Tuesday, January 25, 2022

BEAUTY: Clothing--Jil Sander

Jil Sander no longer heads her namesake house, but current Creative Directors Lucie and Luke Meier carry on her vision of puritanical minimalism. For this Paris Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2022-2023 collection though, they added in an element that challenges the austerity of the DNA of the house: crochet.

"We liked this really elegant, masculine silhouette, but with a sensual side to it, as well," Lucie Meier said after the show. Luke Meier added, "We start a lot with tailoring, just to see what we really want to do and say and what we care about. But this time, we worked it into typically feminine techniques as well."

I quite like the texture it adds as hats, scarves, collars and tabards, and the juxtaposition of spartan against granny-chic craft. I also like using twisted silk scarves as coat belts. And check out the constellation astrology prints and zodiac embroideries spread across the rest of the collection. It all feels interesting and fun...


Monday, January 24, 2022

BEAUTY: Clothing--Egonlab

Greetings followers and regular readers. As many of you may recall, twice a year I blog about all the fascinating, beautiful, mesmerizing, strange, puzzling, outrageous, outstanding, unusual, artistic, inspiring sartorial creations coming out of the exquisite imaginations of designers, and down the runway. January and June are usually the months for show that happen in Europe: traditionally, London Fashion Week goes first, followed by the Pitti trade show in Florence, then Milano Moda Uomo. The month was always capped off with Paris Fashion Week.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tremendous suffering and change to the world. And the fashion industry has seen major seismic shifts not only in presentation but also in philosophy. Many houses have decided to cut the number of shows they present per year. Most have decided to gang men's and women's shows into one. And most major brands are taking hard looks at how they do business in terms of waste and sustainability: many brands and designers are increasingly recycling/upcycling and using dead stock. These changes seem as if they will be permanent.

This year, things kicked off a little early with Milano Moda Uomo: I was not expecting the shift so I completely missed covering it. And yesterday, Paris Fashion Week wrapped up (London Fashion Week goes last this season, from February 18th to the 22nd), so here are some collections and moments that caught my eye and imagination.

Named for the iconoclastic Viennese artist Egon Schiele, Egonlab is the brainchild of designer duo Florentin Glemarec and Kevin Nompeix who won the 2021 Pierre Bergé Andam award and are also finalists for the 2022 Woolmark Prize. However, they began their new brand on the eve of the pandemic and have not had a physical show...until now. A Fall Winter '22-'23 collection entitled "Egonimati" (a play on the idea of the Illuminati) was described in their program notes as "a secret society responsible for establishing universal happiness." That happiness comes, they added, by way of total inclusivity. "We realized that when people speak of inclusivity, they’re really talking about exclusivity," said Nompeix. "We wanted to show that it takes a bit of everything to create a world."

The silhouettes may have an ecclesiastical bent to them, but the tailoring is exquisite. Also featured is a print which resembles Tarot-like engravings. I like the overall feeling and rhythm of it all...


BEAUTY: Clothing--Yohji Yamamoto

I always love seeing a Yohji Yamamoto collection...the highly regarded and highly decorated designer is one of those elevated, iconic artists who are singular. While I love when a designer takes inspiration, or inspirationS from some wild, fascinating, interesting source, Yamamoto exists in a realm of his own mythology, much like Rick Owens. Yamamoto has his own vernacular and his own internal logic. His creations--East and West elements combined into a future/retro (sometimes ecclesiastical) sensibility, layered and slouchy Bohemian chic garments, flowing asymmetrical cuts, all awash with an insouciant, rippling sense of Romanticism worthy of any French Symbolist poet--are timeless, since they are not necessarily tethered to anything outside of their orbit.

For his Fall Winter '22-'23 collection shown in Japan for Paris Fashion Week (things are still , um, unusual because of COVID), I am sharing with you the very succinct words of journalist Laird Borrellli-Persson for Vogue:
There was a home and away feeling to Yohji Yamamoto’s fall collection, which was staged in his Aoyoma flagship store in Tokyo rather than Paris due to COVID. The inclusion of five well-known Japanese actors in the cast gave the goings-on a local spin, and the clothing found Yamamoto clearly relaxed, secure in his talent.

Yamamoto was among the first Japanese designers to achieve global recognition. He made Paris and New York debuts in 1981 and 1983 respectively, and won quick acclaim for his lyrical fusion of East and West. For fall, this played out most directly in pieces like overcoats featuring prints developed around the artwork of the Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński (noted for his dystopian surrealism) and Japanese calligraphy. But it extended way beyond surface gloss into the pattern-making and cutting as well. Much of the collection was inspired by 19th-century menswear. The styling was positively Dickensian—exposed seams with hanging threads mimicked the patina of the lived-in work clothes of a chimney sweep, and models wore jauntily tied ascots and waistcoats. But the individual elements—roomy coats, cargo pockets, layered pants, big boots—could be worn right off the runway and look flawless and current on the street.

The romanticism of this part of the collection was balanced by patches of leopard spots, which appeared on black suits and coats, to signal Yamamoto’s continued devotion to the cult of punk. The makeup brought to mind Edward Scissorhands, but with a twist: The models’ powdered hair conjured both ashes and age. Yamamoto is 78, and the actors he casted were silver foxes, not cubs.

It might be too much to say that age is a taboo subject in fashion, but the industry is distinctly youth-centric and always chasing the new. Designers’ current focus on upcycling is demonstrating that what is old might not be passé, at least when it comes to material objects. Yamamoto made that point by adding Japanese characters to the back of a coat that translate to something like “beginning of the third age.”

This collection was at once innovative and comfortingly consistent. In these crazy days, we have a real need for pillars of strength and integrity, and Yamamoto stands for both. He has an enormous body of work on which to draw and wisdom to impart. The time-traveling aspects of this collection, referencing Artful Dodgers and other rebels, remind us of our connection to the past, and a shared history that comes from storytelling.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

FYI: The Western United States...

...is really bumpy.

That is all. As you were.

Data visualization by @cstats:
Tee shirts available on Redbubble:

Saturday, January 22, 2022

BEAUTY: Photography--Christopher Soukup

I love living in Northern California: the culture, the land, the enchanting fog...and in his Dimly Lit World series, San Francisco-based photographer Christopher Soukup takes photos of various locations around The City drenched in said atmospheric fog.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

BEAUTY: Painting--The Feast Day of Gay Icon St. Sebastian

In the Catholic church, today is the feast day of Saint Sebastian who has evolved into a gay icon and patron saint of gay men.

Sebastian was an early Christian martyr killed in 288 in Rome on orders from the Roman emperor Diocletian. He was at first tied to a tree and shot with arrows, but after surviving that attack, he was clubbed to death by Diocletian's soldiers.  Little is known about Sebastian’s love life, so his long-standing popularity with gay men is partly based on the sensuous presentation (near naked, writhing in ecstatic pain) of his arrow attack in the hundreds and hundreds of artistic portrayals over the centuries. Many gay men also identify with his suffering and his experience of being attacked. Sebastian is a known as protector against plague, which added to his appeal for the LGBTQ community during the AIDS pandemic.

Saint Sebastian and Matt Shepard Juxtaposed--JR Leveroni
St. Sebastian--Pierre et Gilles
St. Sebastian--Radek J. Husak
St. Sebastian--Rick Herold
St. Sebastian--Alfonso Del Moral
St. Sebastian--Anthony Gayton
St. Sebastian--Franco Zucchella
St. Sebastian--Glyn Philpot
St. Sebastian--Pierre et Gilles
St. Sebastian--Kitti
St. Sebastian--Radek J. Husak
The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian--Keith Vaughan

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

"Let's Be Young" by Quentin Harris

Absolutely hypnotized by this Neo-Disco track "Let's Be Young" by Quentin Harris... percolating, propulsive, relentless... with kick-ass horns and a sleek, silky string section. It starts out at 9, goes to 10 and keeps me there, spinning and moving...


Monday, January 17, 2022

MLK Day 2022

Americans reinvented MLK after his assassination. Let’s remember what he really stood for
JANUARY 16, 2022 7:13 AM

Martin Luther King Jr. was not a well-liked man. He was one of the most polarizing figures in the United States during his final few years of life. He was not the cuddly creature we re-invent every King Day to lie to ourselves and our kids about how he only wanted us to get along. His approval rating began to rise only after he was no longer here to demand America live up to its ideals.

King wanted peace, but not at the expense of equality. He wanted little black girls and boys to play with little white girls and boys, but not if it meant pretending racism didn’t exist. He respected authority, but challenged those wearing badges and carrying batons and sitting in the Oval Office.

He wanted moral clarity, not cheap comfort. Were he alive today, he’d still be hated by those wedded to the status quo. Because he’d notice the poor still being vilified as lazy. He’d see large corporations, like Walmart, brag proudly about modest pay increases then quietly announce thousands of layoffs. The GOP would still have enacted a tax law skewed to the rich then pass work requirements for Medicaid benefits – something they have never required of wealthy Americans receiving government largesse. He’d know the government pays private collectors triple what they retrieve in back taxes from the low-income while high-income tax cheats skate.

That’s why we should shelve the “I Have a Dream” speech this King Day. It has been used too often as an excuse to not have to face hard truths or fight for the most vulnerable among us.

Let us instead remember when King refused to denounce protesters by saying “a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”

And when he critiqued capitalism: “Again we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor – both black and white, both here and abroad.”

And when he demanded “a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”

And when he said, “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”

And when he was exasperated by those telling him to wait: “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

He wanted justice and peace. If he could have only one, there’s no doubt which he’d choose.

Link to original article:

Sunday, January 16, 2022

"2:16" by HVOB

Brand new interesting track from HVOB (previously here)...a long song with movements combining ambient, cinematic, and rhythmic music...


Saturday, January 15, 2022

BEAUTY: Photography--Henri Prestes

A dim world of fog. Henri Prestes photographs his village in Portugal in winter and the results are arresting...