Rodarte’s Wearable Van Goghs

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the designers behind Rodarte, turned to Vincent Van Gogh for inspiration for their Spring 2012 RTW line. They pulled from the artist’s color palettes and brushstroke patterns in two of his most famous works, Starry Night and Sunflowers, for a collection of short dresses.  The references to the painter were blatant; however, the silhouettes were a little too prom-y for me.

This is not the first time the Mulleavy sisters have interlaced fashion and art. For the New York Times Magazine 2010 Winter Olympic portfolio, the designers collaborated with artist Ryan McGinley on custom designed knitwear for Olympic athletes. That same year, the designers were awarded a National Arts Award from Americans for the Arts – the first designers to receive that honor. Rodarte is included in the permanent collections of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum at FIT, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the brand has been featured in solo exhibitions around the country.  The designers are constantly engaging in unique ways to merge the worlds of fashion and art, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night; two looks from the Rodarte Spring 2012 RTW line

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers; three looks from the Rodarte Spring 2012 RTW line

Christie’s Daphne Guinness Sale

Multiple auction records for fashion designers were broken last night at the Daphne Guinness Christie’s auction in London. 102 lots were up for sale from the heiress’ famed fashion collection, some of which were included in her exhibition at the Museum at FIT late last year.  Proceeds from the auction benefited Guinness’ charity she founded in memory of her friend, fashion editor Isabella Blow. In total, the sale brought in $744,285, far surpassing the pre-sale estimate of about $155,000.  Giving up a few of her couture pieces was hard, Guinness said, as “Ninety-five percent of fashion is trend; these are works of art.”

Highlights of the sale included a photo of Guinness by Mario Testino for the March 2008 issue of British Vogue, which went for $208,000 – a record for a Testino image at auction. Dresses by Christian Lacroix and Alexander McQueen also set world record prices.  Lady Gaga showed her support for the foundation by adding a new item to her closet of avant-garde fashion ensembles. According to WWD, it was Gaga who purchased the record-breaking McQueen dress, an ivory silk tulle empire line gown from “The Girl Who Lived In The Tree” collection from autumn/winter 2008-09, for $133,075.

All items that were up for sale can be found on the Christie’s website, highlights below.

Mario Testino for British Vogue, March 2008

Metallic Silver Mini Dress by Alexander McQueen, 2008 (accompanied by photo of Guiness by Mat Collishaw for Harper’s Bazaar UK)

Ivory SIlk Tulle Empire Line Gown by Alexander McQueen, A/W 2008-9 (Purchased by Lady Gaga)

White Azzedine Alaia day dress, probably 2011

Black leather studded Alexander McQueen Boots, 2000s



Carine Roitfeld for MAC Cosmetics

Giving Nars’ limited edition Andy Warhol collection this fall a run for their money, MAC Cosmetics will launch their own limited edition color cosmetics collection in collaboration with ex-Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld.  The fashion maven was involved in all aspects of the collection, including packaging design, product names and color palettes, which will focus on Roitfeld’s typical smoky eyes and nude lips.  Mario Sorrenti shot Roitfeld for the ad campaign, looking all, “I just rolled out of bed in this sexy lingerie number and am here to give you my most sultry look”.

Mrs Roitfeld is quite a busy lady these days – her new magazine CR debuts in September. My guess is an entire editorial spread will be dedicated to her new makeup collection.

Image via WWD

Kusama for LV Pop-Up Shops!

I love a good Pop-up shop. I love them even more when they look like polka dots threw up all over them (literally, see rendering below).

The king of creative collaborations continues to sustain the media buzz surrounding the upcoming launch of the brand’s latest capsule collection in collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. LV announced yesterday that it will open seven pop-up shops around the world to house the coveted merchandise. The first will open in New York’s Soho on July 10, followed by additional temporary stores in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place, Ngee Ann City in Singapore, the new Dover Street Market in Ginza, and Isetan’s Shinjuku branch in Tokyo. Huge installations are planned for Printemps in Paris and Selfridges in London.

Let the stampedes begin!

A rendering of the New York pop-up. Image via WWD

Art I’m Loving… Philip Taaffe

As a huge fan of abstract art, I fell in love with two works at the current exhibition at Philips de Pury & Company’s uptown location. The exhibition, entitled Rorschach, “explores the images and the ideas behind the psychiatrist’s famed test.” The artists for the group show were selected because, like the Rorschach, they rely on viewers to interpret the meaning of their works when it appears there is none. The artist Philip Taaffe has two works on paper up for sale at the exhibition that were first shown at a solo show by the artist at Gagosian Gallery in 2010.  Taaffe employs the paste-paper technique in these “floating pigment” works, and the result is intense, energetic movement across the canvas that is structured and geometric at the same time as it is free flowing. I was captivated by their bright colors and elaborate details.

The Philips exhibition is on view through the August 31.

Subsaxana, 2007. Mixed media on paper. On view at Philips

Liquica, 2007. Mixed media on paper. On view at Philips.

Spectral Mandala, 2007. Mixed media on paper. 

Aetneei, 2007. Mixed media on paper.

Fashion Crush: Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana killed it at the CFDA Awards in a sexy cutout dress by Prabal Gurung. Admittedly, the girl could look good in a garbage bag, but I am always her biggest fan when she graces the red carpet. I already raved about her outfit at this year’s Met Gala, but a few additional favorites are below!

In Prabal Gurung at the CFDA Awards, with the designer

In Calvin Klein at the 2010 Costume Institute Gala

In Elie Saab at the 2011 Latin Grammy Awards

In Balmain at the Columbiana premiere

Showing some leg: in Dolce & Gabbana at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards, in Louis Vuitton at an Amfar Gala for Fashion Week, and in Prabal Gurung i at the Star Trek premiere in Berlin

Collaboration Anticipation: Maison Martin Margiela for H&M

I was a bit surprised by this collaboration announcement. Margiela’s designs are typically intricate, detailed, and avant-garde to the point they are less about wearability and more like artistic creations that represent an underlying idea, concept, or artistic intent. He is known for his use of unconventional materials and commitment to form over function in a rejection of the commerciality of fashion.  Margiela’s designs have been displayed in museums across the world. His first solo exhibition was held at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1997 (which I visited this past March en route to Maastricht art fair and is stunning). Since that exhibition, his works have been shown at the MoMU Fashion Museum in Antwerp, Somerset House in London, and ModeMuseum in Antwerp. Margiela designs can be found in teh collection at the Costume Institute at the Met, and he contributed an installation to an exhibition at the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage in 1999 entitled “Exposing Meaning in Fashion Through Presentation”, organized by gallerist Andrea Rosen.  Clearly, MMM has successfully blurred the distinction between artist and designer and art and fashion.

Astonishment aside, I could not be more excited to see what this incredibly talented and inspired designer will create for a mass audience.A sketch of a turtleneck “darted sweater” from the collection can be viewed in a video the brand posted on youtube to confirm the collaboration, noting also that the line will hit stores November 15.

Below are a few looks from the Margiela’s Fall 2012 RTW collection (for a peak at what the more well-to-do will be wearing from the designer); for the rest of us, expect a line out the door at your nearest H&M on November 15th!

Art I’m Loving… Rashaad Newsome

While reading the most recent issue of W Magazine, I was captivated by multiple collages in highly decorative frames composed of high-end jewelry. They struck me initially because they reminded me of work by Contemporary artist Rashaad Newsome.  Turns out, my instinct was correct; W had tapped the artist to create the opulent works.

The artist works in a variety of media, and is well known for his video performance art; he was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennale as well as the most recent installment of Performa. But I am a huge fan of his collage work, including that shown at his late 2011 exhibition “Herald” at Marlborough Gallery in New York City. The New York Times described the show as representing “the culmination of several strands of his work: history applied to the juxtaposition of high and pop art; symbols isolated, mixed and re-appropriated; the exploration of African-American culture.” He uses images from the street to inspire his work, including pictures from hip-hop and luxury magazines, tightly packed into ornate, highly guilded collages. A few images are below, and to view a more complete spectrum of Newsome’s work in all mediums, visit his website.

Artwork designed for W Magazine, composed of high-end jewelry

Artwork designed for W Magazine using high-end jewelry

Emperor Method the Magnificent, 2012; collage in hand carved frame

King of Queens, 2012; collage in customized antique frame

Swaggalicious, collage in customized antique frame

Hermes + Hiroshi Sugimoto

In the latest edition of Hermès Editeur, the luxury brand has teamed up with Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. The mission of Hermès Editeur, according to the brand’s website, is to bridge the art of craftsmanship and design with contemporary art. Artists provide the brand a source of invention, inspiration and innovation, and the projects “confront our craftsmen with real challenges, at first glance insurmountable but overcoming them enables us to extend the limits of our savoir-faire,” according to Artistic Director Pierre-Alexis Dumas. Previous editions of Hermès Editeur included collaborations with German artist Josef Albers and Contemporary artist Daniel Buren.

The Sugimoto collection includes iterations of 20 of the artist’s abstract color studies on Hermès’ signature silk scarves.  Produced in limited editions of seven each, the complete collection is being called “Couleurs de L’Ombre” (Colors of Shadow). The artist’s project of the same title was created after years of chasing bands of prismatic color around his studio and capturing them using the almost extinct Polaroid canvas.  Inspired by this vision, the brand developed new inkjet technology in order to recreate the subtle gradations of intense color.  At nearly $10,000 a piece, the real question becomes whether these scarves should be worn or mounted and framed on the wall.

Scarf 107

Scarf 053

Sugimoto holding up a scarf from the collection

The artist examining designs over the course of the project (image via Hermes website)

Louis Vuitton + Yayoi Kusama

In less than one month, Louis Vuitton’s much anticipated collection in collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will hit stores. Mark your calendars for July 10th and head to one of LV’s retail locations for first dibs on everything from trench coats to high heels ornamented with Kusama’s whimsical dot motifs.

The collection launch was timed to sync up with the opening of Kusama’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, previously at the Tate Modern in London and sponsored by the luxury brand.  The retrospective highlights Kusama’s work, spanning an impressive a variety of media. Recently, the artist has focused on creating “installations that immerse the viewer in her obsessive vision of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space.”

Marc Jacobs, in a video interview on the collaboration’s microsite, states that one of his motivations for entering into the partnership was to “bring the work of Kusama to still yet another audience, the audience of Louis Vuitton…there will be a new venue, a new place to see this work, and to come to appreciate it, through the eyes of Vuitton”. A collector himself, Jacobs has a long history of supporting Contemporary Artists through similar partnerships in the past, including LV collaborations with Takashi Murakami (which, it can be argued, sparked a surge of designer/artist partnerships in the luxury market landscape), Richard Prince, and Stephen Sprouse.

With all the hyped-up media buzz around this collection, it is bound to sell out fast. If you can’t get to a store in July, additional items such as leather goods will be released in October.

A look from the Infinitely Kusama collection

I die for these shoes!

The artist

Flowers that Bloom at Midnight, 2009 at Gagosian Gallery

Installation at the Tate Modern as part of Kusama’s 2012 retrospective