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.”
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.”
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.
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!
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.
Tags: Art, Collaborations, Designers, Fall/Winter 2013, Inspiration, New York, Parties
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Art, Designers, Fall/Winter 2013, Inspiration, Interviews, New York, Parties, Photography
Work by 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.
Work by Njideka Akunyili
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
Work by Njideka Akunyili
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.
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!
Thursday evening marked Bergdorf Goodman’s one-hundred-and-eleventh anniversary soirée. Today, Bergdorf’s is thought of as more than a retail store. When it came to honoring their past 111 years of ruling luxury in New York City, BG chose to celebrate at another iconic New York venue, The Plaza – the same place, in fact, that their fiftieth anniversary party was held sixty one years ago. While a lot has changed since its founding in 1901, The Bergdorf’s institution still lays claim to some of the most valuable real estate in New York City, with iconic windows spanning an entire city block on 5th avenue. The unveiling of their much-anticipated holiday windows is just a few weeks away, but I am hoping their over-the-top fete was an indication of the extravagance that is to come next month. The party was filled with Bergdrof’s friends, family, local and global vendors, models, celebrities, artists and everyone in between. As if my never-ending instagrams were not enough, see some of my additional photos from the perfect night of celebrating fashion!
Will Cotton x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Chris Benz
Each year Two x Two, a noted Dallas, Texas-based organization holds their annual TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art benefit gala and art auction. This year, thanks to a partnership with accessories designer Nancy Gonzalez, fashion is playing more significant a role than ever. Together, the two have commissioned ten of today’s leading contemporary artists to custom design a one-of-a-kind signature Nancy Gonzalez Leaf Tote bag to be sold at auction on October 20th. Matte white crocodile was used as the skin for each tote and in turn the artist’s canvas. Whether it is Kaws’ simple black slashes or Jenny Holzer’s embossed white leather lining, each work is entirely in keeping with the individual artist’s style while still maintaining the integrity of the esteemed Nancy Gonzalez brand.
This partnership gives collectors and fashion lovers alike the perfect excuse to purchase a new piece of contemporary art as well as a Nancy Gonzalez crocodile tote; not to mention it is for an amazing cause. 100% of the proceeds from the evening will be benefiting TWO x TWO for amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art.
While I hope the future owners of each priceless piece will never burden them with the contents of one’s handbag, I couldn’t help but peruse the latest SS13 collections to find the perfect accompanying looks for each piece (see above and below). Be prepared to to spot Shala Monroque or Dasha Zhukova sporting one of these bad boys around Art Basel in December.
Jim Hodges x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Preen
Jenny Holzer x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Eudon Choi
Kaws x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Calvin Klein
Dr.Lakra x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Holly Fulton
Josephine Meckseper x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 BCBG Max Azria
Richard Phillips x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Marc Jacobs
Raquib Shaw x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Altuzarra
Mickalene Thomas x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Derek Lam
Lawrence Weiner x Nancy Gonzalez – SS13 Alexandre Herchovitc
Greetings from France! It feels amazing to be in such serenity, regardless that our annual voyage overseas means the end of summer is near. Amidst yesterday’s packing madness, I stumbled upon photography gold. Yes, that is the Jordan clan above circa 1993 in full denim glory; that would be me in front as a tiny, little thing being held up by my grandpa. I’d love to say this is how we dressed every evening in the 90s, but truthfully we were all in costume for my parents’ Country Western Party.
I was surprised to find the above photos and learn that Mary-Kate and Ashley’s How The West Was Fun was not my primary introduction to western wear. Looking back, all I can think about is that if we had a horse we would be the perfect stand-ins for Laurie Simmon’s 1979 Cowboys series (pictured below).
The fact of the matter is that everyone loves hoedown apparel. Whether it be the Jeremy Scott number that Leigh Lezark wore to Derek Blasberg’s 30th Birthday – I feel a bit odd knowing the amount I do about that party, thanks to Mr.Blasberg himself who wrote features for a few publications – or Jean Paul Gaultier’s SS06 collection shown in his hay-filled atelier, each season someone, somewhere toys with western/farm/hoedown inspiration. To this day, no show has measured up to Chanel’s SS10 Farm Collection, but for AW12 it was Isabel Marant’s turn to have a go. While I wasn’t initially a fan, I have warmed up to certain pieces as they begin to trickle into online retailers. Thanks to Net-a-Porter I find myself developing a hunger for one of her suede, fringe coats or a new pair of trusty Marant boots. Continue checking Net-a-Porter for the latest Fall pieces from Isabel Marant and more… Happy shopping!
Wednesday evening marked the opening of the Little Black Jacket exhibit in SoHo. The book, which will not be available until late August, is in essence a picture book for fashion-minded adults. The 100 portraits inside were shot by Karl Lagerfeld and styled by Carine Roitfeld from May-October of 2011 in three different cities – Monaco, Paris and New York. Despite a very high demand, the actual jacket used in the photos, which was from Chanel’s Resort 2012 collection, will not be available for purchase. Three iconic images from the show – Vanessa Paradis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Elle Fanning – are available as posters free of change for visitors to take and use in anticipation of the book’s publication. The traveling show will run in New York through Friday, June 15th at the Swiss Institute gallery space at 18 Wooster Street in SoHo.
Following the MET Gala last week there were a few other small events I attended in celebration of Impossible Conversations. The first was a very intimate evening at the Tisch residence with Ms.Prada – hence the picture above. I was floored/honored after asking for a photo with the notoriously camera shy designer that she agreed without hesitation (I suppose the great lengths I went to to obtain the look from FW12 worn that evening turned out to be well worth it). It was surreal to see the designer in a relaxed environment with such few people.
The following morning I attended the curator-lead walkthrough of the exhibition for the Friends of The Costume Institute. Like the occasional spaz that I am – or possibly I was still on a mental cloud from the prior evening – I showed up without a memory card in my camera. Thus, I have no photos to attest to what a wonderful morning it was, but I do have a few special anecdotes. Andrew and Harold (Head Curator and Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute) spoke about the process of designing the exhibition from when it was a mere idea to when Miuccia herself walked through for the first time.
The exhibit opens with the Impossible Conversations short film by Baz Lurhmann. In it, actress Judy Davis portrays Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia plays herself. All of Miuccia’s dialogue was written using her own words from countless conversations with Andrew to which he compiled into a script. The filming was done by Mr.Lurhmann at The Carlyle hotel on two separate occasions. For the first, he was there in person to read Sciaparelli’s lines across the table from Miuccia, but for the second he was in Australia filming Gatsby and thus was virtually there by way of Skype.
After the film comes the clothes. In the gallery Waist Up/Waist Down – Head Up/Knee down, they highlight Prada’s amazing skirts and shoes while juxtaposing them against Schiaparelli’s beautiful jackets and famous hats. Harold told a great story about how Ms.Prada requested that a pair of shoes be changed because without the contrast of the blouse she originally put with the look it appears too lady like and thus not Prada.
Later, they pay homage to Miuccia’s ealr years designing women’s wear. Andrew mentioned it was a dark period for Ms.Prada both literally and figuratively, she used minimalism to hide behind; the basic, black Prada dresses of the early 90s were certainly worlds apart from this fall’s colorful, patterned-filled collection.
While Miuccia denies looking to Schiaparelli’s work for inspiration there are undeniable similarities between the two thanks to the great Yves Saint Laurent; he used Schiaparelli as a muse and Ms.Prada looks to Yves’ work season after season. Andrew and Harold discussed how both women’s work are a bit oxymoronic. Schiaparelli was constantly praised for her craftsmanship while most of her techniques are those of someone who is not really interested in technique. Similarly, Prada is a woman who is fixated on the idea of ‘Ugly Chic’ and sees a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress as a cliché.
The final gallery in the exhibition showcases looks from some of Schiaparelli’s and Prada’s most career-defining collections. The pieces on display serve as the perfect final impression of the exhibit celebrating two of fashion’s most prized female designers.
Tags: Alexander McQueen, Art, Designers, New York, Parties, Photography
Take a cue from Sarah Burton and forget tradition this Mother’s Day. Skip the simple bouquet and instead go for a flower that will never die and will always maintain its shine. I am referring to the two petal dresses and metal flower belts (pictured below) from Alexander McQueen’s FW12 runway collection. These Fall looks, along with a few others, were on display at a Luncheon hosted by Burton last Wednesday in NYC. The small party showcased the best looks from FW12 runway as well as the entire Pre-Fall collection, which was shown in an intimate presentation. It was incredible to see upclose the craftsmanship and attention to detail that embodies Alexander McQueen.
Burton is not only an unbelievable talent but equally as kind and humble. She is the female Alber Elbaz in terms of her amazing generosity and genuine interest in others. It was a surreal moment to walk through the collection by her side and hear personal stories about each look. Check out pictures from my day with Burton below…