Images that shaped a vision, with Emma Tillman

23.01.2018 | Art , Blog | BY:

Emma Tillman’s photographs chronicle the unseen moments in life, those, to steal from Virginia Woolf, islands of meaning which shore up against the ferocious momentum of time. It’s fitting that her book Disco Ball Soulwas named such: thoughtful, investigative and lingering, her portraits of friendships, romance and the natural world offer an energising and playful mosaic of her experience of the world. Here, she tells Twin about the images which have most impacted and shaped her life and work.

Alberto García-Alix

Alberto García-Alix is a Spanish photographer from León whose work was part of a movement that shaped modern documentary photography, but to me he is so much more. And that is where I will begin with this list. I would say in a word, he is shameless. And it is this shamelessness that draws circles around the core of ugliness and strangeness, illuminating it until it is light, despite all its rugged detail.

Emma Suarez | © Alberto García-Alix

Taryn Simon

Taryn Simon is an American artist from New York City. Although I had come in contact with her widely regarded and well collected photography a handful of times in my adult life, I had not been touched by its power until one lonely afternoon at the Tate Modern in London. I wandered into a room full of her work from “An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar” and finally understood.

That rainy day I explored the gap she so eloquently elaborated on. Between the brilliant precision of her semiotic examination of secrets and the divine poetry with which she captures them. Simon raises very potent questions, with elegance and beauty.

Lucas film archives, props and set pieces. Skywalker Ranch, Marin County, California | © Taryn Simon

Manuel Álvarez Bravo

Manuel Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican photographer from Mexico City and is considered one of the preeminent art photographers in Mexican history. His interest in elevating the quotidian at a time when photography, especially in his home country was staged and highly formal, attracted me from an early age.

In addition to his pioneering reach in exploring the everyday, Bravo sees texture as something deep and mysterious, almost sacred. These observations have haunted me from the time I was a little girl, looking through one of his books in the vast living room of a family friend.

Graciela Iturbine

Graciela Iturbine is a Mexican photographer from Mexico City, and protogée of another photographer mentioned here among my favourites, Manuel Álvarez Bravo. She turned to photography after the death of her six year old daughter and when I look at her images, they all seem to have the lingering sadness and mystery of death, even when the works are capturing subjects which are vividly alive. Otherworldly would be a better word, but overused, don’t you think?

Graciela Iturbine, Cemetery Juchita 1988

Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin was an American photographer from Los Angeles who was largely self-taught. She had a ground-breaking career as a freelance photojournalist during a time when the field was, of course largely dominated by men. But it was my contact with her famous photograph, “An American Girl in Italy” (1951) which includes her in this list. When I was twelve or thirteen, I was given a postcard which featured the photograph on the front.

I became obsessed with the story it told. There was an incredible amount of complex information contained inside. Historically, the photograph is somewhat controversial, and seems to be a Rorschach test for personal ideas about feminism. I for one, knew exactly what it meant; independence, freedom and self-determination. For that reason, I can’t say the photographer directly influenced my work as much as my way of life.

An American Girl in Italy, 1951 | © Ruth Orkin

Helmut Newton 

One night, many years ago now, I was at the Chateau Marmont waiting for someone who never came. The bartender, feeling bad for me, very graciously stayed past last call and regaled me with ghost stories from the hotel. One of them was the story of Helmut Newton’s death; a car crash in which he drove headlong into the formidable white wall guarding the hotel’s entrance. Until then, I had always heard his name but never quite put the pieces together, you might say. But his tragic demise piqued my interest and when I discovered his world, I was enchanted. Everything he photographed had a perverse sexiness. It was dark, physical, and expressed a glamorous power that I saw mirrored in my own interests.

I think about him now every time I pass that white wall, and say a little prayer for all who flirt with the dark side.

La Hollandaise, Monte Carlo, 1994 | © Helmut Newton

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer from Paris. The king of composition! The king of the candid! And man, what a life well lived.  In 1952 he published his book, “The Decisive Moment” about his philosophical approach to photography (with cover illustrations by Henri Matisse, I might add). In it, he contends “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Srinagar, Kashmir, Muslim women on the slopes of Hari Parbal Hill, praying toward the sun rising behind the Himalayas, 1948 | © Henri Cartier- Bresson

Sally Mann

Sally Mann is an American photographer from Lexington, Virginia who stirred incredible controversy in the 1990s for photographs of her children, mostly in the nude on the Virginia farm where Mann still lives with her family. I think the images are incredibly beautiful, touching, and unflinching. I love a little controversy if the source is worthy, and to me, these photographs have most definitely been an inspiring and worthy source for years.

Untitled (Virginia with Trumpet Vine), 1990

Featured image by Emma Tillman.

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Louis Vuitton Mens AW18: Kim Jones’ triumphant farewell

19.01.2018 | Fashion | BY:

A spectacular final show from Kim Jones had the crowds in a frenzy, which was taken to heady new heights when the designer said his final goodbye with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss on either arm.

Fittingly the collection offered an overview of landscapes across the world, as well as looking inwardly at the heritage of the Louis Vuitton brand. Here aesthetic influences ranged from American rodeo to the Siberia, and looks were rendered with a dash of Titanium, introduced as a new precious metal. The iconic logo was made abundant use of, with fierce delivery through patent trenches and savvily printed on jumpers.

Speaking about the show, the designer commented that “It’s about clothes that can change, about fabrics that can travel on the body – and transform.” This was realised through an undulating rainbow of colours that ran from neutrals to neon and brought endless energy to the collection, while sharp details – fluro pockets, metallized monogram leggings – demonstrated the mighty power of Kim Jones at his best.

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

© Louis Vuitton

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Siobhan Coen, Unknown Knowns

17.01.2018 | Art | BY:

From the 18th January until the 25th February 2018, the Zabludowicz Collection will host Siobhan Coen’s Unknown Knowns, an installation featuring the voice of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, alongside LED pulsating light that saturates a large print of brightly coloured pixels, creating a hallucinogenic work that is both seductive and destabilising.

Siobhan Coen focuses her work on the function of the human mind. Her research into scientific theories of consciousness and perception is brought into dialogue with social realities, and her examination of neurological, technological and political information-filtering makes her work particularly relevant. We spoke to Siobhan about Unknown Knowns, the inclusion of political figures in her work, and her artistic methods.

Can you tell us about your piece Unknown Knowns?

It’s an evidence-based fiction. I have re-edited the voice of Republican Donald Rumsfeld from his audiobooks, extracting abstract statements until they suggest a narrative. Rumsfeld emerged as an aesthetic philosopher-type character intent on changing the way we see. The audio is combined with pulses of programmed RGB lights that animate a panoramic pixelated print, creating an illusion of movement.

How has the work of artist Brion Gysin informed your practice?

I had always felt a bit short-changed by how little of the information we receive through our senses actually makes it into our consciousness. I read a study by Professor David Nutt, which found that taking hallucinogenic drugs reduced this unconscious brain filtering. Subsequently, I was drawn to Gysin’s Dreamachine – a device for inducing hallucinations from flickering light effects – as a way of accessing all that missing data, and also to explore the possible psychedelic effects of reduced information filtering in society. I have also been influenced by his cut-up technique, a method of rearranging text in order to find truth.

How does your work examine visual perception and unconscious control?

I rework the component parts of digital communication – RGB light, pixels that make up images, and the words of those with the loudest voices – to examine how their qualities rather than subject matter, might affect us beyond our conscious awareness. Questions of how human perception can be manipulated and altered are pretty timeless, and I hope my project is open enough to relate to different cultural and technological moments. In fact, I’m drawn to how these things can be cyclical. For example, Steve Jobs believed that the feeling of connectedness from taking LSD in the 1960s allowed the internet to be imagined. And the internet now seems to be producing a slightly hallucinogenic effect by reducing information filtering. There’s a looping of cause and effect.

What methods do you use to create tension between form and content?

I try to edit the voice so that it sounds believable, in order to highlight how form rather than content can determine what we perceive to be true. But also, the process of maintaining speech rhythms prevents me from imposing my thinking. I find that both the narrative and visual elements become largely dictated by the form rather than the content of the writing. Rumsfeld’s books were full of proclamations and advice, they had a quality of persuasion or seduction that suggested projection to an outer world in order to change it.

How do you put the audio and visuals together to create the final piece?

I create the audio and visual elements in parallel so that they feedback into each other. I find it a way of exploring my interests through a system of embodied cognition, rather than doing so purely intellectually.

How do you choose which political figures you want to incorporate into your work?

I first used the voice of Tony Blair from his audiobook A Journey (2011) – he just struck me as someone who had seen things that weren’t there, so he was a good figure to talk about my interests. In my research I became interested in the political rhetoric of that era, the turn of the millennium, as potentially the beginning of the post-truth phenomena that surrounds us today. Rumsfeld’s abstract language stood out as something very particular however, in the way he deployed it to defocus attention.

What do you hope viewers will take away from the installation?

I hope the piece offers a refocusing of attention, and a shifted view of material that might feel at first familiar. I think of the project as being about truths hiding in plain sight. And at the very least, visitors get to take away a printed transcript if they wish.

Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Siobhan Coen, 18 January – 25 February 2018, Zabludowicz Collection, London, www.zabludowiczcollection.com

 

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Future Feminine

14.01.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

A new exhibition at the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles brings the evolution of the female gaze to the forefront of the narrative. Aligning an international rostra of women artists, the exhibition celebrates a new era of photography in which the body is examined rather than objectified; observed rather than owned.

Exhibitors include Amanda Charchian, Remy Holwick, creative duo Honey Long & Prue Stent, and Magdalena Wosinska, who together offer an exciting harbinger of the future feminine narrative in photography.

Images span the mystic and mythic to snapshots of the mundane, with Charchian drawing inspiration from psychologist J.A. Lee’s interpretation of Greek philosophy, Prue Stent and Honey Long focussing on powerful juxtapositions of material and colour and Wosinska offering raw, intimate portraits.

The future looks bright, the future is female.

Future Feminine is at Fahey / Klein Gallery from January 18 – February 24, 2018. 

Featured image credit: Amanda Charchian

 

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Bethany Williams: Menswear In Search of Social Change

11.01.2018 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

When one thinks of Bethany Williams’ brand, it is not necessarily within the confines of fashion. Encompassing sociological issues, political arenas and cultural quarters, to talk about Bethany merely within the limitations of fashion would be doing the brand an injustice.

Having released her brand less than two years ago, Bethany Williams has been constructing menswear that is embedded within charities and communities, hoping to cause a real effect in the social space we engage with. Working with the charities San Patrignano and London College of Fashion, UAL’s Making for Change programme this season – two pioneering rehabilitative programmes which work closely with vulnerable women and supports their path to rehabilitation through equipping them with craftsmanship and manufacturing skills and qualifications – and the model agency TIH Models, a new modelling agency supporting youth in London affected by homelessness, Bethany’s points of reference and areas of focus lay a typically socially attuned and sustainably-led focus on her third collection to date.

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The menswear designer showcased at the DiscoveryLAB this London Fashion Week Men’s January 2018 through both a film created in collaboration with Crack Stevens entitled ‘Women of Change’ and the collection alongside, ‘Attenzione’.

The film is a poetic narrative that celebrates the strength of the communities of San Patrignano and Making for Change, and explores how fashion can incur social and environmental change. 

Throughout the film, the theme of ‘second chances’ was explored, drawing parallels between the second chance given to the discarded materials from which Bethany created the fabrics at San Patrignano, and the second chance given to the women involved in both of these innovative programmes.  

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Through these social responsibilities that carry through the ethos of the brand, Bethany showcased a range that was less collection and more collective: shaped by the communities and charities involved, culminating in a selection of looks that tied together as a diverse multimedia display.

The presentation held an atmosphere of steadfast serenity, the models standing straight and majestic under a strong and direct spotlight in their ensembles, allowing for the audience to inspect the techniques and the fabric. The music emanating from the film was disarmingly enveloping: you were welcomed into the space, relaxing your senses in order to explore the film presenting life in San Patrignano and the resulting work they have created with the Making For Change community, Chris Carney Collections (a recycling facility where Bethany’s raw materials are sourced) and cottage industry hand knitters on the Isle of Man.

Bethany’s clothes are more than clothes – they are supportive measures, they are projects in itself. The garment design is led by sociological injunction and followed up with design rationale: recycled fabrics and the focal charities leading the shape, texture and function.

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Speaking of her design process, Bethany notes: It always starts with the charity or community that I am working with, then it goes to the waste materials that I want to use, then it goes to the fabric and then from the fabric I work out the form: it is initially inspired by the charity I choose to work with from the start.

Bethany chooses to show one collection a year, due to the prolonged process involved in each collection, the level of external organisation and support expected, and the bespoke nature of the garments. Presenting around the London Fashion Week Men’s dates allows her to capitalise on audience, and frees up the year to focus on projects with various partners and institutions.

Sustainability is steadily growing as one of the key issues the fashion industry is choosing to address. Being a consultant and lecturer alongside her brand, Bethany has seen the approach others are taking: “I think sustainability has become such a big concern at the minute. I consult for bigger brands as well as doing my own projects, and companies are thinking about it, and thinking about the future. I work with Kering and they have their sustainability department and its massive. All kering brands also need to have a sustainability manager at your brand. They are looking at processes for luxury across the entire supply chain: people are really looking at it and thinking about the future.”

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There are things that can make the heart beat faster – we all have our own hit list – but for London Fashion Week Men’s what will be a focus moving forward is the celebration of brands that are looking at the picture that far exceeds the fashion frame: brands where integrity and social responsibility is one of their first salutations.

And what would Bethany like her brand to stand for? Through her delightfully positive, softly spoken lilt “creating a solution through innovation”.

A toast to that for the brand that’s in it.

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Athens, a city with no name

10.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Kennedy magazine founder Chris Kontos shares his celebration of the Athens’ cultural life. 

Athens is a city still unknown to many despite its recent resurgence as an artistic destination. Jumping on the gentrification train a bit later than other European cities, it still retains on old charm through its 1920’s apartments, vintage clothes boutiques and theatres that contradict the city’s almost anarchic architecture – a pastiche of different styles layered for years on top of each other.

We (Chris Kontos, stylist Daphne Iliaki and model Elina Vasilkovskaya) took to the streets of Athens, and visited a few of the city’s apartments, to revel in the mystery of a city that still captivates its residents and visitors alike.

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Bethany Williams AW18

07.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

A pioneer of sustainable fashion, Bethany Williams puts a social conscience at the heart of her work; the last collection ‘Breadline’, worked alongside the Vauxhall food bank and Tesco to highlight the poverty crisis hidden in plain sight in the UK. Here the collection was developed around food waste, and Tesco recycled cardboard. The results were not only socially aware and environmentally friendly, but also innovative, avant-garde and sculptural – a hybrid of responsible and covetable which is glaring absent for the most part in the British fashion industry.

Her latest collection ‘Women of Change’ put women’s rehabilitation at the heart of her collection. The designer worked with female prisoners and the San Patrignano drug dependancy program, subverting the gender narrative to bring men into fore of the solution through her designs. Each piece was created from 100% organic or recycled, even down to the buttons which are handmade in the Lake District by Jean Wildish, who plants her own trees for the production of wooden buttons, and handmade in the UK and Italy.

The collection was shown at London Fashion Week Mens through a film, directed by Crack Stevens, along with a live presentation with models from TIH – a new modelling agency that supports young Londoners affected by homelessness.

One of the most exciting designers on the London menswear scene, Bethany Williams is offering a vision for the future which fashion desperately needs. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

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Amazing Grace, Wales Bonner’s greatest hits

05.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

As London Fashion Week Mens kicks off, Twin offers a survey of the innovate designs from Grace Wales Bonner, the menswear designer who has the city smitten. And quite right, too. With her natural flair for 70s tailoring and exquisite eye for detail, the London designer riffs across the aesthetic spectrum of menswear –from studded cropped velvet jackets to pristine white, ethereal-feeling two pieces – always ensuring tightly executed and intelligent collections.

Whether she’s inspired by the streets of London and Dakar or the works of James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Marlon Riggs, Wales Bonner creates romance that’s steeped in historical and cultural context – her shows are often accompanied with a rich set of literary references, and she produced a 10,000 word dissertation as part of her final collection for Central Saint Martins, in spite of it not being mandatory.

A winner of the LVMH young designer prize, as well as receiving the award for emerging menswear designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2015, Grace is guaranteed to stir the hearts and minds of the industry this season – as a new year begins, take a chance to catch up on the best of Wales Bonner’s work to date so you’re all switched on for her show on Sunday.

Blue Duets, SS18

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Wales Bonner, Fashion Show, Menswear Collection Spring Summer In London

Spirituals II, AW17

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Ezekiel, SS17

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Spirituals, AW16

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Malik, SS16

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Wales Bonner | photograph by Edward Quamby

Ebonomics, AW15

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

Wales Bonner | Photograph by Rachel Chandler

 

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Saint Laurent SS18, dancing through the night

05.01.2018 | Fashion | BY:

Filmed by Inez & Vinoodh, the new Saint Laurent SS18 video shows a heady collection of models dancing endlessly through the night to the fierce soundtrack of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’.

Having created a seriously theatrical show under the glistening lights of the Eiffel Tower in October last year, this new video is the teaser we need to get excited for Saint Laurent SS18 all over again.

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KENZO Move Revolution

04.01.2018 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Start 2018 as you mean to go on: KENZO has just released a new ‘Move’ collection designed to fuel your energy and activity for the year ahead. Combining the bold, punchy colours and the house’s signature Tiger logo on the shoe with a global cast of dancers in the new campaign, the Move series is guaranteed to put a spring in your step this month.

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The dance-themed campaign brings together dancers from across the board – from ballet and hip hop to dance and electro. Choreographed by the creative duo ‘I Could Never Be A Dancer’, the campaign sees the cast pulling a series of fierce and frenetic shapes. It’s a new year: time to move!

Available online and in selected stores from January 2nd. 

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The best of 2017: highlights from Twin Issue XVII

29.12.2017 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

For fall, Issue 17 took a closer look at the expectations and realities of self-reflection. We met the young, African artist Kudzanai-Violet Hwami on the eve of her inaugural solo show, and discussed shedding the weight of self-doubt in order to soar. Elsewhere, sisters Nancy and Lotte Andersen discussed their shared childhood and creative pursuits, while actress Joanne Froggatt questioned the limitations facing woman who dare to age on screen. Patrick Demarchelier took us behind the scenes at the Musée du Louvre exclusively for Louis Vuitton, before we embarked on a Californian road trip with Chanel. Meanwhile, as Browns East — the latest bricks and mortar retail innovation to hit London — opened, we discussed the vital fostering of raw talent with Browns CEO Holli Rogers and Farfetch’s Chief Consultant of Augmented Retail Susanne Tide-Frater. Speaking of raw talent, musician Cosima revealed her most uncomfortable self under the lens of Francesca Allen, while model and artist Larissa Hofmann turned the camera on herself for a self portrait redux. Here’s looking at you, kid.

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The best of 2017: highlights from Twin Issue XVI

26.12.2017 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

This spring, Issue 16 offered a study in shedding the weighty debris of expectation, and forging your own identity, under whatever guise that may take. From the renunciation of labels with model Lulu Bonfils, to redefining femininity with the creators behind MoreMuhler, and reclaiming pink with musician GIRLI, we celebrated womanhood without limits. Similarly, we discovered how family is at the core of the work done by 90-year-old artist Betye Saar, and those sentiments were echoed by fashion designer Molly Goddard, who we shadowed for a day. Elsewhere, Chanel’s hyper real version of beauty was played with, and Louis Vuitton’s artistic vision for SS17 was realised. Photographer Dexter Navy experimented with the perception of future super Jean Campbell, and posing greats Erin O’Connor and Guinevere Van Seenus made the lens their own again. Twin also delved into the world of all-girl skate culture and friendship, while director Crystal Moselle and BFF Danielle Levitt discussed the red-hot power of teenagers with passion. It was a riot.

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Celebrating the beautiful self: Twin meets 19 year old trans model Maxim Magnus

23.12.2017 | Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

In many ways 2017 has played out like the opening of Love Actually, in that, while unprecedented levels of political and horrors at home and abroad (Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States being just one of them) it was also a year which saw the widening of society to accept, and champion the many diverse individuals that make up society. It was a year of hope, love and a refreshed sense of community, as well as destruction and devastation. This cultural revolution was seismic and long overdue; the fact that it happened, though, at least ensures that while the struggles to ensure fair and diverse representation, pay, the future looks just a little bit brighter – even if Trump is still in power.

One of the many exciting new voices to have emerged this year is the 19 year old trans model Maxim Magnus. Her journey began at 14, when she started transitioning, and five years later she has already partnered with Gurls Talk to speak on their panel in Berlin and has featured in campaigns for the likes of My Theresa x Valentino and MAC Cosmetics, as well as opening the first show at fashion week this year.

As such, Maxim has become a leading voice in the LGBT community, inspiring others with her personal story as well as her activism through her Instagram page. Twin caught up with Maxim to talk about her journey so far, the role fashion can play in activism and what’s in store for 2018.

What were your experiences of growing up as a trans woman? 

Growing up I was always a very happy child, even though I knew something about me was ‘different’; I never made anything of it. When I was 13/14, I realised I was in the wrong body and something had to change. Finding out you’re stuck in the wrong body is awful, but it’s even worst when you realise it in the period where everyone around you is starting to develop and starting to do things you can’t do, like having sleepovers, or talking about boys, etc. All very superficial things, but very important things to a person of that age. I had been bullied before coming out as trans, so when coming out, I was always really defensive when talking to people about it. I think growing up trans made me grow up a lot quicker than the people around me, because I had to deal with issues teenagers shouldn’t ‘normally’ have to deal with. I constantly had to think about how I was presenting myself, doctor’s appointments, depression. Even though I had a lot of friends growing up, I experienced loneliness a lot.

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Were you instinctively drawn to fashion as an industry, and how did you get into modelling? 

I have always gravitated towards the fashion industry, probably since the moment I could talk. From a young age I would look at all of the fashion magazines or go through my mom’s closet and I would get so excited to get dressed every morning. When I was a teenager, I used fashion to show people my true identity and gender. I was always really fascinated by models, but never thought I would be able to be one. It was one of my teachers at Conde Nast who approached me and told me to start modelling.

How do you see fashion and activism aligning? 

When you look at the history of fashion, it is very clear that fashion and politics are close. What happens in the world affects the fashions of a certain period. Right now, human rights are more talked about than ever before and the fashion industry is supposedly full of the most open and creative minds, therefore it would only make sense that these individuals are the ones speaking up. The industry is also highly influential, and it has an enormous platform to reach people, to me, it only makes sense to use that platform for the greater good, as well as to show the beautiful creations made by these artists.

Who are your favourite image makers?

My taste in photographers really varies. I love the old-school classics from Helmut Newton, but then I also love the amazing fantasy world of Tim walker, and the raw over-exposed mind of Juergen Teller. I am absolutely obsessed with photography, I could talk about my favourite photographers for ages.

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What changes have you observed over the last 5 years both within the transgender community and society as a whole, and what are you most proud of?

In the last 5 years, the community has gotten so much exposure. When I started transitioning around that time, there was not as much information about the community as there is now. I think rights-wise a lot has changed as well and I’m super happy that parts of the world are finally embracing the community, even though there is still a lot of work to do. I’m super proud of all the individuals who have powered through and become their beautiful selfs, because it is hard; even in today’s society.

You recently worked with Gurls Talk – what was that like, and how did you find the reception amongst that community?

Working with Adwoa and her team was one of the best experiences, and probably my highlight for 2017. They welcomed me with such kindness and they were so open-minded, it was amazing to work with a group of people who have the same mindset as me. Dr. Lauren and Alexa, who were also part of the panel are also two amazing people and I loved working with both of them. After the talk, some girls came up to me and they were crying, that really touched me – I never want people to cry when they listen to my story but it’s nice to know that a) people can relate to my story and b) that what I’m doing is actually helping some people.

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What are your views on how the industry moves the conversation forward and enacts positive change over the next 5 years?

I think the industry has to want to change, and they shouldn’t do it just because people are telling them to or because it will bring them good press coverage. Just the same way that I don’t want to be hired as a model solely because I am trans. I think the industry owes it to the world to use its platform to talk about these issues, and to embrace every type of human being – this doesn’t just go for the trans community. I can only hope that the industry will move towards a more diverse range of humans, as fashion should be inclusive.

What’s in store for 2018?

I have a lot planned for the new year. Firstly I hope to graduate from university. After that, I hope to be able to fully focus on modelling and activism. Right now, I use my Instagram platform to get my message out there, but I would like to do a lot more in I can only hope that the industry will embrace me, but so far I have gotten so many amazing opportunities which I am so grateful for.

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Dangerous and completely magical: Twin meets Mimi Wade

19.12.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Mimi Wade is one of the most exciting designers to have come out of London in the last few seasons. With her hyper feminine, seductive and playful designs she has created a new space for women to enjoy dressing up, and in doing so invites women to enjoy their bodies and the power they hold.

A Central Saint Martins graduate who came through the Fashion East platform, you can expect exciting things to come from Wade in the seasons to follow. Twin caught up with Mimi to talk about her grandmother, Hollywood and carving a new fashion structure.

Your last collection was inspired by your Grandmother’s Hollywood home, can you tell us a bit more about what the place was like?

Her house is slap bang in the middle of Hollywood, movie posters and lobby cards adorn every inch of wall space, mixed in with numerous photographs of herself , portraits by different artists and ex-boyfriends (including Cecil Beaton, and one by Matisse -not actually of her but one which bears a very striking resemblance) film stills – it’s all very ‘Sunset Boulevard’ !

Hollywood is infinitely seductive, why do you think that is?

The possibility in the air, that’s very seductive. People flock from all over the world to the city to pursue their dreams. In the same way that movies promote fantasy and detach us from reality, so does Hollywood. It is both trashy, dangerous and completely magical.

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You embrace femininity and sexuality in your designs – what about that kind of aesthetic interests you?

There have been times where I’ve felt undervalued for embracing and embodying my femininity and it only made me want to continue to push further. Women are too often underestimated, especially beautiful women who embrace their femininity and sexuality. My grandmother had a boob reduction, died her hair an unflattering colour and tried to rid herself of her stereotypical bombshell looks in an attempt to get more fulfilling roles in the movies – it’s frightening how often women are put in a box because of the way they look. Take Hedy Lamarr for example- she is responsible for inventing wifi and yet she is often merely remembered for being beautiful. Things need to change and I want to be part of it.

Aside from personal experience, who or what do you draw aesthetic inspiration from when you’re building a collection?

I watch a lot of films, I collect packaging and movie memorabilia, I take pictures and draw a lot, I look at vintage clothes.

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You graduated from CSM and then did Fashion East, what were the biggest challenges of launching a label in London? What were your biggest learning curves?

I’m still learning a lot, mostly from my mistakes!

What are your favourite materials to work with?

I have had an ongoing sponsorship from Sophie Hallette since St Martins, they make the most exquisite lace in Paris which is a joy to work with. I also love painting on leather.

When did you have the most fun designing?

My graduate collection at St Martins, having the freedom to design something with no commercial constraints whatsoever was pure joy.

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All you want for Christmas is….?

A lilac Birman kitten.

Where do you want to take the brand in 2018?

I’m restructuring the way I show collections, I’m not going to be a slave to the schedule anymore. In 2018 I’m doing things on my own terms. I’m launching my website and e-store in the new year too which I’m really excited about.

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Paintings, Harley Weir

13.12.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

Celebrate the festive period at this Friday, 15th December with a Harley Weir book signing at Claire de Rouen.

Harley Weir’s new book, Paintings offers a different focus for one of fashion’s most iconic contemporary photographers, shifting the subject matter from humans to paint and texture. The images contain the same energy and precision as her portraits, playing with rhythms and juxtapositions within a more confined space.

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Stop by the hallowed book shop this week to pick up your own copy – and browse the rest of their beautiful stock (including, of course, Twin).

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Twin’s top five from Miami Art Week 2017

13.12.2017 | Art | BY:

The sun has well and truly set over the “art world’s” hedonistic winter break: Miami Art week. Now we have returned to our respective corners of the world, (almost) shaken off the jet lag and managed to gather our thoughts, here, below, are five highlights from last week’s events in the Magic city. 

Tanya Layton, Art Basel Miami 2017 – Nova, Booth N17

The seemingly unusual set up of Tanya Layton’s booth was particularly intriguing this year. Blurring the line between fashion boutique and art fair booth, the Berlin-based gallery featured the new menswear collection created collaboratively by artist Sanya Kantarovsky and designer George McCracken. Comprising of three limited-edition shirts, the collection is patterned with imagery from Kantarovsky’s watercolour compositions that depict uncomfortably chaotic scenes; one shows nude men attempting to sprint through a field of cacti, the other shows a network of old white men dressed in patriotic colours strangling each other in their attempt to get to the top. While the Hawaiian-like prints are complementary to the surrounding Miami Beach, it goes without saying that the collaborative “campaign” reaches beyond the irony, commenting on male ambition, self-interest and competitiveness in today’s society.

Tanya Leighton

Tanya Leighton

ROOM 2022, Es Devlin, Edition Hotel, Miami Beach

Located at the Miami Beach Edition hotel, artist and award-winning stage designer, Es Devlin, presented ROOM 2022; a large-scale immersive installation that takes visitors on a journey from reality to illusion. Devlin’s first site-specific art installation in Miami and first in a hotel setting, begins in a re-imagined hotel room and ends in a vaulted elliptical mirror maze. Spanning over 7,000 square feet, ROOM 2022 invited guests “to participate in a collective exploration and reimagine a new version of the familiar hotel ecosystem.”

Es Devlin

Es Devlin

Franchise Freedom, Studio Drift, Faena, BMW and PACE

Marking the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach and debuting their most recent innovation, Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Amsterdam-based Studio drift, presented their spectacular sculpture, Franchise Freedom: a flying sculpture comprising of 300 autonomously flying illuminated drones that together imitate the natural flight patterns of starlings. Inspired by this phenomenon, the artists translated these patterns into software specifically embedded into drones to create a powerful display that asks us to question the very principles of freewill, self-organisation and programmed behaviour.

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The Rubell Collection – Still Human

If looking to escape the crowds of the fairs in South Beach, a trip across to the mainland is all the more welcomed during this time of year. The Rubell Collection, housed in a formed DEA warehouse, is nothing short of being an anchor for the now very hip Wynwood Design District. Its current exhibition, Still Human, addresses the complex nature and consequences of the digital revolution and recent technological developments as they redefine the human condition. Presenting works from twenty-five artists, including Jon Rafman, Ed Atkins and Cécile B. Evans, the exhibition seeks to address increasing concerns around topics related to artificial intelligence, surveillance, social justice and virtual existence.

Josh Kline, Thank you for your years of service (Joann_Lawyer) (2016)

Josh Kline, Thank you for your years of service (Joann_Lawyer) (2016)

COS Collaboration with Studio Swine (Alexander Groves + Azusa Murakami)

Oversaturation and the need to escape the chaos of the fairs is by no means uncommon. Thankfully, the surrounding area is (overly) populated with parallel happenings waiting to be discovered. The graceful bubble tree at The Temple House in Miami Beach was the perfect antidote to the traditionally stress-filled bustle of Art Basel. The multi-sensory installation, New Spring, commissioned by king of minimalism COS in collaboration with London-based duo Studio Swine, comprised of a central sculpture ejecting scented bubbles, only to evaporate into ashy smoke upon contact with contemplative visitors below. Inspired by the unique shape of the Japanese Cherry Blossom tree, the British artist Alexander Groves and the Japanese architect, behind Studio Swine, Azusa Murakami, sought to create an environmentally-friendly sculpture drawing awareness to the impermanence of matter.

COS x StudioSwine

COS x StudioSwine

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LOEWE presents: ‘Chance Encounters III’

11.12.2017 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Opening during Miami Art Week, the LOEWE Foundation‘s ‘Chance Encounters III’ (the third in its series) brings together work by captivating artists– Sara Flynn, Richard Smith and Lionel Wendt – who together offer a rich fabric of work from across continents and time.

Richard Smith, Shuttle, 1975 (View 2) (c) Photograph by Antonio Parente for Flowers Gallery, London and New York

Continuing the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and creative culture, the launch of the new exhibition symbolised an evolution of the connection between the house and artists; using the themes of shadow and the relationships between forms as the main aesthetic tenants, the works span fabrics, ceramics and photography.

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“Art and craft are always at the centre of my creative process and these exhibitions are an exciting way of exploring artists that are important to me.” Said Jonathan Anderson at the opening of the exhibition. “I love the unexpected things that happen when people from completely different worlds are brought together, the antagonism can create something completely new.”

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Open until February 2018, this exhibition offers a compelling display within the beautiful surroundings of  the LOEWE Miami Design District store. If you’re in Miami, visit.

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Person of the year: Rose McGowan and the silence breakers of 2017

10.12.2017 | Culture | BY:

Rose McGowan was awarded Time Magazine’s Person of the Year award 2017, an acknowledgement of the incredibly brave and powerful work that she, and the many other women who spoke up against sexual abuse in the wake of the Weinstein scandal, have enacted this year.

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“I’m not saying things that are earth-shattering. I’m just the only one saying them” McGowan commented in an interview with The Fall earlier this year – speaking then she couldn’t possibly have known the cultural shifts and change that her actions have since engendered. Because of women like McGowan, and those who followed from her lead, 2018 looks set to welcome a new era for gender equality where previously engrained cultures amongst elites from all industries have been broken, we hope, for good.

Images and quotes courtesy of The Fall magazine, which is out now. 

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Remember me when I’m gone

08.12.2017 | Art | BY:

Alex Franco’s exhibition, “Remember me when I’m gone” debuted on Friday 1st December at Crea Center Polivalent in Barcelona, with a second showing at Unit 10 Gallery on Tuesday the 5th of December.

The works are a response to the refugee crisis, and were taken at The Jungle in Calais across several trips over a period of eighteen months. The images explore the context of displacement, while striving to shine a light on a problem that remains unresolved.

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You may have seen pictures from The Jungle in the news. The shabby, temporary constructions became a place of refuge for those who had fled their homes, arriving in Calais only to be displaced again, and shoved to the margins of our system. After The Jungle expanded to house almost 10,000 inhabitants in a period of eighteen months, the French government destroyed it and expelled the refugees, forcing them to leave, separate and relocate. The interest in this problem has dwindled, given less and less media attention, as onlookers delude themselves that the problem no longer exists as the structure has been dismantled. But despite its changing physicality, The Jungle continues to exist just as it did before its demise, only in a different, dispersed form. Through his photos, Alex Franco encourages his audience to consider where all these refugees are now, and whether they have been given the chance at a new home and life that they deserve.

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All work is for sale and proceeds will be donated to Help Refugees.

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Marques’Almeida Resort 2018

05.12.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Chanel and Izzy head to to Wales for Marques’Almeida Resort 2018. Shot by photographer Masha Mel, the campaign embodies the carefree, joyful ethos of the brand. In stores from mid December, enjoy a flavour of what’s to come below.

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