Francois Nars has made good on his campaign promise to feature Charlotte Rampling in his fall ads for Nars, marking the beauty brand's 20th anniversary. Shot by Nars himself, the first and only image so far — for Audacious Lipstick Collection — is in no way audacious, clearly, and maybe that's the audacity. Still, it succeeds in conveying the British actress's boldness of style and stature.
Tapping the 68-year-old living icon — adored by so many for her smoldering and usually challenging roles in gritty dramas from the '60s through the '80s, including Luchino Visconti's The Damned (1969), The Night Porter (1974), and The Verdict (1982) — fits a trend in the cosmetics field. Earlier this year Jessica Lange was named the face of Marc Jacobs Beauty and Stephanie Seymour of Estée Lauder.
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Back in 2007, Christian Louboutin and David Lynch collaborated on a noirish little project called Fetish, in which the footwear king created a vertical shoe — where the stiletto heel ran the length of the foot, from heel to tippy toe — and the director photographed two nude Crazy Horse dancers wearing them, or attempting to. The tenebrous images were displayed in an exhibition in Paris and, two years later, in Moscow.
The two extremists are back at it. Paying tribute to the start of his label some 20 years ago, when he used red nail lacquer to create the first signature red sole, Louboutin has created a nail polish, Rouge Louboutin, with a cap that mimics the elongated heel of the vertical shoe. He then asked Lynch to create a short video, resulting in a fittingly surreal, Magritte-inspired single minute.
"For some people, 'obscenity' is a dirty word, one that sanctimonious and censorious people have associated with my work for a long time," filmmaker and artist Bruce LaBruce told Hint. "So I decided to give it back to them as a beautiful fragrance, something that they can spray on their bodies and luxuriate in. Perhaps it will open their minds as well as their nostrils."
While it's an actual fragrance, Obscenity — a unisex eau de parfum (produced in a limited-edition of 100 bottles) infused with frankincense, sandalwood, and cedar, as well as holy water from Lourdes — is part of a larger solo exhibit at The Hole gallery. In it, LaBruce thumbs his nose at self-styled arbiters of decency, presenting large-scale photos, a television commercial, and a making-of documentary — most of it incorporating blasphemous interracial ecstasy.
Obviously satirical, the show nonetheless condemns a lingering prudishness and willful closed-mindedness among modern society. Having transcended his radical-queer roots some time ago, LaBruce — or, as he encourages, BlaB — has been producing especially graphic, unapologetic work of late, dealing with sexually taboo themes of necrophilia and, most recently, Gerontophilia, also the title of his latest feature-length film, a deeply unsettling yet charming May-December romance (premiering later this month at NewFest in New York).
Obscenity, July 10 – August 23, 2014, The Hole, 310 Bowery, NYC
Here it is, Alexander Wang's first scent for Balenciaga, debuting at the designer's resort 2015 collection for the house. Called simply B Balenciaga, the fragrance is a blend of the house's heritage and Wang's inimitable take on modernity. The artisanal-looking cracked glass of the bottle pays tribute to the veined marble flooring of the couturier's original salon at 10 Avenue George V, while the airy juice itself — a mix of lily of the valley and violet — is made darker with various woody notes. The ad campaign, too, achieves an insouciant minimalism with a hint of iconoclasm, shot by Steven Klein and starring a cat-eyed Anna Ewers.
Widely available October 2014
Milliner Stephen Jones buzzed into town to launch his Wisteria Hysteria fragrance with Comme des Garçons at Dover Street Market NY (and take in the Met Gala). Not surprisingly, the eau de toilette ($165) — housed in a miniature hat box on a white veil nest — takes its askew cues from the Comme universe of strange scents. Its sweet-and-spicy notes stand in contrast to the first aromatic collaboration between the two — "futuristic and rococo," as Stephen describes it.
Of course the spirit of teamwork between Stephen Jones and Rei Kawakubo is nothing new. Ever since a chance encounter thirty years ago, Stephen has created hats for many a Comme collection, women's and men's, as well as creating the Stephen Jones 1 hats exclusively for Dover.
To celebrate the launch of Wisteria Hysteria, director Henry Pincus created a short film — with clothes by L'Wren Scott — inspired by the contrarian nature of the fragrance. The film, played on continuous loop at the launch, tells the story of a woman’s encounter with the opposite version of herself...
When Meadham Kirchhoff showed their fall 14 collection in February, it wasn’t just anticipation that was in the air. British fashion’s reigning enfants terribles had somehow, ingeniously, infused the cavernous Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern with Tralala, the label’s debut eau de parfum produced in association with the profoundly English perfume house Penhaligons.
The heritage brand’s flacons were a clue. The small icons of stately Edwardiana were draped in heliotrope velvet and the stoppers were painted like children's drawings of doll heads. The frothily-named fragrance was formulated by Bertrand Duchaufour, who spent time in the designers’ East End studio to immerse himself in their subversive, hyper-feminine sensibility. The result is an opulent combination of whiskey, tuberose, carnation, and leather that’s every bit as nostalgic, decadent and intoxicating as a Meadham Kirchhoff dress.
$200 (100 ml) at Saks Fifth Avenue and online
Feting the 50th anniversary of its first scent, Y, Yves Saint Laurent threw itself an intimate soiree in a private manse in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. A gallery of cutting-edge ad campaigns over the years, including those conceived by David Lynch, provided the backdrop for a retrospective.
Guests were then swept to a secret location where the new Black Opium scent was unveiled. As suggested by the campaign, starring model Edie Campbell running through the streets of Shanghai, the fragrance is a rock-inspired update of the label's classic 1977 Opium. The new iteration, however, is said to be even more mysterious than its predecessor, a headier mix of fruit and spices.
Black Opium, available September 2014
The joy of Joya candles is their endless repertoire of unconventional scents. Their newest, a very advance preview of a holiday scent in the works, is a collaboration with Katz's Deli. The candle, made in New York City, is hand-poured into souvenir drinking glasses from the Lower East Side institution bearing an illustration of the 126-year-old Jewish delicatessen. The noses at Joya like to joke that the candle smells like salami, or perhaps pastrami, but in fact its notes include chocolate syrup, whole milk, and cold seltzer — for a more palatable chocolate egg-cream aroma.
$25 at Joya (same-day shipping available)
A study by the University of New South Wales, Australia, has concluded that we as a society have reached a saturation point with facial hair. Clearly this is nothing more than beard blasphemy! The so-called research used a mere 36 photos of men in full beard, short beard, and no beard — how can that possibly reflect the full range of whiskers? — which were then shown to a small sampling of 1,500 people. The researchers apparently found that those people, who've obviously never jumped in the sack with a beard, ranked them negatively.
Ok, so perhaps beards are a little ubiquitous and slightly grating, especially when celebrities glom onto the tonsorial trend yet bring no new ideas to the chin. However, we submit it really depends on the beard. Van Dykes and Van Winkles are certainly out; in fact they were never in. Same with handlebar mustaches and goatees. Elaborate beards in the shape of multi-masted schooners are suitable only for German biergartens. But otherwise beards are the height of manly sexiness. So channel your inner pogonophile and embrace the face jungle, we say. Let it tickle your neck and southward, and don't let some feckless study rain on your hirsute pursuit.