Jil Sander’s Tangle Bag

The new Tangle bag from Jil Sander has us in a twist. Functional and versatile, the minimal, compact design is served in spring green and sienna, as well as primary black and white. You’ll find they inspire a fervent desire to collect them all.

The crisp body is contrasted with a knotted, barely-there strap – just enough to garner a double take from admirers. 

It’s another playful offer from creative directors, husband-and-wife duo Luke and Lucie Meier. The pair have evolved the famous signature of the brand without losing its past. Understatement and the unexpected are blended with confidence and ease. 

 

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Sarah Sze, Gagosian Roma 2018

Italian contemporary art gallery Gagosian in collaboration with American artist Sarah Sze presents her first gallery exhibition following the artist’s participation in the Biennale di Venezia in 2015. The exhibition which is being hosted at the Gagosian headquarters in Rome, features a collection of Sze’s works which unites intricate networks of objects and images across several dimensions and mediums, from sculptings to paintings, drawings, printmakings and video installations. Sze’s Timekeeper series, a video installation which began in 2015, transforms the oval gallery of the Gagosian into an immersive environment that is part sculpture and part cinema. The exhibition acts as a form of Plato’s Cave, which confronts the viewer from simultaneous points of view and includes people, animals, scenes and abstractions in motion, flickering and orbiting randomly. In the paintings, her nuanced sculptural language adapts to the conditions of the flat support. In delicate yet bold layers of paint, ink, paper, prints, and objects, the three dimensions of bricolage are parsed into the two dimensions of collage. Here, colour draws its substantive energies as much from the innate content of found images from paint and ink. The artist is set to add her first outdoor stone sculpture to the exhibition in November, which will feature a natural boulder split open like a geode. Each of the two revealed cuts will have a sunset sky embedded in its surface, alluding to both the images perceptible in gongshi and the heavenly subjects of renaissance paintings. The exhibition will end it’s course on January 12, 2019.

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God Can’t Destroy Streetwear (GCDS) – The Bag Essentials

Italian streetwear label GCDS recently embarked on a new venture of branding introducing their first beauty line called The Bag Essentials. The line is set to feature a collection of products which hints at the brand’s playful ironic aesthetic while still minting it’s high end Italian quality. The first drop of items which launched at the beginning of November included a series of four lip products: Hype — a fresh mental transparent lip balm with deep idratation,  Blinghoe — A flirty sparkling pink lipstick with a plumping effect,  Marijuana — A green ph reagent that turns into a blushing tint with a natural cherry shade when applied on the lips and Velvet D.I.C.K — a rough red lipstick with a matte finish.  The beauty line is set to expand on a wider scale in 2019 with a series of launches always to be accompanied by the brand’s twist of irony.

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Ami Sioux, From The Road Exhibition

Photographer and musician Ami Sioux debuts her first monograph of personal work in a photography exhibition and book titled From The Road. The book is curated as a collection of portraits, landscapes and abstracts shot during the photographer’s journey in New York, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles from 2001 through 2018. 

Sioux’s path as a photographer initially began in the 1990s which has been a journey which has took her throughout all these cities. She is a photographer who has shot for brands such as Hermes and Maison Margiela, but also prides herself as a photographer who demands a certain type of presence of the subjects of her images. Her work in the exhibition documents and engages a time passage with portraits of lovers and friends alongside landscapes and abstracts captured in a painterly way along with outtakes of celebrities and artists she has shot for magazines throughout the years. The entire series was shot on 35mm film and the cover of book was designed by musician and artist Matt Fishbeck. This will count as Ami’s fourth personal book. The others; Paris 48°N, Reykjavik 64°N and Tokyo 35°N are series exploring the relationships of creatives and their abiding cities. The exhibition will eventually travel to New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, but is currently running in Paris at the Mannerheim Gallery until November 11, 2018.   

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Life listening: tune into foundation.fm

A new radio station, foundation.fm, is set to launch 5th November, bringing listeners 12 hours of inspiring women every weekday.

The new station will broadcast from Peckham Levels in London, and is based around the schedules of the city’s creatives, running from 10am – 10pm. Easily enough time to settle into your morning routine without missing anything.

It’s the first female-led community station of its kind, with an aim to champion and promote the most dynamic talent from across the creative sphere. 

Presenters will include a host of Twin favourites, including Women in Fashion founder, Daisy Walker, artist and activist Lotte Andersen and the inspirational Naomi Shimada. The mix of DJs, artistic directors, songwriters and performers promises to make for highly entertaining broadcasting throughout the day. 

Even though podcasts are firmly established, such an inspiring station which brings together leading voices and music on air has been missing from the radio landscape. We can’t wait to tune in. 

Listen and find out more here.

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Fondation Louis Vuitton: The Courtauld, A Vision for Impressionism

As of February 2019, the Foundation Louis Vuitton will the hosting the collection of English industrialist and art collector Samuel Courtauld (1876-1947) in Paris for the first time in over sixty years. Courtauld’s family’s held significant historical ties to France. They were Hugenots, which is a group originally from the Isle of Oléron, who emigrated to London at the end of the 17th century. His family’s business, thrived as one of the greatest textile manufacturers of artificial silk in the world. Samuel traveled regularly to Paris to purchase impressionist and post-impressionist works from French dealers. He compiled one of the greatest collections of impressionist art which includes 100 pieces paintings and graphic work. The exhibition includes pieces from the end of 19th century which gives a clear idea of the pioneering role the collector held  and his influence on the art of impressionism in the UK.

The collection will include works such as A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882) by Edouard Manet, Nevermore (1897) by Paul Gauguin, La Louge (1874) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, Self Portrait With a Bandaged Ear (1889) which will be displayed for the first time since its presentation in 1955.  After a decade of collecting art pieces, his collection was first exhibited in his neoclassical home in Portman Square in central London. Thereafter, he created the Courtauld Institute of Art and Gallery in London which was one the first university establishments in the UK devoted to art which he donated the majority of his pieces in 1932.

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UNHCR & Giles Duley: The Refugee Women of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violence against women has been particularly brutal since war broke in the Kasai region in March 2017.  Rape and sexual violence has continued to be used as weapons of war in a pool of conflict that has triggered internal displacement of some 1.4 million people — and the flight of over 35,00 refugees into Lunda Norte province in northeastern Angola. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) teamed up with renowned war photographer Giles Duley to tell the stories of the female survivors who have bore witnesses to these crimes in a photography series to pay tribute to their strength.  For more stories and information on how to help, visit UNHCR.

“To be honest, I am not that strong. I lost everything. I am not sure how to carry on.”

Sylvie Kapenga, 26, from Tchissengue feels broken by the violence she witnessed when armed groups attacked her fellow villagers, killing and raping indiscriminately. She has four children and says life in Lóvua settlement, Angola is tough with little food or clothes to give them. 

“They pointed a gun at my husband, but we managed to escape with our two children.”

Some of 42-year-old Bernardete Tchanda’s friends were raped and killed when armed men attacked Kamako, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the past she has suffered domestic violence. She says she feels protected in the UNHCR settlement in Lóvua, Angola. 

“As a refugee it is harder as a woman, we have the responsibility for food and the children. But here the women have given me inspiration.”

Ani Tcheba, 19, fled her village on a Monday morning at 6am, heavily pregnant and helped along by her husband. In Lóvua settlement, Angola she says the women share food and other essentials, and help each other with the hardships. 

“They killed my uncle and his sons. We couldn’t even bury them. Sometimes I am very sad at all we have lost. Other times we let it go, we have our lives. I am never tired. I am so strong, my body is always moving, ready to work.”

Mimi Misenga, 45, escaped barefoot into the bush from Kamako, Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lóvua settlement, Angola. She says armed men forced her neighbour to rape his own daughter. 

“The militia would go to a house and I would see them carry out the woman. I knew what they were doing. I lived in fear.”

Chantal Kutumbuka, 45, fled the town of Kamako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when armed militia men killed her husband. She abandoned all she owned and crossed the border to Lóvua settlement in Angola.

“I thought they would kill the baby inside me, that’s where I found my strength.”

Thérese Mandaka, 19, has not seen her husband since she fled across the border from Kamako in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Lóvua settlement, Angola. When the soldiers came he was out looking for work while Thérese was at home, pregnant and sick. He has not seen their child, Munduko, who is now four months old. 

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MSGM Causality Sound

Italian semi-streetwear label MSGM, founded by DJ turned designer Massimo Giorgetti recently joined forces with some of Milan’s young musical talents in creating a fashion and music story in dedication to their Fall Winter 2018 Menswear collection. The concept’s title, Causality Sound, was also inspired by the brand’s University of Causality FW18 show which was influenced by University culture featuring street casted models and students. The project features music by upcoming rappers Mike Castello,  KBeezy28 and The New Older in tracks which embrace Milan’s emerging street scene while expanding the aesthetic of the collection’s narrative into original music tracks. The EP, produced by Kc28Ent includes three tracks which are now available on Spotify.

Get Tem — a love song which speaks on the everyday scene of the city and the along with the mistakes one can make while living here.  

Time To Change — a track about the effectiveness of change and one’s willingness to adapt to new circumstances. 

Jamaica — this track is an ode to Brera’s Jamaica bar, a Milanese staple to many, a touristic drinking site, and a get away from home for some.  

The mini-album is also paired with a small fashion story which features the artists wearing pieces from the brand’s FW18 collection which is now available in stores.

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NOMA : Lina I. Viktor, A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred

For her most recent body of work, London raised Liberian multi-media artist Lina Iris Viktor partnered with the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) to present an exhibition which explores the factual and fantastical narratives surrounding America’s involvement in the founding of the West African nation of Liberia. The nation was founded by the American Colonization Society in 1817, and was used as a conduit of resettlement upon and throughout the abolition of slavery. Through the exhibition which is titled “A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred,” the artist reimagines Liberia’s colonial past through the eyes of the  ‘Libyan Sibyl’ which is an ancient prophetic priestess who was said to predict ill-fated futures and would later re-emerge as a common motif in American art and literature. For the exhibition, which began on October 5, 2018,  Viktor uses paintings, paper works and installations to connect these references to modern and traditional West African textile culture and evocation figurative imagery.  “Liberia appears in Lina’s re-imagining as a kind of paradise lost, and as a cautionary tale,” said Allison Young, Andrew. Mellon Fellow of Contemporary Art. “ At the same time her work transcends this narrative, revealing how examples of visual culture — from Dutch Wax fabrics to national emblems to gestures in the history of portraiture—exists as remnants of these colonial histories.”  The exhibition runs until January 6, 2019 in the Great Hall of the  New Orleans Museum of Arts.

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PH Museum Women Photographers Grant 2018

PH Museum presents their second annual grant specifically geared towards women and non binary photographers. This year’s grant is for artists who are focused on promoting the growth of a new generation of creatives, encouraging stories told from a female perspective while responding to the necessity of fighting for gender equality in the industry. The project is focused on empowering women and non-binary photographers of all ages, colour and orientation from all across the world who work in diverse areas of photography.  Applicants are required to present a maximum of 20 photos centred around a specific concept or theme with at least four of the photos being from 2015 onwards.  The final prize will not only be £10,000 in cash but also includes several opportunities to promote the awardees’ works across several platforms. Vogue Italia’s photography department has chimed in to select the work of three photographers which they will run online, along with several other small prizes. All photography series will be reviewed by a board of judges which will include Photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti, Filmaker and Curator Karen McQuaid, The Photographer’s Gallery Senior Curator Karen McQuaid and Instagram’s Creative Lead Pamela Chen.   The deadline for submissions will be October 24th. For more info, visit PH Museum.

Miia Autio from Variation Of White  – PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant Honorable Mention
Sarah Blesener from Beckon – Us From Home – PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant Honorable Mention
Raphaela Rosella from You’ll Know It When You Feel It – PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant 1st Prize

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Manchester Science Festival 2018: A Collision of Arts and Science

The merging of arts and science is an ancient practice embedded into our daily lives in the simplest ways which one might not even notice. Both are attempts to understand and describe the world around us. And this year, the Manchester Science Festival produced by the Science Industry Museum, presents an immersive collection of exhibitions, performances, and installations which magnify the fusion of these two industries in over 65 venues beginning today, October 18, 2018. The festival will feature a list of both international and local artists and scientists exploring a wide variety of topics; from the impact of nuclear explosions on the human body to the controversial future of cloning and the definitions of the concept of beauty.

Three of the fair’s selected headliner events are You Have Been Upgraded, Distortions in Spacetime and Electricity: The Spark of Life. You Have Been Upgraded is a one-night-only gathering of the world’s leading scientists, academics, entrepreneurs and biohackers to showcase the art of human enchantment technologies. The event will also include themed body tattooing and will open conversation on the limits and advances of artistic and technological body modifications.  While Distortions in Spacetime is an immersive installation which will replicate the experience of being within the gravitational waves of a black hole, curated by audio-visual pioneers.  Electricity: The Spark of Life will be a self-explanatory event of interpretive art which explores the high-tech dependency humans hold on electricity and its transformational impact of human life.  This event will feature the world premiere of new work by data design studio Tekja. Other highlights will include musical, dance and theatrical performances. The festival will run until October 28, for tickets and further information , check out Manchester Science Festival.

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Designing through Destiny’s Cup

The new collection by upcoming Australian brand WORN is a riotous homage to powerful women and seventies recklessness. Modelled by the muse Amy, lead singer of the band Amyl and the Sniffers, Twin talks to the designer Catherine about being brave and the importance of beginning out bold.

Has Amy Taylor ever been told her peroxide rats tail mullet homage sets off her eyes? A dusty blue, like smoke marring a crystal clear sky, or the mist in the morning around 5.34am.

The acrid blaze of her mop, her fringe jagged across her brows, seems to balance beautifully with these mysterious blue-moon puddles: a punkish cross-hatching of Dolly Parton (both Capricorns) and Cherie Currie with the unapologetic audaciousness of Betty Davis. 

Amy, the lead singer of the Australian pub-rock band Amyl and the Sniffers, is the sort of woman that must cause jukeboxes to combust, beer bottles to explode, skies to clear. She is mesmerising, through her vocal leadership of a motley mullet crew of merry Sniffers. Caltex Cowgirl, I’m Not A Loser, Blowjobs –  the songs of the Sniffers are some freaky stuff. Their reference points dart from 70’s Australian pub rock like AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, Cherry Currie and Nancy Sinatra, to Melbourne garage: nothing set in stone, more like a collage of influence, coming at all angles from the four former housemates. 

WORN

Amy is a true showman, jumping, leaping and roaring onstage, with her gratingly dark and humorous lyrics alighting the band’s Australian punk revival. Amy is definitely the leader, and boy does she front it well.

In the words of the designer Catherine Conlan, Amy is “kickass and fearless! Brave and bold! She is absolutely charming and completely engaging.”

It is through this steadfast reasoning that Catherine has set Amy as her look-book lead, embracing the role and embodying the seventies reverence.

Catherine Conlan is the designer of WORN, a brand with a sustainable conscience and a spinal chord of print and sharp suiting.

Her new collection is a perfect complement to the woman that Amy represents, both sartorially and linguistically speaking, and as such results in a showcase that puts the metal to the pedal, with frisky tailoring, retrograde prints and nostalgic finishing.

WORN really takes its title to the core of the company – the seventies colouring (that dusty leather brown), those cuts (wide leg pant suits), and collaging (the scarves are a straddle of the 20th Century artistic medium, yet strangely stasis in a thoroughly contemporary referential point). In this vein, the brand name could be read as a riff on being worn, loved and cherished, or the past as a starting and end point for its inspiration.

Having supported Amyl and the Sniffers with her own band, WORN is tied to Amy through her embodiment of the woman Cath has in her mind, a woman with no f**k’s given, and no offence taken.

We look forward to seeing WORN’s next steps as it celebrates and elevates the brilliance of boldness in women.

WORN

How do you know Amy Taylor?

Cath: The band I am in supported her band Amyl and the Sniffers, I think it was one of those things… love at first sight. 

What attributes do you admire in her?

She is kickass and fearless! Brave and bold! She is absolutely charming and completely engaging.

How does she embody your brand WORN?

Amy is confident, she is somebody you can’t take your eyes off of. WORN is about combining your personality with the garments to create a unique look with each individual and that’s exactly what Amy embodies, a completely unique take on whatever she does.

Why did you choose her to model your collection?

When I was designing the final prints and pieces for the collection, I was thinking about Amy. Thinking about her wearing this collection, jumping about in the garments and making it all seem larger than life. Her aesthetic to me, completely complements the prints…with her white mullet and big dolly eyes.

Does music hold relevance in your brand?

Yes, absolutely. For me, music is a huge part of any creative process.

How did the brand WORN come about?

I guess it was always a part of me, in some way shape or form I just never had a title for it. I didn’t have a ‘brand’ to identify with, until I was in fashion school. I needed a more official point of association, an umbrella in which I could design under and to define my aesthetic with.

WORN

What is your brand’s unique DNA? 

Non-seasonal, ethical, sustainable for our local textile industries. Slow paced and timeless design.

What are the most important things to consider when designing?

I always consider print design in my process. It is as important as the garment design and construction.

What are your reference points for WORN and for this collection in particular?

The power suit. Recycling a mass of wool suiting. Working women.

How did you get to where you are now?

I have been drawing, painting, playing music and making clothes since I was young. I studied fashion design with a focus on print design at fashion school in Sydney. I have been creating collections and bodies of work, as worn for the past 5 years.

WORN

What type of woman do you design for?

Crazy, confident bad ass women who know what they want and don’t give a damn!

What’s next?

Releasing a collection of Wallpaper that I have been designing for a while now, touring with my band and collaborating with one of my favourite Sydney artists on a joint exhibition for mid next year.

Most important things on your mind right now?

Australian summer, reducing waste and shooting for the stars.

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Gucci ft. Maurizio Cattelan: The Artist Is Present

On their latest venture, Italian fashion house Gucci partners with artist Maurizio Cattelan to curate a project which raises conversations about the significance of originality in an exhibition titled The Artist Is Present. Creative Director Alessandro Michele is said to have shared utopia with the artist which is a dream of the Chinese metropolis; homeland to the idea of “the copy is the original.”

Launched on October 10th at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, curated by Cattelan, the exhibition is described as an act of of appropriation. The project explores the complex relationship between image and reality and representation and presentation in the art industry. The title of the exhibition itself aims at demonstrating how the act of copying can be considered a noble act of creation. The line up features a list of over thirty foreign and Chinese artists of which propose simulation and copy as a paradigm of modern and global culture. These artist display both site-specific and existing works which question some of the most basic principles of art such as originality, intention and expression.  The show explores how originality can be reached through the act of repetition, and how originals can be preserved through copies. “ Copying is like a form of blasphemy, it could seem disrespectful towards God but at the same time it is the significative recognition of its existence, ” comments Maurizio Cattelan. It is an entire appeal to prove the idea of originality is overrated. The exhibition is on display until December 16th and feature artists such as John Ahearn, John Armleder, Nina Beier, Brian Belott etc. For more information , visit Gucci.

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Her Stories 2018: For Womxn, By Womxn

‘Her Stories’ is a campaigning body founded by British feminist extraordinaire Hannah Philip in 2017 to support marginalised women in the U.K through the use of the arts. “ Having been involved in both feminist activities and politics for several years, establishing the East London Fawcett group (ELF) and working with the 50/50 Parliament campaign, I became increasingly aware of the desperate circumstances of marginalised women in the UK. I wanted to create something for these women who have been failed by our society.”

Since then the organisation has lead annual events in raising funds towards women in need. This year their focus is aimed towards raising essential for funds for charities dedicated to womxn seeking asylum and refuge in the U.K. Spelling the word women differently in an effort to emphasise the inclusion of trans women, people of colour, self-identifying genderqueer and non binary people. Following a BBC article published earlier this year which revealed figures of the existing gender imbalance in art auctions, Her Stories has launched the first womxn-only arty auction; for womxn, by womxn.

The organisation is supported by titled sponsor H&M in partnership with several female artists who have donated their work in an effort to raise funds for the cause. All funds raised will go directly to the three selected charities of which provide support service to some of the UK’s most marginalised womxn : Maternity Action, Women for Refugee Women and Ella’s Home. The movement will begin on November 8th 2018 with a series of events including an online and live auction at The Arts Club on Dover Street, an exhibition and a party at Protein Studios.  Participating artists include Zoe Bedeaux, Juno Calypso and Phoebe Collings. The auction will be the second that the organisation has put on following their successful 2017 events which raised over £30, 000 through the auction of the works of 14 womxn artists in support of Young Women’s Trust, Solace Women’s Aid and Beyond The Streets. For more information follow up on the Her Stories website.

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Twin Issue XIX

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Twin issue XIX is all about not following the expected path – you could say the heroes and heroines of this issue are are rebels, but more importantly they’re pioneers. Leading with energy, humour and fearlessness that knocks you sideways. A celebration of speaking up and standing out. 

The contributors to this new issue of Twin are all united by their insanely individual talent. Cass Bird celebrates the mesmeric Mette Towley, star of Rihanna and N.E.R.D’s smash hit Lemon, on a low-tempo day while Fanny Latour Lambert brings the strange and surreal home. Actress Indira Varma talks about women’s power in the post #metoo movement.

Stefanie Moshammer heads to Mühlviertel for energetic family frolicks while Charlotte James and Sebastian Bruno let loose inside Merthyr’s famous social club. You’ll be thrown into a swashbuckling tribute to Shakespearian England courtesy of Scott Trindle’s epic imagination. 

The history and contemporary importance of afro hair salons in South London is explored by Sophie Green and Lynda Cowell while Emma Tempest creates contrasts with Veronique Didry against a striking natural landscapes. Lara Johnson-Wheeler chats to Niall O’Brien about documenting the unseen world within a world at Lourdes, while Agnes Lloyd-Platt makes you double take with her striking vivid shots around San Roque, Cadiz. It’s a knock out.

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Saint Hoax: MonuMental 2018

Saint Hoax is one of instagram’s latest front runner accounts known for it’s well-edited controversial and often accurately curated memes and photos which make light of socio-political issues in fun spirits. The pseudonymous artist behind the account is not only a humorous composer of memes and images, but also a creator of what is described as POPlitical Art — an art form which repurposed political and popular ethos as a commentary on the briefness of adulation. This is displayed through the artist’s oil paintings, lenticular prints and installations.

Saint Hoax’s latest venture is an exhibition titled ‘MonuMental’ set to debut tomorrow in Beirut, Lebanon following the artist’s last two exhibitions which showed in Bangkok and New York ‘MonuMental is an iconographic study of the pathos lurking beneath the immaculate facades of idols.’ It features version of the artist’s work in exaggerated dimensions which represent a reflection of the icons’ magnified personas in comparison to the vulnerability of the souls behind them. The exhibition is scheduled to take place in one of Beirut’s most historical buildings called The Egg. This is a cinema built in the 1950’s that was destroyed during the Lebanese civil war which throughout decades has experienced several stages of political and physical deteriorations and renovations. The exhibition  is curated by Plastik Gallery and will open to the public on October 11 until October 14.

Saint Hoax, Killer Queen, 2018
Saint Hoax, God Save The Queens, 2018
Saint Hoax via Instagram

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anGostura: Symbiosis SS19

Emerging Italian jewellery brand anGostura , is a brand conceived by designer Giulia Tavani who drew inspiration from the meaning behind the word — an aromatic bitter bark from South American trees, used as a flavouring  for cocktails and formerly as a tonic to reduce fevers. The designer describes the birth of her jewellery line as her way of giving a bitter, yet mandatory punch to the cocktail of life itself. Endorsed by the mother of soul herself, Erykah Badu, the collections often feature unique chunks of silver and gold carved into interesting forms which when worn are often seen as poetry to the body.

For her latest collection the designer drew inspiration from the biological term symbiosis — a long-term relationship between two or more organisms living closely together. The form of symbiosis she  chose to focus on was communalism, which is the type of relationship where each organism benefits equally from the arrangement and depends on the other for survival. This is how Tavani envisioned her jewels in relation to the human form, “I want them to be seen as not just ornaments but decorated extensions of the human body.”  The collection is a collaboration with wig designer Ilaria Soncini which includes dark stones, semi precious natural stones, gold and silver jewels, hats and also uniquely fashioned wigs. For more information visit their site at anGostura.

anGostura FW18
anGostura SS17

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“Sex, sadness, politics, country music.” Twin meets Lola Kirke

“My tongue won’t tie / It’s not supposed to / Least I can’t lie like I used to.”

So sings Lola Kirke on her record ‘Supposed To’, an elegy on perfectionism rendered with melancholic yet determined vocals that soar over a traditional country rock sound.

Music is the latest addition to Kirke’s growing oeuvre. Having previously starred in TV shows such as Mozart in the Jungle alongside films like Untogether, Gone Girl and Gemini , Kirke is now bringing her performances closer to home.

Her first album Heart Head West was released in August. The record features a rich and emotive collection of songs, which mix the sound of country with cosmopolitan, city experiences. Personal and honest, what Kirke sings resonates even as the melody ends.  This November sees Kirke arrive in London to perform at the Lexington in North London.

Ahead of her arrival in the capital, Twin caught up with Kirke to talk sadness, Gram Parsons and the  power of Italian bar bathrooms.

Did your sound develop naturally or was there a lot of experimenting to find the best fit?

It came about pretty naturally. I’ve been pretty consistent in my musical taste for some time now—Neil Young, Karen Dalton, the Band and the likes of them have always felt deeply close to me, so recording live to tape and reducing the amount of “slick” just felt right. I’m also just kind of a bad guitar player and have a somewhat unusual voice (lisp, smoking for far too long, charmingly flat or at least I hope!) so the sweaty, messy, reverb sound has always been kind to me. 

Did you find it easy to create something unique which also has the recognisable characteristics of a country song?

For whatever reason, I have just always loved country music. Maybe it’s cause my big sister loved country music and I just wanted her to think I was cool when I was little. Or maybe it’s something from a past life or maybe it’s the intrinsic ability of the country format to put so simply feelings that are so complex. When a writer of any kind can do that, they’ve succeeded for me. So I guess it’s “easy” for me to lean towards a country sound but it’s always a welcome challenge to say what you’re trying to in the most effective and beautiful way.

Is there a challenge of distilling city living into a country sound? 

When you live in a city, you see so much pain and joy—the whole spectrum of life. It’s always very inspiring but also can be very sad. I’d say writing music in general makes it easier to cope with all of that, it gives me an outlet. But I’ve never felt a tension between urban life and country sound. I think they complement each other very nicely. 

How did the album come together? Did you know from the beginning what it would be or did it form as you worked? 

I’d been writing songs for a long time and always had fantasized about having my very own record. I’d been touring the songs with my band a bit and they were kind of like “Alright you have a record now let’s record it” and that was sort of the beginning. Besides the fact that the songs are written by me and mostly in the year 2017, there isn’t really a connecting theme. 

What’s your approach songwriting?

Sadness and loneliness help! I journal a lot which helps keep my lyrics coming from true place instead something more forced. Otherwise I’ve been lucky to have melodies come to me. 

All your songs seem to come from a personal perspective. Were there any experiences you drew on which surprised you? 

“Turn Away Your Heart” began in a bar bathroom in Italy. I think I was squatting to pee. That was surprising. 

‘Monster’ and ‘Supposed To’ both address the theme of being an outsider and not conforming. What do you see as the biggest challenges to individuality in the modern age? 

I suppose they do! That’s funny you picked up on that because they’re really about very different things. “Monster” is about self destruction and social awkwardness while “Supposed To” is about perfectionism… but I think all of those things connect back to individuality. I think social media really challenges our sense of ourselves and makes it very easy to compare ourselves to other people and despair about the results. At least that’s my experience. 

What were you interested in before making the record, and how did this feed into your work?

All sorts of things! Sex, sadness, politics, country music. What’s fun about songwriting is that you can make work about all your interests if you want to. 

What about Gram Parson’s music were you drawn to?

He was the first person I ever heard who fused the genres of rock and country together and he did it so well too. In the stories I’ve read or heard about him it’s clear that his and charm charisma weren’t unique to his music, that he was really able to bring that into his personal life too. He was such a leader and attracted quite the interesting following. I love how he’s still doing that to this day with his music. 

Gram Parsons songs are open and vulnerable. Do you think there’s still the same room for those qualities in songwriting today?

If there isn’t then I’m not interested! Art is all about communication and movement, and if were not communicating openly and vulnerably then we’re not moving anything.

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Fondazione Prada: The Black Image Corporation

For their latest venture , Fondazione Prada presents a collaborative effort of American publishing house Johnson Publishing Company and installation artist Theaster Gates in their latest exhibition titled “The Black Image Corporation”.

This project which is on display at the foundation’s Osservatorio venue in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan explores the historic visual evolution of the contemporary African American identity. The exhibition includes the archives of the Johnson Publishing Company which feature more than 4 million images that have been captured throughout decades by photographers Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton. The publishing house was founded by John Johnson in 1942 and was also the mother of the two landmark publications Ebony and Jet magazines, which both celebrated black culture.

With the work of the publishing house’s two photographers, Theaster Gates has curated an exhibition which honours the culture in an a way which speaks to beauty and black female power, “for this show I hope to tease out the creation of female iconic moments created by Sleet and Sutton and also offer small forays into the lives of everyday people through never-before-seen images of the Johnson Collection. Today it seems to me a good times to dig into the visual lexicon of the American book and show images that are rarely seen outside of my community. I wanted to celebrate women of all kinds and especially black women.”

At the exhibition, while most frames contain developed images, some will show the reverse of photographs which will include the date, time and photographer. The audience is invited to freely interact and explore with these images which will be kept in various cabinets of the exhibition. On the first level of the Osservatorio, the artist has also installed original furnishing and interior design elements mimicking the publishing house’s downtown Chicago offices. Within this area, spectators will be allowed to browse and read copies of Ebony and Jet magazines while viewing Avenue In Full Bloom (2018) , which is a short film shot by gates documenting the actual office space in Chicago.  The exhibition is on display from September 20, 2018 to January 14, 2019.

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Ready, set, Frieze: at Dover Street Market

The excitement in the air as Frieze comes to London is palpable and everyone is looking to get involved. Conserve your energy and make the most of the good vibes: for a super condensed shot of fashion and art related events, Dover Street Market is the place to be.

Serving as the wheatgrass in the cultural smoothie that Frieze has become, Dover Street Market’s locus of activities offers everything we thought we needed, and a whole lot more. The series is launching in store tomorrow and you may want to bring your camping gear – there’s a lot to get through.

Luncheon magazine at Dover Street Market

Highlights include Isabella Burley’s joyful new book, ‘Sisters’ by Jim Britt, which features the brace-clad duo who starred in the AW88 CDG campaign; Charles Jeffrey’s zine launch; Simone Rocha x A Magazine launch; Luncheon magazine’s installation with Rottingdean Bazaar; Loewe’s celebration of classical literature; and much more.

Isabella Burley, UK book launch: ‘Sisters’ by Jim Britt

For the Luncheon installation, Rottingdean Bazaar are re-decorating the Luncheon ‘Kiosk’ which sits the DSM and will be offering some custom playful product with every copy of the magazine – ‘spoontacles.’ These are, as they sound, spoons made into glasses… expect to see London’s most fashion forward coveting the maverick brand’s latest invention in the season ahead.

Luncheon magazine at Dover Street Market

Spoontacles or no spoontacles, you’ll find there’s plenty to dive into at Dover Street Market tomorrow. See you in the queue.

Loewe classic books
Charles Jeffrey Zine
JW Anderson, Your Picture Our Future Publication

Dover Street Market Open House, October 4th 2018, 6-8 pm.

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