August 22 2014

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3 posts tagged "Detroit"

Bruce Weber, Carolyn Murphy, and the Dogs of Detroit Celebrate With Shinola



When asked for his initial reaction at the prospect of relocating to Detroit, Shinola creative director Daniel Caudill doesn’t hesitate: “I was totally excited about it! If you think about it compared to New York in the late seventies—it was a place that people wouldn’t go to, and it was a city in transition.” Since launching in 2011, the brand has aimed to play a key role in that transition. At 5,000 square feet (half of that is the brand’s bicycle production), Shinola’s Midtown Detroit flagship has become a de facto neighborhood hangout, complete with picnic tables out front.


So it was only fitting that last Friday, when Shinola feted the first anniversary of its Motor City flagship (and the one-week anniversary of its new, neighboring multibrand shop, Willys Detroit, above), it was with a series of community-minded events—including the sponsorship of Midtown’s first dog park. Four-legged friends and owners alike turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, before wandering the scant few hundred feet over to the Shinola outpost for a preview of Shinola Pet, a new collection of animal accessories. Launching in September, the capsule was created in collaboration with lensman (and honorary Detroiter) Bruce Weber. In addition to American-made leashes, collars, and beds, stationery featuring some of Weber’s canine snaps will also be on offer. For Weber, who recently shot a decidedly city-centric campaign for Shinola, the partnership came organically: “I met Tom [Kartsotis, founder of Fossil and Bedrock Manufacturing, Shinola's parent company], and I liked him so much,” he said amid the fracas of the brand’s Friday night neighborhood block party. “We really saw things the same in a lot of ways, and he felt like someone I could talk to. When I do photographs for somebody, I’m not doing it for a company, I’m doing it for a person.”


The Pennsylvania-bred photographer’s instincts would seem to be spot-on. A bit of serendipitous matchmaking led to Shinola’s decision to tap Carolyn Murphy as its women’s design director. “I had no clue what I was getting into when I was shooting the campaign with Bruce, who’s a longtime friend,” said Murphy. “He pulled me aside and said, ‘I want you to do more with this company.’ I didn’t quite get what he was saying until the second day of the shoot, when he sent me to the factory. Once I had a grasp on what the brand was about, it made total sense why Bruce took his magic wand and said, ‘Here you go, kid.’” The famed catwalker, with her all-American elegance, works closely with Shinola to strike a balance of the feminine and the rough-and-tumble that’s particularly close to her heart. “I’m not going to toot my own horn, but it’s a perfect match. This is my lifestyle, and has been for years. It’s really a cool relationship—the best relationship I think I’ve had in a long time!”

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Bruce Weber Toasts His New Exhibition in the Motor City


bruce-weber-sizedEveryone has something good to say about Bruce Weber. Look at the long list of Condé Nast editors and publishers, creative luminaries, and style stalwarts who decamped to Detroit yesterday in his name. The occasion was the opening of a new Condé-sponsored exhibition of the lensman’s images of the Motor City at the Detroit Institute of Arts. “I just kept hearing music in my head for a long time,” said Weber of why he first turned up in town back in 2006. “I’m a big Marvin Gaye fan, and I thought, Well, I have a musical going on! That’s what brought me here.” The resulting images are a long way off from the ruin porn that has come to make up much of the city’s photographic legacy. Instead of decaying buildings, Weber gravitated toward locals.

Many of those he shot were on hand last night, including Jeremy Marek, a young man whose arresting scowl from under a fedora has become one of the show’s most iconic shots. “He’s very gentle, and easy to work with,” said Marek of why Weber has become so beloved of the city’s population. Also singing Weber’s praises (and later simply singing) was former Detroit resident and Weber compatriot Patti Smith. Scarcely an iPhone camera went unraised during her performance, for which her children Jesse and Jackson joined her on piano and guitar, respectively. It all made for a heady sight against the backdrop of the Institute’s titanic Diego Rivera mural depicting the Ford factory. After the cocktails, guests took their finery to a downtown diner, where the main attraction was “Coney Islands,” a Detroit take on the chili dog. An after-after-bash headed to The Raven Lounge, Michigan’s oldest blues bar, for live music and carousing into the night. It’s good to go local.

patti-smithPatti Smith, Musician and Writer, New York City, 1996
jackso-fiveThe Jackson Five and a Cousin, New York City, 1975

Photos: Conde Nast / Bruce Weber

Vicki Sarge Is A Detroit Gal At Heart


Vicki Sarge Few designers can list the struggling metropolis that is Detroit among their muses. Vicki Sarge is one of them. “You can take the girl out of Detroit, but you can’t take Detroit out of the girl!” quipped the jewelry designer, a Motown native, by phone. Though she decamped to London circa 1985 (and to New York before that), Sarge spoke to us during a recent visit to her mother’s Detroit abode. “I never wanted to live here,” she admitted. “But the amazing roots that I have here from my youth have stayed with me the whole time.”

While you may not know her name, you’ve most certainly seen the over-the-top, often dark-tinged baubles Sarge designed during her nearly 40-year tenure at celebrated bijoux brand Erickson Beamon. Together with her co-founders, Karen and Erik Erickson and Eric Beamon, Sarge adorned countless celebrities (Madonna, Beyoncé, Kate Moss, and Lady Gaga among them), collaborated with a bevy of designers (like John Galliano and Dries Van Noten), and transformed “costume jewelry” from a dirty secret to a coveted accoutrement.

But four decades in the same gig is a long time—especially for someone like Sarge, whose colorful path to accessories stardom included a job as the coat-check girl at New York’s Mudd Club (Keith Haring was the creative director at the time), spells as a regular at both Studio 54 and London’s Taboo, and a stint working in the Jim Henson Company creative department, where she got to do some “Muppet stuff.” So last year Sarge struck out on her own to begin a new chapter.

Vicki Sarge Fall '14

The resulting collection of costume jewelry is an intriguing fusion of the designer’s tongue-in-cheek approach to opulence, and her memories of the Motor City. “In the sixties and seventies, Detroit was a really great rock ‘n’ roll place,” Sarge recalled. She credits Iggy and the Stooges—who used to play at her high school dances—with making it as such. “My girlfriend had sex with Iggy after a concert once,” she mentioned casually. “But the music was just this raw sound that could only come out of Detroit. It was really great.”

Sarge explained that the “cool casualness,” and rocker vibe of her line—now in its second season—come from her hometown. But what about Fall 2014′s vibrant red flowers, shimmering crystals, and tribal ear cuffs? “Well, there are glam-rock bits there, too,” Sarge conceded. Surely her wilder days in Eighties London, during which she partied with John Galliano and her close friend Stephen Jones, have wiggled their way into her subconscious, too. “But it all comes from my soul, so it’s authentic me: bold, clean, beautiful, and a little edgy.”

In addition to Sarge’s sophomore solo effort (above), which made its debut during London fashion week, the designer crafted jewelry for Erdem’s Fall show and is working on an upcoming project with hairstylist Sam McKnight. She also hints that a second store (her first is on London’s Elizabeth Street) might be on the horizon. As far as stateside stockists go, the collection was picked up by Net-a-Porter right off the bat (it should be mentioned that Sarge also worked with Mario Testino on his Peruvian capsule for the e-tailer), but the designer hasn’t officially introduced her range to the U.S. market. That unveiling is reserved for a forthcoming spring event with Birmingham, Mich.-based retailer Linda Dresner and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. “Detroit has given me a hell of a lot—at the very least, my attitude comes from Detroit—and I want to give something back,” offered Sarge. What’s more is that a few of her fancy London friends might tag along for the party. “Stephen’s always telling me he wants to come to Detroit,” she said. Looks like the hatter finally has a good excuse to make the trip.

Photos: Courtesy photos