Dior Spring/Summer 2014

I have returned to blogging with one of my favorite posts from last season – The Art of… A Runway Show. The spring/summer 2014 collections were filled with art references both in looks presented and the runway backdrops. Christian Dior, once again, makes the list thanks to Raf Simon’s enchanted secret garden with flowers hanging in a Hew Locke-fashion. Hedi Slimane brightened up the Saint Laurent runway with a series of suspended light sculptures similar in style to the work of artist Ivan Navarro. Dries Van Noten and Rodarte paid homage to my two favorite minimalists, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, respectively. Dries lined his runway with a series of Judd-esque Stacks while Kate and Laura took a cue from their spring/summer 2013 show and scattered the runway, yet again, with Flavin’s neon light beams. Ricardo Tisci staged a car crash on the Givenchy runway similar to the work Short Cut, 2003, by Elmgreen and Dragset. Above the runway at Chloe hung a single gold inverted plate almost identical to Untitled, 2012, by Anish Kapoor while photos from Anya Hindmarch’s Cirque du Soleil-inspired show resembled James Rosenquist’s Multiple Universe works from 2012. Both Alexander Wang and Felipe Oliveira Baptista for Lacoste created backdrops mimicking Sol Lewitt’s Costruzione Cubica, 1971.

Lastly, this wouldn’t be a proper spring/summer 2014 art and fashion post without mentioning Prada and Chanel. This season Miuccia Prada commissioned street artists and illustrators to provide designs for the both the clothing and accessories as well as runway backdrop for Prada while at Chanel Karl Lagerfeld constructed his very own high fashion art gallery within the walls of the Grand Palais.

Excited to see who chooses an artistic setting to compliment the fall/winter 2014 collections in the weeks to come!

Left: Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2014 and Right: artwork by Hew Locke

Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2014

Work by Ivan Navarro

Left: Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer 2014 and Right: work by Donald Judd

Left: Rodarte Spring/Summer 2014 and Right: work by Dan Flavin

Right: Givenchy Spring/Summer 2014 and Right: Short Cut, 2003 by Elmgreen and Dragset

Left: Chloe Spring/Summer 2014 and Right: Untitled, 2012, by Anish Kapoor

Left and Right: Anya Hindmarch Spring/Summer 2014 and Middle: James Rosenquist, 2012

Left: Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2014 and Right: Lacoste Spring/Summer 2014

Sol Lewitt, Costruzione Cubica, 1971

Prada Spring/Summer 2014

Chanel Spring/Summer 2014

Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2011 and Roy Lichtenstein’s Wall Explosion II, 1965

While the spring/summer 2014 fashion season is well underway, nothing shown thus far is sure to stick in consumers’ minds for the next six months until the collections are available for purchase.

For fall 2013, top honors went to Tom Ford’s explosive appliqués that, regardless of their commercial appeal, made quite the impact. The buzz surrounding Mr.Ford’s fall collection could have been in part due to it being his first full-scale runway show since his return to womenswear, however his designs impressed nonetheless. The evening looks, complete with Lichtenstein-eque explosions, are featured in the Tom Ford fall ad campaign and have graced the pages of countless high fashion editorials since their runway debut. Looking back, it was Miuccia Prada who used a similar in-your-face approach to ready-to-wear for spring/summer 2011 with her firecracker leather skirts and jackets at Miu Miu (pictured above).

Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2013 Advertisement

Soon after, Phillip Lim made an even more obvious ode to Lichtenstein for pre-fall 2012, mimicking the pop artist’s famous style similar to how Spanish pop art team, Equipo Cronica, has done in the past.

3.1 Phillip Lim Pre-Fall 2012 and Equipo Cronica’s Guernica, 1971

Chanel Fall/Winter 2009 Couture

For fall/winter 2009 couture, Karl Lagerfeld took a more abstract approach to fireworks and explosions at Chanel. Two standout looks from the collection bared striking similarities to the works by artists Wassily Kandinsky and Robert Delaunay; entitled Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913, and Le Premier Disque, 134 cm, 52.7 inches, 1912-13, respectively.

Left: Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913 by Wassily Kandinsky and Right: Le Premier Disque, 134 cm, 52.7 inches, 1912-13 by Robert Delaunay

Lastly, no reference to explosive fashion would be complete without mentioning Christopher Kane’s 2010 resort collection. The atomic bomb dresses and separates were unforgettable and almost identical to images in Robert Longo’s series of charcoal, bomb drawings, The Sickness of Reason.

No matter what the season – fall, resort, spring or pre-fall – ready-to-wear or couture, designers are more than capable of making an impact. Now it is your turn spring/summer 2014, wow us.

Christopher Kane Resort 2010 and Atomic Bomb charcoal drawing by Robert Longo

From Left: Narciso Rodriguez, Erdem, Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2013

The fall 2013 shopping season is well under way. Collections shown almost six months ago are finally hitting stores and available for purchase. In an effort to re-familiarize myself with pre-fall I have been flipping through shows style.com and noticed a pattern amongst the collections. Designers from Narciso Rodriguez to Erdem as well as Parisian houses like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior showed multiple, if not all, of their 2013 pre-fall looks in pairs.

Dolce & Gabbana, Viktor & Rolf and Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli

This latest pre-fall development is hardly the first time the fashion world has experienced the impact of a twosome. Could this trend have come about as a result of the continuing success of designer pairs from Dolce & Gabbana and Viktor & Rolf, to Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli? Just this past June the CFDA awards for womenswear designer of the year and the Swarovski award for womenswear were presented to American duos Proenza Shoulder and Suno, respectively, and in 2012 Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were awarded top honors for The Row.

John Galliano spring/summer 2006 and Chanel spring/summer 2013 couture

The art world, however, recognized the power of pairs far before John Galliano sent obscure couples down the runway for his namesake spring/summer 2006 ready-to-wear show and prior to Lagerfeld’s double bride finale for Chanel spring/summer 2013 couture.

Left: Dan Flavin & Donald Judd and right: Peter Fischli & David Weiss

Artists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd as well as Peter Fischli & David Weiss began collaborating in the 1970s while modern day duos from Elmgreen and Dragset to Kelley Walker and Wade Guyton have made names for themselves as twosomes.

Left: Elmgreen & Dragset and right: Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker

Countless solo artists have explored the concept of duality within their personal work. One of photographer Diane Arbus’ most celebrated images – Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967 – famously depicts identical young females and by happenchance began a cultural revolution; is it said that the pair were the inspiration behind the twins in Stanley Kubrick’s surrealist horror film, The Shining. Arbus herself even worked in collaboration with her husband, Allan, although he is rarely mentioned.

Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967 and twins from The Shining

Likewise, more contemporary female photographers, from Sarah Jones to Cindy Sherman, have embraced twosomes in their individual work; the latter elevated her trademark self-portraits during the photo-shop revolution of the early 2000’s and began appearing multiple times in one image.

Left: work by Sarah Jones and right: work by Cindy Sherman

Regardless of seasonal trends, fashion and art duos continue to prove themselves unstoppable.

Art by Kehinde Wiley, inspired by Givenchy Fall/Winter 2013

Looking back at the Minnie Muse archive, one of my all-time favorite posts to date is Between The Lines from April 2012. It was through the Between The Lines coloring book that I was first introduced to the unbelievable organization RxArt all while rediscovering one of my favorite pastimes as a child, coloring. This year, I once again flipped through the pages of Between The Lines and chose different works to color using the fall/winter 2013 collections as my inspiration. My self-constructed fantasy land includes Givenchy’s FW13 runway hair in form of a baseball cap, a Rodarte rose garden and tie-dye sky, a Jeremy Scott-patterned Giraffe and some sultry/gothic Thom Browne-inspired Murakami flowers. What a world it would be…

Art by Marc Swanson, inspired by Miu Miu Fall/Winter 2013

Art by Mike Bayne, inspired by Rodarte Fall/Winter 2013

Art by Tom Slaughter, inspired by Jeremy Scott Fall/Winter 2013

Art by Ben Jones, inspired by Fendi Fall/Winter 2013


Art by Nicholas Digenova, inspired by Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2013


Art by Takashi Murakami, inspired by Thom Browne Fall/Winter 2013

Last Stand by FAILE

The day has finally come for the Brooklyn Artists Ball and the third and final group of artists that I was lucky enough to speak with who are designing a table for this evening’s festivities is Brooklyn-based duo, FAILE. I am a huge fan of street art and when it comes to the contemporary movement, FAILE are world-wide leaders. Though their work is often exhibited in non-traditional art contexts, their creative process begins much like that of any other artist, with image making; “Whether we’re working on a theme or series or just individual pieces, it all begins with images, pattern and language. Once, we’ve created this visual vocabulary to pull from, these works become the basis for the paintings, printmaking and sculpture.” In the end, their collection of pieced-together images is, “Akin to an urban tapestry where you’re left with fragments of the city – pieces of image and typography that create new narrative meaning through abstraction and juxtaposition.”

Winter Stories by FAILE

FAILE’s art is able to build a heightened connection with the observer oftentimes because of its placement in atypical settings; “Much of that originally comes from working on the street and directly connecting to people in public spaces, that parlays into exposure through social media and hopefully popular culture as a whole.” Their success in doing so is, in part, because of their ability to force onlookers to see somewhat familiar images in an entirely new light, “Also I think the combination of many recognizable elements in a work that all come together to create a greater whole is something that resonates with people in today’s world.”

Tired Artificial Flowers by FAILE

Although their original creation for the Brooklyn Artists Ball may not be displayed on the streets of New York, they are using familiar design techniques, nonetheless; “Our table at the Brooklyn Museum is based of a style of wood paintings we’ve been doing for a few years now. It really is this combination of many individual painted wood works that create this larger assemblage.” Their inclusion of their trademark quilt-like patterning and, Prayer Wheels – that they started creating in 2008 – “That stem from the question: “What do we pray for in a modern society?” are sure to speak to their artistic aesthetic.

Super Sonic Surprise 2 by FAILE

Ultimately, the project for the museum not only makes sense for the pair as artists, but also as individuals, “The Brooklyn Museum represents the part of New York that we call home. It’s basically in our backyard and really feels like it promotes the part of the city that we connect with most. It’s the museum we bring our kids to, and the museum that has inspired us with many amazing shows over the years.” This special bond is one that I can’t wait to see play out this evening at the party and after-party. I hope to see you all there!

Les Ballets de Faile by FAILE

When it comes to fashion it feels like the past three runway seasons designers have been emphasizing the art of layering and mixing of patterns. For Fall/Winter 2013 Jeremy Scott and J.W.Anderson, in particular, took the FAILE route through their use of colorful, segmented patters and visual patchwork/overlays. FAILE-like graphics command as much attention walking down the runway as they do hanging buildings or sculptures. Hopefully some street art-lovers will sport similar trends once these looks hit stores in the fall.

Fall/Winter Runway Looks by Jeremy Scott and J.W.Anderson

From Left: Red Morning, Sebastian and Trailhead all work by Alison Elizabeth Taylor

The second artist in my three-part lead up to Wednesday’s Brooklyn Artist Ball is Alison Elizabeth Taylor. Alison, like Njideka Akunyilli, is designing a table for the evening inspired by the “encyclopedic collection of the Brooklyn Museum.” She will be, “Riffing on various artworks, by abstracting details and fragments into minimal contours and forms.” Then, incorporating her trademark style, she will, “recreate them in marquetry, a medium that usually appears in a museum as a decorative flourish on a princely piece of furniture, in this installation it will be used to interpret a variety of works from many different cultures and eras into a common visual language.” Her admiration for the diversity of the museum’s collection is evident in her well thought-out design and inclusion of others’ works as part of her own.

Oftentimes the most refreshing, forward thinking designs have classical elements – take the fashion world’s revisiting of the single-sole pump, longer hemlines and a more tailored take on feminism; i.e. The New Look-esque construction as shown by Raf Simons at Dior. Just as Ms.Taylor’s use of a classic technique like marquetry helps in creating a unified vision across each of her projects, there are designers who utilize classics season after season to produce a collection that ultimately looks modern and fresh. For fall 2013 Belstaff, The Row and Hermès all utilized classic construction and shapes to produce collections that felt remarkable modern.

First, Belstaff has resurrected their four-pocket jacket in a big way, showing that the classic design has universal appeal for both men and women. Their fall 2013 show was all about elevating staples through texture, color and minute modifications.

Belstaff Fall/Winter 2013

Although The Row hasn’t yet amassed an archive similar in scale Belstaff, Mary-Kate and Ashley utilized the same classic tailoring techniques that their clothes will undoubtedly inspire a few years down the line. They challenged themselves in construction of common shapes like the blazer as well as Asian-inspired cuts that have found their way into their collections the past few seasons.

The Row Fall/Winter 2013

Lastly, Hèrmes – one of my favorite Fall/Winter 2013 shows – a house that specializes leather goods, utilized their trademark skin in every possible way on the runway. Hèrmes designer Christophe Lemaire looked to the brand’s history as masters of cut and craftsmanship to put out one of the most modern looking collections of the Fall/Winter 2013 season.

Hermès Fall/Winter 2013

Work by Njideka Akunyili

The first participating artist in my three-part table series leading up to the Brooklyn Artist Ball is Njideka Akunyili.

I was initially attracted to Njideka’s work because of its collage-like imagery. Her ability to mix patterns and images all while putting a strong focus on a single color-way gives her work an added dimension. Her creative process is an extensive one, often, “Beginning each piece from one of such varied points of inspiration, [she] approaches different facets of themes [she] has been investigating for several years. Next, [she] does multiple initial sketches to plan the overall compositional shapes, rhythm, value and colors of the piece.”

The most defining characteristic of her work is, “The synergy between its form and content. [She] transfers photographic images of Nigeria into larger painted compositions in order to create a space that fluctuates between traditional Western perspectival illusion and a flat picture plane. This flux recapitulates the phenomenon of syncretism and the people who live in this third space of constant negotiation and fluidity.”

Her tremendous support of the Brooklyn Museum is evident through her involvement in the event and the high praises she gives the art institution. In her words, “It is a museum that has something for everyone and speaks to the diversity of Brooklyn, as evidenced by its exhibition Connecting Cultures: A World in Brooklyn. The museum does a laudable job of engaging and celebrating Brooklyn artists through the Raw/Cooked program, the recent Go Brooklyn open studios and the Artist Ball.” The constant mix of iconic pieces by both young and established artists is the perfect compliment to Njideka’s continuous efforts to incorporate elements that are both old and new into her work.

Like the very museum she is honoring next Wednesday, Njideka’s table design for the evening blurs the line between the past and present while breaking down cultural boundaries. Her table, Compound Transplant, “Was inspired by a striking display of plastic containers for sale along the side of a highway in Eastern Nigeria [… and] evokes themes of cultural fluidity and globalization by restaging features characteristic of Nigerian houses and roadside retail stalls.”

Immediately upon seeing Njideka’s work, two fall 2013 collections came to mind – Junya Watanabe and Givenchy. First, Junya Watanabe’s on account of his always effortless mix of contrasting patterns and textures. Both Akunyili and Watanabe play with layering – Junya on the body and Njideka on a canvas – and often counterbalance extensive use of patterns with bold, bright, solid colors.

Junya Watanabe Fall/Winter 2013

Work by Njideka Akunyili

Junya Watanabe Fall/Winter 2013

Of Njideka’s work featured, I am most drawn to those that bare monochromatic qualities. Her two paintings below – one primarily red and one yellow – resemble two of the color stories Ricardo Tisci played with for fall. Both sets of looks and Njideka’s paintings get a majority of their depth through the mixing of complex patterns and a strong focus on a single color way. Can’t wait to see which runway looks are perfect compliments to her table design come Wednesday!

Work by Njideka Akunyili

Givenchy Fall/Winter 2013

Work by Njideka Akunyili

Givenchy Fall/Winter 2013

Brooklyn Artists Ball from GuyManly on Vimeo.

I am so excited to announce that I am on the host committee for this year’s Brooklyn Artists Ball After-Party. The event is only one week away – on April 24th – and the New York art community is buzzing with excitement.

Not only has the Brooklyn Museum exhibited some of today’s most established artists, their position as a driving force in the Brooklyn art world keeps them constantly searching for the new and the next. This mentality attracts an exceptionally creative group of artists and art lovers alike, all of whom will be together next Wednesday evening for a night of celebration.

This year, the party will pay homage to both the established and the new, recognizing three acclaimed contemporary artists – Vik Muniz, Wangechi Mutu and Roxy Paine – as well as countless others who are producing original work for the evening.

In addition to an installation by the amazing Luis Gispert (whose work I previously featured here) artists are also contributing to the evening’s ambiance through custom table designs. I was lucky enough to speak with a few of the participating artists – more to come this week – about their work, why the Brooklyn Museum is important to them and the inspiration behind the look of their tables.

Tickets for both the dinner and after-party are selling fast so if you haven’t purchased tickets yet be sure to click here.

There are so many interesting, talented people involved and attending the event that it is sure to be an amazing night. Hope to see everyone there!

Bergdorf Goodman is the epitome of luxury, located on one of the busiest blocks in New York City and most iconic corners of any city in the world. When I was a young girl the first thing I would make my mom do each visit to New York was take me over to Bergdorf’s to see what the fantastical window displays had in store. Like the always-ornate windows sprawling the 5th Avenue storefront, Bergdorf’s is more than just about fashion. From a shopper’s perspective, no other retailer in New York, let alone the world, provides the same experience as one gets at Bergdorf Goodman. As a retailer, BG transports shoppers to a fashion wonderland that doesn’t feel like a store; take the homey-vibe of the second floor shoe salon or the BG restaurant on 7 that seems like a mere extension of your own dining room. Luckily, the retail powerhouse is now moving from its trademark location of the past 111 years and onto the big screen.

Iris Apfel in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

Karl Lagerfeld in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

Filmmaker Matthew Miele has been working on the documentary – appropriately entitled, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s – for over two years. Over the course of several months Miele interviewed everyone from fashion legends such as Iris Apfel to actors, socialites and countless of Bergdorf’s top vendors – from established, international fashion gods like Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani to members of New York’s new guard such as Thakoon, the Proenza boys and the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. I saw a rough cut of the film in September but after six additional months of editing the completed piece is finally coming to New York theatres on May 3rd.

Thakoon in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

Jack and Lazaro of Proenza Schouler in Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

My favorite storyline of the film has to be the piece centered around one of Bergdorf’s unstoppable forces who is fairly unknown by the public – senior director of visual presentation, David Hoey. Matthew was lucky enough to get full access to Hoey and his creative team as they spent months designing and prepping the install of Bergdorf’s 2011 Holiday Windows – dubbed Carnival of Animals. There is nothing like the day right around Thanksgiving when the purple curtains come down and the windows are revealed. Crowds of people gather all day in the freezing cold to get a glimpse of each window’s opulence. The excitement transports me back to my childhood when I would make visits to store and not even go inside. There is no doubt a similarly enthusiastic crowed will be gathered around theatres come the film’s release in less than one month!

Bergdorf Goodman 2011 Holiday Windows

Bergdorf Goodman 2011 Holiday Windows

My Bed by Tracey Emin

Does anyone even wear pajamas to sleep anymore? It seems the lightweight nightwear has moved up in the clothing hierarchy and earned top honors in recent seasons as acceptable street-wear. While the trend has been in existence for a few years now, fall ’13 showed little backing down. In New York, PJs exploded over the runway at Marc Jacobs from shirts and shorts, to pants and dresses.

Marc Jacobs Fall/Winter 2013

In Paris, Marc showed an equally bedroom-wear-inspired collection at Louis Vuitton. Looking back at the past four years of Vuitton runways, Jacobs showed PJ-pants for spring/summer 2009, an entire oriental-inspired look for spring/summer 2011 and a blue two-piece ensemble in LV’s trademark cheetah print for resort 2012.

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2009, Spring/Summer 2011, 2012 Resort and Fall/Winter 2013

Jacobs seems to be such a fan of the casual everyday-wear that he himself spent fashion month in the comfy separates – gone are the days of his trademark kilt, 2013 is the year of Pajamas.

Marc Jacobs at Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, all Fall/Winter 2013

Rochas Fall/Winter 2013

Marc Jacobs – as the designer and the man – isn’t the only one embracing casual. Marco Zanini included four PJ looks in his fall 2013 collection for Rochas while last fall Pucci’s Peter Dundas also showed pajamas under more formal outerwear.

Emilio Pucci Fall/Winter 2012

Looking back at 2012, the queens of cool, Pheobe Philio and Stella McCartney, showed nightwear turned daywear for Céline resort and Stella spring/summer, respectively.

From left: Céline 2012 Resort and Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2012

Lastly, on the topic of pajamas, who could forget spring/summer 2009 Dolce & Gabbana where ever model seemed to be wearing something silk and patterned with contrast piping.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2009

If Jacobs’ decision to sport nightwear for all three of his fall/winter 2013 bows has any connection to his personal Mickey Mouse T at his spring/summer 2007 show and subsequent Mickey shirt for Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2013 (pictured below), prepare to see plenty of more pajama dressing on the Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton runways in the years to come.

From Left: Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2007 and Spring/Summer 2013