The Iris Apfel of Albert Maysles' Eye

Iris, the long-awaited documentary about the living legend Iris Apfel, finally premiered last night in New York, with continued roll-out in other cities scheduled through June 2015. The film is remarkable in many ways, not least because it was the last project by Albert Maysles, the co-creator of Grey Gardens (the cult 1975 film that followed Little and Big Edie Beale around their dilapidated East Hampton manse) who died just weeks ago at the age of 88.

Remarkable in her own right, Iris — who's reached the very golden age of 93 — was the subject of the Met's yearly fashion exhibit in 2005, Rara Avis. Without her, it's quite likely we would not be seeing other celebrated senior supes, most notably Joan Didion for Céline, Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent, Jessica Lange for Marc Jacobs Beauty, and Charlotte Rampling for Nars.

Iris Apfel first rose to prominence in the 1950s, when she and her husband Carl — who reached 100 during filming — founded Old World Weavers, a textile company hired by no fewer than nine presidents for White House restorations, as well as numerous museums around the world to spiff up their textile collections.

Aside from her own extraordinary collection of textiles, Iris is known for an idiosyncratic mix-and-match personal style — not to mention enormous specs — and her disarmingly candid way of speaking that others gravitate toward. In the film, we see Bruce Weber, Jenna Lyons, and Kanye West being introduced to her and gushing hard. We also watch as she and Carl, both barely encumbered by age, continue to dote on each other in their Park Avenue apartment, as energetic and curious as ever.

Mar 30, 2015 15:07:00

Alexander McQueen in Rare, Raw Early Interviews

Suddenly there's plenty of Alexander McQueen to go around. With the opening of Savage Beauty at the V&A in London, SHOWstudio has been uploading Unseen McQueen, an exhaustive series of video interviews with the designer and his cohorts that, going by the title, haven't been seen before. 

Most intriguing is an 83-minute interview between McQueen and SHOWstudio's Nick Knight, commissioned by i-D in 2000, shortly before his Angel installation that saw 80 gallons of live maggots arranged in the shape of an angel's face. While the complete audio has been recovered, only part of the footage survives, making for fittingly ghostly apparitions of the two. McQueen elucidates his creative process, the difficulties of working with LVMH (he was wrapping up his Givenchy stint around this time), and how, if he "explained the things in his head, it would shock people"...

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Mar 26, 2015 12:33:00

Shallow Not Stupid

"There is no way back for me now," are the last words written on the wall at the exit of the Savage Beauty show at London's V&A. But the exhibit is a celebration, not a suicide note.

The show opens with McQueen talking exuberantly about his hometown of London, his dirty laugh echoing around the gallery. "You have to understand tradition to subvert it," he says, and the clothes on display show his talent for cutting. Scissors are sexy when they're slicing something like a dress made of hair.

The highlight of Savage Beauty is a hologram of Kate Moss, in a room of her own, dancing on air in a feathery white wedding dress from the Widows of Culloden collection of 2006. If I were locked in the V&A overnight, as McQueen fantasized, I'd steal this dress and do a Liz Taylor by marrying Mr. Lash again, for the sole purpose of being a McQueen bride.

There's nothing savage about the beauty of Kate's performance as she's transformed from a mesmerizing Miss Havisham into shooting stars, to the music of Schindler's List — possibly a perverse skeleton-chic reference, or just a haunting melody. And when it ends, Kate's glass cage turns into a mirror, so you can confirm you're still the thinnest of them all.

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Mar 24, 2015 13:38:00
Triadic Ballet, 1920s

A Moment for the Bauhaus Ballet

It's been nearly a century since the Bauhaus Ballet, more commonly known as the Triadic Ballet, was first developed by Oskar Schlemmer. In 1916, the notion of avant-garde was also in its infancy, thus the two came of age together. The ballet toured all during the 1920s, helping to spread the philosophy of the German art school — that is, extreme minimalism and functionality — throughout Europe and the world.

Schlemmer believed the human body to be an artistic medium, which he choreographed through rigid, abstracted, stylized movements. He structured the ballet — with music composed by Paul Hindemith — to similarly exacting standards: three acts, three participants (two male, one female), twelve scenes, and eighteen costumes. Each of the three acts had a different color and corresponding mood, changing from cheerful and child-like to solemn and mystical.

Naturally, costume design was an essential component of the Triadic Ballet. In fact, Schlemmer built the performance around the costumes, which he called "figurines." Based purely on boldness of shape and functionality, they resembled the output of the other disciplines of the Bauhaus and were sometimes referred to as the 'mechanical cabaret.' The strictness of their design didn't take away from the playfulness exhibited by anyone sporting a costume, particularly at any of the Bauhaus' legendary costume parties.

Over 40 years after the Ballet disbanded, The Triadic Ballet was produced as a 30-minute color film by Bavaria Atelier, which offers a window on how it may have looked originally...

Mar 24, 2015 12:15:00
37 rue de Bellechasse

Saint Laurent Returns to the Rive Gauche

Continuing to mine the house's bohemian era, Hedi Slimane today announced plans to move Saint Laurent's headquarters to Paris' Rive Gauche, following a similar migration of the ateliers in early 2014, including the couture division. It won't be complete until 2018, however, after extensive renovations have been made to the large stone complex — Penthémont Cistercian Abbey (37 rue de Bellechasse, 75007) — that dates back to 1671. Following the French Revolution, the abbey was converted into barracks and more recently used by the ministry of armed forces.

Naturally, Slimane will oversee every detail of the remodeling, just as he did with the relocation of the ateliers to 24 rue de l’Université, where he most notably assembled a collection of modernist artworks, including Jean-Michel Frank, Ad Reinhardt, Carl André, Sol Lewitt, Daniel Buren, and Elizabeth Eyre de Lanux. The two major efforts are part of Slimane's overall strategy to anchor the house in the Left Bank, home to the original Rive Gauche store, opened in 1966, where the prêt-à-porter line was first sold. The first customer to venture to the neighborhood, a mecca for young artists and poets, was Catherine Deneuve.

Mar 23, 2015 14:13:00
CK Jeans

Most Notorious Banned Fashion Ads

Over the years, fashion ads have been banned in various parts of the world. Usually it's heightened sexuality that sends self-righteous prudes into an outraged tizzy. Other times it's the glamorization of violence or drugs, or the objectification of minors that rightfully sees a ban. But of course, anything forbidden has a way of popping right back up. Here are some of the more notorious banned fashion ads...


CK Jeans, shot by Steven Meisel (2010)


CK Jeans (2010)


Calvin Klein (1990s)

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Mar 21, 2015 19:49:00
Massimo Giorgetti

Congrats to Pucci's New Designer

Italy is often seen as lacking fresh new blood. But that might be changing with the announcement today that LVMH has found a replacement for Peter Dundas, who departed Pucci last week for Roberto Cavalli. The new creative director is none other than MSGM's Massimo Giorgetti.

The enthusiastic designer, who often collaborates with Toilet Paper (and is friends with the magazine's Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari), is a natural fit with Pucci's vibrant, playful, prints-driven image. He'll continue designing MSGM in Milan while he helms Pucci from its Florence headquarters. His first collection will be the spring 2016 show, held in Milan in late September.

Mar 20, 2015 15:01:00

Kanye West Joins Glastonbury and Gets Slammed

Proving again that Brits don't suffer fools gladly, a petition has been started demanding that Glastonbury Festival cancel Kanye West's headlining performance that was only announced three days ago.

The petition, which is halfway to its goal of 150,000 signatures, is brutal from the start. "Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world," it begins. "We spend hundreds of pounds to attend glasto, and by doing so, expect a certain level of entertainment." Ouch.

Ok, that was the founder of the petition speaking, but other signees aren't pulling their punches either. Said Eleanor Head, "I work at Glastonbury Festival and would be utterly ashamed to be associated with such a misogynistic, selfish, racist and arrogant being as Kanye West. Glastonbury Festival is about classic bands, not these sorts of hip-hop artists." 

Meanwhile, "I'm signing this petition because Kanye West is a pretentious arse who thinks he is god's gift," wrote Louis Wilson. Not that Louise Wilson, obviously, though it does beg the question: What would the legendary Central Saint Martins MA course director have thought of West's debut fashion collection?

It isn't likely that this or anything else will change Kanye West's plans, not when you consider his precious Beyoncé closed Glastonbury in 2011, as he will in June. She, too, found herself on the business end of a backlash.

But if we're being optimists, maybe he'll have fun with it and actually do this...

Mar 19, 2015 22:48:00
Stefano Gabbana & Domenico Dolce on Panorama, Elton John & David Furnish with their sons in Hello (2013)

Dolce & Gabbana Incur the Wrath of Elton John with Their Stance Against LGBT Families

Update 3/18/15: Today, Madonna — who counts Dolce & Gabbana as friends and has modeled for the house several times — Instagrammed: "All babies contain a soul however they come to this earth and their families. There is nothing synthetic about a soul!! So how can we dismiss IVF and surrogacy? Every soul comes to us to teach us a lesson. God has his hand in everything even technology! We are arrogant to think Man does anything on his own. As above so below! Think before you speak.,,,,,,,,,,,❤️#livingforlove"

Update 3/16/15: Today, in response to Elton John's heated rebuke of Dolce & Gabbana's comments against LGBT families, Stefano Gabbana spoke with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. He said, "I didn’t expect this, coming from someone whom I considered, and I stress 'considered,' an intelligent person like Elton John. I mean, you preach understanding, tolerance and then you attack others?...It’s an authoritarian way of seeing the world: agree with me or, if you don't, I’ll attack you. I even posted the word 'Fascist!' on his Instagram." Read the full interview here.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana — design partners for decades and a couple for 23 years until splitting in 2005 — have come out against a number of LGBT ideals in an interview with Panorama, an Italian news magazine. The cover line, Viva la Famiglia (Tradizionale), sums it up.

In what some think may be a PR stunt, a continuation of the motherhood theme of their recent fall collection, which included the visibly pregnant model Bianca Balti, they said (in Italian): "The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offspring and rented womb. Life has a natural flow. There are things that should not be changed." Procreation "must be an act of love," Dolce goes on to say. "I call children of chemistry synthetic children: wombs [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog." "The family is not a fad," adds Gabbana. "In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging."

Over the years the two appear to have come down on both sides of the same-sex family issue. They've previously opposed gay marriage, telling London's The Telegraph in 2013 they'd never marry each other, laughing at the question. “I don’t believe in gay marriage,” Dolce affirmed. And in 2006, Gabbana told the Daily Mail, "I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents." However, they posed for a family-style portrait on the cover of Italian Vanity Fair in 2005, while inside Gabbana revealed his desire to become a father, saying, "Yes, I am a son. I would do it."

The duo's most recent comments have incurred a swift backlash from the LGBT community, who are understandably sensitive to the kind of self-loathing and self-denial that generations of gay men and women around the world have struggled to overcome. Late Saturday night, David Furnish wrote on Facebook: "Being able to have children is single-handedly the greatest joy Elton [John, his husband] and I have ever experienced. I find Dolce and Gabbana referring to my sons as 'synthetic' deeply offensive, bigoted, hurtful and divisive."

That was followed early Sunday by a stronger Instagram message from Elton John: "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic.' And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF [in vitro fertilization] - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana"

In response, Stefano Gabbana Instagrammed "#boycotteltonjhon" (sic), "Fascist!" and "You hate the different opinion!! Racist Dictators" with a lot of emotional emoji. With both camps seeing a swell of public support — celebrities, however, are siding with Elton John: Courtney Love, Victoria Beckham, Ricky Martin — it seems the high-profile feud will continue for a while.

Mar 15, 2015 14:07:00

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