Miranda July in Somebody

Miranda July's Meta-App for Miu Miu

Not exactly a big fan of the Internet, Miuccia Prada let her view of the digital realm be known today with the screening of the latest in Miu Miu's short-film series, Women's Tales, at the Venice Film Festival. Called Somebody, the ten-minute short tells the story of an app that lets users text emotional messages to each other, but delivered verbally by the nearest stranger, thereby rehumanizing communication between people.

The brainchild of Miranda July, the short captures the cockeyed, ironic tone of the actress-screenwriter's work, particularly her feature-length film Me and You and Everyone We Know, which won the Caméra d'Or prize at Cannes in 2005.

Naturally, pieces by Miu Miu appear throughout, a motley selection of items from the fall 2014 collection mixed with vintage and streetwear. “With this collection Miuccia Prada seemed to be drawing from the everyday, utilitarian world around her," says july. "I fantasized that I was reverse-engineering the clothes back to their origins.”

In the biggest twist of all — a meta-twist, if you will — the Somebody app has been made for real users in the real world in real time. With support from Miu Miu, July worked with a team of developers to create the free app, downloadable here. It's hard to imagine anyone using it for more than novelty reasons, but it's at least good for a few laughs in Venice today. Let's see, what could we get Lena Dunham to say to Ed Norton, both of whom are expected at the post-screening dinner at Ca’ Corner della Regina.

Aug 28, 2014 15:13:00
Fergadelic for McQ

Something Different: Fergadelic for McQ

Fergus Purcell, aka Fergadelic, is the go-to artist for a number of houses that rely on his street-influenced graphics to spruce up their collections around the periphery — which is to say, not the collections themselves. The spring men's collections from Marc by Marc Jacobs and McQ Alexander McQueen are but two houses that come to mind.

Now Fergadelic is venturing into fashion with a collaborative men's capsule for McQ, consisting of two custom designs for fall: the 'Scarred McQ' (on jersey tees or as knitwear) and the 'Frankenman.' The conjured images of unrefined, imperfect cretins are a seamless fit with Fergadelic's fetish for retro comics and homemade tattoos and with the brand's recurring themes of destruction and regeneration.

Available from August at select stockists globally and Alexander McQueen 

Aug 26, 2014 19:21:00
Winde Rienstra, Iris Van Herpen

Head Over Heels for the Brooklyn Museum's New Exhibit

It's hard to think of a fashion accessory as celebrated as the high heel — or as reviled. The shoes of royalty and street walkers alike, the objects of devotion are getting the retrospective treatment this fall at the Brooklyn Museum. Through 160 items, Killer Heels examines the transformative power and provocation of the elevated shoe.

Historically noteworthy are 17th-century Italian chopines made of silk, leather, and wood, as well as 19th-century cotton and silk embroidered Manchu platform shoes from China. Twentieth-century examples range from a wool “heel hat” by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dalí (1937–38) to Marilyn Monroe’s Salvatore Ferragamo stilettos (1959). Contemporary standouts include Christian Louboutin’s spring 2013 collection; Zaha Hadid’s chromed vinyl rubber and fiberglass “Nova” shoe for United Nude; Iris Van Herpen’s 3-D printed heel; Céline’s fur pump covered in mink; and footwear by Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Tom Ford, Pierre Hardy, Iris Van Herpen, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Noritaka Tatehana, and Vivienne Westwood.

The exhibition also features six short films commissioned for the exhibition from Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter, Zach Gold, Rashaad Newsome, and Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh.

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, Brooklyn Museum, Sep 10, 2014 - Feb 15, 2015

Aug 25, 2014 15:49:00
Material Girl

The Madonna Auction Madonna Knows Nothing About

There's going to be the largest auction of Madonna memorabilia ever and her publicist says she's oblivious to it. Maybe she's still raging at her well-instagrammed 56th birthday bash in Cannes.

Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills — which dubs itself "the world’s premier entertainment and music memorabilia auction house" — has amassed a wide assortment of personal and professional items of Madonna's, apparently gathered from her various acquaintances over the years. Although how an acquaintance would wind up with her 1988 calendar book or some of her trophies, like the American Music Award for her song Vogue, isn't clear.

The item with the highest estimated value ($20,000 - $40,000) is Madonna's Marilyn Monroe-inspired dress, fur stole, and costume jewelry from her Material Girl video of 1984. Meanwhile, the items with the highest gross-out value are the panties, bra, waspie, and latex mask she wore in a recent V magazine cover shoot with Katy Perry. Negatives and prints from the infamous nude shoot she did with photographer Bill Stone — who, after she became famous, took to Penthouse — will also be available to bid on.

Memorabilia from other music videos — Music, American Pie — will also be on hand, while her various films are also represented, including Evita (accessories and jewelry), A League of Their Own, and The Next Best Thing.

Madonna Auction, November 7 & 8, 2014

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Aug 23, 2014 13:06:00
Andy Warhol filming Lonesome Cowboys (1968)

Andy Warhol's Films to Get a Major Reboot

Andy Warhol's films are rarely shown, due mostly to their fragile condition. Some might argue that's a good thing, since most (all?) of them flout filmmaking convention and, in many cases, were made to be deliberately unwatchable. Empire, for example, consists of one continuous eight-hour shot of the Empire State Building, while Blow Job shows nothing more than the face of a man receiving one.

But we contend the artist's film projects, many of them made in collaboration with Paul Morrissey, were eminently watchable for their sheer lunacy and how Warhol's Superstar non-actors were allowed to be themselves on camera — or rather, melodramatic versions of themselves. Warhol's films were never about the plot.

People will soon be able to judge for themselves. The Warhol Foundation and MoMA have announced a joint effort to digitize around 1,000 rolls of Warhol’s 16mm film. The project will see roughly 500 works converted, frame by frame, into high-res footage, with the assistance of the visual-effects studio MCP, better known for its work on Godzilla, The X-Men, and Guardians of the Galaxy. When the process is completed in a number of years, the Foundation and MoMA will be able to screen and loan out these once delicate films. In the meantime, the Warhol Foundation says it will showcase 15 never-before-seen films, also digitally restored by MPC, later this year at its Pittsburgh location.

Aug 22, 2014 10:30:00
The garden at the Tom of Finland Foundation, photo Daniel Trese

Sizing Up the Tom of Finland Competition

It goes without saying that erotica is the main criterion for entering the 10th Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition. But actually, there's very good reason to be vocal about it. The Tom of Finland Foundation launched the contest in 1993 to advance the principles of the Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland, who for decades portrayed well-endowed men looking for and engaged in homosexual acts — during a time when homosexuals were targeted, persecuted, and victimized by police.

The artist Bob Mizer was another target — and contemporary of Tom of Finland — of forces opposed to freedom of expression. As Dennis Bell, president of the Bob Mizer Foundation, told us in a recent interview: "He went to prison and had years of legal troubles simply for creating images that, in their own time, were as subversive and controversial as any image you see today in Straight to Hell. You have put it in context. In the 1950s, naked male bodies with only an outline of a cock seen through a posing strap were [considered] explicit."

The judges of this year's contest are an eclectic bunch. They include Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson of the Brazilian art collective assume vivid astro focus; Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset of the art duo Elmgreen & Dragset; designer-turned-artist Helmut Lang, Bruce LaBruce, Richard Hawkins, Ryan Heffington, Linder, and A.L. Steiner.

The winner — who'll win the above Tom of Finland sketch and a stay in his former bedroom-cum-studio (who knows what you'll find!) — will be announced on December 3, while the awards will be presented at the Foundation’s 30th anniversary celebration on December 14, 2014, in Los Angeles. Submissions — photos, drawings, paintings, collages, sculptures, 3-D art, digital art, mixed media — must be received by the end of November 3. Apply at Tom of Finland Foundation.

Aug 21, 2014 14:57:00

Finally, a Leather Case in Any Shape for Any Occasion

If you happen to need a leather case custom-made to the dimensions of, say, your favorite recliner, trophy collection, kitchen sink, the letter L — anything, basically — Sarah Williams is there for you. With her company, Williams Handmade, the graduate of the London College of Art (who majored in Fashion Artefact, hmmm) harnesses the power of age-old craftsmanship to concoct hand-held marvels of engineering, some of which look like they belong in a museum. Well, in fact, Williams exhibited in the recent Power of Craft exhibition at the V&A.

Williams' futuro-artisanal cases and bags aren't just for moneyed eccentrics whose every move is made-to-measure. Aside from her bespoke service, she crafts of-this-earth satchels, wallets, and, most recently, sandals. They may not get as many gawks as a U-shaped suitcase or an S-shaped briefcase, but they'll last just as long because her leather, all of it, is only the finest. In the end, each piece is truly handmade, usually by Sarah Williams herself.

Visit Williams Handmade. Shop at Not Just a Label

Aug 21, 2014 14:58:00

Iggy Azalea Makes Her Debut as the New Host of MTV's House of Style

She channels Cher Horowitz in her video for Fancy, but Iggy Azalea is hardly clueless about who she wants to emulate on stage. That's the takeaway from her first episode as host of MTV's House of Style reboot, in which she visits L.A. vintage stores with Moschino's new creative director and L.A. resident Jeremy Scott.

Giggling and hamming it up, the two hark back to the 90s heyday of Cindy Crawford and Todd Oldham. And that's the only retro vibe going on. Iggy, her blonde ambition showing, says right from the start she wants to find a cone bra and, although she doesn't find one, she does manage to spot piece after piece seemingly pulled straight from Madonna's closet. An S&M-themed book shot by Steven Meisel is surely not far.

Aug 07, 2014 14:18:00

The Happiest Place on Earth

For artist José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros, nothing is sacred, not even the princesses and wizards of universally adored fairy tales. In "Profanity Pop" at La Luz de Jesus gallery in L.A., he portrays an alternate magic kingdom, where Minnie Mouse tokes on a bong and a plus-sized Snow White takes a very immodest selfie, and where princes and the seven dwarves are free to kiss openly. So, progress.

Profanity Pop, José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros, La Luz de Jesus, L.A. thru Aug 31

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Aug 21, 2014 09:20:00

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