Adwoah Wearing Gurls Talk

Gurls Talk x Astley Clarke

22.08.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Earlier in the summer, Gurls Talk swept the women of London up in an empowered frenzy during the organisation’s one day workshop; now you can wear those good vibes on your (kind of) sleeve, thanks to a new collaboration between Gurls Talk and Astley Clarke.

Creative director of the brand, Dominic Jones and founder of Gurls Talk Adwoa Aboah go way back, and with Aboah as the current the face of the brand’s ‘Astronomy’ AW17 campaign, it’s a collaboration which offers the chance to celebrate friendship of all kinds, while championing diversity and encouraging ambitious, young creatives. All of the profits will also go straight Gurls Talk.

Featuring a red enamel Gurls Talk lips logo and decorated with a cultured white sapphire tooth stud, it’s the perfect way to bring a positive, empowered attitude with you wherever you go.

Gurls Talk Collaboration Necklace

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INSIDE CHANEL: Gabrielle, The Pursuit of Passion

22.08.2017 | Fashion | BY:

A new series from Chanel is celebrating the spirit and passion of the brand’s most captivating women; Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. The stories around the houses’ founder may be well known but the energy and spirit of this iconic French creator never cease to inspire – as the latest of these ‘Inside Chanel’ films shows.

An innovator who lived by the mantra ‘seize, dare and create’, so much of Gabrielle Chanel’s vision and ambition speaks to us today.

Watch ‘The Pursuit of Passion’ by Chanel below.

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Lotte Andersen: Dance Therapy, Part III

13.08.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

The third and final instalment of Lotte Andersen’s project, Dance Therapy, Part III at V3 Gallery is an immersive exploration of community and the relationship we have we space and our environment.

A champion of youth and club culture, Andersen first made a major impact through ‘MAXILLA’ a cult night and zine which originated as a party for friends, and became a locus of energy for young Londoners everywhere. Since then, Lotte Andersen has enjoyed a fairly explosive career. Whether it’s Art Directing for major names such Stella McCartney x Adidas, organising panels or working on her own projects –the ability to shape, mould, capture and unleash the theatre of human existence in tandem with it actually unfolding renders Lotte a force to be reckoned with.

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Dance Therapy, Part III is the latest instalment of a project that first began during Cairo Clarke’s curation ‘Touch Sensitive’. Catch this latest evolution until 19th August – a textured, multi-sensory experience in London that you don’t want to miss.

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7. Los Angeles, May 2012 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, by courtesy of the artist

Disco Ball Soul

08.08.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

American photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman comes to London this week with a new exhibition opening in Whitechapel. A long-time Twin favourite, Tillman’s portraits are intimate and watchful; her presence is always felt in the images but it doesn’t intrude.

Tuscany, Italy, November 2015 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

Tuscany, Italy, November 2015 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

From shots of sprawling nature to candid self portraits, the new exhibition and accompanying book offer an insight into her life over the last ten years with over 90 collages, as well as 14 large scale photographs. Photographs document her journeys through France, Arizona, Iceland and California; images are accompanied by diary extracts, providing in an all a memoir of an artist’s life

 Iceland, 2010 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

Iceland, 2010 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

Whether examining her own body, the forms of other women or the natural world around her, throughout Tillman’s work is a sense of working to stave off time, to build something concrete which cuts through the the waves: this new exhibition is a celebration of these moments of meaning, and sets an exciting precedent for Emma Tillman in the decade to come.

New Orleans, 2014 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

New Orleans, 2014 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

200 limited-edition signed copies of Disco Ball Soul, published by Dilettante Paper, will be available for purchase at the gallery.

 My Father’s Bedroom, 2015 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

My Father’s Bedroom, 2015 © Emma Elizabeth Tillman, courtesy of the artist

Disco Ball Soul is at Gallery 46, Whitechapel 11th – 31st August 2017

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Helping People Feel Beautiful: Twin meets Sequoia Ziff

03.08.2017 | Art , Culture | BY:

Born and raised in LA, photographer Sequoia Ziff has a magical way of merging fantasy and ultimate realness. Her photographs present human flaws in a complex light, holding in tension in a combination of vulnerability and spirit in striking, monochrome portraits. Ahead of her opening at Saatchi Gallery in London (where she is now based), Twin catches up with Sequoia to talk photography style and the magic of portraits.

How did you get started in photography and what’s your favourite camera to use?

I have known that I have wanted to be a photographer for as long as I can remember. It has always been my obsession.  I worked on shoots through high school, decided not to go to college and have been living for it since.  I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to gear, I found what works for me early on and have only made minor changes as my style has evolved.  I have always worked with Canons, I started on film and now tend to work with the same camera for every shoot, a Canon 5d Mark 3.

Why black in white over colour?

Taste. A lot of the time, it’s just what I think looks better. It removes a sense of time and place and keeps the focus on connecting with the subject. I do love colour though….in moderation.

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© Sequoia Ziff

Why portraiture?

I love people. Having your photo taken is a vulnerable process, and my job is to soul gaze all day long. That kind of vulnerability can be uncomfortable for people, and I enjoy helping people feel beautiful, just through the process of shooting them.

How did your style develop?

I have always been really specific in what I like aesthetically: old architecture, old movies, vintage clothes and a sense of timelessness. Anything that combines that with some haunted magical realism is always a bonus.

What is a good photograph to you?

One that makes you feel deep empathy and one that allows you to daydream.

© Sequoia Ziff

© Sequoia Ziff

Tell us about the worldwide tribe project. How did it come about?

I was the featured artist at Summit at Sea this year, the idea was to humanise the refugee crisis and dismantle the fear by bringing larger than life size portraits to the centre of the ship. I had known about the amazing work that Worldwide Tribe does and contacted them about partnering and ended up working with one of their partners on the ground in Greece documenting portraits and life in the camp. Excited that the show is coming to London next month, and will be featured at the Saatchi from August 9-31st.

Has Instagram helped or hindered the medium of photography?

Both. I think that social media is an amazing tool for photographers, and it has meant that upcoming generations are more invested and interested in photography than ever before. It’s made everyone a photographer. It means that as an artist, you are able to build a network and self promote to a much larger audience, and from anywhere in the world.

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© Sequoia Ziff

As a user of social media, I’m exposed to so many awesome artists that I may not have discovered without platforms like Instagram. That being said, I think that art often doesn’t have the intended impact that it would offscreen and in person. For me, social media is more of a business tool than an artistic one and the more time that  I spend off-screen,  the more present, inspired, and grounded I feel.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

Shooting as usual. Since moving from LA to London, I have been working a lot in the music industry,  so will continue to be shooting a bunch of album artwork and press shots for bands. 

Worldwide Tribe exhibition is at Saatchi Gallery London, August 9th – 31st 2017

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The Last lighthouse Keeper’s World: The Waves 2, 2017 © Nicholas Moore

‘Our world is a riot of clashing images, sounds and smells’: Twin meets Nicholas Moore

30.07.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Joy, being a post-bear bearded gay man, Greece and copious sequins: Nicholas Moore is adept at bringing great overarching themes of love and identity and intricate techniques to create artistic works that are unmistakably his; dissecting a whole into independent moments of meaning, then bringing them back together into a final finished piece. Having spent much of his life in Crete, Syros and Athens, the Greek influence is consistently evident in his work, with motifs, soft light and poignant splashes of colour pervading early oil paintings which covered landscapes as well as portraits. Although now London-based, Moore worked from Athens before and during peak times of austerity, witnessing and participating in the artistic revival of the city in spite of the economic crises in the country. The last five years have seen a widening of his approach, working with assemblage and sculpture to offer textured portraits of both individuals and pockets of feeling. As he starts planning solo shows this autumn, Twin caught up with him to discuss ByzantoJapanese Pop, celebrating gay and trans culture and perceptions of masculinity in 2017. 

Your work focusses on mythology and also on portraits of people, I’m interested in how you perceive the relationship between the two – do you find that the two feed and influence each other?

Mythology has been an obsession with me since childhood and it is the core to a lot of what I do. There are times where I make obvious allusions to various stories and myths and others where it informs the work subconsciously as it has been part of my life for so long.  I also have a huge comic book collection dating back to the 30s. These are modern Myths, their continuing success shows us how important such stories are to us.

The figure is an important part of my work however I am hesitant to use the word portraiture as it conjures up a certain type of work that I don’t aspire too. My work is most definitely representative and I’m commissioned to make portraits, however my work is as much interested in portraying, ideas, stories and myths, as much as character and appearance. When I make a portrait of someone, I surround them with objects relating to them and their life. There will be texts, either quotes from favourite songs etc or a stream of conscious memories and associations I have about them. Sometimes in the bigger works I will also have texts directly relating to mythology.

'Stanley', 2014 © Nicholas Moore

‘Stanley’, 2014 © Nicholas Moore

In this context I’m especially interested in how you depict the male body using mythological motifs. Do you feel that perceptions of masculinity have changed in recent times?

These things shift back and forth: just as you think things are all cool and dandy, someone calls you a poof on the streets – I didn’t expect that in 2017 ! Fluid sexuality, gay marriage, tolerance – all these other good things threaten those poor beleaguered straight men, so they fight back. Maybe in Europe and parts of America these perceptions have become more fragmented, and yet each of those fragments have a longer staying power than they once had. There are lots of different tribes in the gay community, I tend to get shunted into the ‘Bear’ community just by virtue of my beard. I am neither particularly fat nor hairy. It’s ridiculous, I’m Post-Bear! I would say the young (and the young at heart) care less about such things.

For your portraits, you often often focus on couples and dualities within one person. What is it about relationships that interests you as a subject?

I think it is more about the contrast between the two that interests me. I don’t paint these couples on the same panel, each individual has his own space, they then play against the other. The Stanley portrait being a good example of that.  On one panel is his more serious business side versus his more playful ‘Hedwig’ role. I hosted a talk in a community collage in NYC about this painting. It was amusing to hear the students coming up with all these stories about who they thought he was. A few students got very involved in imagining his troubled life in the corporate world, and how he would find a release cross dressing at night – I hated to break it to them that, he was in fact a very happy guy, a Mexican silver dealer who just had a large sense of fun and a tad provocative. Who’s to say which version is the truth.

In recent years your focus has moved towards assemblage. What was it about the medium that interested you?

I had made small works using that medium in the 80s, but it wasn’t until my show in Athens in 2008 that I really started showing any. I had seen in the Topkapi museum an Ottoman miniature that was stuck on a page with seemingly random images surrounding it. I liked that, to my uneducated eyes, I could see no connection between the images. At the same time I had my first computer and the overlaying windows of different programs always fascinated me – how more and more disparate images were somehow ok within that context: the screen fixing the random images into one whole.

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Last year I started to make images that were surrounded by borders that have charms, flowers, alphabet beads, etc. in them. This allows me to join disparate images together as if they were part of one of those cross-stitched samplers children used to make.  I can then make larger images, sort of portraits of a person, from lots of seemingly disparate parts. In my series “The Last Lighthouse Keeper” the figure is broken into symbols: a leg is an octopus, an arm is a ray gun, and so on. Our world is not some marvellous minimalist construct but a riot of clashing images sounds and smells.

What are your favourite materials to work with? Do items assume significance once placed within the content of the portrait, or is it because they have significance that you choose them?

I still love working with paint but enjoy combining the different textures of paint, beads, sequins etc., layering different types of colour on top of each other. When I do someone’s portrait I ask them some set questions to get some ideas as to objects I could add, texts I could use, colour. This then governs what materials and objects I choose. In general I am fascinated with the power of objects and the personal history we attach to them. Also the cultural importance objects gain over time.

A previous interview classified your work as ‘Pop art’ – is that a label you feel represents what you do?

I feel ByzantoJapanese Pop is best.

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Matt and Lucy, 2015 © Nicholas Moore

More generally speaking, who and what are you influenced by?

Music, Mythology, Matisse, Sex, Humour, Colour and most of all Joy.

You spent a lot of time in Greece over the years, and that’s very present in your work. How would you describe the art scene in Athens at the moment?

Blossoming in adversity: I love Athens. Like everywhere else it’s hard for artists to survive financially. However it’s cheaper than a lot of places to live and work in, assuming of course you are not trying to live off a Greek income. There is the gallery scene which, though abundant, is again like elsewhere – struggling with sales. There is a huge street art scene and a strong sense of political struggle in a lot of the work.

What’s in store for the rest of 2017?

I was just in an exhibition at the Stash GalleryVout-O-Renee’s to raise funds for survivors of Grenfell fire, which has a strong resonance for me as I lost my Mother in a hotel fire. In September I’ll be showing at the Mykonos Biennale and later in September I’m part of a group show in Amherst Massachusetts America. Then I’ll be focussing on upcoming solo shows in Athens and New York.

Nicholas Moore will be on show at the Mykonos Biennale, from 1st September and at Hampden Gallery, Massachusetts from September 10th. 

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Skate Girls of Kabul | © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate it up, shake it off

27.07.2017 | Culture | BY:

Girls who skate are achingly cool, as Twin knows – we profiled all-girl skate culture for issue XV. There’s something about the carefree, rebellious attitude that’s served with clothes to match that has always rendered ladies on the board an olly or two above the rest. But they’re even cooler when the skaters are girls from Kabul, and their portraits are currently on display in a new exhibition in Qatar – a famously conservative country.

Skate Girls of Kabul | © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate Girls of Kabul | © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Shot by photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson, the series celebrates the energy and fearless spirit of a group of Afghan skater girls. Full of vivacious energy and bold attitude, the work won 2nd prize in the highly coveted Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize in 2014, and was named IPA’s Best of Show Exhibition 2015.

Skate Girls of Kabul | © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skate Girls of Kabul | © Jessica Fulford-Dobson

The series came about through Skateistan, an Afghan charity that provides skate parks as a hook to get children from disadvantaged families back into the educational system. A few years later,  Skate Girls of Kabul remains as compelling a series as ever– we only wish we could kick flip it with the best of them.

Skate Girls of Kabul at QM Gallery Katara in Doha from 20 July to 21 October 2017

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Timothy Han: The story behind scent

18.07.2017 | Beauty | BY:

Described as an ‘olfactory storyteller’, Timothy Han is flipping the fragrance landscape on its head with his innovative approach to scent through his brand TH/E Parfum. By taking inspiration from a multitude of sources, such as literature, he is adept at never limiting himself to widely perceived ‘norms’ of practice. Most recently, Han has been combining fragrance with music and VR, to create an entirely new sensory experience. This week, he will appear in residency at Somerset House, as part of their Perfume Lab series. We caught up with the man himself to discover the process behind the genius…

You create perfumes that have a life of their own – what was your journey into this world?
My journey into the world of fragrance was rather accidental. I wouldn’t say there was any specific moment that led to where I am today – rather a haphazard series of events that led from one thing to another. It was everything from my time working with a fledgling John Galliano and his love of scented candles to launching my own candle brand; a chance and somewhat amusing encounter with Francis Kurkdijan who planted the idea in my head and a drink with my friend Paul Tvaroh who started making drinkable perfumes many, many years ago. I was also very lucky to have the support of Caroline Burstein who was the creative director of Browns at the time, and she promised that if I made perfume that Browns would help launch the brand. Who could say no to that?

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Why was creating scent built through journey important to you?
One of the things I learned at Galliano was the importance of storytelling. At a time when most designers were just sending models down catwalks he was creating theatre. The models were acting out characters from a story he imagined. They entered by driving vintage cars, John’s interpretation of the catwalk was filled with props like writing desks, wardrobes and beds…he even had ancillary actors on the stage who were dressed in costume and helped to round out the story that he was trying to tell. It was his attention to and ability to create a journey for both the audience and the models which I could see created a much richer and engaging experience than what anybody else was doing that inspired me.

How do you see the relationship between literature and perfume, and who inspires the scents?
I never liked it when a perfumer created a perfume based on something so personal to themselves that the person wearing the perfume had no connection to. I like the idea that with literary inspirations you may have read the book and you certainly can read the book on which the perfume is based so that immediately you have a basis for connection. That way you can agree or disagree with my interpretation and we can at least begin to build a dialogue.

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What’s your favourite creation so far?
That’s like asking a parent which their favourite child is…but if I had to answer I would say my first fragrance ‘She Came to Stay’ for no other reason than that is what set me on this wonderful ride.

And were there particular creations that surprised you?
Certainly…but I haven’t released them. And for those who do get to experience them it will only be fleeting, during secret underground performances (at least until our album is released next year) of our collective Miro Shot that fuses music, fragrance and virtual reality to create a new kind of immersive reality concert experience.

What are your earliest memories of scent?
At the risk of sounding corny…walking through a pine forest in winter.

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How do you think people’s relationship with scent changes as they mature?
I’m not sure that that is so easy to answer – as I think it comes down to the person. While generally speaking (and baring any disabilities) we all have have a sense of smell like we all have eyes to see. But how many people look up in this world or are even remotely aware of half of what their eyes take in at any one time. It’s the same with our sense of smell – for our relationship with smell to change we need to focus on it and be aware of all that it is taking in.

How has the landscape changed? What is it that makes a scent ‘modern’?
People are definitely becoming more aware of fragrance and in particular niche brands. More people are seeking out unique fragrances which reflect their personality and allow them to stand apart from all the masses wearing big brand perfumes. As for what makes a scent modern – it’s the way in which the fragrances are combined and the use of ingredients. For example: you are seeing a lot more fragrances which evoke tar and charcoal now than previously.

What are you looking forward to with your residency at Somerset House?
I’m looking forward to two things. Firstly the lab we are using is being kindly provided by Givaudan and they have a number of proprietary fragrance notes which they will be providing us and which I have never had a chance to smell before. Secondly I will be working alongside my friend Roman Rappak where we will be tying fragrance notes to musical notes. Up until now we have only done this in the privacy of our own workspace so it will be fun to hear people’s feedback as we present variations of different musical notes against a specific fragrance note.

‘Perfume Lab Residencies: Timothy Han’ takes place on Sunday 23 July, 2017. See https://www.somersethouse.org.uk for booking information.

Becky Smith is the Creative Director for Timothy Han; photography throughout by George Harvey; produced by Twin Studio.

Timothyhanedition.com

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Roller Disco

14.07.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Add a punchy disco twist to everyday style with YSL patchwork pieces from their Fall collection. Full of neon flourishes and pop art references, these perfect patchwork pieces are your summer fling.

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LOEWE publication #15

07.07.2017 | Fashion | BY:

We’ve got that Friday feeling courtesy of LOEWE‘s hardcover Fall Winter 2017 – 2018 publication. Shot by Jamie Hawkesworth in a set designed by M/M (Paris), the publication features French model and actress Laetitia Casta. Playing with contrasting forms, the images juxtapose sharp angular structures with the female form.

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

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LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

LOEWE publication Fall Winter 2017-2018. Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth

The run of 1,200 hand-numbered copies will be available at select LOEWE stores.

© Anita Corbin

Forging solidarity in Anita Corbin’s ‘Visible Girls: Revisited’

04.07.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

In the early 1980’s 22 year old photographer Anita Corbin captured the lives of women from different subcultures in the UK. Photographed mainly in London, the project documented the power of female friendship and individuality, offering candid portraits of their everyday lives. From mods to new romantics, rockabillies to punks, Corbin (who was just starting her career at the time) told the story of these women in their natural habitats, whether that was at friends house’s or social centres.

The project was called ‘Visible Girls‘ and Corbin’s 28 images toured the UK throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, garnering acclaim both for her subject matter and for her photography style, which saw her shoot in slow film and with a portable flash.

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36 years later, Anita decided to find the women and offer a new series that centred on who the women have become. Having tracked down over 70% of those she photographed, Visible Girls:Revisited is a radical and vital examination of age and identity; an exhibition which allows individual spirit to transcend time.

The original portraits will be showcased alongside the new series, and audiences can also listen to original tape recordings from interviews in 1981.

© Anita Corbin

© Anita Corbin

“This exhibition is not only about the powerful bond between women united by subculture, belief and friendship, but about the potential of women coming together across generations.”  Says Anita, reflecting on the forthcoming exhibition. “Visible Girls: Revisited, allows the ‘visibility’ of youth to shine a light on the often-disregarded wisdom of the older woman, revealing a unique, cross-generational tribe with the power to provoke and inspire.”

© Anita Corbin

© Anita Corbin

 

Launching in Hull, the exhibition will tour Norwich, Exeter and Bristol, with other spots to be announced soon. In an age where so much emphasis is placed on the power of a fleeting selfie, this tribute to female friendship, culture and style across decades is, kind of ironically giving the time lapse, offers a fresh approach to how women are depicted today.

“This is an exhibition where mothers and daughters will find mutually provocative ground through which to forge a rare solidarity” adds Anita. “At this point in our history we need [that] more than ever.”

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© Anita Corbin

Anita Corbin ‘Visible Women: Revisited’ runs 7th July 2017 – 8th October 2018. 

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© Anita Corbin

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Louis Vuitton x Supreme

02.07.2017 | Fashion | BY:

180 The Strand is playing host to some of London’s most fashionable events this summer. Launching the day before the Gurl’s Talk event at the same venue, Louis Vuitton have set up shop to give the city a preview of their Supreme collaboration, and it’s as good as we expected.

Bringing together influences from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s New York, the collaboration pairs the confident street aesthetic of Supreme with the high fashion design of Louis Vuitton, seamlessly fusing the two strands into one, highly covetable whole.

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Visit to explore their RTW collections, as well as leather goods, accessories and exclusives specially made for the pop-up. We’ll see you there.

Louis Vuitton x Supreme pop-up store at 180 The Strand, June 30th – 21st July, 2017

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Reserve and check in: Nobu Hotel Shoreditch is London’s hottest new haunt

02.07.2017 | Culture | BY:

Escape the worst of London and embrace what it does best with a stay at the new Nobu Hotel in Shoreditch. Following on from openings in Miami, Manilla and Las Vegas, Nobu’s new opening in London is a welcome addition to the cultural scene.

With modernist exteriors and minimal interiors, the design reflects the creative prowess of East London; the hotel’s facade offers an interplay of colour, reflection and light, while inside Japanese influences take the fore.

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Nobu Hotel Shoreditch | photos by Will Pryce

Offering 150 bedrooms and the latest Nobu restaurant, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch marries a casual atmosphere with captivating aesthetics, making it a wholly Instagrammable and über trendy place to head to this summer. Alongside dreamy rooms and suits, there’ll also be events throughout the year. It’s time to check it out, and check yourself in.

 

 

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Summer Vibes are Here with Paco Rabanne RS18 Collection

29.06.2017 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Feminine silhouettes meet boyish looks for Paco Rabanne RS18. Think fitted waists and cutaway tank tops, draped knitwear and slinky shirts; bright colours play against neutral hues while checkerboard patterns add fresh texture to familiar shades. Embrace for a full summer refresh.

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Weyes Blood © Katie Miller

‘If I had my way with clothes I would be mostly naked’: Twin meets Weyes Blood

26.06.2017 | Blog , Music | BY:

‘Y…O….L….O’ sings Natalie Mering in her wistful, luscious composition, ‘Generation Why’. The letters come so elliptically that you almost don’t piece the word together, especially as the sarcasm is delivered in angelic tones, packaged with fleeting guitars. Elsewhere on ‘Seven Words’ the same emotive voice offers a more morose, melancholic narrative. These two songs offer a survey of range of Natalie Mering’s (aka Weyes Blood) canon, and it’s no surprise that she’s considered to be one of America’s most exciting female artists. Whether she’s contributing to other records or delivering her own kind of ephemeral gospel, the music is rich, immersive and often sardonic  – the fact that she’s supporting Father John Misty on tour (and is regularly photographed by his wife, and Twin favourite Emma Tillman) seems a perfect fit.

Her third album, Front Row Seat To Earth is filled with West Coast meandering melodies which encompass personal stories and wider musings on the world. Sloppy listeners will find themselves caught off guard in the same way that attentive ones wait with anticipation to see where the lyrics will bend next. Either way, you’ll find yourself surprised and likely with a grin on your face. In the midst of touring, Twin caught up with the Californian singer to chat about the state of music, collaborating with Perfume Genius and the duality of performance.

In the last two years, there’s been a lot of talk about the rise of the 70’s singer-songwriter. Do you consider yourself to be part of this movement?

In some ways, but not entirely – I love music from all decades, all time periods. The 70’s thing is convenient because its definitely a convergence of a lot of different influences, it was a vibrant time that set the pace for the time we still live in now. I can associate with that aspect of it, but I don’t think of myself as 70s. 

What does a 70’s sound mean to you? What was magical about that era of recording?

Music started to expand into different micro genres, things were becoming less homogenised. That’s pretty magical. Also most people were recording to tape and collaborating with a lot of different, smart, creative people. Producers, players, arrangers. It was the hey day of money being thrown into interesting projects because mainstream music hadn’t been totally strangulated yet— big record labels were still taking risks and culturally we were discovering the future as we know it now.

How did you go about shaping the sound for your record? What specifically were you influenced by, and what were you listening to?

I was listening to a lot of Soft Machine and classical music — I wanted to make something epic but also personal… Chris Cohen had a really good ear for this concept, we used a very limited amount of microphones while recording and did a lot of things live to capture that feeling, make it all feel like it was recorded in the same sphere. I was also was listening to a lot of Weather Report which is a pretty strange non-sequitur – I have a tendency to listen to things that are very different from my own music while I’m creating.

There’s a strong visual element that runs through your cover and videos, do you think in ‘the digital age’ image has taken on a heightened significance for music?

Not necessarily — we’ve always been a civilisation driven by imagery. Things probably changed the most in the 80s when music videos become synonymous with artists – suddenly people had to look really good, seem young. I think now more than ever we’re less interested in innovative music, which makes the imagery seem more important. It’s like the music is an afterthought. Music has been congealed into a very specific “industry standard” that’s numbed peoples tastes a bit, made it a more narrow experience for the masses as a whole. 

In the album the emotional nuances are very powerful – do you have to access and inhabit the original emotions that you had when writing the songs when you’re performing them, or can you do it with a certain level of detachment?

I’ve learned to replace it with other emotions if I don’t want to conjure the old ghosts – I try to avoid detachment in an apathetic sense, but sometimes I do let go and stop thinking and just feel whats happening. That’s like detachment in the zen sense.

Your fashion sense is impeccable. Do you see your style as part of the Weyes Blood persona, or is it an expression as Natalie?

It’s a part of Weyes Blood— if I, as in Natalie, had my way with clothes I would be mostly naked or wearing huge swaths of fabric. I do like a good suit, its like a huge swath of monochrome fabric but organized a bit more. If it fits super well you can climb a mountain in a suit, live in a suit. Classic hobo.

And thinking more broadly about that potential duality – why did you want to work under a different name when putting out your own music?

I wanted it to be a different world. I’m not that much of a realist with my art – there’s a lot of fantasy and imagination involved, occupying an archetypal space, my lyrics are the most Natalie Mering thing about it all and I think that stands out just enough. It’s still not too late to release under my own name someday, but I’d rather just make films or do stand up comedy under my name. Those are more Natalie Mering things.

You have worked and toured with Perfume Genus. Tell us more what that collaboration means to you?

Mike is an incredible soul —  he carries very powerful and moving musical ideas that I feel a kindred spirit with. Singing with him is always an elating experience. I think we have the same knack for a certain kind of musical drama and vulnerability. He’s definitely been an inspiration to me.

Generally you’ve worked with a lot of exciting artists, who would you like to work with in the future?

I’d love to work with somebody who’s very different from me, see what that’s like. I’m first and foremost a really big fan of music, so there’s lots of people I can imagine working with. It’d be fun to dip into a top 40’s world or make a Nashville country record. Sky’s the limit.

What are your plans for the rest of the year, and what are you looking forward to?

I’m going to be touring with Father John Misty in the states, UK and Europe this fall – right now I’m writing my next record and cultivating a new sphere to take back into the studio with me for the next one. I am most looking forward to getting back in the studio and recording!

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Gurls Talk x Coach Festival

21.06.2017 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Conversation-changing platform Gurls Talk and Coach have partnered up for powerful new festival, coming to London at the beginning of July. Throughout the day, the event will celebrate women in all their many and majestic facets, with the likes of Hari Nef, New Statesman columnist and fierce activist Laurie Penny and US Vogue contributor and relationship expert Karley Sciortino all joining to fuel debate and discussion around gender.

The event kicks off with a speech from Gurls Talk founder Adowa Aboah, who started the platform as a means of encouraging girls to speak more openly around issues of mental health and identity. Her ongoing commitment to activism has seen Gurls Talk grow into a formidable and vital organisation, offering a much needed space for young women to receive support and mentoring.

There will also be choreography classes from Wayne McGregor and a library by Claire de Rouen – and best of all, it’s free.

Gurls Talk x Coach Festival will take place 1st July, 12 – 6 pm at 180 The Strand, London 

 

 

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An exclusive look at Sies Marjan’s new Fall 1 editorial

14.06.2017 | Fashion | BY:

In fashion it’s increasingly rare for creative individuals to collaborate without a clear (usually financial) purpose. But to celebrate their Fall 1 collection, Sies Marjan‘s creative director Sander Lak paired up with photographer Roe Etheridge stylist Marie Chaix to create a new series which embraces art for art’s sake.

The idea was simply to celebrate the texture and silhouette of the designs, focussing on the heady combination of materials – Chukka loafers in nubuck leather, satin sweatshirts, metallic and tinsel details – and the way in which they interact.

Sander Lak commented: “I always like the idea of not having an agenda or goal and just come together with talented people and create stuff. Sometimes all the projects and shoots and lookbooks and presentations that are scheduled for various goals are a creative killer. We work on them just to get them done in time… This project was very much about rejecting that idea. Not having a clear final purpose really freed us up creatively and ended up being so helpful with putting the show together a few months after this shoot.”

Twin was given an exclusive teaser of the new editorial, check out some of the images below.

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Cats & Plants

06.06.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

As simple as the title suggests, this new book from independent publishing house Zioxla is all of the internet clichés repackaged into something new, fun and fresh.

Featuring the work of Chicago-based artist Stephen Eichhorn, the book is a playful ode to one of the most familiar images in contemporary culture. There’s always something interesting about bringing Internet trends offline, and Eichhorn’s work offers a meta-read of what cats have come to stand for, taking what’s familiar and transforming it into something surprising.

While plants have been a constant recurrence in Eichhorn’s work, when he began working on this latest series of collages he decided to pursue images and references from niche publications only. This led to discovering and using images from publications such as Japanese cactus guide books and abstracted parts of Orchids.

Having started the project back in 2009, the 200-page tome is the culmination of years of work, with the honed, stylised graphic quality that has defined other work reflected here too. Cats eyes jump out of shells, blend with cacti and peek from behind coniferous leaves. Its’s funny, light-hearted and smart; we predict ‘Cats & Plants‘ will be your new obsession this summer.

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Fashion Flora at SHOWstudio

01.06.2017 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

In their latest exhibition, SHOWstudio offers a botanical paradise in which fashion illustrators and flowers combine for a refreshing presentation.

The exhibition brings together an array of works by renowned names including Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten and John Galliano. Curated by Flora Starkey, the best seasonal British flowers combine with these works, and films from SHOWstudio’s 17-year archive, to create a summery, fresh space in which audiences can explore the long-standing relationship between fashion and flowers.

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“Flowers have always been a huge influence and inspiration in the art of fashion design as well as a recurring theme throughout my own work.” Commented Nick Knight. “It is with great pleasure that I can announce the latest exhibition at the SHOWstudio Fashion Illustration gallery, ‘Fashion Flora’. The exhibition presents an explorative look at the use of flowers as a motif in fashion throughout the decades, as seen by 40 of the world’s preeminent contemporary fashion illustrators. Curated by Flora Starkey, who is one of the most exciting floral designers working today, the exhibition will also feature Flora’s beautiful flower arrangements.”

Fashion Flora is open at SHOWstudio now. 

 

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Opening up to the unknown: Twin meets artist Sarah Braman

22.05.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

Sarah Braman focusses on large-scale sculptures which interact with their surrounding environments. Born in New York, Braman has cultivated a distinct aesthetic which sees a melange of vibrant colours rendered in various materials – from perspex to scrap metal pieces. The resulting works offer captivating interplays between the private and the public, wherein exhibits invite an engagement with their surrounding space, as well as engendering emotional response. As her first solo show in London comes to a close this week, Twin spoke with Braman about creative spaces and finding the perfect object.

Your work is often large scale, and often involves familiar objects that you render unfamiliar through new juxtapositions – how do you decide what to work with?

I tend to work with what is around me, things I find at home or in the yard or on the road. I am a regular at the town dump and Salvation Army in my town. Sometimes I get a slow burn desire for a specific object and then I open my scanning to a larger periphery to try to find that thing. 

Do you feel an instinctive pull towards certain types of materials?   

Yes I have always had a love for transparency.  I guess light feels like such a gift and always changing and transparent glass or fabric allows that to do its magic. I also love everything about wood. I love its density, it’s colour. I love that when I paint on wood there is already a subject in it’s grain.  It is also true that in carving wood every piece is so different from every other. Even out of the same tree the different chunks have such a variety of qualities. And I like furniture and junk form day to day life. I like automotive parts because when they are taken in parts they work as much as pieces of architecture as the do pieces of cars or trucks.

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What has most surprised you when working? Do you often pair materials and see them in a wholly new light?

When I use a material or object and it transforms to something I don’t expect that is the best feeling. It doesn’t happen all the time but its part of why I keep making art, trying to get to those moments.

What stories and themes do you most enjoying telling or exploring in your work?

That is a really hard question. I feel like I work best when I am detaching from thoughts about what the work is or should be.  But to this same point my friend Pascal said to me recently this is an important time to take ownership of our choices.  This also seems true.  The truth is that I really don’t know what I am making, but that said; I do have desires and feeling of what I hope the work can be.  I really want the sculptures to operate as objects that exist on their own, not as metaphors or symbols or stand-ins for anything else.  I hope that the sculptures can lead the viewer into an experience that is truly abstract, that is, one that cant be described by words.  I hope that the viewer could some how be ungrounded in this experience and that while they may have feelings or thoughts looking at the piece that they are at the same time unable to tie all this together in a way that they can understand.  I guess this is all to say that I hope the work can open people up to the unknown, and more specifically, the unknown that exists in every moment of our lives.

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Who have you been most inspired by, for this exhibition and more generally throughout your career?

My mother built our house when I was about five years old.  I think the experience of watching her take down an old tabbacco barn and slowly build a house out of it has been one of the most inspirational experience in my life and in my art.  For sure being a mother and the inherent imperfection of the day to day of raising children paired with the absolute perfection of the love shared has been a guide for me in the studio.  This also is true for my relationship with Phil.  With him I think the deepest value is having someone that I feel completely safe with.  I think when I can have a place of comfort and faith to go to, it allows me to follow the work to the edge of what I understand, and get to a place that is maybe all wrong and fucked up.  After that I would say my involvement with CANADA and the artist that form that extended family.  Of course there are many artists from art history and contemporary art that influence and inspire me, but the proximity I have to the artists makes the effect and inspiration that much more intense. I could list a whole lot of artists and works of art if you think that would be helpful and interesting let me know and I will write back with that.

I’m interested in how you reconcile the more rigid space of a gallery with large-scale works. Do you feel that it inhibits the viewer’s ability to interact with them, or is it the reverse?

I hope that it draws people into an experience that is complex. Some people have said that they are intimidated at first by the presence of some of the larger works, but that as they start to walk around the pieces they get comforted by the humanity in the details and start to let down their guard and engage.

What is it about volume and scale that you enjoy? Do you begin each work with a smaller visualisation?

I almost never do small studies or small maquetts. When making large work I usually start directly with the materials/objects or use large sheets of cardboard or plywood if I am trying to work out the planes.  I think I am drawn to large scale because of the direct body experience when you are standing next to the sculpture. I like having the opportunity to surrender to the sculpture and I think the large scale helps move me towards that.

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You also established your own gallery. Given that you work so much with space and sculpture, did you seek to invest a kind of higher sense of art in the gallery itself, where each exhibitor played into   a relationship with the existing space, or do want artists to exhibit independently within the space?

The gallery was really my husband Phil Grauer’s idea. He invited a rag tag group of artists to join him in his vision. I was lucky enough to be in the vicinity at that time so I got swept up into it. It has been one of the great gifts of my life to be able to participate in his vision over the last almost 20 years.  Getting back to the question you are asking, we really try to let the artists steer the handling of the space in whatever way that they need/desire. I think if there is a larger creative desire underlying the gallery it has to do with creating a space for a web of artists to be in conversation with each other and who provide support and context for each other.

What are your future projects?

I just finished a large sculpture for a show at The Brant Foundation curated by my colleague, fantastic painter and friend Sadie Laska. It’s a small shack type structure that was made for a group of friends to play music in.  It’s also filled with books I have collected from the town dump.

I am just starting to work on a few outdoor sculptures.  One is for an exhibition organised by artist Matthew Day Jackson and is taking place in Jackson Hole Wyoming in time for the solar eclipse happening at the end of Aug.  Matthew has generously offered to fabricate the piece out there.  It is basically a glazed shipping container that is stuck in the ground at a slight angle.  It will also be a vehicle for music performance and makeshift reading room.  The other outdoor piece is for an exhibition of public sculpture at UMASS Amherst which is especially exciting for me because my son is in his final year of college there studying computer science.  And lastly I am working on a solo show for the fall for a wonderful dealer Linn Lehn in Dusseldorf Germany.

Sarah Braman is at Marlborough Contemporary, 27 Apr 2017 – 27 May 2017

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