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Monday, January 26, 2009

Fountain of Sonic Youth

By Franklin Melendez...

The first lady of art rock, Kim Gordon, turns her attention once more to fashion. Apparently the Sonic Youth songstress and post-punk dowager is not satisfied with rupturing eardrums with epic feedback loops or befuddling the art world with obscure rituals staged in cramped Lower East Side galleries alongside even more conceptual (oh yes, there is such a thing) chanteuses. Or maybe she just wants a breather. Whatever the case, Gordon's latest design project, Mirror/Dash, will not pick up where X Girl left off.

But first, for those of you not old enough to remember her first iconic foray into fashion, a brief history lesson: long before a pixie-cut nymphet by the name of Chloe Sevigny skateboarded away with our hearts in Kids, a raucous riot girl by the name of Kathleen Hanna romped around a Sonic Youth video in baby ringers and shrunken baseball tees emblazoned with a winking pussycat. This was the quintessential mid-'90s cool tomboy, who accessorized her Manic Panic-dyed hair with Dickies and cut-off Ben Davis—and for whom Gordon churned out an equally disaffected wardrobe.

So that was X Girl, but this is Mirror/Dash, a slightly more grown-up version. The key word here are “edgy” and “feminine." Although, if we remember our Daria episodes correctly, “edgy” is a term that’s not to be trusted. So let's just say minimal, wearable and with organic materials, featuring slouchy T-shirt dresses and smart cropped blazers. Basically, all the things you used to find at local thrift stores while ditching seventh period, but now conveniently available at Urban Outfitters (starting February 16).

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Fashion Met Music Videos

Dean Mayo Davies on the perfect harmony...

Fashion and music have had a powerful, symbiotic relationship ever since the advent of the rebel in the 50s, when wannabe James Deans could throw on a white tee, leather jacket and immerse themselves in the newly created rock & roll lifestyle. Every subculture since—Teds, Mods—has forged itself from the meld of a unifying philosophy and a fabricated identity. After all, every army needs a uniform. In the 70s, Westwood, McLaren and the Sex Pistols collided in the ultimate blow-up of youth culture, and introduced (anti-)branding to the equation. Of course, today's tribes—bubblers, moshers, indie kids, ravers et al—have the music video, where their creations can remain as untouchable, intangible, beguiling, provocative and sexy as ever. And fashion labels haven't been slow to see the potential...

1. The Kills: Last Day Of Magic

This is the forthcoming release from the London-based, chain-smoking vegans VV (aka Alison Mosshart) and Hotel (aka Jamie Hince—yes, Mr. Kate Moss, in yet another link to fashion). Jamie has explained that the vengeful lyrics are about "being in a place and wanting someone who has abandoned you to be there." Thus, the setting, naturally, is Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Obsessives will note that Alison rocks her well-worn gold Dior Homme boots from fall/winter 05, which may or may not be the reason Jamie is fighting with her (who wouldn’t commit a little bodily harm for to get their hands on those?). In a brainy blur of leopard print, literature, black, scarves, art, tailoring and drainpipe jeans, the duo's myth is built with this video. The most alluring band in the world today, surely.

2. Róisín Murphy: Let Me Know

Róisín continues her persona as post-Saturday Night Fever street diva in this track from last year's Overpowered LP, strutting into a greasy-spoon cafe in a Margiela square-shouldered cape, Corto Moteldo bag and flying-saucer hat. The genius of Róisín's creative direction is the juxtaposition of a cartoonish surrealism with a more mundane daily existence, creating a tension that doesn't take itself too seriously. You'll remember her previous video featured her on the night bus wearing a Gareth Pugh foil coat with inflatable collar, while her latest video, Movie Star, is set to feature Richard Mortimer, of BoomBox fame, and performance artist Scottee.

3. Sonic Youth: Sugar Kane

Sonic Youth played at Marc Jacobs' fall 08 show, a true fashion moment for those who were there. They banged out Jams Run Free and Kool Thing, but it's not the first time these old friends have collaborated, not even close. Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore posed in 2003 for a Juergen Teller-shot Marc Jacobs campaign, but way back in 1993 they set their Sugar Kane video in Marc's showroom, featuring his notorious Grunge collection for Perry Ellis, the stuff of fashion folklore. The clip also marks Chloë Sevigny's first appearance on film.

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