A few nights ago, MoMA Film and Chanel hosted an intimate tribute to Tilda Swinton. It was her birthday, too, so loads of VIPs came out for the very special evening. Everyone from Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour to Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Biel showed up, plus scads of brand ambassadors. And there was Justin Vivian Bond, who many remember as the drunk, wobbly, and delightfully off-color character Kiki from the Tony-nominated act Kiki and Herb.
On this night Justin wasn't drunk or wobbly (off-color, perhaps). Good thing, because out of nowhere Justin was asked to give a toast to Tilda and sing a ditty. Ever the pro, Justin rose to the occasion with aplomb and good humor, as described here (pictures from Facebook)...
"The whole evening was mind-boggling. I was tapped at the last minute to toast Tilda because it was her birthday. It was literally like someone from MoMA tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'We'd like you to toast Tilda's birthday. The mayor is about to go on and he'll introduce you.' Jesus, I had to think quick. I was eating, so I made them wait for me to go to the ladies room to freshen up my lipstick. Anyway, Tilda's favorite line of Kiki's has always been, 'It's time to make Mama pretty!' So I ended with that and raised my glass of champagne. She was seated next to David Bowie so when I went to give her a kiss and a hug, she introduced us. I wish someone had gotten a picture of Orlando introducing Kiki to Ziggy! Nonetheless it was a crazy moment. Afterwards we went back to her hotel room and had a good cackle about it all."
The wonderful thing about Richard Avedon is that, even as he found spectacular success shooting exactingly directed images of models destined for fashion magazines, he loved shooting candids of women with big personalities. And some of those were models, too. More than 100 of these off-kilter photographs are on view in Women, a new exhibition at Gagosian Beverly Hills and the first solo show of his work in the L.A. area since 1976.
The exhibition opens with an extreme close-up of Cheryl Crane, daughter of actress Lana Turner, photographed shortly after her exoneration for the killing of her mother’s abusive boyfriend at the age of 14. That's followed by a 1959 portrait of Brigitte Bardot, shown in an introspective light far from the sexy insouciance she's associated with. Other subjects include Elizabeth Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald, Anjelica Huston, Lauren Hutton, Verushka, Comtesse Jacqueline de Ribes, and socialite and columnist Elsa Maxwell (1957), lying in bed with her pet skunk.
Avedon: Women, November 1 - December 21, 2013, Gagosian Beverly Hills, 456 North Camden Drive, Los Angeles. Images © The Richard Avedon Foundation
Like all great designers, Alber Elbaz is a lover of the arts — and increasingly, a patron. And so, in conjunction with an exhibition of César Baldaccini at Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery in New York, the Lanvin designer paid tribute to the sculptor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In the 1940s César took classes at the centuries-old classical arts academy, where he eventually became a professor.
In the grand Amphitheatre d’Honneur, a picnic dinner was served, dreamed up by chef Jean-François Piège. Among chicken confit and mini-burgers, there was, of course, Caesar salad. That was followed by a reading by French actor Emmanuel Salinger of Etgar Keter’s fictional interpretation of César’s famous series of crushed cars. Lanvin is further showcasing three works by the artist in its rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré windows.
Prada isn't content to be the artist's preferred fashion label. Following a six-month search for writers, the Italian house unveiled the winners of the Prada Journal literary contest in its Soho Epicenter in New York.
Not for the word-shy, the event saw the flagship transformed into a “theater of conversation and exchange,” an idea taken from the literary salons of yore, intimate and dark spaces ideal for telling stories.
The contest, created in partnership with Giangiacomo Feltrinelli publishers, drew 1,313 entries from all over the world. Each hopeful responded to the question: “What are the realities that our eyes give back to us? And how are these realities filtered through lenses?” Because, yes, this is also about promoting a line of optical glasses, Prada Journal, a suitably nerdy style for him and a slightly cat-eye style her. Think beatnik.
The five winners — Mattia Conti, Leisl Egan, Angel Mario Fernández, Sarah Harris Waman, Peng Yang — will receive 5000 euros each. Their winning manuscripts will also be digitally published jointly by Prada and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli later this year. But the prize among prizes might have been the animated reading of the entries by authors Jonathan Ames, Zoe Kazan, Anthony Mackie, Jay McInerney and Gary Shteyngart.
It was very much a family affair at the dinner to inaugurate Jean-Paul Gaultier's exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, celebrating the latest leg of a worldwide tour that started in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2011. The festivities began as a cozy cocktail party given by Piper Heidsieck champagne (remember the corset bottle Gaultier designed for the bubbly brand?), where we spotted Calvin Klein, Carine Roitfeld, Karlie Kloss, and Stefano Tonchi. We gracelessly threw back a few and raced into the dark halls of the exhibit, with their suggestive red neon lights and plush pink walls.
Soon enough it was time for dinner in one of the museum's grand salons, where we were treated to a toast from the easy-on-the-eyes French-Canadian curator, Thierry-Maxime Loriot, who brought up to the podium a smattering of Gaultier's muses over the years. Within minutes, Beth Ditto, Eve Salvail, Farida Khelfa, Hannelore Knuts, and Coco Rocha were locked in a hug-fest behind him. The man of the hour, Gaultier, then spoke briefly of his self-styled vie en rose and, gesticulating generously, the importance of finding beauty everywhere. Heartfelt would be an understatement.
The White Cubicle Toilet Gallery is exactly what it sounds like, a gallery in a bathroom. Specifically, the bathroom in the George and Dragon Public House in London. As such, there's room for very small-scale works and not much else, but that's all that's needed for the kind of paper installation opening October 18, 8 pm - 12 am.
The first UK exhibit of the work of Paola Revenioti, a Greek transgender artist and activist, Kraximo comprises a collage installation of pages and photos from her magazine of the same name, a "trans-anarchist fanzine" published between 1986 and 1992. A devoted indie publisher if ever there were, Revenioti funded Klaximo through prostitution. The magazine featured articles on gay and trans rights, interviews with poets, and racy photographs of her encounters with men.
Curated by Konstantinos Menelaou of the Queer Archive, along with White Cubicle’s Paul Sammut, the Kraximo show is a continuation of an exhibit of Revenioti's photos and videos at Athens' Breeder Gallery in January of this year, the first time her work has been exhibited by an art institution.
Following the magazine's closure in 1992, Paola Revenioti organized and financed Greece's first gay pride that year in Athens. Still active, Revenioti continues to produce on transgender documentary projects and publish her writings online.
Kraximo, George and Dragon Public House, 2 Hackney Road, London E2, with a DJ set by The Sugarlow Boys and a special performance by A Man to Pet.
While Roger Vivier is credited with inventing the modern stiletto heel, an exclamation point if ever there were, he also did wonders with the demure "comma" heel. These and more shoe punctuation are explored in a retrospective at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
In Virgule, Etc., nearly 140 pairs of shoes trace the career of Roger Vivier, the French cobbler who designed the "pilgrim" pumps worn by Catherine Deneuve in the 1967 classic Belle de Jour, as well as the regal shoes for Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953, and who served as Christian Dior's shoe designer from 1953 to 1963.
Virgule, Etc., October 2 - November 18, 2013, Palais de Tokyo, 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116, Paris
Anna Piaggi — famed stylist, muse and Italian Vogue editor — wore hats, lots of hats, the more outlandish the better, much to the delight of her bestie, Stephen Jones. Rivaling his friend in eccentricity, the English milliner has curated a new exhibition in Milan, Hat-ology, in tribute to Piaggi, who died last year.
In tableau style, the exhibition recreates her quirky, packed Milanese apartment, showcasing 150 of the roughly 800 hats she owned. Among them is Jones's favorite piece that he made for her, "a coquettish Union Jack top hat. She wore it to the opening of her exhibition Fashion-ology at the Victoria and Albert museum in 2003." Naturally he named it Anna P.
Together, the items in Hat-ology create a kind of autobiography of Piaggi, going as far back as her marriage to photographer Alfa Castaldi and her friendship with Karl Lagerfeld early in their careers. It says something that when the book The Beautiful Fall came out — which chronicled the tumultuous relationship between Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent, and included some of young Piaggi's exploits — she thought it was "very restrained."
Yet despite her over-the-top style, Jones remembers another side of Piaggi. "She was very family-oriented and doted on her brother," he recalls. "She came from a bourgeois Milanese family and reinvented herself from a rather normal duckling to a magnificent swan." His fondest memory of her is "welcoming me at her home in her Fendi print pyjamas with matching teddy bear. She believed that fashion was self-expression and loved the history of every piece she owned."
Piaggi's collection of hats and clothing, conserved by the London College of Fashion, belongs to the Associazione Culturale della Moda Italiana. There are plans for a larger exhibition in 2015, featuring the full extent of her wardrobe, so vast that it's still being cataloged, says Jones. "The 800 hats have been done, but what about the 1500 dresses, 63 fans, scarves, shoes, sunglasses?"
Hat-ology, through November 30, 2013, Palazzo Morando Costume Moda Immagine, Milan