Monday, November 28, 2011

Olivier Theyskens, Gothic to Couture

One of the most influential designers of our current times gave an informal talk at the Museum at F.I.T. recently.  Olivier Theyskens, at a young age was appointed creative director at the House of Rochas, followed by artistic director at legendary couture house, Nina Ricci.  He currently designs a caspule collection for Theory.

Refreshingly, Mr. Theyskens was charming and matter-of-fact.  He chose to show slides of the various things, abstract and practical that inspired him.  He described his humble beginnings, creating "Gothic extravaganzas" (pictured left) out of his grandparent's sheets.  On his own response to media questions about his "muse", he thinks to himself, "whoops..." at not having one prepared.  

For someone with such a lofty resume and impressive creative work, I expected a more pretentious, jaded man at the podium.  I expected a lengthy speech about his direction, work, and a lot of other self-absorbed stuff one expects of designers of his caliber.  

Instead, he described his favorite images, like the blue and mystery of one, how he was moved by the contrast of rough boots and ethereal dress of another with childlike awe and enthusiasm.   He frequently referred to his design team sitting in front of him and noted it was a collaborative effort.

I loved his response to a tough question from the audience.  Someone asked for his response to the theory that women are more qualified to design for women because they know what they need and like to wear.  He was not offended, and did not disagree.  Rather, he explained that yes, women absolutely know themselves more, but he designs from the view of what looks beautiful on them as an outside admirer. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Le Cabinet de Curiosites

 Stroll into a historical financial building in Tribeca and enter a macabre fantasy.  The New York Mercantile Exchange building is currently hosting an elegant, unusual exhibit presented by the Malborough and Steinitz galleries.

The unique show is the collaboration of artists, Thierry Despont, Manolo Valdes and Claudio Bravo.  The show is intended to be a multi-layered experience to evoke wonder in the viewer.  It features a mix of opulent antiques, like Napoleon Bonaparte's Empire table, giant preserved insects, fantasy creatures made of found objects, artfully arranged animal skulls.

Had I had to room to do so, I would have twirled around the floor, but the gallery was filled with the glitterati like Princess Firyal of Jordan and a Baroness...Maybe even aristocrats have a dark side...

The multiple rooms had the Gothic ambience of Victorian mystery and scientific whimsy of Steampunk.   Gilded, but aged walls.  Treasures with a dark edge.

The exhibit runs until January 31, 2012.  It is located on the 2nd floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange Building at 6 Harrison Street.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Snow White & The Huntsman Costume Style

I am totally geeked.  I admit it.  Along with millions and millions of fans on Twitter, I have to gush about how much I loved the new trailer for upcoming Snow White & the Huntsman movie.

It has an elegant, exciting, Goth/elegant looks to the production and costumes.  No surprise, my favorite costume designer, Colleen Atwood is behind the lush style of the wardrobe.  Charlize Theron, as the evil queen wears elaborate, sharp, intimidating ensembles that give new meaning to word fierce.  Kristen Stewart's Snow White is no wallflower.  She wears romantic, elegant period-esque gowns but transforms into a mighty warrior.

In an interview with MTV News, the designer describes . "Her costume evolves as the story unfolds," Colleen continued. "She runs away from a situation, and she's on the run for a long time, so as she's going, bits of it get torn away and it becomes a totally different animal by the time we get to another point in the movie. She has a couple other moments that are more 'costume' moments, but her basic costume—I think she wears it well, and I think it works really well in the parameters of the story."

Haven't seen the trailer yet?  Click here: 


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