Wednesday, June 29, 2022

"Pygmalion's Ugly Season" by Perfume Genius

Wow...
...just...wow.

I have no frame of reference for this incredible music and video project by Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas), previously here. Taken from his new release "Ugly Season," the five tracks in this 29 minute video titled "Pygmalion's Ugly Season" are at once familiar in sound and structure and then, entirely not. This is subtle experimental art-pop music, its edges blurred, not allowing itself to be seen all at once. And this perfectly supports the visuals by the incredibly talented Jacolby Satterwhite (who made a wonderful video to accompany The 1975's song "Having No Head," seen here). Starting with a metaphysical journey into the body, we explore surreal inner worlds where 3D images are flattened, and what should be 2D images are puffed up and come to life. Each section features Hadreas and others in improvisational erotic modern dance vignettes. It is both heartening and unique to see such a matter-of-fact expression of gay desire.

And we back out of these worlds the same way we entered: through energy points in the corporeal body.

The entire project feels like something that must be meditated on, an enigma that must be unraveled. And Hadreas seems to have created something that has allowed him to leap to another level as an artist.



https://perfumegenius.org/

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Happy Pride Anniversary 2021!

HAPPY PRIDE ANNIVERSARY!


Fifty-three years ago today, a bunch of fed-up drag queens, hustlers, and assorted gay misfits at the Stonewall Inn in New York turned the tables on yet another unnecessary, unfair, harassing police raid. That resistance gave rise to a series of riots and ultimately to the birth of the modern gay activist movement. It seems like a long time ago, and while a few laws and minds have changed, we still have a way to go, and a lot more irrational fear, hatred, bigotry, and misconceptions to fight...especially considering that a member of the highest court in the land just indicated he is willing and able to destroy legal protections for the LGBTQIA community and to dissolve millions of marriages, all so he can anger "the Liberals."

We celebrate Pride Month and recognize Pride Day because it is a positive stance against the daily shame, social stigma, discrimination, and violence that the LGBT community still faces: gay children are routinely kicked out of their homes and disowned by their families, gay kids and teens and young adults are routinely bullied or attacked or beaten and many end up committing suicide because they are told they are sick or going to hell, and many gay and trans men and women are attacked and beaten and murdered--sometimes in their own homes. That’s why Congress must pass the Equality Act to outlaw discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Our Constitution states “equality under the law” and this legislation strengthens that core value of our democracy.

Because the LGBT Pride celebration is about the right of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals to exist without being prosecuted, persecuted, attacked, or murdered, not about "not being straight."

So today, we thank and celebrate all the brave individuals at the Stonewall uprising and the ensuing riots for saying, "ENOUGH. I AM A HUMAN BEING AND I DEMAND TO BE TREATED AS ONE!"


While The Stonewall Inn was already part of the city-designated Greenwich Village Historic District, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, it became an official New York City landmark on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 in order to preserve the site and honor its historic importance. Most importantly, on June 24, 2016, the Stonewall Inn was named the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to the gay rights movement.


There is a very nice, informative, and moving Wiki entry about the riots and the history leading up to them:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

Monday, June 27, 2022

BEAUTY: Clothing--Misc. Paris Fashion Week

Fashion month has wrapped, we went from London to Florence to Milan to Paris, and here are a few miscellaneous details I found interesting from the Spring Summer 2023 Paris Fashion Week:

Just like Dolce and Gabbana and Emporio Armani previously here, Études showed double wrap belts!


The loose cuts at Jan-Jan Van Essche were especially lovely...the silhouettes feel Japanese and the wide legged skirt-pleated trousers are wonderful.


Davi Paris created a little ode to the quintessential French designs of toile de jouy and Impressionism, expressed through causal sportswear with a little French sailor hat.


Jonathan Anderson created a perfectly nice collection for Loewe but what really stood out was both the presentation--despite the fact that it was a live runway presentation, his technical team managed to make it look like a digital CG event in the Metaverse--and the fact that he collaborated with Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona to create conceptual shoes and garments that had sprouted actual plants...chia plants and cat’s wort specifically. The comment was the collision of the artificial and natural worlds.


The rest is all shoes...

Takuya Morikawa showed his Taakk brand for the very first time on the Paris fashion calendar. I love his sandals that incongruously feature fringed tassels from loafers and kilties from golf shoes!


Rubber molded footwear seemed to reign in Milan and here in Paris, Rains showed some as well...


Dior showed some cool, organic web-like 3D printed shoes too.


The gorgeous sandals at Songzio were reminiscent of a Roman sandal. I covet a pair.


And finally, Namesake showed an array of shoes that were curious...a sort of slip-on sneaker with a zipper that features a thick 3D printed sole and extra straps, macramé-covered rubber molded clogs and sneakers, and a version of those clogs and sneakers with what appears to be an optional boot gaiter!


https://www.etudes-studio.com/
https://www.janjanvanessche.com/
https://www.daviparis.com/
https://www.loewe.com/
https://taakk.jp/
https://www.us.rains.com/
https://www.dior.com/
https://www.songzio.com/
https://namesak3.com/

BEAUTY: Clothing--Oteyza

Spanish brand Oteyza founders Paul García de Oteyza and Caterina Pañeda started showing in 2021 and their identity and imagery is already quite strong. The duo is dedicated to blending traditional Spanish craftsmanship (and silhouettes: capes reminiscent of the venerable, 100-year old, Madrid-based Seseña anyone?) with a contemporary fashion-forward paradigm. The results combine an Old World shape with a pared down sensibility, and this Spring Summer '23 lookbook presented for Paris Fashion Week is just gorgeous. I love the pieces with the trailing tape straps, the drape-y flowing pieces that reference capes, the traditional Spanish hats, and of course the amazing array of classic Spanish espadrilles featuring large rope knots and pom pom and fringe.


https://deoteyza.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2022

BEAUTY: Clothing--Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten is known as a master of pattern and his Spring Summer '23 collection at Paris Fashion Week shows some of the interesting graphics he is known for but mostly we get a collection about cut and fit.

Van Noten says the hard turn to the right the world has taken, along with the oppressive political and social systems that accompany such turns inspired him to look at two subcultures that flourished in previous bleak periods. "The Zazous in Paris in the 1940s, and Buffalo in London in the 1980s. Both were in periods which were a bit similar. Hard times. So we wanted to make our own version of that." While I do recall the Buffalo look started by stylist Ray Petri in Thatcher's England of the 1980s (Buffalo was a totally cool pastiche of multiple ethnicities, classic English tailoring, and sportswear), I was not familiar with Les Zazous. They were a group of young people in Nazi-occupied France who loved dressing to the max, jazz, and all things British and American (especially literature and music). According to Simone de Beauvoir writing at the Café de Flore in 1942, "The young men wore dirty drape suits with ‘drainpipe’ trousers under their sheep-skinned lined jackets and brilliantined liberally their long hair, the girls favored tight roll-collar sweaters with short flared skirts and wooden platform shoes, sported dark glasses with big lenses, put on heavy make-up and went bare-headed to show their dyed hair, set off by a lock of different hue." They were contemporaries to the Zoot Suit and precursors to the Teddy Boys. Without their rebellious spirit and middle-finger-to-the-Nazis, we would not have had Mods, Teddy Boys, Glam Rockers, or Punks.

The fate of the Zazous was not good: supporters of the Vichy government hunted them down at their regular cafés and jazz clubs to beat them senseless, shave their heads, and send them to work camps in the French countryside. And we know the outcome of the Buffalo fashionable club world was not great either: the community was ravaged by AIDS as thousands of talented, intelligent, wonderful men were destroyed in their prime. So this inspiration for Van Noten was not taken lightly.

Here he shows us new rebels, shown on a classic Parisian rooftop surrounded by Mansard roofs. A nod to the suits of the Zazous lies under feminine lingerie-pink corsets and camisoles, making a statement about gender. And a nod to the Buffalo look manifests in large text-based graphics and colorful, sporty pieces that look like they come from the world of Motocross. When I first saw this collection, it seemed a bit muddied and random but like so many things in this world, the more you understand something and discover it in a deeper way, the more things make sense. Van Noten has created a satisfyingly cerebral collection that is also wonderfully pleasing to the eye and ultimately very wearable.



https://us.driesvannoten.com/

Saturday, June 25, 2022

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.

So for his Spring Summer '23 collection just shown at Paris Fashion Week, he concentrated on a classic silhouette: the suit...but the looks were Yamamoto-fied with touches like zig-zag plackets on jackets, loose flowing wide-legged trousers, skirts, and aprons. For the last many seasons, Yamamoto has been peppering his creations with little slogans that serve as cryptic shorthand to his ideas and mood for creating the collection, and this year we have quotes like "What are you made of?" "Sh***y life," and "I am so bored with rules."

Yamamoto's unofficial nickname is the King of Black so it was nice to see a burst of color late in the collection. Some of the suiting pieces featured designs and colors that were nearly psychedelic! But at the heart of the collection, we have tailoring. As fashion journalist Laird Borrelli-Persson noted in her Vogue review of the show, Yamamoto's clothes not only look different but they are constructed differently.


Also of note: some pretty cool work boots/brogues cut up to be sandals:


https://www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp/en/

Friday, June 24, 2022

BEAUTY: Clothing--Rick Owens

Rick Owens. Paris Fashion Week. SS 2023. Amazing collection and an amazing presentation with flaming orbs being hoisted and dropped into the water of the fountain in front of the Palais du Tokyo. Read Owens' notes below for that symbology.

THIS SEASON’S COLLECTION IS NAMED ‘EDFU’ AFTER THE EGYPTIAN TEMPLE.

I HAD RECENTLY RETREATED TO EGYPT WHERE I FOUND GREAT COMFORT IN THE REMOTENESS AND SCALE OF ITS HISTORY. MY PERSONAL CONCERNS AND GLOBAL DISCOMFORTS FELT PETTY IN THE FACE OF THAT KIND OF TIMELESSNESS. LYING DOWN IN THE DIRT WITH THE VALLEY OF KINGS WITHIN VIEW WAS A PERSPECTIVE I LIKED. THE TEMPLES, STARTED BY ONE CIVILIZATION, SEIZED AND ADDED ONTO BY ANOTHER, COMPLETED BY ANOTHER AND THEN UNEARTHED BY YET ANOTHER, WERE REASSURING IN THEIR STOIC PERMANENCE.

WE HAVE ALL BEEN SO DISTURBED BY THE WAR AND CONSTANT ONLINE STONE THROWING, I WANTED TO PROPOSE SOME ORDER AND DISCIPLINE... I USED SOME RIPSTOP NYLONS THAT HAD A BUTTERFLY WING LIGHTNESS WITH GRAPH-LIKE CONSTRUCTIONS THAT LENT SUBTLE SOOTHING GRIDDING ON THE BODY IN DYNEEMA, WHICH IS A PATENTED FIBER CONSIDERED TO BE THE STRONGEST IN THE WORLD.

I REDUCED HARDWARE AND VISIBLE CLOSURES TO KEEP THINGS QUIET. I WANTED SIMPLICITY BUT I STILL WANTED EXAGGERATED SHAPES TO GENTLY TEASE ALL THE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND BIGOTRY THAT CREATE SO MUCH CONFLICT IN THE WORLD.

TAILORING WITH EXTREME SHOULDERS COMES IN CRISP COTTON OR LAYERS OF SILK CHIFFON, SOME IN LOUD AND FOGGY PLAIDS. COATS AND JACKETS ALSO COME IN CHIFFON SUSPENDED FROM RIGID MESH SHEER SHOULDERS. THE TRANSPARENCY CONTINUES WITH JACKETS, SHIRTS, AND JEANS CONSTRUCTED IN APPARITION LEATHER – A COW LEATHER USING GLYCERIN DURING THE TANNING PROCESS AND AIR DRYING WITHOUT BEING DRUMMED WHICH GIVES IT A TRANSPARENT FINISH.

MY BODYSUITS AND SHIRTS HAVE GOTTEN BIGGER THAN EVER AND THE SILHOUETTES ARE EITHER TIGHTLY CINCHED OR LARGE AND RELEASED TO FLOAT AS FAR AWAY FROM THE BODY AS A GARMENT CAN.

SKINTIGHT TOPS COME IN LEATHER OR SHEER VISCOSE, SOME WITH SHARP ARM-EXTENDING SHOULDERS. LAST SEASON’S BANANA KNITS (ABSTRACTED MUTANT MULTIPLE ARMHOLE SWEATERS) ARE REDUCED TO RIB TANK VERSIONS, SOME REDUCED TO JUST THE BINDING THAT FINISHES THE EDGES.

MY EGYPTIAN SOJOURN LED ME TO DEVISING TULLE FLYPROOF ROBES WITH FACE COVERING HOODS WORN OVER SILK CHARMEUSE SHIRTS TWISTING AROUND THE HIPS AND TRAILING ON THE FLOOR, PROVIDING SLASHES OF SLITHERING COLOR.

COLORS ARE DELIBERATELY KITSCH AND LOUD WITH DENIMS LACQUERED IN AN IRIDESCENT SCARAB FINISH WHICH ALSO COATS PIRARUCU, A SKIN I USE OVER AND OVER. FISHED AS A FOOD SOURCE BY INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN THE AMAZON FOREST, THE SKINS ARE THEN SOLD AS A WASTE PRODUCT GENERATING INCOME FOR THEM.

I HAVE DEVELOPED A CAPSULE IN COLLABORATION WITH BONOTTO, A 4TH GENERATION TEXTILE MILL FOUNDED IN 1912 JUST BELOW THE PREALPS IN VENETO, WHICH INCIDENTALLY HAS ONE OF THE LARGEST FLUXUS ART COLLECTIONS IN THE WORLD. ALL THE FABRICS WHICH INCLUDE MINIMALLY FINISHED COTTONS AND RAW WOOLS, ARE WOVEN ON THEIR VINTAGE 1950S LOOMS.

I ASKED PARADOXE, A PARISIAN LABEL DOING ARTISANAL WORK WITH DENIM TO COLLAB ON SOME OF OUR DENIM PIECES. THEY PAINSTAKINGLY UNWEAVE USED AND WASHED DENIM AND THEN REAPPLY TO FINAL GARMENTS IN A PROCESS THAT FEELS AS DEVOTIONAL AND MEDITATIVE AS LACEMAKING IN A CLOISTER.

MUSIC IS A SWOOPING, GRATING, UNHINGED EXCLUSIVE MIX BY EPROM AND SHADES (SHADES IS COMPOSED OF EPROM AND ALIX PEREZ) REFLECTING THE UNTETHERED, WONKY CURRENT CLIMATE.

OUTSIDE OF LUXOR, AT THE TEMPLE OF EDFU, OVER THE MAIN ENTRANCE, IS A CARVING OF A WINGED SUN, SYMBOLIZING THE GOD HORUS WHO REPRESENTS THE TRIUMPH OF GOOD OVER EVIL. IN TODAY’S PRESENTATION, A BLAZING SUN CROSSES THE SKY, FALLING TO CRASH TO THE GROUND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. SENSELESS DESTRUCTION ON REPEAT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.




https://www.rickowens.eu/