While Hedi Slimane normally exhibits his photography only at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris and Brussels, he's branched out — just a little — with Sonic, a show of his photos at the YSL Foundation in Paris. Not a big leap, but a meaningful step for Slimane. The intimate exhibition showcases his more significant rock portraits over the years — think Amy Winehouse, Lou Reed, Keith Richards.
A monthly series of rock-related talks has also been organized. For his presentation on December 11, rock historian Hugues Cornière will tell the particular story of specific items from rock's glorious past, including Bob Dylan's Ray-Bans or Ringo Starr's Ludwig drum kit. Cornière is also the owner of Sounds Good record store and author of Cult Objects of Rock.
Sonic, through January 11, 2015, Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent, 3 rue Léonce Reynaud, Paris
Mired in customer apathy and a tanking stock price, American Apparel got at least one thing right when it hired 15-year-old Brendan Jordan as its next alterna-model. You'll remember Brendon from that random local news clip that flooded your Facebook feed for several days. It's the one in which he did what any devoted little monster would do in the presence of a camera, ignoring everything around him while gyrating and faux-pouting like Lady Gaga in her Applause video. A YouTube sensation was born.
A bit of text on the ad informs us that “Brendan is from Las Vegas, Nevada. He's half Peruvan (his dad was born and raised in Peru) and he learned Spanish from his extended family that helped care for him. He enjoys taking photos, shopping and collecting Disney memorabilia." Of course he does. "In the future Brendan hopes to have his own TV show and design a clothing line.” Maybe Anna Wintour can get him an internship with Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors.
The oldest French fashion house still in existence, Lanvin, is celebrating its 125th year. Already a festive type, creative director Alber Elbaz has been combing through the archives in preparation for a major retrospective of the woman who started it all, Jeanne Lanvin.
Over a hundred pieces have been sourced for the first Paris exhibition devoted to the couturière, who infused her creations with a playful meticulousness that helped define the joie de vivre of the Belle Epoch. With a taste for travel, not to mention a voracious appetite for books, she was among the first to incorporate ethnic fabrics and non-traditional colors into her oeuvre. The deep blue of the 14th-century frescoes by Fra Angelico became her signature.
More than anything, Lanvin found enduring inspiration in her only child, Marguerite. In 1908, Madame became the first to design a children’s line, and by the time her daughter turned 30, she debuted another first for a designer, her Arpège fragrance. The figures portrayed on the round bottle are the mother and child at play, a logo the house still uses today.
Jeanne Lanvin, March 8 - August 23, 2015, Palais Galliera, Paris
Last year, a Brussels-based fashion multitasker named Aymeric Watine was wondering how he could soup up his store for the holiday season. Then he remembered the Sapins de Noël des Créateurs, an event created 19 years ago by French TV legend Marie Christiane Marek (her US equivalent would be Elsa Klensch). The concept was to have fashion designers use their imagination and recreate Christmas trees, which were then auctioned off for charity. With Marek's blessing, Watine took the idea to the Belgian capital. The first edition attracted 14 designers and 60,000 euros.
This year, 38 designers are on board, including high-profile names like Raf Simons, Stella McCartney, and Diane Von Furstenberg. To be auctioned December 1 for BIG, a breast-cancer awareness group, the creations range from the predictably phallic (such as Natan's spare wood structure) to the pious (Kryst's beautifully pixelated Madonna and child, made of tiny plastic tubes). Among the more unexpected are Jean-Paul Lespagnard's scarf — showing a popular Christmas meal of sushi, waffles, and a roast — draped over a man's head, as well as Wouters and Hendrix's downright campy tree admiring itself in a mirror. Simons' much-anticipated contribution is an large plush sofa in the shape of a tree — baby not included.
Wouters & Hendrix
It's not often that the 18th-century Queen of France and one of the greatest voluptuaries the world has ever known is invoked to describe a contemporary accessory. Nonetheless, Marie Antoinette and her exacting standards are cited by photographer and poet Christopher-Calvin Pollard when detailing his elaborate new shoe for his Iconoduly line, co-founded with the French-American artist Virginie Hauss. So lofty is its concept (and, at $15,000, its price tag) that it transcends footwear altogether. Indeed it's part of the duo's mission to revive, using centuries-old artisanal techniques, what they see as the lost art of adornment.
Let's break it down. Limited to 51, each pair of the Thyrsus shoe (named after a pinecone wand that, in Greek mythology, is associated with prosperity and hedonism) is handmade from beginning to end. The heel itself is carved by a master sculptor from solid cocobolo wood and finished with 24-karat gold leaf; the pinecone scales in the back are individually cut and stitched from fine ostrich-leg leather; the insole is wrapped in Lelievre embroidery; and the outsole is fire-branded with the edition number. Which is to say, nary a synthetic molecule goes into the production.
Incredibly, there is already a wait list, says Pollard. But unlike Birkins, buying into Iconoduly requires rules of ownership. "I am very picky about who I let purchase a pair. All women must first complete a Proust Questionnaire and then the selection process begins." Even when clients are allowed in, there is a shroud of secrecy that must be met at all times — it's a rule.
Pollard says he plans to make exactly one style of shoe per year, and he has the next 20 years already designed and sketched. Even the perks are planned out. For 2015, the Thyrsus will come with a skirt and earrings and, for 2016, the as-yet-unveiled object of adornment will ship with a 22-karat gold headpiece and a bench. Not just any bench, surely, but the most exquisite divan ever made.
Superheroes and supervillains, and several strong personalities in between, are reimagined by photographer Sacha Goldberger as Flemish Baroque portraits from the 1600s, complete with handmade costumes, props, and nobly introspective gazes. The photos demonstrate the use of centuries-old painting techniques to convey nobility while at the same time evoking a sense of fragility within us all.
Characters from Marvel and DC comic books, as well as Disney, Star Wars and other 20th-century classics, are represented. But Goldberger was hardly alone in the massive effort. An entire crew chipped in, from costume designers to casting directors. Which may explain why so many portraits resemble the actors who most memorably brought them to life on a screen, from Adam West’s Batman and Christopher Reeve's Superman to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Lou Ferrigno’s Incredible Hulk.
The last model departed the runway and the theme from Schindler’s List filled the room — melancholic and menacing. A small hologram of Kate Moss, rendered through an ancient technique known as Pepper’s Ghost, gathered in an organza-like cloud inside a glass pyramid. An apparition, she remained suspended and fluttering in midair for mere moments. The audience gasped and the press called The Widows of Culloden (fall 2006) one of Alexander McQueen’s most emotionally charged, autobiographical collections to date. Not since 1995’s Highland Rape had he revisited his family's native Scotland with such artistic urgency. And Moss — along with Isabella Blow, who'd commit suicide the next year by ingesting weed killer — was carved into popular memory as one of his most salient muses.
Muses are, in fact, borne out of memory, if one subscribes to ancient Greek mythology. They say that Zeus fathered nine Muses with Mnemosyne, who was memory personified. Today our muses operate in stealth, their voices filling writers’ heads with curling prose, artists’ minds with sensational and swimming colors, and, for fashion designers, finer focus on who their customer is (or could be). Particularly for men who dress women, the muse is an illusory ideal, obscured in fanciful abstraction and roaming the endless corridors of time. “Maria Lani, a formidable lady, had the charm to seduce fifty of the most incredible artists in the 1920s in Paris into portraying her. And she stole all the canvases, fled to Hollywood and no one ever saw her again,” John Galliano said of his muse for his spring 2011 collection. “And when I read that story, I just thought, ‘She’s a Galliano girl.’”
Rick Owens, on the other hand, rejects the idea of a muse entirely. “The entire vision was created for Michèle (Lamy, his wife), the volume of everything is created for her,” he told Style.com's Tim Blanks. “[But] muse sounds so gay, like projecting something onto an icon instead of a wonderful, attractive, fuckable woman. I’m not dressing a doll.”
In her new book, Champagne Supernovas (Amazon, iTunes), Maureen Callahan writes that Kate Moss “wanted to be more than a face, a model, a hologram.” In little over 200 pages, Callahan unfolds the remarkable stories of three movers and shakers (and survivors) of the 1990s: Moss, Alexander McQueen, and Marc Jacobs. Their lives were real and raw. They did lots of drugs, had lots of sex (not with each other, though Callahan doesn't bother disguising fashion’s incestuous undertones), and helped create some of the most incredible imagery of our age. But Callahan’s most interesting critique concerns the value and legitimacy of a muse, both as a concept and a creation. Before McQueen, it was Moss and Corinne Day; and, before Isabella Blow’s relationship with Alexander McQueen turned into a game of spite and strategy, they seemed set to rule the world.Read More
By themselves, the miniature nature scenes painstakingly realized by Australian artist Kendal Murray aren't particularly compelling or provocative — other than an obsessive attention to detail that went into them. But when arranged on found objects, such as old purses and compacts, they take on a hyper-real poignancy, a smaller and more private private Idaho. These dioramas, with their rhyming yet nonsensical titles, appear to have sprung out of the object itself, like little big bangs, for a repurposed raison d'être.
Declare Scare Swear
Discreet Sweet Deceit