It's the age of selfies and Steven Meisel knows it, even if, it's safe to assume, the highly reclusive photographer isn't particularly fond of them. While other houses are unveiling their spring campaigns with much fanfare, Loewe has eked out a preview of its fall men's campaign, which includes an undated and previously unseen image of a younger Meisel leaning in for a kiss with an unidentified man. The artist as muse in a candid moment — how very Instagram.
The unconventional concept comes courtesy of the house's new creative director, Jonathan Anderson, who, over the course of several seasons has been staking an epicene, androgynous vision for the Spanish house. In addition to the tender self-portrait pulled straight from Meisel's own archives, a more typical fashion image of the fall collection has been released, also lensed by Meisel, as well as a product shot of the new X-Cross bag, shot by Damien Ropero. This follows the brand's MO last season, when it plastered a single spring image of Julia Nobis across Paris kiosks just prior to the corresponding runway show.
For his men's spring Givenchy campaign, Riccardo Tisci tapped the one-and-only Tony Ward to model for spring. Now a married father of three and actively involved in a variety of artistic pursuits, Tony Ward is perhaps best remembered as Madonna's swarthy, consistently nude boyfriend in the early 1990s, appearing in the videos for Justify My Love and Cherish, as well as her notorious Sex book.
Tisci and photographers Mert & Marcus opted to present Ward, now 51, in a different light. Juxtaposed with model Alessio Pozzi, in head-to-toe gypsophila (baby's breath) print, Ward is portrayed as elegant, reserved, and rather monastic in a double-breasted black suit, quite unlike his glory days as a free-loving, gay-friendly party boy.
At first glance, Slavik — whose last name is not known — may appear like other homeless men. Weather-beaten, unshaven, and often swigging from a bottle, he wanders the streets of Lviv, Ukraine, in search of cigarettes and scraps of food. But Slavik stands apart from other local transients — some of them displaced by Russian aggression in the east — in that he takes great pride in his appearance, choosing a different outfit to wear each day. No easy feat for anyone, to be sure, especially not when one's wardrobe consists solely of trash-can finds and the occasional handout from a shelter.
This is how the voguish vagrant was discovered, if you will. In 2011, photographer Yuko Dyachyshyn spotted Slavik's unique fashion sense, struck up a rapport, and started a project to immortalize each of his new friend's daily looks. Every day, the two would search public spaces until they found each other, then Slavik would pose modestly, sometimes smiling, sometimes not, for his admirer — not unlike a peacocking street-style star. He exhibits "beauty, style and fashion and his suits are not random," wrote Dyachyshyn on his website. "It is not accidental that he changes them every day, adjusting them carefully to weather and season.”
The two went about their photo shoots for two years — until Slavik went missing in early 2013. Disheartened, Dyachyshyn then began a second project, Slavik Super Star, in which he collaged previously snapped portraits of Slavik onto glossies. “In order to appear on the cover of a magazine (even if you are a celebrity) you have to get into trouble or die," says Dyachyshyn, rather philosophical on the subject. "Immediately everybody recalls all your merit, achievements or sins and for a few days, weeks or months you are a star.” The cut and pasted cover art remains a poignant, guerrilla-inspired testament to the triumph of will and friendship, for Slavik will stick around one way or another.
It looks as if fracking may be imported to the UK from the US, and Vivienne Westwood is having none of it. Days after the state of New York banned the practice of extracting oil and gas from rock, Westwood, her son and Agent Provocateur founder Joseph Corré, and a gas-masked Santa attempted to hand-deliver a Christmas present to prime minister David Cameron, a package of what resembled asbestos
Westwood and Corré, whose father Malcolm McLaren died of cancer believed to be caused by asbestos, said fracking could become "the next asbestos or thalidomide" — as in a big mistake. "Will David Cameron listen to us?" Westwood asked rhetorically. "He lost a child, he must have some sympathy, and he's not connecting the dots."
They got as far as the black front door of 10 Downing Street, where, instead of the box of asbestos, Westwood and her son delivered independent medical reports on the health risks related to fracking. "They link very clearly the chemicals used in fracking industry to some really horrible, serious illnesses," said Corré. "Birth defects in children, horrible cancers, skin diseases, rashes, nosebleeds, stunted growth, all kinds of things. We are lucky to have this information in advance from the terrible situation that his happening right now in the United States."
Obviously this is click-bait, pure and simple. But who can blame us? We're only human. These frisky side-by-sides come from our new favorite Tumblr, Des Hommes et des Chatons — very loosely translated as Kittens that Look Like Male Models. It's what the internet was made for — don't fight it. It's the zoo in Zoolander. Meow, you're welcome...
Generation C — as in connection, community, customization — can add another C to the mix: curation. A new and free gifting app, GiftVibes, is bringing a sense of adventure and imagination to the sometimes tedious process of shopping.
Here's how the platform works. A user buys an item from one of the GiftVibe's partner merchants, just like traditional online shopping. It could be an actual thing or a digital thing, like a store coupon, song files, or even a selfie (for the seriously cash-challenged). Recipients then must use their smartphone to locate an address and 'open' the gift — sort of like a scavenger hunt.
It's a clever way to surprise someone with a dinner or party, or invite friends to an event. Social-media celebs and those who think they are can communicate with their fans or followers through GiftVibes, and eventually stores will use the app to offer samples and other freebies, searchable on the app's gift map. The experience is fully customizable, down to the designer gift-wrapping.
Mr. Lash and I don't do Christmas, though I'm not above accepting gifts any time of the year. But don't you hate getting a mink scarf with a list of instructions as long as your leg about how not to wear it? At least Carnaby Street is only a few Manolos away from Lash Mansion when I need a break from the manservant. A good shoe, like a good wine, improves with age.
Mod central in the 1960s, Carnaby became uncool for a few decades with faux punks spraying their hair blue and fat ladies having their photographs taken. Now Carnaby is cool again. Its Christmas lights went up straight after Halloween and sinister Santa's followers are shopping till they drop.
What sort of people celebrate a mooby man who sneaks into homes with a sack of ho ho ho, then allow their bawling, snot-nosed elves to sit on his lap? Twisted people with eyes wide shut and mouths wide open, that's who. They're the same types who have nothing better to worry about than who Anna Wintour — in London this week for the British Fashion Awards — puts on the cover of Vogue. Kim Kardashian does look like a ho on holiday, but previous covergirl Lena Dunham is practically an ambassador for Alarming Burds Anonymous.Read More
The house of Versace is about two things: youth and vanity. It's often credited with creating the supermodel, a woman with seemingly divine powers that elevated her, in stature and status, above her working peers. Those plunging necklines that inspired women to heed, or perhaps prove, that sex can be a powerful weapon. It’s a cliché, for sure, but isn’t Versace all about a scandalous archetype? Garish and outré iconography that borders on bad taste has made the Versace clan a superbly wealthy one. When the matriarch witch in American Horror Story: Coven, played by Jessica Lange, declared that she “took all that power, poured it back into myself, and dressed it up in Chanel,” somewhere Donatella sprang from her vinyl leopard couch and proclaimed, “This bitch is a Versace woman!” All fanciful guesswork, of course, because it’s hard to imagine Donatella Versace ever sitting still. After all, she designs upward of twelve collections a year, not to mention her side projects, including Versace hotels and decorating the interiors of private jets for Russian billionaires.
If fashion, like Versace, is about youth and vanity, it’s interesting that Donatella has decided to cast Madonna for her third Versace ready-to-wear campaign. “Madonna is one of the true icons of Versace,” the designer said. “I am thrilled to have my friend and the most powerful and directional artist as the face of Versace for spring 2015.” Madonna’s arms are long and robust, her hair a manicured mess of blond tresses that makes her look similar to Courtney Love. Her eyes impose an animalistic yearning, the kind that says that if she can’t have you in bed then she'll have you for dinner. In a 1997 profile in The New Yorker, published just days after Gianni’s assassination, Andrea Lee wrote that Donatella “seems to have come from within Gianni, like a rib taken from his side; he often told journalists that she was his ideal woman” (a curious observation, if only for its serpentine symbolism, as the same slithering reptile that adorns Medusa’s head might have lured Eve to sin). And, in an effort to multiply that image, Versace now gravitates only to other dangerous blondes: Lady Gaga, who fronted the brand’s last spring campaign; Anna Ewers, the face of fall 2014; and, finally, her many fragrance models, including Lara Stone, Candice Swanepoel, Lindsey Wixson and Iselin Steiro. Donatella herself was the original model of the Versace fragrance, Blonde, first released in 1995.
Lady Gaga for Versace, spring 2014
In that New Yorker piece, when asked if she enjoyed being photographed, Donatella Versace cried, “I detest it! But it’s good for business.” So explains the near-Medusa level of intrigue with vanity and image, not unlike another self-mythologizing designer, Rick Owens. He once reprimanded those who, as he told The Telegraph, “send these models out wearing these concoctions, and then they come out [after the show] in jeans and a sweatshirt.” He added, “It makes me crazy, because you are sending out this message that you don't believe in what you're saying." For Owens, who forgoes traditional channels of advertising and instead embodies and inhabits with an almost ecclesiastical fidelity the perfervid pursuit of “glunge” (glamour and grunge, as Owens calls it), his best form of advertising is himself — in any number of guises. This September, a 25-foot polystyrene statue of Rick Owens was erected outside the Selfridges department store on Oxford Street in London. Hard to miss.
But that was an awesome display of vanity rather than an effort to guarantee immortality. And immortality is what all these blonde Versace advertisements are about. Gianni Versace once wished he could alter the passage of time, saying, “I’d like to live forever. If there’s anything I’m afraid of, it’s missing what will happen tomorrow.” If the social and cultural fabric wrapped the elite in comfortable layers of their own mightiness, Gianni ripped those layers to expose midriffs and thighs and daring inches of neck. It’s possible that Donatella might not have become aware of her own mortality had Gianni not met such an early death. In fact, she is known to carry the pewter skeleton key to Casa Casuarina — the last thing Gianni touched — as a reminder of what it means to live, and to live with purpose. It’s fair to say that Donatella is one of the most ingenious branding strategists of our time. She’s the most bankable blonde since Barbie. She carried Gianni’s flame with pomp and pluck to generate her own heat. And it’s very, very hot.
Gianni and Donatella Versace at the launch of their Blonde fragrance in 1996
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