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April 20 2014

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101 posts tagged "Balmain"

Wu-Tang, Aging Artfully

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Wu-Tang

In 2013, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented convergence of hip-hop and art. First there was Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music-video shoot this summer; then came Kanye West’s experimental Yeezus tour de force; and last night the two communities came together yet again, at NeueHouse in Manhattan, for a panel talk in celebration of the Wu-Tang’s twentieth anniversary, with Clan architect Oliver “Power” Grant and sculptor Tom Sachs. The latter is a longtime Wu disciple, who recalled listening to their records as a kid after Hebrew school in the nineties. Although the two couldn’t possibly be more different—Power was raised in the projects of Staten Island, a.k.a. “Shaolin,” while Sachs grew up in wealthy Westport, Connecticut—they found surprising common ground in “bringing the ruckus.” For example, they were both mischievous as kids. Sachs keyed his father’s BMW to make one of his first statements about consumerism, while Power ultimately decided to assemble and launch Wu-Tang because group leader RZA was locked up in jail and needed bail money, and he was on probation himself. According to Power (it’s worth noting that he never rapped with the group, focusing on business instead), “it was a form of desperation and inspiration” that caused them to “get past the corner” and start creating. Sachs agreed, saying that fear is the only thing that stops people from “creating your own reality and writing your own rules.”

Later in the evening, the conversation turned to consumerism, which remains a particular source of fascination for Sachs and informs many of his most famous works, such as Chanel Guillotine and Prada Deathcamp. Power quickly related: “I think that consumerism dictates what rap is and what it’s going to be, because that’s what it’s been doing.” He continued to discuss the origins of the Wu-Tang phoenix logo (“RZA was like, ‘Yo, I want my shit like Batman.’”) and the brand expansions that he has helped bring about, including Wu Wear clothing, the Wu-Tang video game, and even Wu Nails on Victory Boulevard, in Staten Island, which closed a few years ago. “Wu-Tang is forever going to be culturally relevant,” he said. “Even if we don’t have a record out, our brand is for real. This shit is like Coca-Cola now.”

In addition to their forthcoming album and reunion tour, the Clan’s major news is their Wu-Tang Hybrid Arts initiative, a.k.a. Wu Ha, which features works inspired by the Wu-Tang’s history (during the talk, several artists were live-painting portraits of different members such as Raekwon, ODB, and RZA), including Sachs’ combination ode to Wu-Tang Ladurée macarons. It will be displayed in a larger exhibition that opens at the Japanese American National Museum, in September 2014.

Photo: Benjamin Rosser

Rihanna Gets Under the Balmain Umbrella

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Rihanna for Balmain

Rihanna for Balmain

“It was heaven,” said Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing of shooting with Rihanna. The pop star is the face of the house’s Spring ’14 campaign, two images of which debut exclusively here. But Rousteing, who spoke to Style.com from Paris this morning, insists the ads weren’t the result of a PR push or a marketing strategy—rather, they were the product of he and Riri’s budding friendship. “I met her six months ago, when she came to the studio during her Diamonds Tour, and I just loved her,” the designer recalls. “She invited me to her concert, and I invited her to my show, and she started to become a good friend of mine. Obviously, we text all the time, and at one point, when I was working on the Spring collection, I told her she was the inspiration and that I wanted her in the campaign. It all started like that.”

Styled by Rihanna’s own stylist Mel Ottenberg and lensed by Inez & Vinoodh, the ads, which will hit magazines in January, were apparently shot to the tunes of Prince. “We listened to it super loud, and she was dancing in the clothes—but she really owned them. She tweaked everything. She chose what she wanted to wear, she had a great vision, and that’s what I love about her,” Rousteing said, stressing that he feels Rihanna is the ultimate icon for this generation. “I wanted the campaign to be about Balmain, but I didn’t just want a model—I wanted a strong, real woman in the clothes. For me, Rihanna is a power. And she pushes boundaries on everything.

“Sometimes,” Rousteing added, “fashion is all about a big machine. And we forget about emotions, and realness, and dreams. But dreams do come true, and this came from something really simple, and easygoing, and real.”

So what’s Rousteing’s favorite Riri song? “I have to be honest. I love the new one, “Monster,” but I think “Stay” is one of the best songs ever. I fell in love listening to this song. And that’s something I’ll always remember.”

Photo: Inez & Vinoodh

Denim Gets the Designer Treatment for Spring

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Denim from ValentinoIn the streets and on Tommy Ton’s pages in the latest issue of Style.com/Print, jeans are more dressed-down than ever—shredded, distressed, and faded to a fare-thee-well. But it was a different story on the Spring runways, where polished denim ruled. At his Louis Vuitton swan song, Marc Jacobs gave dungarees a couture twist with jet-beaded pockets. Olivier Rousteing upped the ante at Balmain, trussing soft, faded chambray with major metal chains. And Joseph Altuzarra sent out tailored pieces featuring indigo prints in the style of Japan’s elaborate “boro” patchworks. Dark-rinse denim was also in the spotlight at Acne Studios, Versace, and Derek Lam. Even the Valentino designers got in on the act, whipping up a ball skirt (actually, full-leg culottes) from the stuff.

Here, a slide show of Spring’s dressed-up denim.

Joseph Will Celebrate Its Birthday on the Runway

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Joseph EttedguiJoseph turned 25 this year (check out the famed Fulham Road store’s celebratory Michael Roberts-designed windows, which went up in September, if you missed them). To mark the quarter-century milestone, the brand will hold its first runway show on London fashion week’s official schedule this February. And for a special twist, Joseph, which was founded by the late, and much adored Joseph Ettedgui (left) has asked its creative director, Louise Trotter, as well as brands like Jil Sander, Balmain, and Giles, to design exclusive pieces, all of which will be on sale the very same day they head down the catwalk. We have to say this is our favorite type of birthday—the kind where everyone can get a present.

Photo: Getty Images

Gingham’s Checkered Present

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Balmain Spring '14Gingham typically stirs up feelings of nostalgia, but lately designers are doing their part to modernize the classic checks. Derek Lam opened his Spring show with eight crisply tailored, crosshatched looks; Delpozo creative director Josep Font paired the graphic pattern with cheerful sunflowers; and Olivier Rousteing put his signature glam spin on the trend at Balmain with plaid bomber jackets and kicky skirts accompanied by chunky chain jewelry. As seen on the 3.1 Phillip Lim and Mark McNairy New Amsterdam menswear runways, buffalo-plaid pieces have been earning style points with the guys, too. Meanwhile, model off duty Marine Deleeuw looked like Lolita incarnate in her sweet pink-and-white shirtdress, and we spotted plenty of gingham items from Prada’s cinematic Fall ’13 collection in the streets. As Isaac Mizrahi told Style.com a few years ago at a Resort presentation, “Gingham is like a solid with a lot of personality.” Agreed.

Here, a slide show of Spring’s gingham highlights.