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July 31 2014

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4 posts tagged "Berlin"

Car Culture Meets The Avant-Garde At Raf Simons’ Berlin Symposium

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The three-day celebration of the avant-garde that Raf Simons curated on behalf of Mercedes-Benz in Berlin last weekend could be seen as an ingeniously left-field way for the car company to establish its leadership in what the press release referred to as “automotive culture.” Those words would make me think of drag-racing or custom cars or maybe even Pixar long before I got to the list of cutting-edge musicians and artists that Raf corralled at the Berlin Congress Centre, sheathed for the occasion in a photographic installation by longtime Simons collaborator Peter de Potter. And I’m not sure the so-called Avant/Garde Diaries changed my pre-conception. But it certainly offered an opportunity to get up close and personal with truly special guests like Peter Saville, Paul Morley, Casey Spooner, and Michael Clark. And, Benz connection aside, it would be hard to come up with a better location. Ordnung und Vernichtung (Order and Annihilation), a new exhibition that covers the role of the police during the years of the Nazi terror, inadvertently underscored just how much garde there was to be avant—or après, for that matter—in Berlin.

The leisurely program opened on Friday with These New Puritans, whose first number apparently featured real car engines—although the glorious thunder of George Barnett’s drumming (supplemented for this performance by two additional percussionists) effectively drowned them out—and closed two nights later with the Michael Clark Company dancing to the music of David Bowie. Actually, Fischerspooner were on last, repeating their performance from Saturday, which had to stop when an over-refreshed audience member hurled a bottle that shattered on the stage. (A feature of the spare-no-expense event was the amount of freely flowing alcohol.) But Clark’s tribute to Bowie felt like a more appropriate finale, given that Bowie is not only one of Simons’ influences but also one of Berlin’s most famous adopted sons. The video for “Heroes” was projected behind one of Clark’s pieces, and to see and hear that song within walking distance of the locale that inspired it (“I can remember standing by the Wall”) was an emotional overload for some—well, for me anyway.

Benz’s hero of the hour was the Concept A-Class, which shimmered impressively in a phantom cocoon conjured up by artist Germaine Kruip and lighting wiz Thierry Dreyfus. If it wasn’t the first car launch I’ve ever been to, it was without a doubt the most provoking. And the fact that it was labeled Transmission 1 suggests that automotive culture is going to acquire even finer new shadings.

Photo: avantgardediaries.com

Design Your Own Dries

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Not that Dries Van Noten’s clothes need any alterations, but for a limited time, the Belgian designer is offering his customers the rare opportunity to take a few liberties with his work The “blank” canvas in question is a sleeveless dress from the Fall 2011 collection (called “Daya”). Customers can select up to five of 30 archival prints drawn from his last 12 seasons, and mix and match at will. Whether anyone can mash up clashing prints as well as the master himself remains to be seen. The catch? The service is only available in Berlin, at the new location of the Andrea Murdukis store in Potsdamer Strasse. Do you need a better reason to jet off to Germany?

Available now at Andreas Murkudis, Potsdamer Strasse 77-87, Haus E, 10785 Berlin, through September 15. Customers will receive their dress in October 2011.

Photo: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten

A Day In The Life: Ruffian’s Brian Wolk And Claude Morais In Berlin

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As we arrived, we were super-thrilled to see our clothes in the Friedrichstrasse windows of Departmentstore Quartier 206. Friedrichstrasse is the Madison Avenue of Berlin, which makes the shop, which carries Ruffian exclusively in Germany, sort of like the city’s Barneys. Niki Jagdfeld, whose family owns it, along with a host of the chicest restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels in the fashionable Mitte district, was our host. Preparations for our book party the following day were in progress, the collection was unpacked, and we did a fitting with Berlin sweetheart and actress Nadine Warmuth. The jaguar beaded jacket from our Fall collection seemed natural for the young starlet. Later that night, we had dinner at the Williamsburg-esque restaurant Boetzow Privat, where the wiener schnitzel quickly became our Berlin obsession.


Day Two

Today was filled with interviews with GALA and German Vogue, and, of course, the European launch of INSIDE OUT: Ruffian. Two of our favorite guests were the actresses Sandra von Ruffin and Esther Seibt, but we were also graced with the presence of Baroness Stephanie von und zu Guttenberg, wife of the minister of economics, and Susanne Juhnke, wife of the legendary Harald Juhnke, the Frank Sinatra of Berlin. She ordered her first Ruffian piece, after a lifetime of Chanel. Later that evening there was a dinner for 20 at Grill Royal, a local watering hole where the Champagne is always flowing and the steaks are imported from Argentina. Afterwards, we all walked to Niki’s club Scala, a former movie theater transformed into a hub of Berlin hipster culture. We danced till dawn and walked at sunrise down the glorious Friedrichstrasse back to our hotel.


Day Three

We received a 2 p.m. wake-up call from Niki and his gal friend Johanna von Boch, who took us on a grand driving tour in the back of their cute BMW. First stop, brunch at China Club, which is said to have the largest collection of contemporary Chinese art outside of China. Our memorable meal on the terrace overlooked the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate. A drive through the Tiergarten, the Central Park of Berlin, came next, followed by a few gallery stops. Kirsten Hermann’s Galerie für Modefotografie was a highlight; the show featured Anders Edström and was the perfect fashion pick-me-up, but the paintings of Daniel Sambo-Richter at Emerson Gallery were also memorable. After a long day, we breaked at the Club of the Visionaries on the river Spree. It’s the classic Sunday meeting place for Berliners to recover from a weekend of partying. A cold Alsterwasser (beer and lemonade) was the perfect cure for a hangover. Later that night we ended where we began, like a German opera, and dined on wiener schnitzel at Restaurant Boetzow Privat.

Photo: Courtesy of Ruffian

Iekeliene Wants The World To Look Like A Polaroid

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Iekeliene Stange’s finely sculpted features—which we think evoke the lines of Modigliani or Erté—have the kind of unique beauty that’s often dubbed “intellectual.” Opening today at Berlin’s Projekt Galerie, her new photography show called I Like Ponies, a collection of playfully surreal Polaroid images, is proof that the description isn’t merely skin deep. While some fashion- friendly fields are a natural transition for models who want move past posing, Stange is interested in presenting work with a set of allusions that go beyond the industry and her own distinctive beauty. After years of snapping pics backstage (including for Style.com), Stange’s first show marks her graceful transition from muse to artist. Let’s hope that Impossible b.v., the Netherlands-based company that’s resuscitating Polaroids for fans worldwide, churns out lots of film for her to shoot. Here, Stange talks to Style.com about her secret stash of film, Dutch nursery rhymes, and the state of fashion photography.

Why are you drawn to Polaroids?

There is something quite chaotic about the way Polaroids develop, the way they appear and their flaws. I think their irregularities, along with the dreamy colors and tones, sums up the way I’d like the world to really look.

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