14 posts tagged "Liz Goldwyn"
If you prick Liz Goldwyn, does she not bleed L.A.? It’s not simply that her genes are as haute as Hollywood gets (her iPhoto of her grandmother Frances Howard is by Edward Steichen, for Pete’s sake), or that’s she’s as glamorous as all get-out with her red lips and her Lanvin. She’s also a serious student of the city’s history—or at least that part of it that pertains to street life. In early November, Goldwyn transformed the Hearst Suite of Los Altos Apartments (where the tycoon William Randolph Hearst installed his mistress Marion Davies in the twenties) into a nineteenth-century brothel for a one-night-only art/film installation called The Painted Lady. She’s fascinated by all aspects of prostitution, high and low, male and female. “In the early days of Los Angeles, the madams had real power,” Goldwyn explains.
Her fascination has spilled over into other aspects of the commercialization of sex. Burlesque, for instance. PrettyThings, the 2005 film and book that Goldwyn made about burlesque queens, has now provided the unlikely inspiration for her latest project, which is all about an entirely different kind of street sensibility. She’s designed a range of skatewear for Altamont using images from vintage burlesque designer Rex Huntington. As much as Goldwyn’s current look channels hyper-sophisticated cocktail culture (MAC Cosmetics commissioned acapsule collection of Deco-inspired makeup bags from her), she insists she was once all about Big Brother magazine, Fuct, and the Menace Skateboard crew, as she explains in the video above. If vintage currently means classic couture to her, it used to be Vision Quest and Bones Brigade T-shirts that jived her buns. In the grand L.A. reinvention-required scheme of things, that makes her a genuine West Coast Renaissance woman.
“There’s death, it’s not all gumdrops and rainbows, but I walked out of the movie theater in this perfectly melancholy state,” Band of Outsiders creative director Scott Sternberg says of Beginners, the new film by his friend Mike Mills, starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Mélanie Laurent. Sternberg hosted a screening of the new flick in Los Angeles last night, for pals like Miranda July and Liz Goldwyn, the first of what he hopes will be many Band movie nights to come. Next week in New York, Opening Ceremony will oblige with an East Coast screening, too.
Beginners is based in part on Mills’ life; McGregor, Mills says, plays a character who “shares some things with me: We both do graphic design, we both often figure out what we’re thinking by drawing, we both have dogs, and we both did record covers for a very real band named The Sads.” (They also both also wear a lot of Band of Outsiders. Sternberg provided the character’s wardrobe for the film.) In Beginners, McGregor’s character, Oliver, finds love just as his world is rocked by his father’s announcement that he is gay and has terminal cancer. “It’s really a life-affirming movie—it’s about how you start over and how do you forget your bad habits,” Sternberg tells Style.com.
Mills, for his part, is no beginner. He’s directed music videos for Blonde Redhead and Sonic Youth, lensed the previous feature film Thumbsucker with Tilda Swinton and Keanu Reeves, created the brand identity for Kim Gordon’s much-loved fashion line X-Girl, and developed textile designs for Marc Jacobs. In addition to the movie, he’s also releasing a book, Drawings From the Film Beginners, of his illustrations (which appear as the work of “Oliver” in the film), launching next week at Opening Ceremony.
It’s a Black Swan kind of week in L.A., as Natalie Portman looks likely to clinch the Oscar on Sunday. So what better time for her pals at Rodarte, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, to debut their first solo exhibition—of their Black Swan designs, no less? L.A. MOCA’s Jeffrey Deitch snagged the sisters’ designs for Rodarte: States of Matter, which opens March 4 at the museum. The tightly edited collection of Swarovski crystal-dusted costumes and other sculptural designs was brought to life by the duo’s longtime collaborator, French producer Alexandre de Betak, who also works on their runway shows. “We wanted to express the duality of dark and light,” de Betak explained at a preview of the exhibition last night, referencing the strict color theme and extreme lighting design. “It’s in the different textures they use and it was important to express that in the way we brought it all together—the fluorescent and then the moody lighting, the beautiful white costumes and the drama of the dark.”
Hot on the heels of their Fall ’11 show, the critical darlings attracted an impressive showing considering Oscar week’s tight social calendar. In town for Barry Diller’s pre-Oscar luncheon, CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg stopped in to congratulate the sisters and spent time with André Balazs, while guests like China Chow, Liz Goldwyn, and Audrey Marnay milled. Even crosstown rival LACMA’s Michael Govan arrived with his wife, Balenciaga’s Katherine Ross, in Rodarte for the occasion.
Of their first solo exhibition, Kate Mulleavy felt they’d found the perfect home. “It’s so amazing because MOCA is such a special cultural place in Los Angeles and even globally now. Having grown up here, it’s such an honor. We’ve never really done anything like this before in Los Angeles.” And it appears collaborating with de Betak was key. “It makes it even more special to do it with Alex. He’s such an incredible artist and what he does allows us to build these worlds. The fact that he took a chance on us even though we’re still relatively younger and independent is amazing, and being able to continue to work together so many seasons is special.”
The crowds turned out in droves for Saturday night’s MOCA gala and fundraiser, and even if it wasn’t quite “the center of the world for contemporary art,” as the museum’s NYC-transplant director, Jeffrey Deitch, claimed in his remarks, it certainly was the center of a starry bit of the solar system. Kirsten Dunst, Kate Bosworth, Gwen Stefani, and Mila Kunis all made appearances, but the best-dressed duo of the night may have been Liz Goldwyn and Chloë Sevigny, the latter in a Chanel suspenders-and-pants outfit. “We’re doing, like, a Hollywood 1930′s tribute to Les Girls, when lesbianism in Hollywood was really done right,” Goldwyn said by way of explanation. (“Les Girls,” for the uninitiated, was a catchall term for the often burlesque, girlie revues that emerged in Paris in the late nineteenth century and continued through the seventies; Goldwyn is a historian of the burlesque.) In matching, graphic black and white, Goldwyn plays the flirty femme to Sevigny’s boyish beau. What do you think: Is this gala style—let alone lesbianism—done right?
Plus, for more from the MOCA benefit, click here for our complete slideshow.
First things first: “I don’t skate, ’cause I wear high heels and fifties dresses and can’t even recall a point in my life when I wore jeans, unless you count the dead-stock black and yellow Gianni Versace cheetah-print, high-waisted ones that I will definitely be rocking come fall,” says Liz Goldwyn, the L.A.-based filmmaker, writer, historian of burlesque, and now, skateboard designer. “So me on a skateboard would only work in theory…”
But theory vs. practice didn’t stop her from designing a new skate deck, which is now available exclusively at Opening Ceremony. The limited run grew out of a commission by an art collector, who wanted a deck. Goldwyn settled on a pair of legs in homage to burlesque, and in particular the late Rex Huntington, whom she calls “one of the greatest burlesque costume designers of the 20th century.” (He’s profiled in her book Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens.) Huntington designed for all of the most famous strippers of his day (with a sideline business making wardrobes for drag queens), and at his death, bequeathed Goldwyn his archive of designs, sketchbooks, and even celebrity measurements. The legs on her deck were inspired by an “American Girl” pinup of Huntington’s—complete with red-white-and-blue star pasties.
And while she may not be a skater herself, Goldwyn is every bit the fan (and a big collector of decks, too). “I am a Cali girl and grew up skate-obsessed,” she says. “I read Thrasher and Big Brother (which was the coolest, defunct San Francisco magazine—very punk anti-authority, and every issue was a different size, super-collectible). I had pictures of Salman Agah and Jay Adams pasted into my journals. I collected Vision and Bones Brigade, T-shirts and stickers. There used to be the raddest skate paraphernalia you could buy—that kids could actually afford! Now it’s pretty commercial, and I think it’s time to bring back those great graphics, so thought I would try my hand at it, as a fan of the sport and the culture that has surrounded it.” Her handiwork will run you $200 at Opening Ceremony’s L.A. and NYC stores.