Artek at Dover Street Market

Something Different: Artek at Dover Street Market

Few designers have blurred the lines between fashion and art as seamlessly as Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo. So it's hardly a surprise that the designer's retail wonderland Dover Street Market — which has outposts in London, Tokyo, and New York — is as filled with artistic inspiration as it is covetable clothing.

This summer, the New York shop has two exhibitions that highlight DSM's holistic approach to style with a bit of merchandising magic. On the megastore's first floor, architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham have created a homage to Stool 60 by Finnish furniture brand Artek. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of this icon of modern design, Klein and Dytham have reimagined the stackable stool in a variety of sizes with stretched-out legs in grassy shades of green, forming a miniature indoor jungle. Two versions of the stool's original size — medium green and yellow — are available at DSM for $390 each.

"The stool looks great in any color and manages to rise above any graphic design applied to the seat or legs. It simply takes anything that is thrown at it," the designers told Hint about Stool 60's enduring appeal. "It's also amazing that the stool was shipped flat-packed from day one and really shows how advanced [architect] Alvar Aalto and Artek were in their thinking, predating by 50 years that other Nordic country that flat-packs its entire furniture collection!"

Upstairs, meanwhile, British artist and set designer Gary Card has an even more colorful contribution to the store this season. In the shop's emerging designer showroom on the fourth floor, Card has installed forty of the his Talking Heads to show off sunglasses from the likes of Mykita and Cutler & Gross. Made for masking tape and covered in splashes of neon paint, these madcap clowns paradoxically provide the perfect canvas for showing off the store's chic sunnies. 

Jun 25, 2014 15:55:00

Hedi Slimane Has Gone to Temples to Find His New Muse

Few designers are as acoustically inclined as Hedi Slimane. Since taking over chez Saint Laurent, the designer has firmly focused on elevating elements rock and punk, turning out collections full of combat boots, studs, motorcycle jackets, and other rockstar staples. 

In keeping with the aesthetic, Slimane has turned to musicians as his muses, in part through the Saint Laurent Music Project, which has brought legends like Marianne Faithfull, Chuck Berry, BB King, Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson into the label's clothing and campaigns. Now the designer is training his lens on a future icon: the lion-maned rocker James Edward Bagshaw of the British band Temples. Shot by Slimane on location in music capital of Austin, Texas, the images will be featured prominently in the artist's upcoming photo book, Sonic (Xavier Barral, September 2014).

The Music Project, in which musicians are free to style themselves from current and permanent pieces from the collection, extends beyond fashion photography; musicians have also been invited to create signature soundtracks for the label's runway presentations. And while the designer has ruffled feathers for straying from brand DNA before, the move is rather in keeping with YSL history. Saint Laurent himself, after all, was the designer who dressed Mick and Bianca Jagger for one of the most iconic intersections of rock and fashion in history: the couple's 1971 wedding. 

Jun 24, 2014 20:49:00
Ultra Violet, 2014

In Memoriam: Ultra Violet

If Tumblr and Pinterest are any indication, Andy Warhol's Superstars, the eclectic group of stylish eccentrics championed by the artist, are just as influential as they were in their 1960s heyday. Along with socialites and muses like Baby Jane Holzer and Edie Sedgwick, many of them artists in their own right, the motley crew included Ultra Violet, who, earlier this week, went to the great Silver Factory in the sky.  

Born Isabelle Collin Dufresne in France in 1935, Ultra Violet met Warhol in 1963 through her lover and collaborator Salvador Dalí. He immediately offered her a role in one of his films and the lilac-loving artist, actress, and author was transformed into Ultra Violet, the superstar with purple hair, makeup, and clothing. Throughout her career she appeared in 17 films (not including documentaries), among them Midnight Cowboy, where she and other Factory denizens recreated a party of Warholian proportions.  

In her 1988 memoir, Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years With Andy Warhol, Dufresne spoke out against the excess of the scene that made her famous. But she remained a prolific artist until her last days. This spring, New York's Dillon Gallery recreated the artist's Chelsea studio on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Factory, featuring her photographs and sculptural works. It closed three weeks before her death. 

Jun 20, 2014 17:32:00

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Jun 18, 2014 22:02:00

Björk to Get a MoMA Retrospective

It seems when, last week, MoMA announced it would acquire Björk's Biophilia app — made in collaboration with the graphic-design duo M/M (Paris) — for its permanent collection, the first such induction of an app for the art museum, they were only getting started.

Today MoMA made the bombshell announcement that a retrospective of the Icelandic shrieker-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist's career would go on view from March 7 to June 7, 2015. According to a press statement, the exhibition will "chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes, and performance." It'll also present a quasi-biographical narrative co-written by Björk and Icelandic writer Sjón Sigurdsson, who has collaborated on several of the recording artist's albums. An immersive "music and film experience" created by director Andrew Huang and 3D software designer Autodesk will be featured, too.

"Björk is an extraordinarily innovative artist whose contributions to contemporary music, video, film, fashion, and art have had a major impact on her generation worldwide," said chief-curator at-large Klaus Biesenbach in the statement. "This highly experimental exhibition offers visitors a direct experience of her hugely collaborative body of work."

Jun 18, 2014 19:32:00
Olivier Theyskens, photo Patrick McMullan

Olivier Theyskens to Depart Theory

Olivier Theyskens is leaving his artistic director role at Theory, reports WWD. The raven-haired Belgian joined the American sportswear brand in 2010 to design the Theyskens Theory capsule collection, which morphed into a permanent position designing the main Theory label. The resort 2015 collection will be the last for Theyskens, who says he plans to explore other creative interests. As that collection is expected to unveil any time, it would seem Theyskens is nearly out the door already.

Many had questioned how long the pair would last. What, they wondered, is the European couturier doing turning out middlebrow sportswear in the States? The answer, in part, seemed to be the laudatory press he consistently enjoyed, elevating his capabilities in the eyes of American execs. Despite his short four-year tenure at Rochas and his mere two at Nina Ricci, the media was nothing short of rhapsodic. So when, following Nina Ricci, the ensuing speculation failed to place him at another prestigious house, off to Theory’s technocratic oneness he went. Still kind, Suzy Menkes optimistically opined that “Mr. Theyskens may be able to express himself even better than when he was at couture’s giddy heights.”

To those with the liberty to say so, it was a testament to the heartless mercantilism of fashion that Theyskens deigned to churn out casual separates for a brand already associated with adulterating the Helmut Lang name. Perhaps now he can return to the kind of sartorial pleasure dome he originally envisioned and which is sorely lacking.

Jun 16, 2014 15:26:00
Andy Warhol (1982, 1986), Christopher Makos

Andy Warhol Debuts at Galleria Carla Sozzani

Photographer Christopher Makos was fairly inseparable from Andy Warhol in the 70s and 80s. Makos is often credited, debatably, with showing the pop artist how to use his first camera and introducing him to the work of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. That Makos previously apprenticed with Man Ray lends credibility to the claim.

Regardless, Makos made good use of their frequent face time to get Andy Warhol on film. Warhol thus called Makos the "most modern photographer in America." Considering he caught the likes of Tom Ford, Robert Downey Jr., and Pedro Almodovar before they were god-like, that assertion may very well be true.

Altered Images, a new exhibit showcasing 52 of Makos' portraits of Warhol and his motley milieu, just opened at Galleria Carla Sozzani, where it will remain on view until July 31, 2014. After Milan, the exhibit will travel to seven world capitals, starting in September with New York, followed by London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Jun 13, 2014 21:15:00
Alain-Charles Perrot in Lanvin

Lanvin's Tailors Spent 600 Hours on the Jacket Alone for France's Architect-in-Chief

How's this for brain-frying, eyes-crossing craftsmanship? The house of Lanvin has designed the official uniform for Alain-Charles Perrot, the newest academician at the French Académie des Beaux-Arts and the architect-in-chief of French historical monuments. The jacket's olive-branch embroidery alone (drawn by Perrot) took 600 hours.

Clearly, neither expense nor detail was spared for France's top dog for all things architectural. Handmade in Lanvin's Paris workshops at 15 Faubourg Saint Honoré (above the boutique), the jacket and pants required 80 hours, while the shirt took only 12 hours. That's on top of the 600 hours to hand-stitch those olive branches. For a bit of perspective, Lanvin says a bespoke suit typically requires 80 hours to complete. All told, this particularly laborious project consumed the house for six months.

But really, it's par for the course for Lanvin, which this year has revived its 113-year-old bespoke tradition. In 1901, founder Jeanne Lanvin designed the outfit for her first academician client, Cyrano de Bergerac author Edmond Rostand. Other esteemed dignitaries soon followed, including Paul Valéry, Georges Duhamel, André Maurois, and the great Jean Cocteau, author of Les Enfants Terribles.

Jun 13, 2014 13:14:00
Self-portrait of Ryan McGinley and his dog, Dick, in their graduation robes

Ryan McGinley Gives Good Commencement

It's June and that means the senior class at the great Parsons School of Design has graduated — yippee! Those bright-eyed art students have matriculated fully and, as their just reward, they heard an esteemed personage in the arts acknowledge their achievements with a commencement address. For our hard-working Parsons students, that personage was none other than Ryan McGinley, an alum of the art school whose ten-minute speech can be seen in full here...

Like all good commencement speakers, Ryan (who we spoke to in One Sentence or Less and whose interview with his own esteemed personage, David Armstrong, makes for excellent reading) offered words of encouragement peppered with mild gags that parents will nod along to and gentle in-jokes about the school, fostering a sense of camaraderie. There was something for everyone; these were the bons mots that stuck with us...

"By my fourth year in school, I was shooting every day and every night. I photographed every little thing — all my food, doorways covered in graffiti, and my friends and roommates. I tortured my first boyfriend, Marc, by capturing each moment of our relationship. I was obsessed with documenting my life. So that’s my advice to you: find something to be obsessed with and then obsess over it."

"If you only like shooting cell-phone photos, then do that. If your dad works at a construction site that looks cool, use it. If your mom breeds poodles, then put them in your photographs. Use the camera to take what you know that others don’t, what you can access that others can’t, and the people or things you connect with, to construct your own world."

"I realized I could make intimate pictures of strangers. It was a breakthrough for me. I found that most people liked being photographed. They like being paid attention to and being told to do things they normally wouldn’t do. I learned that all I needed to do was ask."

"I once heard the legendary indie director Derek Jarman had three rules for making his art films: show up early, hold your own light, and don’t expect to get paid. That always stuck with me. Approach art like it’s your job. Show up for photography every day for eight hours. Take it as seriously as a doctor would medicine."

Aren't those outstanding words of wisdom? Ryan's studio manager Kareem asked these additional questions for Hint...

Did you live in the dorms at Parsons?
My first year at school I lived in the Loeb Hall on 12th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. My roommate was named Roy and he was a fashion student from Hawaii obsessed with Tom Ford & Gucci who was constantly fermenting kimchi in our dorm room kitchen.

Is anyone else in your family a photographer?
Growing up I caught the bug to be a photographer by watching my dad’s Super-8 films of my brother and sisters. My mom had seven kids in seven years and then had me 11 years later. My father was a real shutterbug documenting every moment of my family growing up. That’s where I got my photographic passion.

What is your advice to young photographers?
You have to live by the code of photography. Eat, sleep, breathe it. Daydream about it. Dream at night about it. Let it seep into your psyche. Have an enormous desire for imagery. Be very open to the idea of chance and surprise. Forget everything and rely on instinct when you are staring into that rectangle. Always watch, observe, looking at everything and watch the light. Marry photography.

Was it hard to write a speech?I watched a lot of commencement speeches online. You have to send a message of hope, be honest and tell a few jokes. It should also be around 10-15 minutes. Originally I was going to end my speech with this joke: Everyone knows the quickest way to make money at photography is to sell your camera. Here's another joke I didn’t end up using: I bought a Labrador and named him Kodak so I can say I own a Kodak Lab.

Ryan McGinley currently has a show, Vertical Color of Sound, at Galerie Perrotin (Hong Kong). His next show at Team Gallery (New York), Yearbook, will open September 7, 2014. 

Jun 12, 2014 20:30:00

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