With all the talk of Barneys’ Electric Holiday campaign I’ve embraced this holiday season as being one with a contemporary edge. Between walking the streets in Chicago and New York I’ve been seeing the retailer’s glowing black shopping bags and modern Disney caricatures everywhere – bravo to the person who decided to put Minnie Mouse on a Paris runway in Lanvin and Mickey in Balenciaga.
Tis’ the season to opt out of tradition and forget the conventional tree and light up lawn decorations. Instead, use fluorescent light fixtures to spread electric holiday cheer. Embrace the urge to be innovative and look towards artists like Dan Flavin and Anselm Reyel who utilize fluorescent light as a medium in their work. Here are a few others who I am looking towards for inspiration in my quest to fashion a Christmas tree out of glow sticks and a light bulb wreath.
It has bee just over a week since Balenciaga announced that their long-time creative director, Nicolas Ghesquiere, would be moving on. The announcement was harder for me to handle than living without power and water during the hurricane. Needless to say, I have increased my Balenciaga runway archive browsing since hearing the news. It was hard for me to choose favorites in each collection, but I managed to gather some top looks from every runway show dating back to Spring/Summer 2000 (all pictured above and below).
If there were anything that I wish Nicolas had done more of during his time at Balenciaga it would be artist collaborations. He has worked with French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster on countless Balenciaga boutiques (pictured above) and who could forget Cindy Sherman’s portraits featuring looks from Fall/Winter 2007 (pictured below).
Judging by the clear Mondrian references in the video for Balenciaga’s Florabotanica perfume (pictured below), art is everywhere. While any hope of a Ghesquiere for Balenciaga x Wade Guyton partnership is long gone, his clothes will live on.
There is not better way to start a week off than with new art. Artist Jacob Hashimoto works in primarily large-scale installations that explore the intersection of painting and sculpture. His Japanese heritage is apparent in his use of screen painted bamboo and paper kite-like disks. He then compiles these disks onto wires, hanging them in multiple layers on evenly spaced rods. The solid and patterned disks of varying sizes form as a result, one very dense, three-dimensional image. It intrigues me to think about how many new figures would emerge through taking the work apart layer by layer – a bit like for Fall/Winter 2010 when Viktor & Rolf undressed Kristen McMenamy on the runway unveiling an entire collection worn underneath her first look.
The initial Hashimoto piece that captured me was Superliner (pictured above). Through the cluster of patterns and the layering I immediately saw continents on a globe, which reminded me so much Alighiero Boetti embroidered map series (pictured below). It was even more amazing after researching both artists how many similarities I found between their works; sometimes alike shapes, color, or even subject matter
These next four works (pictured below) are some of my favorites, both because I love the shade of red used and they remind me so much of Spring/Summer 2013 Prada.
Prada Spring/Summer 2013 – From Left: Look 32, Look 30, Look 28, Look 34, and Look 25
Lately, I have been on an old Hollywood kick and most intrigued and inspired by the film The Women. Not only was an all female cast madly innovative for its time – 1939 – however the fashion was some of costume designer Adrian’s best work while at MGM.
The Technicolor fashion show sequence in the film highlights his designs better than any other motion picture. His clothing stood alone, not only giving new life to the characters, however propelling the story forward in a way that fashion is no longer used for in films; proving why to this day Adrian’s role in the history of cinema is unmatched. While his legacy merely lives on through his films, his designs have both stood the test of time and serve as a constant source of inspiration for modern day influencers; in fact, a friend once told me that Azzedine Alaia has the largest privately owned collection of Adrian gowns.
The storyline of The Women was incredibly provocative for the time with three very empowered female leads – Mary, played by Norma Shearer; Sylvia, played by Rosalind Russell; and Crystal, played by Joan Crawford. Each character’s persona reminds me of a different body of work by female photographer, Valérie Belin.
Belin’s soft, somewhat blurry images in Têtes Couronnées 2009 (pictured above) represent Mary. Mary is a member of the wealthy, aristocratic class who looses her husband in an affair.
Sylvia, Mary’s cousin, is an unrelenting gossip and always the instigator. She is a member of the upper class but has two sides to her, just like the double exposure of Belin’s images in Black Eyed Susan 2010 (pictured above). She hides behind a flowery exterior while causing havoc.
Lastly, Crystal is responsible for destruction. She is out of place amidst high society, while her passive, seductive attitude gets her noticed by men and loathed by women. She is the provocative women who every husband wants, like those photographed in Belin’s series Untitled 2007 (pictured above)
It is hard to believe that just one week ago I was home, brushing off the idea of a hurricane affecting downtown Manhattan life. Unfortunately I was sorely mistaken come last Monday evening when power, running water and cell phone reception became things of the past. While I did get through a few old films using the battery life I had hoarded on my laptop, once that disappeared I decided to get lost in, what else, my library of art books. Due to the circumstances, I explored the work of two photographers in particular – Robert Polidori and James Casebere.
Canadian photographer Robert Polidori is best known for his interior and architectural shots. You may recognize his work as he photographed Botegga Venetta’s Fall-Winter 2011/2012 ad campaign featuring Isabeli Fontana at the 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli in Venice, Italy. In 2005, Polidori took a trip down to New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina to shoot the devastation. His most recent book of work, After The Flood, documents his eerie trip down south (pictured below).
American-born photographer James Casebere has focused his work since the late 1990s on the destructive nature of water. He has captured images of interior flooding in buildings around the world. Don’t the below photographs remind you of Chanel’s flooded runway from Fall/Winter 2010?
I am always awestruck looking back at the hair and makeup in Jean Paul Gaultier runway shows. Between the hair top hats from Fall/Winter 2006 couture or the hair crowns that adorned a few lucky models’ heads walking in Gaultier’s Fall/Winter 2007 couture show, nothing screams couture quite like a custom hat or crown of hair.
Similarly, late Japanese pop artist Nagi Noda was made famous by her hair sculpture hats. The unisex headpieces were most notably featured in her AMAZING Poodle Workout Video and then in multiple collaborations thereafter. Noda’s animal hair hats is her most famous series, including a lion, bear, birds and a dog among many others.
Whether you wear a crown atop your head or are eating a bowl of hair spaghetti Nagi Noda-style, no one likes frizz. Luckily, Paul Mitchell’s Ultimate Wave Gel Cream (pictured below) is here for your hair’s every need. Beachy waves are no longer solely for the summer months but can now be achieved during the driest winter days thanks to a great product. There is nothing better than a head of texture-filled frizz-free hair all year round. Once you use Paul Mitchell’s Ultimate Wave Cream-Gel to achieve summer-like waves sans the beach it is time to go social. Submit a pic of your Curl Confession on facebook HERE or to twitter using the hashtag #curlconfession.