Monday, February 22, 2010

Exclusive interview with Tilda Swinton as the Serpentine Gallery partners with Pringle of Scotland

Pringle of Scotland is one of the oldest names in the Scottish borders, the birthplace of the British knitwear industry. Founded in 1815 by Robert Pringle, the company began as a manufacturer of hoisery and underwear. It has been knitting cashmere since the 1870s and was one of the first brands to introduce knitwear as outerwear in the early 1900s.

In March 2000, a new chapter began for the company when a brand vision and key strategies were put in place to take the business into the international luxury arena. Part of this regeneration process is the hiring of a new face, the very talented and fascinating Tilda Swinton. This year is the company's 195's birthday.

On the occasion of another anniversary, the Serpentine Gallery's 40th anniversary, Pringle of Scotland is supporting the Institution by sponsoring the Gallery's Education and public programmes. 

This morning, I attended the press conference and had the chance to interview with the very inspiring Tilda. I have spoken about Pringle and Tilda in the past (and how she reminds me of David Bowie) so I am very proud to feature the interview on this blog for you:

She conceived and performed at the Serpentine Gallery in 1995 in an installation created by Cornelia Parker. She slept in a glass case in the gallery for eight hours each day, for seven days. She was more recently featured in the short ad movie made by Ryan McGinley for Pringle (please have a look at my previous post

For this show, more Scottish artists have been selected by Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and my friend Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery: Douglas Gordon, David Shrigley, Luke Fowler, Alasdair Gray and Franz Ferdinand amongst others.

I have got a special connection with Scotland so you can imagine how happy I was to be able to discuss the Scottish heritage and the fantastic result of this collaboration between Pringle and the Serpentine Gallery with her. It was as if everything had come full circle. Another proof that there's no boundaries between fashion and art...

Images have copyrights - please don't use them without permission.
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YSL Manifesto - such an interesting marketing strategy

Yves Saint Laurent are definitely marketing experts and their Manifestos are another proof of that.

The idea is simple and clever. A team spreads out across London, NYC, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Milan - and for the first time last weekend, Berlin - and gives to the first 2000 lucky people a free YSL bag containing the Manifesto, a glossy booklet of photographs of a famous model wearing the last collection. In the past models have included Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer etc.

Last Saturday, coinciding with London Fashion Week, the 6th edition of the Manifesto, hit the streets. The booklet was photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin under the creative direction of Stefano Pilati and showcases the beautiful Natalia Vodianova in the Yves Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2010 collection.

These events give the opportunity to own a free piece of the brand and therefore create an enormous buzz, presumably at a very reasonable cost for the company. This makes YSL masters of marketing.

More info on:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Viktor and Rolf so avant-garde, once again, I am the number one fan

"The fact there's a crisis is not a reason to stop creating beautiful extreme things" Viktor & Rolf.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hotel: Habitat MTY - Monterrey, by Joseph Dirand and Landa Arquitectos

Designed by Parisbased designer Joseph Dirand, The Habita MTY is an oasis of design indulgence located in one of Mexico’s commercial hubs. Trully stunning !
As with all Habita hotels, the menu for the modern Mexican restaurant has been created by award-winning chef Enrique Olvera.

*Happy Birthday Art is Alive*

Art is Alive celebrated its 3rd anniversary yesterday ! Thanks to all of you who have been following my posts over the years.
I am grateful for all your comments, suggestions and ideas. Let's keep the community spirit alive and as Andy Warhol would say let's change things ourselves: "They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
Nicolas Smirnoff - (*the anniversary coincides with London Fashion Week)

Art is Alive célébrait son troisième anniversaire hier !
Un très grand merci pour votre soutien, vos commentaires, vos idées au cours de ces trois ans ! Gardons l’esprit de communauté en vie et rappelons nous de cette citation d’Andy Warhol : « ils disent toujours que le temps change les choses, mais en fait c’est toi-même qui dois les changer ».  Alors en effet changeons les choses nous-mêmes !
Nicolas Smirnoff - (*l'anniversaire coincide avec London Fashion Week)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interesting collaborations

Santiago Calatrava has been given the opportunity by the New York City Ballet to create five stage designs for a series of world premiere productions in the company's spring season. Entitled "Architecture of Dance," the season will begin on April 29 and include ballets by Benjamin Millepied, Melissa Barak, Maruo Bigonzetti, and Peter Martins. It will be the first time that Calatrava has designed for the ballet, but not the first time that the New York City Ballet has commissioned an architect to design its sets. In fact Phillip Johnson collaborated with the company in 1981.

Calatrava, painter and sculptor himself had his designs exhibited at MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the past and has designed buildings for the Atlanta's symphony and Palma de Mallorca's Opera in Spain.

Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have teamed up with fashion designer Miuccia Prada to create costumes and scenic designs for Verdi's "Atilla," which maestro Riccardo Muti is bringing to the stage on February 23. The acclaimed Swiss architects, previously designed sets for the Berlin State Opera's 2006 production of "Tristan und Isolde."

JPG Haute Couture, Printemps Eté 2010, inspiration: Frida Kahlo

Another proof that there's no boundaries between art and fashion. I just wanted to come back to the latest Paris Haute Couture Fashion show. Jean-Paul Gaultier took inspiration from Mexico and from Frida Kahlo.

Prada Spring/Summer 2010 short film by Steven Meisel

To launch its new Spring-Summer 2010 collection, Prada commissioned a short film to Steven Meisel. Supermodel Rasa Zukauskaite plays a provocative babydoll. The mini-film reveals the key looks of the new collection by Miuccia Prada. Beautiful !

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My dear björk, are you reading my blog?

Lee Alexander McQueen

dear lee

i can´t stop thinking how both fierce and feeble you are

it is difficult to grasp this
my condolences go out to your family and friends and all your team
who must be all trying to fathom this

i would like to thank you for all your inspiration
it was so important to me to get to work with you and your team
a real mashup of fertile minds
it was vital to my development
i´m grateful

and all the warmth all around you and your mom


and her team

Frantisek Kupka: Art Works from the Pompidou Collection at Picasso Museum in Malaga

František Kupka took painting to its essential elements: the plane, line and dot. Over the course of his career he developed a highly distinctive and unique style that still defies any attempt to classify it due to its focus on science, philosophy and mysticism. In addition, Kupka’s work suggests new approaches to interpreting the birth and evolution of modern art. I think he's one of the most fascinating painters.

The exhibition held at the Museo Picasso Málaga brings together around 90 works, including oil paintings, drawings, gouaches and prints. They span the career of this unique artist, from his earliest academic studies to his pioneering discoveries within the field of abstract painting.

František Kupka. Art Works from the Centre Pompidou Collection is curated by Brigitte Léal, Associate Director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne-Centre de Création Industrielle (MNAM-CCI), and co-produced by the Fundación Joan Miró in Barcelona and will run until 25 April so if you're in the South of Spain please go and let me know how it is !

Burberry announced restructuring measures for the Spanish market

U.K. luxury company Burberry announced that it will no longer design or sell collections produced exclusively for the Spanish market.

"With the continued economic downturn in Spain, it is no longer viable for Burberry to design and sell collections produced exclusively for this market," said the company in statement. "Losses are now expected from Spain in 2009/10 and beyond."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2010 collection - details

“Vienna’s Wiener Werkstätte in the early 20th century attracted a community of artists including Franz Kafka and Egon Schiele with their own creative way of mixing business and leisure style. For Louis Vuitton’s Fall-Winter 2010-2011 collection, Men’s Studio Director Paul Helbers, under the Artistic Direction of Marc Jacobs, is inspired by this ‘Bleisure’ lifestyle, a mix of formality and comfort inspired by Vienna’s ‘artist wardrobe.’”

I just love it,  it's such a beautiful object.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Please let's remember Alexander McQueen and Björk not Alexander McQueen and Lady Gaga

While I still can't believe that Alexander McQueen is no longer with us, I wanted to share with you this Alexander McQueen inspired video by Björk, another creative genius.

Both artists were close friends and they even collaborated together on Homogenic when Björk was wearing McQueen on the cover of the album. The singer was seen wearing Alexander McQueen several times, and we all remember the dress she was wearing in 1997 for the Cannes Film Festival where Dancer in the Dark was presented.

Don't these machines remind you of this fashion show? What do you think?
I am mourning; poor Alexander, you will be remembered... Alexander the Great !

Thursday, February 11, 2010

R.I.P Alexander McQueen

I am so shocked and saddened, creative genius Alexander McQueen has passed away. I had had the pleasure to meet him in 2007.

Monday, February 8, 2010

David Bowie still and always the pioneer

You put your left leg in, your right arm in...*

I'm sure many of you noticed the hoo hah surrounding the singer Rihanna as she performed onstage at the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam on February 4th in Miami Beach, Florida.

The fuss was triggered by "a peculiar one-shoulder, one-leg catsuit" that she bravely decided to wear for the event. The black asymmetrical concoction was finished with white trim, with two white hoops on one wrist giving the effect of bangles.

The ensemble contrasted nicely with Rihanna's spiky, died red hair...I say 'bravely', but then it hit me that I had seen something very similar before.


I was then that I remembered the stunning outfit above, that model Candice Swanepoel wore on the runway during the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at The Armory in New York City on November 19th.

It all seemed to be jogging my memory, the asymmetrical outfit with sparkly bits woven into the fabric, covered in bold geometric designs, with not only the two wrist bangles, but a great pair of platform shoes too. Still wasn't quite it red hair for a start.

While searching I did stumble upon the House Of Field designed creation above that hit the runway at the Barbie 50th Anniversary Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week on Feb 14th last year.

It was close, but no sleeves at all and no bangles...though the diagonal design was triggering something. One thing's for sure, if Barbie had looked like that when I was a lad, I would have spent less time with Ken!

I was about to give up, when it hit me like an Aladdin Sane lightning bolt from the blue...

It was Kate Moss I had remembered wearing the exact outfit I had been thinking about all along...even if there was no sign of red spiky hair.

I didn't think I could get any closer. The picture was from a feature in Vogue from May 2003 (04.10.2003 NEWS: BOWIE INTERVIEW AND CLOBBER SPECIAL IN VOGUE) in which Kate was photographed wearing different stage outfits belonging to David Bowie.

Hang on a minute. David Bowie!?

Of course, David Bowie had pioneered the look thirty seven years ago with the costume above created by Japanese fashion designer, Kansai Yamamoto.

It was all there, all those years ago: the asymmetrical outfit with sparkly bits woven into it, the two wrist bangles, the diagonal stripes and geometrical shapes...and of course, bright red hair.

Bowie was so comfortable with the asymmetrical look that he had Freddi Burretti knock up a couple more for Ziggy's last fling during the filming of The 1980 Floor Show in London in October 1973.

Somehow, though they are even more flamboyant, this look seems to work on Bowie a bit better than the other examples on this page.

And there was much more to come...but that's another story.

*So, you think Bowie has never sung The Hokey Cokey?

Total Blam Blam - (BowieNet News Editor)
Courtesy of David

To add to this, I have to say that I am really tired of this lack of innovation by the Rihanna and Lady Gaga of this world. I am not a fan at all and I don't think we'll remember them...but we'll remember David Bowie !

Friday, February 5, 2010

King Murakami exhibited in Versailles in September 2010

Following the king of kitsch pop art Jeff Koons in 2008 and French artist Xavier Veilhan last year, it is the turn of Takashi Murakami to be enthroned at the Palace of Versailles in 2010. It will be the first major retrospective in France for the Japanese artist. A new culture clash between history and modernity, which is sure to irritate, again, the conservatives of the "exception française".

From 12 September to 12 December 2010.

Exclusive interview with rising French Fashion Designer Maxime Simoens

I recently came across a very interesting show by Loic Prigent and Mlle Agnès
on the next generation of French Designers and I thought it was actually true to ask the question: who are they? I particularly liked the work of Maxime Simoens and so I thought I would get in touch and do an interview with him. Here's the result of this fascinating discussion with the emerging talent.

When is your brand born?
A year ago.

Who, from the fashion or "creative world" do you take your inspiration from?
Designers who revealed modernity of their times such as Vionnet, Jeanne Lanvin, Courreges, Cardin and Mugler but also from contemporary art such Vasarely, Olafur Eliasson and Jeff Koons.

Are you originally from Paris? Can you tell us a bit more about your background please?
I was born in Lille. Since my childhood I was attracted painting, drama and cinema.

Following 10 years of acting classes, I wanted to study filmmaking. To get into this school, I had to make a book describing my world; which as a result, I spent more time to draw than to express it through words.

But it was at the Madonna’s concert in 2001, that I realized that fashion was my vocation. I bought the program in which was displaying all the costumes made by Jean Paul Gaultier. At that precise moment I gave myself my first goal: to work for him ... which I reached 4 years later!

After passing my exams I went to Lyon to study fine arts. A year later I joined to the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne.

I then worked for Fashion designers such as Elie Saab, accessories for Jean Paul Gaultier and finally embroidery at Christian Dior. Subsequently, I joined the studio of Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga where when it came to inspiration, embroidery and prints were my main tasks.

Can you tell us about your latest collection?
It all started with the kaleidoscope, infinite combinations of shapes and colours, a childhood marked by the thirst of for striking images.

During the progress of the collection, the death of Michael Jackson affected me a lot. He was the Icon of my youth, - I remember dressing like him wearing a wig and a glove when I was a kid - I would not be too literal, the cut, the colours but also the colour brightness of subjects.

What do you think about French Fashion's scene?
It is the right balance between minimalism New Yorker, the sexy Italian and English extravagance. The French designers have a sense of chic and elegance.

Have you had any support from any other fashion figure?
The realization of the brand was made by our own experiences, but from my first presentation, journalists such as Mlle Agnes or Lawrence Dombrowicz encouraged me!

What are you expressing through your designs?
I hope to achieve timelessness and a garment which goes through the ages is a real challenge. It must be part of a current fashion, make a difference with the others but do not become excessive !

Are you showing at Paris Fashion week?
Yes, during the week of Prêt à Porter, the last presentation took place in October.

What projects do you have upcoming?
The presentation of the Winter 2010/2011 collection in March.

Where can we find your designs?
We are distributed in France, in Cannes and in Paris at Maria Luisa and Suite 114, and in the rest of the world, in Italy by Luisa Via Roma in Germany, in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S., Canada, Japan , Russia and even Uzbekistan.

To finish with, what would you wish to this blog?
A sumptuous and creative life filled with beautiful vibrations!

Thanks to Maxime and Tomek.
More info on:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Auction sale: Giacometti sets sale record £65m sculpture

A sculpture by Alberto Giacometti became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction when it fetched £65m ($104.3m) at Sotheby’s London on Wednesday night.

The sculpture, “L’Homme qui marche I”, soared over its £12m-£18m estimate and beat the record held by Picasso’s painting “Garçon à la pipe”, which sold for $104.2m at Sotheby’s New York in May 2004.

The buyer was obviously... me... but keep it for yourself.
More info on:
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