A simple idea for people talking: Andy Warhol’s editorial legacy bound in one tome, thanks to Assouline

26.01.2020 | Art , Blog , Fashion | BY:

A simple idea for people talking: Andy Warhol’s editorial legacy bound in one tome thanks to Assouline

There is a new book on the shelves of Assouline’s publishing maison on Piccadilly in London – it weighs over 5kg, it takes up more than a shelf, its hardcover is awash in acrid green and it rests in a metallic pink protective jacket. Bold, bright, brassy, beautiful: 50 years of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine has been collated, curated and bound into a vibrant dazzle. 

Assouline’s mighty tome on this dazzling riot that was Interview Magazine lets you eavesdrop in on the romance, the righteousness, the unrest and the regalia that made and still makes Interview one of the most infamous magazines to this day. 

© Christopher Makos, June 1972

Initially contrived as a cross between the youth culture-led Rolling Stone and the nudity of Screw, Interview was due to be a riot of a success according to Andy Warhol, as it was going to be a film review magazine that was comprised of decent and relevant journalism, and sex. Having resulted instead in a zeitgeist of exceptional journalism, outrageous interviews and total creative freedom across fashion, art, music and culture, Interview turned on its head what a magazine could encompass. 

Speaking to Esther Kremer, Editor In Chief and Director of Publishing at Assouline, we discuss why the powerhouse of noble titles saw the legacy of Interview Magazine as a key opportunity to celebrate and support the reputation of what Richard Turley, Editorial Director of Interview, labelled “a mess, a big beautiful mess.”

Glenn Steigelman, November 1969

How did this retrospective of Interview Magazine come about?

On the occasion of Interview’s 50th anniversary, it seemed opportune to curate their history in a book.

Why did you feel this was a valid retrospective that needed to be published under Assouline?

Assouline is a curator of culture, we educate with strong imagery and constantly refer back to the creative leaders of the past in all our works. Interview: 50 Years is a visual text book to decades of history of film, fashion and art.

How did Interview change the publishing landscape?

In an age when magazines were all about carefully composed shoots in exotic locations by leading photographers, Andy turned publishing on its head with a real and unedited interview format for his magazine. Because he could not afford to pay writers, he just published the interviews verbatim.  He took chances by featuring young stars like Jodie Foster, the only talent he could afford  at the time, and at 18 she ended up working as a staff writer for him as well. He was innovative and ahead of his time in that regard. He was an entertainer, not just an artist,  and dreamed up ways of captivating his audience within his small operating budget.

© Glenn Steigelman, December, 1991

Do you think Interview is still a relevant publication? 

Yes, because it focuses on emerging talent, like Nick Braun (Succession) and has an edgy vibe which is presented for a sophisticated audience who understands good design. It’s different than what else is out there and many of their competitors.

What did your involvement in the creation of this title teach you about the magazine and Andy Warhol’s lateral creative vision?

Andy’s Interview shows that Innovators take risks. He had a  “go big or go home” attitude that we see today in the startup community. Andy was that kind of visionary and his creativity extended way beyond art.

Glenn Steigelman October 2002

The book is published as a mighty tome: why did you feel this was the right format for a retrospective on Interview?

The contents of the book are epic. They take readers through  what many consider the heyday of NYC. It deserves to be XXL.

Can you summarise what Interview meant to you in three words when you started work on this project ?

ANDY, NYC, INNOVATION

Can you summarise Interview in three words after creating this tome?

ANDY, NYC, INNOVATION

Interview 50 Years – 3D Cover

What would you like readers to take away from this book?

An understanding of a time where creative energy exuded from the streets of NYC and how that magic happened.

Interview is available to purchase by Assouline here.

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Colville: Dedicated Vision

26.11.2019 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

The brand that culminated from three relationships founded at Marni is one of beauty, strength and a contemporary elegance.

Colville doesn’t have a brand bio, it has a manifesto: a dedicated vision, that it hopes to instil in those who encounter it. A meeting of three fabulous minds, Colville was consummated from a Venn diagram of insight, expertise and experience. From Lucinda Chambers, the stylist and ex-fashion director of Vogue UK, to the Marni designers Molly Molloy and Kirsten Foss, this is a label that has not entered the market light-handedly. Striding into familiar waters, this time with no obligations, Colville feels like a giant sigh of exhilaration: a long time coming from three impressive women who have spent decades strengthening and celebrating visions. Now they can carve out their own. 

With the name a reference to a street David Hockney frequented in the 1970’s the initial associations are set before one even claps eyes on the clothes. Colour, modernism, a uniqueness of touch and ingenuity of vision: all aspects we see this brand emanating, and thus paying homage to a history of modern art, thus three lives also spent exploring and adoring the arts. It’s a smattering of London too, rooting their designs as a sort of cultured and cool friendliness – the love of a half pint in Francis Bacon’s favourite pub as much as his works that hang in the Tate. 

Colville commenced with an AW19 collection in 2018, a collection of depth and brevity. With graphic hand drawn prints, unexpected shapes, cropped lengths, drawstring tightenings and thickly overlaid silks draped in voluminous and generous furls around the body. 

The woman they design for are neither expected or stereotyped caricatures on the fashion track. Described in their manifesto, they are “hunters and gatherers, odd and individual: so are our women. Building their own reality as a product of the imagination and living it.”

It would be too easy to pull the similarities between Marni and the near-intergalactic jewellery, like proud UFO sculptures, the ruched and determined bold layering of Lucinda’s oft mimicked styling, This would be lazy. Of course, their past will enter this brave new future: after all, they all helped carve Marni’s instantly recognisable aesthetic for so long. 

Talking to the three creators, Colville is only furthered in the mind as an intelligent label, creating collections – exclusive to Matches Fashion – that are joyful celebrations of colour, considered balances of separates, and brave designs of unique jewellery, bags and accessories that not only appeal to women of substance, but push the boundaries out of noteworthy shapes, formulation and aesthetics. Hooray for Colville: a brand that thinks and acts for the woman with brains, culture, art and creativity at her core. 

How has your collated, extensive and reputable experiences resulted in Colville’s aesthetics and the manifesto of the brand?

I think our collated experience has what has helped us shape and  Colville, our collective knowledge and strengths have bought a brand together that we didn’t perhaps expect. We started designing a wardrobe for the 3 of us, really that’s what it came down to. Something for each of us, 3 aesthetics combined.

Why do you call your brand a sum, rather than a mix of ideas?

It’s a sum as it has a unique and distinctive voice and vision of its own, Colville. When we are talking through ideas we often say, that’s very Colville, and we know what that means. It’s a certain freedom of expression, bold and quietly beautiful at the same time, the mix. 

What does Colville draw inspiration from?

We are inspired by anything and everything.

We look at so many corners of life and its offerings to feed our collections. As three working together, it is important for us to be receptive to mixed references.

Tell us about the brand’s inception

We knew we wanted to continue our working relationships when we all left Marni. We couldn’t imagine not continuing our creative collaboration, it made sense and then suddenly one day we are doing it on our own and it’s growing!

Do you feel there are paradoxes at play in your collections?

Yes probably purely for the fact that we are 3 women with different aesthetic tastes that come together. We can do a tailored coat in black but then we love a drawstring bold floral print dress. We all see the point of each other’s ideas; I think that mix is what makes us unique and perhaps paradoxical.

Is Colville a direct manifestation of art and culture?

 I think it’s a direct result of what we are feeling in that moment, it’s more of an emotional response to what we want to wear, having said that we go to exhibitions and films etc and those experiences permeate into our collections subconsciously.

Does music hold any relevance in your collections?

Well we are always listening to it and it’s important to all of us, I think we can remember the music we were listening to while we were emailing late at night replying to emails!

What was the last thing that made you excited?
Lucinda: the last thing I was excited about was two minutes ago thinking about a shoot…. and who was going to do that. 

Molly : Working at the bag factory this morning and seeing the new prototypes.

Kristin: Booking a Christmas trip to India.

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A Chat with The Artists of the Venezia Pavilion

29.07.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

This year, the Venezia Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia moves beyond the confines of the exhibition space and infiltrates the city. Reflecting the multitude of stories, of splendour and beauty and of cruise ships, flooding and souvenirs, these esteemed Italian artists plunge into the wealth of inspiration to depict the ancient city in new lights. 

As Alessandro Gallo,  Artistic Director, explains: “In thinking about the creative concept of the pavilion, we have focussed on two angles: on one side, we wanted to return to the original elements that have characterised and shaped Venezia, and from the other side, we wanted to communicate the dichotomy of representing the stereotype that Venezia has in the world, and also a more authentic reflection of the city lived from the inside.”

Twin spoke to the artists involved, Mirko Borsche, Lorenzo Dante Ferro, Sidival Fila, Ferzan Özpetek, Fabio Viale and Giorgos Koumentakis, as well as artist director Alessandro Gallo, about their artistic approach to Venice. 

Alessandro Gallo , courtesy of Fondaco Italia

TWIN: How have you responded to Venice in your work?

Ferzan Ozpetek:

As soon as I was asked to visualise a personal idea of Venice, I had mixed feelings:  I was proud to be asked,   but at the same time overwhelmed by the difficulty of finding a creative way to tell the story of a city that has always been a symbol of unparalleled beauty, art and landscapes. A place deeply probed from all points of view. All of a sudden, I remembered so many walks I had taken in the Laguna, not just in the city, and above all the times I spent some days at the Lido either with my movies or as a member of jury for La Mostra del Cinema. That’s it, Water and Cinema: a dream of fluidity once again. You happen to reach the Lido on a motorboat, get off and soon you can enter the huge screening room where a collective rite is going to be held. I gathered some of those memories and emotions and revived them into imagery.  

Fabio Vale:

In this work I was trying to represent not the object, but the spiritual side of Venetian Bricole.

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

My work as a Master Perfumer originated in Venice in the 1500s when it was a flourishing and prosperous centre for the trade and commerce of precious spices, unguents, fragrant oils and resins brought back by navigators and explorers returning from voyages to distant lands. They provided Venice with the first new ingredients and raw materials necessary to give impetus to the development and creation of the first Italian perfumes, making Venice a natural location. Today, I continue this work as the keeper of secrets and traditions of artistic perfume creation from my perfume studio in Gradiscutta di Varmo (Udine) only a short distance from Villa Manin, the summer residence of the last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin.

Sidival Fila: 

I was invited as a selected artist for the Venice Pavilion from the beginning of the project, so I was able to follow its birth and its development; my involvement was both individual and collective, and for different reasons during the making of the show, many synergies were born with the other selected artists. I was also present in Venice for the opening of the Biennale and I was able to see that the message I wanted to share, through the descriptive elements of my installation and through a specific technical procedure , was communicated to the visitors, in the form of reflection and emotion.

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

This work has been created specifically for Venice, a vibrant city that combines the crossroads of many different cultures that approach it by water and could not exist in its present form for any other city!

Mirko Borsche:

The Venice Pavilion invited our studio to contribute as an ‘artist’. The biennale’s theme this year is FAKE NEWS, among other topics that form ‘interesting times we live in’. We are not artists, but we believe in graphic design as a strong tool, so we developed an identity for the Venice pavilion, which could be seen to be the identity of the whole Biennale and therefore is aligned with the concept of the Biennale, it also creates the maximum awareness for the pavilion of Venice. The centre piece of our concept is the Lion of St. Mark, the symbol of Venice. Bureau Borsche created a reduced, abstract form of the lion to highlight the six boroughs of Venice in the lines of his wings. These simple geometric shapes were also used to create the secondary graphical element – an exclusive typeface. This consists of mainly vertical bars in reference to the omnipresent poles throughout Venice. The popping Neon Yellow is a modern interpretation of the golden ornaments of the historical centre. Functionally, the colour is used as a signal colour because of its special visibility. Together the lion, the typeface, and the colour create a strong and yet ironically confusing guiding system for the city – ultimately leading to the pavilion of Venice. The graphical system is applied on many elements like signs, posters, flags, and public transport etc. At the same time there will be several take-away items such as apparel, tennis balls, plastic bags or lighters referring to the city’s strong tourist business. All these items are branded the same way and reveal their connection to the Venice pavilion once the visitor arrives at the pavilion. 

TWIN: What does Venice mean to you?

Alessandro Gallo – Artistic Director:

Having the privilege to live and know this place deeply, we feel we belong to an identity that has developed over centuries, creating something so strong, unique and personal; something that has put together and mixed different influences and culture that have shaped it.

Ozpetek, Image Courtesy of Fondaco Italia

Ferzan Ozpetek:

I called my work Venetika right because that is the ancient byzantine name given to the powerful maritime city. Venezia was and still is deeply marked by centenary – better say millenary – stratifications of Ottoman culture and traditions. Having grown up in Istanbul, Venezia to me is another “mother-city” where everything reflects, immerses in and resurfaces from water.

Fabio Vale:
Venice is a very hard city that forces you to move with its rhythms, different than ones we are used to. Thanks to this slowness you can appreciate the details.

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

Tradition and culture that express an elegance and style that is entirely unique. These are all elements that I treasure and take great pride in as a Venetian. 

Sidival Fila: 

Venice has always been a place of choice for art, culture and beauty. It’s a metaphor of travel and meeting, a unique and timeless city. 

Mirko Borsche:

I really like Italy in general, not very surprising for a German I guess, but for me it was always a place I wanted to live.

Venice is special, I love the city, but more around Autumn, when it gets a bit quiet again. Most of the season tourists take over, like a flood, which is disturbing for a lot of Venetians and forces them into the background. I can tell because Munich is a very touristic city too, and during the season it’s quite hard to get through the city or get anything done.

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

Venice is a city symbolic for music, visual arts and architecture. I am very happy because after many previous collaborations and presentations of my music in Venice, the time has come to compose a piece that is written especially for the Biennale and the city’s Pavilion. It is a great honour and privilege to participate in this important venture, along with great artists and under the artistic direction of Stelios Kois. 

TWIN: How have you interpreted this in your work for the Venice Pavilion?

Ferzan Ozpetek:

The city has hit my imagination as a vision of a woman immersed in water. That woman is performed by the wonderful actress Kasia Smutniak, who conveys the sense of a mysterious and magical experience. At a certain point that female figure representing the city emerges on the surface and thus Venezia materialises once the liquid becomes solid. Now we can recognise its extraordinary shapes, its dreamy buildings, its great paintings as in a revolving kaleidoscope of human figures and astonishing images.

Fabio Vale:
The installation was a collective work where all the artists collaborated together for one project.The meaning was to create a landscape where the viewer is immersed as they would be in the city of Venice

Lorenzo Dante Ferro: 

“Venéxia Odorum” is the natural essence which I composed, inspired by the Venetian lagoon with its briccole bathed by saltwater and the evocative notes of Mediterranean vegetation in the air. This geolfactive fragrance is my invisible contribution to the collective work which I have created to portray and to prolong the olfactive memory of the Serenissima into the future of all those who have had the opportunity to visit the Venice Pavilion.

Sidival Fila: 

They asked me to talk about spirituality as a constitutive dimension of the life of Venetian civilization, so I decided to present the crucifixion as the representation of a historical event, not only as a sacred or liturgical element. My “Golgotha” installation is composed of eight elements,  but only one of them presents a figurative sculpture of the Holy Cross; the other 7 elements open the doors to spirituality and transcendence, but they are not directly related to a specific religion, they only want to speak to every creed and to the heart of the people. 

Giorgos Koumendakis: 

In my work “The pedal tone of a closed current”, Byzantium, Renaissance and this modern city overlap, by the use of pedal tones from the Byzantine music together with western polyphonic elements. All those have an operatic dimension, symbolically accumulating at an orchestra pit full of water.

Mirko Borsche:

Our aim was to involve the Venetians to be part of our concept, they either got items provided by the pavilion for their own use, or make their own souvenirs, they can also download the graphic elements for free to create their own products. The idea is to make this symbol viral and make the whole city of Venice an extension of the Venice pavilion. 

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Something that is present: Idil Tabanca on immersing within the Turkish landscape

25.07.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

Cover image: by Idil Tabanca Gökhan Polat

Idil Tabanca isn’t someone you would necessarily assume to be a Chairperson of a museum. Her alternate title, Creative Director, absolutely clicks with the persona of the woman that founded and ran New York’s loved fashion and culture title Bullett Magazine, but a chairperson? If the role of a chairperson is to allow fair and open discussion of matters, Idil is set to be a total coup – the expectation of others, matched with the vision of herself seems like a task she is more than equipped to handle. Bringing a fresh standpoint she is sure to provide: now that is vital to the success of any Institute. 

We are here to talk about OMM, the Odunpazari Modern Museum, that Idil is holding these integral positions within. Opening in September in the Turkish city Eskişehir, OMM will be a foundry of both global and local vision. 

“OMM will have education programmes, residencies, and pairings with global and local artists – opening up the doors to create an institution that will be a stepping stone for a lot of young artists. We want this place to be like an exchange for artists – creating spaces for people to come together and have these intercultural dialogues. There will be a hotel attached for artists to stay, and a quadrangle, with a vegetarian café which is almost unheard of in Turkey! Giving people options and breathable space to come together and create. The building itself will be a feat of architectural beauty, designed by the respected Japanese Kengo Kuma and Associates. I don’t see OMM as a museum – it’s a platform, a bridge, for young people to have their voices heard”.

With an education in film and digital media, you see this influence impact Idil’s approach to presenting the Museum on a global, innovative and connected scale. Her editorial background gives Idil a lateral and relevant viewpoint: the threat facing museums is that they face cultural extinction unless they adapt to new audiences – if anyone can speak about creative agility as a necessity you need not go further than anyone in the magazine trade.

“It is very similar work – you are still creating content but instead of a magazine page you are working with a gallery wall. You are giving someone a platform for display.”

Idil has grown up since her DIY New York days. From pulling together character love letters with celebrities, Idil is now invested in the importance of educational awareness of her beloved museum within the surrounding art schools of the heavy university town she finds herself in.

Her eyes still sparkle when she speaks of the projects and the collaborative partners ahead; a natural thinker and doer, mover and shaker.

Did Bullett set her up effectively for this role she is undertaking? 

“I think it set me up to manage people more than anything else to be honest! Juggling different people and personalities is always tough, especially when you are working in fashion and art, and managing all these moving parts. Creatively Bullett helped me shape my vision – I can’t imagine if I didn’t do Bullett how I would see things.”

Marc Quinn, Mekong Delta İce Floes, 2008, Photo by Ozan Çakmak

So why has Eskişehir been chosen as the favoured site for an interactive, cutting edge cultural institute? 

“There are 3 universities here, and they are all art universities – for all the cities in Turkey it is a very secular city and a very intellectual city. It is also geographically quite central, so easy to get to from the other surrounding cities. It was in 2004 that the first contemporary art gallery happened in Turkey, so we only have a very short history of museum culture here. Now it is somewhat challenging as we are creating something that hasn’t been there before. Sure, in Istanbul, but not in other places. We did a study and found out 80% of people hadn’t done a cultural activity in their lives – rates that were astonishing. What is exciting about this situation is for me to change that.”

Will the OMM be more about creative expression rather than strictly art?

“Absolutely – we want to carry collaboration into every aspect of what we are doing.”

Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, İsimsiz, tuval üzeri yağlıboya karışık teknik 1956

And Fashion?

There will be a store selling a small line, and a big name designer will be creating the uniforms for the staff. Hey, you can take the chick out of New York fashion… 

And a global outlook?

“We want to have a global outlook, but want to ensure we are starting by getting local communities involved. The city has the potential for this. Our mission is to ensure that we are also educating global audiences that we are a destination: have this connection with the rest of the world.”

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV Installation photo by Kemal Seçkin

There will be work showcased by the local and the international, starting with a permanent collection made up of Marc Quinn, Julian Opie and Sarah Morriss, to Turkish artists such as Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu and Canan Tolon. A site-specific commission by bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV will be installed for opening in September.

While we can’t say we knew Idil before,  and we can only imagine this role has led her into a new direction – museums and galleries must ensure the voices of the next generation are accounted for, and Idil seems set on bringing her native country into the realm she finds most familiar: of the innovative, the creative, the outsiders, the brave.

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

30.06.2019 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Images courtesy of Phillip White

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expect to see him at Jil Sander before long.  

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Designing through Destiny’s Cup

18.10.2018 | Blog , Fashion , Music | BY:

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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SUPERSTRUCTURES: The new architecture 1960-1990

03.04.2018 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The phrase ‘high-tech’ makes most of us think about phones, computers or intelligent dishwashers. But it’s one that makes some architects gasp with indignation. This year the Sainsbury Centre celebrates its 40th anniversary with “Superstructures: The new architecture 1960–90”. An exhibition that picks apart the architectural movement behind the centre itself and examines the controversial label of ‘high-tech’ against the wider architectural canon.

‘High-tech’ architecture was championed by legendary British architects Norman Foster (the designer behind the Sainsbury Centre) and Richard Rogers (Centre Pompidou), amongst others. This group of architects found ideas of adaptable, expandable and mobile buildings exciting. They were interested in pragmatic solutions, and inspired by earlier architectural ideas and innovations like Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes and Jéan Proves demountable house.

Current day Sainsbury Centre 2009 | Photo:© Sainsbury Centre, Pete Huggins

The high-tech style managed to blend post-war 60s utopian ideas with 19th, and early 20th century ideas about adapted architecture – a mixture that resulted in expressive and very characteristic buildings. It was a  technologically focused – one might even say obsessed – development from modernism.

Talking via a malfunctioning, ironically un-high-tech Skype connection, Twin chatted with curators of the exhibition Jane Pavitt and Abraham Thomas. An era of optimistic architecture that looked to engineering and technology for new possibilities certainly seems resonant in 2018.

Sainsbury Centre construction 1975 – 1978 | Photo: © Foster + Partners, Alan Howard

Could you begin by telling me a little bit about the exhibition?

Jane Pavitt: The exhibition is about this crux in late modernism, the term often used in association with it is high-tech. We have taken a rather interesting positioning I suppose…  In the exhibition we show the long history of association between technology, engineering and architecture. It starts with the the Sainsbury Centre, a superstructure that is, in a sense, an enormous shed. It’s complex, beautiful, precisely engineered, but still kind of like a shed.

We used this building to explain the high-tech approach to architecture. Then we look at ground structures like the Crystal Palace, and through to the modern experiments by Prouvé and Buckminster Fuller. Finally we look at the generation of architects that we are focused on. The first part of the exhibition tell the pre-history, then we get to high-tech it self.  

Abraham Thomas: Should I go back to high-tech?

Jane: Yes, I see that she’s dying to hear about it.

Abraham: One of the things that we wrestled with as curators is using the phrase high-tech without actually using the phrase high-tech. The term is very divisive, a bit like postmodernism. Many of the practitioners of postmodernism hate that label. Jane curated the big postmodernism exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum so she has been through this.

Jane: [laughs] The toxic term.

Ben Johnson, Inmos Central Spine, 1985Acrylic on canvas | © Ben Johnson

Abraham: We had to be conscious to the fact that many of these leading architects absolutely reject the term high-tech. It is reasonable to an extent, they reject it simply being a style. What we are trying to say is that it was more than a style. It was a sort of ethos, a movement. But it is a convenient term, it refers to the idea of influence of technology. In a way it is valid. But we also sort of pick it apart, don’t we?

Jane: We wanted to make it very clear that it’s certainly not a style label, although it’s often used like that. These buildings are stylistically very different. The architects reached different types of solutions, but they all share a set of principles. The Sainsbury Centre and the Pompidou Centre are totally different solutions to the same set of ideas and concerns. They respond to their sites, position and purpose in different ways. On the other hand, we felt as curators, and historians, that if there is a term that has some currency historically – it is a frequently used label in architectural history – then this is the right time to kind of, as Abraham says, pick it apart and attempt a much more nuanced understanding.

Do you think there is another term that could work better?

Jane: Architecture of advanced engineering is a good description. That’s what they are concerned with, testing the limits of certain kind of building methods. If you think of high-tech as a process, rather than a style, that’s quite a useful way of approaching it. I would say that it’s a type of technological modernism.

But people like labels, don’t they? Like art deco. Everybody has contested the meaning of art deco, but it is still a very powerful term. Postmodernism is a term that makes people angry [laughs] but it persists. Rather than abandon the label all together, we wanted to unpack and position it. These buildings share certain things about advanced engineering and precision engineering, but they can also be simple solutions.

To take an example: we have reconstructed a section of Michael and Patty Hopkins house in the exhibition. It is not high-tech in that sense. It is appropriate technology. They liked the idea of using pre-fabricated components and cost effective materials that could be assembled simply, cheaply, effectively with a powerful aesthetic.

ZipUp HouseDetail colour presentation competition model, scale 1:20 | Photo: © Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Eamonn O’Mahony

Abraham: There are a number of examples of high-tech buildings with ideas from other explicitly progressive technological contexts. For example, here at the Sainsbury Centre, Foster created a double skinned wall which allows a lot of the servicing and utilities to be packed away, resulting in this sleek exterior surface and an uninterrupted interior space well suited for an exhibition layout. That idea came from Foster’s observations of a passenger aircraft, were you have a sort of false elevated floor where all the services can be packed underneath.

Jane: There is this section in the exhibition where we have some of the original cladding from the Sainsbury Centre next to a part from a [Citroën] 2CV van. Those ribbed aluminium panels that slot into a car are remarkably like the panels that clad this building. The term high-tech is a bit forbidding, but these buildings have almost the childhood appeal of assembling models.

Abraham: Jane’s point immediately makes me think of this amazing object in the exhibition, a project called Tomigaya. It is a mixed use, residential and cultural space in Tokyo, and the model is made from Meccano. It’s a slightly lighthearted moment in the exhibition. The model of Tomigaya encapsulates a rare notion of simplicity, an understanding of how buildings are put together. It makes it very accessible.

Crystal Palace details of bracing between columns | Photo: © Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

What drew you to this project at first?

Jane: The Sainsbury is one of Britain’s best postwar buildings and it is extraordinarily powerful. It attracted a huge amount of controversy, admiration and criticism at the time it opened. It’s been fascinating to re-examine that. This group of architects are among the most prominent in the world and produce buildings in all typologies: office buildings, factory buildings, buildings for culture, domestic projects, airports, stations. In London, especially in transit, we all move through these buildings. You probably could encounter a Foster, Rogers, a Grimshaw building within any square mile of central London.

Abraham: I went through Heathrow today and the Rogers’ Terminal 5 has a lot of expressive engineering.

What would you say was most challenging with this exhibition? There are so many different aspects to it.

Abraham: I think it’s always tricky when you’re a temporary guardian of someone’s legacy. These are all very successful architects now, huge international names.

Jean Prouvé House, France | Photo: © Galerie Patrick Seguin and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

And still alive!

Abraham: Yes they are all still alive! You’ve got to be really careful with how you present that legacy. That is always the case when you’re working with any contemporary artist or architect, but I think that is particularly the case here.

One of the hardest things was to ensure that we were sensitive to their legacies, but also created a new narrative. Since the mid 80s there have been shows on these key British architects – Jane and I didn’t want to do another “Best of British Architects” exhibition.  

Jane: It’s not a biography show. Architecture exhibitions are difficult. A lot of visitors may not be familiar with reading architectural plans and some of the buildings will be unfamiliar to them. We wanted to explain how buildings worked and how they were made. We’ve just come back from installing two giant wooden carved prototypes of the steel joints from Waterloo International Station. They are about a meter or so high, but fantastic objects. Like pieces of sculpture.The process of construction is fascinating for people of all ages, we are just trying to emphasise that.

SUPERSTRUCTURES: The New Architecture 1960 – 1990 is on at The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts 24 March – 2 September 2018

Feature image credit: Century Tower, Japan | Photo: © Foster + Partners, Saturo Mishima

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“Like I’m working with them, alongside them, in tandem.”: Twin meets Terri Loewenthal

28.03.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

Her vivid, evocative ‘in-camera collages’ of the Californian landscape will have you captive for hours. Twin meets photographer Terri Loewenthal to talk about immersing oneself in the environment, the power of nature and startling “little old ladies in women’s restrooms.”

How did the idea of California manifest itself in your consciousness when you were growing up?

Everything I knew about California I learned from Top Gun and Beverly Hills 90210. I spent my childhood in South Florida, on the other side of the continent. As a kid, I didn’t think California was that much different than where I grew up. We had beaches, sun, pastels and fancy cars too. I played a lot of volleyball. Same thing, different coast, right? I was a jock, competing at a national level. What seemed to matter most at the time was that the volleyball players coming out of California were better than the ones coming from anywhere else. And of course, the continual juvenile version of an east vs. west debate: which is better, Disney World or Disneyland?

I ended up in California not because of a childhood vision, but because of a rebirth later in life. Right after I graduated from college in Texas, my rental house burned down. I took the nominal insurance settlement, borrowed my mom’s manual 35mm camera, and hit the road. I traveled for over a year exploring, camping alone, aligning my schedule with the sun’s, and teaching myself to take pictures. That was when I fell in love with photography and California’s backcountry.  

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 48 (Lookout Mountain, CA) 2017.

What about the landscape makes it compelling to photograph?

I chose to work with the eastern Sierra for this body of work. It’s not the California most people have in mind – it’s nothing like El Capitan in Yosemite, the ring of mountain peaks around Lake Tahoe, or the beaches in San Diego riddled with surfers. There’s something otherworldly about it. You see Mono Lake from above as you drive towards it, and it doesn’t even make sense. There are no rivers or streams flowing from it; being in the desert, it just evaporates. It’s away from everything, the end of the line.

When I’m thinking about where to shoot, it’s very much about using the shapes of the land as a paint brush — for example, how the curve of a dune when juxtaposed with another dune overlapping it creates a sloping line, a single gesture formed by the contours of the land. The eastern Sierra expanse is ripe with geometry, all these granite building blocks, which I use in my work. With a lack of iconic shapes like pines and sequoias, I’m able to freely use the landscape as raw material instead of subject.

Also, photographing remote landscapes means camping. I have a deep need to sleep on the land, to skip some showers. I love to lose the safety of manicured city life.

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 73 (Downs, Mount, CA) 2017

How much did you choose to engage with the predominantly male canon of Californian photography when conceiving this project?

When I had the idea for these images, it was purely aesthetically driven, at least in my conscious mind. I’m extending an invitation to step inside of these imaginary places, to have a subjective experience. Our perception of the natural world isn’t gendered. I don’t think of the conceptual framework of Psychscapes as relating to gender, however there are a number of gender norms I don’t buy into, and that offers a certain freedom necessary for creating this work. I love camping. I love being dirty. I love uncontrolled adventure. I might be less afraid to venture solo into un-manicured territory because I’m taller than most men – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve startled little old ladies in women’s restrooms!

Terri Loewenthal, Psychscape 18 (Banner Ridge, CA) 2017

Do you feel a tension between the wild as a free space and the idea of capturing it through photography?

I’m currently reading a book called The Ohlone Way about the indigenous people of the Bay Area. It’s a fantastic account of the abundant wilderness and wildlife here before white people “headed west.” The sky was so filled with birds that, looking up, you were more likely to see one than not. I often wonder if my life were as deeply enmeshed with the natural world, if I’d be drawn to make landscape images. My desire is to commune with my subject. Looking through the lens, I slow down and consider subtle nuances. Sometimes it’s shape, or correlation of shapes, sometimes it’s color, sometimes it’s a character trait that I didn’t notice before the camera was in my hand. Mine is a sensitive approach to photography. It’s always been an attempt to process my surroundings more deeply. What I mean to do is appreciate. If I were living off the land, I wouldn’t need to venture away from the distractions of city life in order to touch the dirt. I wouldn’t seek out the grounding feeling that immersion in nature offers. But here I am, surrounded by pavement and electronics, and I do need to visit those spaces for refuge. I am driven to make something out of the feeling of re-finding myself when I’m there.

Was there anything about the landscape that surprised you when you were working in it?

In America, when you drive through the mountains, there are often signs urging you to pull over in the most picturesque places, signs that say “Overlook” or “Scenic View.” To my surprise, these vistas don’t work. Everything is at infinite focal distance, and it feels flat. I am able to create more when I’m nestled in a dynamic environment. If I’m on a trail, say, along the side of a canyon, I’m able to utilize the huge mountain face that is reachable with one hand, and the majestic mountain ranges in the distance. Another surprise is that the horizon line, something I’ve loved photographing all of my life, proves to be a challenge with these compositions. What isn’t surprising in the least is that I’m happy to be limited to the 360 degrees surrounding me as I’m making the collage. Limitations are built into my process, and that’s a relief.

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 26 (Rock Garden, CA) 2017

Can you talk about your compositional approach and process?

 Each image is a single exposure. All of the layering and colour shifting happens in-camera. I like to think of these images as in-camera collages. There are a number of aspects I tweak as I’m compositing: the position, saturation and palette of each layer, along with all the traditional photographic controls like focus and shutter speed. I can make an environment feel soft or hard, depending on how muted or bright it is. Placing different colour washes next to each other, then saturating them just so, is often the final piece that makes an image sing – like sprinkling flake salt on top of your meal. I just experiment until I strike something that sparks the rush. Anyone who’s ever made anything knows about the rush. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I no longer question what I’m doing, or why I’m doing it – it’s just absolutely meant to be.

Did you feel that your relationship with the landscape changed as you were creating the images?

Absolutely. Since I’m working to distort reality, and it’s all happening in real-time. I don’t feel like I’m looking at the mountains as-they-are anyway. They immediately morph into something new and I feel like I’m working with them, alongside them, in tandem. Not only have Psychscapes changed my relationship to the landscape I’m actively working with, they’ve changed my relationship to every wild place I’ve yet to see. I can barely take a hike now without trying to envision it in the context of a Psychscape, even if I don’t have a camera in my hand.

Shooting these images involves contortions, octopus arms, propping things up with my knees. I dive deep into the unknown. It’s a reverie where I feel like I’m falling through times and places. I experiment until I stop questioning my experiments, until I find a composition that feels like another landscape altogether – a place I want to be. When I resurface, I find myself twisted into the least comfortable position attainable, a crick in my neck and knotted-up shoulders. My yoga teacher would be horrified. There’s always a “come to” moment where I finally open both eyes and think briefly, “whoa, where am I?”

Terri Loewenthal Psychscape 41 (Lundy Canyon, CA) 2017

Aside from the natural surroundings, did you seek inspiration anywhere else when preparing for the project?

Color plays a huge role in my drive to create these images, and paintings are where I find the most unexpected palettes. I’m surrounded by fantastic painters in my immediate community. My dear friends Joe Ferriso and Alexander Kori Girard come to mind. They both have a knack for using odd colors that when used solo, might not work; but they add other colors, and then there’s a relationship between the colors that challenges what I thought of the colors in the first place. I have an incredible painting of Joe’s in my living room where he started with rejected house paint from the hardware store, and built from there. It’s my reminder that nothing exists in a vacuum, that the correlation between two things makes a third thing. I was a touring musician for the first ten or so years of my photographic career and I draw a lot from that experience too. Attention to rhythm, composing layers of color/sound washes, and seeking collaboration with my surroundings are all instincts honed by performing pop music. Inspiration, as it goes, tends to be an ongoing concoction of every single moment of your life.

Are there other landscapes that you’re interested in approaching in the same way?

I had the idea for these images years ago, but I’ve only recently figured out how to pull them off. California is a natural starting place. Not only is this the place where I fell in love with photography, it’s the place where I’ve found my people – people who care more about creativity, social justice, and community building than paying homage to the crumbling paradigms of what we “should” do with our lives. In California, I feel encouraged to explore ideas that don’t spring from what I’ve been taught or shown, to trust my inner rebel. Hopefully my discovery will open the door to all sorts of adventures. At the moment, I’m curious about working in a tropical place, mainly because an expanse is harder to come by. Jungles are tangled, the shapes less obvious due to the uniformity of color and the dense layers of plants growing on top of one another. I wonder if Psychscapes would work in that context. I wonder if I’d be able to make images that would offer a similar sense of otherworldliness. Maybe jungle Psychscapes would feel like you’re nested inside the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And maybe that’s not so bad.

TERRI LOEWENTHAL: Psychscapes is on at CULT in San Francisco until April 21st. 

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Natural and animalistic: Twin meets jewellery maker Rebecca Onyett

11.03.2018 | Blog | BY:

Rebecca Ellis Onyett’s jewellery (REO Jewels) personifies everything that she stands for: it is unapologetically raw, natural, bold, elegant and visually strong. Like most young creatives looking to explore their craft and talent, having completed her degree at UCA in Silver and Goldsmithing Onyett came to London to carve out a career for herself. She spent the first two working in Harrods and Selfridges for jeweller Shaun Leane, until she felt that the experience and knowledge she had gained from this time was strong enough for her to formulate her own brand. Five years on, Onyett has created a mini empire where her brand recognition is growing steadily, as is her international following.

Speaking with Twin, Onyett explained the ethos behind REO jewels; I think it has always been the same, since the beginning. I’ve always just wanted to make jewellery that’s nature driven and animalistic in a sexy couture way. To be worn by strong women and men who feel free to express themselves by wearing something a bit different. For me it goes back to our ancestors who wore animal bones and skins to express their primitive strength. After all, we all were once animals ourselves.

This drive to make jewellery that places a strong focus on nature and animals comes from her experiences as a child, growing up in the Kentish countryside, constantly surrounded by the natural elements. I have always loved to be around nature and growing up spent a lot of time  both in the woods near my house but also along the Kentish coastline due to my father’s love for nature and always taking me for long woodland walks or beachcombing. From a very young age I always knew I was an artist. I always loved using my hands and after experimenting at Plymouth university in 3D design I found myself engrossed in a jewellery making evening class, which is when I knew I had found my calling. After finishing my degree at UCA in Silver and Goldsmithing I definitely felt a call to move to London and try and make a name for myself there.

While her time in London was critical to the success of REO Jewels, Onyett’s love of the city was starting to wane as she became more and more aware of its rushed quality of life and the realities all Londoner’s face; property development and gentrification. These became a catalyst for her move to the small Kentish seaside town of Margate; 5 years on, with a huge wealth of experience, new friendships and a mark made in the jewellery industry I started to fall out of love with London. I just felt that my quality of life was less than it had been after having to leave my huge studio due to development work and I felt the need for change. I mentioned this to other artist friends and Margate became a recurring theme. I decided to take a trip there as I had never visited before. As soon as I did, I knew I wanted to move there. I think that’s the thing with Margate you either get it or you don’t. And I got it.

Reo Jewels | Jenna Foxton

Having now lived in the seaside town for two years, Rebecca discusses what she loves most about it; the space, the fact that I have a home I can call my own and a new studio that is cheap and big. The skyline, something about Margate skies really does soothe the soul. The pace, everyone in London is in such a hurry that they miss out on life. You don’t even realise it until you leave but I was so caught up in having to make money that I forgot to enjoy the simple things. For Rebecca, REO jewels is both her work and passion, it is all-consuming, which means she tries to have moments separate from the business. With this in mind, she mentions Feral Sistas, a project she has started working on with her best friend. Throughout the summer the duo will travel around the UK to summer festivals in their 29 year old Bedford Rascal campervan hosting creative workshops, which will include jewellery making and life drawing. Onyett explains how the project naturally came to fruition through their shared love of meeting and engaging with new people on a creative and fun yet also productive level.

As for many small businesses, Instagram has been  instrumental in the growth of REO. Onyett’s beautifully curated profile, has been invaluable for the brand. It showcases her most popular products,  arguably her signet rings as well as the bespoke commissions she regularly receives. It is a godsend. I have a lot of sales through it and it’s a free platform to advertise. I’d like to think that not long from now I won’t need a website and I can do all my sales through it.

Sparrow Claw Pearl Earrings, £100

While in time it may not be necessary for Onyett to have a website, she will always depend on Hatton Garden for sourcing her materials. When we discuss the topic of gender equality within the jewellery world, she touches on London’s jewellery district and why she feels it is still so old school and relatively sexist; I suppose it is this way because there are not many women employees, especially in trade jobs. It is predominantly male and even the men my age working there have learnt the trade from being an apprentice. But from my time, university degrees seem to have produced mainly female contemporary jewellers (whether they are full on makers or just designers is a whole other point). So it seems to depend on your background , but saying that if you were female and couldn’t afford to do a course or a degree I think you’d find it hard to get an apprenticeship in Hatton garden.

Raised Bee Signet Mix, £75

For Onyett, having full control over her life is the most important part of working for herself. With this in mind, she credits her father for teaching her about the importance of a strong work ethic and describes him as her biggest inspiration. When asked who on the contemporary scene she would like to see wearing REO Jewels Rebecca’s response again embodies what she stands for; an individual who instinctively avoids the status quo; There isn’t really anyone current who I can think of but if I was making my jewels in a different time I’d say Janis Joplin or Courtney Love. Travelling, especially road tripping across America, and observing the reaction of a customer when they first see her work, are what make her most happy. You can find REO jewels on Broadway Market every Saturday from 9AM-4PM. If at first you cant find Onyett’s stand, listen out for and then follow the loud laugh, and that’s where she will be.

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In celebration of sexy: Twin meets Amélie Pichard

10.11.2017 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Amélie Pichard celebrates sexy. Her shoe brand does too. Presented with her footwear, you meet a brand that has titillating sensuality at the core, partnered with the somewhat odd bedfellow of comfort – not necessarily a predictable alignment but refreshing nonetheless. Here is someone who is making a damn good stab at constructing the feeling of sexy, rather than simply the look of it. Aiming to exact empowerment and pleasure to women through artisanal technique and a certain retrograde sensibility, Amélie has opened her first shop, in the wake of her successful online business and a celebrated Pamela Anderson collaboration. Locking herself into bricks and mortar signals something new for the Parisian designer: cementing herself as part of the modern heritage of her city. Amélie wishes to be the female version of Hugh Hefner, to praise the natural sensuality of women. Her aim? To herald the woman: to celebrate sexy for the self.

AMÉLIE PICHARD / RECLUSE from BERTRAND LE PLUARD on Vimeo.

Who is the Amélie Pichard woman?

She is free. This is the very first thing to realise. My girls, the Pichard girls, know what they want, when they want. I don’t do things because there are rules – I don’t care about that. Pamela Anderson was my first muse: for me she is the perfect Pichard girl because she is complex, a woman, a mother, an activist, a girl boss: exactly what I love. I don’t like girls who don’t work. What​ ​does​ ​sexy​ ​mean​ ​to​ ​you? Sexy for me is everything. For me it is so important, but it must be a natural sexy – it’s not about clothes or makeup, it is about attitude. When I look at your shoes, it is like you are trying to change what sexy means, and twist how it is traditionally a male-dominated word. Your​ ​brand​ ​seems​ ​sexy​ ​for​ ​itself… Before, to be sexy, women wanted very high heels. For me it is the opposite, because if you cannot walk properly because of your shoes, you are not sexy. For me, women wearing trainers can be more sexy than women who can’t walk in their high heels. I do shoes for the girl who has her bicycle, who needs to go food shopping, who needs to live and work.

What​ ​type​ ​of​ ​atmosphere​ ​are​ ​you​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​create​ ​in​ ​your​ ​new​ ​shop?

In my shop, it is a lot of things, because I am obsessed with Hugh Hefner – I want to be the female version! I want the most beautiful guys working in my shop, at the door of chez Pichard. I put a bed in the shop because I wanted to make a shop not just for shoes: a place where people can stay and live, chill, and the bed was the way of doing this. The shop is a mix of the 70’s and a bar tabac, because the French spirit is very casual, and I also love contrast. That is why the front of the shop is green, like the bars of Paris, while inside the first thing you see is a bed dressed in Pink, in varying textures.

Amelie Pichard basket bag

Amelie Pichard basket bag

In​ ​the​ ​wake​ ​of​ ​the​ ​passing​ ​of​ ​Hugh​ ​Hefner,​ ​what​ ​is​ ​your​ ​opinion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​image​ ​of​ ​the​ ​playboy​ ​bunny​ ​that​ ​he​ ​created?

Hugh Hefner made something crazy. He enjoyed sex, he enjoyed women, because women are the most beautiful things on the earth. I have a big collection of Playboy at my place – for me it is my favourite magazine.

Why​ ​were​ ​you​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​shoes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​first​ ​place​ ​as​ ​your​ ​medium​ ​of​ ​creativity?

I make shoes to tell stories. Before this, I was making clothes, but I felt a bit lost as it wasn’t very artisanal – I love artisanal creations more than fashion. I love the way you make something. One day, I discovered the last shoe factory of Paris, and I fell in love with what they were doing. I saw one of the workers working in an atmosphere of the smell of glue, of dust, making these tiny and delicate shoes, and I just thought this is so cool!

Amelie Pichard Rodéo Glitter Gold

Amelie Pichard Rodéo Glitter Gold

Who​ ​or​ ​what​ ​else​ ​are​ ​your​ ​inspirations?

It is always women of the past, who aren’t in our world anymore – they are from a time long gone so I can’t meet these women, I don’t know these women: it gives me simply fantasy, and everything starts with fantasy. Sometimes I just need to see an image – you know the movie Paris, Texas ? For five years I fantasised about this movie, despite having never seen it, just pictures – after that I designed a whole collection around the images I knew. For me it is all about fantasy, and telling a story I want to tell that is always between the past and the present. Once I have finished designing, shaped by the past, I will imagine the shoes on my friends who are modern and contemporary: if the shoes appear right then I am happy.

What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​last​ ​thing​ ​that​ ​made​ ​you​ ​excited?

The launch of the shop – it was crazy because we made a fête au village, so all the street was totally full! We partnered with the bar opposite us and had a Claude Francois impersonator perform.

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“Tender but brutal: exactly how I like a character to be.” Twin meets Alex Cameron

28.09.2017 | Blog , Music | BY:

One of the pleasures of seeing bands in small venues (when they’re good) is that you get to witness how much they enjoy playing with each other – which was certainly true of Alex Cameron and his gang on their most recent visit to London. In amongst a slick delivery of the latest album, Forced Witness, were plenty of banterful asides, whispered knowing eye catches and asides made while sweat poured and Stella Artois spilled.

Such synchronicity is hardly surprising given that frontman Alex and saxophonist / business partner Roy Molloy have known each other since they were 5, when Alex was sent round to play with Roy because he was lonely (– “don’t put that in” – sorry, Roy). That they wouldn’t tell me the name of the band they had when they were 17, or their worst lyrics, also speaks of a deep, artistic bond that means some ten years later, they’re more on it than ever.

Cameron himself likes character, starring on his first album cover ‘Jumping the Shark’ as a Scarface-esque bruiser. For Forced Witness the physical performance may have changed, but the album delves deep into various personalities and identites, unpacking as it does ideas around gender and specifically the ‘Alpha’ males of rock and roll, and the wide world beyond. And though while for the video of ‘Stranger’s Kiss’, a record that features Angel Olsen, Cameron and Jemima Kirke play with the nuances of gender of screen, the best and most surprising expositions are most definitely to be found in the lyrics.

Co-produced with Foxygen’s Johnathan Rado and recorded partly in Las Vegas (“a completely rational and sane place”) it’s a record to pay attention to.

Read Twin’s interview with Alex Cameron (guest starring Roy Malloy) below.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?

A lot of my ideas come from conversations with people. A lot of it is dialogue with people that I’m on the road with. Someone like Mclean Stevenson who is a photographer from Australian. I worked in a government legal office working with victims of corruption, so a lot of my process is to do with taking that skill of being an assistant to an investigator; what I is a breakdown or a study of a story that I’m interested in.

Alex Cameron

Alex Cameron

Do you have a favourite one?

On the new record I really like country figs. My car broke down on a highway, it was me and Roy and our two ex-girlfriends and we got towed. That whole song came from a conversation with a tow truck driver.

How do you come up with melodies to support to the character?

I just try and focus on whether or not it’s a good song. The melody is quite natural, I’m kind of drawn towards them. I’m more interested in the stories and the melodies, they come together after a while. You have to be patient, and I tend to let things happen over time.

Do you find yourself looking at people on the street and get a sound to them?

Um no, I wouldn’t say so. I’ve written songs on the bus before but that comes more from absentmindedness. I do a lot of song writing when I’m walking and when I’m on public transport.

Some people write very confessional lyrics and you choose to write through the lens of character, but how much of yourself do you put into it?

I’d  like to think that if you get a sense of moral awakening then that’s me trying to put some humanity into the characters, even if they are bastards or misguided. I wonder about the process of everyone having a bullshit detector, I’m fascinated by that. Some people have a strong edit before they speak and others just speak based on their emotions,without contemplating the fact that they’re an animal. So I think a lot of stories are just me wondering about certain circumstances, and I just try and let the characters take me to where they want to go. Often that’s somewhere decrepit because when I’m writing it feels like I’m writing a tiny world where someone can behave, that I’m not in control of; I’m just there. Part of it is just based on the flow of emotion and not so much trying to ruthlessly understand something and then examine it in retrospect.

Was music the most instinctive form of doing that to you?

Most of my song writing comes from words I’m constantly taking down; long sentences and utterances, lines, poems and things like that. Then I’ll find the ones with the right cadence and the right syncopation that fit with certain melodies I have recorded as well. I write short stories, but I felt that there was no way for me to access that industry. Some of my favourite authors have been more responsive to my records than they ever would be to a story.

What was it like starting out in Sydney?

Sydney was really hard. Not in a knocks way, but it’s not the place to write music with a sense of realness to it; it’s very much a paradise over there. I don’t think Sydney is the place where groundbreaking music happens. The only way for me to make a living was to leave. Sydney has been taken over by investor money, it’s corporate. It doesn’t has any nightlife. You’d have to go up against the laws and the corporations to really get a subculture going.

ENTER ROY MALLOY

Hello Roy. How did you meet Alex, and how did you get into the saxophone?

I met Alex because we went to stay at friend’s when I was kid, and that was two doors down from Al’s, so we lived next door to each other when we were 5 or 6. We met each other because his mother made him come and play with me because she thought that I was lonely. But I wasn’t lonely. Don’t print that I was lonely.

And the saxophone I came across because the school had a program where you could rent them, and  I thought Lisa Simpson was pretty cool so, that’s how it happened?

Have you ever been tempted by another instrument?

I guess between the ages of 16 – 25 I didn’t think that the saxophone was suitable for rock music so I was playing the bass guitar. Then 4 or 5 years ago we started doing this live thing with the horn, and it just came into it I guess.

So were you guys in bands together when you were younger?

Yeah we played in a band at the end of school –

What was it called?

(Inaudible shouts from Alex)

That’s a secret (laughs).

EXIT ROY MALLOY

Hey again Alex. I wanted to talk to you about the video for Stranger’s Kiss and the way in which you play around with binaries in it, and also in the album more widely. Do you think that music has a specifically female or male sound?

Well the whole record was kind of intentionally made with the intention of subverting those masculine qualities in pop rock music. And so when Jemima came with the idea with this video that also challenged that it was kind of natural and perfect.

The song was produced in a way that was really strong, but the lyrics suggest a lot of denial of weakness. I certainly view the record of being a direct challenge to those tropes of masculinity, those male-dominant forms of song. Like that song Jesse’s girl I always think is pretty interesting – it’s oestensibly a song about a woman but it’s actually a discussion between two men. It doesn’t even mention Jesse’s girl’s name.

Interestingly when Angel came into the studio and laid down her vocals it became really evident that she was the strong one in that world. So we made her the one that was really not giving a fuck about the breakup, so we made her tender but brutal – which is exactly how I like a character to be.

 Forced Witness is out now on Secretly Canadian.

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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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‘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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More Than Oh-Kaye: Twin Meets San Fermin’s Lead Vocalist

21.04.2017 | Music | BY:

Those who write about Charlene Kaye often describe her as “a powerhouse” and “a machine” and it’s easy to see why. In between enjoying a successful solo career that has seen her release two albums and an EP, Honey last year, she’s also a lead vocalist for San Fermin. The Hawaii-born, New-York based singer joined the 8 piece band in 2014, and has since been crucial in weaving dreamy vocals over undulating synths and punchy melodies. With the release of ‘Belong’, San Fermin’s third album, we caught up with Kaye to talk about performance, growing as a band and solo recording.

How did you guys come together as a band?

I joined the band when they were already a fully operational touring enterprise, in the middle of touring their debut album. Ellis and Allen had been friends since they were teenagers and found everyone else in New York, and found me through a mutual friend. 

This the band’s third album, how do you feel that you’ve grown and developed in terms of your sound? 

When I first joined the band, it was challenging to get away from the thought that I was replacing three absolutely phenomenal singers – I would align my singing style to theirs, as they had originated the versions that people had first fallen in love with. As the band has progressed, I’ve felt more comfortable contributing my own interpretation and personality into Ellis’s vision for the music – mainly stage diving whenever I can, you know.

This has been described as the most personal album to date, how does it feel to vocalise someone else’s experience? 

Even though it’s Ellis’s songwriting, it feels personal to me as well. There have been moments onstage where it’s occurred to me that certain songs oddly align with my life and what I’m going through at the time.

You’re also a solo musician – do you prefer recording and performing in a group or alone?

If it’s my own stuff, I’ll often record my vocals at home in my closet! But I hate performing solo. That’s probably why I love our live shows so much, it’s just a giant group freakout on stage, and at this point we’ve spent so many thousands of hours together that the energy of friendship on stage is so strong, possibly just as potent as the music itself.

What’s your favourite track on the album?

 I had an intensely emotional response to the song “Palisades” when Ellis first played me the demo – it describes this Lord of the Flies-like scenario where the glow of youth is preserved forever, everyone you love staying young forever – and I just found it unbearably sad and beautiful. That and Oceanica are probably my favorite two songs on the record.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017, and what are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to touring this record, and in the meantime I have a lot of new music of my own in the lab I’m excited to release.

Belong is out now.

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Lady Skollie Doesn’t Play By Anybody’s rules

26.03.2017 | Art , Blog | BY:

South African artist Lady Skollie is a creative force to be reckoned with. Born in 1987 Lady Skollie (real name Laura Windvoge) is part of a new generation of artists in South Africa who are working within and against the digital sphere, and her work emanates a captivating and sensual energy across the range of mediums that she works with. Her most recent, and first solo, exhibition ‘Lust Politics’ at the Tyburn Gallery gave the city a riveting introduction to her provocative vision, and followed on from an acclaimed stint at Frieze last year. Twin caught up with Lady Skollie to talk working in South Africa, having a sense of humour and how women are going to lift each other up.

 Growing up, were you always inclined to express yourself visually? How did your aesthetic develop?

When I was about 4 the Zorro franchise was really taking off in South Africa. I crawled underneath my mum’s tables, beds, inside cupboards and covered everything’s underside with wax crayon Z’s – all in different sizes. I remember being terrified that my mother would realize. So I suppose I have always expressed myself visually. When I was younger I thought that to be an artist you needed to paint realistically, and then I understood that my mark making did not need to be mimetic to be respected or convey a message. I took inspiration from Khoisan drawings because of my own Khoisan culture – as a coloured South African, and my work just became hard, fast, fluid.

Where did the name Lady Skollie come from?

Lady Skollie, for me, has been a lesson in identity. I’ve always had these disparate elements of my personality. Not long ago I wore cute 1950s dresses and had ringlets. Although I looked like a lady, inside I felt this urge to rail against authority and challenge the norm. I would talk about sex and paint little dicks on people’s things. Lady Skollie was a performative thing; it was the space where these two things -masculinity and femininity – met.

 Your work is striking and honest, drawing on personal experience. When you started did you ever worry that it wouldn’t resonate with a wider audience?

No, this was never a worry really because I also draw on a range of socio-political issues, like rape, rape culture and plight of women, which are so prevalent within our wider society. They are issues which everyone, even those outside South Africa, should engage with.

It is time for people to feel uncomfortable, and for people to ask themselves very hard questions about how they relate to women, how they treat them, how they talk to them.

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Your most recent exhibition was called Lust Politics. Do you think there is always a relationship between the visceral and the political?

Yes, from Monica Lewinsky to Marilyn Monroe to politicians blocking any means for women to have a more equal life or even just reproductive rights. I think there has always been a love hate relationship between politics and lust.

The names of your work are as powerful as the pieces themselves, which comes first when you start to create?

Usually the writing comes first. The works come separately and then I edit and chop to make the writing and the work correlate more.

You’re wrestling with gender, sex and societal structures, why did you want to investigate these ideas in ink and crayon?

I like the tension between a granny-like medium like watercolour and the garish, crayon drawings of sex. Depicting something as visceral as sex with a medium as soft and delicate as watercolour and childlike crayon is thrilling.

Why do you want to use humour in your work?

In South Africa humour is often used a vehicle for social change. People don’t always want to listen if you are being serious. They would rather not listen to preaching and they don’t want to hear about rape stats, HIV stats, etc. I think in some ways I’m pretty funny, so I use humour as a way of unwrapping serious issues in a palatable way – so that people will actually start thinking about change.

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One of your pieces focusses on the ups and downs of competitive sisterhood. As you see it, how can women better enable each other?

Women need to engage with each other about issues; communication is key to a united front, and we need one. At the moment, I definitely feel part of a zeitgeist and movement, especially in South Africa, where women are speaking up against feminine debasement and subjugation. Whether we make a social commentary with watercolours or whether we post an online status – that is what I’m part of. 

How does Johannesburg influence your work?

J’burg pushes you to achieve things you might have only ever thought about; it’s a city that’s totally alive. My surroundings make a big impact on my work, and I think it’s important to address issues around gender and sexuality because Johannesburg, and South Africa in general, is rife with sexual assaults and abuse. Art is an accessible way to bring up the narrative and I think we need to talk about it more and more and more.

Is now an exciting time to be an artist in South Africa?

Being an artist in South Africa right now is very important and very exciting. Finally the international market is catching on, and it’s actually becoming a financially viable option. In J’burg there are a lot of new independent studios opening where people are reclaiming spaces, especially in Troyeville which was a huge centre of resistance during apartheid. Most of Troyeville is studios, huge buildings which were abandoned in the ‘70s and are now being taken over and are really cost-effective. People are now offering funded residencies. As a creative person it’s a real privilege to have a space to make, without the worries of having to generate a huge income to sustain it.

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What are your processes when working? Do you have a specific routine?

It’s difficult to say, because my process entirely varies; I don’t really have a specific routine when it comes to making work. However, usually I think about the image for a long time before making a single mark. Sometimes I write about the work before I create it, which allows me to have a context for it. I listen to a lot of hip hop in the studio; hip hop can take you places and it especially helps me with confidence. 

Who are the artists that inspire you?

I am totally inspired by Athi Patra Ruga’s ability to immerse you into his world without even trying. Also Robert Mapplethorpe, for his beautiful way of shocking and Mary Sibande for her sheer brilliance of identity dynamics.

What’s next for you? And what are you most excited about?

I prefer not to talk about ‘what’s next’. I am in the present; I’m hard, fast, now. I don’t play to anybody’s rules. I am a rebellious person!

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Keep on Moving: An Interview with Linus Ricard

17.01.2017 | Art , Fashion | BY:

Paris based, Swedish artist Linus Ricard uses film and photography to capture and explore the relationship between the human body and the space it occupies. By focussing on the ordinary, unseen moments of the everyday, Ricard invites audiences to re-examine their surroundings and their position within the environment. Twin caught up with Linus to find out more.

How did you get into photography?

Studying styling at the Marangoni in Milan I collaborated with photographers and quickly realised I wanted to hold the camera.I still loved the clothes but the magic and interaction with the subject was stronger.

Your photographs & films are pre-occupied with movement – what is it about motion that interests you?

Motion creates emotion. My first, unanswered, teenage love was with a dancer. I used to go watch all her performances. She completely rejected me but my love for dance and movement stayed.

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What’s your process when you’re working?

I keep the subject moving, I love to catch that in-between moment, that you can never pose or control.

Do you have a favourite photograph, that you’ve taken?

No, it tends to be more and more about the process than the result, enjoying the moment and the making.

What are your influences?

Anything. At the moment I’m into going for long walks, I find it very inspiring and zen. I think Kierkegaard was onto something – “If one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

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Elliss’ Unconscious Clothing For Natural Women

24.11.2016 | Fashion | BY:

ELLISS is an exciting new brand that was founded earlier this year by young designer Elliss Solomon. Elliss’ first collection, entitled ‘Unconscious Clothing’, features flattering, contemporary designs, often emblazoned with bold prints, while staying true to the brand’s sustainable ethos. Elliss designs and makes the clothes in the UK to maintain a low carbon footprint, and only uses sustainable organic materials like cotton, hemp and bamboo. We spoke to Elliss about her inspiration behind the brand and the challenges of starting up her own fashion line.

What made you want to become a fashion designer?

I always knew that I wanted to do something creative and decided early that I wanted to study fashion at Central St Martins, which is where I ended up. I used to be very experimental with my outfits. I now dress quite simply and I am more conscious of the small details. That is where the design aesthetic for ELLISS has stemmed from.

Can you tell us a little bit about your vision behind the brand?

I design individual pieces that are beautiful, unusual and easy to wear: clothes that have a story. I am conscious of every step of the process – from how the garment will make you feel, to where it is made and from what materials. The fabrics I use are soft and natural and the garments are made in England to maintain a low carbon footprint. Every item is vegan friendly. The first collection is called ‘unconscious clothing’ which is a play on the idea of the ‘unconscious consumer’. I want the women who buy my clothes to not necessarily be looking for something eco friendly, but to choose a piece because of the design – to unconsciously be conscious.

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How do you incorporate political issues into your work?

I am inspired by women who spoke out before others would. This collection incorporates 18th and 19th century portraiture into prints. Each painting or photograph is carefully placed to flatter the female form. The prints are slightly risqué and tongue in cheek. I want the women who wear my clothes to feel confident and empowered.

What materials do you use?

The Jerseys I have chosen for this collection are made from organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. Hemp is the most sustainable fabric. It grows quickly and is so dense it doesn’t allow for weeds. It is also naturally breathable and can be very soft. It hasn’t always had the best reputation but I want to change that. Hemp can be lightweight and delicate!

Which other brands or labels are you inspired by?

I am inspired by small brands that are authentic in their ideas and production. Veja is a footwear brand that has a really interesting supply chain. Although they do use leather, I am still waiting for someone to do something fresh and innovative with sustainable leather alternatives.

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How do you choose the names for your designs?

The names come from the different activists that I have referenced in the prints and women in my life who influence me. The Anna body is named after Anna Kingsford, an anti-vivisectionist, vegetarian and women’s rights campaigner who has heavily inspired the prints.

What have been the most challenging aspects of setting up your own clothing line?

There are a lot of challenges but each stage is rewarding when you finally find a solution. I am always looking to my friends and family for feedback. Sourcing everything from fabrics to packaging takes time. When we find a supplier that is great to work with or a fabric that we can continue to use, things become easier. All of our postal packaging is recycled, from the stickers to the mailers. It’s really important to me to waste as little as possible.

What’s next for the brand?

Our online shop has just launched, which is really exciting! The first collection is available to buy now. The next step is working on designs for the second release. I am researching new and inspiring prints at the moment. I can’t wait to see it all come together!

ELLISS is available to shop online at www.elliss.co.uk

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Tak.Ori Q&A

18.09.2014 | Fashion | BY:

Ukranian by birth but Italian by adoption, Svetlana Taccori developed a passion for making dresses for her dolls from a young age. Heavily influenced by her family of knitting fanatics, she decided to use the pieces in her closet as the basis for setting up her own knitwear label, and Tak.Ori was born. Her debut collection of knitwear has already been snapped up by Browns, Colette and ModaOperandi, and her AW14 collection will be available from Net-A-Porter and Matchesfashion.com

With knits on the horizon as a key winter trend, Twin chats to Svetlana to find out more about recasting fashion’s idea of the traditional woollen jumper.

What kicked off your love for wool?
I grew up in a cold country so I know the challenges of being well dressed and warm. Knitted items were always in my wardrobe and from a very early age I developed a passion for the softness, the volume and the warmth that comes from it so I suppose I’ve always had a love affair with wool even if I was unaware of it.

What is your favourite kind of wool?
I love merino and cashmere for their softness but in general I like experimenting and mixing the different types of wool. I’m constantly trying out new techniques, which will allow me to mix different wool fibres and colours together to create pieces which are easy to wear and that don’t react badly when washed.

Do you know how to knit? What kind of techniques do you use and which are your favourites?
I grew up in a household of knitting fanatics! I was eight when I had my first knitting classes and that’s when I learned how to turn a heel and make mini socks on five needles. I prefer to knit smooth surfaces using different colours as though I am painting on a canvas. In fact, I would have loved to be an artist and that’s partially due to how much art and literature combined to influence me while I was growing up, but my career path always seemed as though it would involve a needle and yarn. My love for fashion won out in the end!

Many people regard wool as quite casual and traditional – how would you dress it up?
I agree, knitwear was traditionally considered casualwear and at the beginning of the last century, it ended up in our closets because it was comfortable and cozy, making it a redundant textile in high fashion. But that’s an outdated concept for me. Wool is sustainable, renewable and eco-friendly, it’s also one of the most versatile yarns out there and it needs to be celebrated. I want to show that high fashion can be both beautiful and comfortable. I want to use its wholesome and pure image but add a rebellious and seductive element that’s both elegant and fun. In a way, I want to revolutionise the fashion knitwear scene and this is my way of rewriting the story of wool by showing that even an evening dresses can be knitted and look amazing. Wool pieces give you a freedom of movement that you don’t always get with other fabrics.

Who are your style icons?
I’m inspired by a bygone era of bold, outrageous women. Women who were intelligent, bright, charming and eccentric, yet elegant and chic at the same time. No doubt this is because we don’t really know them personally, and don’t see them in everyday situations which means they can’t disappoint. Today we seem to live in a society that favours exhibitionism over substance – I call it the Herostratus effect! My AW14 collection is influenced by the Marchesa Luisa Casati. She had a strong personality, she was charming, shocking and had a certain je ne sais quoi that made her the most fascinating and fashionable woman in Europe at the turn of the 20th century. I also love Nan Kempner. Her style is timeless but also very appropriate for today.

Where did you learn your craft? Have you worked with other designers?
At thirteen my grandfather gave me a sewing machine for my birthday. My parents had mentioned to him in passing that I was hand-sewing dresses for dolls. Every time I was given a doll, actually, the first thing I would do was to rip the clothes it came in off and make new outfits for them. So when I received my sewing machine there was no stopping me, and I moved on from making clothes for dolls to making clothes for my mum, sisters and school friends.

What prompted you to start your own label?
I’ve spent the past 15 years working in the fashion business for some of the most well-known luxury brands in the world, but I always felt it was inevitable that one day I would set-up my own label. Since my teens, I’ve been collecting hats and scarves everywhere I go (I have over a hundred hats and seventy scarves). It was after a trip to Cortina that I finally found the courage and felt that the time was right to go and do my own thing.

What inspired your SS15 collection?
As I mentioned earlier, knitwear and jersey came into our lives and into our closets in the 1920’s and this was a time of major change for women. I am intrigued by the way the suffragettes used their clothing as placards to fight for the vote. I wanted to dedicate my collection to that era and I wanted to celebrate and thank those women who made the freedoms many women enjoy today possible. These women were bold and, if you like, revolutionaries. So for my spring summer 2015 collection I wanted to create a modern interpretation of their strength and femininity as well as a contemporary view of the clothing worn by them. By using knit and jersey, which at the time were considered second-class fabrics and used solely for underwear and sports clothing, I feel it embodies the spirit of the suffragettes.

Are you influenced by your dual nationality?
I think we’re all influenced by our environment but our childhoods no doubt have the strongest influence. I can honestly say I feel very comfortable wherever I am. I love exploring the traditions and history of all the countries I visit – I will read the literature, listen to the local music, visit the art galleries, watch the movies, look at the colours and talk to as many people, young and old, as I can. I feel this willingness to learn helps to influence me in creating collections that appeal to people from different countries and continents. Of course it’s inevitable that I am also influenced by my Ukrainian roots and Italian adoption and, although I don’t rely on these elements for direction, I think you can see the bold, vibrant but traditional Ukrainian fused with the well cut, urban Italian chic in my designs, but luckily I’m a fan of dualities.

What can we expect from you in the next year?

I don’t know what to expect from myself! My main objective will be to continue to create contemporary, luxurious and innovative garments, and my fascination with fabric and wool technology knows no bounds. My fascination with experimentation helps push me creatively, especially during our spring summer collections as I have to focus on delivering wearable and interesting luxury pieces that are breathable and comfortable. We have big plans though and, I definitely want to improve my English!

tak-ori.com

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Art-Zine

16.04.2012 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

What do you get when two young creative women, call together their friends to contribute to a zine dissecting what it is to be creative and female? The answer is teenVAG, a zine that explores coming of age, beauty and the body from a firmly feminine viewpoint. Confounding stereotypes and creating new imagery that fits their own feelings, Twin spoke to Natasha and Allison about teenVAG…

Where did the name teenVAG come from?
The name “teenVAG” is rooted in yesteryear conversation with an especially dear group of friends- we often threw around the word “pussy.”  Coincidentally, we all previously held internships at Condé Nast.

What thoughts preoccupy you as artists and how is teenVAG a conduit for them?
There are infinite forms of expressions. Collectively, the constant desire to create has fuelled our greatest artistic ventures and our initiative enables these visions to come into fruition. We are constantly developing ideas, themes, and insights while cultivating a unique rapport with an incredibly talented group of our contemporaries. teenVAG has allowed us to create an evolving, communal space we share amongst our featured artists and audience.

Why did you feel the need to form a female collective of artists?
New York is a super hub of creatives. The artists we worked with on Issue # 1 inspired the idea of an all female project- they set the groundwork for the basis of the project. The progression of Issue # 2 continues to foster a strong voice and female presence we feel most necessary amongst the creative community.

Why is a zine still an effective way of communicating ideas in the era of blogs, tumblrs etc?
It is tangible- there is physical contact with our audience. The viewer experiences the artist’s work without interruption and becomes a part of the collective dialogue taking place. The zine becomes a perpetual vehicle of communication that can always be revisited. In our digital age it offers a slight sense of nostalgia and a quiet escape from the fast paced nature of the information super-highway.

 

Who are the other female artists involved in the zine?
We work with twelve artists each issue- a mix of friends, acquaintances and artists we admire. Issue # 1 focused on the basis of photography and featured the work of Nina Hartmann, Sandy Kim, Maggie Lee, Nicole Lesser, Kathy Lo, Katheryn Love, Luisa Opalesky, Logan White, Coco Young, and Nadriah Zakariya.

Issue # 2 encompasses several mediums ranging from sculpture, to illustration, painting and mixed media as well as the inclusion of photography. Issue # 2 features work by Aimee Brodeur, Elizabeth Jaeger, Olivia Locher, Carly Mark, Katie Miller, Anamaria Morris, Sophie Van der Perre, Rebecca Andrea Richard, Tara Sinn, Brooke Ellen Taylor, Alexandra Velasco, and Jessica Williams.

What, if any, obstacles do female artists still face?
teenVAG: When initially reaching out to print teenVAG Issue # 1, a business denied carrying out the job due to “explicit sexual content,” “pornographic”  imagery, and a questionable title. Female artists face connotations that are inherently attached to their art due to gender- we want to break that stigma.

Where is the zine available?
The zine is available on our online shop http://teenvag.bigcartel.com/. as well as a selection of stockists in NY, LA and TX. For a full list of stockists check out our website teenvag.com

What’s next?
We are planning our second show for May of this year- it will be a collective exhibition surveying the work of artists we have been working with for the past year. In the coming months we will begin the conceptualisation of teenVAG Issue # 3 due out in September 2012.

We’ll also be doing a collaborative selection of pop-up shows and mini-events throughout the summer- we are very excited to continue working with an amazing network of creatives and hope to expand teenVAG to its fullest potential

 

 

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