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August 30 2014

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5 posts tagged "Charlie Le Mindu"

Backed by Nicola Formichetti’s Diesel Power, Brooke Candy Shoots for Stardom

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“I own everything, baby!” sang the oft foul-mouthed stripper-turned-rapper Brooke Candy before wrapping up a phone interview last week. She wasn’t referencing any kind of newfound wealth—after signing with RCA Records in February, the formerly homeless L.A.-based artist is just finding her footing in the pop music biz. Rather, her proclamation was a line from her new song and music video, “Opulence,” which dropped at a Diesel-sponsored party in New York last night.

The flick is lensed by Steven Klein and styled by Nicola Formichetti, who, after discovering Candy online in Grimes’ “Genesis” video, has taken the starlet under his wing. In October, he cast her as the face of his Diesel accessories campaign and flew her to Tokyo, where, flanked by gyrating exotic dancers, she performed at a bondage-themed sex party to fete the collection. “I wasn’t really looking for anybody. I wanted to just focus on Diesel,” admitted Formichetti, Diesel’s artistic director and former stylist to Lady Gaga. “But when I saw her, I couldn’t resist.”

Before teaming with Formichetti, Candy, 25, already had a sufficiently severe look, one that involved braids down to her calves, velvet bikinis, platform sneakers, and more bare skin than Miley—a deliberate and independent choice, according to Candy, that she believes expresses feminist power. “I have an agenda, and I’m not selling anything,” she said of her penchant for nudity and raunchy dance moves, adding that not all pop stars fall into the same category. “I don’t want to say any names, but there’s a difference between being knowledgeable about what you’re doing, and doing it because someone is behind you, telling you to do it. You don’t have to be the most genius fucking person in the world to tell when a woman taking her clothes off is authentic, and when it’s sad.”

“I see her as a blank canvas, and I just want to elevate her,” said Formichetti. “I love who she is. She’s very involved, and I don’t want her to suddenly become a new person.” Indeed, Candy has maintained her raw, sometimes shocking appearance. But these days, the braids have been traded for finger waves, the teeny bikinis for custom Olima Atelier bustiers.

“She’s queen of the freaks!” laughed Formichetti, when asked about the video wardrobe, which includes upwards of twenty-five ensembles, among them a Gareth Pugh trenchcoat, bespoke Alexis Bittar jeweled masks, and leather Diesel duds covered in plastic gems that the stylist found in Chinatown.

The “freak” element, as well as the overall concept of the film—which traces Candy’s evolution from a skinhead exacting revenge on a man who’s just robbed her, to a glammed-out queen of the night who becomes a gluttonous, glitter-covered monster—both stem from Candy’s primary inspiration, Paris Is Burning, the cult documentary about gay voguers in the 1980s. “That movie changed my perspective on everything,” raved Candy. “And I really related to this one moment when they’re describing opulence. Basically, the idea is that you show off so much confidence and poise that you create the impression that you’re the wealthiest, most intelligent, powerful person on the planet, and you own everything. And when those people were performing at the balls in their costumes, they were safe,” said the singer, noting that she feels most at home in underground gay clubs. In fact, the video’s theme was conceived with Formichetti at a drag bar in Tokyo, and was shot in a Bushwick warehouse filled with Candy’s friends, namely a transgender woman, a gaggle of drag queens, and her loyal posse of gay men. “We’re all freaks and outcasts, and this was meant to empower them.”

Though she asserts she “can’t predict the future,” Candy doesn’t foresee herself turning into the materialistic creature depicted in the video—mainly, she says, because she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. “I literally lived on the street and was wearing outfits made of paper because that’s all I could afford,” said Candy. (Side note: She actually grew up in the L.A. suburbs but fell on hard times after her mother and father—the CEO of Hustler Casinos—didn’t quite understand her artistic pursuits.) With that in mind, she and Formichetti aimed to champion other outré up-and-coming talents, like Nasir Mazhar, Charlie Le Mindu, and Natasha Morgan, by incorporating their designs in the film.

Even so, Candy has undergone quite the transformation—aesthetic and otherwise—since she set out to become a star. Best known for songs like “I Wanna Fuck Right Now,” the artist has toned down her lyrics in “Opulence,” the first single she’s released under RCA. “I worked with Sia and she felt the vibration I was putting out, but she said to me, ‘You have two paths you can follow. You can keep doing what you’re doing, or you can tone it down and go that much further.’ I don’t really let anything cloud my head, but I thought, If that’s going to help me speak to a broader audience, that’s fine. I’ll just ramp up my imagery.” And ramp it up she did—in one scene, Candy rolls around on the screen covered in blood, touching herself, while wearing lingerie, three crowns, and a fur coat gifted to her by Formichetti.

So did she sell out? “No. The lyrics were my decision. It’s a smarter way to go. And it’s just a different vehicle.” It’s a vehicle that Formichetti supports. “I like that I can sing along with it now,” he said. “And we need more freaky people in the mainstream.” No doubt, Candy is pushing her way into pop culture—she has another Diesel campaign in the works, and she’ll be starting a small tour this May. Naturally, Formichetti will be making the costumes. But is pop culture ready for Candy? “I think so,” said Formichetti. “I hope so. She’s in between edgy and crazy and pop, and that is where the magic happens.”

Christie’s Hosts Old Queens and New

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Alexander McQueenIn the age of Middleton mania, there’s no shortage of mythology (or obsession) surrounding what it means to be a queen.

On June 4, Christie’s will unveil a preview of new exhibition, A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion, and Chess, which, opening in October at the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis, examines the principal monarch from a freshly cerebral perspective.

“It all started with the chess museum in Saint Louis,” relayed Swedish curator Sofia Hedman of the impending preview. “The idea is that each piece on the chessboard can be seen as a different personality, and the queen incorporates the different personalities a woman can have—the enchantress, the explorer, the ruler, the mother, and others.”

Rare pieces—Hussein Chalayan’s iconic bubble dress from Spring 2007, Maison Martin Margiela’s Spring 2001 vest made entirely from baseball gloves, and more than a few ornately embroidered gowns by Alexander McQueen (left)—are placed among lesser-known new works from “very, very unpredictable and very experimental” designers, like Charlie Le Mindu and Jordan Askill. Each touches on a different element of the regal persona, with plenty of reference to royal Dutch portraiture from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Continue Reading “Christie’s Hosts Old Queens and New” »

Charlie Le Mindu: From Coiffure to Couture

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Is the world of Haute Couture ready for London-based bad boy Charlie Le Mindu? We’re about to find out. The French hairstylist-cum-designer (who’s probably best known for Lady Gaga’s electric dye jobs and sculptural coifs) will show his first couture collection during Paris’ upcoming Haute Couture week. But don’t expect mousseline or brocade to make appearances in Le Mindu’s Spring ’13. Since he began designing clothes in 2009, the designer has favored a more unconventional material, one that’s near and dear to his heart—human hair. Le Mindu has used the stuff to create everything from ball gowns to circle hats (although, it should be noted, he’s also crafted looks out of synthetic nails). “It takes me up to five hundred hours to finish each piece. I put so much time and energy into my designs, so it made sense to show during Haute Couture,” says Le Mindu, who previously debuted his collections via theatric Paris presentations during ready-to-wear.

Named Metal Queen (for his muse Lee Aaron’s eighties heavy-metal hit) the predominantly black-and-white collection will fuse human hair and Japanese leather (which Le Mindu says “feels like skin.”). “The hair just looks like textured leather,” says the designer, who has shared some exclusive sketches of his upcoming collection with Style.com. “It’s very organic, but also kind of fetishistic.”

In the name of fun—another Le Mindu signature—the designer has enlisted performers from Crazy Horse, as well as bearded New York personality Andre J, to model in his presentation, which will be held at RA on January 21. Haute Couture clichés (think strong poses and jutting hips) were also a focal point of the collection, and the presentation will have lots of them. “We’re going to do things in a really exaggerated, over-the-top way so that people can laugh about it. I take fashion very seriously. But when you’re at a show, you just want people to react and enjoy it.”

Arrrgh, Real Monsters!

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Next February, ARRRGH! Monstres de Mode, an exhibition presented by Greek collective Atopos CVC that highlights designers who distort and mask the human form with their fantastically frightening, sometimes grotesque garments, will land in Paris. Having debuted in Athens last year, the Vassilis Zidianakis-curated show is an extension of the book, Not a Toy, Fashioning Radical Characters, and highlights such shocking shape-shifters as Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Maison Martin Margiela, Charlie Le Mindu, and Walter van Beirendonck, as well as lesser-known young talents like Alex Mattsson and Leutton Postle. Emerging British menswear designer, Craig Green—who’s set to show his second collection in London next month with the MAN initiative—was tapped to create the identity of the exhibition. Green brought Atopos’ definition of monsters—described as “everything strange”—to life with four green and yellow figures that vaguely recall Pac-Man. “I wanted to make something that resembled a lo-fi graphic,” explained Green. The designer, who’s begun to make a name for himself with his art-meets-fashion concoctions, crafted his curious critters from wooden frames and stretched canvas. “They’re meant to be a family,” says Green. “So they fit together like male and female forms; they’re couples in love,” he explains.

Twenty-six-year-old Green, a Central Saint Martins graduate, has pieces from his 2012 M.A. collection, as well as a sculptural garment from his upcoming Fall 2013 collection, in the show. “I feel very fortunate to be featured alongside these mega designers, as well as small ones that I greatly respect.”

ARRRGH! Monstres de Monde opens on February 13 at La Gaîté Lyrique, located at 3bis, Rue Papin in Paris’ 3rd arrondissement.

Photo: Daniel Daniel Lillie and Panos Kokkinias

The Only Way Is Ascot

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No hat, no entrance. Such are the rules of the Royal Ascot, the U.K.’s most prestigious horse race, sartorially and otherwise, and the functional English equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. Founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, the meet, which runs from June 19-23, attracts everyone from Liz Hurley to the Royals for five days of celebration, steeds, and, of course, spectacular headgear. “I couldn’t have imagined it in my wildest dreams. It’s sort of like heaven!” says up-and-coming English milliner Noel Stewart, who, along with Piers Atkinson, Charlie Le Mindu, J. Smith Esquire, and William Chambers, will showcase his hats at the races in the Stephen Jones-curated Headonism exhibition, sponsored by the Royal Ascot and the British Fashion Council. “It’s the highlight of a milliner’s year and crucially important from a business standpoint. It’s Christmas and Thanksgiving and everything else all rolled into one!” adds Jones, who, in addition to crafting a slew of Ascot hats, is in the midst of creating headpieces for Raf Simons’ debut Dior Couture show.

However, due to a few subpar skin-baring ensembles from years past, Ascot has tightened up its 2012 dress code. Fascinators have been banned in the Royal Enclosure, the race’s most exclusive viewing section (according to Ascot, they’re a “convenient way out” and not in line with formal daywear), and ladies must wear headpieces no smaller than four inches in diameter, as well as day dresses of “modest length” whose straps are at least one inch wide. (The powers that be have suggested the look at left as an example of race-appropriate garb: dress by Nicholas Oakwell, shoes by Bally, and hat by Stephen Jones.) Gents are required to turn up in a top hat and tails. “The new rules are about being more ‘English summer party’ than ‘pop star fleshy,’ ” says Atkinson, who designed a special Racing Collection (below), each hat from which adheres to Ascot’s regulations. His strawberries-and-cream-inspired toppers will be on sale at his pop-up shop at London’s Saint Martins Lane Hotel, open from today until the end of June. Continue Reading “The Only Way Is Ascot” »