August 23 2014

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3 posts tagged "Alex Israel"

The Final Countdown: Style File’s Top Stories of 2013


Catherine Baba

The fashion biz has had quite a year. 2013 was jam-packed with major designer shakeups, groundbreaking ad campaigns, celebrity collaborations, and pop star performance wardrobes filled with custom-made designer duds. In the final days leading up to 2014, we’re counting down Style File’s most popular twenty stories of the year. So sit back, relax, and relive 2013′s unforgettable moments. Let’s kick things off with numbers twenty through sixteen, below.

20. Rihanna and River Island Take London Fashion Week
Rihanna stirred up some anarchy in the U.K. when she and Adam Selman debuted their risqué River Island collection at London fashion week in February. had a front-row-seat to the star’s design debut.

19. Maison Kitsuné’s Retro Pop Experience
Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, the talents behind cult fashion brand-cum-record label Maison Kitsuné, were Pitti W’s Fall ’13 guest designers. And in keeping with their quirky, multidisciplinary roots, the pair put on a riotous musical fashion presentation. was on the scene to document their sixties-themed extravaganza.

18. Dior Walks the Red Square
Last July, for the second time in history, Dior staged a show in Moscow’s Red Square. As you can imagine, the festivities, which were hosted inside a purpose-built mirrored pavilion, were brimming with glitz and glamour—albeit of Dior’s sleek and tasteful variety. Designer and Style Map contributor Vika Gazinskaya took us inside the memorable affair.

17. Playboy‘s Artist Pals Are Rethinking Sexy—But Is It Porn or Art?
Playboy has had a big year, what with Kate Moss covering its sixtieth anniversary issue and Richard Phillips’ controversial Playboy Marfa installation. Back in May, the magazine’s new director of special projects, curator Neville Wakefield, asked artists Aaron Young, Malerie Marder, and Alex Israel to create works featuring Playmate of the Year Raquel Pomplun. So we asked the question—were the results porn or art?

16. Bike Like Baba
In 2013, just six years after Paris inaugurated its shared vélo program, New York finally caught up and launched its ever-popular Citi Bikes. But traffic-inducing tourists aren’t the only ones using the vehicles—the bicycles were a popular mode of transport at New York fashion week. During the Spring ’14 shows, we talked to eccentric stylist and cyclist extraordinaire Catherine Baba about the dos and don’ts of biking about town.

Photo: Tommy Ton

Playboy‘s Artist Pals Are Rethinking Sexy—But Is It Porn Or Art?


Aaron Young for PlayboyThe famous old dodge—”I read Playboy for the articles”—is getting a contemporary update. Thanks to a revamp and a prominent new hire, you can now look at Playboy for the art.

The magazine recently signed curator Neville Wakefield as its special projects director, and he’s been working on some highbrow—albeit playful—extensions. His first official venture involved commissioning three artists (Aaron Young—left, Malerie Marder, and Alex Israel) to create work presenting the 2013 Playmate of the Year, Raquel Pomplun, within the context of art. “I think it’s a reimagining of what Playboy can be,” said Wakefield, who’s working on another art-centric supplement for November.

The effort got us wondering: When is a picture art, and when is it erotica? “I think it has a lot to do with context,” offered Wakefield. “Porn has an efficacy when it comes to arousal, but [these works] are meditations on a person and a condition, so in that respect, they are art.” We put the question to the artists themselves; their original works debut exclusively here.

Aaron Young:
Aaron Young for Playboy

Playmates are “always working with their bodies,” said Aaron Young, so he covered a nude Pomplun neck-to-toe in paint and had her press her body (in one case, dragging her) across canvas for a series inspired by Yves Klein’s press paintings. “This definitely has rich and deep connections to art history,” he said. “I mean, there have been so many different kinds of nudes, why not work with the most popular nude in America?

The bottom line: Is it erotica? “If somebody has a good enough imagination, I’m sure it probably could be. But I think that expressing an idea through any medium can be sexy. I mean, I find dry conceptualism sexy, sometimes.” Continue Reading “Playboy‘s Artist Pals Are Rethinking Sexy—But Is It Porn Or Art?” »

A New Eyewear Line Feels The Freeway


There aren’t too many people lining up to celebrate the L.A. Freeway. But for his new optical line, Alex Israel wanted something emblematically Californian. Short of the Hollywood sign, there’s not much more iconic than that. “One of my main focuses and interests as an artist is the tradition and history of Southern California, and in the creation of a specific kind of a regional aesthetic that’s very much related to the landscape,” the USC Fine Arts graduate explains. And when the time came to pick a girl to model for the six hand-carved styles for the Anthony Friedkin-lensed lookbook, Israel went with someone he considered a true Angelena (a current residence in NYC notwithstanding): Harley Viera-Newton. “You can always take the girl out of L.A., but you can’t take the L.A. out of the girl,” he said of the DJ-turned-model. “Harley has this kind of amazing sophistication and carefree spirit that kind of embodies the ethos of Southern California.” (He might’ve discovered it years earlier. As they discovered, Israel and Viera-Newton had gone to the same L.A. high school.) That’s a low-effort cool that should translate well within SoCal and without. The frames—available in black, gray, and white, in both matte and glossy finishes—are understated, chic, and (perhaps most surprisingly) $100.

Freeway Eyewear is available at its Web site, The Smile, and Gagosian Shop in NYC, and Maxfield in L.A.