Monday, April 19, 2021

Inside Hedi Slimae's New Exhibition 'Sun Of Sound'

Black and white photography reaches new depths with Hedi Slimane's fifth solo exhibition at Almine Rech. Elegant style and noir drama unite for an air of rock-and-roll, coupled with classic glamour. For his first-ever exhibition in China, Slimane presents an incredible collection of portrait photographs, each un-retouched and delightfully gritty. How unusual in the age of Instagram.

Known for his ever-presence within fashion and art worlds alike, Hedi Slimane is a creative institution. Beginning his fame at Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent, Slimane now holds the Creative Director position at Celine. In 2002, Slimane impressed the entire industry by becoming the first menswear designer to earn the CFDA International Designer Award.

Named "Sun of Sound," the Celine designer's exhibit reverts to Slimane's photography roots for an eloquent grouping of images. As Slimane discovered his love for the camera at only eleven years old, it comes as no surprise that his artistic voice is largely driven by youth culture influences. Often, fashion designers who double-agent with photography tend to remain in the field of shooting clothing or supermodels. However, Slimane takes a different approach. Music.

Rising rockstars and alternative musicians dream of being captured by Slimane, whose wildly famous images are enough to skyrocket their careers. Dive bars and live music venues are frequented by the black and white favoring photographer, especially if they tend to feature young, fresh artists. Alex Needham describes the process as releasing "a secret to the wider world."

Enjoy some of the imagery from his previous collection "Sonic" below, and view the "Sun of Sound" exhibition in person at Almine Rech Shanghai from March 19-April 30, 2021.

Bottega Veneta Takes Over Berlin's Berghain Nightclub For "Salon 02" Presentation

Despite shutting down its social media, Bottega Veneta is continuing to find ways to disrupt the fashion industry and build interest. After launching its first-ever digital magazine, the Daniel Lee-helmed label put together a secret presentation of its latest “Salon 02” collection.

The follow-up to the Spring/Summer 2021 “Salon 01” range showcased back in December 2020 took over Berlin‘s infamous Berghain nightclub. Despite not sharing any imagery of the collection itself, we do have street style snaps of the stars that were invited to the secret showing. Notable attendees include Virgil Abloh, Stefano Pilati, Honey Dijon, Skepta, Slowthai and Burna Boy. While celebrated Berghain doorman Sven Marquardt, Marc Goehring, Maria and Joerg Koch showed up for local support.

Balmain Launches Collaboration With Maluma

What started as a custom, codesigned tour wardrobe for shows that have since been rescheduled has turned into a full-fledged partnership. Balmain and Maluma have unveiled a limited-edition collaboration comprised of ready-to-wear clothing and sneakers, available starting today, inspired by “Miami Vice,” the Latin superstar’s love of color and “optimistic” fashion choices and Olivier Rousteing’s passion for music.

“For me, fashion could never exist without music,” said Rousteing. “So he was just the perfect match.”

On a Zoom call from his Paris office, dressed in a hoodie and baseball hat, Rousteing explained that Maluma’s music has long been one of his go-tos for dancing. They met four years ago during Paris Fashion Week, and finally worked together for the first time last summer, on Maluma’s look for the MTV VMAs.

“From that, we just exchanged texts and were like, ‘Why don’t we work together? Because your aesthetic and your vision of music can really combine with my fashion world,’” Rousteing said.

As part of the collaboration, Rousteing has put together a playlist available on Apple Music. Throughout the design process, which involved many WhatsApp messages between the singer and the designer as well as fabric samples being sent between the French atelier and Colombia, where Maluma was for part of the pandemic, Rousteing of course listened to lots of “Papi Juancho,” Maluma’s most recent album; a favorite being “Hawài,” featuring The Weeknd.

“Working with Olivier and the entire Balmain team was an amazing creative journey for me,” Maluma told WWD in an email. “It’s been one of my goals to work with a respected fashion house on a collection, but this journey was more exciting as Olivier pushed me to design with him, and that process was like making music — connecting the dots to create an energy for the fans. The colors and styles of this collaboration were influenced by my fifth album ‘Papi Juancho,’ which had an edgy style influenced by the ‘Miami Vice’ vibe. Colors and comfort when I made this album during the pandemic was extremely important to me because I couldn’t be on tour at the time to perform my songs, but I wanted colors to give them great energy.”

Rousteing said he was interested in working on something that would initially seem outside of the luxury French purview of Balmain.

“I know that sometimes in the typical fashion world, when you say French or luxury, sometimes it feels like, ‘do you want to bring music to that kind of French house that is from 1945?’ And, I think the reason why I did that is because basically the house is so French, and so from 1945, that for me is such an important moment to be at Balmain as a witness of the time,” he said. “Maluma, more than him being an incredible singer, I think he’s bringing a lot to the fashion community with his joy and his happiness and the fact that he’s always playing his style from different kinds of houses from around the world, mixing different cultures as well. So I think for Balmain, which is a French brand from Paris, I think the collaboration with Maluma is obviously giving to Balmain and pushing the aesthetic more internationally.”

Though having only visited Miami roughly twice in his life, Rousteing grew up “obsessed” by the oversized tailoring in “Miami Vice” and by the glamour of the city in the 1980s. The collection skews casual, with printed T-shirts in bright neon colors, a hoodie, a track jacket, a pair of sneakers, a pin-striped blazer with matching drawstring bottoms and a black-and-white striped shirt and short set.

“I love obviously black-and-white stripes because it reminds me of that ‘Miami Vice’ feeling. And the striped T-shirts and shorts are obviously what I’m wearing all summer,” he said.

Rousteing said he was drawn to Maluma’s embrace of playing with fashion, something more often found in women collaborators than men.

“Maluma is one of the few men that I worked with that when you talk about bright colors, he would never say ‘no,’ because he loves that because it’s part of his aesthetic and this is something really enjoyable for a designer,” he said.

He is open to more collaborations down the line, and sees them as ways to modernize Balmain, something he said has been part of his mission since starting at the house a decade ago.

“As a kid, I didn’t know the name of Balmain. So I want my little cousin who is 10 years old to grow up thinking Balmain is one of the biggest French houses. Thanks to music, I can make the new generation know the name of Balmain,” Rousteing said. “So I think it’s really important because music has such an incredible reach demographically, of crowd and strong community, that this is the key of the success of many fashion houses to bring the name to different generations and not just being close to Avenue Montaigne.”

A Documentary On Pierre Cardin’s Life And Career Gets An Online Release

Last year, a documentary on Pierre Cardin, titled House of Cardin, brought together icons from across the fashion industry to discuss the legendary designer’s life and career, and chart “how one man became a fashion empire”.

Jean Paul Gaultier, Naomi Campbell, Guo Pei, and Sharon Stone were among those that reflected on the future-facing fashion pioneer in the film, alongside equally influential musicians such as Alice Cooper and Dionne Warwick. Cardin himself also made an appearance via extensive interviews, conducted before his death at the age of 98, on December 29, 2020.

Now, House of Cardin — from directors P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes — is set to arrive online in the UK and Ireland, via Blue Finch Film Releasing. The documentary will be released for digital download from April 26.

A trailer shared by Blue Finch ahead of the release offers an insight into what to expect, featuring comments on Cardin’s legacy interspersed with clips and stills from his bold and colourful shows, and footage of the designer at home. “He’s one of the greats,” says Campbell in one interview snippet.

Over the course of a career that spanned seven decades, Cardin reshaped fashion with his modern, avant-garde designs, experimentation, and novel approach to building a label. Read more about the designer’s life and creative legacy — via some of his most iconic and memorable quotes — here, and revisit the House of Cardin trailer below.

5 Things To Know About Gucci’s 100th Anniversary ‘Aria’ Show – And Its Balenciaga “Hack”

Alessandro Michele marked the first chapter in Gucci’s 100th anniversary year with a touch of Balenciaga – and a collection that clarified his own vision to its core. British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen brings you five things to know about the show.

The show marked Gucci’s 100th anniversary

You could view the first collection for Gucci’s 100th birthday this year as Alessandro Michele’s Re-Invention tour. A lifelong Madonna fan, the analogy won’t be lost on him. It’s the title the performer gave her 2004 greatest hits tour to sanctify a practice attributed to her throughout her career: the reinvention of symbols, icons, art, and herself. Like that concert, Michele’s show – titled Aria rather than autumn, in line with his operatic seasonality – revisited the hyper-referencing that has embodied his six years at Gucci, but reduced those ideas to his most crystal-clear collection to date. Stripped to its core messages, it was an experience for the people: a democratic anniversary tour through the house’s legacy – from Guccio Gucci to Tom Ford – and into a future carried by a surprising team-up with Balenciaga. “Everyone will be invited to this birthday party,” Michele explained in a post-show video conference. “It is an ultra-pop party focused on the brand’s DNA. I wanted to create a rebirth for this brand; for this myth, for this saga.”

It was an exercise in Gucci iconography

“I wanted something that could be understood by everybody, so I chose fashion’s most popular format: the catwalk,” Michele said, describing a Floria Sigismondi-directed film that imagined a secret club fitted with a runway lined with vintage cameras. Their flashes represented the Old Hollywood part of Gucci’s century of life, illuminating Marilyn Monroe-esque silhouettes that epitomised the show’s celebration of popular and obvious icons – something Michele and Madonna have in common, too. “In order to tell a story, I tried to find garments that were very primary, with primitive shapes,” he explained. They included big nods to Gucci’s own history, or “myth” as Michele repeatedly called it, pointing out how facts get blurred with time. Monogram canvas coats piped with leather referenced its beginnings as a luggage house for which Guccio Gucci’s drew inspiration from his years as a bellhop at the Savoy in London. Riding jackets, boots and helmets celebrated Gucci’s equestrian roots, which Michele fetishised into the harnesses and floggers of bondage iconography, much like Madonna before him.

Alessandro Michele paid homage to Tom Ford

Unlike a house such as Christian Dior, as Michele noted, Gucci isn’t defined by a visual universe created by a founding designer, but is a house that means different things to different people. To many of us, it means Tom Ford. Michele paid tribute to Ford’s Gucci in a series of suits that recalled his former boss’s tailoring, and, when styled with fetish gear, evoked the highly erotic culture Ford created at Gucci. “Tom was the first to realise that Gucci had this cult power: the power of symbols, a sort of magnetism, the power of a place I describe as a club,” Michele said. Though his own fetishised lens, that power easily related to the current consumption culture of the social media age, where fashion pieces are photographed, posted and worshipped like never before. In his imagined fetish club, Michele explained, “people make love to the objects of fashion. Fashion carries love, sensuality and many other things because we are passionate.” Those ideas have never been more expressed than through the logo-mania of our time, so synonymous with Gucci and Gen Z stars, like Billie Eilish, who wear it. With his Balenciaga hack, Michele took that mania to an unexplored, extreme terrain.

It featured a Balenciaga “hack”

If fashion shows are turning into blockbuster films in the pandemic era, are designers and brands becoming the new Hollywood stars? Speaking about his Marilyn Monroe influences, Michele compared Hollywood to “an Olympus producing supermen that are part of a very special world”. As looks began to appear in the show, which bore the unmistakable hand of Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia – a skewed silk evening top, an all-over floral graffiti print outfit with thigh-high boots – it was kind of like watching a Spider-Man film where Iron Man suddenly turns up. When outerwear sprawled with Gucci’s double-G monogram with Balenciaga’s diagonal logo plastered on top appeared, the cross-over went full Avengers. If it wasn’t the Marvel-verse, it was the Kering-verse – the parent company that owns both houses. “Demna really enjoyed the idea of me using his styles to transform them into something else,” Michele said. “It’s not fashion stealing from other designers, but I went to a friend’s house to steal. Here, I don’t feel the burden of the history some French brands have.” In merging two logo-spurring giants, Michele may have created the most bullet-proof merchandise of the social media-driven fashion era. It was a meeting of superhero designers.

Michele said the film signified a new dawn

The Gucci film culminated in a bliss-fest set in a Garden of Eden, where fairytale white horses, peacocks and cockatoos frolicked amongst models, who embraced and levitated like there was no tomorrow. Of course, as the soundtrack – Vitalic and David Shaw’s “Waiting for the Stars” – suggested, the point was quite the opposite. A massive part of Michele’s personal legacy at Gucci is his social conscience: the freedom of identity and sexuality, the freedom of choice, the climate, the environment. “The party is the planet. This is the party we want to attend,” he said. “To me it’s not only a film, it’s the dawn of something new. I think we will meet again in a new place.” While we keep our fingers crossed that that place will be a real-life venue with a real-life runway, it was nice to see Michele evoking the feeling of a classic fashion show. His format and the clarity of his collection were proof that fashion in its purest form feels a lot more democratic than we give it credit for. And in his stripped-down transition, Michele also injected his own take on Gucci with new life.

Ahluwalia Reveals Its First Women’s Designs In A Collaboration With Ganni

“It makes so much sense, but it’s so random at the same time – which I really love.” So says Priya Ahluwalia of her new collaboration with Ganni. On paper, the two do seem like unlikely partners –Ahluwalia being a budding menswear label based in London, Ganni a global womenswear brand in Copenhagen – but aren’t those the best matches? Both labels share a core value of sustainability, and were looking to do more than your typical marketing exercise.

Ganni’s creative director Ditte Reffstrup discovered Ahluwalia through a friend and reached out immediately (a message so surprising to Ahluwalia that she checked LinkedIn to ensure the email address was real). They had a few calls and decided to work together on a project that would push Ganni’s upcycling efforts – and then the pandemic hit. The project was put on ice, but within a few months, Ganni found itself with an overstock of garments and fabrics ready to be reimagined.

“We’ve done these small upcycling collections in the past as part of our commitment with the Global Fashion Agenda to work towards a circular approach,” Nicolaj Reffstrup, Ganni’s CEO, explains. “We want to make it a steady component of our business, not just a marketing capsule.”

“And Priya is the expert,” Ditte says. “Working with upcycling can be difficult, because you might be a little tired of the clothes, or it can look a little earthy, so Priya came in and really gave it all a new life. When we saw her first drawings, we knew it was going to be huge.”

Ahluwalia described the collaboration as something of a model for how she’d like to work with brands in the future. “To be honest, a bigger brand will often want to work with a smaller one, but they just want to take and not really give much back,” she says. “But this has been nothing but a pleasure. As well as designing the product together, this has been so instrumental for my business and supportive of me as a small designer. I speak to Nicolaj on a regular basis about business strategy, I spoke to the e-commerce team about my new website, and it’s been really great for me to learn about a womenswear business from the inside. Ganni is so clever in so many ways, from community building to transparency, and it’s become so cult – people love it,” she continues. “I really just launched as a menswear designer because it was just me, and I couldn’t do it all. So it will be really nice to have my voice in the women’s market.”

The collection showcases Ahluwalia’s first-ever women’s designs. You’ll notice a glimpse of her menswear signatures in the piped and collaged tracksuits, but otherwise it’s happily divergent. The minidress is the key silhouette, patchworked in leather and faux snakeskin in one look or in bias-cut panels of zebra jersey in another. “We were talking a lot about wanting to party [after lockdown], and what I would wear to go out and dance with friends,” Ahluwalia says. “How could we make figure-hugging clothes that will make you feel great, without it being too revealing? That was really important. I just want people to wear it and feel really confident.”

The collection will be available in Ganni stores worldwide and online in limited quantities, but there’s a second Ganni x Ahluwalia collection coming later this year. In the meantime, Ahluwalia confirmed she will introduce womenswear of her own (though a date is TBD), and Ganni plans to build on its learnings from their partnership. “There is no doubt that Priya really inspired our team’s approach to upcycling,” Ditte says. “Instead of being something you need to do, it’s something that is actually super fun to do. The way she played around with it was super inspiring and will for sure be part of our collection going forward.”

Gucci’s “Hacking” Of Balenciaga Is A Fashion Power Move

Four months on from the release of the stratospherically successful The North Face X Gucci collaboration, Alessandro Michele is back with another creative union – this time a surprise “hack” of its Kering stablemate, Balenciaga.

To mark Gucci’s centenary year, Michele unveiled a collection “contaminated” with the hallmarks of disruptive creative director Demna Gvasalia’s work. In other words, Gucci’s Aria show incorporated a touch of Balenciaga attitude – and what British Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen predicted could be the “most bullet-proof merchandise of the social media-driven fashion era”.

After the show a simulated text exchange between the two creatives posted on Gucci’s Instagram Stories revealed where Gvasalia’s love affair with Gucci began – his first purchase was a bottle of Gucci Envy perfume he said was the only thing he could get in post-USSR Georgia. Michele was similarly effusive about the house in the ’90s. “Tom [Ford] is a genius”, he wrote.

Michele’s whimsical retro aesthetic was spliced with Balenciaga’s underground boldness: a nostalgic velvet suit (Michele’s nod to the “sexual tension” of Tom Ford’s time at the helm of the house) opened the show, then several looks later, an emerald shorts suit was paired with a jockey hat, horsebit harness, sparkling choker and monogram riding boots.

Pieces emblazoned with the names of both brands instantly set social media alight. The collection included a dazzling diamanté skirt suit covered with strips of “Balenciaga” and “Gucci” emblems, striking logomania blazers, and angular outerwear decorated with the Gucci monogram and layered underneath Balenciaga’s graphic font. Meanwhile offbeat hosiery/shoe hybrids screamed Demna.

The hazy florals that were smattered across TNF puffers here took form as detailed botanical drawings, and bold psychedelic prints enhanced oversized waistcoats, jackets with equestrian buckle fastenings, and an all-in-one bodysuit.

Silhouettes were accentuated by peaked lapels and stiff shoulders that have become Gvasalia signatures, and a sprinkling of kitsch glitter was seen throughout. Nods to the Georgian designer’s varsity motifs took form as Gucci-fied equestrian baseball caps emblazoned with “100”, and normcore Balenciaga corporate wear was given the Michele treatment with feather cuffs, frills and sequins. Gucci’s typically whimsical palette was punctuated by the occasional appearance of Balenciaga’s royal blue, plus a lacquer PVC dress (complete with a whip).

There were also amalgamations of cult accessories from both houses – Balenciaga’s hourglass purse was covered with double Gs, while Gucci’s timeless Jackie 1961 was anointed with Balenciaga logo stripes. The jewellery didn’t disappoint either: one model wore a pair of curb chains adorned with the letters of both brands, while dangling septum gems, chunky jewellery and delicate brooches were the cherries on top of a kaleidoscope of looks.