My friend Yoni agreed to do a little posing for me so I could add some more dynamic work to my portfolio. In terms of photography, I'm usually really particular about the shots that I end up choosing, but Yoni gave me so many options that I am disappointed to only post about 3 on my blog. Even though I'm really into fashion, I need my photography to evoke feeling in its individuality more than anything. I've posted a photo from each of the 3 themes:
black and white
All my photography is copyright, so please ask before you use them. Thanks!
Alexa Horochowski's haunting installation artwork of a woman diving into a blue light. Horochowski is known for using water motifs in her art, and employs themes of life and death, the passage of time, and how children exist in their own locked memories where death is a distant fear.
Michael Pitt is the subject in close-up for Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matidin's short film, titled Your Skin Against My Skin,which opened the men's Yves Saint-Laurent Fall/Winter '09 show. Pitt, with his long hair, surrendering eyes, moist lips, and head pushed up against the wall, is in the position of the gazed here, and by a woman who narrates in sensual word foreplay what his flannel jackets and loose pants mean to her (...when they come off, of course). The video is interestingly a gender role reversal from what we are used to knowing about visual pleasure in narrative cinema, thanks to Laura Mulvey over thirty years ago. How do you feel about this video?
The question of true originality has been making its way as the "intellectual" theme through several seasons now --- take, Hussein Chalayan's Spring '09 show, McQueen's recent controversial Fall '09. Heck, seems like Gareth Purgh has been at it since the beginning with his avant-garde solar-panel silhouettes. The House of Chanel, one of the most commercialized brands in fashion, makes a cheeky commentary on its own label by having models carry what looks like those make-believe purses packaged in plastic that I used to buy in the toy aisles for my dolls. Otherwise, they look like frozen Chanel ice sculptures, but I'm going to go ahead and lean towards the first one. Karl has this ability to take our current cynicisms of materialism, and have us turn us against ourselves when it comes to our seemingly certain opinions on the necessity-beauty juxtaposition, because Chanel's reinvention of its handbag this season is undeniably enviable, hatable, and covetable all at once.Truthfully, the design seems perfect for Chanel when you consider its clientele.
It all seems to be crashing into each other at the right time, with Barbie's 50th Anniversary, her new look even...more artificial, blown-up, exaggerated than ever, as seen in ShopIntuition's new Tooktaka Barbie Line. MAC makeup did the Barbie thing long ago, but have tried to cash in on other plastic-like pop culture icons by collaborating with Hello Kitty --- which to me, is so last year. Nonetheless, they're doing seemingly well in profits, especially since they're marketing a cartoon animal that doesn't even wear makeup.
And if you think about it, we really do live in the era of the unnatural now don't we? In a previous post of mine, I've praised Zaha Hadid's polyurthane furniture for exhibiting true aesthetic shock that matches my own taste. The look of iPod's, Mac's all look like white plastic, essentially. Chanel has long had themes of plastic-like materials threaded into its fashion accessories, like those popular interlocking C earrings that have been counterfeited numerous times and sold in Richmond street markets. The bag this season is just a blatantly upfront example of this artificial luxury we desire, yet it still maintains a high degree of what I would consider, a quite brilliant design. Of course, it's not that this is a novel idea I'm writing about, per se, but it's the fact that we keep buying into it (no pun intended), so it doesn't feel like a new thematic discourse questioning the artificial, the real, the ugly or the beautiful anymore. We have loved cold, hard, shiny plastic since the beginning.
It seems like such a shame that even someone such as Olivier Theyskens cannot guarantee job security in a house which you would presume, have great vision to support Theysken's own. I'm sure everyone's heard of Nina Ricci's Fall/Winter '09 collection being one of the best the runways has seen this season, and I often don't advocate following runway reviews by high-powered commercial machines, but it's hard to deny how absolutely innovative Theysken's last swan song was.
Upon first glance at the collection, my eye went to the little bags with the hanging tassles. Part bohemian, part biker chic, very French. But when I sat down to really admire the collection for what it was, there was probably only one item that really kept pervading my mind: dammmmnnn, that is one great leather jacket. There must have been about five or six in total, and each one has a distinctive shape that gives Rick Owens a run for his money. It's not sleek, drapey and deconstructed the way Owens usually does it --- Theysken's jackets each have their own character. New leather jacket proportions include emphasis on big shoulders and sleeves (the big eighties comeback this Fall), waist-length, ruffled, bishoped....everything! Theyskens paired these jackets with slinky minis, tightsuits, and baggy, harem-style, 70's pants. The finishing touch on the runway: the exaggerated platform shoe. Dark and romantic, when combined together, the models all look like gorgeous hunchback darlings that are born too tall to fit in a small room on top of the gothic tower.
And can you imagine how much money is going to roll in the bank when a designer creates one great staple item in a collection that is still commercial but artistically exclusive? Shame on Ricci's CEO. I will sincerely miss the collaboration between Nina Ricci and Theyskens, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Electricity and I do not get along not only because I have a fear of getting electricuited in the most strangest ways possible ---- it's all those crazy wires and plugs, and they remind me of engineering which reminds me of my dad which reminds of why I was always bored of sciences which reminds me of why I wanted to be in clothing design in the first place. Although I must be a year and a half behind on this artist, I just want to emphasize the sheer creativity and large-scale light "sculptures" by Ai Wei Wei. My favorite one has to be the red lantern that looks like it's in the middle of falling down but is caught in freeze-frame motion. It's titled "Descending Light" and the sculpture is actually constructed out of glass crystals. Even on my recent shopping trips, I've picked up on admiring quality light installations and the drama they can create, even in an empty room.
I'm talking about furniture, not celebrities. Into its fourth year this June, Design Miami/Basel is the design fair to be at...if you could afford any of the furniture on sale. The fair is a sister project to the Art Basel Miami Beach, and presents "limited-edition, experimental and historically significant design work" that focuses on the discourse surrounding products that are creative and commercial. It's the haute couture show of industrial design, so if you can't buy a multimillion dollar installation by Jeff Koons, you can at least buy chairs for a fraction of the price. Of course, by fraction, I still mean a ticket price that's equivalent to a post-secondary degree in Canada.
One of the designers in this fair I'm especially excited about is architect Zaha Hadid, who made a gloss-finish polyurethane "aqua table" that's sold for $23,000. The prototype was auctioned for $300,000. And you can own it too on the Established & Sons website (even this webstore sounds like you need an exclusive access card to get in).
I couldn't stop drooling over Hadid's other products on the Established & Sons website. The serif shelves below are even more gorgeous: manufactured in polyester resin, and painted in a "bespoke" polyester colour, and finished with polyurethane lacquer. Hadid also created the colours of these shelves herself, so it'll almost be impossible to find a knockoff.
Anyways, back to Design Miami/Basel. Before I finish off this advertising plug of a blog, might I add: who better to be the Director of the design fair than Italy's chic and stylish "it" girl Ambra Medda. She's the real guns here, dressed in stark black and white, connecting the world's greatest designers, curators, critics, collectors and dealers. Oh, and she's only 25. And hangs out with Brad Pitt, of course. What parallel universe did she exist in where she was able to do so much in so little time?
So essentially, having great designers alone can't heighten a show to its high-life, upscale, exclusive status. You need a woman who has the European intellect and looks to represent the fair, especially for a trade where appearance is everything. Can you imagine what the show would have been like if someone that looked like Edna Everage was the director?
Remember when we were hired to follow someone and we became so obsessed with him/her, that when that person died, we found someone else that looked like him/her and made him/her dress up like the one that died? Me neither, but that's the plot for Hitchcock's Vertigo. My favorite scene is where James Stewart goes in a long, full-out, one-minute embrace with Kim Novak after she has "become" Madeline, and the camera does a 360-degree around the two actors, while James Stewart's head completely obscures Novak's face until the shot is complete. Absolutely perfect... and brings to mind the dizzying shot at the end where Stewart looks down the stairs of the bell tower. It's proof that Hitchcock's highly stylized movies have a long shelf life in pop culture --- case in point: doesn't Dries Van Noten's heavily-lined, death-stare eyes and slim-fitting, '60's style geometric dresses of his Spring 09 line come to mind?