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July 31 2014

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15 posts tagged "Andrew Bolton"

The Met Does “Icon” Some Justice

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Andrew Bolton“Icon” is one of the most overused words in the fashion lexicon—in fact, it’s thrown around with such carelessness that one has to wonder if it still holds any meaning. This past Saturday, the Met attempted to restore some of the word’s significance with its all-day series TEDxMet: Icons. Through talks by choreographer Bill T. Jones, neuropsychiatrist Dr. Eric R. Kandel (who explained our often amorous relationship with art through science), and the Met’s medieval art curator Melanie Holcomb, the event—which, held in connection with the globally recognized TED organization, is the first TEDx talk ever to be hosted in a museum—aimed to both explore and challenge our understanding of icons. Curator Luke Syson explained he thought the Mona Lisa was the most iconic work of art in history—until he developed a love/hate relationship with a pair of pink, handcrafted seventeenth-century French elephant vases by Jean-Claude Duplessis. Later, Negin Farsad—a Muslim American comedian—did a thoroughly hysterical bit dubbed “I Used to Be Black: Notes From an Icon-Less American,” about her coming-of-age identity crisis and her difficulty in finding an Iranian American role model (“join me,” she pleaded, “and let’s bang out some new icons!”). And architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff explored how Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum building (which the Met is taking over when the Whitney moves downtown in 2015) could transform from a hated Bauhaus structure to a beloved landmark worth saving.

Unsurprisingly, however, this journalist was most excited about Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton’s discussion of his 2011 Alexander McQueen exhibition Savage Beauty. The show attracted 661,509 visitors during its seventy-seven-day run, but Bolton noted that neither he, nor the Met, had expected it to be such a success. “You need only look at how we handled the lines to see that,” he laughed. And while McQueen’s suicide played a somewhat macabre role, Bolton stressed that it was the “beauty and power of McQueen’s fashions” that made Savage Beauty the most popular fashion exhibition in the Met’s history.

Before his talk, which was punctuated by screens covered in images of Savage Beauty‘s installations and McQueen’s most memorable runways, came to a close, Bolton joked that he had asked those closest to McQueen—including Sarah Burton—whether the late designer would have approved of the exhibition. Apparently, everyone offered the same response. “He would have loved having his name above the museum, but would have been furious that fewer people had come to see his show than King Tut.” Before stepping off stage, Bolton added, that, after one of his last shows, McQueen remarked, “There is no way back for me now. I’m going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.” “This,” said Bolton,”was his legacy. And this is what it means to be an icon.” We have to agree that McQueen embodies the word—in its truest sense.

Photo: Stephanie Berger

Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele Talks Image-Making in the Digital Age

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Matin Zad

Stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele knows a thing or two about fashion imagery. You know all those photographs from the late eighties and nineties of supermodels like Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer decked out in Versace, Chanel, and piles upon piles of gilded baubles? Well, we have her to thank for those.

De Dudzeele’s reputation for creating vivacious, lasting images is undoubtedly one of the reasons Bottega Veneta tapped her to sit on the judging panel of its 2013 New Exposure Photography Competition (she’s joined by heavy hitters such as Craig McDean, Guido Palau, Andrew Bolton, and Bottega’s own Tomas Maier). Launched last year in an effort to discover and support emerging talents, the competition features five standout finalists this year. And tonight, at New York’s Openhouse Gallery, Collin Kelly, Emma Powell, Masha Sardari, Matin Zad, or Shae DeTar will be announced as the 2013 victor. The finalists’ photographs debut here. And below, in between shoots and shows, de Dudzeele weighs in on photography in the digital age, discusses the overuse of Photoshop, and offers aspiring image-makers some invaluable advice.

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How has the process of image-making changed throughout the course of your career? And what’s remained the same?

Good ones are good ones! The talented people will still stay the same—they have it in their [guts]. What’s changed is that the focus on set has gone from looking at the subject…to looking at a monitor. Nowadays, people sometimes forget to have fun and to have their own point of view. Fashion photography still has, and needs a lot of, original ideas. The digital is just a tool.

What qualities do you feel make a successful image in this digital age?

Energy, capturing a moment, composition, authenticity, creativity!

What traits did you look for while judging the Bottega competition?

I was looking for a personal eye, a unique image, a sensitivity, and honesty… not a reproduction of something done before.

Is there anything you miss about a more classic approach to photography? And, conversely, is there anything you really love about images?

I miss the happy surprise! I miss the focus on the subject and the attention to details. It used to be that nothing could get “removed” or fixed afterwards. When you had it, you knew it. Digital is good to build a story, as you can work on layout and cropping, then. Technology can help a bad photographer get better, but ultimately, good photography does not need to be reworked.

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Is Photoshop used too much today? When do you feel it’s appropriate?

Yes! Moving around the filter and switching heads, hands, arms, everything, this is not the essence of a unique photograph. This is not real talent. Photoshopping is appropriate to enhance a beauty that’s already there—to help the dream come true.

Have your aesthetic values changed since the digital embrace?
My aesthetic has not changed. I love the girls, the fashion, the joy, the energy, and the ideas. Creating fun, iconic images still is the goal.

What advice would you give to emerging image-makers, whether they’re stylists or photographers, today?
Be you! Don’t over-reference. And love it! Sometimes, what people think is bad…is good.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
It’s only fashion!

Photos: Matin Zad, Emma Powell, Collin Kelly, Shat DeTar, Masha Sardari

Inside Punk: Chaos to Couture

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By now, you’ve no doubt already heard about—or even seen—the facsimile of CBGB’s bathroom that Andrew Bolton included in the opening gallery of the Met’s Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition, which opens to the public on Thursday, following tonight’s red-carpet festivities. “CBGB was the heart of punk in New York,” said Bolton at a preview this morning. “Punk was all about shock and provocation, and so to start off an exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a toilet—well, I thought was the ultimate punk statement,” the curator told Style.com.

The exhibition juxtaposes original (and contemporary) punk wares by Vivienne Westwood against luxury and haute couture looks from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana (who are featured in the Graffiti room, above), Maison Martin Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano, and Gianni Versace (yes, the 1994 safety-pin dress is on display). One might be hard-pressed to differentiate between Vivienne Westwood’s destroyed seventies sweaters and Rodarte’s Fall 2008 knit dress, which are on display side by side. The same gallery boasts Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s lewd T-shirts (for instance, her famed “Tits” top hangs against a black PVC curtain). “I love that we start off with T-shirts with very obscene political and sexual slogans,” said Bolton. “They’re still shocking thirty-seven years later—in a way, more shocking, because of our political correctness.” Beyond the T-shirts lies a reproduction of McLaren and Westwood’s infamous—and iconic—shop, Seditionaries, which stood at 430 King’s Road. The remainder of the show was divided into DIY categories, like Hardware, Graffiti and Agitprop, Bricolage, and Destroy—and each room was punctuated by a film by Nick Knight.

“No other subcultural movement has a greater or more enduring influence on how we dress today,” Bolton noted in his opening remarks. Consider, as evidence, the fact that there is a slew of Fall 2013 looks in the show, from such houses as Viktor & Rolf, Saint Laurent, and Gareth Pugh—whose Fall 2013 trash-bag dresses are arranged into a veritable mob in the center of the Bricolage installation.

Bolton made sure to steer away from clichés—for instance, he noted that hairstylist Guido Paulo, who created the spiky Technicolor mops that topped each mannequin’s head, avoided Mohawks, and instead pulled inspiration from Richard Hell’s signature ’do.

“I wanted to present punk in a respectful, and even reverential, manner,” said Bolton. That’s already earning the show some mixed reviews. And of course, there are those who protest discussing punk in a high-fashion context—or, for that matter, paying couture prices for a punk-tinged look. “I think that’s completely punk,” said Bolton in response. “People seem to forget that punk really was a commercial movement. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, in a way, created what we know as the punk look. And they commodified it,” he explained.

As for why consumers and designers, from Karl Lagerfeld to Met Ball host Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, are still drawn to the seventies subculture, Bolton offers, “Punk endures today because it reflects our longing for a time when originality and creativity were celebrated, a time when fashion was provocative and confrontational. And, above all, a time when fashion championed the individual and self-expression.”

Punk: Chaos to Couture opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this Thursday, May 9.

Altuzarra Covers The New Yorker

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Well, the Spring '13 Gianvito Rossi for Altuzarra gladiator sandal does, anyway—in the form of one of the mag’s cheeky cartoons, no less. This week marks The New Yorker‘s style issue, and needless to say, Mr. Altuzarra was pretty tickled when he got his copy. “It was a huge surprise,” the designer told Style.com. “I had no idea it was happening. I actually thought it was a joke, like a fake cover, but when I realized it was real, obviously I felt honored. It’s the coolest thing.” Penned by Ana Juan, the caricature shows Altuzarra’s shoe against the New York skyline, to scale with the city’s skyscrapers (that is to say, megasized). ” I thought it was interesting because the shoe does have a monolithic quality,” offered Altuzarra, who joked that the pressure’s on to create an equally cover-worthy kick for his upcoming Resort collection.

It must be noted that Altuzarra’s shoe is in pretty good company—inside the style issue, you’ll find an in-depth interview with Met curator Andrew Bolton, who gives a behind-the-scenes look at the forthcoming Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition; a story about an emerging (and pretty die-hard) punk community in Burma; and a piece about legendary New York tailor, Dapper Dan—hip-hop’s official haberdasher. The articles (and the cartoon) are all available to subscribers at www.newyorker.com.

Anarchy In the Met

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“Fashion has lost its edge,” said curator Andrew Bolton at a preview of the Met’s upcoming 2013 Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibition yesterday morning. The statement was in response to a query about why the Met chose to explore the rebellious seventies subculture at this particular time. “Punks were so brave and noble. I just think fashion needs an injection of that at the moment,” the curator told Style.com.

If the garments that joined Bolton on the podium during his introduction to the exhibition (looks from McQueen, Chanel, and Rodarte among them) were any indication, punk has been fighting its way into fashion for quite some time—since Zandra Rhodes’s slash- and safety-pin-infused 1977 “Conceptual Chic” collection, to be exact. The new show, explained Bolton, is a prequel to the Met’s 2006 Anglomania and will examine punk as an aesthetic, rather than an attitude. “Punk smashed every convention,” he said. “It prized originality, authenticity, and individualism.” While counterintuitive, these qualities, he said, put punk on the same, or at least a very similar, plane as couture. Continue Reading “Anarchy In the Met” »