Category

/BLOG/

Art Digest: March 01—07

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

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: March 01—07

Top story this week (not only for the art world), spring has finally come! No matter if the weather delights us or not — the calendar doesn’t lie, besides, the sky is so high and blue and there is a special feeling in the air… Since we have skipped our regular column last week, we are catching up with the events we just can’t leave uncovered. Yes, I’m talking about Milan and London Fashion Weeks, which successfully ran in the latter half of February. Let’s move to Europe this time taking our eyes from the spectacular New York event (more of our impressions of the latest NYFW here). Welcome to the Art Digest of the week! 

M I L A N   F A S H I O N   W E E K 

Jimi Hendrix and Rudolf Nureyev: the rebellious creatives inspire Etro FW 2021 collection 

The latest collection by Maison Etro demonstrated at Milan Fashion Week Fall 2021 is, no doubt, a hymn to freedom… and love.

However general that might sound, it really is. British-German singer Arlissa Ruppert opens the show presentation with a wonderful song about the amorous affairs or rather the rules de l’amour, which one can sing karaoke to. Although including live sound in the fashion show is no longer novelty (Yuna singing ‘Dance like nobody’s watching’ for ADEAM immediately springs to mind), it still looks like a winning strategy. Each performer passes on their mood, energy, and vibes to the show. In the case with Etro FW 2021 collection it’s (let me quote the lyrics here) ‘Keep changing, keep swaying <the rules of, rules of love>’.

Swaying here means wearing something loose, even slouchy, like high-waisted, long-tailored pants, bombers, and knitted jumpers carelessly tucked in. Yet Etro is not a regular sport casual brand to make do with that. It’s essential to add a drop of the label’s signature move (of course, I mean Etro’s generic love for using pattern) and a leitmotif of the season, so here it gets interesting. The original founder of the brand, Gimmo Etro bought a large selection of Rudolf Nureyev’s personal wardrobe at auction in 1994. Today Gimmo’s daughter and Etro’s women’s wear director Veronica relates to Nureyev as the protagonist for the Fall Winter 2021 collection, also alluding to singer and guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Ballet inspired patchworks, pirouettes, and riffs are combined in the show with some noble intersias, fancy paisley, and predator prints. Etro’s sophisticated color palette, which stands out through its density and depth, is also there. Elegant, laid back, appealing, and ready-to-wear, we just can’t ask for more. One question left, still, why do male characters inspire Etro women’s fashion? Banal but true, free spirits and artistic minds have no gender (al least, for the heritage). ‘The rules of, rules of love. Sometimes people break ‘em’.

Pierpaolo Piccioli on behalf of Valentino goes radical but stays romantic this season 

I don’t know about you, but on hearing the name of Valentino, I think of two things: color red and romance. The former definitely does not apply to the latest collection by the brand: for Fall 2021 RTW Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino creative director opted for black and white color palette (which, by the way, looked anything but obvious) interspersing it with a couple of golden bursts. As for the latter of the associations, it’s still like that: the brand stays romantic in heart and in deed, while Valentino CD passionately clarifies the meaning of the term: ‘It’s the radical act of having the strength to be who you are; that’s what I mean by romanticism today. It’s a subjective, almost anarchic gesture, assertive of one’s own identity — exactly like punk.’

Right, punk! And a hint of the bespoke sensuality that is manifested in swingy cape coats, elegant stilettos, touching turtlenecks, and lace jabots. A-line skirts from the 60s, massive studs from the punk rock 70s — Valentino gladly recalls the history of fashion as well as its own origins. By the way, it’s the location of the fashion show that deserves no less attention. The presentation was staged in the historic Piccolo Teatro di Milano, which, you guessed it, is still closed for the public because of the pandemic. Yet the authorities considered the shooting of the Valentino Fall 2021 RTW show a sufficient reason to open up the doors of the theatre for a little while. Pierpaolo Piccioli calls it a sort of a punk act. Regarding the soundtrack (well, live songs seem to be gaining popularity among the couturiers), it’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ originally performed by Sinead O’Connor that accompanied Valentino’s show this time. After all, what can compare to a true romantic, an idealistic and a brash one, who isn’t afraid of pursuing his/her craziest dreams?

L O N D O N   F A S H I O N   W E E K 

Stunning Harris Reed’s debut at de-gendered LFW

To begin with, London Fashion Week Fall 2021 goes gender-neutral. That means London Fashion Week Men’s has been incorporated into the event, thus, the couturiers get a free hand to experiment with unisex looks in their collections. Hm, the term ‘unisex’ might sound a bit obsolete here. On looking at Harris Reed’s debut collection, one makes absolutely sure how powerful and morphing genderless outfits can be. The 24-year-old Central Saint Martins graduate and the Harry Styles’ beloved designer, Reed breaks into the Fashion Week with six demi-couture looks featured on the same person. Harris Reed’s collection is all about the striking gowns handmade of the upcycle textiles by the designer himself. 

What the up-and-coming couturier has presented at the latest LFW is not only spectacular but also brilliant: the ironical and contemplative approach of Harris Reed leads him to discover new facets of gender-fluid clothing. First, Harris Reed Fall/Winter 2021 is more about quasi-couture: imbued with artistry and gentility, his looks feature an unusual blend of impeccable elegance and parody. It’s just like the works of contemporary art: performing a caricature of oneself and of the absurd world around, the only difference is that Reed’s garments are also (and necessarily) beautiful. Tuxedo jackets, satin skirts, mermaid hems, pleated tulle — why not bring that all together in one outfit dressing a wonderful person with a passion for expressing themselves/introducing themselves to the world? Add to this a mind-blowing ‘dark romance’ color palette… Let’s just hope binary prejudice is something Harris Reed has never been confronted with and won’t ever be.

P H O T O G R A P H Y 

Wild life as fine art: mesmerizing shots by the South African photographer 

Saturated with European fashion, let’s shift our focus to the region of South Africa, the homeland of wildlife photographer Chris Fallows. Introducing him this way, I’m just as serious. Fallows enjoyed his first safari at the age of two with his father, an amateur wildlife photographer, helping him to turn the son’s fledgling interest into a passion. Chris Fallows started off photographing great whites [sharks], having later switched ‘to other forms of wildlife, particularly predators and iconic species’. Each year the photographer together with his wife spend about 3 months in the wilds of Africa seizing the opportunity to be closer to nature, in the truest sense of the word. 

Since 2015 Chris Fallows has been focusing on elephants, openly expressing his devotion to them. ‘Over the years, I have come to truly love and appreciate them and have got to know an animal that is intelligent, caring, and obviously under huge pressure from humanity,’ the photographer shares. And it shows in his art: elephants in the images look powerful and touching at once, kind and infinitely beautiful. A sense of wisdom and peace comes to one contemplating the shots of large matriarchal herds or solo pachyderms. Among other things, Fallows is interested in spotting the iconic big male tuskers, the last few species left on the African continent, which he frequently devotes his safari trips to. 

On the cover: Harris Reed Fall/Winter 2021 collection. Courtesy of Harris Reed

Wind of change: NYFW transforms but remains

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

Julia Kryshevich

Wind of change: NYFW transforms but remains

Part 2

NYFW: Close-ups 

Alright, having briefly looked through the major trends of the latest NYFW season, we’re moving on to the most interesting part. An overview of the collections, which have just hit the ring, IMHO. The performance of the designers we’re going to discuss below was fresh, unexpected, and really authentic, what else can be valued more now? 

Jason Wu

Jason Wu is a real wizard. Having started off as a Narciso Rodriguez intern, Wu made it to his own practice. The designer has been running his eponymous label since 2006, parallely serving as artistic director of Hugo Boss women’s wear for nearly five years. Meanwhile they went their separate ways with Hugo Boss, Jason Wu’s pet project has proved to be a successful endeavor. Wu is capable of creating garments of sophisticated design and high quality, without neglecting any of the components. His Fall/Winter 2021 collection is a perfect hymn to convenience and impeccable taste.

It feels like we’re watching a CCTV of a supermarket. In the middle of the floor there are crates of fresh fruits and veggies, a sign on the wooden box playfully suggests to share a coke with Jason Wu. Who’s coming? Oh, the fashion show has just begun. Wu’s models confidently navigate through the deli counter, featuring apparels of a discrete color palette interspersed with vibrant strokes. The shades of khaki, cold sand, black or blueberry form the basis, while banana yellow and pink icing are just thrown on top. Actually, the basic element can be intense as well, but here again we need a counter balance, something like a raspberry cape put over a rose sundress.

Patterns? Of course, there might be some, filling in the gaps rather than creating a new picture. Repetitive geometric patterns of an irregular shape grace Jason Wu FW 2021 lightweight-fabric blouses and dresses, resonated with some monolith jewelry: e.g. in the form of a padlock. Surely, the new collection by the brand suggests ready-to-wear solutions for those preferring either smart casual or business casual dress code: symmetrical cutting and explicit silhouettes are combined with some rather mischievous calls like tassels of fringe, swaying belts, and jumpers loosely tucked in the pants.

Follow Jason Wu: @jasonwu

ADEAM

It’s the fashion designer Hanako Maeda, a fragile-looking girl in her early thirties, who stands behind the New York-Tokyo brand ADEAM. Having graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Art History in hand, Maeda returned to her home Tokyo to join the family fashion house. In 2012 the designer decided to launch her own label ADEAM: the brand is soon turning a decade, meanwhile Hanako Maeda herself has done a great job ever since. In her clothes lines the designer fuses Western and Eastern aesthetics, paying special attention to the quality of garments: e.g. by using traditional Japanese techniques, structured tailoring etc. Easy to clean and highly wearable, ADEAM collections also stand out owing to their feminine silhouettes.

A smooth live song anticipating the ADEAM FW 2021 fashion show sets the right mood. ‘Right’ in the sense of romantic, at ease, not without the reason there is a recurring line in the lyrics: ‘Dance like nobody’s watching’. The color palette builds upon the shades of light blue, lace purple, pale rose; though there is room for some brighter colors like burgundy and deep blue, they hardly take precedence in the collection. ADEAM FW 2021 perfectly demonstrates all types of the shaped sleeves: leg o’mutton, bishop, lantern, bell, and Juliette sleeves have been put on the display. A short loose bomber jacket put over an elongated shirt smells of tenderness as well as the flared pants and pleated dresses. Ruffles on the cuffs and in the elbow area, off-the-shoulder sleeves, and head scarfs just add authenticity to the looks.

However, Hanako Maeda avoids making her collection look too definitive. The second part of the show ADEAM Ichi confounds us by the sudden alteration of the course: the sound gets more upbeat, both male and female models enter the catwalk. Overall, ADEAM Ichi goes unisex: most looks featured one can easily imagine on men as well as women. Jackets and oversized pullovers with extra sleeves and a transforming hood, lowered shoulder line, pocketed cargo pants, chain necklace or, otherwise, tab shirt collars — today she can look what she wants, gracefully switching from sport chic to highly feminine fashion.

Follow ADEAM: @adeam

Chelsea Grays

‘I am a political designer! I use fashion to address social issues around the world and create proactive, political fashion,’ Chelsea Grays proudly says in her statement. Working and living between Paris and the US, the aspiring Ohio-born designer actively takes part in fashion weeks as well as professional awards. Her participation in New York Fashion Week this time hasn’t been a debut (she had a successful student showcase at NYFW two years ago), but still a very outstanding performance. A whole story of struggle, despair, and hope placed into 7,5 minutes with a row of fantastic looks from the latest collection and a clear message: paying tribute to 2020. Funny that last autumn, when we did a Q&A with Chelsea on her designing practice during the pandemic, she might have been in the midst of preparation for NYFW… Alright, and now meet Chelsea Grays’ political expression, that is, her FW 2021 collection.

‘Sometimes I feel good in my chest, but I
I can never get that to my head,’ 

On hearing the first chords of the soulful lyrics by Reggae Helms, one starts immersing into the story. In front of the camera there are some men sitting, both persons of color and white skinned ones, all of them young, thirty something. Each of the models looks closely at the camera and walks away, one at a time. In the next episode we see them roaming the streets, aimlessly, desperately, one by one. Where are those young men going? Why don’t they work, spend time with their loved ones, do something they might make them feel needed and alive? Afterall, why can’t they just feel happy? 

‘I need what they give you at the dentist
I don’t wanna feel no more’.

Chelsea Grays admits for her collections she draws inspiration from the figure of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the way homeless people are dressed. The latter she sees not only as whimsical, but also inventive. Since Basquiat was a drifter from the art world, who brought street spirit and some particular elements of street culture to arts, everything seems to be overlapped. ‘Homage to 2020’ collection features a very special kind of street casual, which, contrary to common beliefs, is far from the worn-out RTW concepts like faux leather jackets, white T-shirts, and tight jeans. In Chelsea Grays’ version, it’s kilts with noodle turtlenecks, ripped jackets, and paint stained trousers like if one has just left an artist’s studio. The designer graces the vagrant looks with cosy wraps, cowls, mittens, and patches (the latter has already become her signature gesture). Chelsea Gray’s FW 2021 collection is nothing, but a good example of an outside-the-box thinking, which is in great demand today. In fashion, in politics, just everywhere.

Follow Chelsea Grays: @__chelsea.g

Lavie by Claude Kameni

Sunny greetings from Cameroon, or rather, from the Cameroon-born fashion designer Miss Claude Kameni. Having relocated to the US at the age of 8, Kameni came across a fashion class in high school, which jump-started her future career. The self-taught designer launched her label in 2012, calling it Lavie, which means ‘life’ in French. Well, for Claude fashion has truly been her life for a long time. Today Claude Kameni is 26 years old, she is an acknowledged master of African Print, and her LA-based brand keeps flourishing. Actress Tracey Ellis Ross and singer Janet Jackson have opted for Lavie by CK custom designs, while Kameni showcased her collection for the first time in the last season of NYFW, which ran last autumn.

When Claude Kameni virtually debuted with her RTW Spring/Summer 2021 show at NYFW in September, she told it was the ‘Coming to America’ movie that had inspired her to create the line. Alright, the ‘The Royal Empire Collection’ presented this time has turned out to be a sequel to the story. Now it’s even more exciting because the second part of the legendary comedy film is set for a digital release in the beginning of March. It’s also interesting that the A/W 2021 Collection by Lavie by CK was modeled by some notable African fashion influencers. Among them were Nyakim Gatwech aka Queen of the dark and Achieng Agutu aka Confidence Queen (the both models advocate freedom of prejudice and happy-to-be-yourself approach), and also Sir Chidi, a style, fitness, and travel guru. The influencers shared the roles of Queens, Queens Hands, and Male Servants in the video presentation.

Designer Claude Kameni calls her latest project a world where African print meets couture’. And one can’t say fairer than that. On the one hand, ‘The Royal Empire’ collection is a luxury line. Dress ensembles with mermaid tails, majestic gigot sleeves, and enticing cut-outs just take one’s breath away. Even a relatively simple patterned mini-sundress lets the viewer’s imagination run wild. On the other hand, one doesn’t have to dig deep to sense that the collection is laced with love for the local traditions. Sophisticated geometric ornaments on fabrics (for those not privy to the African cultural context, rather reminding of cubists’ paintings or Harlequin prints), gorgeous golden-colored wrist and neck decorations, one-shoulder wraps, and hand-crafted beaded tops look anything, but not habitual. That is not to mention the zealous color palette of the collection: juicy grass-green, hypnotic violet, and vigorous shades of orange and red have manifestly run the show. Well, Lavie by CK, ‘The Royal Empire’ showcase was extraordinary (and so hot that we’d like to cool down now a bit).

Follow Lavie by CK: @laviebyck

Onyrmrk

Founded by Mark Kim and Rwang Pam three years ago, the LA-based brand Onyrmrk (actually pronounced ‘On your mark’) represents collection-based men’s ready-to-wear or the entire philosophy of new masculinity. Perhaps, masculinity is not really the right word here, but you get the point… The designers behind Onyrmrk reflect on what it’s like being a man today, how things are shaped between humans and the environment, what influence city life has on our mind and appearance. And it must be said, they come to interesting conclusions, integrating their insights into the brand’s collections. Striving for sustainability and diversity, Onyrmrk certainly wants to make the world a better place, where everyone enjoys their role and path.

Titled ‘Kinship’, the new collection by Onyrmrk is a surprising combination of the two quite opposite natures: collectiveness and distinctiveness. Following the trend of the year, Onyrmrk rethinks the changes 2020 brought to us, emphasizing the value and power of the we-stay-together’ principle. It shows in the return to the streetwear style of the 90s as well as the discrete allusions to Eastern culture. Organic-textile, multilayered garments of the most natural hues get the audience relaxed and contemplative. By the way, the brand sets a successful example of making top and bottom clothing of the same shade like that of beige, which looks rather harmonious.

Loose coats and shirts, quarter-zip pullovers, balloon pants — in such an outfit one can equally well walk through the blossoming garden, practice yoga or take the subway to work. Headwear inspired by the Middle Eastern clothing highlight the ethical edge of the collection. However, ‘Kinship’ no way feels mainstream. For those fearing to lose their identity, there is a soothing argument: you just won’t. Onyrmrk helps men to express themselves through becoming a part of something bigger. Stacked models, rich plaid patterns, unexpected patches, all those features add authenticity to the looks, while cargo trousers and puffer jackets, by contrast, hold the concept of the line.

Follow Onyrmrk: @onyrmrk

Hence, in terms of fashion sensations 2021 has started out well enough… And there are still three seasons ahead with a number of events to anticipate and enjoy. Don’t forget to peep in your fashion calendar to keep them all in mind 🙂

Artist In Focus: Janik Gensheimer

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /INTERVIEW

Rocket_Image_Kugeln_04_Janik_Gensheimer_eciRGBv2

Text
I r e n  R u s s o

Artist In Focus: Janik Gensheimer

How did you get into photography? 

For a school project I started to dig into abstract photography. I got all the books I could get my hands on from the library and spent all summer learning as much as I could about it. In autumn I tried all kinds of abstract photography experiements in my black-out room.

Janik_Gensheimer_03_City_of_Arts_DSC0559_01

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? 

First of all it needs a great idea. No matter if it’s for a personal project or a job with certain requirements, the idea and the concept are the most important part for a coherent series.

My aim is to implement each job in a way that it’s good enough to make it into my portfolio. I want to create photographs that touch the viewer and create emotions. This cannot be done only through great execution. The content of the picture has to be compelling, has to be new, and polarizing. My photograph is a good one when it makes the viewer pause and provokes a reaction. This is what I’m going for in every photograph I create.

When it comes to architecutal photography the process is a bit simpler. The preparation is a detailed analysis of the building and the location. I then decide on which time of day I have to where and in what weather conditions. Everything else is then created during the process of photography. I try to get a feel for the architect’s idea and bring the three-dimensionality into the two-dimensionality of photography through my clear and simple style. To me, the highest art in photography is to find a clear, unbiased perspective, in which I don’t influence (architectual photography is documentation) while still creating emotions.

Arthur_Laing_Bridge_01X4953_01_Janik_Gensheimer_eciRGBv2

Do you have a favourite photograph or painting, which inspires you?

Untitled, 1992
Adam Fuss

Which photographer  of the past would you most like to meet? 

Man Ray

Have you ever had a moment when you questioned your career entirely? 

thankfully not.  I’ve always known that that’s gonna be my path and my passion.

What advice would you give to a young artist following in your steps?

My own path to being an artist is long from finished. Instead, I’d like to answer this question in regards to a path to photography.

Doppelwort_Eierkopf_02_eciRGBv2

Doppelwort_Fischmesser_02_eciRGBv2

Doppelwort_Schaumschläger_02_eciRGBv2

I think it is important to take enough time to figure out what kind of photographer and artist you want to be.
There are a milion possibilities, but if you want to be successful and be able to give it all you’ve got, you should be in it with your head and your heart, and love what you do.
A good, solid training is the first step on this road. Ask yourself where you can get the best training for what you want, regardless of the degree that comes with that training. For some people a regular apprenticeship with a good photographer might be a better fit than a university programme. Keep in mind that it requires a high quality of your educational insitution that also aligns with your own interests.
Once you’ve finished your training assist, assist, assist. There is no better way to gain precious experience of what your day-to-day life as a photographer is going to be like. Mistakes aren’t as grave and you’re starting to build a network that might pay off down the road. Never forget being a photographer is also being a business (wo)man. You’ll need to know how to run a business, because being a good photographer won’t help you to land any jobs.

Temptation_black+white_01_eciRGBv2

Instagram Janik Gensheimer: @janik__g
www.janikgensheimer.de

Wind of change: NYFW transforms but remains

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

Julia Kryshevich

Wind of change: NYFW transforms but remains

Preface

If you identify yourself as a fashion enthusiast and try staying on top of it, you might have mainly spent last week in front of your laptop screen, watching the digital manifestation of New York Fashion Week. Well, so did we. Having slowly started off on February 13 (all eyes were on Ulla Johnson’s boho collection that day), the event lasted until February 18, at least, its major part. Only a limited number of guests were allowed to physically attend the shows, while the rest had to make do with online broadcasts, which, by the way, didn’t seem to be a big concession.
June 18 – 21, 2020
Rhypark, Basel / Switzerland
www.rhy-art.com

In fact, not everyone demonstrated the full-fledged shows — besides,  there were a great number of teasers or rather brief presentations, but that said, which were worked out creatively. For instance, Imitation of Christ dedicated their video piece ‘to all the people who have lost a loved one this year’ (most notably, it was broadcasted on Saint Valentine’s Day), Private Policy and No Sesso ‘adapted’ their shows to an Instagram video format, putting a smile on the viewers’ faces, while Rodarte just called their friends and colleagues to recall the previous 15 years of fashion for almost 15 minutes. Meanwhile the ‘going digital’ format has recently been tested by many designers (just think of Milan and Mercedes-Benz Russia fashion weeks, which took place in autumn 2020), there were still some significant and rather unusual changes at the recent NYFW.

It goes without saying, the pandemic has hit hard: the non-basic services and goods were directly affected, and the fashion industry was no exception. Most likely for that reason some eminent couturiers were either absent this NYFW season or have transferred their presentations to different locations/rescheduled them. And it showed: on the one hand, we saw many regulars missing like Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein; on the other hand, it was offset by the new blood, who weren’t necessarily based in New York or, right, even in America. That was a good excuse to invite some foreign designers to take part in the show, among which were Concept Korea, INF, Asia Fashion Collection (uniting designers from South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), and Studio 189, the NY-Ghanaian label focusing on promoting African designers.

All those alterations gave birth to the idea of the American Collection’s Calendar, which would embrace schedule of shows by American designers, not only during the week from February 13—18, but also some upcoming ones like those by Christian Siriano and Oscar de la Renta (early March) and Jonathan Cohen (mid April). It’s important to note that US designers showcasing their collections in London, Paris, and other places will as well be included in the Calendar.

On the cover: Backstage shooting on Jason Wu fashion show. Photo: Hunter Abrams

 

Part 1

NYFW: Panoramic view

Singling out trends at fashion weeks has always been a tricky task: every designer has their own vision, thus, perceived similarities in the collections often turn out to vary in style and tone and have rather different meanings. Things are getting even more complicated at the latest New York Fashion Week, where the far-reaching Fall Winter 2021-2022 collections are mixed with more topically relevant Spring-Summer campaigns. A whirlwind combination of light clothing and warm outfits, sensible casual and extravagant glamour can take one aback but won’t leave indifferent, for sure.

This NY season couturiers have paid special attention to the shoulder area, shielding it with the most beautiful shapes of cover, such as puff, leg o’mutton, and Juliet sleeves. As for the body, there is a backward tendency to expose it — disclosed bellies, triangle cutouts and backless dresses couldn’t have remained unnoticed. By golly, the 2021 NYFW season may be described as a battle between chastity and provocation: meanwhile some designers hit sequins and disco shades hard, others opted for turtleneck mid length dresses and elongated basic shirts. No accounting for taste, more so if it’s the couturier’s one, yet here is what we get, trying to summarize the impressions of the season (for those loving to go into detail, some close-ups are coming in the next part).

Bohemian Summer

‘Summertime will be a love-in there’ 

Designers who decided to go for this trend might want to play on our lack of Vitamin D and light-hearted spirit in the end of winter. By the way, that doesn’t necessarily concern themselves. Los Angeles-based brand Maisie Wilen (with Kanye West’s protégé, fashion designer Maisie Schloss standing behind it) seems to be just radiating the Californian sun-kissed, laid-back mood, mixing it up with an ounce of psychedelics. Yes, skintight jumpsuits and leggings are back, so get ready to walk on water, just like the models in the Maisie Wilen latest fashion show did.

Another LA label Stan launched by the artist and surfer Tristan Detwiler suggests wearing hand-tailored jackets, homey cosy and a bit pretentious at once. Rebecca Minkoff opts for matching a face mask to your boho dress, along with multilayer jewelry, fringe, and exquisite sandals. If you come from a relatively cool European climate, where summer season sometimes feels like autumn, better listen to a model Parisian, brand Maison Kitsuné. Their SS 2021 collection demonstrates interseasonal urban items like transparent raincoats, Panama hats tied-up with neckerchiefs, and striped shirts. All in all, boho is primarily about light sweet shades, loose garments, and simple, rhythmical patterns, which the above mentioned couturiers gracefully prove. 

Hardcore Couture

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friends’ 

While dealing with hard luxury, there is a high risk of overdoing, yet eminent masters of evening looks trust their taste and expertise too much to question that. Can’t get enough of glamour, polish, and languorous shades? Join the club of the privileged. Among the special members are such couturiers as Tadashi Shoji (Japan/LA) and Bibhu Mohapatra (India/NY) whose mindblowing evening gowns one just can’t help staring at. Both designers refer to Baroque in their latest collections, embellishing clothing with rich embroidery and lacework, using silk and satin and, yes, color black, with the difference that, Tadashi Shoji also alludes to Gothic (just look at his long gloves, jackboots, intricate floral elements, and sharp chokers).

Bronx and Banco hits even harder, demonstrating sequins-covered leg warmers, dresses with convertible straps (and all kinds of cutouts, by the way), and splendid flounces. As for their choice of color, probably, it’s the blackest collection presented this season at NYFW. If you aren’t ready for such a blackout slightly squared with shiny rhinestones, take a look at Badgley Mischka Fall 2021 collection. Noble shades of silver, gold, and deep blue, fur coats, and front bow corsets will make you feel a welcome guest at any luxurious event.

For those wanting to play hard, The Blonds have created a very nightlife-inspired line with items glittering like a mirror ball. Conversely, looking for something businesslike yet fancy? Then you might like the magenta power suit by Marcell von Berlin in three possible hues to choose from.

New Age Unisex 

‘If I were a boy, even just for a day’

Fashion for unisex doesn’t sound like hot news anymore: actually, androgynous looks came back in the aughts after the hypersexual decade of the 1990s was over. To dig a little deeper, there were a couple of turning points in history that shaped that phenomenon in vogue, like the first and the second waves of sexual revolution, in the 1920s and 1960s respectively. Feels like one can’t figure out anything fresh in the field, but it’s very viable, some of the NYFW participants claim and prove that in action.

Menswear designer Victor Li sticks with street casual classics like loose coats, denim suits, and bombers, making them sound more authentic. For instance, he bleaches the suit and puts ethic patterns on lapels and cuffs or graces the business jacket with marvelous prints like those depicting a ranch or a fragment of the letter writing. A considerable part of the outfits might be worn both by men and women, Victor Li’s presentation demonstrates.

Italian designer Federico Cina takes an even more radical stance showcasing his collection simultaneously on female and male models (the video screen is split in half). Danish couturier Christian Juul Nielson, who stands behind the brand Aknvas and also known as the Creative Director of Herve Leger couldn’t help to devote his latest Fall Winter 2021 collection to both sexes to show how perfect plaid coats, textured sweaters, and knitted sweatshirts look on any of the genders. Special focus on the color palette: blood red and ice blue are genderless colors, like any others, yet through them one can express their identity and spirit.

So Casual, So Business-like

‘Six inch heels, she walked in the club like nobody’s business’

One’s modus vivendi affects their style of dress, that’s inevitable. We, inhabitants of concrete jungles, less and less keep our working and private lives separate (eating out with colleagues, finishing some urgent work at the home office), ending up mixing casual and business elements in our looks. Well, taking advice from experts will make this task a way easier. New-York based brand Loring suggests wearing shirts over dresses and spicing up the world-old ‘black-n-white’ duo with various configurations of the two colors like those of a chessboard, diagonal stripes, and the color-blocking principle.

The Ukrainian label Theo proves the fashion for mid length women’s dresses of modest shades, which might be wrapped up with a pocketed transforming puffy jacket (who cares that it was designed for men) or a unisex winter coat with lapels and thin straps. The Japanese brand KoH T knows how to make a business suit look a bit more laidback without wasting its solidity. Perhaps all you have to do in this case is not tuck your shirt in so that your snow-white puffs could show through the black sleeves of the suit jacket.

Proenza Schouler shares their version of a perfect business casual look: a neat patch placed where the cutout of the dress/pants is, a bit of the exposed skin (not much, but enough), bat sleeves, fringe, sparse buttons, and, good heavens, sandals made of the monolith, flexible material à la bendy pencils. A string of rather unusual solutions, isn’t it? Still if you feel like you lack avant-garde, Chocheng Fall 2021 collection might be a match for you. Headgears reminding of the Japanese national kasa distinctly allude to respect for traditions and fascination with cultural heritage, while vibrant shades of purple, orange, and red grinning through the basic black gives out a creative type. Among the hooks are jewellery in the form of Chinese paper lanterns, moccasins with ties (it’s possible!) put over the pant legs, and pocket flaps, likely with no pockets inside. 

The Odder, The Better

‘We are all mad here’ 

Today the circus and asylum are not the only places, which might accept eccentricity — we are meant to be different every day, not to say every couple of hours. Meanwhile, a great deal of those socially encouraged roles is often mutually exclusive. A way out? Valiantly trying to meet all expectations or rather creating one’s own universe, expressing oneself through the appearance. A handful of brands participating at the NYFW took the risk of looking ridiculous while presenting their latest collections, yet at stake was the opp to hit the jackpot — stand out of the crowd, outrage and just fascinate!

The aspiring London brand Ka Wa Key makes no secret about their plans to transform the accepted view of masculinity. Stretched out knitted sweatshirts, troubadour trousers, stripes of different widths — never before has menswear looked so poignant and emphatical. Libertine doesn’t lag behind, highlighting such outfits from their FW 2021 collection as jacket suits heavily splashed with patchworks (be it a starry sky, a page of a newspaper or an assemblage by the anonymous author) and every possible model of hats: e.g. like those of a witch, a pirate captain, a Panama hat and sombreros.

Actually, the latest collection by Anna Sui could have been put in the Bohemian Summer category: inarticulate flower and ethnic patterns explicitly reveal the hippie aesthetics. However, that would be too easy: not for nothing, the brand introduces funny cow spots, mysterious stellar shapes, tweed jackets with thick-framed sunglasses and other psychedelic fads. You get it… But if not, look for our recent review of Anna Sui Fall Winter 2021 collection. By the way, one doesn’t have to dress like a freak from head to toe to add a bit of extravagance into the look. A dyed faux fur coat put over the baby-doll dress leads to a similar wah-effect, like in the presentation by Maison Atia.

To be continued very soon… 

On the cover: Backstage shooting on Gabriela Hearst fashion show. Photo: Hunter Abrams

Art Digest: February 15—21

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

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: February 15—21

Whew, New York Fashion Week has just ended, taking place in the first part of the week. I mean, it was an exciting, at some point rather unexpected show, so now it’s time to process the impressions. While an extensive review of the event is about to come up, we can already discuss some of its striking moments: e.g. how Anna Sui designers referred to Jane Birkin’s character from the 1968 movie in the brand’s Fall Winter 2021 collection. However, the current episode is not only about the NYFW 2021, but also some other news from the battlefield of fashion, arts, and, suddenly, food packaging design! The latter topic is well-known to most of us beginning from childhood, thus, I just couldn’t pass by… So welcome aboard, we’re about to take off!

Big Mac ® packaging by Pearlfisher. Courtesy of Pearlfisher

‘Innate joy of the McDonald’s’ in a new packaging designed by Pearlfisher 

I’m sure everyone knows this feeling. You have a long drive in a car with your sweetheart or family members. Suddenly you see an inviting red sign with a yellow letter M on it on the back of the road… Hesitation fades away, McDonalds is always a good idea! When you drive up to a food pick up window, what would you choose? Most probably, a Big Mac®? Well, since you’re a fish lover, you might take a Fillet-O-Fish®, and cheese enthusiasts will opt for the Cheeseburger®. Regardless of the country, most of us are used to roughly the same design of the packaging of our favorite McDonalds snacks. Yet from now on, things are getting different. 

Fast food chain McDonalds has briefed the branding agency Pearlfisher to create a new design for its food packaging. The main goal for the designers was to reflect McDonald’s‘ ‘playful point-of-view’ and its ‘innate joy’, Hamish Campbell, executive creative director at Pearlfisher shares. Graphics unveiled by the branding agency feature simple, recognizable, and facetious packaging items, each of them speaking for itself: e.g. the white wrapper of the EggMcMuffin® has a yellow ‘yolk’ on it, while the Quarter Pounder® box is covered with the stripes of ‘grilled cheese’ and ‘beef’. However, it’s the conical red packaging of the McDonalds French Fries® that undergoes no changes (perhaps they couldn’t think of anything better yet). To sum things up, the new McDonalds packaging design by Pearlfisher bribes with its witty simplicity, but shall it fully replace the existing and already fancied one? Well, time will show. 

New packaging design for McDonalds by Pearlfisher. Courtesy of Pearlfisher

In a Barbie world: designer Richard Quinn takes a doll to showcase his new collection 

Aged 31, London-based fashion designer Richard Quinn has already gained favor of such famous fashionistas as Queen Elisabeth II and singer Lady Gaga. Actually, why wouldn’t he? Apart from having incorporated technical-design smarts into his outfits, along with his signature wallpaper prints, Quinn also cares about the message: for instance, in his latest collections the designer has touched upon the topic of Brexit chaos, sharing his bold and positive ‘I-want-it-to-be-London-centric’ outlook. This time, however, Richard Quinn demonstrates a kind of a more laid-back attitude, testing a look from his Fall 2021 collection… on a Barbie doll! The collection is human-sized, by the way. 

‘If we were able to show this season, Barbie would be our woman of choice to open the show,’ Mr. Quinn explains in a statement. Okay, the point taken: since couturiers can’t come up with physical fashion shows yet, why not think about extraordinary ways of presenting new collections? A generously embellished gown based on a crinoline the Barbie mannequin wears was hand-crafted by Quinn’s atelier, #nooutsourcing. All in all, it took the tailors 10 days to complete the marvelous look. By the way, Richard Quinn x Barbie collaboration is a part of London Fashion Week unfolding these days. Check her official Instagram account, @barbiestyle to explore some other baby-doll looks. 

Richard Quinn Fall 2020 Ready-To-Wear collection. Photo_ Carlo Scarpato

A gown from Richard Quinn Fall 2021 collection, showcased on a Barbie doll. Courtesy of Richard Quinn_

Richard Quinn Fall 2020 Ready-To-Wear collection. Photo_ Carlo Scarpato

A bit of Jane Birkin in Anna Sui Fall Winter 2021 collection 

You remember that? Psychedelic looks in Anna Sui Fall Winter 2021 presentation broadcasted at the latest New York Fashion Week. Just in case you’ve missed it, there is a video below. But let me finish my thought. Couturier Anna Sui like no one knows that the devil is in the details, this rule perfectly works for the field of fashion, even if the collection items seem to be speaking for themselves.

That’s what we see in her Fall Winter 2021 campaign: titled ‘Phantasmadelic’, the collection features such boho outfits as faux-fur leopard coats, rhythmically-patterned tees and shirts, easy dresses embellished with ruching and sequins. The looks are topped with tender yet artistic makeup, inspired by the 1968 film ‘Wonderwall’. Performed by the incredible Jane Birkin, the main character, quite a typical swinging 60s fashion model is in the focus of her neighbor’s attention, who is a conventional scientist and has a nose for extraordinary, ‘beyond-one’s-self-control’ effects and their carriers. Yes, exactly, the movie is about the vibrant and psychedelic world of the artistic bohemia at that time, so you can imagine it’s rich visual aesthetics. Interesting enough, Jane Birkin’s character is called Penny Lane, just like the famous song by the Beatles, and what’s more, music for ‘Wonderwall’ was produced by George Harrison, the quartet’s lead guitarist. The carrying away sound, Jane’s chic cut-crease eye makeup and her dreamy outfits, that’s what makes the work a perfect source for inspiration. But you know, seeing is believing, so after getting enough of Anna Sui Fall Winter 2021 presentation, you might want to check out the film.

‘Neon Structure’ by Lucio Fontana to grace Guggenheim Bilbao’s atrium 

I bet the first work by Lucio Fontana that may come to your mind will be something from his Concetto Spaziale series or paintings with slots. It’s no wonder, while Fontana is widely known as the founder of Spatialism, an art movement, which proclaims synthesizing different mediums like color, sound, and space into a new type of an artistic expression. Concetto Spaziale is a really important part of the painter’s oeuvre, but not the only one. That’s what Guggenheim Bilbao might have thought about while arranging Fontana’s installation in the museum’s atrium, which, for its part, will be embellished by the artwork during the next three years. 

The light installation ‘Neon Structure’ by Lucio Fontana dates back to 1951, the year when the Ninth Milan Triennial themed Goods — Standards’ took place. Creating his work for the Triennial, the famous artist partially referred to the idea of light drawings introduced by his equally famous colleague Pablo Picasso a few years earlier, yet Fontana believed in the authenticity of his pet project. Meanwhile critics of the mid 20th century couldn’t fully appreciate the artist’s multifunctional concept, Lucio Fontana annoyingly noted in his statement: ‘[It] is not a lasso, an arabesque, nor a piece of spaghetti… it is the beginning of a new expression’. From now on, a wonderful piece of the luminous spaghetti (sorry, Lucio) will grace the atrium of Guggenheim Bilbao, just like it was at the Ninth Milan Triennial, at the Palazzo dell’Arte 70 years ago. 

Artist Pablo Picasso with his work ‘Light Drawing’ (1949). Photo_ Getty Images

Artist Lucio Fontana working upon his Spatial Concept painting. Photo_ Getty Images

‘Neon Structure’ by Lucio Fontana at the Palazzo del Arte, Milan (1951). Courtesy_ Photo Archive Fondazione La Triennale de Milano

On the cover: Jane Birkin in ‘Wonderwall’, 1968. Photo: Pinterest

Exclusive interview with Nadine Dinter, director of an Art PR agency in Berlin

By /ART/, /BLOG/, /INTERVIEW

photo: Steven Kohlstock

Text
I r e n  R u s s o

Exclusive interview with Nadine Dinter, director of an Art PR agency in Berlin

Can you tell us about your background in the arts, and how you ended up working as an independent PR agency specialising in photography and also as an art collector?

As long as I can remember, I have loved the arts. As a child, you would always see me with a piece of paper and a crayon; later I copied famous works like those by Franz Marc or visions of Venice. While I was doing my A-levels in art, I went to every museum show possible. After making my first steps in the business world, I moved to New York as I wanted to add some experience to my first two courses of study. In the summer of 2001, I enrolled at NYU to study art administration. I also got an internship at the renowned non-profit space White Columns, and immersed myself in the local art scene. Experiencing art and working with professionals really helped me to navigate through the overwhelming New York art scene.

I strongly believe that doing and creating have always been more valuable for me than just reading and listening. Theorie vs. Praxis, as we say in German. Internships and project experiences helped me find the kind of work I wanted to do. After New York came an internship at Boris Abel Kunst, then work at C/O Berlin, followed by a job at Asperger Gallery, then one at Alexander Ochs Berlin/Beijing. In 2006, I was ready to strike out on my own and founded my PR agency. As a lover of photography and avid photographer myself – this quickly became the focus my activities: promoting photography exhibitions for galleries, museums, and artists. During the early years, I often accepted art pieces as part of my payment; later, I bought art that “spoke to me” – at art fairs, during studio visits, even at flea markets. I have also received work from artists as a token of appreciation for my services. So you could say that art collecting came with the job, or is a pleasant side effect of my PR work.

Photographer Olaf Heine, Press Officer Nadine Dinter and model Maik Eichhorn, Galerie IMMAGIS, 2018, Photo: Michael Tinnefeld

What is your earliest memory of photography art, and what led you to start collecting it and promoting it?

Photography has always been a passion of mine. As a teen I started taking pictures using an old Praktica I inherited from my grandfather, and I loved visiting the few photography galleries that were around in the nineties in Berlin. Rare works at Kicken gallery in Berlin-Mitte, high-fashion photographs at CAMERA WORK in Charlottenburg, as well as the fantastic Helmut Newton retrospective in 2000 at Neue Nationalgalerie are three highly memorable shows from the early years.

The reason I started collecting and promoting art came from my strong desire – or even need – to have art in my private and professional life. And photography, with its exciting history, captivating works and protagonists, plus my own photographic work, seemed to be the perfect medium to build the rest of my life on. The rest is history…

How would you describe yourself as a photography PR specialist?

24/7, passionate, professional, open, ambitious, well-connected, a healthy mix of outgoing and discreet, eager to constantly learn about the classics while discovering the work of new photographers. My motto: Consult, communicate, connect.

Together with the Hilton Brothers Paul Solberg (left) and Christopher Makos (right), Waldorf Astoria Hotel Berlin, 2016, Photo: Dietmar Bührer

What is the main motivation behind your work?

The central aim of my work is to create maximum exposure and media attention for the projects I am promoting. This means international press articles, well-orchestrated press events and openings, and the many visitors activated to come and view the gallery exhibition, museum show, or festival. Personally, I love the feeling of being immersed in the art experience. It’s also immensely rewarding to be at an opening and to see the happy faces of the client, the artists, and the visitors.

What are the three main qualities an art consultant must have?

Willpower, patience, and connectivity.

What are some dos and don’ts artists should know when working with a consultant?  

Dos: If you decide you want support, then be open, cooperative, and willing to accept advice you might not like at first.

Have a clear vision of what you want, or try to express the essence of your goals as clearly as possible, so that the consultant can pick up on it and build your personalized strategy.

Don’t: Don’t overestimate yourself but also don’t underestimate yourself. Be ready to let go of old habits and to let in fresh perspectives, new ideas, and unusual approaches.

With star photographers Inez & Vinoodh and curator + director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Matthias Harder, HNF Berlin 2019

During the opening at the Deichtorhallen, with photographer Miron Zownir (left) and his gallerist Bene Taschen (right), Hamburg 2016

 

As a PR and art consultant, how have you built up your wide network of artists and clients? How has this changed since COVID-19? 

Part of my work is visiting major photography events, such as les Rencontres d’Arles and Paris Photo, but above all, the photography-related events here in Berlin. This is where you see the artists, clients, and curators you already know but also where you get to know new people in the scene, by being introduced to them or by introducing yourself. Going to openings shows their respect, and signals that you, too, are an active part of the scene. Plus you can see the works in person: for me, a digital representation is no match for a live experience.

Since COVID-19, the scene, the personal encounters, and the whole feeling of togetherness have been hit incredibly hard. Otherwise simple acts of meeting in person to talk about art and life, all the little human interactions, not to mention travel – these have all been put on hold. On top of that are the financial woes that have come with the closing of the art spaces.

What is the most recent work of art you added to your personal collection and why?

A beautiful black and white portrait of Alfred Hitchcock, taken in 1970 by Greg Gorman. On the one hand, I adore b/w portraits, and on the other hand, I love Hitchcock’s movies. So two passions are combined in one photograph.

With jazz musician + photographer Till Brönner and photographer Tom Lemke, Berlin 2016, Photo: Steven Kohlstock

Has digitalization changed the way you collect art?

Not really. Although I do read market reports, which inform on what is being auctioned or sold digitally, I am a classic collector who loves to stand in front of an artwork, to get a better sense of its materiality, feel its power; the live experience is what stirs my desire to buy the work.

Where is the future of the art market headed?

This year and last have proven that there are other effective means to show and promote art than “just” exhibitions and fairs. It’s great that novel ways of displaying and selling art are being developed and implemented. But at the same time, the art market seems to be shifting in favor of wealthy, blue chip galleries – at the expense of the diversity of the art scene, which consists of big AND small galleries, institutions and non-profits, temporary project spaces, artist initiatives, and so on. I sincerely hope that the art scene will start recovering soon, and that it will be able to regain its previous energy.

Top three art destinations

Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin
Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
Camera Work, Berlin

Three inspiring artists to watch

Marie Tomanova
Armin Dietrich
Chloé Jafé

Opening of Berlin Photo Week, with Thomas Kretschmann, Richard Kruspe and Olaf Heine, Chaussee 36, Berlin 2019, Photo: Christian Behring

Instagram Nadine Dinter PR @nadine_dinter
Website: dinter-pr.de

Art Digest: February 08—14

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

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: February 08—14

It’s beautiful that this week has been topped by St. Valentine’s day. However, what’s even more exciting, the long-awaited New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021 (digital — out of options so far) has just taken off these days. Get ready to discover PH extensive review of the collections very soon, meanwhile we can vanish into the foretaste together with Pantone Colour Institute, which knows something about the upcoming event… Actually, NYFW might come as a fresh breath for all us mainly tracking European fashion, and that’s what makes it important. Yet we’re still into Italian-French sort of things, hearing the news about the local brands and designers with gusto. So, it’s time we load up with some knowledge of trends, big names from the world of vogue, and just our own expectations to break into the most fashionable days of the season!

F A S H I O N 

Mischievous Leprechaun and fervent Fuchsia: Pantone forecasts the NYFW color palette 

Pantone Color Institute keeps on tirelessly setting the world color trends, all the more now, in the precarious times of the pandemic. Most of us were somewhat surprised to find out the new shade of red inspired by periods last autumn, yet the Institute seems to be capable of far more courageous and independent statements. Pantone has defined the color palette for the upcoming New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021, and the salient point here is: all shades chosen should be fused together in any combination, though, no doubt, they can stand on their own at the will of the owner.

‘We can’t say that people have more time to get creative, because if you’re working at home, time is still an issue. Nevertheless, you try to get creative because of the boredom, and the sameness that’s around you. That can be reflected in the clothing that you’re wearing,’ explains Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute executive director.

The choice of the NYFW colors has been driven by the pesky pandemic ‘sit-at-home-get-on-Zoom’ lifestyle, or rather exhaustion from that. The Institute experts call on awakening our imagination and succumbing to experiments, the bolder, the better. By the way, the latter can be said of the shades, each of them bursting with joie de vivre and vigour. Mykonos Blue, ‘very crisp and refreshing’, kind of washes us over with pure ocean waves, while the eye-opening Illuminating yellow (which, by the way, has been appointed Pantone’s 2021 Color of the Year, together with Ultimate Gray) powers with boundless optimism. The pulsing Fuchsia Fedora sounds like an invitation to the Rio Carnival and Leprechaun makes one think either of the juicy green Amazonian rainforests or Irish folklore. Pale Rosette is also in the play: a ‘baby blanket color’, it will be there to wrap you up, when the world around whirls and howls impossibly. Among the colors in the palette there are also Adobe, Rhodonite, Spring Lake, Coconut Cream, Soybean and etc. Don’t put off to discover them all! 

The 24-year-old Charles de Vilmorin to become Rochas creative director 

Becoming a brand’s creative director at 24? A recent graduate of La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, Charles de Vilmorin proves it’s possible. It’s Rochas, the Paris-based haute couture maison founded in the far 1925, that decided to offer the 24-year-old de Vilmorin a top position in the company. The aspiring designer expressed himself in a loud voice while presenting his Couture SS 2021 collection in January and, thus, won the favor of the High Fashion Maitre, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac himself. Yet Charles de Vilmorin doesn’t even think of abandoning his own label — the designer plans to keep developing his pet project parallel to assuming his duties at Rochas

Actually, it’s not that simple — I mean, regarding de Vilmorin’s appointment. The fashion designer’s great-aunt Louise de Vilmorin was a heiress and a friend of Hélène Rochas, the wife of the founder of the maison, Marcel Rochas. So, it would be correct to say that Charles’ provenance played a big role in the case as well as his introduction to the brand’s aesthetics. ‘Rochas represents for me a real charm, <…> a symbol of purity and elegance, of freshness. Rochas DNA’s and my own will be able to combine to continue writing this beautiful Rochas story,’ Charles de Vilmorin excitedly shares. Well, a brand like Rochas, (which, in the PH humble opinion is capable of embodying the spirit of a most unfathomable archetype like that of Magician) deserves having such a passionate, bright lead as de Vilmorin. Good luck and endless inspiration to him! 

Saga of the knights: meet Celine Homme Winter 2021 show 

Still on the subject of young up-and-comers in the fashion industry, let’s glance at Hedi Slimane, Celine’s creative and image director. Slimane has covered the position since 2018, having previously worked for Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent. Yet it’s not the age of the Celine current CD (Hedi Slimane is 52, by the way, which doesn’t sound that tender), but rather his photographic background that makes his case so interesting. For more than two years now Slimane has been coming up with unusual ideas for the Maison, and here’s what he has concocted for the Homme Winter 2021 collection.  

Instead of the real fashion show, a short film ‘Teen Knight Poem’ has been produced for the new men’s collection. The title just perfectly conveys the plot and the spirit of the narrative: young boys with shaggy hair and waving flags in their hands ride horses to an ivory castle. No, they don’t want to set Goldilocks free, but rather intend to stroll across the castle turrets on the soundtrack ‚Time Slip‘ performed by The Loom. ‘Teen Knight Poem’ sings a sort of gothic, bellicose romance, which might be described as puritanic as well. Rebellious leather jackets, rough metals, and sequins frayed pants are counterbalanced by starched collars, loose knitted jumpers, and plaid shirts put under the flapping capes. It seems like Hedi Slimane drew inspiration from the new generation of fashion lovers, unshackled and focused at once. What’s also good, the looks from the ‘Teen Knight Poem’ Homme FW 2021 collection are perfectly wearable in day-to-day life. It’s up to you whether to chase windmills or tackle more serious issues in such an outfit — it’s attention grabbing anyway. 

All shades of pink: That’s how SS 2021 collections smell like

Journalists from the world’s no.1 fashion bulletin Vogue have recently come up with some forecasts on 2021 color trends. Vogue experts have examined the Spring/Summer collections by the leading fashion brands and… it’s the color pink that will be running the show during the next 6 months, they say. Should they have viewed the catwalk through the rose-tinted glasses, no one knows, but the outlook sounds rather sweet and soothing — so much haunted by the reality we might feel today. So the phantasy world is waiting for all fashionistas to slide therein right now. 

Yet the couturiers choose different ways of falling into a dreamiest shade in the upcoming season. For example, Bottega Veneta seeks no compromise while creating a total pink look with a short-sleeved sweatshirt, pants, sandals, sunglasses, and other accessories, all pale mauve. Brands like Alexander McQueen, Prada, and Proenza Schouler confine themselves just to adding color rose to the principal item of the outfit, be it a pantsuit or a tutu dress. Feel like an escapist? Then opt for Dolce Gabbana baby pink-colored gowns. If you rather prefer passion and energy, pay close attention to SS 2021 collections by the likes of Valentino, Stella McCartney, and Balmain with their versions of fluorescent pink

S O C I A L   A C T I V I S M 

FKA Twigs collaborates with Getty Images to support Black history narrative 

In case you are not exactly sure, FKA Twigs is an English singer and actress. Born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, she started her performing career at the age of 17, dancing at the backup in music videos by some celebrities. Her pseudonym was born as someone called her Twigs for the way her joints cracked. However, since there already was a collective called The Twigs, the singer decided to add the FKA (first known as) abbreviation to her name, that’s how it was stuck.

If you want to discover FKA Twigs’ talent, check her LP1, Melissa, and Magdalena albums or what’s fresh. Back on point, the artist has recently engaged into social collaboration, aiming at supporting black people and paying tribute to their history. Her partner in crime this time is visual media company Getty Images, and as you may guess the collaboration focuses on visual content, in particular, disclosing it. The company will donate images related to Black history from the world’s largest archive for non-commercial use, thus, encouraging educational, research, and mentoring initiatives on the topic. ‘We were discussing how powerful it would be to make this content available to Black creators and educators – enabling us to put these pieces together and make our history accessible for generations to come,’ FKA Twigs told the press. The collaboration will be launched this year, further details of the project might be released in the next few months. 

On the cover: Celine Hommes‘ Fall/Winter 2021 collection. Courtesy of Celine

Art Digest: February 01—07

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

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: February 01—07

Turning the page of the calendar I surprisingly found out February 2021 starts on Monday. So, new week, new month. That may also mean that the last day of February coincides with Sunday, February 28th, which is, by the way, the birthday of Frank Gehry, famous Canadian-American architect. Actually, the second month of the year is lavish in prominent city planners’ birthdays, take Ernest Flagg, Walter Netsch, Gyo Obata, and Katharine Stinson. We’re not going to pay tribute to their oeuvres right now (maybe next time) but will rather devote this week Art Digest to the news of architecture and product design. Here we go!

D E S I G N 

Shifty eyes, plump face: meet new AZ Factory logo by Micha Weidmann Studio 

Fashion designer Alber Elbaz has recently become PH hero of the day: we mentioned Elbaz twice to mark the launch of his own brand AZ Factory at the end of 2020 and highlight its debuting fashion show, or rather, Show Fashion last week. So it’s the label, consumer platform, and just the concept by Alber Elbaz we’re going to touch upon this time. Like any newly-minted brand, AZ Factory needed a comprehensive graphic identity, which would show its unique idea and playful nature

Now it seems like AZ Factory has found its voice or, should I say, face. The London-based Micha Weidmann Studio has created a custom logo for the ex-Lanvin designer’s label, which ideally matches it’s spirit and even reminds Alber Elbaz himself. The round shape of the logo illustrates the face motif, while a pair of big black dots on it play on the designer’s eyes that are never left unnoticed by the public because of the oversized glasses Elbaz constantly wears. The brand identity was created in close collaboration with AZ Factory itself and Andrew Black of agency Black, the founder of Micha Weidmann Studio says. So get ready to see AZ Factory pretty little motifs gazing at you from product brochures and swag bags and luring to pay a visit to the showroom 😉 

A R C H I T E C T U R E  

Art below the surface: an underwater museum opens off the coast of Cannes

If you’re a museum lover, what about taking a dive to enjoy the display? Just literally, traveling to the coast of Cannes, France, borrowing a scuba, and submerging at the 6-10 feet sea depth to visit an underwater museum by the artist Jason Decaires Taylor. Opened on February 01 2021, the subsea exhibition features 6 monumental sculptures, depicting portraits of local île sainte-marguerite members. 

Each artwork is split into 2 parts, a strong and resilient one and fragile and decaying the other, which symbolizes the ambiguous nature of a human. The display also refers to the history of the island, which is famous as the main action scene for The Man in the Iron Mask narrative. Not long ago, there used to be just some marine debris and disused infrastructure in place of the museum. However, when the mairie de Cannes and the mayor of the city embarked on the project, it took them just 4 years to create an underwater cultural gem close to the sea coast. Since the site has been cordoned off the boats, your visit to the Jason Decaires Taylor museum as a diver or a snorkeler might also be pretty safe.

Sleeping on the street can be comfortable. Try ‘Ulmer Nest’ 

History proves architecture can be very socially conscious. Perhaps the apogee of the approach ‘lofty ideals meet everyday needs was reached in the beginning of the previous century (Bauhaus buildings are an excellent example of that). However, there is still some room for pure intentions in the world of urban planning. Six German architects have recently come up with an innovative model of a pod or an emergency shelter for homeless people. Made of timber, solar-powered, the pod provides sleeping opportunities even in ‘bitterly cold winter weather’. 

Though ‘Das Ulmer Nest’ (that’s what the project is called) is not about living in the shelter or staying there for days, it will certainly succeed in keeping a person warm during one freezing night, so it’s better be taken as a ‘last resort’, cause you never know. Still all the necessary tech is provided by the design, including a heat exchanger, GPS sensors, smoke alarms, a motion detection, and secure locking systems. ‘Das Ulmer Nest’ has already been tested in a couple of locations across the German city of Ulm last year, however, the project team wants its expansion in and outside the country in 2021. Just in case, here are the names of the innovation creators: Patrick Kaczmarek, Florian Geiselhart, Falko Pross, Manuel Schall, Dirk Bayer, and Kathrin Uhl. 

Zaha Hadid Architects to build a part of Beijing Exhibition Center 

We’ve never doubted the potential of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), however, this time the bureau has surpassed itself or, at least, hit a jackpot. The world-renowned architectural firm has won the design contest to build the next part of the International Exhibition Centre in Beijing. Thanks to its proximity to the city airport, the Exhibition Centre enjoys popularity with international guests as well as the local exponents. Conferences, trade fairs, industry expos — the Phase II of the Centre will just expand the variety and degree of communication between the parties. 

‘Integrated relationships between the exhibition halls, conference centre and hotel are echoed in the centre’s composition, arranged as a series of interconnecting lines and geometries that take inspiration from the textures of glazed tubular ceramic tile roofs within traditional Chinese architecture,’ that’s how the ZHA team explains the project concept. Some outdoor public spaces and landscaped gardens also promise to be included in the design, so that visitors of the International Exhibition Centre don’t miss contact with nature. According to the project plan, the site area stands at 63,74 hectares, while the average height of the center walls is 45 meters. Well, it will certainly take one time to see and evaluate the entire construction, when it’s ready, so should we just be patient and follow the news of Phase II. 

On the cover: Phase II project of the International Exhibition Center in Beijing by Zaha Hadid Architects. Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Art Digest: January 25—31

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

Julia Kryshevich

Art Digest: January 25—31

What I don’t like about February, it usually feels mediocre. The last month of winter is certainly not about the heavy snow, crispy frost, and going ice skating impromptu (yet the latter may still come). When it’s February, you already crave spring, while anticipation drags on… Fortunately, the month is relatively short, especially in 2021, which is non-leap, and it also has its nice things like St. Valentine’s Day. Anyway, it’s time to cheer up with a fantastic collection of fashion shows that took place this week, some of them as part of the recent Paris Fashion Week. A bit of inspiration, and the world around miraculously transforms. Just try ✨

F A S H I O N + A R C H I T E C T U R E 

Architect’s dejavu: get inspired by Virgil Abloh’s reminiscences in Louis Vuitton’s new collection 

Let’s be honest, Louis Vuitton Fall 2021 Menswear Collection is a genuine artistic statement. Launched by Virgil Abloh, who has covered the position of Men’s Artistic Director at the fashion house since 2018, the new collection explores the childhood’s aspirations, refers to the Africo-American social and cultural experience, and pays tribute to Abloh’s personal background in architecture, everything in the short film ‘Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light’. But first things first. Remember mentioning Virgil Abloh’s MA in Architecture in one of the December Art Digests? The fashion designer graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, where, by the way, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe himself used to teach in the 1940s—1950s. Abloh gratefully recalls it, setting one part of his fashion story in the green-marble interior, which reminds of the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the Expo 1929.

The other locale shown in the film is a village in the Swiss mountains. The main character, a rapper and actor Saul Williams, pensively walks through the snowy valley. ‘I am no stranger anymore. The world is love to me’, he says, referring to the 1953 essay ‘Stranger in the Village’ by James Baldwin. Just like Baldwin reflected upon the history of American Negro and European relationship basing on his own life experience, Abloh incorporates the image of a wanderer and an observer into the piece. Williams’ character would later arrive at the already mentioned marble hall to meet other models, who are deemed to embody some male archetypes like the Artist, the Salesman, the Architect, the Drifter, the Writer, the Student etc (female archetypes differ, here is more). In the show notes the head of the LV Menswear Department asks: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’. No doubt, the fashion designer calls on our childhood dreams and, thus, shares his optimistic outlook for the future.

Another component of the ‘Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light’ really worth mentioning is the 70-piece collection itself entitled ‘Ebonics’.

Apart from the businesslike yet invigorating garments for ‘all Jacks of Trades’, it’s a couple of the city architecture-inspired looks that immediately catches one’s eye. For example, the Paris skyline puffer jacket features such city’s landmarks as the Notre-Dame cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Arch de Triumph, the Panthéon, Le Grand Louvre pyramid, and a section of the Centre Pompidou. In the New York City skyline puffer jacket, which primarily consists of the skyscrapers, Abloh also paid tribute to his beloved Chicago with its John Hancock Center. One more connotation that comes to mind contemplating the architectural carnival by Louis Vuitton, is the annual ball of the Society of Beaux-Art Architects, which took place in New York in the 1930s. Architects would dress as the buildings they had designed. Well, Virgil Abloh knows how to address the past with the brightest hopes for the future, and LV Fall 2021 Menswear Collection is the best example of this.

P U R E   F A S H I O N 

Iris Van Herpen SS 2021: explore the ‘magic mushroom’ effect 

Presuming you’ve already heard of Iris Van Herpen. At least, we discussed her ethereal costumes for the ‘Biomimicry’ piece performed by Dutch National Ballet’s grand sujet JingJing Mao at the end of 2020. Well, the collaboration is over, but biomimicry remains. The 36-year-old Dutch couturier famous for fusing technologies with some traditional techniques of clothing design presented her ‘Roots of Rebirth’ SS 21 collection at the Paris Fashion Week a few days ago. It’s ‘the intricacy of fungi and the entanglement of life that breathes beneath our feet, which is at heart of ‘Roots of Rebirth’, says the official statement published on the brand’s website

No, nothing like a carnival with its jocular fussy costumes, but instead, 21 highly delicate looks that allure with its alien energy. The contemplative ingenuity of the designer is worth admiration — Van Herpen managed to subtly embody the image of the branching networks of fungi underground into the garments without exaggerating the concept. Among the models showcasing the collection, Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova and Iranian-Dutch singer Sevdaliza also appeared on the catwalk. All due fascination, the only question, which raises concern, is: ‘Are there any terrestrial reasons to wear such a dress?’. The answer is probably no, one has to wait to receive an invitation to a space party to put on something like that.

Escapism and high emotions in Spring 2021 Haute Couture by Viktor & Rolf 

Pursuing the topic of Dutch vogue, it’s Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, the prominent duo of avant-gardists and conceptualists from the world of fashion, who have all eyes on them now. If not Viktor & Rolf, who else would astonish us by some elegant, witty collections with a drop of provocation in each of them (you know, that’s all how avant-garde works). Brand’s gowns featuring huge slogans like ‘I’m not shy, I just don’t like you,’ or ‘Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come, is already a common story and a secret crush object of the trendiest introverts. However, this time the designers decided to act in a more extroverted way, launching the Spring 2021 Haute Couture collection as ‘an escape into a party atmosphere’. 

A genuine couturier rave’, the latest collection by Viktor & Rolf follows an ‘anything goes’ approach and seems to be open to new experiences more than ever. Especially now when the world around doesn’t inspire the slightest confidence with human’s health at great risk, such a fashion statement sounds like a power shake or a vigorous protest against the discouraging reality. Patchwork textiles, separate balconette bras, fishnets, and signature floor-length tutus topped by omnifarious jewelry and harlequin capes create that sort of ‘party hard’ mood we all might be missing today. Alright, Victor & Rolf, the challenge is accepted. We’re ready for 2021, whatever it holds. 

‘Show Fashion’ by Alber Elbaz to change your image of vogue 

Having left Lanvin in 2016, Alber Elbaz was floating freely for five years. Now it’s time the fashion designer came up with something invigorating. Here it is, his new AZ Factory project, which is something between a fashion label and a membership club for all those enamoured of Elbaz’ ideas as a couturier. AZ Factory has recently proved itself, taking part in Paris Haute Couture Week with its hilarious ‘Show Fashion’ video. If you watch the piece, you will see: the designer’s decision to go beyond the format of traditional fashion shows is not a coincidence, but rather a consistent choice for the one who seeks to think out of the box in all spheres of life.

As for the AZ Factory Spring 2021 Couture collection, it turned out to be a true manifesto to body, comfort, and just joyful being without limits. But who can actually limit us, one may ask? What Elbaz implies here, are the socially imposed beauty standards. ‘I saw for five years, women I met for lunch how much women were struggling with their weight, and sometimes that was hard to watch, <but> we’re not here to transform women; we’re here to hug them,’ the couturier passionately explains. Just imagine a size range from XXS to XXXXL, with garments and shoes not only fitting, but also adapt to your lifestyle? Well, that might be more than fashion — something like a magic factory… AZ Factory, actually, that’s exactly what it is.

On the cover: Louis Vuitton Fall 2021 Menswear fashion show

Solo shows not to miss in 2021 (some of them)

By /ART/, /BLOG/
Text

Julia Kryshevich

Solo shows not to miss in 2021 (some of them)

Despite everything, 2021 promises to be rich in terms of art events. Is it the hungry for work museum curators or bored visitors who make this year’s exhibition plan so intensive and alluring? Among the numerous gallery projects I selected a few solo shows, both ongoing and upcoming, which guests of honor definitely deserve every bit of attention of the audience. Actually, there are twice as many one-man (let alone, group) exhibitions that have been left behind in the article. But that’s fine, we still have 11 months to catch up.  

Please note that exhibitions can be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions. You will find the latest information on the institutions‘ website. Plan your visit beforehand, and enjoy your time at the museum.

YAYOI KUSAMA (b. 1929)

Gropius Bau, Berlin
March 19—August 01, 2021 

It was the midst of the last summer when we promised our readers a Yayoi Kusama retrospective in 2021. Well, nothing has changed, at least, by now. One of the best known Japanese female painters born in Nagano, Japan in 1929 will enjoy her major solo exhibition in life (long live Yayoi!). This year the project will be hosted by Gropius Bau, Berlin, followed by Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2022.

Those acquainted with Kusama by name only might primarily recall her immersive installations with repetitive patterns like ‘Mirror Room’ (Pumpkin) presented at the Venice Biennale 1993 or even an earlier one, ‘Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show’ (1963), which features a boat in the dark grotto overgrown with soft-sculptured phallic pieces. While these are significant and literally groundbreaking works by the artist (Kusama’s male fellows like Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg tried stealing her overwhelming manner of exhibiting the innocuous of incredible size), there is still a lot to say about Yayoi’s creative path. Conquering the art world of the Big Apple in the 1960s, Kusama first positioned herself as a painter with NY art galleries showcasing her canvases, without much success, though. She also organized body performances accompanied by love orgies, protesting against the Vietnam war. And the point is, Yayoi Kusama’s early period was just as interesting as her later works, that’s what the artist’s retrospective at Gropius Bau keeps in focus. A brand-new installation by Kusama ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ will also be on display. 

JASPER JOHNS (b. 1930)

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, US
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
September 28, 2021–February 13, 2022

Jasper Johns should rightly be considered another man of the hour. Turning 91 this year, the artist shows no signs of stopping, while continuing to work in his studio in Saint Martin or in New York, (depending on where he currently is). Philadelphia Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art are hosting the mission to showcase the body of works by the artist over his 70-year career with a ‘Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror’ exhibition.

Recognized as one of the most paid living artists, Jasper Johns became famous for his Neo-Dada works, which, though being usually mistaken for pop art, were, actually, meant to oppose the latter. ‘I don’t want my work to be an exposure of my feelings,’ said Johns on the rise of his career. What he implied, was a conscious departure from the individualistic approach, so characteristic of abstract expressionism, which prevailed in the 1950s. Yet going into pop art would be too easy for the ingenious artist. Jasper Johns wanted to release the object, showing it the way it was, purged of any sticky connotations. And the artist did that in his early series featuring some simple items like targets (Target with Four Faces, 1955), numbers (‘0 through 9’, 1961), and, oh yes, flags (‘Flag’, 1954). Oil paint would be further replaced with printmaking techniques, readymades, and even sculpture. However, Jasper Johns has remained true to his concise and ironic manner throughout the career, which you may discover walking across the ‘Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror’ exhibition. The artist’s tender and productive relationship with Robert Rauschenberg as well as his friendship with the inspiring duo of Merce Cunningham and John Cage is another curious aspect of his life and art, highlighted on the display. 

JOSEPH BEUYS (1921—1986)

Various venues in Europe throughout 2021

‘Everyone’s an artist,’ said Joseph Beuys, German painter, sculptor, theorist, and just one of the founders of postmodernism. Could he imagine back then, that these words would give rise not only to a catch phrase, but also to an entire approach in arts? Since artists from the whole world have rethought Beuys’ practice over the past few decades, now it’s time to solemnly bring those statements together. ‘Beuys 2021’ is a series of art events taking place in 12 German cities, Warsaw, Poland, Vienna, Austria, and Spain from January 2021 till the beginning of the next year.

Kunstakademie Düsseldorf pays tribute to the late master through the ‘Mataré + Beuys + Immendorff’ exhibition to be launched in March. Other dialogues between the artist and his colleagues will be presented by the Kunstmuseen Krefeld (‘Beuys + Duchamp’), and Bundeskunsthalle Bonn (‘Beuys + Lehmbruck’), let alone the rich program of festivals, discussions, book presentations, and concerts (see the full range of activities on the ‘Beuys 2021’ website). The choice of the venues is not accidental: the great German artist was born in Krefeld in 1921 and died in Düsseldorf in 1986. For those whose interest in Joseph Beuys’ life and arts goes beyond an amateur’s curiosity, Museum Schloss Moyland has introduced a special competition. Young scholars in the fields of science, law, economy, humanities, and other social studies are welcomed to submit their theses, dissertations, essays, as well as exhibition and educational projects related to the figure of Beuys until June 30th, 2021. The award ceremony of Joseph Beuys Research Prize will be hosted on May 14, 2022.

PAULA REGO (b. 1935) 

Tate Britain, June 16–October 24, 2021

Even if the name of Paula Rego sounds a bit less familiar to some of the readers, it doesn’t depreciate her artistic talent and contribution to culture. Portuguese artist with a strong English background, she knew how to marry up the traditional (elements from folktales she would often hear from her grandma as a child) with personal experience in her body of works. ‘The largest and most comprehensive retrospective of Paula Rego’s work to date’ is held by Tate Britain this spring, featuring over 100 works by the artist. 

Vivid imagination of Paula Rego might be admired and feared: her surreal pastels hide suspense behind the mundane images, her characters are extremely grotesque like in a child nightmare. The artist’s newlywed looks like a weary mature woman (‘Bride’, 1994), while a huge white hair has a killer’s face (‘War’, 2003). Above all, Rego is quite a consistent painter: she prefers pastels to oil paint and often depicts herself on the canvas, rather as an observer. Paula Rego focuses on the topics of war trauma and women rights exploring violence and animal nature of humankind. She also chooses figurative painting to be ‘closer’ to socio-political reality she constantly refers to. The artist’s pieces exhibited at Tate include not only