August 28 2014

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7 posts tagged "Veruschka"

The Creative Force Behind an Extraordinary New Book on Veruschka Discusses Fashion Film, Fashion Egos, and Fashion Icons



A friend of mine likes to say that the name of the greatest art director in the world begins with an A—by which he means “A” for Accident. He insists that it is often a chance impulse or encounter that produces the most interesting work. Such is certainly the case with the latest project from Antonio Monfreda—another exceptional art director whose name begins with an A. At a dinner party in Rome, Valentina Moncada told Monfreda that she had discovered a cache of old photos taken by her father, Johnny. The cache in question, stored in dusty boxes, turned out to be three thousand early pictures of Vera von Lehndorff, the German model who would later come to be known to the world simply as Veruschka. A week later, Monfreda walked out of the offices of Rizzoli in New York with a book contract in hand. The resulting volume, Veruschka: From Vera to Veruschka, is a showcase for some very modern-looking sixties Italian fashions, Florence and Sardinia when they were still mostly undiscovered, and—above all—the transformation of Von Lehndorff from an angular young ingenue into the icon who would later entrance photographers like Avedon and directors like Antonioni. “She is the most mysterious model of the sixties,” says Monfreda, analyzing Veruschka’s appeal. “She has the kind of beauty that is chameleonic. It’s the same kind of quality you find nowadays in Kate Moss, the ability to transform in a very natural way in front of the camera.”

If serendipity played a part in the book, it has also been a theme in Monfreda’s career. He started out as an art dealer, but he was looking to switch to the creative side when he had a meeting of the minds with Patrick Kinmonth, the opera director, exhibition designer, and artistic polymath. In short order, Monfreda found himself in New York, codesigning the Anglomania show at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum. Together, he and Kinmonth have conceived and installed some of the most memorable fashion experiences of the past decade, including the museum exhibition that accompanied Valentino’s forty-fifth anniversary celebration in Rome and Making Dreams: Fendi and the Cinema, a magically immersive show that took over an abandoned theater in Milan last fall and that will be resurrected in New York next year. And how does Monfreda, who divides his time between Rome and London, deal with the outsize egos he must encounter in his line of work? “That’s a good question,” he says with a laugh. “But sometimes it’s not just a question of power or egoism or nonsense. Egos sometimes have good things to say, and I listen.”

Along the way, Kinmonth and Monfreda’s interest in filmmaking has grown, and they recently established their own production house, The Visual Clinic, to address the needs of their luxury clients. Monfreda believes they can bring a “new energy and a new vision” to the field. In other words, we can look forward to many more happy accidents in the future. In the meantime, enjoy this exclusive short film that accompanies the book (above) and a slideshow of photos from the book that traces Veruschka’s journey as she emerges from a world of black and white into vivid color.

Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

For His Polaroid Project with Raphael Mazzucco, Peter Beard Makes It Messy


Polaroids  by Peter Beard

In a Chelsea photo studio last month, the scene was a jungle of sorts. Nothing as literal as palm-frond props—but there was a baby tiger and toxic ooze seeping out of jumbo Polaroids that Peter Beard had laid on the floor. Beard’s friend/muse/producer, Natalie White, warned no one in particular: “Don’t step in the goo! You’ll burn your feet off!”

Beard, naturally, was braving the terrain in socks. Now in his seventies, the man famous for his adventures in Africa seems as dismissive as ever of caution or over-planning. Beard made his way through the chaos in sweatpants, a wet paintbrush in hand. “I try and make it messy,” he said. “We don’t like chic.”

Raphael Mazzucco

That “we” includes Raphael Mazzucco, the photographer Beard partnered with for the four-day shoot. White (who’s also worked with Olivier Zahm and Will Cotton) made it happen, but the two photographers are friends from Montauk, where both have houses. Another thing they’ve got in common: a portfolio full of beauties. Beard’s contains everything from Veruschka for Vogue in the seventies to the 2009 Pirelli calendar; Mazzucco’s, the stacked rosters of Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret. They were working separately, thus offering Angela Lindvall, Noot Seear, Pamela Anderson, and the other models who came by the opportunity to do a two-for-one. And each was flexing his own style: Beard double-exposing images of African wildlife over models and Mazzucco experimenting with baby powder and colored gels.

Both were happy to leave a lot of the process up to chance, and neither had any particular plans for the images. “London would be good,” was as specific as Mazzucco got. For the time being, the only place to see them is

Photos: Peter Beard (top); Raphael Mazzucco (bottom)

Natalia Alaverdian Is Wide A.W.A.K.E.


Street-style watchers will recognize Natalia Alaverdian, Harper’s Bazaar Russia’s diminutive fashion editor and the woman responsible for some of its most eye-popping spreads. But fewer know she’s also the force behind her own ready-to-wear line, A.W.A.K.E. (which stands for All Wonderful Adventures Kindle Enthusiasm), which debuted with a presentation during Paris fashion week. But, like all good collections, her Spring offerings deserved a second look. So Alaverdian hauled the collection to New York this week and took through the lineup, which fuses sixties mod with Japanese elements. “I’ve wanted to design since I was about ten years old, but I was scared of the technical aspect of it, so I went into styling,” said Alaverdian. “My boyfriend convinced me to take the leap. Life’s too short,” she added while flipping through pieces like a statement-making floor-length gown cut from giraffe-printed grosgrain and a sharp three-piece white canvas suit. “It’s very Saturday Night Fever,” she said of the ensemble.

The newly minted designer pulled inspiration from Richard Avedon’s iconic seventies images of Veruschka in Japan; hence the pleated samurai culottes, flared trousers, and checked belts with origami-like folds. It’s the kind of playful, effortless clothing that will drive the fashion paparazzi wild. On the topic of street-style celebs, don’t get Alaverdian crossed with those other oft-photographed Russians. (Technically, despite her prominence in Russia, she is Belgian/Armenian, and A.W.A.K.E. is based in London.) Nevertheless, she has a few strong words for those she’s grouped together with: “Compared to the other popular Russians, I actually do something,” she joked.

A.W.A.K.E. is currently available on Moda Operandi.

Photo: Courtesy of A.W.A.K.E.

A Berlin Blowout, Courtesy of Hugo Boss


There’s something to be said for the home-field advantage. When Hugo Boss-—based in Germany—elected to show its Hugo collection at Berlin fashion week, they went for broke, inviting 1,000 guests (including Hilary Swank, Eric Bana, and Ryan Kwanten) for a fashion show, dinner, and party at the Museum Island in the city’s center. Designer Eyan Allen looked back to the future for Spring. He called the collection Poetic Tailoring, but he seemed more to be channeling Star Trek with the sharp, clean lines, and stark palette of starship silver, glacial blue, white, and flame red. Silver lamé leggings and flowing dresses over second-skin white trousers gave a hint of the sixties.

Afterward, the catwalkers of today had no trouble imagining themselves in the goods. Georgia May Jagger, wearing a dress and lipstick in the same arresting red shown on the catwalk, cooed with Leah Woods over a sharp pantsuit worn by Jourdan Dunn. They both congratulated Allen on his bracing palette, too. A different opinion came from a model old enough to remember the sixties the first time around: Veruschka. “I love that Hugo’s clothes are wearable,” she said. “But I would rather wear the menswear, especially the apronlike coverall jackets, because I can’t see many men wearing them and someone should. I especially love how Hugo reduces it to one strong color, whether ice, silver or red. But really, I mostly wear what I bought 30 years ago. When something is strong, it stays worth keeping.” Or, you might say, reinterpreting.

Photo: Courtesy of Hugo

Thom Takes Off, Kate Moss Finishes Strong, Veruschka’s Venom, And More…


Thom Browne’s foray into womenswear is one of the most eagerly anticipated debuts of the upcoming season. contributor Tommy Ton got a sneak peek at the natty goods. [JakandJil]

Kate Moss was in London last night to debut her last collection for her Topshop line. Moss and Topshop’s Sir Philip Green both say their collaboration will be going strong again in the future. Until then, the final collection will include some past-season best sellers, as well as new product like fur-trimmed dresses, feather stoles, sequined jackets, and tons of florals. [WWD]

Veruschka doesn’t have too many kind words for the Giles Spring ’11 show that she walked in this past London season (left). “I didn’t like the makeup in the show, and didn’t think much of the dress,” the sixties super told the Daily Mail. The shoes didn’t tickle her much, either. “In the sixties, fashion was about liberation. It was about setting women free; it wasn’t about being unable to walk.” [Huffington Post]

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a six-point plan to stimulate the fashion industry today, including programs to aid up-and-coming designers, fund pop-up shops, and provide training, networking, and financial skills for burgeoning businesses. The guy’s bucking to become the patron saint of New York fashion. How long till we see a hizzoner menswear collection in tribute? [Daily Front Row]

Photo: Yannis Vlamos /