Dries Van Noten needs no introduction. As a member of the legendary Antwerp Six, he took London by storm in the 80s with a menswear collection that was bought by Barneys as women's. The rest is history. And he continues to make history every season, going from strength to strength. Last night saw the unveiling of his first major retrospective, Inspirations, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The private view was fittingly hosted by Barneys and it was a fabulous affair, with fashion designers Claude Montana, Rick Owens, Phillip Lim, Kris Van Assche and many more in attendance — proof that Dries has an unrivalled appeal among his peers, no matter their age.
Alongside curator Pamela Golbin, Dries Van Noten has created a uniquely experiential show, with some very personal insights into his life and inspirations. It started with a room full of names and corresponding cabinets full of mannequins wearing legendary pieces by the likes of Claude Montana and Kansai Yamamoto set against a backdrop of record covers ranging from Grace Jones to David Bowie — like a glimpse into Dries’ teenage bedroom. Pieces from his graduate collection are shown alongside these greats, setting the tone for the show.
His work is beautifully presented in glass cases, with paintings by Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst alongside them, and pieces from Elsa Schiaparelli, Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld, emphasizing his insatiable appetite for culture, his love of fashion and art, and his finger on the pulse. One room has a wall of videos showing craftsmen in India, beading the most intricate pieces by hand, and we were told that Dries keeps a entire factory busy with this.
The show seamlessly crescendoed into the current spring collections, making it clear that Dries’ designs are timeless and here to stay. It was poignant to watch editors pointing out the pieces in the glass cases that they had themselves, and even more fun in this final room to see people beaming, looking at the outfits they were wearing behind the glass. It's an unmissable show that we couldn’t recommend more.
Two of Los Angeles' better-known fine artists, Barbara Kruger and Sterling Ruby (he of Raf Simons fashion fame), are tiptoeing into the world of dance, designing the sets for the opening of LA Dance Project's residency at the Ace Hotel Theatre, a lavish Spanish Gothic space dating from 1927.
Of the two productions, Kruger's larger-than-life and atypically romantic typography stole the show. The words "Think of Me Thinking of You" were emblazoned across the stage and backdrop, which the company's founder Benjamin Millepied (former face of Yves Saint Laurent's L'Homme Libre fragrance) staged his piece, Reflections, following its debut last year at Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet. Speaking of Paris, Millepied will soon decamp for the City of Light with his wife, Natalie Portman, to become director of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Ruby's visual concept accompanied a piece called Murder Ballades, choreographed by Justin Peck and based on folk songs of the deadly and cautionary sort from the early 20th century. They were reworked into chamber music by Bryce Dessner, guitarist from The National. In typically dark fashion, Ruby contributed a color-field backdrop of rectangles painted in splotchy colors, reminiscent of a tattered Stars and Stripes — not unlike his couture tie-dyes for Dior.
FIAF, the French cultural center of New York (and the best place in the city to learn French), welcomes multimedia artist Jessica Sofia Mitrani with a screening of her fashion short Headpieces for Peace. Using graphic prints originally designed by threeASFOUR for their Insalaam Inshalom exhibition in Tel Aviv (2011), the video blurs the line between various religious headgear to clever and humorous effect.
The eleven pieces featured in the film, which won the grand prize in A Shaded View on Fashion Film festival in 2012, will also be on display. The installation is part of a month-long fashion focus at FIAF, which includes talks with Thom Browne and Joseph Altuzarra.
Jessica Sofia Mitrani: Headpieces for Peace
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 6-8pm
FIAF Gallery, 22 East 60th Street, NYC
Foam is loads of fun and full of cheer, two qualities that make it an ideal prop for Brazilian-American photographer Marcelo Krasilcic, whose upbeat fashion photos have appeared in Elle, L'Officiel and Purple. Opening February 6, he'll exhibit new mixed-media works incorporating polyurethane foam, the latest in a performative series started in Fire Island Pines last August, in which he invited audience members to don foam scraps of various sizes and colors. They were then asked to take selfies and upload them to social media using the hashtag #phofoam, a fitting word mash-up. Foam pieces will also be on hand during the opening (February 6, 6-9 pm) to continue the selfie indulgence.
#PHOFOAM, February 6–28, 2014, OSMOS Address, 50 E. 1st Street, NYC
The Grammys were a particularly epic awards ceremony this year, both onstage — Flash mob marriages! Pyrotechnics! Pharrell Williams' hat! — and on the red carpet, where the dresses were either particularly inspired or whatever the opposite of that is. Or as we like to call it: the great and the grisly. Here there are...
Let's just get this out of the way: Beyoncé owned the night...
Nadeea, on the other hand...
People were hating on Katy Perry's frou-frou gown, but it works for us. Valentino couture, hello...
We literally cannot with Paula Patton's dress...
Madonna in groom-black Ralph Lauren. She switched to bride-white for the mass marriages...
Candy-cane smokestacks, glittery oil wells, Kool-Aid sludge. These are the sugar-coated, artificial impressions in David LaChapelle's latest solo show, LAND SCAPE, at Paul Kasmin gallery. The sites in the photographs — oil refineries and gas stations — are scale models, made out of cardboard, egg cartons, hair curlers, and other recycled materials. Shown as shining, color-saturated, cartoon-like places, they are thus reduced, sweetened, and otherwise stripped of their negative, inconvenient connotations — in order to shed light on those very connotations. The backgrounds — the coastlines of California and the jungles of Maui — are photographed realistically.
This is familiar territory for LaChapelle, who's made a career out of extreme airbrushing, the objectification of self-involvement and addiction, and repeatedly crossing the line between beautiful and grotesque. Drag queens, transexuals, eccentrics, fashion designers, and now petroleum dependence, have been burnished to the point of otherworldliness.
David LaChapelle, LAND SCAPE, January 17 - March 1, 2014, Paul Kasmin, 293 Tenth Ave, NYC