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Art Digest (November 16—22)

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest (November 16—22)

Terms like ‘sustainability’, ‘recyclable materials’ are trending today, inter alia, and especially in the field of fashion, but what’s behind those beautiful words? Dow Jones Sustainability Index annually names clothing brands who call themselves eco-friendly not in vain. Sometimes it takes time to change the policy of the company or personal attitudes and habits, but it’s certainly worth it. Actually, waiting can sometimes be a good thing. Just look at the Moncler ex-creative director Alber Elbaz who took a five-year gap before launching his own brand. Or the King of pop art Andy Warhol who failed to publish some of his most tempting early works in life but his followers did it for him. Change for the better is yet to come, just pave your way and keep moving, albeit slowly.

F A S H I O N 

The eco-friendliest from fashion: Dow Jones Sustainability Index marks Moncler

In case you didn’t know, Dow Jones Sustainability Index is a group of benchmarks for investors evaluating the stock performance of the leading companies on the market. Considering economic, environmental and social responsibility criteria, DJSI annually comes up with the rating of the ‘very best’ manufacturers in various sectors. The Italian luxury fashion brand Moncler famous for its ski wear was recently conferred the leading position in the category ‘Textile, Apparel & Luxury Goods’ of the DJSI rating. And you know what’s best? Moncler has been the leader already for 2 years running.

While Moncler’s CEO Remo Ruffini solemnly claims, sustainability is an increasingly strategic asset in the development of the company (and there is hardly any room for doubt with the Moncler’s ‘Born to Protect’ new sustainability plan), some other fashion brands seem to have lagged far behind. The non-profit organization Remake didn’t include H&M and Uniqlo in its sustainability ranking, as the both brands have failed to score at least 50 out of the 100 points required. 

Alber Elbaz is back to big fashion (not empty-handed, of course) 

Casablanca-born fashion designer Alber Elbaz (b. 1961) is no stranger to the world of haute couture. After taking positions at a few fashion houses, he finally joined Lanvin as the brand’s creative director in 2001. 14 years later Elbaz announced his exit from the company, which was officially associated with the disagreement between the designer and Lanvin’s major shareholder, Shaw-Lan Wang. Meanwhile Alber Elbaz didn’t waste his time giving lectures all over the world and working independently, also as an artist.

A year ago the designer expressed his determination to return to the game planning to found his own brand. Initially to be named as AZ Fashion, Elbaz’s brainchild has been recently launched, five years after Alber Elbaz left Lanvin. The newly-minted AZ Factory falls under the portfolio of the Swiss Compagnie Financière Richemont, with the first collection by the brand being presented at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week in January. According to Alber Elbaz, AZ Factory is not a revolution, not an evolution, (but) a reset. The designer sees his mission in combining function and fashion and helping people to be a better version of themselves, by no means trying to transform his customers.

A R T 

Visiting Noguchi Museum? Buy a print by Futura and Murakami 

Remember us talking about the graffiti artist Futura aka FUTURA 2000 at the previous digest? He has recently engaged in cooperation with the late sculptor Isamu Noguchi at the NY-based Noguchi Museum, which resulted in the ‘Futura Akari’ exhibition (on view through February 28, 2021). To commemorate and promote the show, the museum launched a series of print editions designed by FUTURA 2000 and Takashi Murakami. Nothing to expect here but a win-to-win collaboration.

In August 2020 Futura was to have his solo show at Kaikai Kiki Gallery (Tokyo, Japan) founded by Takashi Murakami himself to showcase the artists chosen. However, the pandemic interfered with the plans adjourning the exhibition until summer 2021. In the meantime, Futura and Takashi are, so to speak, shaking hands under the roof of the Noguchi Museum symbolizing the cultural dialogue between Japan and the US and selling off their prints. The rule is one (printed edition) per person, otherwise, the release is fairly available to the museum’s customers. 

Andy Warhol’s intimate drawings released for the first time 

At a time when Andy Warhol or, to be more precise, Andrew Warhola was conquering the New York’s art scene while still a young shy man, he barely regarded his interim drawings as serious art. Trying to sell some of his sketches to glossies, Andy scribbled for the soul, depicting the subjects of his inspiration. Oftentimes Warhol would get the attention on young nude men as if he had seen many in the rise of his career. Naked, aroused, engaged in sexual acts such as fellatio or masturbation, the characters of Warhol’s early works embody a highly tabooed theme even for such a fast-paced environment as New York’s society in the 50s.  

Despite all fears, the future King of Pop Art dared to show his exposed images to Bodley Gallery, one of the premier art galleries in the Big Apple in 1956, but he never got to publish the drawings in a monograph. Today 33 years after Andy Warhol’s death, the world-famous German publisher Taschen showcases 300 of the artist’s bold sketches selected by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The collection is published on the pages of ‘Andy Warhol, Love, Sex and Desire, Drawings 1950-1962 book, which is released in a limited number of 7,500. Order one of the numbered copies now, on the publisher’s website.

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

Foam Talent 2020 goes digital (now you can discover the winners) 

It’s the end of 2020, and that means Foam traditionally announces this year winners of Foam Talent. Visual artists under the age of 35 selected by the Amsterdam-based photography organization are annually granted with such worthy prizes as a publication in Foam Magazine, participation in a travelling group exhibition and a chance to have their works added to Art Collection Deutsche Börse.

Since Foam Talent 2020 can’t reach the planned locations like Paris and London to organize the winner’s show, the entire initiative moved digital without any difficulty. Among the 19 winners of the year there are aspiring photographers from Nigeria, Brazil, Italy, France, Switzerland, Canada, US, China, Thailand, Greece, and other countries. Enter the talent.foam.org platform to discover all the works or, at least, enjoy our brief selection above. 

On the cover: ‘Stay Soft’ by Micha Serraf (Zimbabwe). Courtesy of Foam Talent

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Art Digest: November 09—15

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: November 09—15

Whatever the current situation is (yes, it smells like a worldwide epidemiologic crisis with COVID-19 striking hard and showing no signs of stopping), it’s essential to put ourselves together and hope for the best. At least, we should try to — you know, optimists live longer. Catch a selection of some cheering-up, exquisite news. There are many visuals, as usual, for you to enjoy, however, this time they are also in motion 🔥

F A S H I O N 

Christmas campaign by Burberry breaks the ice (in both senses)

Another fashion show, even a digital one, is a blend thing to do, the brand’s creative leaders might have thought and decided to act rather unconventionally. The new Christmas campaign by Burberry is an enthralling video featuring a dance collective (La)Horde, not only performing the choreographed moves but also brilliantly interacting with some falling blocks of ice. Following the famous ‘fight or flight’ principle, dancers either broke the blocks or gracefully escaped from them in the video.

Add to that the generally beloved ‘I’m Singing in the Rain’ by Gene Kelly (which served both as a soundtrack and a scenario for the video campaign) and the spirit of Christmas floating in the air. Gloomy London streets light up with the foretaste of a miracle that all of us await annually. Burberry really put one bullet in the bullseye, playing upon such a glorious feeling that is meant to unite and cheer up people in this time of a year. As for the outfits featured, it’s very Burberriantweed coats and jackets in tartan, and the brand’s signature colors, black, beige, mid camel, birch brown, and a few other shades.

Game On: Louis Vuitton shoots Lea Seydoux for its new cruise collection 

James Bond’s girl in ‘Spectre’ (2015), Beauty in ‘La belle et la bêtea’ (2014), and a mind-blowing blue-haired bisexual in ‘La Vie d’Adèle’ (2013), which was honored with numerous cinema awards including the Palme D’Or A fascinating French actress, Lea Seydoux is the one who perfectly knows the rules of transformation. Even though I’m not in favor of highlighting fashion campaigns featuring celebrities (the very fact of a star-cast doesn’t necessarily make the ad much better), but as for Lea Seydoux’ case posing for Louis Vuitton — I just couldn’t pass by.

Here I’m talking about ‘Game On’, Louis Vuitton’s 2021 Cruise Collection by artistic director of women’s line Nicolas Ghesquière. Seydoux, who, by the way, has become the brand’s new face earlier this year, agreed to star in the 30-second playful video where she shuffles the cards, shows her hands, and seems to be ready to gamble. In other words, the actress plays the campaign topic of game cards and carries the role of 007 woman along the way. No doubt, in ‘Game On’ Nicolas Ghesquière stays true to Louis Vuitton’s legendary manner, showcasing it’s well-known monograph on bags and shoes and clothing. Yet there is a fresh detail — four suits of cards integrated in the design of the collection.

Diane von Furstenberg to design H&M Home collection 

Probably the most famous fast-fashion clothing brand worldwide, Swedish-born H&M wins over shoppers’ hearts not only by smooth supplies and outfits for all tastes, but also for its fascinating collaborations. The idea to mingle mass market clothing and haute couture design isn’t not new but it works, and H&M knows it. Since 2004 the brand has been collaborating annually with such fashion giants as Stella McCartney (2005), Roberto Cavalli (2007), Sonia Rykiel (2010), Balmain (2015), and others. Now it’s time for Belgian designer Diane von Furstenberg to get on stage.

‘With this collaboration, I want people to take charge of their home decor. The only rule I have is that your home should reflect who you are’. (Diane von Furstenberg) 

Yes, the thing is, the new collaboration is not about clothing. It’s cushions, blankets, candles, vases (home accessories, in a word) that Diane von Furstenberg is going to design for H&M very soon. Surely, all the garments will be marked with DVF’s signature prints and patterns, though the latter is probably not the most distinguishing finding by the designer. Von Furstenberg wrote her name in the history of fashion as she created the wrap-dress in 1974. Her interior collection for H&M Home is expected to hit the stores’ shelves in 2021.

J U S T   C U T E 

No food truck tour but still great: Coca Cola’s pre-holiday The Letter campaign 

One more example of a heart-warming Christmas campaign has been recently announced by Coca Cola. This year due to COVID-19 no annual truck tour is possible, the company representatives have noted with dismay. However, that doesn’t cancel any traditional celebrations of the festive season. The new video campaign is called ‘The Letter’. Directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi, it features a cosy family story playing out in the lead up to Christmas. 

Not spoiling the ad’s captivating narrative, it might be suffice to tell the main message: give something (for Christmas) only you can give – yourself. So, get ready to give a little cry and feel happy like a child while watching. And special treats don’t end there. The company relaunches its cinnamon flavour for the upcoming Christmas season. The legendary food truck tour might come back next year, the Coca Cola team hopefully states on Twitter

A R T 

Futura Akari: when art renegades from two ages meet

Leonard Hilton McGurr, better known as Futura or FUTURA 2000, is a American rebel from the world of graffiti famous for his abstract approach to ‘bombing’. Born in New York in 1955, Futura underwent a period of illegal street painting in the 70s, landing with numerous exhibitions and world tours along with his artist mates such as Keith Haring, Jean Michele Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf somewhat later. His American-Japanese senior colleague Isamu Noguchi, a sculptor and a designer, made it famous discovering his Akari light sculptures (among other things, of course) around the time Futura was born.

Interestingly enough, Futura’s works on canvas caught the eye of art galleries in the 80s, just when Isamu Noguchi was finishing his creative and life journey (the famous sculptor died in 1988). So what’s the point of this whole story? The NY-based Noguchi Museum is currently presenting an installation of the Akari light sculptures hand painted by FUTURA 2000. While quite a few artists used to paint Isamu Noguchi’s objects at various times, now Futura has set his abstract brush strokes on the group of Akari light sculptures dating from 1952–86. The ‘Futura Akari’ exhibition will run at The Noguchi Museum from November 11, 2020 – February 28, 2021.

P.S. If you enjoy the show and feel like you just can’t get enough art by Futura, check his solo exhibition at Eric Firestone Gallery, which is open until the late December. 

On the cover: Burberry Christmas campaign. Photo: Raphael Pavarotti

Art Digest: November 02—08

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: November 02—08

For many established artists their creative paths were also the paths of struggle. That would be fair to say of South African LGBTI artist Zanele Muholi as well as Sabine Weiss, who pioneered the ‘humanist’ movement in photography half a decade ago. Those who dare to fight for what is dear and important to their hearts, risk a lot, since it’s hard to be the first, going against the crowd. Yet when the results of such action start to show, there is always more courage and determination. You know, the winner takes it all… 

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

African LGBTI in the lens of Zanele Muholi at Tate 

Hail the dark lioness or Somnyama Ngonyama, Brave Beauties, Being, and Only Half the Picture — the Tate Modern showcases the entire artistic heritage of Zanele Muholi, South African artist and activist.

Starting off on November 05, Muholi’s UK major solo exhibition will feature 260 photographs of Black LGBTI people presented ‘as fellow human beings bravely existing in the face of prejudice, intolerance, and often violence’, according to the artist herself.

Non-binary people and trans women at gay beauty contests, gay couples tenderly spending time together, plus a few other scenes from the lives of LGBTI community, that’s what the lens of Zanele Muholi’s camera has been focused on since the early aughts. The artist refers to photography and film to appeal to social justice and harmony. It’s important, however, that Muholi doesn’t consider her works to be portraying beauty per se, but rather feels the need of documenting realities of people who deserve to be heard <…> and seen’. The exhibition will run until March 07, 2021.

Women in Motion prize by Kering goes to Sabine Weiss

International luxury group Kering has always celebrated women’s power and supported the outstanding female representatives quite for a while. This year the group proceeds with its Women in Motion program initially founded in 2015 at the Festival de Cannes and since then, extended to the fields of photography, art and literature. It’s Sabine Weiss, the 96-year-old photographer with an active social stance, who has won Kering’s Women In Motion photography award in 2020.

Although nearing her 100th anniversary, Sabine Weiss is still engaged in photography. Until the 2000s she collaborated with major editions, brands, and institutions (Vogue, The New York Times, Esquire, to name a few) for fashion shootings, commercials as well as some social campaigns. Born in Switzerland with maiden’s name Weber in 1924, Sabine recognized her passion for photo shooting from an early age. On the rise of her career, which came in the forties, she assisted to German fashion and portrait photographer Willy Maywald. Having married Hugh Weiss in 1950, the aspiring photographer decided to switch to free flight taking on projects as an independent artist. Famous for her black-and-white photographs of street life, Sabine Weiss is usually associated with the ‘humanist’ movement in photography. It’s ordinary people, their everyday experience, emotions, and relations that arouses Sabine’s genuine interest. And that makes her works so special and sincere.

A R T 

Meet two illusionists from Latin-American street culture (they’re twins)

One can call them Brazilian Banksys, yet it makes more sense focusing on the artistic manner of the duo. Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo aka OSGEMEOS (Portuguese for the ‘twins’) are renowned graffiti artists based in San-Paulo and, yes, they were born the same day in 1974 and look identical. Bringing the spirit of hip hop culture into the art, they create illusionary voluminous works that remind of dreams in colour or illustrations for a magical realism book. No wonder the new exhibition by OSGEMEOS at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo is titled ‘Segredos’ or secrets. 

Seven exhibition rooms filled with vivid compositions include some of their earliest works by the duo inspired by their teenage notebooks. OSGEMEOS grew up in Cambuci, central region of São Paulo, densely inhabited by workers and migrants. At the ‘Segredos’ the twin artists recall the exciting years of childhood that were also full of mystery and strange revelations. Today OSGEMEOS are widely-known for their yellow subjects that usually appear on the buildings facades as murals. If you want to know more about the motifs and characters that preceded the current practice of the duo, the ‘Segredos’ exhibition at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo is right there for you. 

Artworks by Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, and Norman Foster to support Beirut’s reconstruction 

Two massive explosions that shook the Port of Beirut in August 2020 turned into a lasting traumatic experience for the entire Lebanese capital. Good thing is that some international support won’t be long in coming. Here I am talking not about the politicians, but the artists community, whose creative energy and recognition has long proved to be an effective means for various kinds of social actions. 

The initiative is called Architects for Beirut, which is a charitable auction to be hosted virtually by the Design Miami fair in the late November. About 60 architectural bureaus all over the world have passed on some artworks and drawings authored by the most talented architects for auction. Among the lots are a lithography by David Adjaye, a one-off sketch by Renzo Piano, and a limited-edition sculpture designed by the late Zaha Hadid. Some works like Stefano Boeri’s ‘Mediterranean Mosaic map’ have been specially created for the fundraising initiative.

F A S H I O N 

Alena Akhmadullina new collection explores Middle East aesthetics 

Russian designer Alena Akhmadullina, the owner of the homonymous clothing brand, has recently presented her second capsule collection. This time it’s all about the Middle East region.
Akhmadullina didn’t only seek inspiration in the Slavic and Eastern cultures, but also searched for some similar features between the two. 

If you at once have noticed plenty of glass beads embellishing the outfits, you were right to do so. According to the designer, the form of the beads symbolizes a stitch, which came as a shaping element for the entire collection. The cross-stitching technique applied as well as the primitive symbolic patterns and basic bright colours stand here for tradition, while the principles of image composition remind of some modern technology units such as the computer screen or the graphics editor. Long dresses and puffed sleeves prevailing in the ‘Middle East’ collection, let alone some fancy hand-made accessories, emphasize the feminine nature of the label.

On the cover: Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo aka OSGEMEOS at the ‘Segredos’ exhibition at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo

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MBFW Russia: How It Was This Time (Part 2)

By /BLOG/, /FASHION/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

MBFW Russia: How It Was This Time (Part 2)

In the previous part we’ve started reviewing trends spotted this season at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia, which ran phygitally from October 19 till 23. Having figured out how new femininity and gender fluidity are mirrored in the designers collections, we are proceeding with the rest of the trends. 

F U T U R E    I S    C O M I N G

Humankind has always wondered what the future might look like. While many of us tend to have a more positive vision of tomorrow, some highly sensitive and thinking individuals like artists and scientists often suggest their anti-utopian views. One thing’s for sure, whether wonderful or terrible, the future will be different (and it will never reach our minds). Nevertheless, it’s so exciting to think how things can be. Why not daydream? 

N.Legenda

Designer Olga Kapitonova, the founder of N.Legenda, suggests that the future is already here. At least, the models walking the runway at N.Legenda latest fashion show made us think we’re ready to go into outer space. No, they didn’t wear any space suits, but the colours featured — corrugated silver, metallic petrol, and galaxy blue — created the right sci-fi futuristic look. Tunics, suits, coats, and jackets from the N.Legenda SS 2021 collection are also rather agender, which broadens the scope for experiments.

Participants of ‘Fashion a la Russe’ project 

Participants of the Krasnodar-based ‘Fashion a la Russe’ project boldly forecasted the vogue trends for the upcoming season. Kazakova Olga suggests that attached decorative prints ideally match flower frocks (some heavy boots like grinders are preferred so that the entire look doesn’t look fruity). Klimovskikh Valeria (KLIMOVSKIKH) prefers adding mysterious symbolic elements to the outfits, while Nadezhda Belousova (ValNa Fashion) bets on the hand-crafted capes that resemble a fishing net. 

B&D Institute 

All new is well overlooked past, everybody knows it. So to come up with fresh ideas in fashion you’d better ‘confer’ with some acknowledged couturiers. Just like the students of the Moscow Institute of Business and Design (B&D) did. Inspired by the figure of Alexander McQueen, his aggressive and vulnerable, romantic and passionate, and just extraordinary manner, they created a series of controversial and highly stylish outfits made from the biodegradable material. ‘What does the future of fashion look like?’ — the B&D students ask the viewer and immediately respond. ‘It’s hardly possible to explain. Just watch’. 

LOKOTO

The motto for the new collection by LOKOTO could be: ‘Future’s not everybody’. In line with the early 20th century avant-garde artists, Lena Anikeeva, ex graphic designer and LOKOTO’s CEO, decided to cut off the extra to prepare for the bright future. Just three colours of the basic palette chosen (red, black, and white), direct lines, and clear geometrical shapes — the recipe for success seems easy. Lena Anikeeva finds that clothes are like architecture — it’s the silhouette and convenience that are of primary importance. And we couldn’t agree more. 

kØd

Another version of the future a la avant-garde belongs to the Ukrainian-born brand kØd (Dutch for ‘flesh’). The latest collection of the brand stands out through a series of careful red stitches, thorough colour selection (the trio chosen by LOKOTO plus blue), and unexpected accessories. So, forward into the future, with some flowers in your hand? 

T R I U M P H   O F   T H E   C O L O U R

Spring and summer periods seem the perfect time to dress brightly. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Yet just a few of us dare to express themselves through an intense colour palette. Taking an example from some fashionistas might help. 

1377

Ode to colour green in the new collection by 1377. Although newly-minted (tailor Sasha Zhurina founded 1377 three years ago in Volgograd), the brand regularly takes part in major fashion events worldwide such as Paris, Shanghai, and Tbilisi Fashion Weeks. The upcoming spring promises to be enchanting with a broad green colour spectrum suggested by the designer: emerald, pistachio, pine, moss, sea green etc. Loose shirts and coats and jackets emphasize the laid-back mood of the collection, while the only female mannequin featured shows 1377 is a menswear brand (rather unisex at heart, though).

TSIGANOVA and Konyukhov Art

Victoria Tsiganova is not only a prominent singer, but also a designer. Her latest collection has been issued in collaboration with the famous Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov, who just like many gifted people has various genii. Apart from traveling, Fyodor creates paintings, which inspired TSIGANOVA to set up a very colourful vivacious series devoted to his art. The designer isn’t afraid of bold combinations of colour and styles, she also generously embellishes her outfits with prints and patterns. That’s how an artist’s imagination might probably look like.

Annais Yucra 

The Peru-based designer Annais Yucra names herself an ‘artivist’. In her collections she calls for freedom of artistic expression and raises social issues. The SS 2021 by Annais Yucra is built upon colour blocking principles, yet the colour palette engaged is the very definition of tenderness. All shades of marshmallows are featured in the garments, while the cuts either follow the body shape or flirtatiously conceal it. 

Maison Kaleidoscope 

Taking on the role of a jungle dweller? Only green lights with the new collection by Maison Kaleidoscope. Fabrics from different parts of the world such as Egyptian cotton, Italian viscose, and Australian wool fed into the wild animal kingdom with every kind of flamingo, cobra, cheetah, and tiger present. No, it looks nothing but a masquerade, no exaggeration here. Just elegant facetious looks moderately spiced with spots-and-stripes prints, feathers, and embroidered fauna silhouettes. Trends spotted: highly-set cloche hats from the 1920s and woolen balaclavas.

B A C K   T O   T H E   R O O T S 

A few Yakut designers are on the list at MBFW this time. Together with some other couturiers they willingly show their belonging, praising the native cultural practices and making them available to the wider public. Finding inspiration in the local is a new auspicious trend, which is clearly manifested in different fields of visual arts (fashion is no exception).

Marfa Fedorova

Returning to the roots in the view of Yakut designer Marfa Fedorova initially means getting closer to nature. Reminiscing about the beauty of home boreal forests, Marfa Fedorova introduces purely natural hues within her new collection: e.g. sky blue, pine, sandstone, and clay. If it’s a choice, just loose cuts are preferred. And the sweetest ushanka-hats in tow. 

050

‘саһарҕа’ (Yakut for ‘sunrise’) is the first collection by the brand 050 to be performed on the principles of upcycling. Old vintage fabrics have formed the basis for a series of mostly snow-white authentic garments. Much focus on details plus unusual tricks like tied-up ribbons instead of shoes on feet. ‘Culture keeps on thriving, rebirthing out of the previous forms of life’ — so goes the 050 statement.

SOLKO

Another Yakut brand SOLKO doesn’t get stumped by the work-life balance issue. The new collection by SOLKO features smart dresses, raincoats, skirts, and suits that a woman can wear both for work and leisure. Warm intense shades of the garments together with a ‘frosty’ makeup (apple cheeks, red lips, and white skin) enhance the vigor and decisiveness of the owner. Shirt collar is a new trend.

LES by Lesia Paramonova

A completely different vision of the call of nature was presented by designer Lesia Paramonova. Her brand ‘LES’ (Russian for ‘forest’) went pagan this season paying special attention to rituals. Images of birds symbolize freedom and cohesion of matter and spirit, while beads on bag handles might attract good fortune. The colour palette is no less exciting: cold hues like blue and gray stand for water, while warm and tender ones embody spring and warmth and blossoming flowers.

That’s it for now. See you at the next MBFW in spring 🙂 

All photographs provided by the press-office of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia: How It Was This Time

By /BLOG/, /FASHION/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia: How It Was This Time

Right before we start, let me remind you of the basics. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia or MBFW, for short, is a major fashion event in Russia, CIS, and EMEA (at least, under the version of the organizers), which happens biyearly, in spring and in autumn. 

If you managed to join the April 2020 season of the Fashion Week, you could see what a success it was: although entirely running online, the three-day event attracted about 830,000 spectators. Therefore, moving the program online proved to be a natural solution for MBFW promoters in October. However, almost half of the fashion shows this time took place physically at 8 Moscow venues. No, excluding the main one, Moscow Manezh, situated a stone’s throw from Red Square. Still there were some interesting locations like Moscow Museum of Fashion and the spacious ‘Nadezhda’ loft in the historically significant city trade district.

To attend the shows you as a fashion lover or a buyer or a journalist (whatever) needed an invitation, signing a verbal promise to comply with the preventive measures against COVID-19. If you more felt like staying at home and having settled yourself comfortable enough, watching an online stream, it was a massive hit, too. High-quality videos of the shows, including close-up shots and backstage footage were available to the guests through various platforms such as the official website of MBFW and the Russian popular social network VK. Another attractive option was to view some additional news and entertaining content provided by the fashion influencers, stylists, and other folks from the local world of vogue via TikTok.

So back to MBFW program. 74 designers from six countries showcased their collections in the autumn edition of the event, including the US, the UK, Argentina, Peru, and Indonesia. As for the Russian part, it wasn’t just Moscow-driven. Saint-Petersburg, Krasnodar, Sochi, and Yakutsk have proudly presented their natives (and hosted the fashion shows themselves). This season of MBFW was mostly about clothes — the only exception that comes to mind was the Brevno eyewear brand, which showed the step-by-step process of the goods manufacturing in a video presentation. Such major figures of the Russian fashion industry as Igor Chapurin (CHAPURIN) and Elena Souprun (ELENA SOUPROUN) were on the list together with some aspiring undergraduates of the HSE Art and Design School and the B&D Institute, both Moscow-based. In order to support young professionals under the economic recession MBFW organizers enabled 13 labels to take part in the event without paying any entrance fee. So there was no shortage in young up-and-comers this time.

Though relatively young, Russian fashion industry is worth maintaining one’s focus on it. While some couturiers prefer mimicking European fashion trends (successfully, I must say), others decide on demonstrating the authenticity of the Russian DNA and focus on symbolism and national motifs. I wouldn’t like to talk in general terms (it’s hardly possible even less), however, some trends can be spotted. Here are a few insights of what Russian fashion industry breathes today. 

PART 1 

N E W   F E M I N I N I T Y

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia has never divided its seasons into male and female collections. Not that gender-fluid clothing was widely spread in Russia (quite the opposite, it’s just on the up — more on that later), but femme fashion is still considered the prevailing one. So it’s the male outfits that usually accompany women’s fashion shows, and not vice versa. In that light it’s not a big wonder that the issue of femininity remains relevant. Who is she, the ideal woman? Sounds Jungian and utopian, but always excites people’s minds. This is how MBFW’2020 participants see the answer to this question. 

The name of Elena Souprun’s SS 2021 collection Bricolage’ speaks for itself. Just like the process of bricolage implies creating objects using different kinds of materials found, the new collection by ELENA SOUPRUN displays perfect integration of local motifs into a modern image. Chinese silk and moiré and Uzbek national adras fabrics formed the basis of the label’s outfits. Loose shirts, broad sashes, laidback palazzo-pants, and kimonos call for a careful selection of handmade accessories. Smells like East? Yes, but it’s also about the spirit of the Zeitgeist, independence, and infinite elegance

‘Bricolage’ SS 2021 Collection by Elena Souprun. Courtesy of the brand

‘Bricolage’ SS 2021 Collection by Elena Souprun. Courtesy of the brand

‘Bricolage’ SS 2021 Collection by Elena Souprun. Courtesy of the brand

K Titova’s latest fashion show might serve as a perfect example of conceptual completeness. Creative and self-aware women will enjoy stylish and practical garments by K Titova ingeniously performed in two colors only, blue and white. Plaids, patches, and flower silhouettes complete the image without overloading it. A bit off the point, a senior model was spotted walking the runway during the label’s fashion show. And that’s admirable!

‘Gardens of Secrets’ by K Titova. Courtesy of the brand

‘Gardens of Secrets’ by K Titova. Courtesy of the brand

‘Gardens of Secrets’ by K Titova. Courtesy of the brand

Maison Esve decided to go artistic. Gloss, fringe, embroidered cardigans, and flirtatious skirts — the atmosphere of the 1920s has been perfectly retrieved. In the SS 2021 collection Maison Esve suggests its admirers to take on the role of the world-famous dancer Josephine Baker. But overall, it’s all about being spontaneous, open-minded, and enjoying life as it is.

Maison Esve SS 2021 collection. Courtesy of the brand

Maison Esve SS 2021 collection. Courtesy of the brand

Maison Esve SS 2021 collection. Courtesy of the brand

In the mood for something romantic? Then LUBOVI Naissanse’ collection will tune you in right. Light shadows, transparent fabrics, pleated skirts, and fitted shapes create such a tender image of the ambassador of love and affection. What’s more down-to-earth but yet enjoyable, most LUBOVI garments are created from natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, and silk. By the way, the label’s title as well as the name of its founder Lubov translates from Russian to ‘love’. 

KISSELENKO 

Having taken a step in this direction together with ELENA SOUPRUN, we keep moving forward to the East. ‘Collection №47’ by KISSELENKO is nothing but an homage to oriental delicacy. 50 shades of black used in the outfits (I’m talking about anthracite, quartz, coal, and other rock hues) are counterbalanced with red lips and flawlessly white faces of the mannequins. The makeup of the models together with the high rolls on their heads leave no doubt: the story is about a geisha, but a contemporary one. She lives at the rhythm of the city and makes time for herself. Magnificent and laconic,Collection №47’ comes in line with the philosophy of the brand, which may be described as intellectual freedom of expression. Founded by the designer Lilia Kisselenko in St. Petersburg 20 years ago, KISSELENKO was named the best Russian fashion brand by Vogue in 2000.

‘Collection №47’ by KISSELENKO. Courtesy of the brand

‘Collection №47’ by KISSELENKO. Courtesy of the brand

‘Collection №47’ by KISSELENKO. Courtesy of the brand

G E N D E R   F L U I D I T Y

Unisex ready-to-wear garments have no longer been a wonder as a kind of way station between female and male fashion. But what about rewriting the history of vogue, enrobing men in outfits traditionally ascribed to women and the other way round? It’s the young designers who usually enjoy experimenting with gender in their collections. The results might be astonishing.

‘HARD 008’ by HSE Art and Design School

Fashion Department students of the HSE Art and Design School (Moscow) showed up at MBFW with their ‘HARD 008: THE EDGE OF SOMETHING NEW’ collection. Just as the title suggests, the new series is aimed at reminiscing about the past and coming up with new ideas for the future. Trench coats, T-shirts, and tops are featured both on male and female models being photographed in couples. Asymmetry, long trains, and discreet palette of colours define the spirit of the HARD 008’ outfits. 

The Case Project by Marina Aleksashina_HSE Art _ Design School

The Case Project by Marina Aleksashina_HSE Art _ Design School

The Case Project by Marina Aleksashina_HSE Art _ Design School

SERGEI SYSOEV 

Meanwhile we keep on redefining fashion processes together with the Saint-Petersburg-based couturier Sergei Sysoev. The SS 2021 Ready-to-Wear collection by SERGEI SYSOEV isn’t just about dressing men and women in similar costumes that are marked by intimacy and sophistication. It’s also about the changing role of colour that loses its gender specificity. Intense magenta, noble navy blue, tender aqua marine — these shades are beyond the binary thinking and always ad rem. All you have to do is to get creative and match the colours properly. Bear in mind, such elements as tai dai and artistically designed rose-shaped prints will prevent the outfit from looking repetitive.

KRUZHOK

‘MOM’ collection by KRUZHOK is one of the bravest examples of gender fluidity demonstrated at the current MBFW season. It’s the superhuman with the distinctive feminine traits that serves as a prototype for the new collection. The colour palette is all lightness: peach, pistachio, and creamy hues. Large pockets, accented shoulders, A-line, and pencil skirts. Back to the 60s with its baby-doll image? Yes, in a way, and men can wear it!

‘MOM’ Collection by KRUZHOK. Courtesy of the brand

‘MOM’ Collection by KRUZHOK. Courtesy of the brand

‘MOM’ Collection by KRUZHOK. Courtesy of the brand

GILVICHUTE 

Having prior discussed new femininity, it would be fair to talk of men. Designer Yana Gilvichute devotes her new series to the wild 90s (at least, in Russia they were like that, with a highly unstable Perestroika period). GILVICHUTE SS 2021 plays upon the well-known taste of confusion and nascent freedom. Unisex leather coats are still the historically established classic, while male bodysuits, jabots, and puffy sleeves promise to be another sensation, experimental and romantic at once. It would be hard to avoid the choice of color: excellently light blue, it reminds of the times when the dreams and hopes were as endless as the sky. 

GILVICHUTE SS 2021 Ready-To-Wear. Courtesy of the brand

GILVICHUTE SS 2021 Ready-To-Wear. Courtesy of the brand

GILVICHUTE SS 2021 Ready-To-Wear. Courtesy of the brand

To be continued in Part 2. 

*All photographs provided by the press-office of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia

In the spotlight: Tomo Koizumi When dreams come true

By /BLOG/, /FASHION/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

In the spotlight: Tomo Koizumi When dreams come true

Just a few updates before we start. PH proceeds with the ‘In Focus’ column, exploring and highlighting art by the most distinguished photographers of the modern world. However, from now on, we also talk about fashion. Brands that have changed our idea of vogue, and people who stand behind the labels, extensive overviews of fashion collections, and many more. Meet our new ‘In the spotlight’ column! 

And our first guest today is Tomo Koizumi, Japanese designer who has rocked the fashion world with his organza ‘make-a-cake’ dresses.

Tomo Koizumi says he has always been interested in designing clothes. His childhood environment was a breeding ground for such an interest: his mother just loved vogue. Having discovered a work of John Galliano for Dior at the age of 14, Koizumi finally made up his mind to go in for fashion.

Koizumi’s A_W 2019 collection. Photo_ Jonas Gustavsson_MCV Photo for The Washington Post

His first education was rather general: Koizumi graduated with a fine arts degree from the National Chiba University (Chiba, Japan). Meanwhile his personal brand came to life and evolved progressively. In 2016 the young couturier took a chance to dress Lady Gaga, he also designed for some Asian celebrities such as British-Japanese singer and songwriter Rina Sawayama and female members from the Dreams Come True pop band. Sounds good, but no room for complacency, Koizumi probably thought. He kept on elaborating his taste and style and proceeded with studying at Coconogacco, Japanese fashion school founded by the Saint Martins graduate Yoshikazu Yamagata.

Lady Gaga in Tomo Koizumi’s dress, 2016. Image_ Vanity Fair Italia

Singer Rina Sawayama performs dressed in Tomo Koizumi’s, 2019. Photo_ Vogue Japan

‘I really like to make big gowns, but in Japan nobody wears them as there are no galas. I still wanted to make something big and extravagant, so the only way for me to fit in the Japanese market was to dress singers for performances’.(Tomo Koizumi, from the article on SCMP, 2019)

Tomo Koizumi recalls, he used to create rather fitted clothes in his early career since he wasn’t acquainted with the sophisticated technique of making voluminous gowns back then (may the latter be also a less obvious decision for ready-to-wear collections). Studying at Coconogacco gave him a pair of wings (in the sense of freedom to experiment) and a perfect chance, which happened almost by accident. 

Backstage. Preparing for the debut A_W 2019 fashion show. Photo_ Lexie Moreland_WWD

‘Working in the fashion industry means you eventually must think commercially so you can sell something, but I would still like to make something to entertain people’. (Tomo Koizumi, from the article on Vogue UK, 2019)

One day in October 2018 Sara Maino, Deputy Editor of Vogue Italia and Head of Vogue Talents, briefly interrupted her business trip across Tokyo to visit Coconogacco, a local pool of fashion talents. Among the other school students, Maino got to know Koizumi and posted one of his works on Instagram later. And then six handshakes came to aid (actually, even less than six). Designer Giles Deacon couldn’t help but admire a pumped firebird-colored dress made from Japanese organza and immediately resent the image to Katie Grand. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say, it was eventually Grand who launched the international career of Tomo Koizumi. Famous stylist, fashion-journalist, and head of Love Magazine at that time, she knew what links to use to polish the designer’s genius with the right opportunities.

Sara Maino’s publication of Tomo Koizumi’s firebird-colored dress. Image_ Sara Maino’s Instagram

A Love Magazine shoot, featuring a few dresses by Koizumi, became a good ground for further collaboration between the world-renowned stylist and the emerging designer. Tomo Koizumi claims it took him and Katie less than a half an hour to set up his first fashion show. Initially, the choice of the venue fell on London, but later it was changed to the big apple, considering a greater support possible there.

A_W 2019 Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Catwalk. Model_ Sara Grace Wallerstedt. Photo_ Armando Grillo _ Gorunway

A_W 2019 Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Catwalk. Model_ Emily Ratajkowski. Photo_ Armando Grillo _ Gorunway.com

A_W 2019 Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Catwalk. Model_ Bella Hadid. Photo_ Armando Grillo _ Gorunway

‘I don’t want to follow trends. I may be checking trends in order to not follow trends. I want to do something opposite of trends.’ (Tomo Koizumi, from the article on WWD, 2019) 

Tomo Koizumi had been in the US just once before. In early February 2019 he arrived at New York with three suitcases filled with the carefully packed 28 looks. Though feeling like a newcomer, the designer certainly enjoyed the best conditions while preparing for his upcoming show. Marc Jacobs lent Koizumi his boutique on Madison Avenue to use as a venue, Pat McGrath and Guido Palau agreed to take makeup and hair, while models Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski and actress Gwendoline Christie were invited to walk down the runway. With all the services being provided for free, needless to say, Tomo Koizumi was enormously grateful to his newly-minted team and Katie Grand in person. 

A_W 2019 Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Catwalk. Model_ Shanelle Nyasiase. Photo_ Armando Grillo _ Gorunway

A_W 2019 Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Catwalk. Model_ Zoe Thaets. Photo_ Armando Grillo _ Gorunway

A_W 2019 Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Catwalk. Model_ Londone Myers. Photo_ Armando Grillo _ Gorunway

‘After that show, I got many great compliments from all over the world. I want to give something joyful back to them.’ (Tomo Koizumi, from the article on Vogue UK, 2019)

Koizumi’s debut fashion show aka his Autumn/Winter 2019 collection was compiled within a couple of days. On February 08, 2019 around 6 p.m. in the Marc Jacobs store as agreed, Tomo Koizumi showcased his flight of fantasy featuring three dozens of frothy outfits. Each of a unique colour combination, dresses from Tomo Koizumi F/W 2019 remind anything but an exquisite dessert. There is quite a complicated background behind the collection, though. To create his magnificent gowns, Koizumi sought inspiration in rather diverse things, such as creations by the Italian designer Roberto Capucci, performance pieces by Leigh Bowery, and Japanese kind of funerary banner called hanawa. Another important and pretty unusual source of enthusiasm for the designer was the figure of Sailor Moon, a Japanese fairytale character and a symbol of a cute yet strong female capable of doing magic.

Tomo Koizumi’s Bridal Collection 2021. Courtesy of the brand

Tomo Koizumi’s Bridal Collection 2021. Courtesy of the brand

Tomo Koizumi’s Bridal Collection 2021. Courtesy of the brand

‘My dreams are coming true and I want to follow them’(Tomo Koizumi, from the article on Vogue UK, 2019)

As for the show, it was nothing but a success. Koizumi was accepted as a perfect dream catcher, persistent in following his vision and ideas. An American Dream for the world of fashion, no differently. Indeed, the designer has been doing well: in 2019 he took part in the high fashion art exhibition ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’, organized by the Costume Institute Gala, where he presented two of his models. Koizumi also carried on with fashion shows, introducing his Spring/Summer 2020 collection at the New York Fashion Week. Instead of 28 fantasy gowns, there were just 7 new looks that time, yet Tomo Koizumi decided to take a deep dive and created even bigger pieces to showcase at NYFW. And that doesn’t even count numerous publications in glossies and individual orders performed by the designer.

Spring 2020 Ready-To-Wear Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Courtesy of the brand

Spring 2020 Ready-To-Wear Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Courtesy of the brand

Spring 2020 Ready-To-Wear Collection by Tomo Koizumi. Courtesy of the brand

All right, what’s next? Is Koizumi going to further evolve his signature style? If so, how long will this ruffles craze last? 

‘I keep thinking about this. I know that I’m known for my ruffles, but I want to keep this signature and develop it in different ways. I’m not a big brand that has to sell all kinds of clothing, so I can only do this for now’. (Tomo Koizumi, from the article on SCMP, 2019)

Curious to see what Koizumi will come up with, considering his unwillingness to go commercial. Yet the designer has collaborated with the haute-couture brand Emilio Pucci recently. The results of the collaboration you could see at the latest Milan Fashion Week. The Pucci collection of tender youthful looks was slightly seasoned with Koizumi’s ruffled gowns, colours snow white, peach, and lemon yellow. Wait, ruffles again? Well, yes. So far it makes sense.

Cover: Designer Tomo Koizumi after his debut A/W 2019 show. Photo by Jonas Gustavsson/MCV Photo for The Washington Post

Art Digest: October 19—25

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: October 19—25

Have you ever noticed that anything lost gets found? No matter how well it was hidden… In fact, quite the opposite — the biggest secrets have a way of getting out. The same is true about the masterpieces — whether hidden, stolen or lost, so many paintings eventually get back to the home collection to the joy of numerous art lovers. That’s exactly the story of Gustav Klimt’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’ that was abducted from the Ricci Oddi gallery 20 years ago. The other discovery of the week is that three top Hollywood actresses are going to be guest narrators at the ‘About Time: Fashion and Duration’ exhibition, which finally takes place at the Met Museum starting from the next week. More on this and the other weekly news in the digest below.

Artist Gustav Klimt, right, with his partner, Emilie Flöge, circa 1910. Photo_ Getty Images_

A R T

‘Portrait of a Lady’ by Gustav Klimt to be displayed after 20 years missing 

Another art heist of the century, news. The collection of the Ricci Oddi gallery (Piacenza, Italy) received back its masterpiece in the beginning of the week. The painting by famous Austrian artist Gustav Klimt titled ‘Portrait of a Lady’ was stolen from the Italian gallery during its reconstruction in February 1997. The investigative authorities had a few versions of the incident, including the one suggesting that people close to the gallery had been involved in the scam. Currently robbers have been identified — the two elderly men confessed to the theft last year right after the limitation period for the crime had expired.

Left, Klimt_s Portrait of a Lady (1916-17)_ and right, the Ricci Oddi gallery in Piacenza. Courtesy of the Ricci Oddi gallery_

To be more precise, the thieves ‘gifted’ the painting to the museum four years ago having placed it in the niche of the gallery wall thickly covered with ivy bushes. It was the local gardener who discovered the work while clearing the wall a year ago. Now the ‘Portrait of a Lady’ is back at the Ricci Oddi gallery and there are big plans for it! Four shows dedicated to the figure of Gustav Klimt will run spanning two years in the institution. The first exhibition runs from November 2020 till March 2021. No doubt, the freshly recovered jewel is going to be in limelight on the display.

Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore to narrate the upcoming Met exhibition 

The annual exhibition organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, which comes as a conceptual sequel of the Met Gala, is a long-awaited event, no doubt. Yet this year we had to await it for too long — instead of traditionally taking place in May, the show starts off in late October lasting till February 2021. No more dwelling on the reasons of the postponement, we would better focus on the event itself. The intriguing topic of the year 2019 (remember it was Camp: Notes on Fashion’) gives a way to the no less interesting ‘About Time: Fashion and Duration’.

From left to right_ Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman at the 2002 New York premiere of ‘The Hours’. Photo_ Getty Images

Perfectly in line with the Museum’s exhibition policy, the current show promises to be a visual delicacy, equally referring to the worlds of art and fashion. According to the Wendy Curator, Andrew Bolton, the exhibition was designed as a ‘meditation on fashion and temporality — drawing out the tensions between change and endurance, transience and permanence, ephemerality and persistence’. However, the show isn’t only about an image, it’s also about a sound. The soundtrack to the event (if it’s a right word) is based on Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘Orlando’. Hollywood actresses Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Nicole Kidman will voice the abstracts from Woolf’s work, thus creating the auditory background of the display. Why Streep, Kidman, and Moore? Well, if you’ve watched the 2002 film ‘The Hours’ starring the three actresses, you probably know the answer. 

From the display of ‘About Time_ Fashion and Duration’ at Met, May 2020. Photo_ Annie Leibovitz

Shepard Fairey creates US election-inspired posters for Time 

Right after designing an anti-Trump billboard for the Artists United for Change group, street artist Shepard Fairey took over another enlightening job. In light of the upcoming US election on November 03, Fairey decided to assist Time Magazine in encouraging Americans to demonstrate their citizenship. The artist created a cover for the November issue of Time, depicting a woman wearing a bandana as a face covering (a little criticism for those who skip doing that and, consequently, don’t really take their civil liability).

‘Even though the subject in the portrait knows there are additional challenges to democracy during a pandemic, she is determined to use her voice and power by voting’. (Shepard Fairey

The portrait originates from the artist’s 2020 series called ‘Our Hands — Our Future’. Shepard Fairey believes that it’s not only voting that constitutes the bright democratic future, yet casting a ballot is crucial to contribute to this honorable target. Remarkably, never before has Time Magazine removed their masthead from the cover giving space to the artist’s ideas. However, this concession might seem less surprising, bearing in mind that Shepard Fairey collaborates with Time for the third time already.

Artist Shepard Fairey working in his studio. Courtesy of Shepard Fairey _ Instagram_

F A S H I O N 

Nature-inspired S/S 2021 collection by Australian designer Dion Lee 

Even if the word collocation Australian fashion doesn’t ring a bell to you, it’s never too late to learn more. Especially with such talented Australian creatives on radar. The Sydney-born fashion designer Dion Lee established his eponymous brand in 2009. In the same year Lee took part in the Australian Fashion Week and got things rolling rather quickly in his home context. However, his international rise came in 2018, when the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle was seen in public wearing one of Lee’s dresses. 

Dion Lee has recently presented his S/S 2021 Ready-To-Wear collection, and it’s quite different from everything that came before under the label’s roof. Focusing on technicality and ‘intelligent sensuality’ (Dion Lee’s expression), the brand usually offers nontrivial, asymmetrical outfits that look bold and sexy. This time apart from sex appeal, the S/S 2021 dresses radiate intimacy and harmony with the world around. Inspired by the warming issue, the collection features organic curves (such as Monstera leaf-shaped leather tops), light natural shades, and sophisticated weaving (knotting, macramé etc). Dion Lee, all eyes on you, curious what’s coming next!

Dion Lee S_S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Courtesy of the brand

Dion Lee S_S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Courtesy of the brand

Dion Lee S_S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Courtesy of the brand

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

Foam Talent Call 2020’ winners announced 

Keen photographers know it firsthand. Organized by Foam Magazine, the annual event has been running for five years, creating opportunities for young and aspiring visual artists. All right, it’s Foam Talent Call. On the table is going on public display as well as having one’s works featured in Foam Magazine. Not bad, right?

The Foam Talent 2020 edition has recently announced the finalists. There are 19 of them, selected out of 1,619 portfolios from 69 countries. The chosen visual artists will showcase their works at Kühlhaus Berlin (Berlin) from 22 October — 1 November, 2020.

Foam Talent 2020 _ From the series ‘Charlie Surfs on Lotus Flowers’. Photo_ Simone Sapienza_

Foam Talent 2020 _ From the series ‘PVC Meatway’. Photo_ Aadesokan

Foam Talent 2020 _ From the series ‘Fire Island Night’. Photo_ Matthew Leifheit

Later on the exhibition will move to Amsterdam. Here are a few sneak picks, if you are sure about your plans to attend the show yet.

Art Digest: October 12—18

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: October 12—18

Shhh, great news — a new column devoted to fashion in all its manifestations is coming soon. Stay tuned and check our beloved haze.gallery for details. Now it’s time to discuss the most elegant and sudden headlines for this week. 

F A S H I O N

Meet Michael Kors S/S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection

It’s been almost a month since New York Fashion Week came to an end. American designer Michael Kors is finally ready to showcase the brand’s Spring/Summer 2021 Ready-To-Wear collection, and it’s about a digital show again. Michael Kors inclines to reduce the number of fashion shows to 2 per year, finding October a perfect time to reveal the upcoming season trends.

‘People are just seeing the fall clothes for the first time in stores. Why are we showing them the spring clothes before they’ve even seen the fall ones?’the designer exclaims. 

As for the recent S/S 2021 Ready-To-Wear collection, it might be rightfully called ‘Dress comfortable to feel yourself confident’. Warm light shades, demi-season fabrics (in the sense that the outfits are suitable for wearing not only on the beach), in a word, smart casual in the best possible way. Kors stays true to his manner and prefers acting independently. The result? Judge for yourself, it’s straight ahead. 

Michael Kors S_S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Courtesy of Michael Kors

Michael Kors S_S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Courtesy of Michael Kors

Michael Kors S_S 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection. Courtesy of Michael Kors

First commercial by Felipe Oliveira Baptista for Kenzo presented 

Remember the Kenzo latest Bee a Tiger’ collection presented at PFW? The brand’s new creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista has opted to pursue the story unveiling his first commercial campaign for Kenzo. Yes, the leitmotif for the ‘Going Places’ campaign is great uncertainty, consequential confusion, and… a window of opportunity.

Initially Felipe Oliveira Baptista planned to go to his native Azores to film for the new campaign, but the pandemic made him change the shooting location for New York and Los Angeles. For the ‘Going Places’ he collaborated with his long-term partner stylist Jane How and iconic fashion photographer Glen Luchford. The concept of the shooting also belonged to Luchford: Baptista’s team selected images from the photographer’s archives, while Glen tried shooting Kenzo models in the same pose and under the same light as in the old pictures. The mannequins were wearing the label’s Fall-Winter 2020 collection, radiating the spirit of youth, traveling, and constant search, just in line with the philosophy of the brand. Baptista seems to be a genuine successor of Kenzo Takada’s ideas. Very regrettably, the founder of the fashion empire died on October, 04, here we recall the life and the creative path of the genius.

D E S I G N 

Pantone and Globe reveal new series of colourful decks 

If you’re a regular reader of our column, you might remember us talking about Pantone Colour Institute quite a few times, the last time was just recently. However, Pantone doesn’t get tired of surprising all those who are in love with the colour. This time the Institute pursued a successful collaboration with the skate brand Globe releasing a unique series of collectible decks (colourful, as you might guess). 

Each box set from the new series features five 8.25″ decks made from Canadian marple and painted in line with the Pantone Colour Of The Year 2021 palette. Among the colors are Classic Blue (2020), Living Coral (2019), Ultra Violet (2018), Greenery (2017), and Tangerine Tango (2012). If you are looking forward to purchasing the product, keep in mind that the edition is limited. The first batch has been already sold out, the release date for Box Set 02 is November, 06. Learn more on the Globe website

Photo_ @danpreston_1_Hypebeast

Photo_ @danpreston_1_Hypebeast

Photo_ @danpreston_1_Hypebeast

A R T 

The other Warhol: discover early photographs of the King of Pop Art 

Does the figure of Andy Warhol attract your interest? In any aspect, I mean, either as a bright phenomenon of pop culture or an artist/producer/rule breaker from the world art whose extraordinary fate had probably outperformed any of his life expectations. The latter can be easily explored with the help of the related projects, archives, and memories of Warhol’s colleagues. The photographs of the thirty-something-year-old artist shot by David McCabe is a good example.

In 1964 David McCabe was just 24. The aspiring photographer left his hometown Leicester and crossed the Atlantic to hitch a jackpot (as he would find out later). A relatively unknown illustrator and wannabe artist named Andy Warhol was looking for an assistant to document his life. Back then McCabe had no idea who Andy was, neither he realized it was a carpe diem moment, yet he took the chance. Over the year David followed Warhol to parties and exhibitions and just everywhere the client would go to make more than 2,500 images… and put them aside.

The thing is Andy Warhol had spread his wings and changed his image from a timid amateur to a local celebrity by 1965. In his lifetime Warhol wouldn’t come up with any idea what to do with the images — perhaps the artist’s renown hesitation was the reason (McCabe recalls Andy Warhol really bothered what he looked like in the eyes of the others). Four decades passed. David McCabe selected ⅕ of the photographs taken in the far 1964 and published a book under the title ‘A Year in the Life of Andy Warhol’ in 2003. Today some of the works are on sale through Proud Galleries with McCabe himself talking to Dazed Digital about his early (and such an extraordinary) acquaintance with the King of Pop Art.

About ‘Luxes’: New exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs 

What do you know about luxury? That could have been a seducing motto for another commercial of perfume or jewelry. But no, ‘Luxes’ is the theme for the new exhibition at the Parisian museum of Decorative Arts or Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Until May 2, 2021 you are welcomed to investigate the essence of what’s called precious. More than 100 objects on display brought from different parts of the world ideally match such categories as beautiful, rare, and exceptional — all those that constitute the idea of luxury.

Yet the artifacts featured don’t have much in common at first blush — Old Egyptian attributes of divine worship, gold-detailed Chinese porcelains from the XVIII century, and even a Cartier clock (1927). Ah yes, also a Little Black Dress by Chanel and outfits from the Christian Dior Cruise 2020 collection. That’s the thing — the organizers of the exhibition don’t only showcase subjects that are (used to be) deemed ‘lux’ but also trace the evolution of the concept. That makes the project so ambitious and spectacular.

‘From ecology to diversity, luxury will become increasingly less material and the idea of experience — discovery, individual reflection, and one’s own definition of luxury — will become the emphasis in tomorrow’s world.’ (Olivier Gabet, curator of the ‘Luxes’ exhibition)

Art Digest: October 05—11

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: October 05—11

Curiously, the fashion brand Maison Margiela and The Guerrilla Girls are around the same age. Just like about 3 decades ago, the former keeps on flourishing and exciting the viewer under the creative direction of John Galliano, while the later has recently published a new book on the collective’s artistic heritage. Besides, the Moscow International Film Festival has announced this year’s winners, while the best from Frieze London 2020 edition can be learnt from The Art Newspaper website. Welcome to this week PH Art Digest!

A R T 

New retrospective book by Guerilla Girls coming out 

Since 1985 a few girls wearing gorilla masks have been coming to public spaces, mostly nearby art institutions to express their opinion on feminist issues. Yes, I’m talking about the Guerrilla Girls, who initially went by ‘guerillas’ but someone misspelt the name in a publication, so the mistake became fateful. Though 30 years is a long time and feminism has stepped far ahead since then, the art group shows no signs of stopping. In the newly-minted retrospective ‘Guerrilla Girls: The Art of Behaving Badly’ the artists share their great experience. The book is already available online and will soon appear on the book shelves.

The Guerrilla Girls have always been acting anonymously (you never know who is behind the mask) and collectively (group members change from time to time). Considered feminist activist artists, the Guerrilla Girls discuss the issues of sexism and racism in the art world on public, organizing billboard performances, demonstrations, and other activities. Their appeals sound like: ‚Do women have to get naked to get into the MoMA Museum?‚, or ‚Only 4 commercial galleries in N.Y. show black women. Only 1 shows more than one‘. They also enjoy raising questions in a playful and yet sharp way: e.g. ‚If February is Black history month and March is a Women’s history month, what happens the rest of the year? Answer: Discrimination‘. The Guerrilla Girls stand out in the art scene thanks to their straightforward, aggressive yet ironic style, and it’s really worth discovering!

A R T   M A R K E T

The Art Newspaper Guide to Frieze London 2020

Despite all concerns, Frieze London 2020 has successfully taken place this week. This year the famous London contemporary art fair coincides with its related enterprise Frieze Masters (the one showing both historical and modern artworks). Located within walking distance from each other in the Regent’s Park, Frieze London and Frieze Masters welcome the general public from October 9—11, while the invitation-only preview days were held a bit earlier, on October 7 and 8.

If you didn’t happen to visit the fair or, conversely, you have and now you want to shape a well-founded position of it, the digital version of Art Newspaper is here to help. Digests of the most interesting events running, a curated pick of Frieze London by the artistic director of the fair Eva Langret, themed podcasts, and many more are waiting for you on the platform. For those curious about taking a virtual tour to the exhibition, watching live videos, and listening to the records of Frieze Talks, welcome to the main website of Frieze.

O P P O R T U N I T I E S 

The Creative Mentorship opportunity by Adobe and OFFF Academy 

You’re an artist and your career has been recently interrupted by the forced hiatus? During the COVID-19 lockdown many creatives felt like that, but thankfully there are those who are ready to help. Adobe in partnership with OFFF-Academy is proceeding with The Creative Mentorship project that was launched last year. Six chosen applicants will win a seven-month mentorship by the leading experts of the industry.

To apply for the opportunity you have to be an artist under the age of 30 working in one of the following fields: 3D work, art direction, motion, video, photography, and interaction design. Communication between mentors and mentees will be hosted monthly through online-sessions, however, an all-expenses-paid trip to the mentor’s studio for two days is also included. Besides, winners will be granted with an opportunity to present their works at the OFFF Barcelona upcoming edition, a three-day festival of workshops, performances, and other artistic activities planned for May 6—8, 2021. Curious? Learn more and apply here

‘Metaconstructions’ by the 2019 winner, 3D artist Vlad Dultsev

The Creative Mentorship opportunity by Adobe and OFFF Academy

‘Metaconstructions’ by the 2019 winner, 3D artist Vlad Dultsev

F A S H I O N

Maison Margiela presented S/S 2021 Ready-to-Wear Collection (it’s a video) 

Some fresh memories from the recent Milan and Paris fashion weeks may suggest: fashion docus are the new black. Instead of providing full-format live shows many brands prefer screening small films (sometimes, even quite long ones). So did John Galliano, Maison Margiela creative director, for the label’s S/S 2021 Ready-to-Wear campaign. The film was produced by Nick Knight, who had worked on the brand’s A/W 2020 Couture collection earlier this year. 

In the video, which lasts ¾ of an hour, Galliano explains why he had chosen this medium and shares the details of the creative process. Inspired by the history of tango and South-American wedding fashion at once, Maison Margiela S/S 2021 collection calls for long skirts and pants, acute-shaped shoulders and collars, whimsical draping, and the rockiest colours ever like bloody red, space blue, and, of course, black. A dramatic aftertaste left behind, the process being shown from inside and, perhaps, the best about the new video by Margiela — you can watch it anytime, it is never over. 

Courtesy of Maison Margiela

Courtesy of Maison Margiela

Courtesy of Maison Margiela

C I N E M A

Moscow International Film Festival #42 announced winners 

The Moscow International Film Festival happened for the 42nd time in its history from October 1—8, 2020. More than 180 works by the cinema professionals from Norway, Brazil, India, Mexico, Romania, and other countries took part in the competition. On the last day the festival jurors took stock of the season, and here are the films highly acclaimed by the critics (note to self).

The main prize or ‘Golden George’ was awarded to the Russian film ‘A Siege Diary’ by Andrey Zaitsev. ‘Silver George’ or the special jury prize went to the Turkish work ‘In the Shadows’ directed by Erdem Tepegoz. The following persons were honored with the solo awards: Rishi Pelham (‘Hilda, UK) as the Best Director, Gur Bentwich (‘Peaches & Cream’, Israel) as the Best Actor, Megan Purvis (‘Hilda, UK) as the Best Actress, and ‘Nocturne’ (directed by Gwanjo Jeong, Republic of Korea) as the Best Film of the Documentary Competition.

 Looking forward to seeing even more thought-provoking and meaningful films next year!

Kenzo Takada: Evangelist for Freedom from the World of Fashion

By /BLOG/, /FASHION/, /NEWS/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Kenzo Takada: Evangelist for Freedom from the World of Fashion

It’s pretty amazing, but the figure of Kenzo Takada has been closely associated with his brainchild, even after the designer retired from Kenzo fashion house in 1999. Having founded Kenzo in 1970, he was putting up his company brick by brick for thirty years — and devoted himself to free creation afterwards. The upcoming Kenzo creative directors who headed the brand in different years tried carefully to keep up the philosophy crystallized by the founding father. But Takada was unique.

Kenzo Takada died of COVID-19 complications on October 04 in Paris. The bitter news immediately shook up at the time running Paris Fashion Week. The previous seasons Takada was a frequent and desired guest in the space of PFW, while new collections by Kenzo fashion house were still lightening up the runway and astonishing the viewer. In 2020 the brand celebrates its 50 year anniversary. Kenzo Takada would probably like being remembered as the one who had brought freshness and revolution into fashion. A little story below is a tribute to him.

How that all began 

Kenzo Takada was born into a family of small entrepreneurs in Himeji, Japan, in 1939. His parents Kenji and Shizu Takada were running a hotel and led a modest life, since the family had 7 children. Kenzo recalled flipping passionately through his sister’s fashion magazines as a kid, dreaming of designing clothes for the wide-eyed Western women. However, Takada’s parents didn’t encourage his emerging interest in fashion, rather stimulating the boy to find a solid job. To satisfy his family’s wishes Kenzo Takada began studying literature at Kobe University but dropped out soon (obviously, to his mum’s and dad’s great disappointment). 

What made him act so carelessly? A timid step to his dream: Takada entered Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, quite a famous Japanese vocational school with a focus on the fashion industry. Yet, it was tough in the beginning. The famous couturier used to say, university wasn’t his thing, and that also matched his study at Bunka

‘When I entered the school of design in Tokyo, <…> I wasn’t at that level, I couldn’t understand everything’ (Kenzo Takada)

And yet, the designer made a big progress at the time. He won the Soen Award established by the so-called Japanese magazine, in 1961. After graduating from Bunka college, Kenzo Takada worked for the Sanai department store for a couple of years, where he gained some good experience in designing female outfits. 

All roads lead to Paris 

Kenzo was advised to head for Paris still during his college studies. The designer would probably never decide on such expenses, if it wasn’t for the chance. Takada was provided with some monetary compensation, when his flat was demolished by the government in preparation for the Summer Olympics in 1964. So, Kenzo took a boat trip to the world fashion capital, making stops at various cities such as Saigon, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and others along the way. 

Against expectations Paris didn’t inspire Kenzo much, rather looking to him as a dismal and bleak place. However, obviously it was the city of opportunities. Initially planning to stick around in France for half a year, Kenzo Takada spent the rest of his amazing life in Paris creating the first world-famous Japanese fashion brand, blending haute couture with hipster outfits, and just revolutionizing the world of vogue. 

During his first years in Paris Kenzo made a living selling fashion sketches and working at the Pisanti textile manufacturer. Expensive materials were above his pay grade, so the emerging designer spent hours at the flea market looking for proper scraps to further combine them with some fabrics preserved from Japan. So naturally Kenzo’s signature manner of blending Eastern and Western influences arose (adding to this the designer’s admiration for his mother’s kimonos).

Kenzo Takada got the lucky strike selling a few of his fashion sketches inspired by the futurist designer André Courrèges to Louis Feraud fashion house. This accomplishment as well as his experience as a company designer in Paris made Kenzo think of setting his own brand. 

A day has come 

It happened in 1970. Kenzo Takada occupied an unkempt clothing store in the Galerie Vivienne, manually decorated its walls, and hosted the first show by the newly minted brand. The original name of the label was Jungle Jap, which caused a big confusion: to Japanese ear the word ‘jap’ sounded offensive. Although Takada’s intention was rather to redefine the expression, he wouldn’t insist on that and named the company after himself instead. Clothes from the Kenzo first collection were featured on the cover of Elle magazine right away, and that was just the beginning.  

Kenzo fashion show in 1979 was staged like a circus performance with female mannequins dressed in uniforms riding horses and Takada himself arriving on an elephant. In 1989 just before leaving his brainchild for good the designer organized an unimagined extravaganza where everybody danced, had fun, and just celebrated life. His fashion shows have always been memorable for the viewer and especially appealed to those young and young-hearted (as one of the fashion retailers who worked together with Kenzo used to say). So, what is the secret?

First, Kenzo Takada kept on balancing between Western trends and Eastern tradition. The thing is the designer wasn’t fond of his home culture much while living there but started appreciating it staying away from Japan. During his burgeoning career Takada used to travel often to Southeast Asia, willing to catch inspiration and motifs for his future collections. If anyone in the world ever refused to follow fashion fads blindly, it was Kenzo.

‘When you are forced to follow the trends you are not very close to, it imprisons’ (Kenzo Takada)

Second, the designer mixed ‘high’ and ‘low’ with gusto. He was surprised not finding anything in between haute couture and niche outfits, such as those of hippies, when arriving first time in Paris. Kenzo Takada was convinced that fashion shouldn’t be too serious and expensive. As Antonio Marras, the brand’s second creative director, used to say, Kenzo stood for freedom and regarded vogue as fun. In Kenzo fashion shows models smiled cordially and moved around at ease radiating pure vivacity.

Yet no doubt it was the personality of Kenzo Takada himself that made the spirit of the brand so enchanting. He was loved almost by everyone in the fashion world (where so many creatives are on the outs) for his energy, enthusiasm, and generosity. He was too broad-minded and creative to be mediocre, and he believed in the freedom of expression. ‘As a kid I felt like I don’t know how to speak’ — dwelled Takada on his childhood years of dyslexia. Should fashion have become the richest language for Kenzo

Final steps 

Kenzo brand has undergone an entire evolution before becoming the world-renowned fashion house. Starting with femme collections only, the label introduced its men’s wear line in 1983. Kenzo for Women was the first female perfume issued by the brand (1989), while the pioneering male fragrance was Kenzo Cologne pour Homme (1991). In 2001 also a skincare line KenzoKi arrived but it was already after the milestone when Kenzo Takada left the company.

In 1993 Takada decided to sell the label to the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. According to the couturier, the world of fashion was getting too tense and materialistic for him.
Initially remaining the company designer, Kenzo finally stepped away in 1999 handing over the creative management of the brand to his adherent Gilles Rosier, whom he trained a few seasons before the designation. In 2004 Rosier was replaced by the Italian Antonio Marras, who, in his turn, gave way to the creative duo Humberto Leon + Carol Lim in 2011. Filipe Oliveira Baptista has been the chief creative officer of Kenzo since 2019 (his latest Bee A Tiger collection was recently showcased on Paris Fashion Week SS 21). 

As for Kenzo Takada, he would never stop his search for creativity and freedom. Ultimately leaving the brand in 1999, Kenzo entered into free floating as a true artist. In 2004 he launched the Gokan Kobo lifestyle brand (in translation from Japanese the name means 5 senses). Reasonably, the label was composed of the five departments: the ties and scarf collection, beachwear, ready-to-wear, home, and fragrance. However, Takada’s interest in the homeware category didn’t end there. The fruitful combination between Kenzo and Roche Bobois furniture design company led to the creation of the innovative Mah Jong modular sofa in 2016, while in the beginning of this year Kenzo Takada announced the launch of K3 (originally, K三) the luxury lifestyle brand. 

He would certainly go on and on astonishing us, the audience, by always new approaches and discoveries. Unfortunately, we will never know what other talents the enigmatic and wonderful Kenzo Takada had, but his mere legacy gifted to the planet is precious.