Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First pick at Lagerfeld's Pirelli 2011 calendar

History of Fashion: round 2 at the Musée des Arts décoratifs, in Paris

On the 10th October 2010, the exhibition "Histoire idéale de la mode contemporaine vol 1: 70 - 80" at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris closed its doors. Last week opened the second round and it focuses on fashion from 1990 to the years 2000.

It all started with Olivier's Saillard's (fashion historian and expert) book entitled "Histoire idéale de la mode contemporaine". This amazingly rich book draws on 30 years of fashion innovations and moments that have changed the way we think fashion. From this book, two shows were born. The first one featured wardrobes from the 70’s and 80's and this second round rather emphasises the changes of fashion from 90's to the 2000's. 

But the main difference between the book and this show is that, it doesn't follow a chronological order but rather regroups fashion designers according to their influences and style. From independent minimalism to the “Japanese and British schools”, from the position of businessman-designer to the contemporary or performance artist, Bernadette Caille, the second curator of the exhibition, and Olivier Saillard reveal that fashion in itself doesn't exist. They have rather intelligently regrouped fashion designers according to their common styles or influences. 

Martin Margiela

The show opens with one of the biggest innovative schools of the 2000's, the Belgian designers, a group which includes: the mysterious Martin Margiela (one remembers the exhibition which took place at Somerset House in London - see my post: http://artisnotdead.blogspot.com/2010/06/maison-martin-margiela-20-exhibition.html), Veronique Branquinho, Ann Demeulemeester, Veronique Leroy, Dries Van Noten. Facing this section is "the Japanese school" featuring: Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des garçons, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe.
 John Galliano for Dior

The first floor of the exhibition showcases fashion designers who go beyond fashion and act more as performance artists or contemporary artists. I am a huge fan of these designers mostly because they are advocate of innovation. I am referring to Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen and Viktor&Rolf. 
Later, a window dedicated to John Galliano for Dior and his own brand, expresses the fact that fashion is also about techniques, craft, and savoir-faire.  It also highlights that fashion becomes intertwined with super powerful luxury groups which recalls the earlier amazing white, sexy Gucci dress by Tom Ford, the archetype of the designer slash business man, presented alongside D&G's bustier once worn by superstar, Madonna.Vivienne Westwood is highly praised as well with her own window.

Vivienne Westwood

Karl Lagerfeld, Christian Lacroix and Jean-Paul Gaultier have all in common their mastering of Haute Couture. Amongst the beautiful outfits of the each window of this room, the parrots inspired outfit by JPG, or the blouse inspired by Coco Chanel's screen (originally located in her flat Rue Cambon), by Karl Lagerfeld, reveal that these designers are the only ones reaching fashion excellence.

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel
At this stage, we've already reached the climax of the exhibition but cleverly, it ends with two windows dedicated to Nicolas Ghesquiere from Balenciaga and Alber Elbaz from Lanvin which highlight the best examples of regeneration of sleeping fashion houses. Both designers are now famous for reviving Balenciaga and Lanvin. This process seems fruitful for big luxury groups such as PPR or LVMH but the work of these designers should rather be interpreted as luxury laboratories. I wonder whether the same magic will happen to Madeleine Vionnet.
Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga
Christian Lacroix
With fashion coming from Japan or Belgium, international fashion designers working for French brands, it is interesting to note that geography might have an influence on fashion. It also recalls that France is no longer the centre for fashion creativity: cities like New York, London or Sao Paulo might be the fashion centres today. I personally think that Paris is late and as Anna Wintour suggested a few months ago (highlighted by Loic Prigent in its documentary), Paris should favour younger designers, but that’s another question... maybe the next round of these exhibitions.

 Jean-Paul Gaultier 
This exhibition has been sponsored by Reebok
More info on: www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mary McCartney's first book celebrates the British identity

Thames & Hudson, the British publishing house releases "From Where I stand", the first career-spanning book of photographs by Mary McCartney, daughter of the Beatle Paul, and sister of the fashion designer Stella.

Even if this book draws on 15 years of photography, Mary McCartney had to make a sharp selection amongst the shots. She says: "It might seem like a lot of photos but there are also favourites that aren't in there."

Still, one can admire beautiful shots of actors such as Dame Helen Mirren (up) or Tilda Switon (below), fashion stars such as Kate Moss or Dame Vivienne Westwood or artists such as Sam Taylor Wood or a turned-Frida Kahlo's Tracey Emin (alongside Madonna on the picture up there). All of these celebrities appear to be British. This encapsulates the disguised purpose of the book: to celebrate Britishness and eccentricity: " a sense of Britishness is definitely something that is very present in my work. I live in England and I'm proud to be British" adds Mary.

More info on: www.marymccartney.com

Vargas' girl in the plane

Exclusive meeting with French fashion designer / contemporary artist Jean-Charles de Castelbajac a.k.a JC/DC

Thanks to Reebok again, I had the chance to meet with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac a.k.a JC / DC, as nicknamed by Beyonce and Jay-Z (said Castelbajac himself). Castelbajac is  a French fashion designer / contemporary artist / graphic designer / designer.

Jacket worn by Diana Ross

He opened the doors of his archives, a unique and amazing moment. He is famous for many things, from the costumes of "the New Avengers" to some of SJP's in Sex and the City. Inspired by Warhol, Jeff Koons, Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols, Keith Haring or Basquiat whom he has worked with in the 80's, JC/DC has an amazing career and talent. Plus he's a really nice person.

Enjoy this exclusive video where he explains that he has worked with Beth Ditto and Lady Gaga!

Katie Perry's dress

 Is it JC/DC's car?

More info on: www.jc-de-castelbajac.com

My special Reebok day to test the Easytone shoes with Helena Christensen, brand ambassador

I had the immense pleasure to spend one day with the Reebok crew and the brand’s muse, international role and top model Helena Christensen, in Paris last week.

The aim of that special day was to test the new innovation of Reebok: the Easytone shoes. They are fantastic because they help you get muscles without working too hard. These shoes feature an exclusive Moving Air technology with balance ball inspired pods, which creates micro-instability and softness with every step! A softer ride builds key muscles by forcing them to work a little harder when you walk, run or train. This is an amazing product and a real innovation for the sector! As Helena puts it: “hopefully we’ll have really nice butts with these shoes!”

The day started with the shoot of the next Easytone editorial campaign which will illustrate all fashion magazines from next March. Exclusively for Art is Alive, here are two videos of the shoot.  Helena worked the shoes, the accessories and the apparels, I can tell you!

After a nice lunch at the Kong restaurant, (used for the French episode of Sex&theCity with French star Carole Bouquet) situated in front of La Samaritaine, we then headed to Colette for a quick Q&A session with Helena, filmed by international TVs. Helena said that she personally uses the Easytones and that it really works. It’s the second ad campaign she shot for the UK brand and she really enjoyed it. I could have said, given how smiling she was earlier on!

We then went to the Place Vendome for another shooting session, surrounded by more paps and fashion wannabies.

She then left to change and relax before we met her again at the opening of the  exhibition at le Musée des Arts Décoratifs on fashion of the 90’s and 2000’s, sponsored by Reebok (check out my second article).

Helena looked absolutely stunning all dressed in black and alongside the two other selected bloggers, Sarah from "Ghubar magazine" and Mariko from “femmes2sports”, I had the chance to take some more pix with Helena. She was very curious about my TopMan jacket which she loved and asked which collection it was from, adding “oh that’s too bad it’s from two years ago, I always miss the best pieces of the man’s collection...”. She is so sweet. She smelled so good so I asked her which fragrance she was wearing and answered it was a mixture of Chloe’s latest, and a roses’ fragrance. Marie-Ange Casta, sister of Laetitia and young top model was among the crowd. We had a nice chat with her too.

Pairs of Reebok shoes reinterpreted by fashion houses such as Chanel - the Pump - or Armani - The Easytone - were on display so believe me when I say that they are trendy!

 Thanks Reebok for this great day and I recommend my readers, you all test and buy the Easytone shoes, they will help you get Easy muscles!

More info on: www.reebok.com

Keith Richards travels with class and... Jack Daniel's

Exclusive interview with Fashion Designer Pierre Garroudi

I had the chance to meet with futuristic fashion designer Pierre Garroudi in London, but never had the opportunity to publish the video I recorded. Finally here it is!

More info on: www.pierregarroudi.com

Peter Fuss billboards to celebrate the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlake

Beautiful !

Yves Saint Laurent's documentary L'Amour Fou will be released in 2011

The documentary entitled Yves Saint Laurent L'Amour fou, made by Pierre Thoretton will be released in 2011. The film features exclusive images, interviews and focuses on the love story between Pierre Berge and Saint Laurent, reaching its climax with the "sale of the century", I am referring to the sale of the couple's art collection by Christie's which took place last year. It is said that Pierre Berge is no longer interested in developing the brand, currently owned by PPR, and that he is actually happy with the not-so-working well job, Stefano Pilatti does...

Looking forward to watching the movie...

Monday, November 22, 2010

GET YER FREAK ON WITH GILES DEACON: The Art of Fashion - Giles in conversation with Iwona Blazwick

STRAPPING, handsome and hailing from Darlington: all huge grins, expressive hands, jokey giggles and Terry Richardson glasses, Giles Deacon is seemingly cut from the same down-to-earth cloth as Grace Coddington. Lauded as one of the most "inclusive" designers in fashion today - he "talks the same to everyone, from waiters to heads of fashion houses" says David Waddington, friend and Bistroteque owner - Giles is as refreshing as his designs. As a crowning member of the London Fashion A-team, with a collection of accolades, his hands firmly grasping the "supergood" creative directorial reins at Ungaro as well as a label of his own namesake, he is a force to be reckoned with. Currently zigzagging between London, Paris and Milan preparing the Giles and Ungaro precollections (he now works on 10 collections a year), Deacon last night graced the Whitechapel Gallery with his smiling presence, to discuss - with Iwona Blazwick - the art that has inspired him.

After waving a big hello and flashing a beaming smile, Giles and Iwona embark on a wide ranging discussion of his' favourite contemporary artists. Deacon fondly references old college (St Martins) friends, such as Simon Periton and his " amazingly coloured" intricate cut-outs and "oblique popness", namely Double Leather Face which references Mark Bolan and T-Rex. He registers awe and admiration for another pal, Jim Lambie, and then Giles, king of anecdotes, tells his admiring audience the story behind Lambie's Touch Zobop (2003), a floor installation constructed using a "broken old skateboard on wheels" to painstakingly lay rolls and rolls of glossy rainbow-coloured duct tape in a geometric fashion. Both works reference the psychedelic, a vision which frequents Giles' work, principally in his use of colour. Tellingly, he's also a huge fan of Hacienda acid house.

Giles also cites Keith Haring, a fellow fan of day-glo, as an influence. The beauty of Haring's work is its "basicness, intuitiveness and impulsiveness". Despite the couture element of many of his clothing designs, Giles is also a big fan of things that are "instant".

Well-known artists aside, it quickly becomes apparent that Deacon can more than hold his own in the drawing stakes. As his sketches are unveiled there is no doubt that he is an incredible illustrator. When asked whether he considers these works to be "artworks or drawings", in a typically modest fashion, he chooses the latter. Some may beg to differ. He proclaims his love for the instantaneous creative results that the act of drawing provides, demonstrating the importance of hand eye coordination and recommends life drawing as "one of the most important things you can do in life", irrespective of your profession. Giles' ink illustrations are as captivating as his chat, all beautifully detailed, subversive and sexy. Some are dark, gothic and spiky - he says the below sketch now reminds this of the "Human Centipede" movie, a film he calls "absolutely hilarious". The word "hilarious" crops up frequently. Life studio Giles must be good.

"Did you see Kylie Minogue on X Factor last Saturday?" Giles asks. "Anyone?". It turns out her backing dancers donned his Pac Man headgear, those he worked on with Stephen Jones for his S/S 2009 collection. It seems 1980s sci-fi nostalgia never goes out of fashion.

Being subversive, and making something beautiful out of something which is not, is a recurring idea. His good friend Lily Allen once donned his headline-grabbing deliciously dark decapitated Bambi dress.

He then recounts a scene in a Paris showroom, when amongst his collection for sale was his tarantula dress. There were certain well known store directors who wouldn't enter the room due to their arachnophobia, which of course Giles and his team found "hilarious". Although "not so hilarious" was the fact that they didn't spend a penny.

For his current Giles collection, Judy Blame is responsible for an intricate black spiky neckpiece, made quite simply out of bin bags bought from the local shop. With a laugh, Deacon admits this recycled junk aesthetic is "quite nichely British", both "to do it" (make such things) and "to appreciate it". Amidst the fantasy and surrealism of much of his design, Giles fundamentally keeps in real.

With so much spirit himself, it is telling that Giles is only really "interested in women who have character, experience and opinions on things", not one for "acres of faceless girls. I don't find it interesting at all". In his own label's S/S 2011 show, Giles cast real ladies from all across the body shape board - Deyn walked with Kelly Brook, Abbey Clancey and Verushka. - an idea attributed to former beau, the luminary Katie Grand. Blaswick notes that Giles' "clothes celebrate the female form" and indeed they do.

It comes as no surprise that John Currin is amongst his favourite artists.

It must have been such relief to the Ungaro house that Giles was brought in to usurp Lohan as creative director. It was indeed a surprise to him - he "never thought that at the beginning of this year" he "would be clearing Lindsay Lohan's desk out". One can see how this charmingly unaffected self-deprecating raconteur, with his strong belief in the "democratisation of fashion" and "everyone bringing ideas to the table" would be a very approachable boss who really gets things done. Unlike Lohan, who instead seems to devote her time to racking up lines, jail sentences and DUIs.

Giles is inspired and influenced by a vast array of artists and creatives: from Lambie to Allen Jones, Mapplethorpe to Hockney. He has worked in Paris, Milan, the US; for high fashion houses and the high street. He has even dressed the Cadbury's Caramel Bunny. In the same way, his source inspiration, design, motifs and methodology is wide ranging, he "likes the obliqueness and lots of ideas to come into something". He is collaborative, both in his design and in the way he works - he "likes collaborating with people" and is "impressed by people who can work solidly across many mediums", stressing the importance of not "pigeon holing yourself".

Rachel Warrilow.

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