In 2009 Cass Bird took a group into the forest with the intention of taking femininity back to its basics and stripping away the gender stereotypes.
Casting friends as well as queer women scouted on the streets of New York, her book Rewilding represents Bird’s attempt to go native. The results are androgynous scenes among Tennessee’s lush forests, which take the gender soaked tutu and make it climb a tree.
“I’m trying to play and celebrate life,” says Bird. “To create a space where people can physically express and take risks.”
Claude Montana’s signature silhouette defined the age of excess. His was a New Look for the Eighties and Montana’s glamazons wore cinched-in waists, topped off by razor-sharp shoulders. It was a universe of bold colour, luxe leathers and power tailoring, where Montana reigned supreme. However the Nineties embrace of minimalism saw his vision without an audience, and in 1997 he filed for bankruptcy.
While the designer now lives quietly in Spain, his name retains its ability to evoke a decade of design. The Montana legacy has been compressed into a new book, written by the designer himself with the help of fashion journalist Marielle Cro.
Claude Montana looks at the principles and practices that underpinned his world. Punctuated throughout by catwalk images, sketches and tributes from former collaborators, including photographer Paolo Roversi, embroiderer François Lesage and fellow designer Alain Mikli.
With rumours that Montana could be lured back to designing under the right circumstances, we can only hope the book is less a eulogy, than the prelude to a restoration.
‘Contraband’ is an extraordinary series of works by New York photographer Taryn Simon. Compiled over five days, the book documents over 1,000 items that have been seized by customs at John F Kennedy International Airport. It’s amazing what people will try to get away with carrying or sending – the objects in question range from an African cane rat infested with maggots, to a South American pig head, counterfeit American Express traveller’s Cheques, gold dust and heroin. Often it’s the way that the banned objects have been concealed that is the most intriguing of all.
The book reveals the dark brass tracks of America and the contradictions of a system that we often try to forget. Each of Simon’s photographs is composed with forensic care. They are like a scientific record which leaves no room for ambiguity. Yet the personal nature and the geometry of the objects themselves means they are often cast in a seductive and haunting light. The result is perfectly lluminating – humanising even the most forbidden fruit.
‘Contraband’ by Taryn Simon is published by Steidl this month (steidlville.com), and an exhibition will also open at Lever House, New York on September 30 and run until December 31, 2010 (gagosian.com).
Twin’s art editor Francesca Gavin has been busy working alongside artist Jonathan Yeo co-curating a permanent collection of artworks for the Dean Street Townhouse, the latest addition to the Soho House Group, which opens tomorrow.
In the style of Colmbe D’Or artists Tracey Emin, Sam Griffin, Fiona Banner, Tim Noble and Gavin Turk – to name just a few – were all given credit at the hotel, which was once the notorious Gargoyle Club, in exchange for their artworks. So visitors know they will certainly be in good cultural company.
The super style of the ‘Gentlemen of Bacongo’ is celebrated this month with a brief but brilliant exhibition. Photographer Daniele Tamagni’s images provide a fascinating insight into the vibrant street style of ‘The Sapeurs’ – the immaculately dressed dandies from the heart of the Congo. As King Kester Emenya, the Congolese musician says, “The white man may have invented clothes but we turned it into an art”. Apparently, Sir Paul Smith, who prefaced the original book based his spring collection on the images. Nuff said.
From 27th – 29th November, London Newcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP. www.trolleybooks.com