Along with rich, famous & fabulous, Nicklas Bendtner can now add designer to his resume. While footballing for Arsenal is the official day job, when he's off the clock, he dabbles in making cool jewels for fashionistos. "It has always been my dream to create a jewellery collection for men," explains the handsome Dane about his stingray, silver and black-diamond pieces. "And it must - of course - be jewellery that does not look like anything else on the market."
The "Classic" collection of rings and bracelets are available in seasonal hues and are striking enough to wear out, but sufficiently sturdy to play sports in. The "Wildlife" collection (my fave), also contains necklaces and includes:
- an eagle, considered a ruler of the sky which symbolizes courage and perspective;
- a bear (power & strength);
- a cobra (craftiness & mystery);
- a whale - above (it rests in itself);
- & a lion (being a born leader).
"The jewelry has edge and attitude," continues Bendtner. "It is exclusive and unique." And is cool enough for ladies who like to borrow from the boys. "To my surprise, lots of women have shown a huge interest in our Collections." Enough so that he designed special pieces just for his feminine fans.
NOBLE by Bendtner is available in Denmark and internationally in Pacific Palisades, California.
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in collaboration with NOBLE by Bendtner. The words are mine.]
Writing about the media is one way to examine the relationship between clothes and it. Another way? Wear clothing made from it. "Since 2004, I have been making "magazine clothes" which are made of old magazines," explains artist Movana Chen who shreds old magazines and then knits them into garments. "My idea is to play with deconstructing and reconstructing the shredded magazine papers, so that a certain meaning and content is given to these 'magazine clothes'." By creating "wearable art" for walking sculptures known as bodies, she dissects the way clothes and the media are related, shedding insight into our consumption of disposable commodities.
"The reconstructed paper pieces represent wishes, and are transformed into meanings about daily life. Even though the viewers might not understand those words printed on the shredded papers, the action they take in viewing implies communication, which then breaks the limitation of verbal language exchange. Through the knitting of these multi-languages hidden with the magazine papers, we learn about communication. It creates an alternative way of reading and exploring art as a
dialogue between visual language and the viewers. I beliver it is also a new approach to appreciate different cultures. My attempt is to explore the various methods to "wear" one's identity, to experiment and play with it, to create new opportunities for different cultures and identities and to begin the communication between one another."
For her ongoing “Travelling into your Bookshelf” project, she creates knitted dialogues around memories of books that have been donated to her by people from all over the world. "By exploring different cultures and the notion of chance through my knitting process, I attempt to establish relationships with the people I meet and to learn about their cultures by exploring their memories and maintaining a two-way communication. Through my knitting process with the participants, I hope to create a new way of reading that will let the viewers re-examine what human communication can be in a digitized society." (via)
Pantene Volume has a plumping effect inspired by collagen that turns flat hair into thick, full, 24-hour volume hair. You get high-volume hair that lasts all night...the problem being that it might just outlast you!
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in partnership with Pantene.]
For women fighting cancer, feeling good about the way they look goes beyond just vanity. The American Cancer Society found that almost 9 of every 10 women cancer patients reported feeling more confident about coping with their disease - when they felt they looked good. Of which hair plays a huge part. "It was very hard when my hair started falling out," observes one breast cancer survivor. "It really takes away who you are when you look in the mirror."
So Pantene teamed up with the American Cancer Society - the largest non-profit health organization committed to saving lives and improving the quality of life for people facing the disease - on Pantene Beautiful Lengths to help women (and men) grow strong, long beautiful locks. Once they're ready to "pony" up, the next step is to cut and donate their tresses to be made into real-hair wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments.
Be sure to check out the videos above - there are two of them, just refresh your browser to watch the second one - to see Queen Latifah and other celeb royalty who proudly support this initiative.
To date, Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American
Cancer Society’s wig banks, which then distribute wigs to cancer
patients across the country. "We created Beautiful Lengths because healthy hair means a lot to us, and the appearance of healthy hair means so much to women battling cancer," explains Pantene. "We want to be there for women when looking and feeling healthy is so important to them."
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in partnership with Pantene Beautiful Lengths. The words are mine.]
...and smart enough to have more than just a single Santa? (Try 13.)
Iceland is the latest groovy destination for the French brand's playful take on its sporty tradition which jetsets to cool places to unearth inspiring people. Like Gudmundur Ingi Ulfarsson and Hulda Vigdisadottir, the talented locals starring in the Lacoste L!VE campaign for Fall/Winter 2013-14.
Hulda is a model who lives to take photographs, especially of her native land which is so rich in geysers, glaciers, mountains, volcanos, sandy stretches, caves, waterfall and other enchanted settings. "I always want to tell stories with my pictures, whether it is a photo of a person in real-life or in a world that I made-up. I love the thought of huldufólk (the elves living in the hills, mounts and rocks) and how they make the nature magical."
Gudmundur is a graphic designer who makes music and has a "minimal but chaotic" approach to life, with "a touch of quirkiness."
Now if this fab video doesn't make you wanna drop everything, wear something cool from Lacoste (I'm all about that amaze snake print!) and book a ticket to Reykjavik - where, Gudmundur adds, you can expect "unpredictable weather, creative people & expensive beer" - you might think about rethinking your approach to life, sartorial or otherwise.
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in collaboration with Lacoste L!VE. The words are 100% mine.]
"According to film and television, vampires, werewolves, and zombies are storming across our landscape, and alien invaders, asteroids, and airborne toxic events threaten us from the skies," observes Paul Cantor, a professor of literature at the University of Virginia and author of "The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture: Liberty vs. Authority in American Film and TV". The silver screen & small screen alike seem obsessed with an "ever-more-frenzied Dance of Death," he continues, "our entire civilization reduced to rubble and the few survivors forced to live a primitive existence in terror of monstrous forces unleashed throughout the land." (images: top; right)
Interestingly, in pondering why the Apocalypse remains such a fixture in pop culture, Cantor is of the mind that filmic apocalyptic musings have less to do with some kind of collective death wish and probably more to do looking at what life would be like in the absence of institutions we no longer trust, including:
- the medical establishment: from the debaucle of pay-for-play health-care insurance (in the US) to vaccination scandals to the way pharmaceuticals are prescribed like candy - and seemingly marketed that way by Big Pharma - the trust is largely gone. Instead, many turn to alternative medicine or turn the clock back to those grandma-worthy home remedies. Doctors are not held in the esteem they once were and few of us trust the overall structure anymore.
- education: schools can resemble holding pens until kids turn 18, turning out young people who, if determined enough, can graduate high school literally illiterate. Small wonder home-schooling has proved so popular.
- government: this is the biggie. Scandals, draconian cost cutting, corruption, collapses...governments seem to have grown to big & powerful for their own - and our - good.
So what would happen if these institutions that were thought were here to provide us with economic and social stability were to vanish? "Popular culture has stepped forward to offer Americans a chance to explore these possibilities imaginatively and to rethink the American dream," says Cantor. "Films and television shows have allowed Americans to imagine what life would be like without all the institutions they had been told they need, but which they now suspect may be thwarting their self-fulfillment. We are dealing with a wide variety of fantasies here, mainly in the horror or science fiction genres, but the pattern is quite consistent and striking, cutting across generic distinctions."
...the TV show "Revolution" - when all the world's electrical devices stop functioning, people once again rely on their personal survival skills given that one of the first things to go was the government.
..."Falling Skies" - aliens destroy civilization followed by, yes, governments. (Just Like Lisa Marie's martian on an assassination mission in Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! However, any aliens with full-on bouffants and drag-queen makeup are good by me...even if they do have murder in mind.)
..."The Walking Dead" - not only are government agencies not helpful, but it was one - the CDC - that weaponized smallpox and caused the zombie plague. Gee thanks, Big Government. "Zombification is a powerful image of what governments try to do to their citizens—to create a uniform, homogenous population, incapable of acting independently," adds Cantor. "Among their many meanings, zombies have come to symbolize the force of globalization. National borders cannot stop the zombie plague from spreading, and it evidently dissolves all cultural distinctions. The zombies lose their individuality, freedom of will, and everything that makes them human beings. With their herd mentality, they are precisely the kind of mass-men that impersonal institutions seek to produce, and in a curious way they represent the docile subjects that governments secretly—or not so secretly—desire."
And without institutions like government to protect us, who do we turn to?
Us. Ourselves, Our ingenuity. Our families, tribes and communities. In The Walking Dead, characters like Andrea may start off as the weak women of stereotype, but learning to shoot and kill zombies transforms her into a powerful character not longer expecting men - or the government - to save her. Instead, now saves herself and others through her skill and reliance on herself. Which is the antithesis of the government-loving zombie that, collectively, keep governments large and in charge. (image)
"The aim [of these shows] seems to be to reduce the size of government radically and thereby to bring it closer to the people," continues Cantor. "Cut back to regional or local units, government becomes manageable again and ordinary people get to participate in it actively, recovering a say in the decisions that affect their lives. In cases where the apocalyptic event dissolves all government, these shows in effect return people to what political theorists call the state of nature...No longer locked into institutions already in place, the public gets to assess their value and see if it really needs them or might be better off under other arrangements or perhaps no government at all." (reclaimed Coca Cola aluminium apocalypse glasses by Vivienne Westwood)
And what filmed genre tends to become popular when normal life feels like a prison? A home on the range. Yes, Westerns. "Dramas set in the Wild West provided an imaginative escape from the safe and boring world of modern institutions—an image of a rugged, frontier existence, in which earlier Americans, especially men, were on their own and could act heroically in their struggle with hostile and dangerous environments." Just substitute the role than Indians were assigned in Wild West movies - that of lurking hordes threatening to rampage through civilization and wipe it out - and in their place put zombies. Or aliens. Or alien-zombies. "Like the Indians in many Westerns, the zombies are nameless and virtually faceless, they never speak, and they may be killed off indiscriminately, with their genocide being the apparent goal."
Which is good news. Because beneath the bloody, brain-spattered mayhem lies an imaginative "re-opening" of the frontier. A place where the besieged characters can shake off the shackles of The Man and return to a state closer to their real nature. Sure, the cost is prosperity and security - which are just things - and in their place, "rugged individualism, the spirit of freedom, independence, and self-reliance."
You could blame it on Isaac Asimov. His mother probably does. After dad gave him the author's Robot and Foundation series at age twelve, the following year Dominic Elvin proceeded to deconstruct a stereo-cassette player, turning it into a robot. To the dismay of mom.
However, she's no doubt proud these days at the LED-festooned cool cybernetic couture, jewelry and installations her son has created for British Airways, Absolut Vodka, Robot Wars, High Life & premiere party for Terminator 3 - as well as countless music videos and performance art shows. Inspired by the world of frontier sciences, Elvin takes apart old hardware from PCs, appliances, industrial machinery and other discarded electronics and reconfigures them into sculptures for the future. His vision of which is inspired by how people react to the changes happening around us. Going forward, Elvin plans to work more with sound and sensors in his sculptures, making them more interactive and alive.
Elvin accepts commissions & will make pieces (like the one at right) to order on Cyberdog.com.
The Futurenetics tribe is so interesting in the way they take lo-fi (discarded electronics) and turn it into the cybernetic body-couture. For me, I find it makes "The Future" seem less daunting and a whole lot more fashion-friendly.
"People don't know what they want until you show them," Steve Jobs once famously observed, unknowingly (I think) repeating the same sentiment from an unlikely source: Fashionland. "I think I always had a perfectly clear view of what was possible for the public. Give 'em what they never knew they wanted." That was Diana Vreeland, a one-time fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, curator at the Met Museum's Costume Institute and uber-famous editor in chief at Vogue during the 60s. During which time she penned an impressive collection of memos which have been collected and edited by her grandson Alexander in “Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years” (Rizzoli New York).
Documenting Grandma Diana actually seems to have turned into a family business. Alexander's wife, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, made the well-received “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel" (2012).
Interestingly, Vreeland wasn't brought up to be career-minded and never thought she would work. Rather, her "work" originally consisted of turning herself into a sought-after debutante who married one of the handsomest batchelors of the day, banker T. Reed Vreeland. "I never felt comfortable about my looks until I married Reed Vreeland," she once said. "I believe in love at first sight because that's what it was. I knew the moment our eyes met that we would marry."
And become an impeccably-dressed couple who lived for a time in Albany, New York and then in Europe. After returning to the US, she met the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar. After no doubt charming Carmel Snow with observations such as "Vulgarity is a very important ingredient in life. I'm a great believer in vulgarity - if it's got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste- it's hearty, it's healthy, it's physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I'm against." - Vreeland began penning a column: "Why don't you..."Style and fashion suggestions included “Why Don’t You start a topiary garden of box or yew and clip the bushes into peacocks and poodles?” or “Why Don’t You give a new note to your sitting room by introducing a Victorian chair upholstered by Jensen in bright emerald green cotton, buttoned in white with little white chenille earrings on either side?” Of course this column for fellow rich people was silly, satirized in The New Yorker, even, but it revealed Vreeland's talent for knowing that people wanted personality. "I think part of my success as an editor came from never worrying about a fact, a cause, an atmosphere," she said later. "It was me - projecting to the public. That was my job."
Because she worked not for economic reasons but obviously for sheer enjoyment, it provides an interesting perspective on one of the early Supremium tribe members - which at first can seem superficial & uninteresting, like this memo, for example, dated February
1967: “Brigitte Bardot travelled halfway across the world to get married
barefoot.…Mrs. George Harrison, wife of the Beatle, arrived on her
honeymoon from Nassau to London Airport in a miniskirt — published by us
last winter.…The tote bag is the thing.…The great trip into unknown
rough country is the thing..."
However, beneath the easy/breezy society-girl armor beat the heart of a passionate woman who once noted that the only good life was the one you imagined & then fashioned for yourself. Fashioned, literally, in Vreeland's case. "I was always fascinated by the absurdities and the luxuries and the snobbism of the world that fashion magazines showed. Of course, it’s not for everyone. Very few people had ever breathed the pantry air of a woman who wore the kind of dress Vogue used to show when I was young. But I lived for that world, not only during my years in the magazine business but for years before, because I was always of that world — at least in my imagination."
The Design Library recently made fashionista hearts beat faster when they announced that their acquisition from the Abraham silk archives was now ready for viewing. Abraham was a Swiss silk company founded in 1878 by Jakob Abraham but later pushed into the fashion history books by the company's one-time apprenctice, Gustav Zumsteg. After spending part of the war in Paris, where his 1930s mingling included Georges Braque, Marc Chagall and Alberto Giacometti and night school meant art history classes at the Louvre, Zumsteg returned to Zurich and was made a partner in Abraham. Between 1943 and 1980, Zumsteg grew the company from $1.7 million to $26 million. How? "There are things in the air," he once explained about his secret, "and we try to capture them...I feel instinctively what is happening in fashion; it's a process that almost never stops."
Meaning: his knack for knowing when the time was right for lush florals, beautiful butterflies, bold graphics and artistic abstract patterns made Abraham part of every Parisian A-list collection. Balenciaga and Chanel were friends, Christian Dior a steady customer, Givenchy a really steady customer and the "great joy" of his career - collaborating and becoming lifelong friends with Dior's one-time assistant Yves Saint Laurent. "Gustav Zumsteg was my ally, my friend and my collaborator for some 45 years, I used his fabric in my most beautiful dresses," noted YSL when Zumsteg passed away. "His talent was a never-ending source of inspiration. I owe him many unforgettable moments."
The celeb factor never hurts, either, given how much Abraham Audrey Hepburn was photographed in when she wore Givenchy (which was, like, all the time) and Catherine Deneuve in YSL (top). As to why Zumsteg and/or Abraham was Soie Pirate, as the exhibition devoted to the brand in 2007 at the Swiss National Museum was titled, who knows. But when someone not only calls you a pirate but devotes an entire museum show to you as a result, you say thankyou and go with it.
The Design Museum is a prime example of the FOLKSPUN Fashion Tribe at work, preserving the best in the history of fashion, textiles and all things artisanal in order for future generations to enjoy. Here's the podcast I recorded about this:
"The world has ended, civilization has collapsed, the undead hordes have overrun everything. We've seen the apocalypse so many times, even Roland Emmerich is bored with it. So what comes next?"
Cool Halloween makeup, for one thing. This fun "Hard as Hell" makeup by Mayela Vazquez (above) is anything but if you just follow the instructions below the podcast.
But is there more to his maquillage than meets the ghoulish eye? I would argue: yes. It's another sign, along with the apocalyptical ennui observed by io9.com that we've moved beyond just throwing up our collective hands in the *face* - so to speak - of impending doom and instead decided to paint it...doomsayers in the know prefer the longlasting, Endtime-proof formulations of Makeup Forever & Illamasqua. (Rick Owens's fiery apocalyptic runway show for Fall 2012)
In movieland, we've moved beyond just wringing our hands and bemoaning the fact the end is nigh. "Think about movies in 2012 that featured New York being trashed — the main one that comes to mind is probably The Avengers," continues io9. "Unlike previous years' crops of New York-gets-trashed films, this one featured a gang of superbeings fighting back. And the next year's crop of big tentpole movies include mass destruction, being battled by giant mecha (Pacific Rim), Superman (Man of Steel), and the Starship Enterprise (Star Trek). We're not dwarfed by the scale of the destruction in those movies, we're big enough to weigh in. Idris Elba even declaims in the Pacific Rim trailer that the apocalypse is cancelled."
What I also found interesting about the archetype of the apocalypse is that Carl Jung identified it in the early 1950s. Calling out the approaching "End Time" was more than just an intellectual attempt to put all of society on the analyst's couch; rather, he felt every individual had some degree of power to change the future and that if enough people were aware on a conscious level of this archetype, the fate of future could in fact be altered in a positive way. (image)
Which is, I think, one of the key characteristics of the Apocalytical fashion tribe. Yes, they're worried about The End but they're also of the mind that it's in our power to change things. And rocking makeup is a fun and fab way to shed some humor on the situation 'cuz everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine. (To say nothing of having something cool to wear when all hell breaks loose, like this clever leather "Victory" vest by Anahata
Designs which comes with detachable long sleeves that easily transform it into a jacket.)
How-To: Create the ‘Hard as Hell’ Halloween makeup by Mayela Vazquez
SKIN: The more pale, the better - go several shades lighter than your natural skin color. Try: Make-Up Forever Face and Body Liquid Make-Up for a waterproof natural, satin finish and The Famous HD Powder.
EYEBROWS: The no-brow look is part of what makes this makeup H-A-R-D. Which eyebrows aren't. An easy way to hide 'em (assuming you haven't yet plucked them into oblivion) is to smooth foundation over them and complete the disappearing act by dusting on a layer of powder.
EDGES: Shadows under the cheekbones are key - use a small brush (more control) and apply brown or even purple eyeshadow. Then switch to a light shimmer to bring out highlights along the top of the bone.
EYES: You'll need black mascara, a dark eyeshadow such as purple or burgundy, a pair of fake eyelashes and two colors of eyeliner: black & white.
Apply the white eyeliner along the inside your lower eyelids. Follow with a smoky eye using the dark shadow and then add depth by applying black eyeliner in the corner of the eyes. Lastly, glue on those falsies & pile on the mascara. Try: eyelashes by Shu Uemura, Make-Up Forever or Ardell; Illamasqua lipstick (the darker, the better) - good ones are Illamasqua's Pristine (matte opaque black), their Two-toned Lip Bundle and/or the Pout-Perfection set which includes an awesome stayput lip pencil.
Make two giant braids - use synthetic hair if you don't have enought of your own. Then treat each braid the way you would a headband, making them encircle your head & setting them with bobby pins and enough hairspray to choke a beauty pageant contestant.