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Bulgari has joined forces with Rome’s Maxxi Museum to launch the Maxxi Bulgari Prize, aiming to elevate young contemporary artists.

Previously known as Premio Maxxi, the competition has relaunched with the hope of ‘renewing and transforming itself, expanding its horizons’ said a spokesperson for the Museum in a press statement.

A jury of specialists has been elected to choose the three Maxxi Bulgari Prize 2018 finalists. Revealed by Giovanna Melandri, President of the Foundation Maxxi and a representative from Bulgari at an event at the Bulgari Hotel London, during the Freize Art Fair week on October 3.

Among the specialists will be: Hou Hanru, artistic director at Maxxi; David Elliott independent curator; Yuko Hasegawa, artistic director at Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director at the Serpentine Galleries in London.

The work from the three finalists will be exhibited at the Maxxi Museum from May 2018, featured in an exhibition curated by Giulia Ferracci.

In October 2018, the jury will elect the winner of the prize, whose work will then be handed to the museum.

The Maxxi Museum was founded by the late architect Zaha Hadid, and dedicates itself to 21st Century modern art.

LVMH to revamp Paris park

LVMH is planning to rejuvenate a 150 year old park on the outskirts of Paris.

The luxury group is teaming up with long term partner Compagnie des Alpes, a ski resort operator, as part of a 60 million euro upgrade of the park in the Bois de Boulogne area on the edge of Paris West.

With the help of a team of architects and landscape planners, the companies are planning to build an ecological promenade, restructure the park’s digital offering with a new website, rebuild the mini farm and install 17 new carousels in a steam punk-inspired ambiance, according to WWD.

As a private cultural initiative, the Fondation Louis Vuitton aims to become part of the Ile-deFrance cultural landscape and to rekindle interest in Western Paris.

Back in May, LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault stated the company is expanding its art museum empire with plans to renovate a disused public building near his Louis Vuitton Foundation in the same area.

The Musee National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, built in 1972 but sitting vacant since 2005, is to be turned into a arts and crafts center in a 158 million euros revamp by architect Frank Gehry.

Arnault stated he viewed the new project as a "cultural start-up".

Photo credit: Fondation Louis Vuitton, source: LVMH

Stüssy partners with Dover Street Market for tshirt retrospective

US founded streetwear brand Stüssy will launch a retrospective exhibition at Dover Street Market from August 28.

Exhibiting eight t-shirts with graphics from the brand’s archive, the retrospective will explore the significance of the t-shirt as a means of communication.

“The t-shirt is such an important past of Stüssy’s past and present and it felt like a nice time to dig into the archives and bring back some of the brand’s well-known and lesser-seen graphics,” says creative director Ryan Willms in an interview with Business of Style.

A collection of limited edition t-shirts, featuring the archive graphics will go on sale alongside the exhibition, as well as worldwide in DSM stores.

A limited edition 240 page book in partnership with IDEA Books, featuring unseen Stüssy imagery will also accompany the retrospective.

Founded by Shawn Stüssy in 1984, the streetwear brand was the first to “start building [an] international ‘tribe’ through the use of its logo on t-shirts and hats,” continued Willms. The pioneer of style amongst the surf and skate movement, Stüssy continues to remain relevant in today’s growing streetwear scene.

Screenshot courtesy of Stüssy website

Diana: Styleista who shook up the royal dress code

Princess Diana revolutionized the royal dress code with the help of some of the world's greatest designers during a glamorous life that came to a tragic end 20 years ago this month.

"Diana has become a fashion icon in the same way as Jackie Kennedy or Audrey Hepburn -- timeless, elegant, and still so relevant," said Eleri Lynn, curator of "Diana: Her Style Story", an exhibition at her Kensington Palace home in London.

Nicknamed "Shy Di" ahead of her marriage to Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, in 1981, Diana came out of her shell and realised how her clothes could be used as a powerful communication tool.

"The princess learned to make her wardrobe say what she could not, and worked closely with designers like Catherine Walker to curate her personality through clothes," Sophie Goodwin, fashion director of Tatler magazine, told The New York Times in February.

Diana mastered the art of wearing the right dress for the right occasion. She wore bright clothes when visiting hospices, in order to appear warm and accessible. On foreign visits, she would choose clothes inspired by the national colours, such as the white dress with red spots she wore on the trip to Japan in 1986.

She chose not to wear gloves "because she liked to make with the people she was meeting", said Lynn. Pictures of the princess shaking hands with AIDS patients in 1987 helped to break down myths surrounding the disease, including the unfounded fear of being able to catch it through touching sufferers.

The most photographed woman of the age, Diana understood the rules of royal dressing but was not afraid of twisting them. She breached royal protocol by wearing a black ballgown, a colour worn formally by royal women only during mourning.

Her outfits included androgynous gear, such as a tuxedo and a bow tie. "That's quite the bold, fun look that you don't necessarily expect of a princess," said Lynn. She said Diana was the first woman in the royal family to wear trousers to an evening event.

Daring outfits

She also helped to modernise the royal wardrobe, with outfits that made a lasting impression. The midnight blue Victor Edelstein velvet evening gown she wore for a dinner at the White House in 1985 is one of her most famous. It was in this dress that the princess danced with US actor John Travolta, to the hit "You Should Be Dancing" from the film "Saturday Night Fever" in which he starred.

Diana: Styleista who shook up the royal dress code

Nicknamed the Travolta dress, it even has its own Wikipedia page and sold for 240,000 pounds (318,000 dollars, 268,000 euros) at auction in 2013. After her divorce from Charles in 1996, Diana switched up her style once again, abandoning the British designers she had relied upon in favour of international fashion houses such as Dior, Lacroix or Chanel.

Diana ditched the frills, taffeta and giant ball gowns and adopted more daring outfits, like the figure-hugging sky blue Jacques Azagury dress that went as far above the knee as the designer felt he could go at the time with a princess.

"For so many years, the princess of Wales was the world's one and only fashion obsession, and the forerunner of modern glamour as we know it. She had to make it all up for herself," wrote Sarah Mower in the Daily Mail newspaper. Diana's look was widely copied and still inspires catwalks and designers to this day.

The online clothing site Asos launched a Diana-inspired collection in October 2016, playing on her off-duty look. Her style even has a presence in the social media age. An Instagram account called Princess Diana Forever, which has 160,000 followers, posts a daily picture of her in various outfits, bringing her to a new generation. (AFP)

Photo credits: Marcela Gutierrez / Notimex / AFP and Jacques Demarthon, Torsten Balckwood, Diego Zapata / AFP

Louise Dahl-Wolfe retrospective to open at Style & Textile Museum

London’s Style and Textile Museum have announced that they will stage the UK’s first Louise Dahl-Wolfe retrospective, Louise Dahl–Wolfe: A Style of Her Own. Set to open October 20, the retrospective will explore the famous work of Dahl-Wolfe, taken over a period of 30 years from 1930-1959.

As a pioneer of modern fashion photography, Dahl-Wolfe is known for her defining images of the post-war woman. Both in black and white and colour, her photos were mostly shot outside, on location in countries such as Cuba, Mexico and South America, making her the pioneer of ‘environmental’ photography.

“This long overdue show at last gives British audiences the opportunity to see the first career retrospective of the world’s leading woman fashion photographer. Dahl-Wolfe worked from the 1930s to the early 1960s and not only excelled at fashion but also triumphed as a still-life, nude and portrait photographer.” said Terence Pepper, Photographs Curator for the Style and Textile Museum.

The retrospective will focus on Dahl-Wolfe’s work for Harper’s Bazaar, where she spent 22 years as a leading contributor - influencing photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn with her ‘fresh and spontaneous’ photographs found on 86 covers of the fashion magazine.

The exhibition will consist of 100 of Dahl-Wolfe’s photographs, featuring the work of couture designers Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior as well as American fashion innovators Claire McCardell and Clare Potter.

“Her fashion pictures are the definition of elegance and beauty. They present an aspirational portrait of the mid-century woman as she newly wished to be: independent, self-assured and in control of her own destiny. ‘Louise Dahl Wolfe: A Style of Her Own’ highlights the power of photography and magazines to change people’s perception of what they can do and who they might become,” said Celia Joicey, head of the Style and Textile Museum in a press statement.

In addition, the Museum will stage a display of other photographic highlights celebrating Harper’s Bazaar’s 150th anniversary.

Louise Dahl–Wolfe: A Style of Her Own will be on display from 20 October 2017 – 21 January 2018.

Photo courtesy of Style & Textile Museum

Fortnum & Mason launch art exhibition

British heritage retailer Fortnum & Mason is turn its iconic Piccadilly department store into a bonafide art gallery.

The store will house art installations as part of a collaboration with collector Frank Cohen for the second year running.

Ahead of the Frieze London Art Fair in October, Fortum's will show the work of Scottish artist John Bellany.

The collaboration is called Fortnum’s X Frank and will run from September 18 until October 18 and will take up space in different parts of the retailer’s flagship.

During the in-store residency, 50 works by Mr. Bellany will be displayed. Mr. Bellany made unique contributions to contemporary British painting with a career spanning five decades.

Curated by Robert Upstone, former Director of The Fine Art Society and Head of Modern British Art at Tate, the exhibition will feature paintings from all periods of Bellany’s career, and will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s work since his death in 2013.

Photo credit: Fortnum's X Frank, source: Fortnum & Mason website

Benetton Group launches ‘Power her Choices’ campaign

A new global family planning campaign was launched today at The London Summit on Family Planning together with United Colors of Benetton and UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund. The campaign, named ‘Power Her Choices’, has been released globally in an attempt to protect women from unintended pregnancies.

“Millions of women and adolescent girls are still waiting for access to modern contraceptives,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s Acting Executive Director. “While we have reached thirty million more women over the past five years, thanks to the Family Planning 2020 initiative, we need to step up our commitments, expand our partnerships, and broaden our reach to ensure that no one is left behind.” The campaign is aiming to supply 120 million more women, focusing on those in developing nations, with access to modern contraception by 2020.

“Many girls, especially in developing countries, must be able to take control of their lives and have access to contraceptives,” stressed Carlo Tunioli, Fabrica’s Chief Executive Officer. “In 2016, an estimated 770,000 girls, some as young as ten years old, became mothers, with devastating effects on their health and future. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, up to 25 per cent of all young women leave school because of unintended pregnancies,” added spokesperson for UNFPA said in a press statement.

Benetton Group launches ‘Power her Choices’ campaign

Fabrica, Benetton Group’s research centre on communications, has produced campaign images, featuring a light bulb in the shape of the womb - ‘a metaphor of how the work of UNFPA can help spark a new awareness in young women worldwide,” said Tunioli.

Hoping to raise awareness about family planning and gain additional partners for this global commitment, the campaign also features photos of a light installation with phrases written in light bulbs such as ‘I am pregnant’, which are then revealed as ‘I am not ready to be pregnant’ once all the lightbulbs are on. Photos of the installation displaying various phrases will be posted on social media.

United Colors of Benetton, owned by Benetton Group, is one of the best-known fashion companies in the world. Using its global reach for good, the group lends ‘a watchful eye to the environment, to human dignity, and to a society in transformation’. The group has previously been involved in campaigns such as ‘UnitedByHalf’ which aims to promote gender equality in India.

UNFPA is the leading UN agency, working in 150 countries to deliver ‘a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled’.

Photos courtesy of Benetton Group

‘Christian Dior, Dream Couturier’ opens at Musée Les Arts Décoratifs

A huge show about the fabled French fashion house Christian Dior which opens Wednesday has had a galaxy of stars making the pilgrimage to Paris.

With Hollywood actresses Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Kristen Stewart already in town for the label's haute couture show, Stewart's "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson queued with models Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne to get a sneak peak of the retrospective at the city's decorative arts museum.

While Dior -- celebrating its 70th anniversary -- has become synonymous with classy highly feminine glamour, fashion was not its founder's first love. Christian Dior came to clothes through art after setting up a Paris gallery to "champion the most avant garde of artists", said the exhibition's curator Olivier Gabet.

‘Christian Dior, Dream Couturier’ opens at Musée Les Arts Décoratifs

"It was he who gave Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti their first shows" in the French capital, he added. And it was his friendships with artists Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob and Pablo Picasso that helped sustain him through a difficult decade after his gallery closed in the Depression.

Dior, a talented artist, began designing theatre costumes and from there took his first steps into couture.

Superstitious

Hugely superstitious, he only made the final leap after a tarot reader told him he would head his own fashion house. Two years later in 1947 his "New Look" revolutionised fashion, throwing wartime austerity out the window, trailblazing a new femininity.

Tarot and astrological motifs would later become one of Dior's trademarks. Historian Florence Muller, who co-curated the show, said the "New Look" became "emblematic", with the show tracing how the six designers who came after Dior subtly adapted it -- and how rival houses still "reference" it to this day.

The spectacular exhibition -- which includes more than 300 haute couture gowns and dresses -- documents how Dior became the go-to brand for stars from Lauren Bacall to Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. It also reveals that Dior named his famous Bar suit after the bar of the Plaza Athenee hotel next to his headquarters on Avenue Montaigne between the Champs Elysee and the River Seine.

Ever the artist, Dior spent much of his time in the country drawing, leaving the nitty gritty to Marguerite Carre, who headed his studio. "I think of my work as ephemeral architecture dedicated to the beauty of the female body," he said.

It was, however, to prove far from ephemeral. When Dior died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack in 1957 his mantle fell on his timid young assistant Yves Saint Laurent, who was only 21 at the time.

Yet in his very first collection Saint Laurent invented the "trapeze dress" which became a runaway success, and he was quickly dubbed the "little prince of fashion". However, the leather jackets of his "beatnik" show were just too much for some of the brand's conservative clientele and he was bundled out the door in 1960.

'Forgotten man'

He was replaced by Marc Bohan, who despite running the house for a record 29 years, became the "forgotten man" of Dior, according to Muller. "The extravagance of his successors Gianfranco Ferre and John Galliano overshadowed a lot of what he did," said Muller even though his "Slim Look" exemplified by models such as Twiggy was highly successful.

Ferre brought an exuberance back to the label in the 1980s with flowers, feathers and rich embroidery while Gibraltar-born Galliano -- then fashion's punk rebel -- brought a strong dose of British eccentricity and theatricality, she added.

"Even so Galliano had a strong connection linking him with Dior in his vision of strong femininity, with tight waists and ample hips," she told AFP. The Belgian Raf Simons stepped up to the mark in 2012 after Galliano was sacked following a drunken rant in a Paris cafe.

Muller said the show demonstrates that Simons' work was less minimalist than his reputation might suggest. "You can get the impression it's quite simple but close up you can see the complexity," she said citing organza cut by laser and a dress make entirely of tiny feathers.

The exhibition ends with the Italian Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior's first female artistic director who took the reins last year. "This exhibition is not just about Dior. It is about women in every era which is fascinating for me," she said. "Christian Dior, Maker of Dreams" runs until January 7. (AFP)

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Photos: Alain Jocard, AFP
Celebrating Dior’s 70th Anniversary at Musée Les Arts DécoratifsIN PICTURE

In the midst of Paris Couture week, the Musée Les Arts Décoratifs will open the doors to their largest retrospective dedicated to fashion, marking the 70th anniversary of the House of Dior.

‘Christian Dior, Dream Couturier’ is spread over 32,000 square feet and was designed by interior architect, Nathalie Crinière. Featuring 300 haute couture gowns, along with documents such as photographs, sketches, illustrations, letters and advertising - the exhibition follows the Haute Couture house from opening in 1947 to Maria Grazia Chiuri’s artistic direction in 2017. The exhibition was inaugurated by the French fashion house at the end of Chiuri’s autumn/winter 17/18 Paris show yesterday afternoon and will be opened for the public on Wednesday.

Celebrating Dior’s 70th Anniversary at Musée Les Arts Décoratifs

The exhibition explores how the six artistic directors that succeeded Christian Dior have continued to shape the couture house - with six galleries in succession dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferre, John Galliano, Raf Simons and today Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Oliver Gabet, Director at Les Arts Décoratifs curated the exhibition with Florence Müller, who worked on ‘Espirit Dior’ in Beijing, 2012. Gabet told WWD that “the idea was to show that the universe of the Christian Dior house is extremely sophisticated and cultivated, drawing inspiration from many different sources”.

Celebrating Dior’s 70th Anniversary at Musée Les Arts Décoratifs

The extensive exhibition borrows many unseen artefacts from the Dior Héritage archive as well as from museums and galleries including The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.

“One of the purposes of this exhibition is for people to really understand the level of detail that goes into these haute couture creations, because they go by too fast in a catwalk show, which very few people attend, and it doesn’t come across in photographs,” Müller noted.

Celebrating Dior’s 70th Anniversary at Musée Les Arts Décoratifs

The exhibition begins with a classic gown from 1947 - representing Dior’s ‘New Look’ - the silhouette that created the post-war ideal of an hourglass figure. Continuing through the six successors designs, with stand out pieces including Galliano’s full-length python dress with accompanying Egyptian death mask.

The retrospective comes to end with Maria Grazia Chiuri’s defining pieces. Which she added to in her haute couture show on Monday in the garden of Paris’s Hôtel des Invalides - paying homage to female explorers such as the aviator Amy Johnson with a one piece shearling flying suit.

Photos: Alain Jocard, AFP

Calvin Klein's chief creative officer Raf Simons just released a passion project. Collaborating with musicians The XX, Simons also worked with filmmaker Alasdair McLellan on the creative concept for the video.

As Simons is known for his creativity, he has helped lead the Calvin Klein brand. His motivation for working with The XX came from his admiration of the band's work with past music videos such as "On Hold" and "Say Something Loving." In order to create the third piece of the trilogy, Simons worked to add atmospheric elements and also incorporating a cast of Calvin Klein collaborators.

With his work on sophisticated silhouettes, Simons heads towards the music industry for this collaboration. "For Simons, L.A. is a place of high art, everyday unreality, as well as the stage set for all of our favorite high school melodramas," according to the Calvin Klein website. The "I Dare You" music video Simons collaborated on was filmed in Los Angeles and is currently featured in the men's Spring 2017 Calvin Klein Underwaer advertising campaign. The video debuted today on June 29 and is available now on Youtube.