Spreading Spreads by Milan-based photographer Piotr Niepsuj

Milan-based photographer and creative consultant Piotr Niepsuj is best known for his raw portraits of urban scenes. Born in Lodz, Poland, Niepsuj first arrived in Italy to study architecture before working for PIG Magazine, the Italian equivalent of Dazed or ID. It was at PIG that he was first given a camera and sent on assignment to photograph people anywhere from the streets of Milan to music festivals. He now shoots campaigns for brands like Off-white and Perks and Mini who he photographed for issue XX of Twin. 

Most recently, Niepsuj presented a photo magazine called Spreads at Artifact in Spazio Maiocchi in Milan. Spreads features images of Tokyo inspired by Moriyama, which Niepsuj took on a digital camera on his recent trip to the Japanese capital city. Here, we speak with him about his practice and evolution as a photographer, his thoughts on contemporary photography, and his new work Spreads. 

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

What is your first memory working as a photographer?

My first assignment ever. It was an interview and portrait of Jeremy Scott of Moschino. I didn’t even know what I was doing. It was very courageous of the magazine PIG, and it was a very good time for me. I learned everything. I learned about magazines. I learned about photography. A lot of hard work, no money, and good parties. 

How have you evolved as a photographer since then? 

I grew up in a very vice school of photography. You would go with your camera and photograph whatever surrounded you whether it was a party or a festival or a trend on the street. It’s basically what everybody does now, but it’s what anybody from Ryan McGinley to Juergen Teller who’s kind of father of this style was doing when I started. The approach doesn’t really change. I just go with my camera and shoot what I see and what I like. 

I think the world changed more than I did. In the beginning, we photographed parties, trends, and us being young. Then, us being young turned old and boring. It’s also much more difficult to take pictures of people now because of how much more aware we are of being photographed. The naturalness is lost. This changed about the world. 

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

Have you changed cameras? What are you working with – digital or analogue? 

I change cameras from analogue to digital. I shoot a lot with my phone also, because it’s the easiest and the fastest way. I think it’s like the contemporary equivalent of point and shoot. 

When I first started, I used to love analogue. Then, I didn’t approve of it. You realize all of your pictures look the same as the pictures of people twenty or thirty years ago – but they are not as good. When you think about how they’re going to be seen in the future, you wonder why a picture from 2019 has to look like a picture from 1980?

I think the iPhone picture is the picture of 2019, and when someone sees in 2050 a picture from 2019, it’s a bit strange to see it like a fake picture from 25 years before. I became bored, too, with the graininess of it. Then, it became commercial.

When I started working for real and shooting commercially, I realized film is the way not to get crazy. I produce so many images that my hard drives are exploding. Even mentally it’s too much. With digital, you can be shooting all the time – 2000 shots per day. I arrived to the point I understand film again.

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

Why do you like photographing urban scenes?

I studied architecture, so it’s always somehow inside me, this interest in cities and urbanization. Cities are the same everywhere you go, the same elements exist. They’re temporary and permanent. Temporary things eventually stay, and permanent things get old and change. Old and very new always clash, because the old is still functional and still works. It’s a documentation. Cities are like living structures in the end, and urban scenes are like a proof of history filled with layers, evolution, communication, advertisement, stratification, development. 

I always think and hope every time I take an image that it’s not for selling a product, that it will have a value in 20 years. Even if I shoot the backstage of a fashion show for a brand, I always try not to show like a perfect image. It’s always like trying to find the mess, what’s human. 

What is your new work Spreads

P: It’s at Artifact, the store space Kaleidoscope shares with Slam Jam at Spazio Maiocchi. The work is about Tokyo and Moriyama. Last October, I went with some friends to Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo, and I brought this little point-and-shoot digital camera and just went down the streets and took pictures of everything from little homes in the streets to the trash. There’re thousands of images of this trip. I also went into all the bookstores, looking at old and new books to add to my collection. I found this one about Record Magazine that Moriyama founded. It’s the magazine he made for himself with only his pictures. I was reading this and looking at thousands of his images and realized it’s the same. I want to have my record now. I’m presenting it for the first time. 150+ prints from the magazine and outtakes were also “exhibited” during the launch.

Image by Piotr Niepsuj

Spreads reminds me of your Instagram @spreadingspreads where you post images of photos in books, often two-page spreads. Are the images in conversation with each other or intended to create a dialogue?

Not necessarily, but when there are two images next to each other, you always try to find a dialogue. It’s important to me to think about. Even if you look at the Spreading Spreads Instagram, I very rarely put a spread that is only one image. With spreads, sometimes there’s no conversation. Sometimes, there is. Sometimes, it’s a joke. Sometimes, it’s aesthetically working. That’s the fun of making a magazine or a book. 

Follow Piotr Niepsuj @piotrniepsuj and @spreadingspreads.

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Gucci’s Prêt-à-porter FW19 Campaign sees Fashion with a capital F

In the past few seasons, Italian fashion house Gucci has become renown for the creative direction behind their elaborately artistic fashion campaigns. For Fall Winter 2019, the campaign released earlier this week, creative director Alessandro Michele pays homage to the evolution of prêt-à-porter from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, a period in which ready to wear was at it’s peak. Shot by Glen Luchford, the campaign features the concept of fashion as a genre of science or art form, where each subject is shot surrounded by spectators and analysers inspecting each and every elaborate look from the FW19 collection.   

“The fabula of fashion, however, begins at the drawing table, then moves to the workshops, during fittings, trials and fault finding… It is a tale of manual and material skills, the result of a specific know-how that today we tend to discount, to take for granted,” the team stated. 

See the full story at Gucci.com

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Fendi Launches Men’s Version of Iconic Baguette

For the first time during the FW19 menswear season earlier this year Italian luxury fashion house Fendi debuted their iconic Baguette in several men’s versions on the catwalk. The brand’s iconic bag, originally launched in 1997 by Silvia Venturini Fendi, was reimagined in different styles, materials and sizes to fit. The baguette has been featured in three different sizes including mini, regular and maxi and is crafted in different materials such a croco, mink and Selleria leather.  An additional feature is although it may be a baguette, thanks to the flexibility of it’s straps it can be worn in several ways, from cross body to hand-carried or even as a belt bag. Today launches the digital campaign featuring a group of influencers friends including Marc Forné, Leo Mandella and Nasir Dean as they are shot sporting different versions of the baguette while decked out in their FENDI wardrobe. The baguette will be available in FENDI boutiques worldwide and online starting from mid-July. 

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Saatchi Gallery Presents – Sweet Harmony: Rave ft Seana Gavin and others

Today,  London’s Saatchi Gallery opens it’s doors to an immersive retrospective exhibition devoted to presenting a revolutionary survey of rave culture through a variety of various voices who have experienced it. The exhibition, titled Sweet Harmony: Rave| Today is set to open on Friday July 12th and will include several portrayals of the new world which emerged from the acid house scene. Throughout the exhibition, the space will feature multimedia room installations and audiovisual works by some of the rave movements experienced by first hand. As the concept of the acid house revolution is set to be recalled through photo series , live music events, talks and panel discussions by the movements’ architects and influencers of the 80s and 90s. 

The Saatchi Gallery’s director Philly Adams in partnership with co-curator Kobi Prempeh have assembled a team of youthful visionaries and photographers including Sheryl Garratt, Agnes Bliah, photographers Tom Hunter, Vinca Petersen and a Twin favourite Seana Gavin. In anticipation for the upcoming event, we called upon the London based artist for a quick chat on what to expect. 

. In anticipation for the upcoming event, we called upon the London based artist for a quick chat on what to expect. 

For the exhibition, your work is mainly based off your time during the Spiral Tribe,  what would you say was the definition of  the term “rave” during a time such as this?

The raves I attended began in London. They were parties put on by collectives and sound systems such a Spiral Tribe who would take over abandoned empty buildings like office blocks, factories, post offices and outdoors in fields and quarries and would transform them into spaces where people from all walks of life could sweat the night away on a dance floor surrounded by likeminded individuals. The parties were run on a donation only entrance policy. Their ethos were all about the freedom to party as a way to break away from the commercial club culture that was emerging at the same time. They were illegal, very underground and it became a subculture. When Spiral Tribe left the UK in 1993 they would continue their mission across Europe. Other sound systems followed and raves turned into multi sound system Techno Festivals known as  ‘Teknivals’.

New Years day,Barcelona by Seana Gavin

 How would you say rave culture has changed since then and in what ways has the way in which you document rave culture since then evolved?

Overlapping with the scene I was part of, rave culture expanded from illegal warehouses into ticketed commercial club events. Even though raves and Teknivals still go on today they can’t have the same energy and rawness from the early days. Nothing can be repeated like that. In the early days to find out about the parties there was a secret party line info number you’d call on the night. It is incredible to think that between 30-50,000 people attended the iconic Castlemorten 3 day rave in the British countryside in 1992 purely through these channels and on a word of mouth basis.

In Europe, flyers were also handed out to pass on info about the next party. In my era it was pre-smart phones and social media so there was less documentation. Nowadays the digital age and overload of selfie culture has tainted things. Everyone has a portable camera in their phone so there is less mystery around it.

I think it’s great that clubs like Berghain in Berlin try to keep things more old school by storing your phone as you enter the club. Which also forces you to be present in the experience and not live through the lense of your smart phone camera.

record dusting, hostomice Teknival 1998, by Seana Gavin

 What would you like your audience to take away from your series?

I’d like to think the viewers would feel a sense of intimacy to the subject matter. I wasn’t a photo journalist documenting this scene at the time, I was immersed in this way of life . The photos I’ve included in the show capture the raves locations, the journeys in between, the aftermath of the parties and people who defined the scene.

I would hope the viewers would get a sense of the perspective of what it felt like to be part of that community which was more than a night out but an alternative outlook to society and a way of life.

Twice as Nice, Aiya Napa, London, 1999
VINCA PETERSEN Bus And Rig

Other names of images makers included in exhibition are Ted Polhemus, Dave Swindells and Mattko. Throughout the exhibition, a space is created featuring the visually stimulating collections of each artist accompanied by a Spotify playlist with sub-genres of Detroit Techno, Acid House, Happy Hardcore, UK Garage and Grime. Uniting a selection of like, yet diverse minded creatives including electronic musician, visual artists and of course photographers. After the exhibition’s debut this Friday, it shall remain open to the public throughout the summer, until September 14th. For more details, visit Saatchi Gallery.

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Filles A Papa Makes Powershift with New Shoe Line

This month Belgian fashion brand Filled A Papa, broke new ground with the launch of their very first footwear collection for the AW19 season entitled POWERSHIFT. 

Carol and Sarah Piron, the creative duo behind the line created a collection of 4 styles including  ankle and thigh high boots, inspired by the theme of the previous collection , being the iconography of American Motorcross and Mud Wrestling with a touch of 90’s aesthetic. Laced high boots are reworked in both black and white suede with an added sparkle of Swarovski crystals, the brand’s signature numbers the Bliss and Cocomodels are offered in the same fabrics as well as a metallic “American Flag” version, leather and black tailoring with white dots. Each shoe is matched with its own personality that gives it’s wearer a unique extra oomph while sporting it. To view and purchase the full collection on pre-sale, visit Filles A Papa.

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Twin x Trekstock 2019 – A Trek For Cancer Highlights

Images courtesy of Fenn O’meally

Earlier this year, we announced our initiative in collaboration with Whistle and Trekstock in aid of raising funds and awareness for young adults with cancer. For the trek, a group of us including a few members of our teams set to climb the highest peak in North Africa situated in Marrakech for six long days with heavy packs and thrilling cliffs. We also managed to be graced by the presence of photographer Fenn O’meally, who was able to capture all the highlights of each special moment. See a few moments spent below. 

PFW: Thom Browne SS20 – My Secret Garden

Within the past few seasons designer Thom Browne has managed to establish himself as one of the more creative menswear voices in fashion. Each season he manages to reflect the scenery that is the objet d’art of his complex mind. Creating fusions of menswear with forms of femininity and couture tailoring. For spring summer 2020, he created a story around a secret garden where he unleashed his fantasies of typically masculine sports reinterpreted and blown up with masculine qualities while still caressing the idea of vulnerability. This was shown through XVII century clothing that were reinvented and reinterpreted. From hips that blew up inches wider than usual to oversized shoulders all shown in the classic Thom Brown seersucker fabrics. Football balls pads and codpieces paid tributes to the sports in red, green, yellow among other colours.

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Notions of luxury and the relegations of throwaway culture: Twin meets the RCA graduate Andrew Bell

Images courtesy of Phillip White

The needle and thread, the binding hallmark of the fashion industry is devoid in the work and craftsmanship of the fashion designer Andrew Bell. 

Using cutting-edge sonic welding technology, in a disruptive approach that undermines the one constant that has traditionally kept fashion together, Andrew is a creative looking at alternative means to design. For Andrew contemporary fashion is stuck: designers are consistently creating the same shapes and silhouettes, very much defined by tools and techniques which have not changed for decades. Having graduated from Zowie Broach’s MA degree at the Royal College of Art, Andrew was one of the front running thinkers of her encouragement towards radical thinking: the graduate show entitled All At Once summarising the spectral chest of ideas on show.

Unpicking the traditional and moving forwards with new technology is central to what makes Bell’s aesthetic fresh and striking. Collapsible coats, razor sharp pants and fluid-cut tops combine to project a signature look that crisp, sharp, compact and concise.  Side-stepping the familiar, traditional and pre-determined is at the heart of what makes Bell’s work engaging. Animatedly explaining how he used Sonic welding technology to seal not only to edges and outlines of his pieces, but to bind the very aesthetic direction of his work, Andrew has ensured that in the absence of stitch lines his pieces are super-lightweight, which in turn allowed him to develop a series of collapsible coats and jackets that fold completely flat to just 1.5cm in profile. 

Andrew’s work hinges on an axis of high-low paradoxes. On one hand his cutting references the collapsible hover bag, on the other the very cornerstone of modern womenswear tailoring – the Dior Bar Jacket. For Andrew this paradox reflects the collapse in the traditional frameworks that bind our notions of ‘luxury’ and ‘non-luxury’ in an era of material excess.  In this saturated context Andrew’s work presents in part a portrait of the collapsible, but equally projects an alternative vision for the future, with ‘Future Tailoring’ the term the designer uses to condense and communicate his approach. 

Across his MA collection Andrew has explored the hallmarks of a new era of garment construction across a spectrum of materiality; from sharp and structured to soft and fluid. The edges of this new aesthetic are instantly identifiable through his iconic zig-zag emblem;  More subtle is the completely clean-cut, non-fray edge that defines every other sleeve and side seam in the collection. Up close, the zig-zag edging harks of easy-open, single-use supermarket stock. 

Collaborating with a print designer, Ciaran Moore, on the fabric, the pair capture the beauty of industrial textures, such as the rusty non-slip grills that go unnoticed under our feet. The ephemeral geo-prints that line envelopes and parcels sit side by side with heritage herringbones; luxury and the lo-fi abound. This approach is extended to the footwear in the collection too. In collaboration with fellow RCA alumnus Tabitha Ringwood, the pair present a capsule of footwear completely crafted from scratch. For the heels the designer borrowed the humble door wedge, re-moulding it both physically and conceptually as an object of beauty that extends beyond its primary status as a mass-produced, valueless and solely functional article. 

Perfume is an off-shoot, but nonetheless connected project to Andrew’s vision: exploring the potential of a fragrance focused magazine that features different contributors each issue. Just as the designer’s outerwear collapses the material hierarchies of ‘luxury’ and ‘non-luxury’, so too does his fragrance concept. In the place of traditional cut-glass bottle, Bell’s concept sees bio-degradable PVC sachets as a sustainable alternative. As such Andrew dissolves the most expensive aspect to any fragrance – the bottle – allowing fragrance to become more accessible to young designers and their audience.

Andrew’s work reminds us that aesthetics and technology can harmoniously inhabit a creative space together – technology cannot abandon visual beauty, nor can form ignore the potential and the responsibilities of production and design. Andrew has allowed technology to shape his process, re-articulating items of the banal everyday into structures of body-skimming beauty. As Bell surmises, in order to break the deadlock, the repetition and the dead-stock, fashion must look to new ways of making, and new ways of thinking.

It’s an approach that Bell attributes to the inimitable teachings of Zowie Broach, a modus operandi that demands a fearlessness in approach. Under Broach’s leadership Andrew was chosen by Value Retail to be the 2nd recipient of the highly coveted support scheme for rising Irish talent; The Kildare Village Fashion Scholarship which allowed Andrew to take his place at the RCA, an opportunity that the designer explains would otherwise have been closed to him. 

The designer is often a perfectionist: in the way they touch, feel, look. Every facet is examined, explained and evaluated in detail. Andrew Bell is no exception – it is this exhaustive dedication to the metaphorical folding of fashion that has allowed a designer to emerge that is refreshingly new.

Expect to see him at Jil Sander before long.  

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MFW: Marni SS20 – Carnival Meets Camouflage

Last week in Milan, Marni’s creative director Francesco Risso, who has in some ways become the enfant terrible of Milanese fashion invited guests to a show space that featured a net ceiling filled with plastic bottles for the presentation of his SS20 collection. The show’s set, although containing a strong message to environmental matters we face today was simply just a backdrop, or as the designer himself put it, “a reminder of the issues we’re facing with plastic hanging over our heads.”

The collection itself was a celebration as much as it was a rebellion. Risso imagined an unlikely marriage between Argentine revolutionist Ernesto Che Guevara and American novelist Truman Capote with himself as the wedding planner. This resulted in the harmony of two opposing worlds, carnival meets military. From hats made from staples, to  old furs, plastics and debris by artist Shalva Nikvashvili, to slippers crafted from cardboard cut outs and plimsolls dipped in oil.  

“A study in clashes, and the uneven harmony that ensues by mixing opposite worlds, jumbling it all together. The extreme graphic properness and formality of suits. The radical rebelliousness of field jackets and militaria, with a tropical slant.”

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MFW: Fendi SS20 Men’s – A Nurture of Nature

For the first time in a very long time, Italian fashion house Fendi stepped off site their routined Milanese show space and headed for the gardens of an 18th century villa in central Milan for their SS2020 show. A switch that had been prompted by creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi’s need for a break from the virtually infested world we live in as she takes a minute to appreciate the fruits of Mother Nature . This collection was a version of the Fendi man that goes fishing on weekends and gardens in his spare time. Sartorial workwear pieces were presented with a casual elegance that allow their wearers a sort of relaxed eased approach towards life.

From khaki cotton overalls, to striped beach slips, to fishmerman style vests and cargo pants. Throughout the collection, the house also revealed their collaboration with renown “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino who drafted a few botanical prints for the collection. These were brought out through digital prints and cut out knit wear. The colour palette was one that blended with the habitat ranging from beiges, to greens , browns and whites. In regards to accessories, the house debuted a Pequin printed Fendi watering can, garden baskets, big totes, pouch bags as well as versions of the Fendi baguette and peekaboo bags. This collection was a breath of fresh air for the house, one that in some ways allows for a sort of reset, and more than anything conjures the desire for a vacation.

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MFW: SUNNEI SS20 – A Haiku of Fashion Lucidity

On the occasion of their fifth anniversary, Italian minimalist brand SUNNEI adopted an urban space in the Rubattino area of eastern Milan, which they transformed into what they now dub as Bianco Sunnei. The space,  an entirely normal concrete area that sat underneath a giant bridge in Milano’s Parco dell’Acqua and has been regenerated as a visual oasis coated in white paint. A type of maximal minimalism that didn’t call for much to make a statement than a well thought out concept. This sort of effortless assertive simplicity was strung throughout the brand’s SS2020 collection which had their freshly created space as it’s backdrop.

The collection was aimed towards a specific colour palette which not only complemented the space, but embraced some of the house’s iconic runway history , from plain white, to the khaki browns, somber citruses, lime greens to sky blues and midnight blacks. Each transition gliding into another as if it were some sort of poetry. But not just any kind of poem, no, this was a haiku —  three lines, seventeen syllables, 17 words. Very simple but meticulously planned as to evoke all the right feelings. Boxy volumes were in abundance with cargo pants, monochromatic suits, denim jackets and coats, knit dresses that explore a few moments of layering. Fabrics move like liquid as the brand uses this moment to highlight their collaboration with Albiate 1830 — a branch of Italian eco-friendly fabric company Albini. This is seen through 3D woven nylon yarns, fresh leathers, and a deckchair-striped cotton poplin. Last season the designer duo presented a collection as a stance resistant against the wave of streetwear by referencing the 2000s. This season they affirmed that notion of in some ways being anti-fashion- Not like Rick Owens anti-fashion, and although similar not even Marni’s anti-fashion. Just simply riding , moving , sketching to the beats of their own rhythms, which happens to be in the opposite direction of everyone else. Either way this has become the duo’s strong suit. 

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Artist+AI: Figures & Form in the Age of Intelligent Machines

Cover Image: Hyperbolic Composition 1 by Scott Eaton

This evening American artist Scott Eaton debuts his first solo exhibition at the Somerset House in London under the themes  of the convergence of the human hand and technology of artificial intelligence. Throughout the exhibition generative artificial intelligence (AI) is morphed with century old practices of drawing and sculpting. As an interdisciplinary artist with a background in anatomy, Eaton creates pieces that offer new perception on the understanding of the human form.

“For as long as humans have made art, the figure has been a primary focus of creative exploration. In each age new tools, techniques and styles influence how the figure is portrayed. Often the tools remain the same -pencil, charcoal, paint, clay – but the style changes – impressionism, cubism, surrealism, abstract expressionism. At certain times, however, there are seismic advances in technology that create entirely new possibilities for representation – photography, moving image, animation … and now AI” the artist explains. “The magic of the process is revealed,” Eaton says, “when you guide the AI to create something unlike anything it has seen before: ‘The AI has no choice but to do what I ask, no matter how difficult or unreasonable my request. The result is often a wondrous, unexpected, interplay of visual ideas, both mine and the machine’s.” The exhibition opens it’s doors on June 18th and will run throughout the week until June 23rd. 

Peter Paul Rubens, The Fall of the Damned, 1620, Oil paint
Fall of the Damned, 2019 © Scott Eaton

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LFW: Fashion East SS2020 Showcase

Last week  three young designers under the Fashion East Initiative presented their SS2020 collections. A small tribe of Londoners and British fashion school alumni who each spoke with very different voices.

Saul Nash SS2020
Saul Nash SS2020
Saul Nash SS2020

The newest designer to the bunch was British dancer and choreographer Saul Nash who opened the showcase and his section of the evening with a group of models standing on the runway. Followed by a dance performance upon the guests being seated. This performance helped to show off Nash’s construction abilities in creating functional pieces with technical fabrics, curved zippers and mesh. From steel grey nylon pants, to light blue tracksuits. Each piece was made with an awareness of comfort and sensitivity towards movement. 

Robyn Lynch SS2020
Robyn Lynch SS2020
Robyn Lynch SS2020

 Irish designer Robyn Lynch presented a solid coloured men’s collection inspired by the sport uniforms worn throughout Irish communities in earlier decades. This was brought out through a selection of cable knit sweaters, terry cloth shorts, t-shirts and cropped sweatpants all rendered in a palette of mint greens, lilac and cornflower blues.  

Mowalola SS2020
Mowalola SS2020
Mowalola SS2020

Nigerian designer Mowalola Ogunlesi showcased her second collection with Fashion East that was inspired by her experiencing the woes of romantic love for the first time, “I’ve just fallen in love for the first time and I feel as if no one talks about the horrific side, the dangers of love, losing control of your emotions and feeling like your crazy. It’s like a horror movie. So this is as if I’m in a black Woodstock Festival and someone has been murdered,” she explained. And henceforth this included looks with gunshot wounds placed against large lip prints, religious symbols in colourful halter necked suits, skin tight pants,  revealing bodices, jumpsuits, and coats made from leather, cotton and cowhide fabrics. 

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LFW: Charles Jeffrey SS2020 Menswear: 21st Century Punk Rock

All Images by Chris Yates

Last weekend British designer Charles Jeffrey revealed his SS2020 men’s collection during London Fashion Week. Within the past few seasons Jeffrey has established himself to be not just a designer but a showman, a thespian, a poet who doesn’t just put needle to thread without there being deep intention manifested behind it. Each season the designer has delivered full on productions that leaves his audience in wonder of the world around them about matters that are often so blatantly obvious, repackaged and re-presented by the designer in a way that manifests itself within the viewer. Last season Jeffrey presented an exhilarating and immersive Weimar Republic club performance with nods to Peter Pan and sexuality. However this season the designer opted for a rather more sober tone as he drew inspiration from the concept of punk culture and the idea of how it was created as a default to the times in which we lived.

This collection as he said, was “an eruption beneath violent pressure, as a diamond under the heat,” in reference to the political, social and natural climates in which we currently live. His show began with the designer himself walking down the runway of The British Library reading a passage from “In the Beginning,” by Dylan Thomas. Followed by a collection of seersucker suiting, featherweight jacquards referencing armour and civil service uniforms in reference to the need for both freedom and protection; opal blue silk column dresses styled with contradictory military jackets and some pieces containing intricately layered rips and tears representative as sorts of fault lines. 

Some models sported full face paintings done and extravagant head pieces and  fishnet stockings which reinforced the collection’s punk influence. The collection was acted almost like a map, like a polaroid of this generation’s pain and demise, a prediction maybe, of what such a movement like the punk subculture would have looked like in the year 2019. 

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Prada SS20 Mens: An Optimist Rhythm, A Boyish Freedom

Creative Director Miuccia Prada was moving to an optimistic tune in regards to the latest Prada Spring Summer 2020 Menswear collection. The collection was presented for the first time in Shanghai, China in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Milan being named it’s sister city. The show continued along the same themes and energies presented in the house’s resort collection a month ago which explored notions of optimism and simplicity. On a blue-lit runway at the Minsheng Art Wharf Mrs. Prada explored the these notions of optimism through a boyish elegance by acknowledging the significance and impact of fashion design. And as a result acknowledging the designer’s power as an artist with self affirmations, “I am no longer an artist; I have become a work of art,” a quote from the voiceover played during the show. The collection was almost like an ode to oneself, an embrace of both the good and the bad, the old and the new, the rebellious and the sophisticated. 

Classic pieces are decontextualised with contrasting  proportions and scaling created to frame the male body abstractly. An long shirt addressees the line of a tailored jacket, polo shirts and sweatshirts are given macro volume, each piece was crafted with a sort of boyhood in mind that speaks to a type of freedom. The type of boyhood that may recall the spirits of Boy Scouts which may have been subconsciously hinted with the above the knee shorts, tent-like nylon tank tops and palette of khaki’s included the collection.

These were complemented by neutrals of baby blues, pinks, blacks and greys in tune with that of the resort collection.  As described in the show notes “technology has become a fetish, ” where cassette tapes, floppy disks and other ‘antique’ pieces of technology are mounted on shirts and jackets like merit badges. Having landed commercial success through dipping her feet in these untamed themes such as Frankenstein in the last menswear show in February, this SS20 menswear collection seems to have been Miuccia’s affirmation that what had been known as a classic tailored Prada brand five or ten years ago, is now meant to be played upon and experimented with. Keeping up with the changing times, while staying true to the brand’s voice. 

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Riverdale’s Rob Raco Faces Fendi

Rob Raco, one of the stars of American Drama Netflix Series Riverdale has been recently shot as the face of Fendi’s SS19 men’s eyewear campaign Released this weekend, the campaign features the musician and actor in a short film flaunting sunglasses from the collection. Throughout the video, Fendi makes a point that sunglasses should be worn at any time of the day as it sets Raco on a cosy living space being documented from sunrise, through morning, afternoon and sunset. Each change of time is signalled through the the change of sunglasses and wardrobe. As he’s captured in enjoyment of the moments while his voiceover plays in the background:

“I like to know when the daylight comes.

The shape.  From purples to pink.

I know when I can feel it.

How your mood turns into a different colour.”

 The Fendi SS19 eyewear collection is now in stores and online. View the full film here and shop the collection at Fendi.com

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Nike Launches BeTrue Pride Month Campaign

In celebration for this year’s Pride festivities Nike launches it’s BeTrue collection in support of the LGBTQ+ community with a smashing campaign. Earlier this week, in partnership with Out Magazine, Nike released the images for the collection that were done in collaboration with the estate of Gilbert Baker — the political activist who claimed the rainbow for LGBTQ+ people by creating the pride flag. 

The campaign shot by photographer Marcus Smith features the likes of some of sports’ most important LGBTQ+ names including Caster Semenya, Sue Bird, Chris Mosier, Brittney Griner,  Kerron Clement among many others.  All decked out in this year’s updated merch which includes  collection of shoes, accessories and clothes highly influenced by the pride flag. Such as the Air Max 720 in a rainbow palette with Baker’s signature on the back, The Air Tailwind 79 with a rainbow heel, the Zoom Pegasus Turbo in a full rainbow stripe with glitter and sparkles among other products.  In tune with the initiative,  the brand will also grant financial support to 20 LGBTQ+ organisations including the GLBT historical Society, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, The National Gay Basketball Association and You Can Play.  The Nike BeTrue 2019 collection is now available online and in selected stores worldwide. 

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Matches Fashion x Paco Rabanne 1969 Pre-Collection

Yesterday French fashion house Paco Rabanne in partnership with London based luxury retailer Matches Fashion launched an exclusive silvery of the house’s 1969 anniversary bag and AW19 pre collection with an installation at Matches’ space at 5 Carlos Place. 

The Paco Robanne 1969 anniversary bag bridges past and present through iconic design and artisanal technique. Assembled by hand, the bag is the quintessential expression of Paco Rabanne – avant garde when created 50 years ago and timelessly modern today. 

Image by Cat Garcia

The installation is an immersive experience which welcomes customers into Paco Rabanne’s world through two channels.  One  as a chainmail cube that focuses on luminosity and curiosity, pulling stimuli for inspiration from the 1969 bag collection and it’s unique aspects. The other is a twist to the AW19 collection that curates an environment with films representing the landscapes of David de Beyter and digital tutorials on LED screens that explain how to wear pieces from the collection.  Both installation act as booths for photos where costumers are free to interact with the products and the curated environment that accompanies them. 

 The 1969 anniversary collection will be available exclusively at MATCHESFASHION.COM for the month of June and the installation at 5 Carlos Place will run until the 26th of June. 

Image by Cat Garcia

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#WeTheNipple Art Action

Cover Image: Fay Fox

Last weekend, the National Coalition Against Censorship and photographer Spencer Tunick staged a nude installation in New York City in protest against the censorship of artistic nudity on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign, set outside the headquarters of the social media entities featured over 100 nudes bodies who were in stance against the level of censorship included in the current instagram guidelines. For the protest, no genitals or female nipples are visible. All female nipples were entirely and meticulously covered with stickers representing male nipples, sourced and created by NCAC and Tunick. All genitals were additionally covered with large round cardboard cutouts also representing male nipples. All visible nipples are male. And yet, the images were still censored when posted online and the campaign’s hashtag was blocked by instagram.

Svetlana Mintcheva, NCAC’s Director of Programs, said, “Here we have the suppression of an awareness campaign that falls within community guidelines with no option to appeal. We are asking Facebook to work with us so that artists do not have to face the frustration and sense of helplessness provoked by such a turn of events.”

To stand in support of the NCAC’s initiative, one can join the fight  here as a We The Nipple campaign signatory. 

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Nike Taps Four of Fashion’s Most Promising Females Ahead of Women’s World Cup 2019

Cover Image: Nike x  Koché

Just in time for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in June,  Nike released their new collaborative campaign this week featuring four of fashion’s most promising female designers. For the collaboration Ambush’s Yoon Ahn, LVMH Prize recipient Marine Serre, Koché’s Christelle Kocher and MadeMe’s Erin Magee redesigned the classic football jersey with matching sports bras from their own perspective of these sports staples. 

Yoon Ahn of AMBUSH created a jersey that speaks to diversity by reflecting aspects of Asian culture in a unisex hybrid jersey inspired by the Happi coat, which is a traditional Japanese straight sleeved coat.

“ I chose the happy coat because, although we are celebrating the tournament and the incredible female players, I believe it is just as important for the fans, for everyone to have universal piece to celebrate in,” she explained. 

Christelle Kocher’s vision however, stemmed from the idea of creating a sort of elegant asymmetry. “I created this dress by reconstructing the soccer jersey around the female body. The result is a dress that can be worn by a girl who plays, dances or moves in the city,”  she stated.

Marine Serre was of course able to offer a version of the signature print which has aided in gaining her recognition over the past few seasons by presenting it in a printed body suit worn under a slender neon green jersey. “The focus of my design is always hybridity and adapting to daily life. It’s important to create a purposeful line that makes a female feel good without compromising style,” said Serre.

MadeMe’s Erin Maggee instead paid homage to the U.S Women’s National team of the 90’s with a match ready Nike stadium jersey featuring the USA federation crest.  “I wanted this jersey to be sport first, fashion second. It’s meant to celebrate the incredible victorious history of the USWNT by drawing attention to the woman namesake of the iconic sportswear company itself: Nike the Goddess of Victory.” 

The collection will be available for purchase at NikeLab stores globally and a few retailers as of June 7th. 

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