bil donovan the great

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i never knew who bil donovan was, but i do know i’ve always loved his work.

entrancing, magical, and full of whimsy. fashion illustrations, and particular his illustrations, have captivated me since i’ve been a style-minded seven-year-old.

his work has a funny (beautiful) way of portraying the fashion industry that we all aspire to be apart of (you know, the one without screaming creative directors, 3am pre-show nights and last minute alterations).

and his most recent contribution to fashion community does not disappoint. commissioned by ny mag’s the cut, bil captured backstage moments at the likes of thom browne, carolina herrera and tadashi shoji and reminded us why we all work in such a pretty industry.

BD

 

a collection: the kooples do it better than you

Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 12.46.47 PMfashion films tend to be banal and self-important. fifteen seconds in you’re yawning and wondering what you are going to eat for dinner tonight (or if you ‘re really in fashion, you’re wondering what you’ll drink for dinner).

however sometimes,  something original, delightful and sexy comes along and you realize there are some people /brands doing fashion videos right.

and of course, they are french. (rude)

the kooples. they are one of the premiere hipster boutiques to line parisian streets. they are cool personified. chic brought to life. and have every bit of that french je ne sais quoi that you could wish for and more.

and so do their videos.

instead of having moody models prance through well-hedged gardens or overly stylized actresses awkwardly waltz through sound stages, the kooples took reality and showed us it’s sexy side.

four couples. four videos. all different stages of a relationship. all romantic.

and unbelievably well dressed in an array of kooples clothing.

each couple is chicer and more handsome than the next (which begs the question why i have not received my phone call yet. double rude). the videos are brief and beautiful, telling romance’s story through sly giggles, broad smiles and of course a well-coiffed elegance as only the french can do.

emulate, admire, enjoy.

(click image to view videos)

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oh, slim darling

on this cold, blustery morning, i find it absolutely ridiculous to work and entirely acceptable to dive into a slim aarons photograph. his work is truly brilliant, imaginative and oozes luxury from every shadow and flash of light.

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his life work spans from decorated war photographer (purple heart anyone?) to “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” like, let’s just talk about life dream.

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he effortlessly captured the 60s in all its hedonist glory (i suppose it’s not hard when you solely work with attractive people, hedonism and beauty go together like bread and butter…hence why i belong). he made hollywood, seem like hollywood.  palatial pools, never-ending beaches, doe-eyed woman clad in chic bikinis and silk robes. it’s a luxury wanton’s fantasy. and i want a part in all of it.

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even if that means settling for his coffee table book or a print hanging on my bedroom wall.

oh, slim darling…take me away.

furniture by karl

Imagedear uncle karl has done it again…

he is expanding his aesthetic empire once more (thank god, because i know i was getting restless about what else karl would be doing…chanel, his line, dove chocolate bars, and diet coke is just not enough).

so of course he went to the only thing left he hasn’t touched yet… furniture.

partnering with cassina, karl darling photographed the avant garde collection in his loads of spare time. as he says in the behind-the-scenes video, “i have less than a second to find a graphic composition.”

it is every bit of ridiculousness as one could imagine. he even kept his sunglasses on. true karl. true brillance.

enjoy.

fashion as fine art

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annie leibovitz’s “alice in wonderland” – vogue, 2003

art versus fashion. fashion versus art. a question of the ages. an argument as old as david and goliath.

ok, well not quite, but as art and fashion become increasingly more democratic, the two titans of aesthetic industry seem to be crossing paths more than ever.

while schaparelli might have started the conversation and designers such as hussein chalayan have kept it going, it is not until the past decade – with exhibits such as mcqueen at the met and a louis vuitton/marc jacobs retrospective at les arts decoratifs in paris – that art has truly given fashion a much-deserved spotlight. thus angling the designer’s cultural perception far more toward artiste than garmento.

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irving penn’s “harlequin dress” 1950

however now, a whole new medium comes to light. not from stitches and revolutionary draping, but in the form of the fashion photograph.

case and point? a lecture at this weekend’s annual photo la exhibit in santa monica, lead by vogue’s director of photography, ivan shaw. while 40 galleries from around the country showcased snapshots of time, emotion and experience, a panel of the industry’s foremost imageologists (this may or may not be a made up word) waxed poetic about the changes in fashion photography and the commodification of the editorial image.

according to the panel it is not so much that the fashion photograph of yesteryear didn’t meet the standards – just look at any shot from herb ritts, irving penn or lillian bassman – but rather, it seems as if one day the common man (and by common man i mean the overly wealthy, i-dont-know-where-to-spend-my-money collector) woke up, opened his wife’s vogue (most likely annie leibovitz’s alice in wonderland story – because if you are unmoved by that, you probably don’t have a soul) and decided “hey, this looks neat, i will call it art and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it.”

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steven meisel’s “a walk in paris”

why this notion took so many years for the collecting community to catch on to and the art world to support is beyond me. annie leibovitz, the proverbial moses of the group, has inconspicuously and quite possibly subconsciously, been shepherding this movement since her days of whoopie in a white tub. she might not have said it out loud, but you knew – this is a statement, this is art.

however, the panel gave a more likely and less romanticized reason as to this newfound art-world acceptance – the fashion photographers of today, are not just one-dimensional camera clickers, but aesthetic wunderkinds with a list of never-ending talents – lagerfled, tom ford, hedi slimane, poster boy geniuses of the slasher (i.e. designer/photographer/direct/writer) generation.

that being said, the rise is still a slow one, and while herb ritts and avedon are finally getting their day at getty, the collecting community has only just began to dip their big toes in the editorial pond. just think for the price of $83,000 you can get your own steven meisel’s “a walk in paris” to hang in the foyer. from what i hear that’s a real steal in the art world…

i want to be a chow

arss-michael-chow-empire-02-hi need to be a chow.

they have single-handedly mastered the art of inconspicuous conspicuous consumption.

since the birth of mr.chow’s in the swanky london district of knightsbridge in 1968, michael chow and his growing clan have seamlessly permeated every aspect of popular culture, collecting restaurants, art and films as one would a set of stamps.

papa chow – the industrious ring leader, rich playground purveyor, preeminent art collector, and interior designer savant.

mama chow – aka eva chun – illustrious counterpart, tiger-mom, cfda designer, and muse to some of the best regarded artists in contemporary culture. she is a well-styled, more ebullient version of morticia adams, nimbly floating from industry to industry brokering some of the biggest cultural introductions of the 21st century.

the kids – a formidable trio of well-coifed elegance. clones of their designer-clad parents with agendas and cultural ambitions as thick as an encyclopedia britannica.  (you’re beginning to see why i belong, yes?)

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the chows have managed to carve out a unique space between notoriety and anonymity – surreptitiously adding their midas touch to many a gala, store, restaurant, and foundation without the added paparazzi flashbulbs.

they walk the streets (and by streets i mean rodeo drive) with us, yet don’t be fooled. their matching emerald gucci suits bely the truth – last night they had dinner with jeffery dietch, a night cap with sean penn and the youngest chow played a cello concerto for andre balzas and hockney. (p.s. totally what my tuesday night looks like too.)

they are luxury personified. elegance in caricature form. and i would fit in divinely.

i recognize i may be a bit late on the whole adoption thing, and marrying for culture/money unfortunately still has a negative tinge in society (sigh), so this is my public plea to the chows – take me in. 

i am fully-house trained, occasionally witty, make a mean pork chop, and play the trombone. granted it is not quite as elegant as the cello, but we all must do with what we’ve got.

look forward to your call.

sincerely,

tj

a collection: cathy daley

due to work i have had unexpectedly and quite happily had to take a deep dive into the art world. one quickly learns that art, in it’s many forms, is a rabbit hole. you can’t simply start with one artists or genre, and let that be. one painter begets another, which begets another gallery, which begets another genre, and so forth. and before you know it four hours have flown by, you still feel you know absolutely nothing, and your boss is asking where the document is that you promised him three hours ago.

oops.

though you are now rushing to finish said document and have irritated your boss, there is consolation in the fact you probably found some incredible new artist,  a little discovery that you can treasure, put as the background to your iPhone and someday showcase in your house.

today my consolation prize is cathy daley.

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reigning from toronto, cathy has been exhibiting since 1980 and remains a canadian tour-de-force, with her work taking up residence in some of the country’s most renowned institutions.

i am not going to pretend i know the sure-to-be femininst-heavy symbolism behind her oil pastel tutus and protruding can-can legs, but i do know they are filled with wit and loads of satire, and even if i don’t know quite what that satire is, i know i like it. and would probably also like what it stands for.

until them, enjoy and yes, cathy’s untitled legs now grace my iphone background. whatever, i know.

(all images from cathy daley’s website.)

a collection: poor man’s art

it can be hard for a broke girl in the city. while my paychecks may have gotten bigger, so has my taste. and so goes the cycle of my life: crossing my fingers, toes and eyes every time i sign into my bank account.

sadly, my plight leaves little room to invest in the important things such as modiglianis, picassos and other great works of art and culture…until now.

as it turns out many share my cultural affliction and several companies have popped up to answer our aesthetically hedonistic pleas.

buy some damn art – having been featured on daily candy, apartment therapy and design sponge, this site has already earned its apartment decorating chops. each week they provide new work, from different artists – with some even creating originals for the site. the work remains listed for up to six weeks and boasts a range of prices ($100 – $500). from modern to portraits to spin art, every fledgling art collector can find something for their walls.

the tappan collective – started by two girls from l.a. who quickly realized there are some truly great artists out there, but few have a place to call home (read: gallery). the result: the tappan collective, an online-only gallery showcasing a select assortment of emerging artists. with some seriously iconic-l.a. art, i have already lost hours of my life (happily) musing on how to clothe my barren walls. #cultureproblems

20 x 200 – a.k.a. the grandfather to the democratic art movement. launched in 2007 (ok, so i am clearly late on this on, but hey i was still living in a dorm and making jello shots in 2007 – no judgment please). a simple formula, as the site says – limited editions x low prices + the internet = art for everyone. slightly more advanced than it’s sister sites, one can search by category, price, color, and artists. currently hosting over 904 works, 20 x 200 remains the most comprehensive in both art and style.

society 6 – think etsy, but with an entirely art focus. with thousands of contributors around the world, the site carries more than just art for your wall, but iphone cases, t-shirts, totes and cards. as a fellow art enthusiast stated, it’s kind of like art facebook…it’s so easy to get lost floating from one artist to the next with decorating daydreams abounding.

ok, so they might not be manets quite yet, but a girl’s got to start somewhere.