July 29 2014

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5 posts tagged "Leigh Bowery"

The V&A’s Gone Clubbing


David Walls, Leigh-Bowery and Trojan

“The eighties were about being yourself,” said Kate Bethune when asked about the looks in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s latest show, Club to Catwalk. Open from today, the exhibition explores the explosion of ostentatious creativity that rose out of London’s eighties club scene, and how these underground fashions manifested themselves on the catwalk. Throughout the decade, designers and characters such as John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Boy George, and the king of the club era—performance artist Leigh Bowery (left, center) would create DIY ensembles, dress to the nines, and take on larger-than-life personas in iconic haunts such as Blitz, Kinky Gerlinky, and Taboo. One such character was milliner Stephen Jones, who has two hats featured in the show. “People didn’t really use the word style before 1982,” Jones told “But suddenly, your style made it seem as if you were actively concerned about your appearance. It was more personal than fashion,” explained Jones, who described his own nightlife look as “a big dollop of Fellini, hats, French Left Bank, and a little bit of fifties thrown in for good measure.” Naturally, if you weren’t dressed your best, clubs would turn you away at the door. “The Blitz was the most difficult one to get into,” offered Jones. “The guy on the door was Trojan, and he had a little mirror in his pocket, and he’d famously hold it up and say, ‘Would you let you in?’” Jones didn’t have that problem, but sadly none of his own top-to-toe costumes survived. “Our outfits were only made to last one night. They’d sort of dissolve,” he said, adding, “If you wore something from a department store, or designer fashion, it would have been the kiss of death. Terminally uncool.” Continue Reading “The V&A’s Gone Clubbing” »

An Ode to Petri


PETRI(E) Inventory 65 cover and "Melody of Caged Birds" shoot

In gritty 1980s London, John Galliano was wrapping up his studies at Central Saint Martins, Leigh Bowery was hosting pansexual club nights, and Nick Logan launched The Face. It was a time of unencumbered experimentation—sartorial and otherwise. And it was during this era that stylist Ray Petri—the man responsible for the anti-glam Buffalo movement—emerged on the scene. Petri (formerly Petrie) laid the bricks for the eclectic British fashion scene of today. His editorials, which set the tone in magazines such as Arena, i-D, and the above-mentioned The Face, pictured rough London teens in unexpected combinations of high fashion, tough workwear, athletic clothes, underwear, vintage, and beyond. He created not only a look but an ideology that was universally recognizable. And now, the iconoclast—who died of AIDS in 1989—is getting a magazine named after him.


Dhaka's Response

Founded by Zadrian Smith—a London-based writer, stylist, and producer who’s worked with such publications as Tank, Love, GQ Style and British VoguePETRI(E) Inventory 65 (the stylist would have turned 65 this year—published annually, the numbers will bump up accordingly) seeks to breathe new life into Petri’s legacy. Aiming to channel the man’s uncompromising, unfiltered vision, PETRI(E)’s editorial array extends far beyond fashion. The debut issue offers an ode to Petri by British Vogue’s Francesca Burns, a photo essay by Saiful Huq Omi that lenses the hope and strife within Bangladesh megalopolis, Dhaka (above), and an essay by Valerie Steele on her upcoming exhibition, Queer History. “I think there’s a vulnerability and honesty to each piece that I hope readers will appreciate,” Smith told Also included is an editorial titled “Melody of Caged Birds,” (above, right) which, featuring Meadham Kirchhoff’s designs, serves as a visual antidote to the suppression of raw creative impulse. “Don’t get me wrong,” said Smith, “I know fashion is a business, but there needs to be a greater balance of business and creativity. At this rate, fashion will bleed itself of organic artistry.”


PETRI(E) Inventory 65 launches on May 20, and is available for preorder here

Kim Of The Jungle


Before Kim Jones was a fashion designer, he had an eye on zoology. “I was going to be a zoologist, and then I thought, It’s too much work. I opened The Face magazine and thought, Who are these cool people?”

So began a career in fashion that wended its way through a namesake label, Umbro, and Dunhill before landing Jones as menswear style and studio director at Louis Vuitton. Which may be the perfect place for an armchair zoologist. Travel is in Vuitton’s bones—the maison began as a trunk-maker in the nineteenth century—and remains central to the brand’s image of itself. To celebrate the spirit of luxury travel, last night the house brought Jones together with one of his musical idols, the disco producer Giorgio Moroder, the producer and photographer Daniela Federici, and Condé Nast Traveler‘s Mark Connolly for a conversation about travel and luxury at its Soho store.

Luxury may have taken a shred too much of the spotlight—”If there is not a five-star hotel, I just don’t go,” Moroder admitted, and first-class airfare and top-quality accommodations were mentioned often—but Jones’ passion for the globe’s farthest reaches was the real point of interest. He lived, as it turns out, in Africa from age 3 to 14, going back for summers and continuing to travel there twice a year. But that’s only a sliver of his globe-trotting. After the panel wrapped up, Jones confessed he was jet-lagged from a just-finished trip to New Zealand to see rare parrots. The animal kingdom and travel go hand in hand for him: His Fall men’s collection was inspired in part by the snow leopards he saw in Bhutan, and he said his bucket-list trip would be India in December to see the tigers—tricky, since menswear shows in January.

As for Moroder, who scored Jones’ Fall ’12 show, he is less interested in exotica than the human animal. He shared a gem about his time working with the force of nature that was Donna Summer. Their first hit together was “Love to Love You, Baby.” “I played the song to some publishers, and they were happy, but they thought she should moan,” he recalled. They went back to the studio; “I said, ‘Let’s hear it,’ but she couldn’t open her mouth.” He dismissed everyone but Summer, and lo and behold, a moan was born. She moaned for about ten minutes straight, as he remembered it. To say they got it would be an understatement: extended cuts of the single now run to sixteen-plus minutes long.

Plus: Jones recently shared his other obsession—the over-the-top club regalia designed by Leigh Bowery and London’s eighties designers—with Here, his collection of Bowery, Rachel Auburn, Andre Walker, and more, styled by Jones himself.

Photo:Billy Farrell/

Exclusive: A Magazine Curated by Stephen Jones


Antwerp’s A Magazine has always been much more than a magazine. The key to its cultish allure lies in the subtitle: Curated by. The first issue, in 2004, was curated by Martin Margiela, the most recent by Rodarte. And in between, the likes of Yohji Yamamoto, Haider Ackermann, Riccardo Tisci, and Proenza Schouler have corralled their favorite photographers, artists, and writers to make A Magazine.

Issue Number 12, which launches at Bookmarc during Paris Fashion Week, belongs to Stephen Jones, fashion’s favorite hatter. “I like a magazine that looks like a magazine,” he said yesterday. “It’s not a book. I didn’t want it to be page after page of slightly meaningless photographs. That’s why I thought illustration. I love illustration, I draw every day. And that’s the way designers communicate, through drawing.”

Jones’ choice of medium couldn’t be more timely, with the revival of interest in the work of Antonio Lopez and the spotlight that Anna Piaggi’s recent death threw on Vanity, the mythic magazine she produced with Antonio in the eighties. Piaggi was a close friend of Jones’. It was actually Vanity that brought them together. (Jones’ single interaction with Antonio was when he asked if he could see the picture the artist was drawing of him. Antonio crumpled it, threw it in the trash, and offered a flat “No!”). And Jones sees this current project as a kind of tribute to his late friend and inspiratrice.

There’s no theme, unusual for Jones, whose hat collections usually revolve around a story. “When I saw the work coming in, it was very much about the illustrators themselves.” The roster of talent includes David Downton, one of whose pet subjects, Dita Von Teese, models accessories semi-naked and centerfold-style; Peter Turner, Galliano’s illustrator at Dior, who contributes a story on men’s underwear (Jones advertises, “Entirely gratuitous nudity”); and the legendary Howard Tangye, head of womenswear at Central Saint Martins, who illustrates spring for A Magazine‘s pullout calendar.

Jones’ sole brief to the illustrators was that they could draw whatever they wanted. At least half the images are of hats. “It’s you, Stephen,” they told him when he complained that he wanted his magazine to be about everything. He had to shut up and take the compliment. Anyway, there’s always Donald Urquhart’s images of Leigh Bowery to balance the hattage. He drew them with his own genitalia, dipped in ink.

Jones’ own contribution is a selection of ten favorite drawings, which he spent the Christmas holiday picking out of the thousands he’s made since he launched himself as a milliner in 1979. There are also some “conversations in drawing”: Jones would send Mugler or Montana or Kawakubo a suggestion to accessorize a collection, they’d send it back with comments. He’s also included drawings from industrial designers like Zaha Hadid and Marc Newson, as well as some of Raf Simons’ college work. None of it has been seen before.

“I did try to feel like, ‘Think Pink,’ ” says Jones of his guest stint as a magazine editor. “Editing things down is what an editor does. I wanted to edit things up, make it a fantastic showcase. I didn’t want to be restricted by this season’s story. But I didn’t want to be timeless, either. Always what’s interesting for me is doing an amazing hat for Marc or Raf, but then making a baseball cap for a young Japanese guy who comes into the shop. I love variety. That’s what the magazine is about.”

Click here for an exclusive preview of a few illustrations from A Magazine Curated by Stephen Jones >

Illustration: Gladys Perint Palmer, Courtesy of A Magazine. Photo: Atelier Justine

A Magazine And Acne Paper Play Host In Paris


The party people were out in force on Friday night in Paris’ Marais to celebrate the latest editions of two—get this—print magazines. The revolving-editor A Magazine chose Giambattista Valli to helm its new issue: his chosen theme, “real beauty,” and his cover, a portrait of River Phoenix by Michael Tighe (above right). Marina Abramovic, Nan Goldin, Chiara Clemente, Lee Radziwill, Peter Schlesinger, and Kenzo Takada all collaborated on the tenth issue, as did Sasha Pivovarova, who did a series of self-portraits. “This magazine is about what nourishes me; it’s another way to show my inspirations,” said Valli, who opened his exploration with a 1975 quote from Yves Saint Laurent: “What we imagine may be very beautiful but nothing replaces reality.” (To buy, visit

Around the corner at the very private Maison de La Chasse, Maria Berenson and editor Thomas Persson (below right) co-hosted a fête for the new issue of Acne Paper, the Studio Issue, and Kristin Scott Thomas and Bruno Frisoni (below left), Nicola Formichetti, Lanvin’s Lucas Ossendrijver and Elie Top, and Catherine Baba all dropped by to mill in the hunting house’s drawing rooms. The mag includes visits to, or representations of, the studios of artists like Matisse, Pollock, and Hockney, as well as photographic portfolios by Helmut Lang and Eric Boman. A nude Leigh Bowery (shot by Bruce Bernard as he sat for a portrait with Lucien Freud) appears on the cover (above left), and hostess Berenson is inside, shot by Katerina Jebb in Jean Cocteau’s house in Milly-La-Forêt. “Marisa’s grandmother, Elsa Schiaparelli, was so close to Cocteau it was natural to shoot her in his old house,” Persson explained of the spread, “and Acne is based on the idea of a creative collective, so we focused on artists’ studios as the place where creativity happens.” (To buy, visit Acne, 10 Greene St., NYC, or

Photos: Courtesy of A Magazine; Courtesy of Acne Paper