H&M + Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons has had his share of ups and downs in the art world, and is certainly one of the most controversial artists working today. But for anyone living in or visiting New York City this summer, it’s clear that he has taken the international epicenter of the art world by storm. His giant retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art—a long-awaited first for the artist and the final show at the museum’s Madison Avenue address before moving to a new Renzo Piano-designed space in the Meatpacking district next year—just opened amidst highly positive media reviews. The exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, as well as the first to fill nearly the entirety of the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer building with a single artist’s work (might as well go out with a bang, right?). Couple the ambitious exhibition with the artist’s Split-Rocker in Rockefeller Center—a monumental public sculpture made with living flowers, and presented by Public Art Fund and Gagosian Gallery—and it’s obvious Koons is at the height of his career.

No matter your opinion of the artist’s work, he has certainly made accessible art, making him a perfect partner for fast-fashion chain H&M’s first-ever artist collaboration. Starting July 17th, art and fashion enthusiasts can snag Koons’s $58 million balloon dog sculpture for just $49.50 in the form of a limited-edition leather handbag. Koons will also redecorate H&M’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, with images of the balloon dog glossing the six-story facade alongside the phrase, “Fashion Loves Art.” Talk about highbrow-lowbrow.

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Koons’s Play-Doh, 1994-2014. This 10-foot-high multicolored aluminum sculpture took him 20 years to complete and makes it’s first-ever debut in the exhibition. Image via Wallpaper Mag.

Koons's Split-Rocker, 2002. On view at Rockefeller Center through September 12.

Koons’s Split-Rocker, 2002. On view at Rockefeller Center through September 12. Photo via Public Art Fund.

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The limited-edition Jeff Koons bag for H&M

 

Sporty Kicks Get a Luxe Revamp

It seems that almost every week there is a new announcement about a fitness brand collaborating with a high-end fashion brand to create an upscale, limited edition “tennis shoe.” (My friends always make fun of me because I grew up calling running shoes “tennis shoes.” I am told it must be a Southern thing…!) And if what we saw during fashion season is any indication—both Chanel and Dior had trainers on their couture runways—the trend is not likely to slow down. Below are a few collaborations making recent headlines.

Nike X A.P.C.

When the brands teamed up for the first time last year, the range sold out almost immediately. If you missed it, you will be pleased to know that a new design is back for Spring: the Nike Air Max 1 in all-navy suede, mesh, and leather with a white midsole. The style is available for men and women for $120.

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Nike X Riccardo Tisci

A few weeks ago, Nike unveiled it’s newest collaboration with Givency creative director Riccardo Tisci at a star-studded launch party in New York City. The Nike + RT Air Force 1 collection release drew personalities from the art, fashion, music, and sports worlds, including Joan Smalls, Victor Cruz, Marina Abramović, Harry Brandt, and Eva Chow. The pairing was rather organic, as the designer’s passion for basketball dates back to his childhood. The collection includes four styles: the Nike + R.T. Air Force 1 Lo, the Nike + R.T. Air Force 1 Mid, the Nike + R.T. Air Force 1 High, and the Nike + R.T. Air Force 1 Boot. Prices range from $240 to $340 and can be found here.

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Adidas X Pharrell

Adidas just announced a long-term partnership with Arby’s hat-wearing, Grammy Award-winning, of-the-moment superstar Pharrell Williams. Williams owns his own textile company, Bionic Yarn, which comes from The Vortex Project, an initiative with Parley for the Oceans to turn plastic debris from the oceans into yarn and fabric. Bionic Yarn will be used in some of Pharrell’s upcoming adidas Originals products. While the partners have yet to release images of their collaborative designs, Pharrell did wear a custom pair of red high-top adidas Originals sneakers during his performance of “Happy” at the Oscars.

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Adidas X Raf Simons

Following a much-lauded collection for Fall 2013, the Belgian designer has unleashed a new collaboration with the sports brand for spring/summer 2014. While last year’s range featured only 3 styles, the newest release includes 8 styles of performance runners, each in 4 different designs. The collection will be available at adidas Originals concept stores and select boutiques. You can get a little taste of the collection below and check out all the styles on Raf Simon’s website here.

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Acne Studios + Hilma af Klint

Swedish fashion house Acne Studios found inspiration in Hilma af Klint, an abstract artist from the late 19th/early 20th century, for a recent capsule collection. A pioneer of the movement, Af Klint’s work was hardly recognized as such during her lifetime. Rather, it wasn’t until early 2013–decades after the Swedish artist’s passing — that a major museum gave the artist her due. Last February, the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm erected the largest af Klint exhibition to date and published an all-encompassing book of her work, Hilma af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction. The New York Times credited the growing the international reach of the artist, five of whom’s works were featured in the Central Pavillion at last summer’s Venice Biennale.

With the artist’s work now in the limelight, it seems only appropriate for Acne Studios to honor the once forgotten Swedish artist. The brand reinterpreted some of af Klint’s early 20th century paintings to derive the collection of tops, scarves, and totes, which can be purchased on acnestudios.com.

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A sweatshirt from the collection

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A t-shirt from the collection

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A scarf from the collection

Hermès + Kermit Oliver

It seems that European luxury fashion brands are all about good ‘ole Texas these days. Chanel brought its annual fashion show, Métiers d’Art, to Dallas this past December, a large-scale event that has previously been held in locations including a castle in Scotland and a barge in Shanghai. An international jet set crowd of 900 descended on the city to view the collection inspired by “the West of the Mexican border in the time of the Civil War, a more romantic Texas fantasy,” Karl Lagerfeld told the New York Times.

And last month, the Paris-based Hermès released a limited edition set of scarves designed by Waco, Texas-based painter Kermit Oliver. Oliver worked the night shift at the local post office for 29 years before he sent one of his naturalistic paintings to the Hermès headquarters in 1984 (more on the artist’s background here). At the time, Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermès reached out to his friend Lawrence Marcus (as in Neiman Marcus) to recommend an artist who could capture the spirit of the Southwest. Oliver was at the top of his list, and Dumas agreed, collaborating with the artist on a print featuring a turkey. The current edition, La Vie sauvage du Texas, is the 17th in the now historied series, and celebrates the state’s wildlife.

The design was produced in four colors in an edition of 2,000 each, and is available now in Hermès Dallas and Houston stores. The rest of us non-Texans can snatch one up when they become available nationwide this coming fall–that is, of course, if they don’t sell out per usual to the brand and artist’s Texan fans. As a nod to the inspiration behind the print, portion of scarf sales benefits the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

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The newest design

9d Hermès- kermit Concours d'Elegance '02 (issued '09-'10)

A past design

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Another iteration

 

Nike + Yuko Kanatani

We interrupt this New York Fashion Week with news of a sportswear collaboration that I find to be absolutely brilliant. Nike—king of great branding—looked to Japan for inspiration for its most recent concept for the Nike Tight of the Moment line. The premise behind the franchise as a whole is an “exercise in exploration…through experimentation with unique patterns, colors and inspirations…elevat[ing] the intersection of athletic performance and artistic design.” Yuko Kanatani‘s work, which is quite playful and colorful, married perfectly with this mission, leading Nike to tap Kanatani to design three new tights, marking the brand’s first collaboration with an independent artist for the line.

The directive from the brand, however, was more than just to design any old pattern. Instead, the artist was asked to tailor her illustrations to a “body map,” which uses athlete-informed data to show the location of an individual’s muscles and heating and cooling zones.  The first of the three designs, “Nike Tight of the Moment-Magical Kaleidoscope,” features pops of colors and shapes aimed to highlight leg muscles in a flattering fashion (you can read about her inspiration here). As if the collaboration weren’t already technical enough, Nike then used digital sublimation technology, which employs a heat press to send ink from a printed picture onto a piece of fabric, to transfer Yuko’s art onto the tights.

The Magical Kaleidoscope was just released a few weeks ago, and is available in the Nike Pro Tight and Nike Pro Sports Bra in select stores and online. The remaining two designs from the collaboration will be released in the upcoming months. For now, check out the amazing campaign shots below.

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Golden Globes Red Carpet Favorites

I know you are probably sick of seeing all the “trends” and “favorites” from the Golden Globes red carpet, but my feeling is: better late than never. There were some strong efforts out there that should be honored in all their glory. So, here we go!

Best All Around: Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren Collection. Simple makeup and accessories. Absolute perfection. There was no point for anyone to really walk the red carpet after her.

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Best Structured: Emilia Clarke in Proenza Schouler. Would you expect anything sub-par from Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons? Besides, it’s hard for me to dislike anything PS.

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Best Lace: Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive. Stunning. That pretty much sums it up. And that back!?!

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Best White: Margot Robbie in (custom) Gucci. Major props for this first timer with her emerald shoes and Van Cleef & Arpels jewels.

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Best Sparkle: Naomi Watts in Tom Ford. It must be difficult to be one half of the most gorgeous couple ever. I feel so terrible for you, Naomi (you beautiful goddess, you).

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Best Red: Julie Bowen in Carolina Herrera. Since Lupita won my top pick of the night, my second favorite red gown goes to Miss “I have the sickest body ever” Bowen. Plus, I loved this entire Carolina Herrera collection. Red, it should be noted, was one of the hottest colors at the Globes this year, sported by Amy Adams, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Taylor Swift and the like.

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Best Surprising Color: Caitlin FitzGerald in Emilia Wickstead. I don’t even know who this chick is, but I will sure as hell be on style lookout from now on.

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Best Preggers: Olivia Wilde in Gucci. I am probably going to get shot for going against Olivia Pope on this one, but I couldn’t even pull off Wilde’s look on my best day while not pregnant. So there you have it.

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DVF + Andy Warhol

Diane von Furstenberg knows how to throw a party. Or perhaps—more appropriately—a celebration. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of her iconic wrap dress, the designer commissioned various artists to create works inspired by the frock’s notable legacy, to be included in the exhibition “Journey of a Dress,” which opened last Friday  in L.A. In addition (because, why stop there?), the designer launched a limited-edition collection in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation.

On view at the historic Wilshire May Company building (which will soon be the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures) next to the LACMA campus, the exhibition features hundreds of contemporary versions of the wrap dress in front of walls lined floor-to-ceiling with DVF’s patterns. Also on view are commemorative works by Dustin Yellin, Julian Opie, Francisco Clemente, Barbara Kruger, Anh Duong, and other notable contemporary artists. In particular, Yellin’s “A Ghost May Come” includes thousands of scraps of scanned magazine and newspaper articles about von Furstenberg cut into small shapes that from a few steps away look exactly like wrap dress’ iconic chain-link print. In addition, the exhibition includes seven vintage portraits of DVF by Andy Warhol, a close friend. When thinking about a unique, limited edition collection to further honor this special moment in fashion, a collaboration with the Warhol Foundation was an obvious choice. Pop Wrap: DVF + Andy Warhol, as the collection has been called, combines traditional Warholian motifs—specifically, the flower and dollar sign—with DVF’s most well-known patterns onto dresses, jumpsuits, bags and t-shirts. Best to snap up that piece you have your eye on before it too becomes another note in the book of fashion history.

Well, that’s a wrap.

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The entrance hall to the exhibition; photo via WWD

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Wrap dresses on view at the exhibition; photo via WWD

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DVF at the opening of her exhibition; photo via LA Times/Getty Images

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Dresses & a bag from the Pop Wrap collection

Collaboration Anticipation: Raf Simons + Sterling Ruby

“…what interests me now is to say that this is not just a collaborative thing, not just asking someone in my field to do the knitwear or the bags. This is all the way, all the way. There is not one shirt, one shoe, one sock that is not from our mutual thinking process.”

-Raf Simons, as told to Style.com

Dior’s creative director, Raf Simons, has just announced his upcoming collaboration with artist Sterling Ruby on his new menswear collection, which will be shown in Paris on January 15th. Big deal, right? The two have worked together previously on the interior of the Raf Simons store in Tokyo, and a number of motifs from Simons’ first couture show for Dior were drawn from Ruby’s paintings. And artist-designer collaborations are so commonplace these days that it takes something completely out-of-the-box to turn heads.

Well, leave it to Raf Simons to do just that. “For one season, the brand ‘Raf Simons’ will not exist,” the designer has confirmed, meaning that every single article of clothing and accessory that will be sent down the runway is entirely the product of joint decision-making. In fact, the one-off collection will be known as the Raf Simons/Sterling Ruby collection. Simons challenged himself to find solutions to every concept Ruby ideated, so as to not restrict the artist’s creativity. And Ruby, who recently had begun incorporating textiles into his work, proved a capable accomplice based on a deep understanding of process and construction with those materials.

Congratulations, Raf, on what will likely be the most anticipated collection of the New Year. I, for one, cannot wait.

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The interior of Simon’s Tokyo store, the result of a collaboration with Sterling Ruby

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A dress from Simons’ first Dior Couture collection, inspired by Ruby’s paintings

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Sterling Ruby, SP171, 2011, Spray paint on canvas, 160 x 235 x 2 in.

Maison Martin Margiela + Baptiste Debombourg

Yesterday, Maison Martin Margiela held an intimate cocktail event to celebrate the launch of “Crystalactite”— a new jewelry collection designed in collaboration with Atelier Swarovski—at the MMM Boutique in Miami’s Design District. The event—appropriately timed to fall during Art Basel and, thus, a prime time for any fashion brand to highlight an artist collaboration—also marked the debut of an exclusive installation by French artist Baptiste Debombourg entitled “Stalker”, created specifically to celebrate the new collection.

First, let’s talk about the jewels. The designer, who is known for his use of unconventional materials and commitment to form over function, lent his signature avante-garde style to the limited-edition collection. They were created using an innovative fusion technique that blends crystal and matte white resin so that the crystals appear to emerge spontaneously from their natural, stony origin. The result is a 4 piece collection that successfully combine Margiela’s more industrial aesthetic with the purity of Swarovski crystals.

Using the jewelry as inspiration, Debombourg, who is known for his sculpture installations and study of everyday raw materials, designed his site-specific installation using shattered, laminated glass. He arranged the glass in cascading layers over furniture so that the resulting structure resembles stalactites, perfectly pairing with the aesthetic of the jewelry collection. The artist was an obvious choice for the designer, as the two also collaborated back in the Fall when Debombourg transformed MMM’s rue de Grenelle, Paris boutique by recreating his famous “Turbo” installation specifically customized for the store. Turbo was originally erected in 2009 for Parcours Saint-Germain in partnership with FIAC and was inspired by the turbo wave of the 1980s, challenging the notion of masculine power. Within the store context, it was as if the wall of the store was exploding into the interior.

If you are down in Miami, be sure to stop by the Design District boutique to snatch up the limited-edition jewels and check out Debombourg’s installation.

An image of "Stalker" in the Maison Martin Margiela Miami Boutique

An image of “Stalker” in the MMM Miami Boutique. Image via MMM’s Facebook page.

Stalker cascades over tables and clothing racks onto the floor.

Stalker cascades over tables and clothing racks onto the floor. Image via MMM’s facebook page.

A piece from the MMM + Swarovski collection

A piece from the MMM + Swarovski collection. Image via MMM’s facebook page.

An image of "Turbo," installed in the MMM Paris store this past fall

An image of “Turbo,” installed in MMM’s Grenelle Paris store this past fall

Will Cotton + Ladurée

Maison Ladurée engaged in its first artistic collaboration with Will Cotton. An obvious choice, the desert-loving artist designed a limited-edition box to house an equally limited-edition macaroon flavor: ginger-infused whipped cream. The artist collaborated on the flavor with Philippe Andrieu, Ladurée’s pastry chef, whom he had met originally in 2005 when he visited Andrieu in Paris to learn about macaroon baking to get inspiration for a painting he was working on. The two bonded over the fact that they had never encountered a ginger macaroon that tasted like real ginger, and thus, they challenged themselves to become the first. The box features the artist’s go-to muse, singer Hannah Cohen, wearing a whipped-cream dress.

The boxes debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach earlier this week, where they can be purchased at the confectioner’s new boutique. Or, if you are dying to get your hands on this mouth-watering flavor, pick one up at Parisian boutique collete’s pop-up Art Drive-Thru, a collaboration with Miami boutique Alchemist. Inspired by a retro mid-century drive-thru, customers have to indeed drive up to the window to purchase special, limited-edition merchandise, including pieces from Zaha Hadid’s jewelry line, works by Snarkitecture, and winter accessories by Thom Browne. Open only from December 2-8, be sure to stop by if you are in town.

featuring his go-to muse—singer Hannah Cohen, wearing a whipped-cream dress

The collaborative box features Cotton’s muse—singer Hannah Cohen, wearing a whipped-cream dress.