Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alexa Chung is gorgeous on the cover of Elle France

I don't generally publish magazine covers with models I like but here I was totally stunned by the beauty of Alexa Chung on this week's cover of Elle France. Yes I am convinced now, the Brit girl is beautiful !

The second Mona Lisa

AP Photo/Jacques Brinon.

How amazing ! A man views the painting Portrait of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, also known as Mona Lisa, and painted by an assistant of Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, it was discovered in February this year.

The painting is owned by the Prado museum of Madrid, and was painted around 1503. A Da Vinci exhibition starts on Thursday with the unfinished artpiece The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne as the star of a major exhibit exploring the works genesis, and its place in art history.

Competition with the National Portrait Gallery show? No, no, no not at all.

Quote of the week: Stefano Pilati on Tom Ford

 “Tom Ford had enough confidence for everybody around him” Stefano Pilati about Tom Ford at the Fashion Talks Forum, Alliance Française in Paris, yesterday.

Helmut Newton at the Grand Palais

When you love fashion, you generally love Helmut Newton. At least you know he is. The Berlin-born German photographer devoted his life to photography from the age of 16 and his controversial photographs charged with erotic and provocative scenes have been featured in the best fashion magazines around the world. He's inspired designers such as Yves Saint Laurent (the YSL smoking is featured on the above image) or Tom Ford. Obviously his pictures have often shocked...

Today, the Grand Palais in Paris dedicates an exhibition to this fashion photography icon. Here is an interesting video of the exhibition which can be visited until 17 June 2012. So if you're in Paris, run to the beautiful Grand Palais (and avoid boring press conferences). 


The Invisible Man by Pol Ubeda Hervas

Andy Warhol at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

The Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, announced its summer exhibition : Andy Warhol - The Portfolios, Bank of America Collection.

The exhibition will focus on the period 1962-1984 during which Warhol focused almost exclusively on the silk-screen printing method. This is the first time the exhibition of 80 works from 13 portfolios has visited Europe. The exhibition will include some of the artist’s most iconic imagery, including portraits of Muhammad Ali and Marilyn Monroe, the artist’s self-portrait, still-lifes, and mythical or heroic figures such as Superman. The exhibition is curated by Dulwich Picture Gallery and was originally conceived by Bank of America’s Senior Curator, Lillian Lambrechts. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hotel: "Luxe, calme et volupté" at the Pershing Hall Hotel in Paris

I was recently invited to the Pershing Hall, one of the most interesting and beautiful hotels I've stayed in, in Paris.
Strategically located in Paris’s “Triangle d’Or” the area made by the most luxurious streets of the French capital, the Champs Elysées, Avenue Montaigne, and Avenue Georges V, this discreet hotel has been entirely “freshened up” by worldwide famous French interior designer Andrée Putman in 2001, who has designed stores for Balenciaga, Bally and the offices for the French Minister of Culture Jack Lang in 1984, amongst other very prestigious projects. 

Built by the Count of Paris at the end of the 18th century, the building which now houses the hotel is still one of the most beautiful examples of Empire architecture from that period. Its façade, its large staircase, its room sizes and its elegant lines, only slightly altered over the decades, have helped the building preserve the beauty and harmony of that period. When American troops were engaged in 1917, General John Pershing made it his general quarters before the building became the officers’ club of the American Legion in 1918.

© OT Paris / David Lefranc

Whether you just want to enjoy a cocktail at the bar, which will be served in a Lalique-designed glass, or taste the seasonal gourmet cuisine and take a look at the site-specific installation hommage to artist James Turrell, you can be assured that you will have a nice time. 

And of course, you may simply want to go to the hotel to have a look at this wonder, yes, I am referring to the superb vertical garden that reaches up more than 30 metres, the heart of the place. Patrick Blanc, the botanist behind it, has designed vertical gardens for the Quai Branly Museum, the Cartier Foundation, or the Marithé & François Girbaud’s boutique in Manhattan.

More than a hotel, the Pershing Hall is an experience ! I totally recommend it and I take my hat off to the really nice and professional staff.

More information on:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Swab Art Fair in Barcelona

Swab Barcelona, the young art fair of the Catalonian capital is expanding its number of participating galleries up to 70 coming form 18 countries compared with 50 in 2011. Held from 23 to 26 May 2012 in the exhibition centre of "Fira Barcelona" near the Plaza de España, it will feature five curated sections among which the Art Projects area curated by A-Desk, an active independent curation practice based in Barcelona and the "Chinese Art Centre" which will welcome five emerging Chinese galleries. Swab Barcelona will also present its usual drawing prize and two new awards, one for the Best 2012 Swab Barcelona Gallery given by the Banco Sabadell Foundation and the 2012 Swab Young Artist Award.

As for collaborations with other international fairs, Swab begins a new partnership with São Paulo Arte (SP-Arte) inviting four Brazilian galleries selected by the director of the Brazilian fair, Fernanda Feitosa and welcoming a large group of Brazilian collectors. Finally Swab renews its collaboration with "Preview Berlin: the emerging art fair" and will select five galleries from Berlin. The full list of galleries should be announced next month.

Plan to attend this feast for the eyes and save on your travels by using  Orbitz coupons.

The first ever Montevideo Biennial

The first edition of the Biennial de Montevideo, is titled "Big Sur" and will be held during thirty days between October and November 2012, right in the middle of the Biennial of São Paulo, Brazil which is taking place between 8 September and 9 December. The budget for the Uruguyan Biennale could reach around 2 M. Dollars and is managed by the Laetitia d'Aremberg Foundation xxx.Its artistic director is the artist Gustavo Tabares (Montevideo, Uruguay, 1968) and its curator is Alfons Hug, who will work in collaboration with two other curators: Paz Guevara, from Chile and who lives in Berlin and collaborator of Hug, and curator, artist and new media director of the CCE / Spanish Cultural Centre of Montevideo, the Uruguayan Patricia Bentancur in charge of selecting local artists for the Biennial.

The site chosen to welcome the Biennial are three pavilions in the exhibition center of the Rural del Prado but will also extend to other areas of the city including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Figari Museum, the National Museum of Visual Arts, among other exhibition centres.

The programme of the Bienniale is intended to involve artists from five continents, who will be selected by Alfons Hug and his team. This prestigious international curator, of German origin, is currently director of the Goethe Institute in Rio de Janeiro and has participated in this initiative from the beginning. Hug has twice curated the Biennale of Sao Paulo, and also the End of the World Biennial, in Ushuaia, Argentina, and this 2011. He has also been the curator of the ILLA Pavilion (Instituto Italo-Latino Americano) of the 54th Venice Biennale and the Biennial of Curitiba, Brazil.

On the other hand, in the Biennale itself will not only exhibitions but also a calendar of activities aimed at training and exchange, with workshops, lectures, panel discussions, seminars, educational programs and intend to work with the people of Plan Ceibal schools and colleges and public and private. The organizers are very interested in the educational and social as well as this event is disseminated within the country, because they want to become a unique opportunity for many people to see artists of international renown. This biennial, which is part of the Cultural Incentive Funds (ie, enterprises must receive tax benefits) and that has been gestating for a year and a half, even pretend to put Uruguay on the map of international visual arts .

Hotel: La Suite in Rio de Janeiro

View from the room

I was lucky enough to be invited to the beautiful boutique guesthouse called La Suite in Rio de Janeiro.  

 Inside the Yellow room

Inside the Yellow room


After the success of a first hotel called La Maison which opened in 2004 in the Brazilian city, French entrepreneur François-Xavier Dussol decided to open a second place with a similar spirit but with an even higher level of luxury. “The soul of the hotel is really that La Suite is a place where you can feel at home more than in a traditional hotel.” And this is clearly what you feel – tranquility combined with beautiful landscapes. “If there’s anything you need, just ring the bell in the lounge and someone will come to help you” said François-Xavier as a matter of introduction. Later, a discreet but nice member of the staff brings you filtered water and an ipod that matches the colour of your room full of Brazilian music of all-kinds. The experience is unique.   

The lounge

Determined to build the guesthouse in the right spot, François-Xavier and his brother Jacques found the space for La Suite in what is described as the Beverly Hills of Rio, the Joatinga district, west of the city. It is the only residential area built directly on the ocean, near the architects’ club – after the Niemeyer Avenue.

Styled by him with furniture and paintings both found in Brazil and Europe, the space which used to belong to the Espirito Santo bankers’ family is peaceful, slick and tasteful. One of the assets is that it features one the most amazing views on the city and the bay, combining the sugar loaves, the Ipanema beach, and the Corcovado.

“Around the view we're trying to create the best personalised service and the best food. Our chef is Vinicius Fracaccio who worked for 2 French chefs here in Rio: Claude Troisgros and Roland Villard. His cuisine is a mix of French and Asian influences with the best Brazilian fresh products found on the market.” continues François-Xavier.

The lounge and the keys of the rooms

Two swimming pools and seven rooms are available. I was given the beautiful yellow room. “My initial inspiration for the rooms was to use the colours of precious Brazilian stones and after I realized that a hotel in Rio had already used the idea, I went for the names of the colours only. The challenging part was to find marbles for the bathrooms matching with the colours of the rooms.”

Bruce Willis is set to have slept at La Suite after he arrived in helicopter (the hotel features a heliport on top). Jean-Baptiste Mondino and Mario Testino are some of the photographers who have all shot at La Suite. Needless to say that I felt privileged.


With the success of these two spaces, By Dussol the holding company behind the projects, is about to expand. They have recently bought an old and historic hotel of Rio: the Hotel Paris that will become Le Paris scheduled to open at the end of 2013, on time for the 2014 World Cup and later for the 2016 Olympic Games. More central, it will follow the same spirit and design as La Suite and La Maison.

As a conclusion François-Xavier gave me tips for the best 5 things to do in Rio:
- Experience the beach at Arpoador and Posto 9 in Ipanema
- Discover Centro a mix of history and modernism
- Spend a night in Lapa to feel the crazy partying atmosphere 
- Go on a boat tour in the Guanabara Bay to see Rio from the Ocean
- Go on top of the Corcovado in early morning through the Tijuca forest (the biggest urban forest in the world) for the emotion of seeing the most amazing urban/nature scenario in the world

Thanks again for the invitation and the tips !

Book a room:
Opening soon: Le Paris

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exclusive interview with queen of all fashion bloggers Susie Lau from Style Bubble

This fashion blogger needs no introduction since she’s the queen of them all. Not only has Susie Lau been pioneering fashion blogging – she was one of only two bloggers invited to a Gucci show in New York – but she’s genuinely interested in the artistry of fashion-making and, unlike other “social media figures” not (only) about the glam and glitz of the couture industry. Her approach is dedicated, honest, and original. That’s why I wanted to have the opportunity to interview with her.

She opens up about the future of Style Bubble, her contemporary art tastes and her dream collaboration. It’s an
honour to share her views with you:

Tell us something we don't know about you as a matter of introduction:
I eat a lot - at least five times a day. 

How did the blog start? 
I was just bored at my daytime job of working in digital media so I started the blog as a sideline hobby. 

What is your biggest achievement? 
Managing to keep the blog for oh, close to six years?

How do you see your blog evolving in the next few years?
The design will change, the content will shift.  I want to try and do bigger stories and then do smaller more filler-y content to the side.  

Who do you take your fashion inspiration from? 
I like the integrity of people like Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes.  I don't aspire to be critics like them but I like their eyes-wide-open, no-holds-barred approach to fashion.  Fashion blogging wise, I love Diane Pernet's unique take on fashion. 

Who is your favourite designer?  Of all time? 
That would have to be Yves Saint Laurent.  Right now though, I still think Nicolas Ghesquiere is probably currently the one that is pushing boundaries in terms of textiles and silhouette and gets referenced the most out of all of them.  

What are your tastes in contemporary art like?
Have you seen any interesting exhibitions recently?  I've been really bad with exhibitions - I still haven't seen the Yayoi Kusama exhibition yet which I'm dying to see!  Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's photography is currently on my desktop - it's not new but their photography of ruined Detroit have been seared on to my brain. 

Do you think that the print market has been affected by the excellency of blogs (such as yours)? 
Probably not. I think if anything, magazines are still very much flourishing and alive.  The problem is there's a LOT OF not very good magazines out there (just as there are a lot of not very good blogs) but the good ones are still inspiring and keeping afloat in terms of revenue - look at the strong readership figures that the like of US Glamour and Vogue and British Elle still hold.  Then titles like Dazed & Confused, i-D, Another, Love, The Gentlewoman still have a strong following.  They will all have to look at their web offerings though to ensure that their website supports their print counterparts and that the two nurture each other.
What are your next projects? 
A lot of freelance writing and hopefully a rather exciting project with a brand that involves a round the world trip! 

Are you interested in moving to the other side, I mean, becoming a fashion designer or an artist? 
I don't think so.  I think I have a specific point of view in fashion but it's not one that extends to being a full on designer. 

Do you make money from your blog? 
Yes.  That's all I'll say.

What's your dream collaboration? 
To write for the New Yorker.  I'm not good enough but it's still a lofty aspiration to have. 

Who do you think we should most watch as designers of the future? 
Anthony Vaccarello was obviously a break out star from Paris but I also loved the attitude of Julien David who fuses streetwear with a technical prowess that is really fascinating.  In London, Simone Rocha turned out a beautiful collection and Lucas Nascimento is a knitwear designer that is really quite stunning. 
In New York, knitwear designer Degen is quite provocative and Creatures of the Wind will I think reach new heights.

To finish with, w
hat do you think about Art is Alive?  
An effective contextualisation of art within mainstream culture.

What do you wish to Art is Alive?
All the best?

Thanks Susie for being so dedicated, interesting and professional… 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I really like Mark Van Proyen's work

Griff Williams
Darwin in Coachclass
pigment, enamel and resin on board
Andrea Schwartz Gallery

Sunday, March 11, 2012

R.I.P creative genius Antoni Tàpies

Celebrating Art is Alive 5th anniversary !

On 18th February, Art is Alive celebrated its 5th anniversary. Without the love of my readers and supporters, I would have stopped this blog a long time ago so thank you again.

Hedi Slimane returns to fashion - working for YSL

I never thought this would happen. Absent from the fashion industry since 2007 when he left Dior Homme, genius Hedi Slimane returns to fashion and becomes Yves Saint Laurent's "creative and image director". He "will take on artistic responsibility for the brand and all the collections," said a joint statement from Saint Laurent and its parent company, the French luxury giant PPR at the latest Paris Fashion Week.

The surprise comes after rumours that Stefano Pilati wasn't doing a good job, even prompting Pierre Bergé to make nasty comments about the Italian designer's work. 

Good luck Hedi and glad to have you back !

I am back !

Dear readers, 

I am now back from my trip to South America. I wanted to thank you for following despite the lack of updates.  Now expect a lot of news (Brasil-related sometimes) as I am ready to start posting again. 


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