Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Music finds a new place: The Music Chronicles

Since music always takes some space over design here ( and it should not), I decided to give it a new home: from now on, everything that has something to do with music and me will be posted in The Music Chronicles. I have already transferred all the posts regarding my Poplie radio shows there (and the download links too) and will keep it informed with album reviews I will be writing for a free press monthly and presenting music that I like from time to time, concert reviews etc. So join me there if you like music and want to see what I like about it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mirό of Majorca

The exhibition Mirό of Majorca was hosted from the 9th of June 2009 till the 7th of February 2010 at the Teloglion Foundation of Art in Thessaloniki, Greece. It is now moving to Athens, where it will be exhibited at the Hellenic Cosmos "Theatron", Ismini Hall, from today, February 22nd, till the 30th of May 2010.

I went to see this show while it was still here in Thessaloniki. I was surprised by the bad design of the exhibition itself. I did not expect to see, in 2010, in a renowned Art Foundation of our country, such a significant artist exhibited in such an elementary way.His works were simply put on display grouped in periods, without text to accompany them showing what each period meant to the artist and connecting it to contemporary art and history.

The signs with the information for each work of art were placed on the ground, making every visitor taller than 1,50m (i.e. most of us) struggle to read it. The fact that they were made of transparent plexiglass did not help of course.

The lighting was bad, non descript. The sculptures suffered particularly of this, arranged in the middle of the biggest room and simply spot lighted without any thought of how the shadows would play both on the sculpture and around it.

A series of works were about sketches and drawings the artist made about various large scale works, either paintings or sculpture, prominently displayed in various parts of the world, most of them orders by municipalities, countries, rich individuals, companies. What struck me is that not a single photograph of the finished art was displayed, for any of the above.

There was a room dedicated to the work Miro did inspired by the theatre play Roi Yby. They had a single opportunity to make a very theatrical room to inspire and guide people to why he was so connected to this piece of theatre. They missed. The show also missed how his art influenced and came to represent the national identity of Spain.

A very positive aspect of the show was the exhibition of special copies of some of the paintings made for blind people - I had never seen that in a major show in Greece and was pleasantly surprised. And another interesting set up was the exhibition of some artefacts, small furniture and stuff from his studio, on a stage with a panoramic photo of the actual place as a background - but then again, it remained a plain and simple display of objects, not engaging the visitor in any way.

The graphic design of the exhibition's brochure and posters were excellent: they were done by Rooster Design, a great and much lauded graphic design studio from Thessaloniki. The exhibition is organized by Teloglion Art Foundation in cooperation with the Pilar i Joan Miro Foundation of Majorka - all of the artwork comes from there. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tribute to Alexander McQueen

My all-time favourite McQueen gown, Oyster Dress, Spring Summer 2003
It is in the Metropolitan Museum of New York

Alexander McQueen with his mother

Gorgeous gown, Autumn/Winter 2006

I cannot believe I am writing this post. My favourite designer is dead. Alexander McQueen, 40 years old, was found dead at his home in London today, 9 days after the death of his beloved mother. McQueen always seemed so in control and defiant of everyone, it makes it even harder to believe he is simply gone.

Shalom Harlow being sprayed by two car painting robots

Alexander with Isabella Blow

Escher inspired print at his recycled runway, Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 show

Spring/Summer 2007 show - one of my very favourite dresses

An incredible talent, he made his way through the turbulent waters of the fashion world, always on the rise; seemingly nothing could stop him. He was born in 1969, the youngest of six in Hackney, London, in 1969; dad was a taxi driver, mom a teacher. He became interested in fashion as a child and very soon he was a young apprentice at the Saville Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard, then Gieves & Hawkes. There he made suits for the Prince of Wales amongst others (legend has it he wrote "I am a cunt" with a ballpoint pen in the lining of one of the Prince's suits). He did a small stint at Koji Tatsuno at Paris before going to Milan to work at Romeo Gigli.
Back in England in 1994, he applied for work at Central St. Martins but was encouraged to enroll as a student. His graduation collection was bought by fashion legend Isabella Blow, who was to become his friend, mentor and muse.

A selection from his work throughout the years

His infamous "Highland rape" collection in 1995 drew the fashion world's attention. The result of his theatrical but exquisitely tailord concoctions was a much coveted position at the helm of the Givenchy fashion house, right after John Galliano left for Dior. The tenure was not without problems: he called Hybert De Givenchy, one of the most revered and gentle men in Haute Couture "irrelevant", his first collection there was a failure. But he build his reputation slowly, managing to outsmart his critics.

German Vogue photo shoot

Nick Knight photo shoot for British Vogue

One of his quirky handbags

Givenchy Spring/Summer 2000 Haute Couture - in Vogue

Bjork "Homogenic" album cover, photo by Nick Knight

From his men's collection

Tilda Swinton in his dress for Narnia

Futuristic editorial

Comparing editorial to runway

Never happy with the management, he left for the Gucci group and his own label in 2001, where he enjoyed critical and financial success, opening boutiques across the world, releasing his perfume and accessories line. His oeuvre, dark and romantic yet thoroughly steeped in the modern, grimy world, enchanted people and made him popular to all. Even Puma and MAC cosmetics approached him for designing collections for them.

Men's collection

The Los Angeles boutique, designed by Pentagram

Stage for one of his shows

His first perfume, Kingdom

Nick Knight photograph

His chess-board fashion show, Spring/Summer 2005

Luggage designed for Samsonite

December 2008 Vogue US editorial with Roberto Bolle as Romeo and Coco Rocha as Juliet,
shot by Annie Leibovitz

Bjork, photographed by Nick Knight

Designed for Puma

Givenchy Autumn/Winter 1999/2000 Haute Couture leather corset

Daria Werbovy in Vogue US editorial, May 2009

I love his clothes: his collections were the ones I anticipated the most during fashion week. The outfits, dark and looking like stepping a fine line between fairy tales and science fiction, yet somehow, one could always find very wearable tailored pieces in his collections. His evening dresses were fantastic mash-ups of a variety of influences, with most prominent his love for victorianna and a morbid fascination with death - taxidermied animals, bones, whole skeletons, sculls etc, were always present in his collections.

You can read about my favourite collection of his in another post I made. His loss is a great one, not only for his family and friends, but for fashion lovers and people who appreciated his talents. He had lots more to give and I believe we had not seen the best of him yet. He will be sorely missed.

Bye bye Lee