Friday, 5 July 2013

Last-Week Links: 5 July 2013

Irving Penn and Steven Meisel, via Part Nouveau

The recycling and reworking of art and fashion imagery isn't anything new but that doesn't mean it's not interesting, as the clever Part Nouveau blog regularly demonstrates. I felt like that blog had got into my head this week with this pairing of Jean Patchett, photographed by Irving Penn, with Steven Meisel's reworking using Natalia Vodianova. I'd been thinking about the Penn photograph as it's one of the images cited by Grace Mirabella in In and Out of Vogue as an early forerunner of the "perfectly beautiful casual moment" she wanted to see in the pages of her Vogue, rather than classically-poised and styled perfection. I wonder what she'd make of the Meisel photograph, with a model who looks fearlessly at the camera, but one that's definitely an artificial studio shot, far removed from real life.

The concept of couture is far removed from most people's everyday lives too. The Schiaparelli presentation at couture week pushed that even further: 18 creations by Christian Lacroix for this relaunched house created not for purchase but for display only. Raf Simons at Dior meanwhile attempted to create a show based around four different geographical realms. As this Guardian article points out, it's making explicit that the couture shows are more about global brand building than selling clothes. With Schiaparelli a name beloved of fashion historians but not one that is currently a household name, they seemed to take this brand building to an extreme, presumably establishing what the owners think are the key selling points of the Schiaparelli "brand": a mixture of artistry and unconventionality. Net-a-Porter are also reaching to the art world to attach some cultural legitimacy to their brands, commissioning artists to create one-off fashion/art pieces. All very fascinating stuff though - for all these brands - the question it finally seems to boil down to is, will it help to sell handbags?

Moving away from the rarefied world of couture and into the realms of doing it yourself, thanks to this Guardian article, I remembered how inspiring I found the Riot Grrrl movement. Aged 12, I wasn't changing the world from my Lincolnshire school by scrawling their names onto my pencil case (and most of the music went far over my head), but the thought of that possibility was thrilling. I also enjoyed the secret history of tattooed women on the New Yorker (found via Got a Girl Crush) and a non controversy-courting Vice article on Brazil's Tropicália movement. As a result of this piece, I've been listening to a lot of Os Mutantes this week.

For this week's eye candy, I love the look of Richard Heep's Man's Ruin exhibition. They were taken by the UK-based photographer on his travels around the States from 2001-09, and the use of  end-of-the-line films, combined with an outsider affection for americana, creates some fascinatingly ambiguous imagery.

And these time capsule houses shared on Oh So Lovely gave me a rush of nostalgia, especially this turquoise-topped kitchen. The house I grew up in was something of a novelty in North-East Lincolnshire. It was built by an American couple and, when my family moved in, was full of classic 1950s touches - from a pink bathroom to a turquoise kitchen. That's all now gone, as my parents have gradually renovated the house but, looking at this photo, I definitely feel like I've spent some time in this kitchen!

I'm sure I have some more hankerings for 1950s turquoises and pinks, as I'm finally going to see Populaire this weekend. I've also made a date to do some work on my shocking knowledge of classic films - I'm finally watching Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? And then I'm definitely going to make sure I get out the house to enjoy some of this beautiful sunshine while we have it. Hope you have lovely weekend plans too.

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