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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lacoste of Fame

Captain Hook isn't the only one with a croc that won't stop ticking. There's plenty of air sur terre for Lacoste, which opened its umpteenth shop last Thursday on rue Vieille du Temple, the main drag of Paris' Marais district, where the boys are in the City of Light. Boys at the jam-packed opening tended to be in the hot young, champagne-loving French actor category, notably Stanislas Merhar, Saïd Taghmaoui and sloe-eyed Andy Gillet, who plays Celadon in 88-year-old French New Wave director Eric Rohmer's latest (and hopefully not his last) opus, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon.

The new store's windows were full of Michael Stipe's photo polo, designed by R.E.M.s frontman to give your near and dear the impression they're performing to a frenzied, sold-out stadium crowd. The shirt, third in Lacoste's Holiday Collector series, after Tom Dixon and Michael Young, is in a "limited" edition of 12,000. And for those who didn't get a chance to hang out in Zaha Hadid's Chanel Mobile Art Pavillion (too late now, it's been grounded), her croc-inspired, ergonomic, undulating foot gloves—er, shoes—for Lacoste will slither into stores in June. That's a bit later than previously announced, but hey, it's art.

—Rebecca Voight

Andy Gillet / Saïd Taghmaoui & Zoe Felix / Stanislas Merhar & friend

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Casting a Spell

Forget dirty laundry. London retailer b Store is airing their yuletide cheer with a series of "designer–poems–installations" by artist Thomas Voorn. The project continues his “garment graffiti,” in which he spells out jolly mentionables with unmentionables, if you will. Treading the line between art and commerce, the project features pieces from the intrepid shop's own stock, including Opening Ceremony, Cosmic Wonder and Hans Christian Madsen. The inventive display also provides creative storage solutions and acts as an emergency kit in case you happen to be stranded on that weird island from Lost...

—Franklin Melendez

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hint Tip: Terence Koh

Should you find wandering around the bowels of the LES with nothing to do and nowhere to go, head over to ASS, Terence Koh's cheekily named gallery at 45 Canal Street, where he's installed "Winter Landscape," a riff on German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich's "Winter Landscape with Church." Here's what Terence has to say: "There is nothing to this installation except that we have taken out the religious things in the painting and just done a joyful winter landscape." Interpret that as you wish. The launch party is Friday, December 19 at 6:00 pm, and the installation remains open 24/7 through January. We're not sure how exactly they can do that, but there you are...

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Your First Look: Prada Men's

This is the new spring campaign for Prada menswear, photographed by Hedi Slimane. The first-time models (and still schoolboys) are the Simonon brothers, Louis and Claude. Who are they? The sons and heirs of Paul and Tricia Simonon, the bass player and manager of The Clash, respectively. How's that for rock royalty? Or is it punk prodigy? The resemblance to dad, the hottie of the group, is uncanny. But back to Hedi and Prada, if we were the speculating kind, we might say this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship in menswear...

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Fine Print

Could it be that the age of so-called limited editions is finally over? No, actually. But the label No Editions is making a good go of it. Here's how it works. Designers Christian Niessen (who hails from Helmut Lang and Prada) and Nicole Lachelle (Helmut Lang) have devised a system of digital printing where each piece in a series (i.e. T-shirts, tunics, ponchos or kimonos) looks deceptively similar, but subtle differences are revealed upon closer inspection. Fragmented bits of prints derived from mass media are applied to garments in various states of production, sometimes only half assembled. It's all so very conceptual, which speaks to us. And the website is suitably confusing, in the vein of European conceptualists (you've seen Margiela's site, right?), but that's how you know it's good...

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Freaks and Greeks

Prada may have indefinitely postponed the launch of its first Greek shop in Athens because of ongoing student riots, but that's not stopping the local avant-garde from forging ahead. Dimitris Papadopoulos, the creator of Comme des Garcons' guerrilla store there, has just opened his latest concept shop, Number 3, in the same space, selling a variety of indie labels, Comme among them. He likes using etymologically fancy words like tabula rasa to describe how the store is a clean slate, unbound by tradition. We applaud the effort and wish we had him around when we confuse baklava with balaclava. Or, even less forgivable, Miuccia Prada and Machu Picchu. C'mon, you know you've done it, too...

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Screen Saver, Part II

By Cesar Padilla...

For the second installment of my illuminating, hilarious and sometimes salacious Q&As with costumers (notice the vowels), I caught up with goth mama Arianne Phillips. And let me tell you it was no easy feat, considering she's constantly on the road styling for Madonna, Courtney Love or Lenny Kravitz (her former roommate). Plus she's one of the most sought-after costume designers in Hollywood, with film credits that include Girl, Interrupted, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Walk the Line, which garnered her an Academy Award nomination in 2005. But caught up with her I did, and I made sure to cover all the bases. We talked candidly about everything from drugs and male idolatry to dressing the Material Girl and (not) doing Guy...

You just finished a film last week. Can you tell me about it?
It was the new Tom Ford film. It's his directorial debut and it was awesome. He's a natural director and it was so great to work with someone who has such an amazing vernacular for costumes and clothing. The story is so great. I've been attached to it for a while, since he chose to go for independent funding. It's based on the Christopher Isherwood novel A Single Man. Set in 1962, it stars Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. I guess I'm becoming the mid-century girl.

What was your first film and how was the experience?
Bail Jumper, a small indie film in New York that was very patched together. I had absolutely no experience other than the music videos I had styled. I was learning on the fly. It was down and dirty and I wanted more!

What's your dream film?
It would be a moody spectacle starring Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet and Tilda Swinton, directed by Bob Fosse, Fellini or Kubrick, with cinematography by John Alcott, Sven Nykvist, Robbie Muller, Chris Doyle or Harris Savides. It would be a period piece on location in London, Paris or the south of France, with music by Bowie, Eno, Stephen Trask and Mozart.

What's your worst moment on set?
It was at the beginning of my film career. I was getting my trailer door kicked in by an angry actress who I neglected to get thermals for. The producer told me I should go home and not come back for a few days.

What's your worst diva moment?
Me? Diva? Never!

Do you sew?
Only in an emergency.

What's the first thing you ever sewed?
The holes in my rainbow toe socks circa 1976.

I know you're into black. Do you ever wear color?
No. Black, black, black! I'm a tired ol' goth!

What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be all my Halloween costumes—a witch, an actress and a princess.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
In all seriousness, my mother. She is an awesome woman.

What was on your walls when you were 15?
There is a funny story about that because it was my 15th birthday exactly. I had very liberal hippie parents and I told my mom I wanted to do mushrooms. She said the only way I could take them was under her supervision, which is the same thing she did on my first date. I had to take them in the house and I had to get them myself because she wasn't going to score my drugs. So a few of my girlfriends came over for a sleepover and right as we were peaking my mom walked into the room and sat on the corner of my bed. There wasn't a inch of space on my walls that wasn't covered with a poster of a British rock star—Rod Stewart, The Bay City Rollers, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc. We were listening to rock music and she decided that this was the time for her to give me her feminist dissertation on rock gods and male idolatry. In particular, you may know this poster, Robert Plant in the tightest pair of hip huggers, with the biggest bulge imaginable. My mom was going on about these men I didn't know on my wall and we were just tripping our brains out.

Still into rock gods?
Well, just last night I had a moment. [Night Ranger's] Sister Christian came on the radio and, I don't know, I just had a moment and turned it up.

What's your biggest fashion faux pas, personally?
A deconstructed hippie grunge plaid baby-doll dress or a collaged/decoupaged pair of wooden platforms that I wore in high school.

What's your dream decade?
The future.

What's your guiltiest pleasure?
Anything salty followed by a sugar chaser. All of my memories are built around food. Food is my inspiration.

Best Courtney Love moment?
We're at an Oscar party and she and Jack Nicholson are smoking cigars in the dark. Too many more to mention.

Best Madonna moment?
My first meeting with her and Jean-Paul Gaultier in her apartment in New York, listening to the Ray of Light CD before it was released, planning and discussing the costumes for the Frozen video.

Worst Madonna moment?
Being chased by rabid paparazzi in Italy en route to the MTV Europe Music Awards. I thought we were going to die in that car.

What was working on Swept Away like?
It was one of the best times I ever had. We were on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean. It was a very intimate crew. I got permission to leave a week early and then I was called back when they decided to add a musical number at the very end. We needed an outfit and I couldn't find one so I ended up at the Versace showroom in Milan. I remember it was truffle season. It was awesome. See, all my memories are tied to food.

Madonna in Swept Away

Tell me your favorite outfit of this Madge tour.
The sexy robot section, the crystal football shoulders and the Joan of Arc silver armor breastplate in the final section.

Any onstage accidents?
In 1989, Lenny Kravitz ripped a pair of vintage bell bottoms onstage and, to my shock and horror, he turned around and out popped the jewels!

Your favorite rock band right now?
Wilco, Goldfrapp, Vampire Weekend, The Ting Tings, Duffy.

Who taught you air guitar?
Jimmy page, of course!

What's your next project?
I'm flying to Rio to shoot the cover of W with Madonna and Steven Klein. It's our third W cover.

Last question, and please be honest with me. I really want to bone Guy Ritchie. Do I stand a chance?
No way.

That sucks. Thanks, Arianne. See you in L.A. in a few weeks for mango margaritas.

Sketch for Hedwig and the Angry Inch / still from Walk the Line / Arianne's Oscar nomination certificate

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Friday, December 12, 2008

In Memoriam

Elegance and whimsy may not go hand-in-hand, but French sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne, who died this week at the age of 81, bridged the gap—so much so that his work was collected by fashion and design luminaries including Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Reed Krakoff and Peter Marino.

Lalanne and his wife Claude worked together to make animal sculptures that often doubled as functional objects. With their surreal yet modern aesthetic, the Lalannes created, for example, a cast-iron baboon whose chest opened to reveal a stove, a coffee table composed of two gilded antelopes holding up a glass surface and a bronze hippopotamus that serves as a bar.

But the most famous works were a series of life-size fluffy sheep whose only purpose is to graze safely in the chicest of living rooms. As Krakoff once said: "When I first encountered one of their sheep, in a book of European interiors, I didn't know what to make of them. There was something whimsical about them that struck me as so charming, but at the same time, they had this weight of serious sculpture."

Born in 1927, Lalanne was a creative light that will shine on.

—Pia Catton

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Crying Game

This image so makes us want to start a caption contest—Mummified Remains of Dandy Found, Flowers in Hair Causes Old Japanese Man to Sneeze—but that would probably be a little disrespectful to Antony & The Johnsons. The portrait of legendary Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno from 1977 is actually the cover art for their latest album, The Crying Light, dropping January 20. (You may remember we showed you a similar cover for their last EP.) Here's what Antony has to say: "In performance I watched Kazuo Ohno cast a circle of light upon the stage, and step into that circle, and reveal the dreams and reveries of his heart. He seemed to dance in the eye of something mysterious and creative. With every gesture he embodied the child and the feminine divine. He's kind of like my art parent."


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your First Look: Cassette Playa for Nike

"A toxically mutated lizard" is how Carri Mundane describes her new sneaker collaboration with Nike Sportswear, a reptilian remake of its classic Blazer style. It first appeared in the London designer's spring 08 Cassette Playa collection. Well, actually, the Blazer first appeared in 1973 as Nike's first hoop shoe, but has recently been adopted by skater punks and other "urban shamans," as Carri calls them. So she used colors that "reference the faded neons of Eighties' skate culture" to create Cassette Playa Blazer, available December 20 at Nike Sportswear in Shoreditch, London, and Soho, New York. In the meantime,

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Hint Tip: Damien Hirst

Nothing says yuletide cheer like loads and loads of new things, as Damien Hirst knows well. Never one to miss a commercial holiday, he's joining the Christmas fray, releasing an exclusive holiday selection for Other Criteria, his twin London boutiques, selling limited editions, rare artists' books and other arty odds and ends. It's not the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog of yore (no helicopters or taxidermied endangered species), but there's plenty to wet the erudite and refined palate—and with some reasonable prices (Phillip Allen tees start at 30 quid).

Our picks: Hirst's silkscreened heart with butterflies (also doubles as an early Valentine), his Pharmacy Wallpaper (enough said) and Johannes Albers' B-Side Joy Division. Of course, it wouldn’t be the holidays without a splurge. Ours would be Hirst's Hallucinatory Head, a psychedelic plastic skull that’s not quite the diamond-studded version, but enough to tide us over till next year.

Pharmacy Wallpaper

B-Side Joy Division

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All Hands on DIK

By Kasia Bobula...

Karol Radziszewski is the editor-in-chief and publisher of DIK Fagazine, a Polish magazine about art and boys. What started out as a gay fanzine is now, bizarrely enough, becoming a respected art publication. When he’s not traipsing around Eastern Europe, Karol is a prolific painter and filmmaker, recently exhibiting at New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art. I caught up with him in Warsaw to talk about the magazine, meeting the Romanian Madonna and the recent invasion of dicks on men's trunks.

How would you describe DIK?
It's an art magazine with an emphasis on gay culture. It's also focused on Eastern Europe and the evolution of a contemporary male. The experimental format of DIK is designed by graphic artist Monika Zawadzka. My boyfriend, Pawel Kubara, supports me a lot with the magazine and does many jobs that few people would do. Over time, DIK has evolved from a small fanzine of about 48 pages to a themed magazine of about 158 pages. I'm really happy about it.

The theme of the winter issue (left) is Romania. Why did you decide on Romania?
For all the fascinating people. We have features about Romanian artists, stylists and fashion designers. Each of them has a different view and they often contradict each other. Bucharest illustrates those contradictions well. On the one hand, you see chaos and poverty, but you also have Dior and Louis Vuitton boutiques, which we still don’t have in Warsaw.

You also met Loredana, who's like their Madonna…
Loredana is a major celebrity and gay icon. Her music combines folk and pop. She was the first person in Romania to do ethno and dance. Her stage performances are quite interesting, too. One minute she's doing a gypsy dance and the next thing you know, she's dressed in a mini skirt and singing a French chanson. It was a bizarre meeting. It felt like the cameras were watching us all that time and we only had fifteen minutes for the interview.


Who’s your dream person to interview?
You know, when I started DIK, it was almost like an excuse to do interviews with people, who I always wanted to meet. Right now, though, many of those people wouldn’t fit in. But if I had choose one person, it would be David Bowie.

What has the response been to DIK in Poland?
Well, to a lot of the gay scene in Poland we’re too alternative somehow. They don’t understand why we often interview artists and why the pictures look gritty. On the other hand, we have art people who could be potentially interested, but are sometimes too scared to be reading something “gay.” I always joke that our main target in Poland are art history graduates, female and straight!

You also had problems finding printers there. What was that all about?
Yeah, I had to change them twice. One of the printers sent the parcel back with the word “porn” scribbled across it. Then I started printing in Cracow. But the lady there who was responsible for printing said she read an interview with me and decided it was too risky to be involved. It's easier now because we are more established.

What else are you working on?
Aside from DIK, I am an artist and member of the art collective szu szu. Recently, I was involved in the project The Young and Evil organized by tank.tv and Tate Modern. This year I also worked on a fashion project with the Milan-Tokyo based label Marios. It combines art, fashion, the Internet and print. Marios created the clothes and I made the prints. One of the designs is a pair of men's trunks with our signature penis logo print. I'm sending them to the DIK Fagazine friends like Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny, and asking them to make videos explaining how they would want to wear them. All of the videos will be put online, and the clothes will be sold for spring under the label MARIOS DIK. It's a project that questions my various roles. Am I an artist, a curator or a publisher? Am I a fashion designer now? Many people find it confusing. But combining those contradictions is what I’ve always enjoyed the most.

Romanian Boys

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No Love Lost

It's been quiet on the Katie Grand front since we revealed the name (Love) of her new Condé Nast-backed "bespoke" biannual in October, following a slow falling-out with Pop owner Bauer Media. But this morning we have more news about the masthead, namely that Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding will be the creative directors, Victoria Young the fashion director, Tim Clifton-Green the senior fashion editor, Francesca Burns the senior fashion editor-at-large, Joe McKenna the senior contributing fashion editor, with the ever-amazing Murray Healy as senior editor. You may remember Murray wrote our Hinterview with Katie Grand a while back. The first issue of Love hits newsstands February 19.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Your First Look: A.P.C. for Nike

Leave it to A.P.C. to strip a sneaker to its essentials. Here's what Jean Touitou says about his spring collaboration with Nike: "We had a longing to make an elegant and simple sports shoe, capable of evoking a carefree summer feeling, an atmosphere of white trousers, summertime and narcissistic youth. Quite naturally, we asked Nike to reissue a version of their All Court model from 1975. We intentionally chose primary colors for the swooshes—one red, the other blue. As for the white swoosh on white canvas, its purpose is to take the dream even further." Suddenly, anything else seems vulgar...

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Model Behavior

Remember when supermodels were insolent, tantrum-prone she-monsters? The 90s were fun, but welcome to a new era...

Kate Moss was in New York last week to shoot Forum's spring campaign with photographer David Sims. Forum is the Brazilian jeans label run by art director Giovanni Bianco, who also created Madonna's Hard Candy album cover and Sweet & Sticky tour poster.

On the day of the shoot, Kate woke up at 7 am for yoga and arrived on set by 10 am. We're told she never complained once and was "all smiles" for the crew, which included stylist Joe McKenna, make-up artist Diane Kendall and hair stylist Luigi Murenu.

Her menu for the day was vegetable soup and a pack of M&Ms. After the shoot, she boarded a plane to London so as not to miss a school presentation by her six-year-old daughter, Lila.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hint Tip: Iekeliene Stange

This one is pretty far off, but if we didn't put it up now, we'd probably forget. So you know how Dutch model Iekeliene Stange is known for two things: working a "quirky" personal style and photographing everything with her trusty camera? On January 27, she's bringing them together in I Like Ponies, an exhibit of personal polaroids at AB Project Gallery in Berlin (Torstrasse 96, 10119). Presented by projektGALERIE, it might just be the sleeper hit of Berlin Fashion Week...

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Save As

Graphic designer Christopher Sauvé wants you to "take this graphic and make a T-shirt, bumper sticker, Facebook profile photo or poster. Together we can make a difference. We saved Britney, we can save Anna..."

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God's Gift

This is Brazilian surfer boy Marlon Teixeira, 17, the exclusive new face of Dior Homme by Kris Van Assche for all of 2009. The campaign was shot by Karl Lagerfeld in November and this photo is his gift to Marlon, who, by the way, has been working for only a year and hasn't even participated in Brazil's Fashion Weeks. Welcome...

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Hint Tip: Yves Saint Laurent

Are you a Saint Laurent slut? Have we got a sale for you. Housing Works Thrift Shop recently received nearly 500 vintage Yves Saint Laurent pieces from a single anonymous donor (we're racking our brains, too), to be unloaded to the public—in a party, no less—at seriously low prices, even by recession standards. Leather skirts for $90, goddess gowns for $150, power pinstripe suits for $150, ruffle tops for $50 and so on. December 11, 6 - 9 pm, Housing Works Thrift Shop, 157 East 23rd St., 212-529-5955.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hint Tip: Alexandre Vauthier

Couture might be dying, but there's never a shortage of new blood. Enter Alexandre Vauthier, former first assistant for Jean Paul Gaultier Couture and Thierry Mugler (private clients), who'll debut his own collection during Paris Couture Week in late January. We expect nothing less than theatrical genius by osmosis, but there's more. According to his publicist, Alexandre "holds the view that prices of couture clothes today are unrealistic and do not reflect the historical prices that clients paid in the past when whole wardrobes were ordered for the season." Okay, we think we get that. Plus he feels non-couture luxury labels have been ripping people off with inferior fabrics. When a couturier talks money, you know we're in for an economic face-plant of biblical proportions.

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Follow Your Bless

You may not believe this, given some of its over-the-top pieces, but Bless is the kind of label that prefers to whisper its message to the world, rather that shout it with celebrity endorsements or strong-arming publicists. And so, each season the Paris-Berlin duo publishes its look book within the pages of an indie magazine that shares its you-like-it-or-you-don't values and aesthetics. The latest magazine to have the honor is the debut issue of Paris, LA (don't let the comma confuse you, that's all one title), featuring the N°36 Nothingneath collection. Naturally the collaboration called for a party, this time at Brachfed Gallery in Paris...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tokyo Street Style

photos by Rei Shito...

jacket & pants: Nincompoop Capacity
sweatshirt: handmade
shoes: Nike

sweater: Hello Kitty
socks: Antipast
shoes: Unbilical
hat: vintage

shirt dress: vintage
jacket: pe-poco
bag: Nadia

coat: zo cola
pants & scarf: Yab-Yum
shoes: Clarks

jacket: MCMxTISA
pants, T-shirt: Phenomenon
shoes: Nike

poncho, T-shirt & pants: Phenomenon
shoes: Nike

photos by Rei Shito, aka STYLE from TOKYO

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Hint Tip: The Sads

As if Art Basel Miami needed another anything, The Sads (Aaron Rose's indie band) are playing the Nike Sportswear/NADA/ANP Quarterly party with No Age and Panda Bear on Friday...

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The Penne is Mightier

Everyone responds differently to a crisis. The Paris branding agency Al Dente makes e-stickers—and you're invited . It's a solution as good as any...


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blue Period

Cynthia Leung paints a gloomy picture for the art and design world...

Design-nerd friends of mine recently dragged to me to a Ron Arad show in New York on a day when I was feeling financially blue. Furniture design, long the overlooked stepchild of contemporary art, may now be the saner way out of the economic smackdown. (Chair = a seat at the table = solid investment.) Still, Arad's show left me feeling bloated. And it wasn’t just the champagne or overblown chairs. It was the moment when the designer hogged his own mirrored ping-pong table, with both ends curved upward, and played to the amusement of the crowd. Between the pings and pongs, all I could think about was this “design statement” languishing in the basement of a sacked hedge fund guy. Cool yesterday, broke today, ridiculous tomorrow.

Kudos to the same design-nerd friends who swept me out and up the street to view the bizarre yet alluring "German Avant Garde Design of the 1980s" show at Demisch Danant, the esteemed gallery run by Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant. To the penny-wise, these pieces made during an economically lean time are a revelation. A steel cabinet designed by Wolfgang Laubersheimer (of the Köln-based Pentagon group) seemed simple enough from a distance, except that it had a concrete landscape complete with a toy train and track on top. Ironically, though fittingly, it had broken down just before the opening, so a mechanic was called in and stayed for hours. “He's become part of the installation,” quipped Demisch, anxiously eyeing a handful of broken copper bits.

Demisch and Danant, normally associated with French design of the 60s, are themselves on a quest to learn more about this unsung chapter of German design, armed with books published auf Deutsch, a language neither of the two can read. Said Demisch: “These designers are late to be discovered and looked at in a cohesive way. There's a whole design history, but it's a bit contained within Germany and needs to be deciphered more.” Even my design-nerds were stumped when confronted with two totemic ceramic and raffia lights created by Heike Muehlhaus, half of the Berlin-duo Cocktail. Memphis, Teutonic-style? Afrika, aber on acid?

In 1987, Pentagon collective was invited to Documenta 8 and presented Cafe Casino, an artist's cafe with tables and chairs from each of the five designers. At the end of Documenta, however, they couldn't afford to ship anything home, so they took sledgehammers to their work and staged a destruction-performance wearing white hazmat suits. I can't image any designer at Design Miami (December 3-6) who would dare do that today. But if you're there, Wolfgang Laubersheimer's Amazonas desk (1988) is hanging out at the Demisch and Danant booth. Its stone-slab top has a geographically correct depiction of the Amazon River carved into it, a pump providing a flow of water and a cluster of succulent plants thriving on top. If you can't take it home, let it blow your mind.

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