Why has Alber Elbaz left Lanvin?

After more than 14 years at Lanvin, Alber Elbaz is now leaving his position as Creative Director for the French luxury brand. Despite apparently leaving without much fanfare, his departure has not passed unnoticed, either by Lanvin’s 330 employees or the rest of the fashion world.

It all started a week before the departure went official. Elbaz received the Superstar award at Fashion Group International’s Night of the Stars and spoke about the pressure creative directors and designers are put through today. He did also speak about how the design profession has changed during the last couple of years as he remembered the days when a designer created dreams and thought about the women he or she designed for, instead of focusing on what will look best in pictures. The nostalgia was hard to miss and the rumours didn’t slow down by the fact that the position of Creative Director at Dior now was free after Raf Simons had announced his departure for similar reasons.

There was however truth behind the rumours because Elbaz confirm his departure shortly after in an emotional Instagram post – the ultimate means of communication today. He explained his exit in a statement published in BoF where he said that the decision hadn’t been his and instead was made by Lanvin’s owner, Shaw-Lan Wang. He also took the opportunity to celebrate his co-workers at Lanvin and thank them for the great time they have had together restoring Lanvin’s position as one of France’s most luxury fashion brands.

Elbaz’s impact on contemporary fashion is huge, even though he seems to be quitting unhappy with the progression of design profession. Elbaz will not just be missed at Lanvin by the fashion world, the employees have taken the news with sadness and complained to its owner. Jack Lang, the former French minister of culture is the latest to complain against Shaw-Lan Wang’s decision, WWD reports. It does unfortunately not seem to have made them change their minds even though we suspect and hope that we haven’t heard the last of the story. The protests from employees do however matter and prove that Elbaz isn’t just a creative designer but also a great leader. The only question that now remains is – what will be his next step?

Hanna Cronsjö 
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Daily Tips: Ethically-Made Sneakers

For quite a while now, there has been a growing desire for our clothes to be not only beautiful and carefully crafted, but also to respect ethical, ecological and human values in production. And, while many brands have embarked on the journey of making ethical clothes, only a few were, strangely, able to give their impeccable work on materials and production processes, an equally compelling form. French fashion brand Veja is one of those rare breeds who have managed to fuse together thoughtful production processes with impeccable design. Their meticulous work with local produces is carefully documented on their website and forms the central aspect of their advertising – which, interestingly, Veja refuses to otherwise use. Used to heavy branding strategies and even heavier product prices, looking at Veja’s products we can only ask, how do they actually do it?

The Blogazine 
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Ryan McGinley’s Fall and Winter

Over the years, Ryan McGinley’s camera has become more a tool for invention than documentation, conjoining the corporeal, narrative aspects of photography and cinema with their more orphic qualities. His images hover deliriously between reality and utopian fiction, characterized as much by apparent authenticity as obvious impossibility. This shift is crystalized in his most recent exhibitions at Team gallery
: Winter at 83 Grand Street in New York, and Fall at 306 Windward Avenue in Los Angeles. To create this work, the artist and his team photographed nude figures in upstate New York during the eponymous seasons. While the resultant images have precedent in the oeuvre — both thematically and aesthetically building upon McGinley’s expansive and culturally pervasive Road Trip pictures — they also represent a multifariously momentous change within his practice. Past works have been created across the country during summer; by concentrating on a single region during specific times of the year, McGinley transposes the axis on which his works operate: rather than exploring the American landscape through the lens of geographical variation, these images scrutinize and poeticize its temporal metamorphosis.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Team Gallery 
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Daily Tips: Anni and Josef Albers in Milan

Forced into exile in the United States after Bauhaus’ closure in 1933, Anni and Josef Albers found a curious form of ‘consolation’ for their displacement. Influenced by a museum collection they saw in Berlin, Anni and Josef would travel from their home in North Carolina to South America over the course of their life. Convinced that “art is everywhere” in the countries of Central and South America, they developed a rich personal collection as well as a direct artistic dialogue between their own work and pre-Columbian objects they found. Shaped by their personal and artistic interest, this rich collection is currently part of an exhibition that opened last week at Museo delle Culture in Milan. Titled “A Beautiful Confluence”, the show “reveals the very similar visual and artistic interests and personal passions of Anni and Josef and the native people of the world that became their haven.” The exhibition runs until 21 February 2016.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy ofJosef and Anni Albers Foundation 
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Punkt – Re-designing Use

When the first telephone was patented by Alexander Bell in 1876, despite all imagination and possible futurologist thinking of the time, scarcely anyone could have predicted that – a hundred and forty years later – it would have become such an epoch-defining device. In many aspects, telephones are currently at the forefront of innovation, with their use spanning areas like medicine, for early diagnosis and to help patients attain to therapies, to everyday life, to order food, book train tickets and flights or engage with artwork in museums. Telephones and related technologies are central to economic growth, while sheer existence of infrastructure necessary for their use speaks volumes about the level of development in society.

Due largely to Apple’s revolutionary yet secretive attitude towards product development, telephone design seems almost an alchemical process involving careful combination of perfectly studied curves, subliminal sounds and elusive tactile qualities. The resulting concoction gives origin to not only a beautiful material product, but – as we are able to witness daily – to a whole set of new habits, social relationships and values, that were morphed by and evolve with our phones’ titanium, glass and plastic shells.

Despite smartphones’ addictiveness – both on social, cultural, economic and personal levels – a brave new product aims at reforming the very culture of telephone use we have acquired over the years, bringing it back to its original – and today archaic – functionality. Punkt, designed by Jasper Morrison, is the simplest of mobile phones. Its design could be described as minimal, defined by a black plastic shell, rectangular shape, well-rounded edges and round, easily identifiable keys. Were it not for the year of its release, Punkt would be nothing else but an unassuming mobile – or cordless – phone. And thus, what is revolutionary in Punkt is not its design per se, but the context within which it is being framed, that allows its design to make a subtle, ironic point about its use. Namely, it shows that products like Punkt have for a long time been obsolete.

For such a product, it was only natural that the company would commission Jasper Morrison to develop its design. Know for his “supernatural” approach to designing, Jasper Morrison is a proponent of undesigned design as creation of objects that look immutable, as if they’d been the same for centuries. He is the designer of archetypes – objects that will unlikely require a redesign in the near future and which seem to stand at the origin of an object category and their specific form. Punkt was designed to defy the current trends on the market. It can only serve two functions – make calls or send text messages – and such reduced, austere functionality – austere, that is, if compared to current smartphones and their functional exuberance – is reflected in its strict black shell. Punkt mobile phone, in fact, looks as if it were almost physically uncomfortable to use. And yet, when you pick it up, its carved volume and slightly rugged surface fits perfectly, seamlessly into your hand, anticipating the straightforwardness of its ‘archaic’ use. It invites you to hold it up close to your ear, rather than blankly stare at its screen.

But what is the point of Punkt beyond an obvious defiance of current market trends? Can its users surpass contemporary social pressures? Can its design help to make us a bit less intoxicated by all that is digital? Morrison’s intent was certainly not to make ‘classic’ telephone use appear sexy, glamorous or fashionably appealing; Punkt’s shell is not bright yellow or clad in rose gold. As such, Punkt is perhaps bound to remain just a utopian proposition – an object designed to speak about design and the values it confers when it is nothing more than what it is.

Rujana Rebernjak – The Blogazine 
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Discovering Frank Stella at the Whitney

What is the role of major public museums? Among others, to bring those artists that might have been neglected by both the mainstream or niche cultural tendencies to the forefront of public attention. It was precisely this consideration that led to one of the most anticipated art shows of the season – Frank Stella’s retrospective at the recently opened, Renzo Piano-designed, Whitney Museum in New York. As it goes, when the Museum’s curators asked what major artist hasn’t had a retrospective in a long time – as questionable as it might seem as a curatorial strategy – ‘the surprising answer, among others, was Frank Stella,’ according to Michael Auping, the chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, one of the minds behind the exhibition. As the artist’s most comprehensive retrospective to date, Frank Stella: A Retrospective brings together his best-known works installed alongside lesser known examples to reveal the extraordinary scope and diversity of his nearly sixty-year career.

Approximately 100 works, including icons of major museum and private collections, will be shown. Along with paintings, reliefs, sculptures, and prints, a selection of drawings and maquettes have been included to shed light on Stella’s conceptual and material process. Throughout his career, Stella has challenged the boundaries of painting and accepted notions of style. Though his early work allied him with the emerging minimalist approach, Stella’s style has evolved to become more complex and dynamic over the years as he has continued his investigation into the nature of abstract painting. Although the thrust of the exhibition is chronological, the artist, who has been closely involved in the installation, has juxtaposed works from various periods allowing some rooms to function as medleys. The presentation highlights the relationships among works executed across the years, suggesting that even the most minimalist compositions may invite associations with architecture, landscapes, and literature.

Frank Stella: A Retrospective underscores the important role Stella’s work plays within the art historical framework of the last half century. It provides a rare opportunity for viewers to discover the visual and conceptual connections within the extraordinarily expansive and generative body of work of an artist restless with new ideas. “A Stella retrospective presents many challenges,” remarks Michael Auping, “given Frank’s need from the beginning of his career to immediately and continually make new work in response to previous series. And he has never been timid about making large, even monumental, works. The result has been an enormous body of work represented by many different series. Our goal has been to summarize without losing the raw texture of his many innovations.” The exhibition will remain on show until 7 February 2016.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of the Whitney Museum 
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