141 posts tagged "Lady Gaga"
A stellar story by The New York Times‘ fashion director, Vanessa Friedman, popped up on my news feed this afternoon, and it led me to a startling revelation: Beyoncé is not a fashion icon. Friedman’s article was spurred by a fashion exhibition dedicated to Queen Bey in the Legends of Rock section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which, having opened last week, features the gold Thierry Mugler bodysuit from 2009′s “Sweet Dreams,” the superstar’s black leather and lace 2013 Super Bowl look, and the metal glove from 2008′s “Single Ladies” video, as well as the violet feather-embellished Givenchy Haute Couture gown Mrs. Carter donned to the 2012 Met Gala. To be sure, most of these wares are showstoppers. But are they iconic? Not so much.
What’s more, Friedman notes, is that despite her mega following, Beyoncé hasn’t spurred a bevy of trends or launched the careers of young designers, like Rihanna or Lady Gaga have. Furthermore, aside from booty-baring bodysuits, I can’t even think of how one might describe Beyoncé’s signature offstage style because she doesn’t really have one. She hasn’t truly demonstrated any evolution in her wardrobe or her taste since her Destiny’s Child days. And even scrolling through the exhibition images online, the majority of the included pieces have an overly chintzy-meets-not-quite-street aesthetic, as if Bey were stuck in the days of “Bills Bills Bills.”
But that’s not to say Beyoncé isn’t a cultural icon (and I’m not just saying that for fear of Beygency retaliation). She has a body like a rocket, she’s broken every record in the book (like that time she released 17 videos overnight on iTunes), and she’s got moves and a voice most performers would kill for. However, as a voice for feminine empowerment in the public eye, it would be exciting if she stepped up her day-to-day sartorial game just a smidge. And for that matter, it would have been nice to have seen the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame fete a real fashion tastemaker (ahem, Rihanna) instead.
“Finally, we can tell the world!” laughed Nicola Formichetti over the phone this morning. What’s the big news? That he and Diesel dressed Beyoncé, Jay Z, and a bevy of backup dancers for the just-launched On the Run tour, of course. “I haven’t done a tour since Gaga, and that was a couple of years ago, so this is really exciting. Beyoncé just brings it out there. She brings it to another level.”
It all began after Formichetti’s blowout debut runway show for Diesel, which marched down the catwalk in Venice last April. Queen Bey liked what she saw, and asked Formichetti to make her five custom Fall ’14-inspired ensembles for the Bonnie & Clyde-themed tour. But dressing Beyoncé, Formichetti admits, isn’t quite the same as costuming more sartorially eccentric stars like Mme. Gaga or his latest project, Brooke Candy. “With Beyoncé, we wanted to do something real,” explained the designer. “She’s a real woman, a real bombshell, and it was all about showcasing this strong, fierce woman. So we focused on her body, and used super-stretchy denim for [last night's] jumpsuit, which just makes her tits and her ass look even more amazing than they already do.” Indeed, the abovementioned jumpsuit, featuring frayed edges and chain and stud embellishments, does just that. A sketch of the look debuts exclusively here. According to Formichetti, the singer will rotate various Diesel ensembles throughout the four-month tour.
Formichetti, who first worked with Bey when she costarred in Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” video back in 2010, said that she and her team were very hands-on. Before the intense week of final fittings, the pop star browsed through the collection with Formichetti and was particularly drawn to a denim, flame-embroidered jacket. “It was basically a direct copy of a piece from the archive, and she was like, ‘OMG! I wore something like this in the nineties for Destiny’s Child!’” he said. As for the musician’s epic style evolution, he offered, “I think she’s just refined her whole look. And I love that she can do both: She can be a cool street girl or a goddess and she’s still Beyoncé.”
Formichetti told us that working with Mrs. Carter was not only a personal coup, but a big moment for Diesel, too. “We’re up onstage next to Tom Ford, Givenchy, and Versace—they’re the other brands that worked on the show—and as a non-high-fashion brand, that’s very exciting. It shows that our work is at that level. Even Beyoncé, when she was picking out pieces she wanted from the Fall collection, was saying, ‘Diesel’s back!’ It was great,” recalled the designer, later hinting that more collaborations might be in his and Beyoncé’s future.
But it’s not just Bey, Jay, and their onstage crew that Formichetti is dressing—Blue Ivy is getting in on the action, too. “We’re making her a little bomber jacket with ‘Blue Ivy’ written on the back.” Apparently, it will match Mom’s Diesel Fall ’14 leather topper, which she had embroidered with the word Texas—her home state.
It’s a funny thing, the connection between protection and clothing. On the most basic level, jackets, trousers, glasses, hats, et al. defend us from the elements. But sometimes, it’s the most superfluous accouterment that can make us feel invincible. Such is the case, to some extent, with V. Stiviano, the mistress of disgraced racist Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and her iridescent visors. No doubt you’ve seen photographs of her donning the accessory out and about in L.A. following the scandal in which Sterling forbade her from publicizing her friendships with black people. In a recent interview with Barbara Walters, Stiviano conceded that the full-face visors, which she owns in a myriad of hues, make it “easier to mask the pain.” Fair enough. And it’s not as though she’s the first visible public figure to hide behind headgear—you’d be hard-pressed to find a celebrity, mid-scandal or not, who hasn’t shielded themselves from prying eyes via giant sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, hooded sweatshirts, or the like. But visage-enveloping visors are indeed an extreme—second only, perhaps, to the deeply bizarre black mask Leonardo DiCaprio sported at last year’s Venice Biennale. (Nothing says “under-the-radar” like channeling Darth Vader.)
“In the past, wearing things like visors or veils was more out of modesty, or maybe a sense of propriety,” explained The Museum at FIT’s associate curator of accessories, Colleen Hill. She cites the large-brimmed “poke” bonnets of the 1830s as an example. “In my opinion, they were an item of propriety. Not only did they shield the woman’s face from the sun, but they also provided a sense of security,” she told Style.com. “Today, [something like a visor], for celebrities in particular, acts as a psychological veil. Even if it’s something that’s transparent, it does create that little bit of a barrier. Making eye contact is such a personal thing, I think that is part of [face coverings'] appeal.”
Thanks to her shield, Stiviano has essentially been hiding from swarms of paparazzi in plain sight. But what’s funny is that while she’s sporting these visors as an invisibility cloak of sorts, they only make her more conspicuous. To wit, she’s more infamous now than before she broke out the accessory. And apparently, her Daft Punkian method of pseudo-protection has ignited somewhat of a visor boom. “We sold out this morning, and we’re waiting on a new shipment,” offered Gingie McLeod, the founder of Tribeca’s SaintChic store and label, which produces and carries Stiviano’s new staple, aptly dubbed the Paparazzi Visor. “They’re actually designed for tennis and hiking—for function. But people have been calling nonstop asking if this is the V. Stiviano visor and if it will cover their whole face or if anyone will be able to see them.” Before the craze began, McLeod had sold only four of the accessories.
Surely, Stiviano wasn’t aiming to start a trend with her quasi-disguise (or heck, maybe she was, though I seriously considered shelving my Chanel 2.55 after seeing a photo of her carrying a similar style). And certainly, part of this newfound visor obsession is in jest. (McLeod told us she just got a call from someone throwing a Stiviano-themed party.) But in truth, this perplexing “don’t look at me but do” mode of dressing has deep roots. Investigating visors alone, you might look back to Pierre Cardin or Paco Rabanne’s futuristic plastic shields from the 1960s, featured in numerous fashion shoots. More recently, there was Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga’s giant Spring ’12 visor (inspired by an archival 1967 Balenciaga wedding hat), which completely covered the face and eyes. However, those who wore it, like Anna Dello Russo, attracted hoards of street-style paps. Same goes for Alexander McQueen’s mammoth Fall ’12 shades. Maison Martin Margiela’s couture masks should also be considered here: On the runway, they create a sense of uniform anonymity, yet on the street, they allow one to hide in style. But do MMM mask fans like Lady Gaga or Kanye West really want us to look away from their haute veils? Unlikely, particularly since West often wears his onstage. More than a striking visual, it has been interpreted as his commentary on fame, and it seems apt for someone who is both more open and uncensored than most celebrities and yet also a man of mystery.
Perhaps the trend is a sign of the times—not unlike our social media avatars, these outré shields afford us the opportunity to put ourselves out there without any risk of full-frontal exposure. They’re a superficial cushion—a buffer between the wearer and the outside world. Or maybe they’re just an ever-so-slightly less obvious plea for attention than the selfie. If that’s the case, let’s hope for a total transition—I’d rather look at an off-the-wall mask than an ill-angled iPhone snap any day.
We’re the first to admit that heels are a powerful thing. Each season we manage to add a few (or a dozen) must-have pairs to our overstuffed wardrobes. And why? Is it because heels are sexy? Flattering? Outfit-making? Or just fun to wear? The Brooklyn Museum will explore these questions (and many more) with its upcoming exhibition Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. On view from September 10, the exhibit will feature 160 heels from as early as the 17th century to today. A main focus will be the sculptural, architectural, and artistic qualities of high heels, which range from the wearable to the avant-garde. On one end of the spectrum will be designs by household names like Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Chanel, and Roger Vivier, on the other, conceptual styles by Iris van Herpen, Elsa Schiaparelli, Zaha Hadid, and many more.
Highlights from the exhibit include Marilyn Monroe’s Ferragamo stilettos from 1959; silk, metal, and glass mules by Vivier for House of Dior from 1960; Céline’s mink-covered pumps from Spring ’13; eight-inch platforms designed by Rem D. Koolhaas for Lady Gaga; and mind-bending 3-D-printed heels by Van Herpen.
In addition to the show, there will be a fully illustrated catalog with essays by Stefano Tonchi, Lisa Small, and Caroline Weber, as well as six short films inspired by high heels. The films were commissioned from artists including Steven Klein, Nick Knight, and Marilyn Minter. The full exhibition will also be traveling to other venues, which have yet to be announced.
Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe will run from September 10, 2014 through February 15, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238. For more information, visit brooklynmuseum.org.