Dear readers, I am happy to announce the launch of OtherFashion, the new e-commerce project curated by StyleZeitgeist. This venture arose quite spontaneously, from numerous encounters with under-the-radar designers who do impressive work but are not necessarily well-known, usually because they do not want or cannot afford to play by the rules of the…
That a prominent artist today can still take up a historically serious subject has become a sort of an anomaly, as much of contemporary art seems to be stuck in the irony mode. The new exhibit by the German artist Anselm Kiefer called Morgenthau Plan, on view at the Gagosian gallery, is a cause to take a West Chelsea trip and, for once, not be disappointed.
Kiefer came of age in the devastated post-war Germany (he was born two months before the Nazis capitulated), a time when the specter of devastation and the widespread realization of what the Third Reich has wrought became an all-pervasive national tragedy. Much of Kiefer’s oeuvre reflects an almost therapeutic need to come to terms with the crimes of the previous generation of his countrymen. That he continues to do so in 2013 is a powerful statement.
I met Filep Motwary almost a year ago. Filep is a costume designer, photographer, and fashion features editor for Dapper Dan magazine. He founded Un nouVeau iDEAL in 2006. We have corresponded regularly since, sharing our views on fashion. We finally realized that we should share our insights with the larger audience in our respective publications. Below is our first conversation, conducted via Skype.
The new exhibit on punk and its influence on fashion by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York may, naturally, raise questions, such as “What the fuck”? What is punk, with its emphasis on anti-establishment and disobedience, doing in the halls of this grand dame of culture? Would Sid Vicious hang out with the queen of England in her drawing room? Things get weirder if you start thinking about tonight’s gala and all the celebrities in ball gowns it will draw. Will they at least slash their Carolina Herreras with razor blades? One might only hope that Marc Jacobs will show up in plaid boxers.
I first met Barny Nakhle in Paris a year ago. I was preoccupied with finding a perfect pair of derbys at the time and therefore developed an unbecoming habit of staring at other men’s shoes. His were the first I liked in a long time. Hoping to score the same pair I asked where he got his. No cigar – the derbys were a prototype of a footwear collection he was working on after cutting his teeth at Guidi.
It is with incredible sense of sadness that I write about the departure of Yohan Serfaty, who succumbed to cancer earlier today. Yohan was a talented menswear designer, but, more importantly, a sweet and gentle human being. He worked quietly and showed his menswear in Paris without fanfare. He designed from the heart and the world is now just a little more impoverished because that heart is no longer beating. R.I.P.
When in 2006 the German art book publisher Steidl first released the book by one of the most famously provocative photographers, Guy Bourdin – A Message for You, it quickly sold out. The gorgeous two-volume series documented a period of Bourdin’s work from 1977 to 1980 with the dancer-turned-model Nicolle Meyer as his muse. Seven years later comes the second edition.
Bourdin was a notorious photographer; a precursor of in-your-face sexuality that now seems quite banal because of countless imitation and image overload. But not back then. Bourdin’s loud colors and unbridled sexuality of his subject matter were positively scandalous in the 70s. There is no denying that the women in his photographs look objectified. But it seems that Bourdin’s intent seemed to be reflecting and magnifying what he saw around him.
The work of the Swiss photographer Rene Burri is well known, especially the iconic photos from his Magnum Agency days. Just search Google Images for Che Guevara and his famous shot of Guevara smoking a cigar is one of the first that pops up.
Though most of Burri’s famous images are black and white, he has done a substantial amount of work in color. The new book Rene Burri: Impossible Reminiscences (Phaidon, $100) explores this underexposed side of the photographer’s oeuvre.
Fashion can be many things, likeable or not. Among these, fashion as theater is one aspect that gives it a certain kind of excitement. And by theater I don’t mean a mere parade of lavish outfits, but a convergence of the immaterial, in the form of designer’s ideas, with the material, in the form of a show that makes your heart jump even if for a second. Anyone familiar with the runway presentations of Alexander McQueen of Hussein Chalayan will know what I’m talking about. The fact that there is an incredible amount of painstaking work that leads up to the spectacle that lasts a mere fifteen minutes makes it all the more exciting because of how irrational the whole thing is.
Pattern, the new volume aiming to survey contemporary fashion from Phaidon ($79.95) is quite a tome to behold, with over 400 gorgeously laid out pages, printed on high-quality paper and with a beautiful cover, embossed and gold-foiled. It also comes in a paper Tyvek tote (no, you cannot rip Tyvek, ask me how I know). The book follows the same format as the previous survey, Sample (Phaidon, 2005), in which ten influential fashion figures served as curators, each picking ten designers to feature in the book. Each of the one hundred designers got a two-spread overview with a blurb and some photos.