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Where fashion comes home to play, rest and dream

September 26, 2014

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It’s often said that Karl Lagerfeld doesn’t seem to reside on planet earth. We tend to agree, and not just because his signature style—Edwardian collars, ascots, and the occasional monocle worn with skinny jeans—gives him the appearance of a dandy robot from an unknown future-past, but rather because there seems to be no way to imagine that someone could accomplish as much as Lagerfeld in Planet Earth’s brief 24 hour day. On Planet Lagerfeld the days must be significantly longer.

Now well into his seventies, Lagerfeld heads three of the world’s largest fashion houses, producing approximately 12 collections a year; owns a Paris book store; a publishing imprint Edition 7L.; works as a prolific photographer, producing books and shooting the ad campaigns for his designs; and continues to design homes on multiple continents. All this fueled by his only drug: up to 10 diet cokes a day, served by his butler on a silver platter.

So when he quips that his only ambition in life is to wear size 28 jeans, we have a hard time believing him.

Referred to by his friends as a “a pure creature of creativity”, it’s clear in all facets of his life that Lagerfeld is a master of transformation and innovation in the way only great artists are.

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Karl Lagerfeld back when he was Chloe’s head designer in the late 1960’s

Lagerfeld is a polyglot who switches seamlessly between French, English and German (and claims to feel like a different person in each one), who once lost almost 100 pounds in a year because he had become so smitten by Hedi Slimane’s slim designs for Dior Homme.
His transformative powers aren’t only on display on himself however, in the 1970s when he was already designing for Chloe and Fendi, Lagerfeld changed Chanel from a lifeless company kept afloat solely by perfume sales, to one of the largest fashion houses in the world, coveted by the youngest, hippest most stylish stars. Critics may have claimed he had “desecrate[ed] the Chanel style with sight gags and overkill, with a tarty sex appeal and crass sensationalism” but it worked phenomenally well.

It’s no surprise then that Lagerfeld can move between dramatically different styles in his living environments.

In the 1980’s Lagerfeld’s Monacco house was decorated by the avant guard design team, Memphis.

Karl-Lagerfeld-in-his-Monte-Carlo-Memphis-furnished-apartment-1981.-Photograph-by-Jacques-SchumacherMemphis, the quirky design group of the early eighties, comprised of a coterie of architects and industrial designers famed for questioning modernist minimalism and eschewing functionalist forms with color, humor and asymmetrical shapes. Known for their performative, exaggerated, and sometimes unapproachable style, we can understand why Lagerfeld would be drawn to it.

lagerfeld Monacco 1981

These days Lagerfeld has taken a paired down philosophy to design, recently selling off an extensive collection of antique furniture and various homes including the French chateau in which his mother was buried. Today Lagerfeld’s primary residency is comprised mostly of glass, steel, fluorescent lights and a notable lack of color.

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Lagerfeld shuns color because it constantly surrounds him. In this cocoon for sleeping, bathing and working Lagerfeld wants to feel as though he is in a neonatal hospital.

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iPods in every room reveal Lagerfeld’s continued fascination with music

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The refrigerator supposedly only holds Diet Coke

karl-lagerfeld-parisian-apartment-6 largeLagerfeld insists upon freshly washed and ironed, embroidered sheets every day.

karl-lagerfeld-parisian-apartment-5 largeOld fashioned windows are the only thing that gives away the apartment’s early 1800’s origins. Chrome chair by Marc Newson,  stools by Jasper Morrison.  Futuristic sofa by Amanda Levete.Karl-Lagerfeld-Paris-Apartment across the street

His other apartment just a few meteres down the street is often the site of raucous dinner parties, photography shoots, and houses many of his more than 40, 000 books. We love the simple but bold textures provided by the books,  the parkay floor and gorgeous carpet.

Karl-Lagerfeld-Paris-Apartment accross the street

Lagerfeld is a master at creating an environment. Chanel fashion shows consistently explode the constrictions of typical runway events, as Lagerfeld chooses instead to create entire universes highlighting or contrasting the look and feel of the season’s collection. This year’s Paris show was a particularly brilliant example of Lagerfeld’s creativity as he transformed the Grand Palais into a Chanel Costo, sending models down a Warhol inspired runway, lined with aisles of brightly colored household items.

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One of the things we find particularly compelling about Lagerfeld’s approach is his insistance on carving out time for day dreaming.  While many of us are glued to our iPhones, Lagerfeld insists on driving around Paris, the city he has lived in for all his adult life, just to soak up its atmosphere.  He takes time to really look at the world around him, to read, to sketch and let his thoughts wander.  If he can find the time to do so, so can we.

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Morocco the Magnificent

September 19, 2014

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“Where a man feels at home, outside of where he’s born, is where he’s meant to be.”   – Ernest Hemingway

Morocco is a country with wide swaths of paprika desert, where Berber men wrapped tightly in indigo cotton make their way across the sands on lurching camels, stopping mid-step to take a phone call. It has attracted visitors from all walks of life looking for something unknown. A feeling of being transported to when life was saturated with poetry and music. Paul Bowles made Tangier is home for over 50 years. He once stated that in Tangier, “the past and the present exist simultaneously in proportionate degree… a very much alive today is given an added depth of reality by the presence of an equally alive yesterday.” A city able to transport a person of this reality into the vibrant life of the past is rare and sacred. Morocco deserves praise, pots filled with couscous, and a blog post worthy of its grandeur.

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Atlas Mountains

So why can’t we follow in the steps of Bowles, or take Hemingway’s lead and take a layover in Africa in between Paris and Cuba? Why can’t we get lost in the Atlas Mountains on our CB350 Honda, wind in our hair. It might be your work obligations, your kids, or maybe your mother. But as the Moroccan’s say, ‘If God Wills It.’ For now we’ll order lunch from the local bodega, take our shoes off, and let our imagination run wild.

Comparison 1

Carini Lang vintage Moroccan rug against a Moroccan landscape

Textiles are an important part of Carini Lang’s philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. Morocco is more than an inspiration, it serves as a playing field for color ways, textures, and design. One of the things which captivates us most about Morocco is this deep contrast of enduring traditions and creative contemporaneity.  The very same weaving techniques that have been producing some of the world’s most beautiful carpets for centuries, cushion the floors of  Marrakech’s hip boutique hotels of today. Mixing old with the new has never been more romantic.

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Woven in the Atlas Mountains, the Berber people are using techniques hundreds of years old made from the curly wool coats of the Berber sheep. Morocco’s Beni Ourain rugs highlight the beauty of repetition through muted colors and shaggy textures. Despite the sometimes seething, tumult of Morocco, beauty in order and repetition can be found. Whether it is vat upon vat of different color dyes in an outdoor tannery; nuts and spices piled higher than you could imagine. Rows of intricately carved hands of Fatima, protecting a house from the evil eye, this is one design trick Morocco has mastered.

Comparison 2

Carini Lang’s vintage Moroccan carpets side by side. Discover more here.

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Carini Lang Moroccan Carpet

Owning a Moroccan carpet means more than just being ‘in’ for the season, it means being connected to the earth. To a time when simplicity through technique gave way to intricate design. The repetitious shapes, prayers, imagery; oh and the color. Morocco’s topography has been producing natural dyes made from roots, berries, and leaves since the Neolithic period. The terrain can be so punishing yet fruitful. How can such a treacherous earth give way to such a beautiful creation?

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Lovely Morocco –  smelling of zest and turmeric and wood chips, watered by different languages, encircled by the mountains, cradle of civilization, one of three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines – We shall see you soon.

God willing.

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Cat King: Multi Hyphenated Wonder

September 11, 2014

cat picEvery once in a while someone comes along who captures your gaze with a kind of unshakable power, a genuineness you can sense, a mesmerizing mutability that doesn’t quite let you pin down what you’re seeing. That’s precisely how Cat King is: a kind of modern day mirage you can’t exactly figure out. One moment you’re captivated by her bright green eyes contrasting with her jet black hair, her tough girl tattoos and boisterous DJ mixes that make you want to stay up all night with your baddest friends. The next minute she’s an angelic blond, with disarmingly ernest tenderness, wearing her heart on her sleeve, writing poems on old wooden saws, screeching sweetly into a microphone. Sweet, wild, hopeful, hysteric enchantress, this tattooed love-child of Iggy Pop and Marilyn Monroe is going places.
cat glasses
You’re an unbelievably multi-talented person working in a wide range of fields. Is there a unifying element to your various work? What’s your favorite aspect of these different jobs?

Well thank you! A few years ago, I made the decision to try to survive doing only what makes me happy. The road has been long and bumpy but creativity is where my happiness lies, so I choose to spend my time creating. Whether it is creating the atmosphere through music when I DJ, or creating a different view for people to see the world through my writing, or art to put up on walls for the public to see, I am following my happiness.

 

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One of many Cat King’s DJing outfits

All we have in the end is who we are and what we create. Writing allows me to delve deeper into myself and weed out my true feelings beneath all of the static. As I communicate the findings with the readers, I am communicating them to myself as well. Life can be so fast-paced I feel lucky to have a job that allows me to continue my education within myself. Street art is something I started doing just as a fun hobby. Rebellion is such a key aspect to my happiness and I only put things up that I believe would make other people smile.

fuk your ego

I enjoy DJing because it becomes my job to ensure that people have a good time, and allow themselves to let go of their inhibitions on the dance floor. I want people to remember how fun the simple things in life can be and to remember what it is like to feel free.

cat djing

What’s your favorite medium to work in?

Honestly most of my mediums start from trash or garage sales. I like the feeling of turning something once thought of as trash, into treasure. I have been etching my poetry and designs onto rusted, old hand saws lately. I find the work to be so rewarding. Trash and treasure are only words if you look at them as such.

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cat on the street

Catking saw

Cat's graphics transformed from street art into a silk Carini Lang carpet

Cat’s graphics transformed from street art into a silk Carini Lang carpet

A Cat King Constructed Chair

A Cat King Constructed Chair

Clothing seems to be a big part of your look/ artistic expression. Any emerging/ new designers you particularly like?

Haha it’s funny because although I have been in the modeling business for a while, I don’t pay much attention to fashion or fashion trends. My style consists mainly of pieces that I find at thrift stores and then customize myself. I did do an interview recently for IXLVS and I am a big fan. That’s about as far as my current fashion knowledge goes right now. I am a huge fan of Beacon’s Closet.

My tattoos are basically my adulthood scrapbook.

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Can you tell us a little something about your tattoos? Are they all by the same artist? When did you start getting them? How many do you have? What’s your favorite one?

I collect them as I go, many from different artists among different states. I got my first one when I was 17 years old right in the middle of my sternum. To me they tell a story, or remind me of important values to hold dear always. My favorite one is my broken wishbone on my left wrist. People ask me all the time why I chose a broken wishbone and it’s because I like the idea of the fact that it is broken and still so beautiful. Who is to say that something that is broken has less value?

How does music inspire your other work?
Music inspires my entire life. It always has. I was a child of rock n’ roll and then spent much of my time among the punk scene. I like all kinds of music and the range has shaped the soundtrack of my life and the person I am today.
djing

Patti Smith said she thinks contemporary young artists should go anywhere else but New York City, and a lot of folks from her generation have said they never would have been able to survive here in today’s scene. What do you think about being young and creative in NYC these days?
I have to say that New York is definitely a struggle. Things are expensive and it is easy for a creative mind to go into a dark state if solely surrounded by concrete day after day. It is the place though where I have met the most inspiring, creative people. I feel lucky to have such wonderful, supportive friends who have always had a couch for me when I need one, or a positive talking to. It is harder to get by in New York for sure, but if you can make it through, you can thrive and build a name for yourself. Having a name for yourself in New York has more value than having built a name for yourself in a small town.

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Cat King appeared in Brick and Mortar’s music video for their song Move to The Ocean off of their new album Banga

Who are your greatest influences?

FILM: David Lynch, Dario Argento

MUSIC:Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd

FASHION: Diana Vreeland

ART:My artist friends. ELLE, VEXTA, Alayne Macchiaverna, Mr. Toll, Roddy Wildeman. Basically anyone who I hangout and create with.

BOOK: The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

LIFE: My mom

What would be your dream collaboration?
I would love to do something with David Lynch for sure.

We’ve got another great collaborations with Cat and Carini Lang coming soon! In the meantime, here are some places you might find Cat King shinning around NYC

Where do you go for a night out?
Lately I have been really digging the food and atmosphere at Northern Territories in Williamsburg. They have a beautiful rooftop and a menu to make you drool.
Verboten in Williamsburg is the place right now for a good dance party.
Pearls Social and Billy Club in Bushwick is my favorite bar

For a little R& R?
I am honestly no good at rest or relaxation. The Soho House pool is always a good place to rest and get your work done at the same time. I also spend a good amount of time down in New Jersey around Asbury Park.

Favorite gallery?
Jonathan Levine in NYC and Torche galerie in Belmar, NJ .

Perfect song for dancing around in your underwear:
Mapei- Don’t Wait

P.S. Cat’s band Hell Sells music video was directed by Phil Knott, featured below:

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African Inspiration

August 21, 2014
Minimalism with an African touch

Minimalism with an African touch

The vast African continent is most often in the news these days for political conflicts and horrible heath crises, but of course there is so much more to Africa than problems. Not only is the continent the birthplace of civilization, but it also brought us some of the earliest libraries, the first surgeries, the oldest known art (drilled shells found in a south African Cave which are believed to be around 75,000 years old!). In fact when we’re looking for a jolt of inspiration we often look to Africa for its exquisite craftsmanship, incredibly painterly use of colors, unexpected textures, and soul by the bucketfull, from the ancient, to modern, to contemporary, Africa is nothing short of electrifying in its inspirations.

Architecture

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African Blog5 Homes in Northern Ghana[/caption]

A Mosque in Burkina Faso

A Mosque in Burkina Faso

Design influences

Sophisticated designers sometimes seem to shy away from African influences in their homes. Perhaps they view it as too earthy? We’d argue that given the enormous range of cultures and styles, there is something to elevate every style, from the crisp minimalist to the opulent eccentric, unexpected African accents can really help elevate a room, bringing depth and complexity through textures and clean lines.

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John Vogel

An Airy Modern African Bedroom with beautifully rounded accents

An Airy Modern African Bedroom with beautifully rounded accents

For our extensive collection of vintage African rugs, stools and chairs from exquisite craftsmen all across the continent, be sure to check out our first dibs website or come into our TriBeCa showroom to see the collection for yourself!

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A well accessorized dream

August 11, 2014

“I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”
― Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

empty space

We repeatedly have this dream, (it must be a classic one in the pantheon of psychoanalysis dream analysis but honestly we’ve never wanted to know what it means…) that we’ve discovered a room in our house which we never knew existed. A door we never thought to open, which upon finally opening, leads to a magical garden, a secret terrace, a forgotten closet of Christian Dior ballgowns, or hardwood floors and achingly beautiful floor to ceiling windows and we think to ourselves, “how silly of me! Why didn’t I think to look in here before!” Just as we’re about to begin planning all the wondrous ways we’ll decorate it and the fabulous entertaining we’ll do there, we wake up.

It’s well known that fashion accessories can completely transform an outfit– dressing it up or down, making it feel edgy, classic, worldly, younger or more sophisticated, depending on what you add or subtract– the same is true of home décor accessories.

A well-accessorized room can truly be the difference between what makes an incredible, luxurious retreat from the stresses of the outside world, inspiring the imagination, or one that suffocates and creates a sense of dread. We want our spaces to provoke our imaginations, nurturing our sensibilities, reminding us of loved ones, our favorite places and our passions. But an overly accessorized room can easily make a space (however big!) feel claustrophobic. Like anything else, it’s a question of taste. For some, simple candles on a table and a stack of carefully selected books are all the accessories they need. For others, small sculptures, images, bowls, piles and piles of pillows, and an extravagantly displayed collection of art, are only the beginning of making a room feel “dressed”.

Whatever your style, accessories have an ability to revamp the energy, the look, the feel of a room. And, unlike furniture they can have the added benefit of transforming a space according to the season or simply your moods without a lot of heavy lifting or expense. Here we celebrate some particularly rousing uses of accessories:

With the seemingly magical powers of accessories to transform space, it comes as no surprise that some of our favorite design accessories actually began as objects with sacred powers. Singing bowls, beaded objects used in Yoruba rituals, dreamcatchers all hold a place in ancient cultures as ways of communing with higher powers, bringing positive energy and warding off evil. And who couldn’t use a little extra protection from negative vibes, in whatever form you believe them to exist.

An elegant living room from Michael Smith's book Elements of Style featuring a delicate gold buddha

An elegant living room from Michael Smith’s book Elements of Style featuring a delicate gold buddha

yoruba chair
The use of Yoruba beaded objects, used in traditional ceremonies in this fabulous pink room is the stuff of decorating dreams.

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Zona will always have a particularly strong place in our hearts for bringing a unique type of wanderlust chic into the downtown lofts of our dreams.

A beautifully simple shelf of seemingly sacred (whatever that my mean to you) objects is always an exquisite addition to a room

A beautifully simple shelf of seemingly sacred (whatever that may mean to you!) objects is always an exquisite addition to a room

Adding color to a room can easily be done with accessories in a way that is non-committal (are you really sure you’ll love chartreuse in a few years?) but allows you to add some more dashes of on trend colors to your space.

Todd Oldham is known and a designer for particularly punchy uses of color, and the interior of his living room is a strong example

Todd Oldham is known as a designer for particularly punchy uses of color, and the interior of his living room is a strong example of a fantastic use of artwork, pillows and small design items complimenting and spicing up the color of a room

Of course Oldham is perhaps an extreme example of a color addict, adding color can be fun for the more timid as well, through the use of small items which don’t require a massive commitment to a color or look but brighten a space, adding humor and energy to any design.

Farrow & Ball paint, objects and designer unknown

Farrow & Ball paint, objects and designer unknown

In a mostly neutral room, accessories (art counts of course!) really become a way to play.

orange pop

Accessories can be a brilliant way to highlight contrasts: mixing high and low cultural elements, various textures and colors, which when done right can create a truly unique ambiance in a room.

Tory Burch's South hampton home is a fabulous example of complimenting earthy neutral wicker with ornate porcelain blues

Tory Burch’s South hampton home is a fabulous example of complimenting earthy neutral wicker with ornate porcelain blues

Patrick Dempsey's Malibu House Designed by Frank Gehry with a striking wall of wood

Patrick Dempsey’s Malibu House Designed by Frank Gehry with a striking wall of wood

An unexpected wall of wood makes for a unique accessory, playing with both form and functionality (although we have to admit we’d be slightly concerned about all the bugs that must be living in those logs…)

The designer David Scott uses accessories to make sure even the most sophisticated room never takes itself too seriously:CHELSEA-3David scott (and of course we love the contrast with our “Scratchout” carpet!)

motorcycles
For a serious contrast with sophisticated marble and a particularly grand entry way, racer Ricky Carmichael uses motorcycles as a unique and unexpected artistic accessory in his Florida Home.

Even the most functional room of the house (and we’ll just go ahead and say it: sometimes boring, from a design perspective) can be transformed into a gorgeously cozy retreat with the right touch of accessories.

a glass chandelier, fuzzy pillow and plants completely alter this simple kitchen for the better.

a glass chandelier, fuzzy pillow and plants completely alter this simple kitchen for the better.

All in all, fresh flowers (and plants in general) are pretty much universally appreciated accessories, as are meticulously stacked objects of most any kind, where as unopened mail and messy newspapers (sorry, dad!) are not.
plants and gold

Mirrors can open up a space, creating more light and sometimes even the illusion of a larger room. Pillows add texture and color and can easily be swapped out, altering the room. The main lesson to keep in mind is to go with what you love!

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Picture Perfect Partnerships

August 1, 2014

“One is very crazy when in love.”
- Sigmund Freud

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This week we’re paying homage to some of the 20th Century’s most memorable couples. Remarkable individuals in their own right, these duos lend credence to Aristotle’s oft repeated claim that the whole really can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Whether they were partnerships built on fame, pursuit of power, creative connection, political passions, or good old fashioned lust, every aspect of love seemed to be magnified in these remarkable couples:

There were affairs, public fights, marriages that lasted half a century, ugly divorces, beautiful children, grandiose declarations of love, ménage a trois’, they even divorced and remarried each other! The stars included here were their partner’s muse, ball and chain, rock, beard, the love of their life, arm candy, inspiration, caretaker, business partner and a multitude of other roles which we can only speculate that they must have played in their time together.

Whatever their métier, these relationships inspired some of the most influential and ground breaking work of the last century, pushing their partners beyond their comfort zones creating some of the most soul wrenching albums, the strangest paintings, the most impressive diplomatic feats, and many of the centuries defining ideas.

Few people can make romance look even better than in the movies, and these couples certainly did. Whether they lasted or not, these relationships left an indelible mark on our imaginations, forever giving us hope that love might be as extravagant (and stylish!) for us as it is for them.

John F. Kennedy and Jackie O.
JFK and Jackie

The couple that set the gold standard for American class, glamour and success, with a heady dose of infidelity and tragedy.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (2)

paul and joanne

Hard to imagine but these two seem equally genuine as gorgeous, staying together for more than fifty years until Newman’s death.

Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
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In this complex and prolific relationship that was well ahead of its time, “disrespect for bourgeois notions of decency was precisely the point” writes Louis Menand.

David Bowie and Iman
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iman bowie orange

Twenty years strong! These two continue giving hope to rock star and super model couples every day.

Speaking of rock stars and long legged models…

Mic and Bianca Jagger

mic and bianca

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Okay, so the relationship didn’t last, but thank god the pictures did!

Beyonce and Jay-Z
beyonce and jay-z

Beyonce-Jay-Z-Run-Tour

We’re pretty sure there is no couple on the planet right now having as much fun as this ultra successful and talented duo. Or they deserve Oscar nominations for their acting ability, either way we’re psyched to call them our neighbors!

Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino Garravani

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Giancarlo+Giammetti+Giancarlo+Giammetti+Signs+mKz1YBcRmAhl

Although the film Valentino: The Last Emperor was supposed to be about Valentino’s incredible artistry, it was the beautiful relationship between these two that really stole the show.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
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these two tumultuous lovers had a serious penchant for polyamory and married not once, but twice! They supported each other through significant physical illness, political persecution and the creation of some of the 20th century’s most important visual art.

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg
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Jane-Birkin-Serge_Helmut_Newton

Looking at these two you can practically smell the sex and booze and cigarettes.

John and Yoko
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John_Yoko_car_1969

Will Beatles fans ever get over this relationship? We can’t help but love them for making us want to grow our hair and change the world <3

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On the Scene: Mexico City’s Emerging Art World

July 25, 2014

Patti Smith, New York City’s resident alt scene goddess, said recently that if she were a young artist today she would never have been able to live and work in New York City. She advised that aspiring artists not even bother attempting to survive in the city famous for generations and generations of groundbreaking work, but that they “find a new city”. Detroit, Baltimore, Poughkeepsie, anywhere but New York. Of course, contemporary ingénues like Z Behl are proving that it is still very much possible to thrive producing remarkable art despite the exorbitant rents and other pitfalls artists face in a post 9/11 New York City.

Patti Smith, shot by David Gahr in 1971, the good(?) old days of New York City...

Patti Smith, shot by David Gahr in 1971, the good(?) old days of New York City…


Never the less, it is true that other cities are proving particularly hospitable to the next crop of trouble-makers, thought provokers and visual bric-a-brac-ers. Berlin, with its drool worthy apartments, thriving gallery scene, and generous subsidies for artists, has been the go-to art city for at least the first part of the new milenium. But the truly avant guard is always restless, dreaming of new horizons, cheaper rents, more inspiring geographies and untapped potentials. Mexico City, (or “El D.F.” to locals) previously known primarily for kidnappings, mariachi bands, the worlds best tacos and largest flag, is quickly becoming a significant destination for artists and art lovers. The result is a particularly inspiring wave of artists and gallerists expanding the established means of both producing and displaying art. We asked a few insiders for their favorite galleries, artists and of course the best bars to hang out in, so we could share their secrets with you. Disfrute!

Galleries to Check Out

La Condesa/Roma is often known as the most beautiful neighborhood in Mexico City and is the perfect place for strolling around taking in the sites in a calmer atmosphere than much of the frenetic city.

A corner in the lush neighborhood La Condesa

A corner in the lush neighborhood La Condesa


Proyectos Monclova has fantastic exhibitions by local and international artists
Colima 55 Roma Norte Mexico D.F. 06700. T. +52 (55) 4754 3546. T. +52 (55) 5525 9715 info@proyectosmonclova.com.
Ulla Von Brandenburg's work from the group exhibit "a Trip to the Moon"

Ulla Von Brandenburg’s work from the group exhibit “a Trip to the Moon”

San Rafael is known by locals as the the most up and coming area for art spaces.

YAUTEPEC Gallery (Melchor Ocampo 154-A
Col. San Rafael, Del. Cuauhtemoc) has particularly innovative curators
who in addition to the gallery have developed Mexico City’s highly praised alternative art fair “Material Art Fair” emphasizing affordable art (Much of the work ranges from $5,000– $12,000)

Yann Gerstberger. Orgasmo de Bebé, 2014. Cotton, vinyl, neoprene glue, natural pigments (grana cochineal). 290 x 240 cm.

Yann Gerstberger. Orgasmo de Bebé, 2014. Cotton, vinyl, neoprene glue, natural pigments (grana cochineal). 290 x 240 cm.

Also in the neighborhood:

Lodos (García Icazbalceta #30)

a piece by Aline Bouvy in the entry-way to Lodos

a piece by Aline Bouvy in the entry-way to Lodos

NO Space, an artist run project space located in the artists gorgeous home

GAGA (Amsterdam 123)

Casa Maauad is an artists residency whose international artists regularly produce and exhibit wonderful work during their stays.

In San Miguel Chapultepec:

LABOR
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Héctor Zamora Protogeometrías. Ensayo sobre lo anexacto

Héctor Zamora Protogeometrías. Ensayo sobre lo anexacto

Kurimanzutto (gob. rafael rebollar 94, col. san miguel chapultepec)

Los teatros de Saturno (the Theaters of Saturn) an exhibit by Adrián Villar Rojas

Los teatros de Saturno (the Theaters of Saturn) an exhibit by Adrián Villar Rojas

Eating and Drinking!

Mexico City would be worth a trip for the food alone. Here are some of our favorites, not including pretty much every taco stand on any corner:
Mercado San Juan is the major “foodie” market. You can spend hours exploring the glorious produce, and stalls featuring some of the best “fast food” on the planet.
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For incredible oxacan food in Colonia Roma be sure to head to Yuban Comida Casera Zapoteca (Colima 268, near Av. Insurgentes)

Six different types of mole!

Six different types of mole!


A bar/cafe that hosts noteworthy pop-up events is muebles-sullivan (Miguel Schultz 146-1)
San Rafael
Pinchon is a traveling restaurant that everyone in the know can’t stop swooning over. Email niki.nakazaua [at] gmail.com to find out for yourself

For other great food recommendations visit: goodfoodmexicocity.com

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Z-Behl: Trickster Queen

July 10, 2014

Welcome to the first installment of “Artists We Love” where we showcase artists whose work we find particularly thrilling and noteworthy. Whether they are established luminaries who line the walls of the world’s greatest museums, or an emerging talent with a unique style and sensibility, these are some of the creative minds we currently look to for inspiration. We hope to hear feedback from you! Is there an artist you have in mind that we absolutely must highlight? Let us know!

The artist Z Behl in one of her incredible handmade body suits

The artist Z Behl in one of her incredible handmade body suits

Z Behl is the type of artist myths are made of: the realms of the world that concerns her would have, once upon a time, been listed on maps as simply “here lie dragons”. She, and her work which are sometimes inseperable as is so much of the work of great contemporary female artists, often strikes me as a beautiful mash up of a pirate and a mermaid.

Shortly upon finishing college Z and a number of her friends were recruited to create the magical fantasy world of the film that would go on to become the Sundance winning, Oscar nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild.

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In the film’s design we see an incredibly prescient number of themes that seem to follow Z: A fierce young girl living in a makeshift world, giant creatures, and the difficulties of natural disasters.
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This theme of the flood has a kind of biblical presence in Z’s life and art. Years after making the film Z was rooted in Brooklyn’s Red Hook art scene when Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of her and her compadres work. In response she curated The Flooded Art Show, to highlight the work altered by the creative-destruction of Sandy, raising funds and awareness. Despite the frustration over loosing a considerable amount of work, this group show eventually resulted in grants and a studio space through Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, which has enabled here to develop a number of remarkable large scale projects.

One of Behl's fantasy worlds of wood cutouts

One of Behl’s fantasy worlds of wood cutouts

A close up
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An original Camera Obscura  in Peekskill Project V, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY

An original Camera Obscura in Peekskill Project V, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY

When I met up with her in late june in New York City we spoke about the difficulty of being a young female artist, attempting to assume similar positions to her male contemporaries, the kind of bold, necessarily egoistic stance of an artist that is difficult for a woman to assume and be similarly understood. What is the female version of all these iconographic roles: The trickster? The Pied-Piper? The Pirate?
While she hasn’t quite worked out a name for this role yet, she certainly is well on her way to crafting this art of the uniquely daring, sexy, adventurous trouble seeker, leading her audiences into previously unseen or unknown versions of reality.

Behl's Pied Piper

Behl’s Pied Piper


featuring live children from the downtown art school where Behl teaches

featuring live children from the downtown art school where Behl teaches

The Minotaur shown in The Last Brucennial, New York

The Minotaur shown in The Last Brucennial, New York

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To see more of her work visit http://www.zbehl.com/

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Movies Under the Stars

July 4, 2014

fireworks12 AP Mike Adamucci

The Fourth of July is summertime and all its glorious traditions at its peak: blankets laid out for picnics, barbecues galore, swimming holes, roof-top parties, fireworks, road trips, meteorite gazing. Of all these beloved, seemingly immortal rituals, one essential American summer activity has been quickly disappearing from our landscape: The drive-in movie. So here, on our nations birthday we’re paying homage to the great outdoor cinema going experience.

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Friends watching a film. Photographer unknown (getty images)

Friends watching a film. Photographer unknown (getty images)

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Perhaps ironically, it seems it took the acclaimed japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto to really capture the current state of drive in theaters, in his almost ghostly but deeply nostalgic series of photos of American drive-in movie theaters. To capture these images Sugimoto leaves the exposure open on his camera to run the entire length of the movie, subverting the photograph’s typical relationship to time. Instead of just capturing one split second, Sugimoto captures an entire film.

Hiroshi Sugimoto (1)

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In doing so, there is an almost buddhist-like quality to these images: Although the screens appear empty, they actually contain the residue of innumerable images that have passed over them during the length of the film. They seem to be a meditation on stillness and desertedness, but upon closer examination they are simultaneously about motion and fullness.

While we don’t see many of the things we typically expect to see in an image of a drive in- cars or people for starters! We do see many other things that are difficult, if not impossible, to see with the naked eye, like the movement of stars across the sky, or maybe more philosophically we can say we actually see the passage of time in these images.

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But the joy of watching movies outdoors on hot summer nights certainly isn’t a uniquely American experience. Mahen Bonetti, Founder and Executive Director of the New York African Film Festival speaks often of the importance “cinemobile”‘s had for the development of cinema in colonial Africa.

Photo by Stuart Farmer for Open Air Cinema

Photo by Stuart Farmer for Open Air Cinema

These trucks– Land Rovers carrying a 16mm projector and screens– would arrive in remote areas of Africa, often places that did not even have electricity and set up a mobile outdoor cinema. Many times this was people’s first ever experience seeing a moving image. Can you imagine how glorious that must have been!?

Still from the film "Confusion Na Wa" (Kenneth Gyang, Nigeria, 2013, 105min.)

Still from the film “Confusion Na Wa” (Kenneth Gyang, Nigeria, 2013, 105min.)

Ms. Bonetti’s wonderful organization continues the tradition of bringing movies outdoors to underserved areas, only now in New York City Parks. These free events, which commence this weekend, are often accompanied by live music and dance, and bring together a beautiful cross section of the city’s cinephiles. We cannot recommend them enough! For more information and a complete schedule, visit their website.

To find drive in theaters near you visit driveinmovie.com a site which keeps an impeccable record of drive ins all over the United States.

Happy 4th!

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Long Days, Hot Nights and the Gorgeous Girls of Summer

June 20, 2014

There are few things whose glory remains equally potent as in childhood and summer is certainly at the top of that list. We never seem to be less than thrilled by salty skin, sandy feet, the unparalleled bliss of falling asleep exhausted by a long day of swimming and laughing with friends in the hot summer air. Tomorrow marks the official start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and we couldn’t be happier.

TONI FRISSELL (1907-1988) "First Bikini"  Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1945 Harper's Bazaar

TONI FRISSELL (1907-1988) “First Bikini” Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1945 Harper’s Bazaar

Brigitte Bardot, French Queen of the Bikini in her 1963 film "Le Mépris

Brigitte Bardot, French Queen of the Bikini in her 1963 film “Le Mépris

Bad girls, bored in the city. Photo by one of our current favorite  photographers: Cass Bird

Bad girls, bored in the city. Photo by one of our current favorite photographers: Cass Bird

If Raquel tells you to get into the water, you just do it!

If Raquel tells you to get into the water, you just do it!

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A girl in a bikini

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The soundtrack to summertime lazing

Photo by Ulrich Knoblauch

Photo by Ulrich Knoblauch

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Brazil: Bikinis, High Modernism, Pixação and Jobim!

June 5, 2014

brazil babe

Maybe it’s anticipating the world cup’s commencement this month, or that one of our shop girls has fallen madly in love with a Brazilian & won’t stop telling us about it, whatever the reason, this week we’ve got some serious saudade for Brazil.

Saudade,(Pronounced souˈdädə) if you hadn’t heard of it before, is one of those indelible words that doesn’t exist in English. It captures a mix of emotions Anglophones can only begin to approach with a string of adjectives: Think of saudade as a kind of yearning, sentimental, nostalgia. It’s a state of happiness and longing caused by deep feelings for something- maybe a time gone by, or a person so intoxicating they can’t ever be close enough to you… Here are some of the things giving us some serious saudade lately.

Jobim

jobim

It doesn’t get more Brazil than Antônio “Tom” Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim, the high priest of Bossa Nova and all things classy-cool.  You’ve certainly heard his classic song  The Girl From Ipanema, but did you know he recorded an entire album with Frank Sinatra?! We want to spend the whole summer dancing barefoot to these magical songs.

 

 

 

Street Style

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It’s impossible to talk about Brazil without mentioning the women!

Centuries of slave trade, European and Asian emigration, combining with an indigenous population, Brazil has long been known as a country with an incredibly mixed ethnic background and of course some of the most beautiful people on the planet.

 

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Colorful style, beach living and an obsession with fitness certainly contributes to exquisite people watching.

 

 High Modernism

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Brazil’s capital, Brasília might be one of the strangest cities in the world.  Built from start to finish in only 40 months, it’s a fantastic experiment in high modernist urbanism.  Designers Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s extraordinary combination of stark minimalism and sensuous curves have been equally lauded and criticized, but we find them we find endlessly inspiring.

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Espasso continues the tradition of Brazil’s phenominal modernist design at their store here in New York City.   We love having them as neighbors, not only do they have a superb selection of furniture, but they throw a great party!

Pixação

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Is a distinctive graffiti style native to São Paulo, the name comes from the word for tar in Portuguese (“Piche”), the substance in which political slogans were written on walls in the 1950s.  Beginning on the 1980s young people began writing their names and the names of their crews on walls in the recognizable vertical typography inspired by lettering found on 1980’s heavy metal record covers.

Pixote’s bold and elegant work, featured in our current exhibit Back Against the Wall, epitomizes this avant guard style.

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Pixote’s 5 x 9 carpet, currently on display in our NYC showroom

 

For more on Pixação check out this incredible  book

For a fabulous city guide to Rio, we love Garance Dore’s blog

 

Did we miss any of your favorite things about Brazil? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

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Girls! Girls! Girls! (In The New York Times!)

June 3, 2014

n-NY-TIMES-large570Talented female artists are often over looked in the boys-club that is the street art scene.  That’s why we were extra excited to see our very own ELLE getting some serious props in this New York Times article on the burgeoning number of women-artists giving the boys a run for their money.  Julia Baird writes, “ELLE bucks against the inane, repetitive stereotyping she sees in advertising signboards, and instead depicts “strong, powerful, beautiful women.”

ELLE explains that she “got into graffiti because I saw so many men scrawling on the streets and putting up what they wanted to see,” she said. “I wanted to be protected by large warrior women as I walked down the street.”

Brooklyn Street Artist Elle

Come see this incredible piece of ELLE’s in our showroom before Jay-z and Beyonce snatch it up for Blue’s room!

 

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Graffiti Chic: Street Art Doubles As Décor Part 2

May 13, 2014

Part 2: Office, Hotel, Restaurants

graffiti chic - pt 2

The growing popularity in fine art, fashion and lately, home décor and interior design, has street/graffiti art consistently blurring the line between high and low brow.  The principal component of Street/Graffiti Art is that it is found on the Street; on display in public, and for public consumption.  While not completely rid of its vandalism stigma, the bold and expressive nature of graffiti and street art is becoming more and more prevalent. 

Read more…

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Pattern Pairings: Vivienne Westwood Contemporary Cocktail Dress and Carini Lang DAIN Street Art Rug Collaboration

May 13, 2014

Pattern Pairing:

Vivienne Westwood Contemporary Cocktail Dress & Carini Lang DAIN Street Art Rug Collaboration

Pattern Pairings Carini Lang Vivienne Westwood 2014 Spring Cocktail Dress and Street Art Rug by Back Against the Wall Artist Collaboratior Dain Graffiti

Looking for More Eye Candy? 

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Graffiti Chic: Street Art Doubles As Décor Part 1

May 7, 2014

Screenshot 2014-05-29 14.12.34

Part of the emerging contemporary movement, Graffiti Street Art comes in all forms, from the tiny and intricate black and white pieces to the large colorful graphics that can be found on city streets. The desire for art in the home and for big, bold graphics has lead to the emergence and building popularity of decorating interiors with street art pieces.

Read more…

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