Daily Tips: Allan Kaprow’s Posters

Allan Kaprow (1927–2006) is considered to be the founding father of the Happening, of Environments and Activities: terms that he continued to redefine throughout his career. With a wide selection of images, this publication, designed by Coline Sunier and Charles Mazé, documents Kaprow’s posters, a lesser-known side of his work, produced between 1953 for his first show at the Hansa Gallery, New York and 1996 at Kunsthalle Palazzo, Liestal. Most of these posters were designed by Allan Kaprow and are characterized by their aesthetic quality, the earliest ones in particular a combination of hand-lettered text and drawings and the later ones of photographs and typographic text in a minimalist style. More than merely advertising Happenings or Activities, these posters act as scores/tools for the participants to the Happenings and as everyday objects that blur the boundaries between art and life.

The Blogazine 

Design Parade 10 at Villa Noailles

Set in a modernist villa, designed in the 1920s for Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles – an art-patron couple who put their Modernist residence at the disposal of avant-garde artists – Design Parade couldn’t be a more fitting place for nurturing young talent. Now in its 10th year, Design Parade has witnessed the ‘coming of age’ of a number of contemporary practitioners. Following a simple and straightforward concept – an open call for participation, from which a jury selects 10 candidates who are then invited to exhibit their work at the VillaDesign Parade usually constitutes the first arena where designers who are fresh out of school test their ideas and see them positioned in the wider context. Juxtaposed to solo exhibitions of previous years’ winners as well as influential contemporary practitioners, the work of 10 selected designers takes on a different, more nuanced note – at the same time more serious and concrete as well as pleasantly naïve.

The selection of ten designers also implies a curatorial choice from the jury – this year composed of Pierre Charpin, the famous French designer who is also at the centre of a solo exhibition at the Villa, Fabien Cappello, a young designer based in London, last year’s winner Laura Couto Rosado, Barbara Coutinho, Jean-Marc Drut, Philippe Jousse, Catherine Tsékénis and Nathalie Du Pasquier. The way selected works form a narrative, a dialogue between each other contributes to how they will be understood and appreciated. This year’s selection, though, doesn’t lack eclecticism. From modular furniture to a folding sled, from organic materials to hybrid electronic devices, from recycled objects to conceptual lighting, from re-invention of ornaments to hi-tech use of bamboo, from the form of music to experiments with electrolysis.

Formally impeccable, these projects nevertheless fit neatly within the canon of design practice today. But is this the role of Design Parade? Its close connection with industry – the winner is awarded a year-long scholarship at CIRVA (International Glass and Arts Research Centre) – gives this competition a no-nonsense flair. All exhibited projects could, potentially, be put into production, and explore issues that are far away from notions of critical design that are at the centre of design research today. While this does not reduce the value of exhibited projects, it does position them in a different strand, posing a necessary question – can Design Parade really serve as the barometer for design practice today?


Next Big Names: Paris Fashion Week

For the past month, wenswear fashion weeks have followed their established schedule, with quirky Paris following the sombre runways of Milan. In Paris, we spotted some great emerging talents, that we believe have what it takes to develop even more and possibly grow to become the next big menswear names.

Julian Zigerli was born in Switzerland and graduated from the University of Arts in 2010 before founding his eponymous label. He is now showing his work at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, having previously showin in Milan, and has been enjoying huge success both locally and internationally with his colourful and playful design that focuses on combining sport references with colour, cut and interesting structures. Those were also the key words to describe his Spring 2016 collection.

Umit Benan, Istanbul-raised designer, that dreamed of a Hollywood career before redirecting his focus to fashion. Since then, he has studied at the Marangoni Institute in Milan, taken styling courses at Central Saint Martins and studied pattern-making at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. For his Spring 2016 collection, Benan has refined his take on masculinity with tropical Cuba standing for inspiration. Cuban references did not end with clothes: he brought Havana clubs to Paris by staging his show in a Peruvian restaurant on the outskirts of the French capital. The military stood for another clear style influence, with desert boots and army green populating his collection.

Pigalle, a brand that shares the nomination for 2015 ANDAM awards with Umit, was founded by Paris-born Stephane Ashpool. The brand aims to combine streetwear with old Parisian fashion traditions. The brand’s fashion show was not like many others – staged at the Palais Garnier in Paris, Oko Ebombo sang before Pigalle sent their Spring 2016 collection down the marble stairs. The collection stood out among other collections with interesting pieces such as suits paired with long layered shirts and Cossack hats.

These three, very different brands show that Paris has developed a great menswear scene with both established names and upcoming designers that are pushing the limits of traditional menswear design. It is interesting to see the development that has taken place in the latest couple of years within the field: the brands mentioned above are all part of a great change.

Hanna Cronsjö 

Breaking the Mould: Thomas Heatherwick

From the UK pavilion at Shanghai Expo to the famous re-design of London’s double-decker buses, the work of Thomas Heatherwick breaches the boundaries of traditional design practice. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, Heatherwick established his design studio in 1994, shaping a highly inventive approach to everyday design challenges – he combines novel engineering with new materials and innovative technology to create unusual, often sculptural, building forms. A new exhibition at recently re-opened Cooper Hewitt museum in New York celebrates the designer’s work with an overview of his career titled “Provocations”.

‘Provocations’ celebrates the inventive approach of the Heatherwick Studio and reveals the design process and concepts behind the firm’s incredible products and buildings, from the rotation-molded Spun chair—recently acquired into Cooper Hewitt’s permanent collection—to large architectural projects like the Learning Hub in Singapore,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “Cooper Hewitt is committed to shaping how people think about design and this exhibition will have visitors marvelling at Heatherwick’s groundbreaking work.”

“Provocations” examines the astonishing range of Heatherwick Studio’s practice by focusing on the design concepts behind projects ranging in scale from small personal products to a number of current large public and private architectural works. “Provocations” is curated by Brooke Hodge and will focuses on the design process of 43 of Heatherwick Studio’s projects through the display of prototypes, presentation and sketch models, full-scale mockups, objects, photographs and film and video footage. Among Heatherwick Studio’s latest high-visibility designs that are on view as part of Cooper Hewitt’s presentation are the Learning Hub at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, the 2014 Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Laverstoke, England, the 2012 redesign of London’s double-decker buses, known as the New Routemaster, and the cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games torch.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of the Cooper Hewitt 

DIY – Skaters and Subculture in Richard Gilligan’s Book

DIY can be described as a movement within skateboarding which operates outside civic and societal norms. Through the utilisation of skater-constructed spaces, which are ordinarily, an adaptation of existing, but often abandoned, terrain in both urban and rural settings, the modern skateboarder transcends the need to exist within a more conventional environment. Utilising found materials, these unauthorised and often illegal temporary constructions have fascinated photographer Richard Gilligan, who has spent the past four years tracking down these ephemeral spaces throughout Europe and the US. His pictures show how skaters and DIY builders free themselves from the constraints of societal rules, creating their own domain in which to practice this peripheral pursuit. Gilligan’s photographs were documented in a book, simply titled DIY, published by 19/80 Éditions.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of 19/80 Éditions 

Style Suggestions: A-line Dress

There is nothing simple than a fancy A-line dress for your perfect Summer look. Pair these three pieces with classy accessories for those lazy days along the coast.

Dresses from top right to bottom left: Proenza Schouler, Miu Miu, Christopher Kane, Shoes: Acne Studios, Sunglasses: Dolce&Gabbana

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 


Paris Fashion Week – Menswear SS/2016

Paris is always a good idea: this past fashion week established just why this saying is so often used. Elements of color, detail and stylistic inspiration materialized styles that were thought provoking and definitely “good ideas” for the year to come.

Colors – Black, White, Beige and Mustard: Besides segments of blue making their way into Parisian collections, the colors for the season seemed to go back to basic with a surprising hint of mustard, as seen at Strateas Carlucci, among a few. Black and white dominated both Haider Ackermann and Maison Margiela runways, but was accented with other basic colors such as beige and grey.

Detail – A Feminine Touch: On several runways, we could spot details previously ascribed to female styles. There were, for example, the neck scarves casually tied around the models’ necks, with abstract patterns, as seen at Yohji Yamamoto, or a more somber and classical stripe, as seen at Officine Générale. Givenchy re-introduced the male skirt in different varieties – with pleats, in denim or with a Jesus print. Men in skirts are just another step in the layering process. Belted waist was also a popular accent, as showcased by Issey Miyake.

Silhouette – All in One: The jumpsuit has, for several seasons, been spotted at the runways, where it is now introduced as the prime menswear piece for spring 2016. At fashion houses such as Kenzo and Acne Studios, the jumpsuit was dressed with a utility touch in vibrant colors, whether in bold prints or sophisticated block-coloured looks.

Inspiration – Military Influences: The marching band may not have been playing on runways in Paris, but there was a definite influence of military on several collections. Military references graced specific silhouettes, such as jackets seen at 3.1. Philip Lim, and overall looks as seen at Balmain. The camouflage print was also used for an added twist to otherwise classical pieces, such as Dior Homme sweater vests, pants and ties, which were adorned in camouflage, while Valentino used the print as an outer shell on shirts and jackets.

Victoria Edman 

Apartment no. 50, a Renewed Cult

Apartment no. 50 at the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille has been recently invested of a renewed form of interest and veneration. The reason of this re-emerging passion has, of course, something to do with its great place in the history of architecture. Nevertheless, it is also connected with the capacity to reinvent its allure, updating its capacity to relate with the contemporary through new cultural politics.

Jean-Marc Drut, Apartment 50’s owner for the last couple of years ago, felt that this place was too important to be experienced only through images in books. Thus, he decided to periodically open his home to the public in order to allow people to experience the space, the proportions and the light that Le Corbusier conceived for his great architectural vision. Among other apartments of the Unité d’Habitation, Apartment no. 50 has not been upset during the years and thus preserves all the elements that made these flats unique: the entrance at the upper floor – originally being the Unité’s duplex – from the mezzanine, the stairs lead to a wider lower space.

Drut’s involvement, nevertheless, is not limited to being an enlightened host. Since 2009, he has invited several international designers – Jasper Morrison, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Pierre Charpin – to furnish the space through their sensitivity and with their products. This year, on the contrary, this chance has been offered to ECAL’s students, who participated in a workshop in September 2014 and then developed a series of products conceived exclusively for this place.

It may sound unexpected, but the result achieved by ECAL is even more stimulating than that of the previous years. All these objects, in fact, are both bespoke and anonymous: we didn’t have the time to see them through fairs, exhibitions or catalogues. Magazines didn’t celebrate their beauty through contests and reviews. Thus, they do not transform the Unité d’Habitation into a sophisticated showcase, but keep on enlivening Le Corbusier’s project respecting its genius loci: a “machine à habiter” dedicated to common people and everyday life.

Giulia Zappa

Upcoming Talents from Milano Moda Uomo

As one of the worlds finest fashion capitals, with a long list of international and influential fashion brands based in the city, Milan has struggled to find room for its upcoming talents. Instead, cities such as London and New York have been more obvious choices for young designers aiming at a breakthrough, and the fashion debate has been dominated by possible solutions to what could be considered as Italian fashion’s biggest challenge. However, Italian upcoming talents have recently started to receive more attention and support. These efforts led to a great improvement when it comes to supporting and celebrating upcoming talents, so here are two of these promising menswear names.

MSGM is a contemporary and modern brand that had its real breakthrough last season when they became the brand on everyone’s lips following their first Milanese show. They became a popular label within the blogosphere as much as on the streets – two important arenas to win when aiming to appeal to the younger crowd, which seems to be one of MSGM’s many goals.

Andrea Pompilio is the master graduate from Istituto Marangoni and winner of the 2011 edition of Who’s on Next, the contest for emerging designers sponsored by Vogue. He is influenced by his two style icons and grandfathers, one a true gentleman with tailored suits, the other a military – two strong sources of inspiration that feel present in most of Pompilio’s work.

When summarising the efforts of the emerging talents in Milan (and the rest of Italy, of course), it is clear that the situation has improved radically in just a couple of years thanks to projects such as the previously mentioned Who’s on Next and the support of Giorgio Armani, to name a few. Even though the situation is better today and the future of Italian fashion seems brighter than before, there are still things that could be improved to optimise the chances for the promising talents to develop into established names. It is no doubt that these two will, and already have, meet great success with their work. They represents three different takes on menswear, and the fact that they are all showing in Milan is a sign for how versatile both menswear and Milan fashion week have grown to become.

Hanna Cronsjö 

Through the Lens of Polly Penrose

From Andy Warhol’s little known Torsos and Sex Parts series to Robert Mapplethorpe’s explicit work, using the medium of photography to explore the limits and nature of the human body shapes an ongoing and fast evolving subject of research. And yet, the photographer Polly Penrose brings a new and unmediated touch to this body of work, with her soft exploration of female identity. Part of an ongoing series titled “A Body of Work”, “I Was Never Good at Yoga”, shown here, was shot in a yoga studio over a limited period of time as an examination of how the human body can be at once material, raw and unbearably present, while at the same time result almost transient, immaterial and in perpetual transformation.

Images courtesy of Polly Penrose