Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jean Shrimpton - David Bailey : The Movie

The Carnaby Street fashion scene of London's swinging '60s was dominated by hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, miniskirt designer Mary Quant and star photographer David Bailey and his model/muse, Jean Shrimpton.

Now a British-generated movie called We'll Take Manhattan depicts Bailey and Shrimpton creating iconic miniskirted fashion photos, fighting, loving and, of course, looking amazing together. Shrimpton is arguably the first supermodel and Bailey the Mario Testino of his time; he was the British equivalent of Irving Penn.

British actress Karen Gillian will play Shrimpton, and interestingly, Bailey shot her for a recent issue of British Vogue. Bailey is still actively shooting on the London scene. The film will be ready for air in early 2012 and will first appear on the BBC, then come to the States on Ovation -- and probably home video. If you like the 1960s of Mad Men, you'll love this look through the kaleidoscope of the one of the chicest decades ever.

2012 will also see the documentary on Diana Vreeland, the legendary Vogue editor. Get ready for a new influx of fashion films, which could not make us any happier!

Jean Shrimpton  and  David Bailey 


The Pirelli Calendar 2012 Launch

In front of gathered media and press from the globe, tire maker Pirelli unveiled its famed Pirelli calendar 2012 at Gustavino's this morning in New York City. With vaulted halls and the 59th Street Bridge up above as fitting backdrops,Pirelli Group CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera introduced “Swoon”, the pictorial theme for Pirelli Calendar 2012 by photographer Mario Sorrenti. Best known for his nude images for fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Sorrenti’s exploration of human beauty is one of lifelong quest, which led him from his hometown of Naples to world of fashion in New York via London when he was just a teen. At only 21, Sorrenti garnered much accolades when he created the campaign for Calvin Klein Obsession  fragrance with the one and only Kate Moss. During those fast time, Sorrenti became confidant to other up and coming models, like Milla Jovovich, who joked that she would only get naked in front of Sorrenti.

Shot on the transformative landscape of Corsica, PIRELLI Calendar 2012 includes veterans such as Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich, and Lara Stone, as well as Margareth Made of Italy and Japan’s Rinko Kikuchi, both new to the process. The calendar also marks two important milestones – the first official unveiling in New York City and the first Italian photographer. Because of its exclusive nature, the calendar will only be available to VIPs of PIRELLI.

The Rise Of Older Models

The fashion industry is over its obsession with youth. Suddenly, the hottest models are 40-plus.

It has been said, that, when  you reach a certain age where you start to become invisible. It's an odd sensation, as if someone has thrown a Potterish invisibility cloak over you. It's a sort of inversion of the old joke of sticking a Post-it note with a daft message to your back, the joke now being that people on the street look straight through you. It has little to do with aesthetics; it's more chemical than that. It is just that women, more than men, occupy space in the world's consciousness in correlation with youth.

In the space of the last year, a curious thing has happened. Older women have become increasingly visible in the arena in which, above all others, nubile youth has long trumped all else: fashion. Of all the spheres of influence in which youth and beauty could be relied upon to rule with an iron grip, fashion has long been the most ruthless. (Best ever fashion-world horror story for pure terrifying evilness – I'm assuming it's apocryphal – is about the parties held by Rachel Zoe's mini-me starlets in LA at the height of the size-zero obsession, where the guest list consisted of a pair of weighing scales at the door, and no girls weighing more than 100lbs were allowed in.) Yet next season's Dolce & Gabbana advertising campaign, unveiled last week, stars Madonna (51). Hot label of the moment Celine – the campaign every model must have wanted this season – has chosen a veteran face from the 1990s superwaif era, Emma Balfour (40). Balenciaga stars Stella Tennant (39); Louis Vuitton, whose new collection was dubbed "And God Created Woman" by designer Marc Jacobs, featured Elle Macpherson (47) on the catwalk and stars Christy Turlington (41) in its latest print campaign. Glossy magazines at both ends of the style spectrum have chosen older models for their latest issues: Macpherson is on the cover of the new Tatler, while Dazed features Kristen McMenamy (46) as the newstand face of an issue dedicated to "iconic models" on sale tomorrow.

Madonna for Dolce&Gabbana
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin are a Dutch photographic duo who have been working together for two decades. They recently shot a new campaign for Yves Saint Laurent starring 26-year-old Daria Werbowy. Until not long ago, 26 was very much past one's prime, as a model, but Lamsweerde and Matadin recently told that "models like Kate [Moss] and Daria are mature, they've grown up, they're women who have had a life and experience. For about five or six years now we haven't shot anyone under 18 for that reason, but also for the fact that, we feel the modelling business should not promote girls working under this age. They're not out of school – their bodies haven't developed yet and they don't have a sense of self. Sometimes they haven't had sex yet. It's hard to project all these things on someone who hasn't had that experience."

Such common sense is completely revolutionary. Until recently, few in the industry would acknowledge that there was something a teensy bit shallow and moronic and possibly even dubious about taking a 16-year-old model with a head full of Justin Bieber daydreams and GCSE revision notes and dressing her up as a sophisticated femme fatale, arranging her supine on an unmade hotel bed, while dripping with diamond bracelets and thousand-pound handbags and wearing a bored-of-it-all expression. Extreme youth was part and parcel of the fantasy of fashion.

The new visibility of older models is part of a shift in fashion from fantasy to wearability. For the past 10 years, one adjective has reigned supreme above others in fashion. If it was good – whether it was a model, a dress, a handbag, a cocktail – it was "fabulous". Fabulous, in the Oxford English Dictionary, has two meanings: extraordinary, and also "having no basis in reality; mythical". Our obsession with fabulousness was always very much about a yearning for the impossible, a boomtime obsession with pushing boundaries. The word feels, now, like a compliment from another era.

The age of austerity dawned in fashion months before George Osborne got his hands on the keys to No 11. In March, the Paris catwalks were full of grown-up clothes in sensible, wearable colours. Even before the bloodbath budget, fashion had a new buzzword to replace fabulousness – "believability". Easy-to-do ponytails and walkable-heeled shoes are hot topics in fashion right now. The issue of whether the women who can afford these clothes can also wear them without looking absurd is deemed relevant again.

Francisco Costa, designer of Calvin Klein, cast Kristen McMenamy and Stella Tennant for his most recent catwalk show in New York. "I wanted a cast that really represented a customer I design for, and that's not really a 16-year-old," he said after the show. "The woman who puts my clothes on needs a certain level of sophistication. We wanted to acknowledge the women who have always worn our clothes: women who have their own identities, have full lives, have kids."

Current industry rumour has it that the cover girls for the American giants run as follows: Julia Roberts for Elle, Halle Berry for Vogue, and Jennifer Aniston for Harpers Bazaar. If this is true, Aniston – at 41 – will be the youngest cover girl of the big three. If older women can reappear in fashion, then anything is possible. There may even be hope in Hollywood.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Malgorzata Dudek: Poland's Answer to McQueen?

For those who haven’t heard of Malgorzata Dudek, you’re in for a visual treat. Her Spring 2012  collection flirts with insanity and edges towards mad creative genius, sometimes doing so in an explosion of flower-like ruffles, other times clouding over into black, fringed darkness.

Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger was the inspiration behind this particular collection. Anyone familiar with Giger’s work will instantly recognise the alienous baby heads imprinted on some of Dudek’s gowns. Other pieces were inspired by Giger’s airbrushing techniques. The beauty of Dudek’s pieces, however, is in the transformation of Giger’s work into something entirely different: it’s inspired, but not literal.

Malgorzata Dudek: S/S 2011
 "My desire with this collection is to honor to H.R. Giger, pay him tribute, and show how his influence resonates in the world of fashion. When I started sketching this collection and planning the fabrics, I couldn’t see it complete without elements of H.R. Giger’s artwork.

And what better way for me, as a designer, to honor a man who’s Biomechanical vision has massively influenced architecture, film, music, tattoo art, fashion and industrial design. Last February, I sent sketches to H.R. Giger through his agent and to my surprise, I heard back almost immediately and was given creative freedom to incorporate a jointly agreed upon selection of Giger’s art"

You don’t have to be a Giger fan to appreciate the craftsmanship of Malgorzata Dudek’s gowns. If British creativity found its apotheosis in Alexander McQueen, then perhaps Dudek is set to be the Polish equivalent.