22/08/2014

Style Suggestions: Denim

Spice up your skinny jeans this season with a fresh approach to all things denim. From culottes, skirts, shirts and jackets make your denim selection a little more interesting.

Denim Jacket: Proenza Schouler, Skirt: Roy Roger’s, Shoes: Toms, Scarf: Anya Hindmarch, Sunglasses: Prada

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

21/08/2014

Bouchra Jarrar: Modern Day Wear for Everyday Life

After nearly twenty years of working more or less anonymously in the ateliers of prominent fashion brands, fashion designer Bouchra Jarrar left the anonymous work behind her and founded her own brand in 2010. In 1994 after graduating from Duperré, her ambition to learn more about “diminutive details, to acquire a precise and meticulous savoir-faire” led her to Jean-Paul Gaultier jewelry licensee. Two years later she arrived at Balenciaga, where she worked as the studio director until 2006. In 2008 her passion for the ateliers of the couture houses and her wish to improve her knowledge of the know-how of couture and various tailoring techniques, brought her to Christian Lacroix where she became the couture head of design. In early 2010 her own high-end ready-to-wear house, which also offers custom-made creations to couture clients, became reality and Bouchra Jarrar Paris was founded.

The brand stands for a modern and elegant design philosophy, and Jarrar has declared it her mission to create an everyday wardrobe that will allow women to “reveal the elegance that we all possess, even if we don’t always know how to express it”. Twenty years in the industry, spent working with huge names such as Nicolas Ghesquière, have sharpened her technique and she has learned the mastery of fabrics and cuts – skills that today serve as a key in order to stay true to her concept of designing an elegant everyday wardrobe. This season is no exception: with a neutral color palette dominated by grey, black and white, Jarrar she uses the details to make the collection more unique. The result is a simple and clean collection with contrasting colors, patterns, interesting constructions and innovative cuts which makes it perfectly suited for our everyday life.

Her great experience of the industry in combination with her never ending desire to develop and learn more about the craft, has made her brand a success story in just a few years. She was awarded the Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal in recognition of her contribution to the French arts. We couldn’t but be happy that Bouchra Jarrar took the final steps into the spotlight, which seems to be exactly the place where she belongs.

Hanna Cronsjö 
20/08/2014

Larry Clark: Tulsa and Teenage Lust

In 1971 Larry Clark wrote on the pages of Camera magazine: “I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January 1943. When I was 16 I started shooting valo. Valo was a nasel inhaler you could buy at the drugstore for a dollar with a tremendous amount of amphetamine in it. We would work up a shot and shoot it. I shot with my friends everyday through high school. When I was eighteen I left Tulsa and went to art school and studied photography. In 1963 I went back to Tulsa and shot valo and took pictures for a few months. Then I went to New York City to become a magazine photographer but I was drafted so I did two years in the army.”

“All my friends back in Tulsa were into burglary and armed robbery and did time in the penitentiary. Also my younger sister was now shooting. I went back two or three times and in 1968 I spent the summer with my friends and did pictures and 16mm film and tape recordings. I didn’t do many pictures because there was so much dope around. We had more than you could shoot. We lived in an apartment with some girls who were prostitutes and then had some tricks who were doctors so we had everything from liquid amphetamine to morphine pharmaceutical. The police were hot on everybody and busted the door down a few times. I was arrested for weed in one bust and the police took my camera and film and recorder and tape. I got the recorder and camera back a year later abut they still have some film and tape.”

As direct and unmediated as his words, Larry Clark’s early projects Tulsa and Teenage Lust depict violence, sex and drug use with rawness, unpolished truth and subjectivity. These two series, on which Clark worked between 1963 and 1983, and which established his reputation, are currently on show at Foam Museum in Amsterdam. Larry Clark – Tulsa/Teenage Lust will run through September 12th 2014.

Images courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine Gallery 
19/08/2014

Cité Radieuse with Daniel Buren on Top

Four years ago, the French designer Ora-Ïto worked on the terrace of the Cité Radieuse in Marseille, the first Unité d’Habitation and one of the best examples of brutalist architecture, completed by Le Corbusier in 1952, with the aim of converting what was once a gymnasium into an art space. The roof of the giant ‘urban steamer’ was subjected to a lengthy restoration that brought it back to the original plan and converted into a contemporary art center of 600 m². A year after its opening, the project titled “Défini, Fini, Infini” by French artist Daniel Buren took over the open-air museum with seven works of monumental art, subverting the prospects through reflection and visual fractures generated by contrasting colors and mirroring surfaces. The French artist spent five months working on the project specifically for the space of Cité Radieuse, proposing an in situ work that plays with Le Corbusier’s architecture. Playing with a work of Le Corbusier was a big gamble, but it seems that Daniel Buren has succeeded.

The intervention – with a strong aesthetic outcome – uses different sculptural blocks of pure, well defined color and angled mirrored panels that alternate along one edge of the roof, reflecting slices of heaven and beton brut. On the small outdoor theatre, on the long side wall and on the bottom of the vent stack, a combination of mirrors and color panels rebuild the space, deconstructing it ad infinitum, and defining a new vision of this iconic architecture of the Modern Movement. This game in space, the reflections of lights and parts of the landscape are building a contemporary unit, a graphic proposal where the body is the center of this three-dimensional game.

Works created by Daniel Buren are composed of mirrors and frames with bright colors on Dibond panels (aluminum composite panels). These extremely smooth surfaces also play with rough surfaces of the raw concrete or cement. The contrast is striking and spot-on, and this combination of different ‘skins’ invites the hand to caress both the work of Buren, as well as Le Corbusier’s rough concrete. Buren neglects the humors of painting in favor of the synthesis of perceptual phenomenon, by using visual tools that modulate space and guide the visitor beyond the limits of recognizable. The light, which reflects on the mirrors, acts as a third eye, allowing you to see what’s in front and behind, leading the viewer in a kaleidoscopic revelation of events. This can also be seen at night when the light passes through the large window, covered with translucent multicolor sheets, doubling the chromatic effects on the surfaces of the surrounding elements.

In the old gym, Buren plays with colors and mirrors: the floor is a carpet of mirrors, the interior facade becomes a window. The visitor feels like facing a television test pattern. At night, the play of light on the vent stack and the cuboid concrete of the kiosk lifts complement the work of Buren and give the whole terrace a truly dreamlike feeling. Daniel Buren therefore proposed the work with the idea of a real contemporary architectural project, a journey where landmarks in space are diverted to infinity, where the sheets of his works bring into contrast those of Le Corbusier’s and the landscape of Cité Radieuse’s rooftop ended in a new visual definition.

Giulio Ghirardi 
18/08/2014

El Greco And Modern Painting At Prado

This week we abandon our aptitude for contemporary to jump back to the Renaissance and have a look at the work of one of the all-time great masters of painting: El Greco, born Dominikos Theotokopoulos (1541 – 1614) in Crete, but working and living in Toledo, Spain. We decided to spend some words on this remarkable Greek artist not just because Prado Museum devoted an important retrospective to the masterpieces of Spanish Renaissance: El Greco And Modern Painting, including some extraordinary pieces executed by him in different periods of his life, but mainly because he was undoubtedly a forerunner, a key figure of art history, too forward for being fully understood by his peers.

With experience gained by traveling throughout Italy and Spain, El Greco developed a unique style, not ascribable to any conventional school, which encompasses elements of Post-Byzantine art, along with ingredients of Mannerism and Italian Renaissance spiced with an uncommon flair for modernism. He was an outsider of his time who got his place in the pantheon of artists with a capitol “A” only in the 20th century. The Spanish museum offers the occasion to admire the refined work of the artist who is considered to be the precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism. The elongated and sinuous silhouettes that remind us of ghosts, the weird palette of unreal colours and the virtuosity of technique combined with the strong expressivity, characterized the conceptual art of El Greco, far from the mere naturalism and focused on human spirit and mind.

Among the works by El Greco on view at Prado we count The Annunciation, The Flight to Egypt, The Trinity, The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, accompanied by other works of the outstanding permanent collection such as The Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit of Sánchez Cotán. Even if you are a rabid fan of contemporary art, you cannot avoid being enchanted by the expression of a genius. The exhibition will be on show until October 5th.

Monica Lombardi 
15/08/2014

Disobedient Objects at the V&A in London

Design has many faces and can be discussed in many terms: it encompasses both craft and industrial production, one-off artefacts and mass produced objects; it can be technical, poetic, naïve or iconic, it can be futuristic or part of a broader historical narrative, it can be boring, repetitive or ground-breaking and original, it can serve the economy or work in function of broader cultural and social goals. This summer, the V&A museum in London has decided to explore the idea of design as a means of social change in a smart and vibrant exhibition titled “Disobedient Objects”.

“Disobedient Objects” departs from the idea that art and design can act as powerful tools for social change. From Chilean folk art textiles that document political violence to a graffiti-writing robot, defaced currency to giant inflatable cobblestones thrown at demonstrations in Barcelona, to a political video game about the making of mobile phones, Disobedient Objects demonstrates how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity. The exhibition showcases forms of making that defy standard definitions of art and design: the objects on display are mostly produced by non-professional makers, collectively and with limited resources as effective responses to complex situations, showing that often the most powerful designs come from those that would never consider themselves designers.

“Disobedient Objects” runs until February 1st 2015 at the V&A Museum in London.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of the V&A Museum, London 
14/08/2014

Style Suggestions: Travel Luggage

The most important place to start when preparing for a vacation is your luggage. Suitcases, overnight bags and travel kits are an investment that you will never regret and can last you a lifetime.

Duffle Bag: Wheelmen & Co, Wallet: Valentino, Eyewear Case: Valextra, Toiletry Case: WANT Les Essentiels De La Vie, Suitcase: Tumi

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

13/08/2014

Rudi Gernreich Against Fashion

Swimsuits are seldom considered rightful members of the ‘clothes’ category. While clothes are supposed to cover the body, swimsuits are actually ‘what is left’ after we take our clothes off in stepping out of the shades of winter into warm summer sun. Swimsuits hold a double power: they both need to pass unnoticed, maintaining a certain level of decorum, as well as serving as attract attention, serving as an for the body. In the 60s, one designer stood out for his work on the idea of swimsuit seen as a communicative tool: Rudi Gernreich.

Gernreich is mainly remembered as the inventor of the monokini, a one-piece swimsuit leaving breasts exposed. The monokini caused public stir when it first appeared on the pages of Women’s Wear Daily in 1962, worn by the iconic Peggy Moffitt. Gernreich understood the power of the uncovered body, or better, the power of a body covered on strategic parts. For Gernreich, his designs served as tools for communicating his views on culture, gender and fashion itself. Conceived as a response to the repressive society of the time, the monokini was just the first dowel of a career filled with ‘scandals’: it was followed by a more extreme proposal, the pubikini, a swimsuit revealing pubic hair. In Gernreich’s futuristic view of fashion and the human being itself, sex was openly shown, while sensuality was totally absent.

Gernreich considered fashion as an open critique towards a conservative and ever more divided society, with its rigid class distinction that he could not stand. In 1970 edition of Time magazine, Gernreich gave his opinion about the future of fashion by showing a collection in which gender was completely negated: a sort of a utopian (or dystopian) future in which men and women, dressed and styled in the exact same way, could concentrate on themes deemed more important than superficiality of appearance and looks. His project was to be able to dress all people in the same way, to allow people to cross social boundaries and live in an equal society. At the same time, though, Gernreich knew this approach predicted the death of fashion; for him it was already finished. Even though Gernreich’s vision was too extreme to be accepted, it still remains interesting because of the importance of his creations on the development of social discourse of fashion.

Marta Franceschini 
12/08/2014

Copenhagen Fashion Week SS/2015 | Part Two

The fashion industry takes a lot of heat: mainly it’s accusations of being too trivial to actually matter in the real world. When attending fashion weeks you realize just how vast this “trivial” matter is. As you would expect, it all started in Paris. The founder of Haute Couture, Charles Frederick Worth invited socialites to view a selection of his pre-made original designs shown on women walking around simple runway. It was a novelty at the time, but it proved to be a great success and soon other designers followed. Thus, the Parisian Fashion Week was born. During the second World War, the occupation of France forced the world to look to other countries for a fashionable kick. Eleanor Lambert took advantage of it and shifted the press’ attention to New York and their local designers, calling it the Press Week. Giovanni Battista Giorgini was inspired by Lambert’s move and brought the press to Palazzo Pitti in Florence so that Italian designers could showcase their craftsmanship to the world. As Italian fashion grew in popularity the city of Florence couldn’t keep up and so the event was moved to Milan. In 1975 Milan presented its first Settimana Della Moda. A few years later London fashion week followed, completing the big four.

This year’s Copenhagen Fashion Week made clear what a big platform the fashion world actually is. As a discipline, fashion can be a way of communicating the simplest yet most intricate matters and fashion week poses as the elevated media for this subtle form of communication. Fashion weeks don’t simply serve as a way of showing the trends for upcoming seasons. Rather, it is a way of discussing topics, promoting talent and innnovation, as well as marketing one’s country via a highly acclaimed channel. At Copenhagen Fashion Week it was made clear how important sustainability is to the industry and the world, while Eva Kruse pointed out how fashion week brings jobs and opportunities to the table. Designers of Copenhagen were also given the opportunity to master their creative flow into a spectacular show, which Henrik Vibskov certainly showed to be a master of, with his fantastic watershow. The simple fact of putting oneself on the map might be enough of a reasons why fashion weeks were established in the first place and are still emerging all over the world, from Toronto to Copenhagen, all the way to Shanghai. In fact, fashion weeks have proved to be an excellent way to enhance the reputation of local designers and promote local creative industries in an ever more globalized world.

Victoria Edman 
11/08/2014

Richard Prince: It’s a Free Concert

Richard Prince (b. 1949, Panama Canal Zone. Currently lives and works in NY) doesn’t really need any presentation since his name is well known in the art environment. Starting from the late 70s, the American artist came to the attention of wider audiences by exhibiting in prestigious international art venues, reaching astronomical prices on auctions and imposing himself as one of the highest-paid players of the art market.

During his brilliant career, through painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and installation, Prince has traced aspects of American popular culture and subcultures as a sharp and ironic chronicler, reflecting on the issues of identity and taking inspiration from mainstream channels. From the process of re-photographing existing images, which counts the popular Cowboys series – exploiting the figure of Malboro man as an archetype of American masculinity – or the rockers, surfers and bikers with their Girlfriends, to the so-called Jokes paintings, wordplays and gags on monochromes full of humour and sarcasm, passing through the Car Hoods and Nurses series, Prince occasionally returns to some subjects and titles reusing or rearranging them in new narrations.

The beautiful Kunsthaus Bregenz celebrates Richard Prince’s genius with It’s a Free Concert, the first large-scale solo show in an Austrian institution, curated by Yilmaz Dziewior and Rudolf Sagmeister. The exhibition which features works revolving around rock and pop music (Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and the doo-wop bands from the 50s), sex and American street culture, encompassing the main topics and media dissected by the contemporary artist. If you’re planning a trip to Austria for your vacations add this must-see show to your schedule, you won’t regret it! The exhibition will run until October 5th.

Monica Lombardi