Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Kehinde Wiley’s genius

In art, culture on April 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Life and art. The year was 2006. Through an art alliance, I was (mildly) schooled about a collective of black artists. Kehinde Wiley was one of them. But I was so fascinated by just knowing their names, I don’t think I even really appreciated their craft. Wiley’s works of young, hip-hop Adonis’s on large scale canvases was avant-garde to me. And I felt obligated to join his movement. When I wrote for Format Magazine, a popular streetwear blog, I hunted Wiley’s Gallery Assistant to get an interview. I was a Music Journalist, and to me, his work would resonate with my audience. Match made in heaven? I concur.

The interview never happened. I moved on. I felt the connection between contemporary art and hip-hop was transparent. One (art) used the other (hip-hop) as a segue into an otherwise unaccessible circle. And if you’re as passionate about hip-hop as I am, you can see through the facade.

However, after coming across Wiley’s collaboration with Puma in 2010 – albeit in connection to the World Cup – and his increasing coverage in Vibe and other urban publications, I felt he had an epiphany. Maybe he realized the importance of connecting with youth culture. Who may ultimately be connected to hip-hop. I’m sure you’ll argue that Wiley was in Vibe back in `95, when he was young and hungry. But does that really count? You’ll have to ask a generation more interested in YouTube than back issues. And now that I look at his work, it’s frou-frou. All pretty, frilly and erotic. I don’t expect a Rick Ross fan to dig his work, though they might. And though I see Wiley attempts to romanticize young black men, even drawing reference to a royal linage, there’s also an sense of emasculation.

Don’t get me wrong, Wiley is talented – obviously. And he’s only of the extremely lucky few – despite race, creed and all that jazz – who have been able to sustain a lucrative career from their passion. But after a bit of cultivation, my perspective of Wiley’s work is a lot different than give years ago.

If I were a boy: Casely-Hayford

In art, British, culture, designer, Fashion, style on March 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

You know, I’ll admit it: I have an obsession with style. So I don’t discriminate. And I’ll never constrict myself my personal style to work settings, social environments or the like. If I come across something I consider to be of good taste, I’m gonna give it credit.

In this case, to come across a family – a black family – with such a strong linage, in fashion, politics – that’s style. And it’s fascinated when you realize that unless you’re deep into a certain culture, you wouldn’t know who the Casely-Hayford clan is. And they’re prominent.

Joseph Ephraim Casely-Hayford was a Lawyer, Author and political leader, better known as “King of the West,” who aimed to improve quality of life for West-Africa’ citizens.

Sydney Casely-Hayford is a highly respected business and financial analysis in Ghana. And look at him, he’s got class.

Dr Augustus Casely-Hayford, art historian with an extremely long title, demonstrates a passion for the craft that it’s only right to reference him when it comes to education on African art.

And then, perhaps, the most ‘fashionable’ of the Casely-Hayford tree is Joe Casely-Hayford and he son, Charlie.

I came upon Joe about four years after his infamous “t-shirt” collaboration with renowned artist Chris Ofili. The shirt, according to the Victoria & Albert museum press release, reflected the ‘ideas of liberations’ demonstrated in the artists’ works. The collaboration was fitting as they were two of the most prevalent in their field at the time. Chris Ofili had gone on to massive success, while Joe, still active, no doubt, went low-pro. However, with the introduction to his son, Charlie, a burgeoning style icon at the tender age of, 23? Casely-Hayford and son are progressively becoming international style icons.

Joe’s most recent venture was collaborating with UK department store chain John Lewis on a collection of menswear pieces:

While Charlie was apart of the ad campaign – shot by Todd Selby – in celebration of Jack Purcell’s 75th anniversary:

2011 was a good year for the father-son duo. It will be exciting to see where the new year will take them, especially when you have this type of talent, and passion. My main thing, though, is that it (they) will hit the younger (black) generation.

I respect figures like Kanye West and their attempts to incorporate high-fashion into our culture. But within cultural circles, there’s a certain swag that’s not flamboyant or showy, it’s intrinsic. There’s a love of art, being punk – in a rebellious sense – and cultivated. And the Casely-Hayford’s represent that. This is important. They are important. A much needed part of black culture.

This is what it makes me think about…

In art, culture, Fashion, Good Look on February 13, 2011 at 2:34 am

Andrè Walker (taken by Todd Selby)via the TIWIMUTA blog.

Nothing. OK. I lied.

I came upon an article in the New York Times on fashion eccentric – like, really eccentric – Andrè Walker and I had a flash “Hey, isn’t that the guy who still lives at his mom’s house?” Yeah, I read that somewhere, but because I wasn’t sure if it was him, it persuaded me to put my journalistic inclinations to use and dig.

People know him as the guy who tried, but failed, to revive WilliWear after its owner Willi Smith, died of AIDS in 1987. He then moved to Paris and and lived-it-up with Patrick Kelly (expect to see a post on him on this blog), another prominent (black) designer who died of AIDS in 1990. But don’t think Walker was down on his luck. This kid is a child prodigy having been in the fashion circuit since he was 12. So, with all the influential people in his circle, of course you could expect that he’d land gigs as Creative Director by the likes of Marc Jacobs and Kelly Jones. Oh, and let’s not forget the residency at the Matress Factory, an installation that infused fashion, art and culture into a kaleidoscope of jibberish.

TIWIMUTA via Nowness

But things really started to get ridiculous with TIWIMUTA, an acronym for This Is What It Made Us Think About, which happens to be a somewhat annual-ish- art publication. As Walker has stressed – though people haven’t really been listening – it is not a fashion magazine. It’s an influx of ideas, a collaboration of minds from people in his circle. And there’s a lot of great people involved: Jean-Paul Goude and Ryan McGinley, and aforementioned designers Marc Jacobs and Kim Jones.

via T Magazine.

But did I mention that the first issue was $375? Yeah, and the second issue was $195. Both editions were sold at Colette, Marc Jacobs stores, Barneys New York. I mean, I’ve spent $100 on a Phaidon or Taschen art book. And fashion books. But this book actually be worth the scrilla.


Think about it, but only if you’re a knee-deep enthusiast for this type of thing. Andrè Walker can afford to be Andrè Walker. Living this, not so much nomadic lifestyle, but one filled with inspiration. He’s from the generation of fashion (people) who rode high with the cliques, made clothes that didn’t have to sell, and still maintain relationships with people who allowed them to be wreckless for their art. In this day and age, when it’s all about numbers, stats, fiscals, Walker’s school is about emotion, creativity at its most authentic.

via T Magazine.

So yeah, you know, don’t get caught-up in the ‘pretense’ of it all, but rather, a very important piece of history.

And yes. Walker does live with his parents, still.

Engage: Richard Phillips: Most Wanted

In art, culture on February 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm

‘Most Wanted’ via VMan

Alright all you pop art lovin’ aficionados (wow, I sound like a voice presenter). I might be a tad bit tardy in getting this up, but, after not finding anything forthcoming, I wanted to draw attention to the works of Richard Phillips exhibiting at White Cube.

According to the Gallery’s press release, Phillips uses images to “address the marketability of our wishes, identity, politics, sexuality and mortality.”

As for his message for this installation:

Each portrait features a bright, multi-colour halo, a reference to Richard Bernstein’s illustrations from Interview magazine – the halo emphasises the electric stardom of these secular deities while simultaneously flattening their image, melding them into the brands they represent, as if on a decal or trading card.

While I don’t know if I personally idolize celebrities, I do find his work, though exquisite, to look somewhat – childish. Almost as a piece of work anyone could do. That is, until you realize that these works are on gigantic scale canvases.

It’s not his best work. The low-grade style is a trademark, but it’s ones that encompass women-girls in a hyper-sexual tone to be some of his better pieces.

via analogist besser

Or maybe it’s just my need to be stimulated than look at the pretty Hollywood people all day. There’s tabloid weeklies for that.

Richard Phillips: Most Wanted
48 Hoxton Square London N1 6PB
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7930 5373 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7749 7470
Open: 10 – 6pm Tuesday – Saturday

Francesco Vezzoli @ Gagosian New York

In art, culture, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Global Musing, Good Look on February 3, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Image via Gagosian

What a coincidence – I was reading about Francesco Vezzoli in Vogue the other day. Now he’s having his first solo exhibition at one of the most – if not the most – revered galleries in the world. According to the press release Vezzoli will transform

“Gagosian’s vast gallery into a Renaissance chapel, he has installed enlarged reinterpretations of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Madonna-and-Child paintings by Giovanni Bellini, Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli and others. But instead of the beatific Madonnas that grace each of the historical precedents, Vezzoli’s women are contemporary supermodels — Claudia Schiffer, Tatjana Patitz, Linda Evangelista, Stephanie Seymour, and Kim Alexis, among others. In conflating supermodels with historical religious icons, Vezzoli points to the societal worship of figures from the fashion and celebrity industries.

In each work, the supermodel and child are adorned with makeup, tattoos and large oblong tears, rendered in needlepoint (Vezzoli also actually signs some of the works with a prominent FV, a needle and thread forming part of the initials).”

As you can imagine, the inclusion of supermodels and ‘needle point’ technique is sure to seduce a strong fashion crowd.

If you’re in the New York area, this could be a good one.

Saturday, February 5th, from 6 to 8pm
Gagosian Gallery, West 21st Street
522 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10011
T. 212.741.1717

An interview with Vezzoli on a collaboration with Lady Gaga

Shout out to LadyGagaNu for providing the video

In The Know: The Hottest Kicks for 2009 RECAP

In art, Fashion, Good Look, Recap, Shoes, Shopping, sneakers on December 10, 2009 at 12:02 am

As I’ve grown older, my eye for good quality sneakers aka trainers, has become more refined. I admit, I’ve always had good taste in sneakers, but now I can easily spot a really good one when I see it. And believe me – it takes skill, particularly when concepts are slapped together – in the laziest or excessive ways- and then suddenly considered the must-have item of the season.

I don’t like my sneakers to be pretentious, well – maybe just a little. But pretentious meaning they’re equal parts fashion and art. Yes, I truly do believe in wearing art on your feet.

The Top Ten Hottest kicks for 2009/2010 (so far):

Bernhard Willhelm – 204 (Euros). Available at Far Fetch.

I do quite like these all-black leather high-tops. What’s particularly interesting is the piece of lace intertwined with the shoe laces that are strapped through the shoe.

Ann Demeulemeester – 541.44 (CAD). Available at Luisaviaroma.

Sneakers don’t get more euro than this. Beautifully punk black suede sneakers with triple buckle embellishments. If you’re a sneaker lover who’s got class – you wear these.

John Galliano – 475 (USD). Available at Style Drops.

With the patent leather and rivets, I can see these being very popular amongst the hip-hop community. Look at the buckle details, it’s riveting.

Rick Owens – 695 (GBP). Available at Browns Fashion.

Almost a boxing style shoe, what’s wonderful about this shoe is not just the black/white colourway, but the zipper along the side and elongated tongue.

Billionaire Boys Club – 276 (CAD). Available at Ssense.

High-top black canvas sneakers with white city print. How cool is that? I’ve never been one for the whole BBC/Ice Cream shenanigans, but I love the simplicity of this shoe. you may be looking at the shoe thinking “What’s so simple about it?” well, the minimalism with architectural element. This shoe is very art deco.

Paul Smith – 315 (USD). Available at Style Drops.

Leather multicoloured shoe with a heavy psychedelic reference. Enough said.

Raf Simmons – 301 (Euros). Available at Colette.

Neoprene sneakers – the cool irony. Too cool to wear scuba diving, though they don’t look like shoes you’d wear everyday.

Pierre Hardy – 350 (Euros). Available at Colette.

Drawing slight reference from the De Stijl movement, these remind me of works by the infamous Pieter Cornelis Mondrain. There were only 500 pairs available worldwide.

kris van assche – 491 (CAD). Available at Ssense.

These starch white Nappa lambskin sneakers remind me of an astronaut heading off to the moon. These babies sold out quickly, and we’re not sure if we’ll ever see them again.

Swarovski crystalized x Jeremy Scott sneakers – 2500 (Euros). Available at Colette.

Would someone really be that crazy to wear 5000+ dollar crystalized sneakers with wings? You betcha. Jeremy Scott made winged sneakers the rave for 2009 and this is a perfect way to end off the year. A true gem, Swarovski showed the world that they can be just as street as the rest of them. Kudos to Jeremy for constructing such a daring fashion statement.

Christian Lacroix’s curtain call

In art, Collection, colour, culture, designer, dress, Fashion, News, Op Ed., Paris on December 5, 2009 at 2:19 am

Christian Lacroix struggled to make the dresses for Safra’s wedding, but oh no, not me. He meant Marielle Safra, bloodline of the late banking Tycoon, Edmond Safra.

I love Christian Lacroix. But of course, I’ve never been privileged enough to own his clothes. Not even via eBay. But this French couturier’s collection is resplendent and jubilant. I thoroughly enjoyed reading those fairytale write-ups in Vogue, and gazed, wantonly, at fashion spreads filled with colour, bows and embellishments. For someone like me, his line represented what fashion was – a cloud of dreams. And I suppose Mr. Lacroix felt the same way. But when reality strikes, and those clouds hit pavement, it’s worse than being diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Which must be what Mr. Lacroix is feeling right now.

We all knew, as did he, Christian Lacroix’s house faced stifling financial woes, but welcome to fashion’s reality. However, not all fashion houses face this brutal fatality; some are able to turn profits well beyond belief. Look at Chanel,  Michael Kors and Comme des Garcons as legendary modern examples. But he was never one of the lucky ones. So when those potential financial backers fell through, and the house will be what was, it comes as a some sudden shock to the masses.

Sheikh Hassan Ben Ali al-Naimi, nephew to the ruler of United Arab Emirate state Ajman, supposedly expressed interest. Then Bernard Krief Consulting, a French investment group, also stepped in setting high hopes of victory. But the Sheikh and the firm pulled out last-minute because they couldn’t get funding in time. In my opinion – that’s hogshit. Truth is, when given the real low down, neither of them was the slightest bit convinced about the House of Lacroix’s ability to turn a long run, if ever, financial profit. But now, its employees – Mr. Lacroix included – are at the will of bull-talking cash cows for the sake of its own salvation.

Over the years he’s tried everything. During his peak in the`90s, he created countless diffusion lines, fragrances and accessories. But there is something about his line that obviously just isn’t resonating, and now all that will be left is a licensing right.
Could it have been that he was too French? Too artistic? Too couture? The only thing I can think of was that the line started to become exactly what it always was, caught up in itself.

You know, as gorgeous as his collections are, a lot of his references date back to a time when over-the-top was well and good then, but doesn’t hold much place in our lives now. Sure, fashion recycles, but Mr. Lacroix was trying to live a buried dream. The time when the supermodel and shoulder pad both reigned, together. And during those times, LVMH relished in the brand’s potential, but when they foresaw the impending stagnancy, which was inevitable, they passed the house off for cheap to The Falic Group.

Mr. Lacroix wants to blame his current owners for his fall from grace, but you see Monsieur Lacroix, the Falic brothers are not responsible for your shortcomings. They, like you, are dreamers, but they wanted the prestige of having a high-fashion brand in their portfolio while making money, an abundance of it. You on the other hand, are an artist; more concerned with creating beautiful clothes for a certain tier of beautiful people (like Marielle Safra). You did, yes you did, dismiss the fact that you are a business. Art and commerce can work, but it’s artists’ who have an instinctive business acumen that survive. But if only Mr. Lacroix, if only…

It is true. Christian Lacroix’s fashion house was closed off from the rest of us, only accessible to people who frolic in almost unlimited wealth and luxury. Yet it was us, the commoners, who probably could have helped him, at least just a little while longer. But I don’t think Mr. Lacroix does H&M.

For what it’s worth Mr. Lacroix, you will certainly be missed by the rest of us.

Engage: Jeff Koons Book Signing at Gagosian

In art, Books, culture, Engage, News on December 3, 2009 at 6:22 pm

If you’ve ever wanted to see a living art icon in the flesh, now’s your chance.  Not only will you get to own a piece of memorabilia, but you may also – by chance – get your book signed by one of the most popular “Pop” artists of modern times, Jeff Koons.

Written by Art Forum‘s Scott Rothkopf, featuring conversations with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and paintings of Jeff Koons, this five-pound book centers around  a kaleidoscope of whimsical characters including inflatable monkeys, geishas, birds and the revolutionary Liberty Bell. It’s kind of like a cartoon for grown-ups, considering that I’ve always perceived Mr. Koons to be a “big kid” himself.

Jeff Koons: Hulk Elvis is currently available for purchase here.

Who: Jeff Koons

What: Book signing of Jeff Koons: Hulk Elvis

When: Thursday, December 17th from 6 to 9PM

Where: Gagosian Shop

988 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10075

For more information, visit:

One to Watch: Chau Har Lee

In art, Collection, designer, Fashion, Fashion Heat, Good Look, Heels, London, One to Watch, Shoes on December 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

“I aim to create pieces that have strength and beauty, based around a concept which can be about a number of things – the body, the materials or a particular theme.”

– Chau Har Lee to Dazed Digital

I like clothes more than shoes. But when I come across footwear that’s fantastically spellbinding, I’m quick to want.

When it comes to what you wear, there shouldn’t be any borders; clothes, shoes or otherwise. Screw the conservative society! Many of the greatest fashion innovators – with the exception of US Vogue’s Anna Wintour, and Vogue Paris‘s Carine Roitfeld – made their mark in the world by being themselves, no matter how idiosyncratic it seemed. And that’s where London-based cobbler Chau Har Lee fits into my life.

Chau Har Lee is a 29-year-old shoe designer who obtained her long-winded education at UK’s most prestigious: Cordwainer College (London College of Fashion), Royal College of Art and Camberwell College of Art. She’s the recipient of multiple awards including the 2009 Manolo Blahnik prize and International Talent Support competition, she’s been featured in fashion magazines such as British Vogue, Nylon and i-D, and she’s worked with fashion powerhouses Burberry and Nicole Farhi early in her career. A fan for pushing the “shoe envelope,” Ms. Har used  materials such as stainless steel, walnut wood, acrylic and leather to create architectural shoes you could envision completing Maison Martin Margiela’s runway collection.

There’s no word as to when we’ll be able to get our hands on a pair, but she says she’s currently working on her 2010 collection in her East London studio.

Engage: Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion

In art, culture, designer, Fashion on November 21, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Take from the Pratt Institute website.

***Image: Alabama Chanin, sleeveless dress from the “Song Birds Collection,” 2008.

Photo by Russ Harrington

November 20, 2009 – February 20, 2010

Panel Discussion with Artists and Designers
January 26, 2010, 6pm, Room 213, adjacent to the gallery

The first American exhibition to explore the work of artists and designers who seek practical and symbolic solutions to the question of integrating sustainable practices into the fashion system.

The exhibition is organized around three main themes: Reduce, Revalue and Rethink, expanding on the traditional ecological mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by acknowledging the importance of aesthetics within fashion design.

Guest Curators: Francesca Granata and Sarah Scaturro

Artists/Designers: Bodkin, Alabama Chanin, Susan Cianciolo, Kelly Cobb, Loomstate, Rogan, Max Osterweis/ Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, SANS, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Uluru, and Andrea Zittel and Tiprin Follett/Smockshop

A full color catalog of the exhibition will be available, made possible by a generous grant from the Coby Foundation, Ltd.

Who: Pratt Manhattan Gallery

What: Ethics + Aesthetics = Sustainable Fashion exhibition

When: November 20, 2009 – February 20, 2010 (Panel Discussion
January 26, 2010)

Where: 144 West 14th Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10011

For more info, visit: