July 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
Lady Gaga was this week’s surprise guest judge on my guilty pleasure “So You Think You Can Dance.” She came onto the show with her standard nonchalance and opulent costume, but she also brought with her another special something – a ripe mole on her right cheek. It was a nice addition to her aesthetic repertoire, a bit of “pretty -ugly” to compliment her carefully crafted look.
June 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
I don’t know if Lady Gaga won anything at the Grammy’s this year, or if she was even nominated. Did she perform? I dunno. The only thing I remember is that she floated along the Red Carpet in a giant egg. The egg sat on what looked like a wooden plank that Vikings might have used to carry giant wild boar, and it was supported at each corner by adonis-like men, one of whom had very neat facial hair (probably gay?). Oh, and there was also a woman dressed in the same Rick Owens-meets-Flinstones gear, who would touch the egg and, every now and then, pose with a very, very serious face. Out of all of Gaga’s entourage, she was the only one not wearing what looked like Timberlands.
The reasoning behind this uberdramatic entrance was the release of Gaga’s album “Born This Way.” (Egg=Birth. Get it?) I think, though, that the inspiration might have come from one of my favorite Salvador Dali paintings, Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (1943). The subject matter was the same, as was the creme color scheme and spooky tone. The Dali painting is even complete with a very skinny woman touching the egg with a very, very serious face.
Since Gaga’s famous egg entrance this past spring, I’ve noticed the influence of the Spanish Modernists Salvador Dalí and Juan Miró in the work of various designers and street style. I just saw this image of a man wearing a Miró-esque shirt on Facehunter, for example.
One of Miró’s contributions to Modernism was the idea of painting from the subconscious via dreams. In Peinture (1945), white and black forms float on a sea of blue paint. At first glance, the form on the right resembles a woman wearing a dress, but upon closer inspection, that image is lost. Similarly, the white form on the left initially resembles the head of a dog (or New York State?) but Miró later revealed that it was based upon a horse from a past dream. The picture from Facehunter has a similar visual quality, with an amorphous white shape floating in a sea of dark grey and black. It also shares the playfulness and bold color contrast found in Peinture.
Like Miró, Dalí’s paintings were also inspired by dreams, which much of the imagery in his work was based upon. Some of the most recognizable images from Dalí works are his distorted interpretations of the human form. Several of them had floating eyes, or lips or torsos reimagined in a variety of styles. I recently stumbled upon these “front and back” cufflinks at Opening Ceremony from the designer Delphina Delettrez. They echo Dalí’s signature interpretation of the human body.
I also found these “Silver Evil Eye Studs” at Oak by Low Luv. They remind me of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s film Spellbound, which Dalí had worked on. The screen shot below shows a dream sequence from the film in which giant eyes from the ceiling display different states of staring.
Since the early 20th century was a time in which artists (not only in Spain, but the rest of the Western world) separated themselves from traditional themes and artistic techniques, a plethora of innovative imagery emerged. In some ways, for the first time artists had a space in which they could radically experiment and reinvent how they conceptualized their work. In doing this, they changed the way many people saw beauty and impacted art and fashion that was created thereafter.
Modernism has contributed so much to fashion already. How can any of us forget the impact that Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dresses had on visual culture in the 60s, for example? And because of Modernism’s wealth of imagery, I doubt it will ever cease to inspire fashion. At least, I hope not.
June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
This week, Lady Gaga released the video for her single “The Edge of Glory.” It was a throwback to the 80s, with ominous red mist lingering in the background and Gaga sporting Versace from the Gianna era. To me, the most interesting aspect of the video wasn’t the clothes or the set; rather, it was Gaga’s two-toned bob á la Cruella de Vil.
The bob was a refreshing alternative to the Troll-esque look she’s been sporting for the past year or so. I’m hoping the teal wig she wore to the CFDA’s was the swan song of that “do.”
The de Vil bob was also seen in YouTube sensation Rye Rye’s “New Thing” video that was also released this week. The video was a collaboration with New York-based designer Prabal Gurung, who used it in lieu of a runway show to promote his inaugural resort wear line. Unlike Gaga, who paired her hairdo with an S&M-inspired aesthetic, Rye Rye went with a sunny, popsicle-y style that’s appropriate for summertime.
June 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
Yes, it’s a pity. Lady Gaga is, in fact, white. If I remember correctly, she’s Italian. I don’t think I would have cared much about this before V Magazine put her on the cover of their Asian issue that launched earlier this month. And there’s not just one, but THREE white Lady Gaga faces on the cover of an issue that’s supposed to celebrate and promote Asian models who are too often underused, and thus underpaid, in the fashion industry.
The issue has many Asians in it: Japanese footballer Hidetoshi Nakata, former Calvin Klein model Jenny Shimizu, and a slew of Asian models walking the runways today. And although I doubt that any of these people could sell more copies than Lady Gaga at the moment, the absence of an Asian face on the cover undermines the magazine’s intentions for creating the issue and demotes the Asian theme into a mere gimmick. The only Asian thing about the cover is the script written on the side that few readers can access. And sadly, the inaccess reinforces the ubiquitous mystique that Westerners create around East Asian cultures.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m a big fan of V. And aside from the cover, this issue has a lot of artistic and intellectual richness in it. The “Girls on Top” spread, for example, beautifully showcases a handful of Asian models who are fairing well in the industry; namely, Liu Wen, Shu Pei, Tao Okamoto, and Fei Fei Sun. And there are interesting articles about Diane von Furstenberg and Dolce & Gabbana are breaking into the Chinese market. Take a look for yourself!