Style Suggestions: Denim

Denim will never go out of style, but this season on the runways it was reinvented in various cuts, treatments and forms. You can go classic or modern but what ever you decided denim will always be a safe bet for the wardrobe.

Jeans: Acne Studios, Shirt: Roy Roger’s, Jacket: Carven, Shoes: Pierre Hardy, Sunglasses: Saint Laurent, Backpack: A.P.C.

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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Nathalie Du Pasquier: Don’t Take These Drawings Seriously

It could be said that one of Nathalie Du Pasquier’s greatest virtues is patience. Though she is publicly mainly known as a founding member of Memphis, that short-lived yet hugely influential Italian radical design collective headed by Ettore Sottsass, Nathalie has never designed objects. For more than twenty years, she has gone to her studio every morning, tirelessly transforming our material reality into a series of works of art. Her particular form of expression has captured the essence of those small and apparently unimportant things into subtle visual poetry, capable of brining to life a world of ‘stuff’, vibrant, alive and much more significant than we are usually brought to believe.

Until recently, though, this myriad of compositions and worlds was kept silent, hidden in the drawings of Nathalie’s studio in Milan. Now, a new book published by PowerHouse Books, edited by Omar Sosa together with Nathalie Du Pasquier, collects drawings created between 1981, the year she became a member of Memphis, and 1987. “Don’t Take These Drawings Too Seriously.” is the first and definitive compilation of all the unpublished drawings from those years, organized by the smallest objects to the biggest and divided into chapters.

These drawings explore that peculiar relationship between what is real and what is not, between what we would like to believe in and what the reality is actually made of. As such, they are, perhaps, more real than the reality itself, also because now, thirty years after their initial creation, they can be seen as a document, a testament to that particular moment of unyielding creativity and uncompromising disruption with the past. Nathalie Du Pasquier is, indeed, patient. As is the essence of her work, steadily resisting the test of time.

Rujana Rebernjak 
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Earth matters: When Natural and Creative Forces Meet

One of our time’s biggest and most important topics, our environment, is the theme of the current exhibition Earth Matters, When Natural & Creative Forces Meet at Artipelag in Stockholm. The two curators - Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano – have put together pieces by over 40 different artists and designers from areas such as photography, fashion, design and art, with the purpose of drawing attention to the environmental problems caused by years of overconsumption and a selfish and irresponsible attitude towards the planet. Therefore, one of the exhibition’s key points is the fact that we can’t survive without our planet while the planet might be just fine without us. This plain and simple acknowledgment should leads us to another question, why aren’t we taking better care of it?

The German artist Jurgen Lehl, asked himself the same question. Lehl used to walk down the beach close to his home in Japan, but one day he suddenly found plastic particles mixed with grains of sand. For Earth Matters, he has created lamps made of bigger plastic objects which Lehl found on the beach after they had drifted to the shore Now they can be seen both as incredible art pieces and symbols of the dark side of years of overconsumption. Another designer who is showing her work in the exhibition is Vivienne Westwood, who has contributed with her famous manifesto which speaks out against climate change and the effects of capitalism and overconsumption.

This exhibition is relevant for everyone to see, because the topic is of the sort that everyone can not only relate to, but urgently get to grips with. In the same time, the exhibition does not only aim to repeat the old song about climate change, but it aims to show it in a visually powerful and impacting way, while, at the same, time offering exciting, creative and contemporary solutions through the means of art and design. By paying attention to new creative energy that is inspired by natural materials and sustainability, the exhibition succeeds to give the topic of sustainability a new dimension – the creative one. By interpreting the topic in many different creative shapes and forms, it becomes more real, and you are left with a feeling of both sadness and hope.

Hanna Cronsjö – Images courtesy of Artipelag 
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Daily Tips: LVMH Predicts the Future of Fashion

What is the future of fashion? Ho can it survive in such an aggressive, commercially-driven contemporary world if it is still to retain its position as an art form? For LVMH, the most significant fashion colossus today, the secret apparently lies in supporting and nurturing young talent, giving them the financial and conceptual framework to develop their individual paths presumably without restrictions. Launched in 2013, the second edition of LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers has announced its eight finalists who will follow last year’s winner, Thomas Tait. The designers are Arthur Arbesser, Coperni, Craig Green, Faustine Steinmetz, Jacquemus, Marques’ Almeida, Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh and Vetements, names who are already fairly well known in the fashion world (one of the conditions in the application process is that candidates must have presented at least two collections and are under 40). Are these the names that will shape the future of fashion? The one who wins will undoubtedly be on good track to get there.

The Blogazine 
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Object/Process: Gianfranco Ferré at Palazzo Reale

Design is a scientific discipline. In many cases, it stands nearer to mathematics than to art, due to all the weighting variables that have to be taken into account in the creative process. Despite the name, fashion design has historically been considered as an applied art; just recently this idea has begun to take another shape, hybrid between the immediacy of the creative impulse and the measured structure of the project.

Gianfranco Ferré is one of the designers who better embody this duality; an architect by formation, he devoted his life to conciliating artistic flair with a proved practice within the field of fashion design. Ferré elected one piece of the wardrobe to be his exquisite object of research: the white shirt. The white shirt represented for him both a fixed rule and a tabula rasa, being a basic piece with few distinctive details, so prone to modifications and ideally liable to any variation. The most notable excercices de style Ferré took on, are now showcased in the exhibition “La Camicia Bianca Secondo Me (The White Shirt According to Me)” held at Palazzo Reale in Milan.

The exhibition is hosted in the Caryatid Room, whose monumentality confronts with the plasticity of twenty-seven shirts. Each of them is treated as a sculpture, nearly denying any relation with the body and enhancing the characteristics of the fabric, the proportions, the cut, the pattern, the construction. Every shirt has a name, recalling at times the inspiration, historical or emotive (Dumas, Napoleon, Soffio d’Aria, Rivelazione Romantica), at times the mental process (Sineddoche, Contrappunto, Canone Inverso), at times materiality (Calice, Cravat, Plastron, Origami). The grandeur of the room – filled with ancient and modern sculptures – is challenged other parts of the exhibition itself. Right in the centre of the ceiling, a projection with x-rays of the shirts created by Leonardo Salvini opens it as a window on an undefined space, underlying the technical construction of the pieces and transfiguring altogether the shirts into some sort of ghosts; fluctuating empty shells which do not seem to need to be filled with something – less than ever a body – to make sense of it.

The object is the core of the exhibition, which opens with huge prints of original sketches on white flowing curtains in flowing fabric. These serve as an instrument given to the public to better read the creative process, challenging the original nature of the sketch: being at the beginning of the project, right after the idea. Here the sketches seem to be unreadable signs, hieroglyphs to be understood if matched with their tri-dimensional results and their ‘postproduction’, the editorials and shootings displayed in cases alongside original sketches. Loyal to Ferré’s ideal, the exhibition is a well-balanced architecture, linear in its path, but with slight shifts to render the complexity of the process in an inductive way. Daniela Degli Innocenzi, curator of the exhibition, says that the outfitting was designed precisely to both underline the ‘poesis’ of Ferré and propose new readings of the ‘method’. Design is a scientific discipline. So is curating.

Marta Franceschini – Images courtesy of Gianfranco Ferré and Palazzo Reale 
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Through the Lens of Claudine Doury

Claudine Doury is a photographer born in Blois and living in Paris. Through her work, collected in monographs such as Peuples de Sibérie, published in 1999, or Artek, un été en Crimée, published in 2004, Claudine captures the mutable, evolving yet slow passing of time in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with the willingness to capture a “time of mutations, searching for tracks of a vanishing empire” and to understand “the different people who lived there, where they came from and how they had been separated from each other, as the country was split into new regions and finally into states”. Her work is poetic and evocative of different times, grasping that particular type of nostalgia that is a longing for an ideal place, a home that never existed and perhaps never will.

Images courtesy of Claudine Doury 
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Daily Tips: Hearing and Seeing Björk at the MoMA

From March until June, the Museum of Modern Art puts on display an exhibition dedicated to the (most) famous Icelander – the composer, musician and singer Björk. The exhibition draws from more than 20 years of the artist’s daring and innovative projects and her eight full-length albums to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes. Spread out throughout the museum’s building, the exhibition provides a visual as well as acoustic immersion into the work of this great artist. Starting from the lobby, instruments used on Biophilia (2011) — a gameleste, pipe organ, gravity harp, and Tesla coil — play songs from the album at different points throughout the day. On the second floor, two spaces have been constructed: one is dedicated to a new sound and video installation, commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, for “Black Lake”, a song from Björk’s new album Vulnicura; and the second is a cinema room that screens a retrospective in music videos, from Debut (1993) to Biophilia. On the third floor, Songlines presents an interactive, location-based audio experience through Björk’s albums, with a biographical narrative that is both personal and poetic, written by the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón, along with many visuals, objects, and costumes for a complete and comprehensive outline of the musician’s career.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of the MoMA 
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Style Suggestions: 70s Revival

Every season, a decade rules the runway and this year the 70s have taken over with a vengeance. Though, don’t stress out, there will be no need to pull out the extreme bell bottoms: this time it’s all about the subtle touches.

Coat: Miu Miu, Shirt: Chloé, Skirt: A.P.C., Boots: Saint Laurent, Purse: Marni, Hat: Rag&Bone

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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Design, Art and Play: from Castiglioni to the Present

Achille Castiglioni was a tireless collector: throughout his career, the great Italian designer gathered an impressive collection of objects that ranged from mechanical toys to water bottles, from foldable cups to lightbulbs. Objects filled the vitrines of his studio at Piazza Castello in Milan, two steps aways from the temple of Italian design, the Milan Triennial. Nearly fifteen years after his death, the famous workshop of design still remains intact, left just as it was on display for curious visitors who want to experience what everyday life of this grand master looked like.

Fondazione Achille Castiglioni, created by his family after his death with the aim of preserving this cornerstone of Italian design heritage, is the location of a new exhibition which hopes to weave the work of Castiglioni within contemporary culture, much indebted to his ironic, acute and inspiring work. “Le regole del gioco”, an exhibition curated by Luca Lo Pinto and coordinated by Edoardo Bonaspetti, puts on display a series of artworks created as a reflection on the work of Castiglioni by a series of contemporary artists. The works shown build a dialogue between the past and present through an close analysis of the designer’s work, rather than simply by emulating of his formal syntax.

Pieces created by 18 artists and designers were exhibited around the studio, creating a visual as well as conceptual narrative between Castiglioni’s energy and the impulses and ideological frameworks of contemporary creative disciplines. From Céline Condorelli to Martino Gamper, from Max Lamb to Amalia Pica, this eclectic mix of contemporary artists and designers shapes a new perspective on his great legacy, as well as on the ways in which past can give shape to the present.

Rujana Rebernjak – Images courtesy of Fondazione Achille Castiglioni 
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Biennale Saint Etienne, For a New Sense of Beauty

What is the relationship between form and function? We would be wrong if we think that the legacy of these two undisputed protagonists of design culture remains confined to the 20th century. At least, this is what the Biennale International Design Saint-Etienne, the most illustrious design event in France, just inaugurated on March 11st, seems to suggest. The headline of this ninth edition, “Le sens du beau” [“The Experiences of Beauty”], guides us to understand the vision that the numerous exhibitions and events in town share: form goes beyond appearance, and thus has a decisive role to define usages and meanings of everyday objects.

The focus of the Biennale’s ambitious and multifaceted investigation, however, is not keen to pinpoint the new, relevant aesthetics that individual designers have expressed in the recent years. On the contrary, the role of form is always attributed to a social, collective dimension. What does form say about our identity in a time of globalization? Can it be a means to recognize and enjoy plural, diverse experiences? How can it transcend our obsessive desire for consumption? Far from being a decorative expression, aesthetics is considered as a performative statement.

The will to openness, pluralism and search for new perspectives clearly emerges when we consider in particular some of the exhibitions that will animate the French town till April 12th. “Tu nais, tuning, tu meurs” explores the political dimension of tuning seen as a break point between established and popular culture. “Vous avez dit bizarre” investigates the social implications of grotesque, suggesting that its hyperbolic sense implicitly defines the values, the virtues and the vices of our times. “Ça aurait pu”, instead, examines the 15 proposals that have been evaluated and then left apart in the development of the Biennale 2015 visual identity. All, thus, confront themselves with the reign of possibilities and choices but, whether fringe or mainstream, they always all show an ethic dimension that design needs to question and take into account.

Giulia Zappa 
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