tilda Swinton was almost a year ago in Florence, when I gave her my sleeveless jacket. She gave me a cloakroom ticket, took the jacket, touched it gingerly, put it on a table, dragged it around, fixing it with her trademark, hypnotizing gaze. Then she put it on a hanger and hung it on a garment rack. True story. What was I doing with Ms. Swinton is that I was part of a select group of fashion editors at the Pitti Uomo trade fair that got to witness a performance art piece by Swinton, masterminded by Olivier Saillard, the director of the Palais Galleria, Paris’s fashion museum.
Few artists that came into their own after high modernism measure up to Francis Bacon, whose paintings are models of twisted introspection. What’s more, Bacon actually knew how to paint. Not silk-screen, not put messages on LED boards, not make collages, not arrange objects together, but actually work with phenomenal skill like the greatest of the artists had done. And his work hits not only on the visceral level, but on the intellectual as well.
Today is the final day of the StyleZeitgeist Book Week, where we have brought you Fall titles that we liked. We hope you do, too. We wanted to end it on a light-hearted note. Light-hearted by our standards, of course:
Mmmm, Berghain – if you have ever known what it is like to abandon yourself to the pulse of the beat and dance, this is the place to be. The Berlin techno club is legendary by now, for its space, its sound system, its star-studded DJ lineup, its face-tattooed doorman and his tough-but-democratic approach of face control. It was even profiled in the New Yorker, out of all places. If you are a DJ, having played at Berghain is a badge of honor and a status marker. If you just love dancing to techno, it’s a must-visit.
It’s day three of the StyleZeitgeist book week, where we review the Fall books we think worth your attention. The Belgians: An Unexpected Story: In case you missed the Belgian fashion exhibit, “The Belgians: An Unexpected Story,” at the BOZAR in Brussels earlier this year, you still have a chance to experience it through the eponymous catalog published by the German publisher Hatje Cantz ($60).