Nick Knight Films The Fashion Awards

09.12.2016 | Fashion | BY:

To commemorate the Fashion Awards 2016, photographer Nick Knight has released two new fashion films that reflect on contemporary fashion today. Featuring Molly Goddard, Nasir Mazhar, Hood By Air, Givenchy and Balenciaga, Up and 90210 were edited by SHOWstudio’s Raquel Couceiro, and explore tensions between strength and delicacy and  intimacy and discordance. With a soundtrack by rapper Travis Scott, this pair of films celebrate the creative spirit that Knight consistently promotes through his work.

 

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Daphne Guinness: a melodic memoir

20.10.2016 | Fashion , Music | BY:

Daphne Guinness is a woman who has little trouble turning heads. For years now she has been a fashion behemoth, attracting attention for simply existing. Akin, almost, to a mythical creature on whom sartorial enthusiasts project their likes and dislikes, her characteristically monochrome silhouette — all angles, hair and vertiginous heels — has become something of the caricature. And for the most part, silent. But now, Daphne has found her voice.

Back in 2011, following the gut-wrenching loss of some of her dearest friends and family — Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow amongst them — Daphne retreated from the fashion industry that had, in her words, left her feeling “burned”, and isolated herself in a secluded Irish landscape to record a cover of a Dylan track as some kind of cathartic release. However, what actually happened turned out to be rather different. The person she was meant to be working on the Dylan material with never showed up, and so instead, she wrote her own music. Flash forward to now, and she has an album out.

Speaking to the muse come musician on the eve of her first ever live show — an electric performance at the Natural History Museum for a Frieze Art Fair party hosted by Maurice Ostro CBE, Candida Gertler and the Louisa Guinness Gallery — the singer is remarkably calm, and unexpectedly candid. “I’m too honest,” she says, almost to herself.

Optimist In Black, her debut album, is by no means an easy listen. It is classic rock’n’roll story weaving, and plunges you into the depths of despair before soaring phoenix-like into almost jubilant territory. The title track is perhaps the darkest hour, and deservedly so, with its severe etchings of grief ringing out in every ‘60s-infused riff. “The album is completely what happened that year, in order.” Daphne tells us. “When I got to ‘Marionette’ [track five of 14] I had about four seizures and completely collapsed. Then I wrote ‘Optimist In Black’ [track seven], and went and got lost in Mexico.” The escape was undoubtedly needed. “At the time I thought if I do anything darker than ‘Optimist In Black’ then I’m going to kill myself. So I needed that. I got through it, and then I came back and wrote ‘Magic Tea’ [track 8, a pop song]. It was sink or swim,” she explains.

The Guinness sound is one born from pain, reflection and the resolution to find light in the darkest of times. It is determined in its subsequent dealings with life’s sucker punches, but ultimately, she is objective about her experiences. “I realise that everybody’s been through shit,” she says. “They’ve been through ups, downs, bad love affairs, death and disaster. I’m not really writing a unique version of the world here, these are basic human emotions that happen to everybody.”

When speaking about the losses she suffered, Daphne is frank. “It was like a magical time that abruptly ended,” she says. “It felt like dominos going down, down, down. And you can’t do anything. I thought, ‘you can’t just see everybody at funerals, crying their eyes out, and then you know you’re going to have to see them at some fucking party the next day, talking about something else.’ That’s why I started the initiative at Central Saint Martin’s and have tried to support people in terms of their mental health. Because to many people it’s just gossip, which is, you know…” Awful is the word unuttered, but hanging in the air nonetheless.

Daphne Guinness

Credit: Jamie Kendall

Daphne has a knack of bringing something of meaning from truly bleak situations. Thanks to her creation of the Isabella Blow Foundation, she is putting two MA students through Central Saint Martins each year, as well as working with the Samaritans. This remarkable dedication to the nurture of talent is a continuous theme in Daphne’s life. Doing all these positive things “makes a little bit more sense” of the situation, she says.

And Daphne has always been a woman surrounded by and somewhat immersed in creative genius. From McQueen and Blow, to close collaborators such as Nick Knight and open-admirer Lady Gaga, she is a magnet for inextinguishable talent. Another such person, who influenced and encouraged Daphne a great deal, is Bowie. Although the musician is hesitant to discuss their relationship too much, for fear of capitalising on his legacy, it was he who set her up with her album’s producer: the legendary Tony Visconti. “Everybody’s talking about David at the moment and it [all] feels cheap.” She admits. “But he was incredibly supportive, and I always just thought: ‘But why me?’” She reluctantly continues, “He was the most remarkable person. And also, more simple than everybody gave him credit for. He was a very magical man.”

Despite having lived her life through somewhat of a lens, the stage isn’t Daphne’s natural home. “Yeah I’m very, very shy — strangely enough — but I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at becoming someone else, when there’s a point to it, rather than just to be seen [performing].” Music is something of a shield, it seems. “I feel that you are protected in some sort of way by the art that you make, and by the people that you work with. And that’s fine.”

“What I don’t really understand,” she continues, “is what’s happened [to the music industry] in the last 20 years, where it’s all surface and there’s not much underneath… I’d much rather see almost nothing and hear what people actually have to say, rather than seeing just a whole lot of images.” She references YouTube and social media, and seems perplexed by the lack of authentic narrative, as well as the abundance of the visual above all else. For someone who has previously been so much a part of the aesthetic frontiers of society, it seems to be something of an about turn. “Fashion was a huge part of my life, but when all of that happened I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” she reveals. “I sort of put myself into isolation and wrote this album instead.”

The sound that accompanies such a raw confessional is, as previously mentioned, a distinctively ‘60s one. Citing Marc Bolan as her “first big love” explains a lot about Daphne, although there are echoes of Nico and Faithfull too. For a woman who recounts making her album as a mix between “mad and brave”, and describes walking into the studio to record with her band thinking “Shit! What am I doing? I’m a complete amateur,” the result is incredibly accomplished. “I’m glad I didn’t know how difficult it was going to be, because I would never have done it,” she admits. “But I’m very glad I did. And I’m very glad I didn’t just do a cover of someone else’s song, because there are so many songs to be written.”

Optimist In Black is out now on Agent Anonyme/Absolute

Daphneguinness.com

Main photo credit: Jamie Kendall

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Carri

Exclusive: Carri Munden talks Streetwear: Mastered 2016

08.02.2016 | Fashion | BY:

They say you should never stop learning. Irrespective of age and experience, the theory is: there’s always room to grow, and subsequently, improve. And that seems to be the ethos behind the new Mastered series, which connects some of the creative industry’s biggest names with a network of knowledge-hungry self-starters.

From Tim Blanks to Nick Knight, Val Garlands and Fraser Cooke – who will mentor specific courses in writing, photography, make-up and streetwear, respectively – the Mastered initiative bills itself as an online talent program, which aims to connect those looking to take their career to the next level, with the people capable of doing just that. Thanks to its online platform, it is education on a global scale, and offers access to some of the greatest minds, mentors and all-important contacts books of some of the various industry’s superstars.

One of the most interesting courses on offer, is the aforementioned streetwear program, who recently held a series of panelled-events in London, Berlin (with New York and Tokyo next on the list) – connecting industry experts with those passionate about, and working within, streetwear. It is also one of the only programs still accepting applications for places. So, with that in mind, we had a chat and took some photos with London panelist Carri Munden – in-between her working with Skepta on his new video – to find out what streetwear means to her.

OK firstly, can you tell us exactly what your involvement in the Mastered project is?
Mastered invited me to be on the panel for the London launch alongside influencers from Cottweiler to Gary Aspden. I will also be part of the Streetwear: Mastered programme, giving feedback as an expert to the brands participating.

How would you describe the other people involved as mentors – and why are they important within the realm of streetwear?
Fraser Cooke is someone who has universal respect across streetwear, fashion and creative industries. He is also someone who has been something of a mentor to me. He wisdom is incredible and he’s calm and kind.

Carri

What do you think the term streetwear means now? How has it changed – if at all – over the years?
For me streetwear is style – it is connected to but not defined by fashion. It is above all connected to culture.

What is your earliest memory of streetwear?
As a teenager I never fitted into a particular subculture but I was drawn to brands, whether than was Stussy (cult for me growing up), Kappa or even a Metallica logo. I don’t think I was even conscious that they were brands but I was aware of their differences and what they signified.

What was it that drew you to it?
I like graphics so I was always attracted to streetwear. I also love music and streetwear is always connected to music. I didn’t listen to Hip Hop, I only learnt about streetwear’s connection to Hip Hop when I moved to London. I grew up on rave, jungle and metal. Stussy for me was part of rave culture but also connected me to the skater boys I always fancied but who thought I was too weird or too chavvy (lol).

Carri

Historically, it was considered perhaps a more democratic way of being able to express yourself – be it politically or socially – through your clothing. Do you think that holds true today?
Yes I agree and disagree. I do not care about fashion I care about human connections and style. Style – what you wear and most importantly how you wear it – will never be erased. Humans will dress themselves in whatever they can access and it will alway be about personal expression, communication and status. What has changed now is how we communicate – i.e. the internet and social media. Clothing is still crucial but is now just a part of a constructed identity of “who you are” or more importantly who you want others to think you are.

Why do you think Mastered chose you to be involved in the project?
I hope because I have an individual voice. I think I’m in quite a unique position as a creative who has worked across high fashion, sportswear and streetwear; and I didn’t want to draw focus to it but other people have been mentioning it to me, but yes I am a woman…

Are there more women involved in streetwear than people realise? Or is it still a predominantly male-centric field?
There are a lot of women in streetwear actually, but I would change that to there are a lot of women in sportswear, in both Nike or Adidas for example there are incredible woman at all levels right to the very top. I have noticed this less in streetwear and I not sure why but as I mentioned in the panel discussions at the London Mastered event, there is something about the very nature of streetwear that is both very formulaic and very masculine – its obsession with one up man ship, whether that is a limited edition collectable piece or a detail on a jacket or a reference in a graphic that only an insider would recognise.

Carri

Streetwear is also a culture that has been inextricably linked with music in the past…again, is it still? And if so, are there any particular artists that you feel inspired by – or can see a lot of inspiration being drawn from – right now?
The last year I have been working with Skepta, his style is so British / european and so personal to him, it has been exciting for me seeing the influence of that globally. And absolutely artists like Kanye, A$AP Rocky – to be honest they have unprecedented influence when it comes to streetwear and style. It is powerful. We discussed this a lot at the panel discussion – how streetwear and fashion have changed and how they have and can influence each other. Artists like Kanye or Rocky are crucial in this discussion. But for me a lot of – at least within Hip Hop – artists’ connections with clothing or brands goes back to the one-upmanship I mentioned. I like weirdos – artists for whom style is a pure extension of the music and there are no boundaries or definitions when it comes to creativity.

How do you think something like Mastered benefits the people taking part in it?
It’s absolutely unique in that you would never have access to these people outside of this program. It’s also unique in because it is online is accessible to any one in the world. This is powerful to me, as I really think to be progressive we need to think outside of these same cites and centres of culture and industry.

Do you think it still rings true – to an extent – that it’s about who you know not what you know?
Yes absolutely your network is key, but it is not everything because if you have access to incredible people or connections it is nothing with out something to bring to them. Hard work and most importantly good, unique work is what will get you success.

What are you currently working on?
I am not doing collections or showing seasonly with Cassette Playa – I love designing clothes but it will be for other people or I will do collaborations or limited edition drops. I am enjoying being creative in other ways – I’m currently working on creative direction, styling and graphic projects.

To find out more about Streetwear: Mastered and the other courses on offer, visit mastered.com.

All photography by Joe Quigg with special thanks to Lock Studios

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The Perfect Kiss

Mad About The Boy

07.01.2016 | Fashion | BY:

You don’t have to have Instagrammed Corrine Day’s iconic Kate Moss shoot for The Face to know that youth culture has shimmied around fashion’s dance-floor since time began, throwing shapes and intoxicating every wisened creative as it went. Whilst Joan Didion for Celine may have piqued an interest for a mature, savvy model, really it’s the arresting, intangible power of youth that continues to enthrall the industry. From Friday, London College of Fashion will celebrate this preoccupation in an all-star exhibition Mad About The Boy at the Fashion Space Gallery.

With a timely opening on the first day of London Collections: Men, Mad About The Boy promises to cast a discerning spotlight on the relationship between fashion and beautiful males. If the subject alone didn’t have you intrigued, the fact that it’s curated by SHOWstudio’s Lou Stoppard definitely will.

Thanks to contributions from game-changing designers and creatives such as Raf Simons, J W Anderson, Nick Knight, Meadham Kirchhoff and Larry Clark, the exhibition is set to continue last year’s legacy of mixing fashion and art (did you already forget about McQueen mania?), to great effect. Attendees can expect a sensory experience thanks to audio recordings of designers and photographers discussing their memories alongside editorials, films and select looks from seminal collections.

You’d be mad not to visit.

Open 11th January – 2nd April.

fashionspacegallery.com

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Crazy. Sexy. Cool.

03.07.2012 | Art , Blog | BY:

London-born photographer Kate Bellm’s work is all about letting loose. But don’t let the carefree attitude behind her images fool you: with her colourful and striking images, the young talent has already worked for clients such as Adidas, Harrods and Fleet Ilya, as well as exhibited at venues such as the Galerie M. H. Karst in Paris, alongside household names such as Terry Richardson and Nick Knight.

Twin caught up with the photography wünderkind to chat about cosmopolitan creative contrasts, Guy Bourdin and why nudity equals freedom…

What first sparked your interest in photography?

I liked everything about photography from the moment I started: playing around with different techniques in the darkroom and in camera, meeting different people all the time and making imaginary scenarios and memories that are all yours. My favourite thing about it is definitely the memories you save, imagining the photos in 30 years time when you look back on these small worlds of different people who have travelled and inspired you for all the shots.

Working between Berlin and London, what creative differences do you see between the two cities?

For me they are worlds apart. Berlin is all about characters and crazy shoots, freedom, nature and getting naked, breaking into old houses and shooting amazing untouched spots. I feel like a lot in London has been seen before as so much photography is done there and obviously the work is much more commercial and fashion based. Nevertheless, I am inspired there too, by my family and where I grew up in the countryside which evidently is the location for most of my shoots in England.

Some of your photos have a quite Guy Bourdin-esque feel to them, would you say that he is a big influence? Where else do you find inspiration?

Yeah, he totally inspires me. I have had all his books since I was a teenager and actually was just in a group show with his work! [The ICONS OF TOMORROW exhibit at Christophe Guye Galerie in Zurich] That was definitely a dream come true. Also, I am really inspired by all my friends in Berlin right now, they always come by my studio and together we think of crazy new techniques to develop my photos with and have big painting and illustration sessions together.

On the subject of Bourdin, what role does sexuality play in your work?

I just love sexy photos. I mean it’s not even underlying anymore for me unless I’m working it into a fashion shoot. I like shooting my friends naked, for me it’s complete freedom!

As female photographer how do you attempt to represent women in your images?

I represent them as free and having a good time in whatever situation we find ourselves in. I want people to realise that naked images are not a big deal, it’s actually more a state of mind of being happy with your body. But somehow without even realising it, the girls always look insanely sexy.

What work can we expect to see from you in the future?

More road trips, naked girls, skateboarders and paint bombs. Issue 2 of my zine ROCKERS is coming out next week. It will be a Girls edition, so full of all my favourite ladies. I also have a group show coming up in Berlin in September where we are building an acid forest full of colour-painted wood, space skate ramps, wigwams, bone chandeliers and other mystical wonders. Watch out for it on my blog: katesworld.tumblr.com.

katebellm.com

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Quiet Storm

27.04.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Japanese fashion visionary Yohji Yamamoto deserves an exhibition that’s as conceptual as his designs.  It’s apt then that Wapping Project has served up such an esoteric installation for the exhibition, Making Waves. Part of the Victoria & Albert museum’s major retrospective, the show comprises an oversized white silk wedding dress made with bamboo crinoline from Yamamoto’s A/W 1998 collection that hangs, solitary, in the Boiler House. The piece makes an understated statement that’s typically Yamamoto.

Meanwhile, over at the Wapping Project Bankside the works of the seven photographers who produced imagery for Yamamoto’s celebrated catalogues go on display.  The stellar line-up features Nick Knight, Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, Sarah Moon, Paolo Roversi, Max Vadukul and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.  Though the photographers are familiar, the images themselves star the kind of women Yamamoto is drawn to – strong types rarely seen on the pages of the glossies.  A man after our own sartorial heart.

Yohji Making Waves 
is at
 Wapping Project, 
E1
 until 14 July 2011 and Yohji’s Women is at 
Wapping Project Bankside, SE1
 until 14 May 2011.

www.thewappingproject.com
www.thewappingprojectbankside.com

Images courtesy of the Wapping Project, Imogen Eveso and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

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