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July 28 2014

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10 posts tagged "Nasir Mazhar"

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.”

Barbie Loves London

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Barbie's by Sister by Sibling, Fred Butler and Nasir Mazhar

If the past few years are any indication, Barbie has a thing for young London—designers, that is. Louise Gray, Roksanda Ilincic, and Gareth Pugh have all made a special little something for the blonde and her boyfriend, whether it be Dalston-appropriate duds or, in Ilincic’s case, a London dream house. Now, in celebration of Selfridges’ new fourth-floor toy shop, which opens this week, emerging Brit-based brands Sister by Sibling, Fred Butler, and Nasir Mazhar have each dressed five one-off dolls. Sibling’s Cozette McCreery, Sid Bryan, and Joe Bates designed a gaggle of knit looks (above, left), while Butler turned out a series of quirky, sculptural ensembles (above, center). Mazhar created some hard-edged streetwear styles—we especially enjoy the bucket hat and sweat suit getup he fashioned for Ken (above, right). All fifteen dolls will be on display—and for sale—in the toy shop’s Barbie department.

NEWGEN Reveals Its Spring ’14 Talents

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Lucas Nascimento's Fall '13 collectionLondon’s never-ending parade of young talent continues today, as NEWGEN announced the nine up-and-coming brands that will receive sponsorship for the Spring ’14 season. J. JS Lee, Brazilian-born knitwear maestro Lucas Nascimento (left), rising star Simone Rocha, design duo Marques’Almeida, and the clever trio behind Sister by Sibling will all receive catwalk funding, while Nasir Mazhar, Sophia Webster, and 1205 have earned presentation support, and Liam Fahy has won exhibition sponsorship. The designers will debut their Spring ’14 collections during London fashion week, which kicks off on September 13.

NEWGEN Men’s Lucky Seven

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NEWGEN Men's Spring 2014 winners

The British Fashion Council and Topman have awarded seven up-and-coming talents with NEWGEN Men sponsorship for the Spring ’14 season. First-time honorees include Agi & Sam (designed by Agape Mudmulla and Sam Cotton), Astrid Andersen, and Nasir Mazhar, while Matthew Miller, Lee Roach, Shaun Samson, and Martine Rose are returning NEWGEN veterans. The designers will receive funding to present their lines at the London Collections: Men, which kicks off June 16, and join the ranks of former winners like J.W. Anderson, James Long, and SIBLING.

Britain’s Boys Are Back in Town

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It’s been a big week for the London Collections: Men, with Rag & Bone and Pringle of Scotland announcing that they would join the likes of Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, and Burberry in presenting during the city’s third menswear showcase this June. “I think London is pretty much the home of menswear. Look at Savile Row and the great heritage we have. We invented the suit!” said Dylan Jones—the editor in chief of British GQ and the chair of London’s men’s collections—at an event at the British Residence in New York last night. The occasion, which drew the likes of BFC chief executive Caroline Rush, Dominic Jones, Nasir Mazhar, Sibling’s Cozette McCreery, Lou Dalton, and more, marked the announcement of London’s Spring 2014 menswear schedule. The lineup includes the above-mentioned international brands, as well as talents like Christopher Kane, Richard Nicoll, and James Long. Long, fresh out of the London Showrooms, which visited New York this week, offered, “When I started menswear in London, we had to struggle to have a voice. It was very behind womenswear. Now, all these supportive people have made [London menswear] happen, and it’s so funny being in New York and having menswear be the focus.” Caroline Rush concurred. “The womenswear designers have great recognition, but to put that spotlight on these incredible menswear brands is really important,” she said.

One might wonder why the British Fashion Council chose to reveal the London menswear roster in Manhattan rather than on its home turf. “We’re here tonight…because so many New York designers have supported us since we launched 18 months ago,” said Jones in his speech, noting that Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and more had all lent a hand. He added that Tommy Hilfiger, David Furnish, Tracey Emin, and Details magazine will all be throwing “amazing” parties during the upcoming shows, which will run from June 16 to 18. “When [everyone] goes over to Milan, they’re going to have one hell of a hangover,” he laughed. The complete Spring 2014 London Collections: Men schedule is available at www.londoncollections.co.uk.

Photo: Charles Moriarty