A chat with Ming Smith – the photographer whose work is soft, intimate & bathed in community through its documentation of the black American experience.

22.07.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

Cover image: America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York City, NewYork Painted, 1976, by Ming Smith

Ming Smith, not necessarily a name widely known in photography, was the first Black woman to have her photographic work accepted into the Museum of Modern Art, in 1975.

The only female member of the Kamoinge Collective, and a dedicated image maker to capturing the humanity for the Black Experience, Ming Smith’s imagery and life trajectory is due a mighty relook. Currently staging an online exhibition of a selection of Smith’s work, from her image of Grace Jones as a Ballerina, to the playwright August Wilson, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery has moved the exhibition online through Vortic

We caught up with the photographer from her apartment in New York. 

How did you first get into photography?

I borrowed my mother’s camera on my first day of school in kindergarten and I took photographs of some of my school mates. The class was predominantly white, and we were about 10% of the class. I had a lot of friends and classmates that I took photographs of. 

Did you feel looking back that there was a central focus for your photographs?

It was just a natural thing. My father was a photographer. He was a hobbyist but he was really artistic: he drew, painted, did films and things like that. However he worked 12 hours a day as a pharmacist, so he didn’t do photography a lot, however I think it then became for me a natural thing to do. 

You trained to be a doctor initially, and then you decided to focus on a career in photography. 

My grandfather would always say that he wanted me to be a doctor. I liked that because he taught bible school, and my grandmother was helping all the neighbours, so I felt that being a doctor was a way of helping people. I know that might sound pretty naive but that was what I wanted to do. I did volunteer work at the children’s hospital when I was young. I saw a lot of pain around me, so I wanted to help.  Being a doctor was a way of trying to help. Then I read something about artists, and they were talking about the system and how your work could help humanity, and you work could be outside of the system, instead focusing and turning ideas into something that would be healing. 

Child Porter, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, 1972 by Ming Smith

There is such a sense of intimacy and connectivity about your images. How do you capture that? What do you look for in your subject matter? 

Well there are stereotypes of the Black community, but there is so much love in the community, from people who were making and doing the best spiritually or going to church. There was just this stereotype of Black people, you know, and I never saw those types of images with the love and the empathy and the humanity with the people that were around me in my community.

You have become renowned for your portraiture for Black cultural figures and icons What did you hope to profess or present in these images of these icons?

I hope that other young people or students will find inspiration in what they are teaching: the struggles and what they went through to get to where we are now. For example, August Wilson, I went to Pittsburgh and photographed his hometown and economically depressed neighbourhoods and shot some of the places he talked about in his plays. He documented the comic and the tragic aspects of the African American experience in the 20th Century. The characters in Pittsburgh were the same characters that I knew in Ohio where I grew up, or Detroit, where I was born. 

Lou Drapper’s Pick, 1973 by Ming Smith

What would you say the main challenges you have faced in your career?

I would say being taken seriously. I am a better photographer than a talker. I am quiet, and I like that with photography you can be by yourself, you don’t have to talk. Being shy, photography was a way of me being in it but out of it at the same time. If you are a quiet person it’s harder to take you seriously.

I went to a gallery seeking representation, and the gallerist didn’t hardly even look at my photographs; it was very disappointing. Just like “ok, thank you”. Just total dismissal.

Did you have a lot of other female counterparts and friends that were experiencing the same in the art industry or the creative industry?

I am sure there was, and I’m sure there is, but I have really continued to be a loner and doing photography was almost like a friend or a companion and was how I spent my time. Being a photographer was a way of expressing yourself and going through your own challenges, and needs, and so I spent my time not really talking to anyone else. 

Ethiopian Crew, 1973 by Ming Smith

What was New York like when you arrived? What were you focussing your photography on?

When I got to New York I was photographing but I came for money, and one of the first jobs I had was as a model. It was like 100 dollars an hour: an Ohio pharmacist back then was making 100 dollars a week. 

Someone told me ‘you should be a model’, and so I tried it for a bit. When I first met Grace Jones, she was an aspiring model also. 

You were part of the Kamoinge Workshop: did you feel like things changed then, that you were a part of a group of like-minded individuals?

Going to the meetings, I was first introduced to photography as an art form. Prior to this I had not committed myself to being an artist.  I didn’t think of myself as a photographer as I was still studying pre-med curriculum. So when I came to Kamoinge, I had first heard about the collective on an assignment, where a photographer was talking about whether photography was an art form. I was invited into Kamoinge by Lou Draper, who also printed for Eugene Smith. He used to tell me stories about Lorraine Hansberry, who I loved. that was when I first learned about the goal of Kamoinge: to own and interpret our own images. Roy Decarava was one of the founders of Kamoinge, which came out of the Black Arts Movement, where they started plays, and there were writers, musicians, painters, artists. That is where I learnt about lighting. I remember one member saying that his neighbourhood grew up in Harlem, and that all the young men that he grew up with were all dead. That opened my eyes to the politics. 

Oolong’s Nightmare,Save The Children (for Marvin Gaye), New York City, New York 1979 by Ming Smith

Tell us about your experience of fashion photography.

In New York I never knew about fashion photographers and advertising: it was a completely new world. I had a chance to go into both of those worlds, as I was modelling. I met people like James Moore who was a beauty photographer, or Arthur Elgort or Deborah Turberville, who I loved. She photographed my lips for a Bloomingdales bag! She did fine art photography besides that; I really liked her. I lived in the Village, so I knew Lisette Model, and I would go eat at this little dinner, the Waverley – the cheapest diner! You could buy a meal for five dollars there, and that was where Lisette Model would eat too! She would tell me stories about Diane Arbus, and she would call her Dion. For the longest time, I didn’t realise she was talking about Diane Arbus as she called her Dion!

You documented some of the greatest spokespeople of the African American experience. 

August Wilson really told our stories through his plays: the comic and the tragic of the African American experience. That is what connected me to him, to go to Pittsburgh and photograph him. Eugene Smith did a famous series on Pittsburgh, but the African American experience wasn’t documented. This is another aspect of my work. We also have Katherine Dunham. She was an anthropologist, choreographer, writer. She was an activist as well: she wouldn’t perform in places unless they de-segregated the audiences. There is always a struggle, that is extremely distressing of the black American community. They simplified the experiences of the black community in the 20th Century. Katherine went to Haiti and Africa and notarised the dance technique. When she won the Kennedy award, she talked about how hip hop came out of her technique, meaning the isolations and different notations of moves and contractions and release. Now we have dance, twerk, afro-latin, west African, Haitian, rumba, Caribbean, west African beats. We have had all these different classes come out of the diaspora. That is what Katherine Dunham did. 

Flying High, Coney Island, 1976, by Ming Smith

How do you get inspired?

I follow mainly instincts and my heart about things. I hope to say these things in my work: that is the intention. 

Would you say your photography is driven by intuition?

Definitely. Intuition, which is also very spiritual. It is like there is a spirit that speaks within me, and I go with that. I trust that more than I trust my brain. 

What changes do you see in the photography industry now? 

There is a lot more inclusion, and participation. There are different avenues for photographers – there are now young black American fashion photographers, and I think a lot of the hip hop generation are participating in that inclusion, you can go into documentaries, they work with the NYT. I think this is not only in America, but globally. 

Beauty, Coney Island, 1976 by Ming Smith

Do you think there are still many racial obstacles that need to be overcome in the art industry?

I think of course, but I am in the middle of it, and sometimes it is harder to see, but of course I think there has been many steps in the right direction. Dr Deborah Willis, she started doing books on black images, she started this in publishing and the School – she has made a life of that. I remember she came to Kamoinge to do a book. It wasn’t easy for her to receive support so I think that we have a voice now greater than before and it is growing. People are conscious of it, and they are trying to make it right, or more honest: the documentation of us, including us. Not just the stereotypes. More human.

Do you see more women photographers being showcased?

Most definitely, but I also think that there is more of an option. Before, it was a question of what could you even do with photography! Photographers and artists now, there are different avenues and you can earn a living from it! I see this more and more. Before, what could you do with it, how could you earn a living? Now, photographers both men and women are like ‘oh I could do photography, portraiture.’ 

There wasn’t any kind of show, exhibitions, talks, creating a book… there wasn’t those options. You did it out of pure love in the beginning. You did photography as an art form.

Self Portrait Nursing (Total), 1986 by Ming Smith

Do you still photograph regularly?

Yes I do! The main obstacle with that is everything is digital now. I am doing a book at the moment for Aperture, and so taking it from film to digitising it, to having to re-edit everything over again… it’s a lot! I need a lot of help with the translating of it. 

What do you hope viewers take away from your works?

I think just the personal struggles, the empathy or the humanity or the altruism or just being supportive. Maybe the humanity, and that being exposed to the people I have photographed, they will know what to do. It was like when I heard my first August Wilson play, or the drum, and I went and took my first dance class and the teacher told me he was a Katherine Dunham dancer. People will get what they get from my photography: hopefully an experience that will inspire them in some kind of way. 

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Looking Through Lockdown with Jessica Madavo

16.07.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

All images courtesy of Jessica Madava

Exploring the self during London’s lockdown, photographer Jessica Madavo took the time she found herself immersed in to turn her photography on her own form. Being granted this time to explore her own representation, Jessica shared her images captured and spoke to us about her own motivations and artistic drive.  

Tell us a little about your book you have just created

Its a book full of self portraits I took during lockdown. 

What compelled you to create this book?

I’ve been alone during lockdown, and that that meant no people around me to shoot. I then started experimenting more with different ways I could capture myself and really loved the process. I did find it strange to begin with, as I don’t see as being in front of the camera. 

How did you get into photography?

I moved from Johannesburg when I was 15 years old, five years ago and had the most amazing photography teacher Mr Wallace. He really encouraged me to spend as much time taking analogue photographs, building small light box cameras and working on the images in the darkroom and it kind of kept on going from there. 

What subjects and themes do you explore in your photography?

I’m super interested in people, and faces specifically. It’s interesting to me, how I am able to convey how that person is making me feel in an image and that’s the collaboration that keeps me going. 

What power has photography proved in the last few months for you?

Photography really has become a tool for me to look at the world, and in a sense respond visually to issues I see as important. That, and really just being able to almost have a document for each of the periods in my life. 

What photographers have you taken inspiration from?

I always find this a hard question because I have a lot of love and appreciation for a few photographers, for a lot of different reasons. Someone who jumps to mind immediately because of his dreamy use of light is Paolo Roversi, while Leo Colombo’s colour images constantly catch my eye. Other favourites are include Malick Sidibé, and probably Vivanne Sassen. 

What inspires you in a broader sense?

Since leaving South Africa, I’ve really loved relearning parts about my heritage that I pervious hadn’t really thought about. Music too is something that I truly love. 

What is on your horizon?

I’m still studying, so I’m hoping to go back to university in October, but apart from that I’m just collaborating as much as possible and keeping an open mind to my work. 

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Meet Nuda: the independent publication from Stockholm that looks beyond the meaning of spiritual for its latest edition

30.06.2020 | Art , Blog | BY:

We spoke to the co-founders Nora and Frida about the embryo for Nuda, whether artists should go to space, and looking within the self for definition. 

Tell us about the ethos behind Nuda, and how it came to be founded.

Nora Arrhenius Hagdahl: Nuda is foremost a space for us to create without interruption, a platform where you can make what you want to make because you enjoy making it. What we love to make most is books, probably because it’s a way to combine so many elements – art, design, text, ideas, photography, fashion, people and philosophy – and create a context and visual world for them. A Gesamtkunstwerk contained between cover and back. 

Frida Vega Salomonsson: The embryo for Nuda was originally founded when we were in high school. We were young, naive and wanted to spread our ideas and aesthetics with the world. Now we’re semi-young and semi-naive. We want to make books that are both thought provoking as well as nice looking. We never claim to have the answer, rather we like to ask questions and display different and sometimes opposite views on a topic. 

Your issues work on themes: how are these decided? 

N: We don’t decide on a theme, the theme decides on us. We exist in a fluxus of ideas and you just have to reach out and grab it. 


F: For this issue, Beyond, it came down to topics we’ve discussed and noticed in our own lives. I found myself at a tantra wedding and Nora had been freaking bothered by all her friends taking life advice from apps like Co-Star. When did that become a reasonable source to find direction for intellectual people?

N: It felt like people around us were searching for new spiritual and profound experiences. Sweden is a very secular and a country of sceptics, and all of a sudden everyone we knew were looking for answers in the stars, tarot cards, meditation and psychedelics. People are fascinated, need and want more to life than what reality can offer – so that became the world we wanted to explore. 

With the culling and closure of many publishing houses in light of C19, will we see a sort of Darwinistic evolution of magazines? What does its future look like to you?

F: I don’t know? Are people still stupid enough to start print publications? It’s a trap, heaps of work – small payout (but a lot of fun, at least that’s what we tell ourselves). Hopefully other people are not as naive as we are, but you have to finish what you started right? Hopefully Covid-times will at least make people more interested in reading, because what else can you do when in lockdown?

N: It’s a great time to feed your intellect and indulge in imagery, concepts, thoughts and reflection. In history, dark times prove to be very constructive for creativity and often become a time when people can explore outside of the set framework, a source of originality one can say maybe? Change can be a good ground to explore new ideas. 

F: Being on the edge on survival may serve as a profound source of inspiration? I hope so. Future looks dark from over here, but even more reason to continue. Fingers crossed.

Nuda is based in Stockholm: has this influenced the magazine at all?

N: Have you ever been in Stockholm? It’s clean and in winter it’s quiet and dark as fuck – maybe that has influenced our aesthetic.

F: Stockholm is also a very small city, there isn’t one isolated fashion scene, one isolated art scene and one isolated design scene. All these scenes are merged together and influence each other, perhaps more than in most cities, because it’s a necessity. That’s an approach we have for the magazine as well. Mixing ideas and people from various fields. 

N: Rather than only looking at what’s around us and picking up inspiration from what we see, for this issue at least, we wanted to look at what’s within us, look at what we can’t see but feel. Aiming to touch on those experiences that are of a more universal character.

What can we expect from your third issue, Beyond, that has just been released?

F: Beyond is a guided journey through the immaterial aspects of life. We humans, and all species, have very limited ways to experience the world, we have to rely on our senses, our eyes, our nose. But there is so much out there that we can’t see or register with our senses. What if all humans were born with eyes that would only allow x-ray vision, that would dramatically affect our conception of the world around us.

N: In the book Marina Abramović tells us about her belief in parallel realities and Michael Pollan argues for the benefits of psychedelics. The astronaut Christer Fuglesang speaks about whether we should have artists in space and Jemima Kirke says the only spirituality that exists is love. Jeremy Shaw speaks about the multiple views of transcendence, Roy Andersson don’t believe in a life after this. Johnny Johansson says that god, for all he knows, could be a rabbit. The artist Cecilia Edefalk holds a séance to make contact with Hilma af Klint and the famous spoon bender Uri Geller speaks about his encounters with extra-terrestrials – it’s a march of different perspectives on the immaterial and the world beyond! 

What can we expect from Nuda in the future?

F: Don’t expect so much from us. To quote the legend Stephen Hawking: “My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”

N: Or as Sylvia Plath says: “If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.”

F: Perhaps Bruce Lee said it best, “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

Follow nuda on: @nudapaper

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Twin meets the Designer of KARA in exploration of her ongoing project “KARA You Be You”

01.06.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

“Now more than ever people are really looking for something that feels personal and feels human”

KARA is a brand with a human spirit at the core. Founded by Sarah Law as a reactive medium to explore her own personal identity quest, KARA – the name borne from Karaoke which in turn is Japanese for empty orchestra – looked to connect with a global community through self expression and artistic freedom. Formulating her You Be You campaign on this premise, KARA has collaborated with creatives from all over the world, from Fish Zhang in Beijing to Richie Shazam in New York to Masha Reiva in Kiev. 

“I am really trying to show all these different points of view, together”, Sarah Law states, discussing over the phone in her New York apartment the reasoning behind the breadth of talent commissioned for this 4 year photography series. Commissioning creatives from a global network, Sarah has posited her fascination with expressions of identity into her brand and subsequently in the hands of these international artists, asking them to interpret her brand and present it in their own unique way in a series of images. 

“A huge sentiment behind the brand is this aspect of community – I think it is about really trying to find people who sometimes don’t have a massive platform but have amazing work, and trying to feature them. We have commissioned different people to create pieces working from home, which has proven to be a really fun project to connect with people and learn more about them in this time.”

As COVID19 brings through isolation and subsequent yearnings for deeper connection, does KARA think that a sense of vulnerability has befallen humanity in this time?

“I think finally because of COVID19 there is more compassion – people connecting with people to see how they are doing.”

“In a world under such an intense pressure to move forward with the internet getting faster, brands are pushed to produce so much content and so many collections, we are losing sight of people’s humanness. It is interesting as in this time, I am finding people are friendlier right now, as there is this acknowledgement of what we are all going through, something that we are all experiencing.”

Delving into the four year project KARA You Be You, the breadth of talent collaborated is as wonderful as it is varied. With the initial desire to explore her own experience of being both Chinese and American at the core of the commencement of KARA, Sarah has embarked on a deep dive into our own cultivations of self, how we express ourselves, and what we choose to take from our past to define ourselves in our futures.

As the world comes to learn new ways of communicating, those with authentic voices and unique, purposeful visions will be coming out stronger; putting the creative in the hands of the people means KARA is carrying a refreshing approach through our new navigations of normal life. 

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“We Make You Feel Exactly What You Want To Feel,” Twin Meets Danish Eyewear Brand FLATLIST

26.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

FLATLIST is cool. Their shapes are fresh, the circle of supporters are creative, the imagery that naturally has grown around the brand doesn’t stink of hours in a daylight studio – it smells of real life living. 

Talking to the brand and taking a closer look at the provenance of this funk factor, we talk about the importance of the school of life lessons, trusting your inner feelings, and the acceptability of sunglasses indoors during lockdown. 

Tell Us How FLATLIST Came About .

The “Feeling”: Well, FLATLIST was founded way before the actual launch of any products. When we started our agency 8-years ago, we also started a global tour of socialising and networking. Working with international sales in the fashion industry, you often find yourself at trade shows, fashion shows, showrooms, launches, parties and dinners. And with 150 travel days a year in cities like Paris, Milano, London, New York, Berlin, Amsterdam you meet a lot of people that like to talk about fashion. You end up in endless of uninspired conversations and meetings. 

To avoid this, we started hosting dinners ourselves 3-4 years ago after too many nights spend on “free dinner and drinks” that didn’t give us anything beside hangovers.  We invited people we felt connected to, (that felt the same as us) and where the conversations and mutual mindset led to some unforgettable evenings, long nights and pictures. People were mentally present. Real but charming. 

It was here FLATLIST was born. We “FLATLISTED” people. It means to be yourself and feel fucking great about it. It was in this period the actual brand and products started to take form. 

We both love shades, and we both had design ideas, so the dream of running an eyewear brand was pretty mutual since day one. We didn’t have any personality or visual concept to go with it. The “Flatlisted” feeling was all we needed. We used that feeling when we started to create our brand and visual material and then we used our private collection of shades for design inspiration. Quality over quantity and eyewear designs and colour combos we thought were great and that we couldn’t find in the market at that time. No “trend analysis” but simply a look in the mirror and thumbs up to your partner when trying on our first prototype set of samples. 

The “Business Plan” :We wanted to create affordable luxury frames that we thought were excellent and that we would wear ourselves. Not trend-driven at all, but based only on personal preferences. We wanted to be the brand priced below the big fashion brands while offering a quality just as good, if not better. 

How Has It Grown Since Its Inception? 

We have had a very strict distribution strategy since day one, choosing to work only with a handful of global retailers. Not just based on their name but also if they were a good match when it came to selling our brand and products, such as Need Supply, KITH, Totokaelo, Luisa via Roma, Hybebeast, END,  Smets, LN-CC, Liberty, Matches Fashion etc.  Furthermore, our e-commerce is really starting to pick up!

How Do Your Sunglasses Differ From Others?

There are many things to be said. Whether it is our uniquely designed straight side temples for a better all-round fit and grip on the head (fits all, kinda), our carefully sourced 90’s deadstock Italian acetate or our unique colour combinations and designs. Every style and colour also has its unique style code written in gold on the outside of the left temple. Our little trademark. And maybe the fact that our collection is pretty retro-inspired. 

What Do You Think Sunglasses Impart In The Wearer? A Sense Of Mystery, Intrigue? Sexiness?

That is a very difficult question to answer – obviously some kind of Hank Moody coolness but, ultimately, we hope our eyewear makes our consumer fell exactly what he or she wants to feel. This can be a lot of things, but mainly we want them to feel themselves. 

What Changes In The Fashion Landscape Do You See Ahead?

A LOT, but it’s difficult to predict at the moment. You see quite some self-proclaimed experts trying to predict the future at the moment, but the truth is that we don’t know other than our industry needs to slow down. 

FLATLIST is cool. Their shapes are fresh, the circle of supporters are creative, the imagery that naturally has grown around the brand doesn’t stink of hours in a daylight studio – it smells of real life living.

How Do You Feel FLATLIST Will Be Adapting To These Changes? 

No need to adapt as our aim has always been to make long-lasting products instead of having to reinvent ourselves on a seasonal basis. We feel that we already created styles that have the potential of becoming icons of tomorrow (Hanky, Tishkoff, Le Bucheron, Bricktop). When we think it’s needed, we add some newness here and thereby adding new acetate colours and lenses, but that’s it. 

Your Sunglasses Have A Certain Understated Grunge Elegance About Them… Would You Agree?

Yes! But also the absolute 70’s freedom of expression vibe as well as the 90’s minimalism. 

Finally, Is It Acceptable To Wear Sunglasses Inside During Lockdown?

Of course – why not? Go for our Le Bucheron style with blue lenses if you want to add some colour to the wall you’ve been staring at for the last month or try Tishkoff with yellow lenses if you’re behind on your D-vitamins.

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Reimagine, Reinvent, Rebuild: Twin Talks to Carcel Founder Veronica D’Souza as they launch their new brand model.

22.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Carcel is proposing a new model, new methodology, and new mindset in fashion. One free from broken matrixes, the disjoint of seasons, and the hysteria of discounting.

Launched in Copenhagen in 2016, Carcel is a brand of forward thinking change. While their raised issues are nothing new to the verbalised battles currently gaining ground under the buckling pressures of the luxury fashion industry, they are set apart in that they have chosen to action what others so far have only dared to digress.

Carcel was founded on the principle of working with incarcerated women, working with the best natural fabrics, and working outside the fashion model. Carcel founder Veronica D’Souza’s decision to work with incarcerated women stemmed from her personal experiences of visiting women’s prisons in high-poverty countries and the strain on dignity, emotion, finance and family that came from the struggles these incarcerated women faced:

“The main cause of incarceration for women globally is poverty. It’s predominantly non-violent crimes that women are incarcerated for, and it’s non-violent crimes such as drug trafficking, prostitution, theft, and the main cause is most of them want to provide for their families. When they are incarcerated they have to give up their children, either to an orphanage, or if they’re lucky enough relatives, and when released they are poorer than they were before. It’s also a very big social stigma, to be a criminal or ex-criminal and particularly if you’re female, so it’s very difficult to get a job. In the prisons, all the women were all knitting, sewing, crocheting and making small crafty things, but they didn’t have access to good materials, and they didn’t have anywhere really to sell that product. You could buy a few of them in the visitor store for very little money, so it ended up being more like vocational training or a way to spend your time, but they didn’t make any money.”

Exploring these activities the women were undergoing, the thought of offering a fairly paid opportunity to these women by providing high-quality fabrications and job security felt like there could be a chance for a fashion brand to hold more than sartorial affectations at its core:

“I thought that if you could cover those three things: good materials, education, and also a market to create proper salaries, these women could keep on providing for their children, who are small when they are incarcerated so they still need a provider, save up for when they get out, and also learn new skills. This came back to the lesson I have learnt about making things desirable: if you want to create something that has a market and is sustainable, how can you make something that’s really good quality.”

A business model was emerging, that took the form of a firm new approach. “I made a challenge for myself about what could a supply chain look like if it was rethought. I made a map of the world of the countries that have the highest rates of poverty with crime for women, so where I felt there was a lot impact to be made, but also countries that have natural materials that are the best in the world and a tradition for craftsmanship amongst women. Peru was number one of that list on my map.”  

A woman’s prison in Cusco was her first partner in the launch of Carcel, with a kickstarter campaign allowing for the first knitting machines to be purchased and provided for the women who would be the fair-paid producers of the brand. “We have merged production so it can have a social impact and just harnesses natural materials from the region where we produce.”

Speaking to Veronica on the phone, the energy of her dedication twangs off every word as she rollers through the history and foundations of Carcel. When you can almost see the passion in someone’s mission just through a phone call, you can tell this is more than a business – this is a call to action.

Veronica’s background is not an expected answer for someone leading a luxury fashion label, but that is part of what makes Carcel so exciting. 

“Firstly, I think it’s important to say for me that I don’t have a background in fashion- at all. I’m really passionate about finding solutions to problems in society, but through business. And making those solutions desirable. So I think for too long we’ve had a split between like the old capitalism, that basically messes up the world, the planet, and then like a lot of do-good, which is not necessarily with the consumer in mind. Money comes through the product, or the service, or whatever is created. So, I guess that’s where my passion really lies.”

What was it about fashion that demanded her decision to create a whole new way of working?

“It doesn’t really make sense to create a fashion label that just feeds into the same way as what’s wrong with the industry today. So from the beginning I tried to write down dogmas for creating our own value chain.”

And the result of these new tenets of design practice? “We don’t have any collections or any seasons, we don’t have sales, and we are trying to rethink how to not waste anything. It goes back to Danish design tradition, to create something that is good quality, and that can last and that can stand the test of time, and just not be done with: I think that’s the main core of how we operate today.’

The way Veronica breaks down and draws comparisons with the industry and social strictures is somewhat compelling; her views of the fashion industry as we know it has certainly .

“In some ways fashion is incredibly  old-school in its thinking and the industry model. I don’t really understand, because in my mind it is divided into two very separate parts, like the body and soul. The soul is really cool – that is the identity and aspiration. It is progressive, and is a way of expressing yourself. The body of fashion, the industry, is so broken, and badly treated and rotten. I think that’s extremely regressive, because I think at the same time there’s still this tendency just to put it on a pedestal.” 

What is the purpose of a brand does she feel?

“You need to say something, how to become a story teller as a brand, what do different brands do and to think of different reactions. I think some are doing really well that really half a year ago didn’t have anything to say. So I think there’s a journey happening now which is hopefully interesting, and it also needs to happen because if not, fashion just becomes extremely irrelevant. If it’s not creative and expressive then what is it? It’s not that we need more clothes.”

And how do visuals interplay with Carcel’s brand message and purpose? With the launch of their new model further reinstating Carcel’s principles, the visual message must be as arresting as the purpose is crystalline; walking down the street, a wall of fly posters presenting a passerby with the wonderful words ’No Seasons’ and ‘Carcel’, a young man smiles as he squints through the sunshine at the camera. The images are modern, elegant, neither shouty nor shy. How important is the imagery for Veronica, and in turn Carcel?

“A lot. We’ve also been on quite a journey. So in the beginning it was very much focused on our production, but also focused on the branding element- creating a cool brand. That’s been really important for us in the beginning to like say this is not just for people who want a bit of world, and talk about fair wages, and female empowerment, and natural materials, it’s also about a relevant brand vision too. We’ve done collaborations with artists, and explored new avenues off our core narrative all the time.”

Of course, COVID19 enters our conversation, as surely it’s impossible for it to not be discussed; How does Veronica hope brands will react post COVID19?

“The whole seasonal wheel makes it impossible to create something that has value and maintains value, and that is properly made – from how people are getting paid to what’s put into the product. You need to be able to communicate on a digital platform, and say more than just ‘this is my clothes’, for more people to be interested in your brand. So that will hopefully be more of an incentive to look beyond what’s on the catwalk and what’s on the model, to what’s behind the process. I see a lot of collaborations coming up, people helping each other out. In general I see a lot of positive things happening, and I think the desire in society for solidarity, and for value beyond empty consumption I think is on the increase.”

Looping back to her analogy on the body and soul, Veronica contemplates the need for both aspects of our being to work together, to collaborate: “for the soul, we need a driving force. We need culture, we need inspiration, we need arts, you know, that part of fashion as well to create those visions and dreams of what beauty looks like in a post-consumerist society. That’s something that occupies me a lot. So I hope that this break has freed some energy to spend time on that. “

Reimagine, reinvent and rebuild are the lasting words plucked out in bold from Carcel’s relaunch – the most concise words that surmise their focus to disrupt a system that is creaking on its foundations. 

Here’s to Carcel, taking a stand, putting forth action, and allowing us all to take a leap of faith in fashion’s ability to move forward and beyond the boundaries we had previously set. 

Reimagine, reinvent and rebuild. 

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A refreshing energy of inclusion: Marguerite – the female-focussed network for women to build likeminded connections in the arts – talks to Twin about their 5th year as a very modern arts organization.

15.05.2020 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Cover image by Dunja Opalka

Marguerite was founded in Joanna Payne’s living room after a few glasses of the bubbly stuff. Hey, who hasn’t concocted their million dollar idea on the sofa, or a brilliantly innovative concept with mates in the pub. For Joanna however – Marguerite came to be a living, breathing, invigorating association for women in the arts to come together, and share their thoughts/views/frustrations/hopes with other women that might feel the same. 

After the adage of the ‘members club’ gratefully comes to wear off – the notions of exclusivity wearing thin in a world that has never felt more isolated and alone – Joanna is shifting the dynamics and the dusty insinuations members clubs have come to imply, and has built a community across the globe that looks to if not inspire at least articulate a  universe where women can feel the confidence to advance their own interests, passions and careers.

Here we talk to Joanna about starting her own business, the importance of sharing experiences, and the art of slowing down.

David Seymour, Venice. Peggy Guggenheim in her palace on the Grand Canal, 1950

What made you want to start Marguerite?


After seven years of working in the art world, for organisations including Whitechapel Gallery and Frieze Art Fair, I wanted to do something about the fact that women often found it harder to realise their potential than men. By that, I mean that I so often found that my female colleagues and friends found it much harder to do things like ask for a pay rise than their male counterparts. Whilst there are many reasons for the pay gap in the UK, one of them is women’s confidence in comparison to men’s. If men are happy to ask for a pay rise whereas a woman isn’t, guess who’s more likely to get it?

I was very lucky in that I landed my dream job at the age of 23, working in the VIP department at Frieze Art Fair, where I was meeting collectors, artists, gallerists, museum curators.. even Jay Z and Beyonce! I found that having such a strong network in the industry really helped me in my career and I was made to feel pretty confident as a result. I wanted to share that network with my friends and peers in the hope that it would do the same for them – so in February 2015, set Marguerite up as very casual drinks in my living room. It didn’t have a name back then and the initial idea was for a different woman to host a similar sort of thing in their own home every other month. The idea was simple: to bring women in the arts together to meet, share ideas and in turn, build their careers in the industry.

Has the original purpose changed at all over the years?

The concept of Marguerite changed pretty quickly after that first event in my home. After a friend had to pull out of hosting the second event, I decided that it would be better to instead ask artists, curators, photographers and designers whether they would in fact play host to our events. This was very much drawing on my experience from Frieze and later Photo London, where I was organising special events in artist studios and collectors’ homes for some of the best known collectors, museum directors and curators in the world. From that experience, I was taught the importance of having ‘content’ at events in the form of a talk, panel discussion, workshop or some other form of entertainment. I really wanted to step away from your awful average networking event where a bunch of people are just chucked into the same room with a name badge and a glass of wine and expected to find things in common.

Our core values are still very much the same: to advance the careers of women in the arts by providing a ready-made professional network and spaces in which to hear from some of the most influential people working in the creative industries today. The caliber of our hosts has always been pretty high (two of our first events were hosted by the world renowned fashion photographer, Rankin and winners of the Turner Prize 2015, architecture collective, Assemble) but we’ve built on that hugely and have welcomed some incredible speakers including the likes of fashion designers such as: Dame Zandra Rhodes, Roksanda and Alice Temperley MBE; photographers: Miles Aldridge, Nick Knight & Juno Calypso; artists: Idris Khan OBE, Gavin Turk and Michael Craig-Martin; and museum directors: Maria Balshaw (Tate), Dr Tristram Hunt (V&A) and Tim Marlow (then the Royal Academy of Arts, now The Design Museum). 

Despite the hosts and the quality of our events (hosted everywhere from London and Somerset to Venice to New York) growing ever more magnificent, we’ve worked hard to ensure that the original energy of friends meeting over a couple of glasses of prosecco in my living room remains.

Idris Khan & Annie Morris for Marguerite by Dunja Opalko

You have turned 5 years old which is amazing: how has our definition of members clubs changed in that time?

Thank you! Whilst the concept of ‘private members’ clubs’ seemed very glam when we first started out, we now actually steer away from the term as we don’t want the network to seem too exclusive or off-limits to anyone who works in the arts. Anyone in the industry can buy a ticket to our events if they’re interested in one particular topic or want to ‘try before they buy’ a full membership. 

Unlike many private members’ clubs which operate in the way they do so that they can be strict about who they do and don’t let in, the reason we offer membership is to encourage the same group of people can come together six or more times a year. The frequency means you’re much more likely to actually make friends at our events than if you just attended a standalone talk. Marguerite’s aim is to foster friendships as opposed to make people feel left out because they’re not included.

Linder Sterling & Charlie Porter for Marguerite by Luke Fullalove

Why did you choose to build a female only members club?

I think that incredible things happen when women come together. I wanted to provide a space in which women would be made to feel more confident which would hopefully go on to have an impact in their careers and most importantly, their lives. Judging by our talks in comparison to many others I’ve been to, I’m always struck by how many questions from the audience there are at the end. I think women feel a lot more confident in the company of other women which means they get more out of the situation. Furthermore, if there’s one thing the #MeToo movement taught us, it’s that there’s a lot to be learnt from women sharing their experiences with one another. 

I should say that Marguerite is female and non binary-focussed. If a man wanted to come to one of our regular events, he would be very welcome and we host some events that are open to all. We hosted one of these with Lean In just before lockdown began on how people feel in the workplace post #MeToo – a discussion that would have been a pointless echo chamber if it was just had by a group of women!

Marguerite members at their Polly Morgan studio visit by Luke Fullalove

You have aligned your online presence to support the creative industries: tell us a little bit about this

The week before the official lockdown began, we began to see many members of our community (especially freelancers) lose their jobs. We therefore instantly shifted our attention to launch a forum where freelancers could meet potential employers. It was way more successful than we could ever had imagined and we paired our first freelancer with a paid job in under 24 hours. The following week we also launched a forum to support small businesses – where independent brands could present their products and anyone who was in the position to shop could find them! In the absence of our usual events, we wanted to pivot quickly to best suit the new needs of our community. 

We’ve also been hosting online talks and workshops on our Instagram Live focussing on the things people are most worried about right now including money, managing anxiety and parenting kids and teenagers when you’re trying to hold down your other full time job! We’re now running ‘Marguerite Creates’ every Saturday and Sunday morning where creatives are showing us how to do things like: draw our house plants; collage; make simple home improvements; and take better photographs on our phones! We wanted to provide quick, fun activities to allow people to try something new to alleviate the lockdown boredom – and maybe even get that “Oh my god! I did it!” feeling I think we all need a bit of right now!

Unlike our usual events, these new online features are all quite ‘rough and ready’. We felt it was important to act quickly to give people what they needed rather than spending lots of time (and money!) producing something really sleek that may become redundant by the time it was ready. People’s requirements and moods are changing every day at the moment and we’re very mindful of being relevant. It’s actually also been a brilliant time to test out new things and throw us out of our comfort zone! 

Marguerite Presents Snappy Salons on Women in the Arts part of the February 2017 Uniqlo Tate Lates at Tate Modern Image by Dunja Opalko

What has C19 taught you?

Professionally, the joy of slowing down. We’ve hosted 40 events a year for the past few years which is a lot and can mean up to three events taking place in one week. I think once this is all over, we’ll consider hosting fewer events but maximising the quality.

What will the most important lessons be for the creative industry post C19 do you think?

Much like many industries, I think coronavirus will force the creative industries to slow down. The hectic merry-go-round of private views, art fairs, fashion weeks and events was tiring for everyone involved and I think ultimately, unsustainable. Furthermore, the shipping and travel required for the larger international events of course had huge environmental implications. It’s been interesting to see how quickly art fairs and galleries have shifted to host their events online – I hope a lot of this will remain in place once this is all over. 

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Natural and noble : Twin meets Le Kasha – The brand aiming to enunciate the spirit of clothing as companion

04.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Decorum and value: this is where our headspace is at right now. From a tightening of ethics and a loosening of excess – we are paring things back to what we have found bestows upon us a sense of purpose, significance, worth. Le Kasha is a brand that is not about screaming, yet nor is it about ignoring either. It is quiet in its voice, and clear in its motive. As we all take soft steps into a new way of thinking, Le Kasha gives us a new way of seeing too. 


How did you come to take over Le Kasha?

Le Kasha was founded in France in 1918 and was part of my family heritage. Le Kasha was originally a revolutionary fabric that was supplied to the big fashion houses of the time (Chanel, Lanvin, Jean Patou) which they used in creating their collections.

The original logo was an illustration by the French poster artist Géo Dorival. It had always intrigued me and I’d always wanted to one day give new life to the story and heritage of the brand. Eventually, 4 years ago, I decided to rework the illustration and to make it a bit more modern and easy to read, marking a new journey for Le Kasha; creating a luxury lifestyle brand inspired by travel and adventure, to offer timeless pieces to wear anytime and anywhere, made only in natural and noble fabrics

What changes did you implement upon becoming creative director of the brand?

The brand had been dormant for more than 50 years. I went through the archives, repurposed the original logo and with these created a completely new story but keeping the essence of the spirit of the original Le Kasha.

Talk us through where you source your fabrics, and the reasoning behind each textile. We use only noble and natural fabrics at Le Kasha. For the cashmere: The fabrics are sourced in the Alashan and Arbus regions of Inner Mongolia, at our Eco Label factory farm. Those regions are acknowledged to be the foremost regions for producing the highest and finest quality cashmere fibres.

Regarding the linen collection, Le Kasha uses only organic, pure linen fabrics. We found a very specific linen which doesn’t crease and you can spend the full day or night wearing the pieces and they remain elegant and comfortable. The 100% Silk fabrics are sourced in Italy and feel incredible against your skin. Both the linen and silk collections are produced locally in our atelier in Paris.

What role does travel play in Le Kasha?

Le Kasha gets it’s inspiration from travel: for the story behind each collection, for the colours, the styles and the spirit. 

I also love the idea that Le Kasha pieces are what you chose to travel with. The sweater that you always carry in your bag and follows you everywhere. Not just a random sweater; but a travel companion that carries with it the memories of all your travels and keeps you warm and soft on all your trips.

 

What projects are on the horizon for Le Kasha?

A complete men’s collection is on it’s way.. Le Kasha is also due to open a shop «  Boutique de Voyage » in a new luxury hotel in the South of France by next year.

Is there a beauty in specialisation?

Specialisation can allow you to take time to make sure to do that thing really well and properly; release only the best possible version of products to the market. 

It’s also more sustainable as you can focus on one supplier, one factory, and avoid the waste of a high volume of shipments and working with too many fabrics.

What principles are at the heart of your brand?

Quality & authenticity

What changes do you want to see in the fashion landscape post COVID19?

I hope there will be less pressure on brands to create and produce so quickly; giving more time to designers who aren’t given the time to be creative because there is always more and more pressure to be quick.

I hope people will realise that they need less clothes and will chose to buy with more consciousness. Which in turn will also be with a respect to the environment. 

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The Teachings Of Ikebana And Their Life Lessons From Big Love Records Co-Founder Haruka Hirata

27.04.2020 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

A cult record store and the Japanese art of flower arranging might not make natural bedfellows, but there is plenty to connect the two skills and passions for Haruka Hirata, the co-founder Big Love Records – the ‘if you know, you know’ globally respected record store in Tokyo. Speaking to Twin about what this ancient practice has taught her about life, her musings could act as a reflective signal to how we will need to responsibly think about a future we are carving as we all move forward. 

How did Big Love Records come about?

Masashi Naka, co-founder of Big Love Records started his record label in the 90’s, and opened his own record shop called Escalator Records in 2002 in the same location as now. I started working there and changed the name to Big Love Records in 2008. It was to focus more on international bands. That organically made us meet great artists, not only musicians.

What is the ethos of BLR?

To be independent. Be responsible to the world. 

Do you think our approach to records and independent music stores will change post COVID-19?

I believe a lot of people has revisited listing to music during their self-isolation, and dug deeper, so it definitely was a good chance to realize how music could be your nutrition. But at the same time, some people may notice it was because you had enough time to do so. Record shops should not just rely on the customers, but needs to create a better platform for people to fully enjoy and experience music and embrace in their lives.  

It’s about experience. A community is an experience.


You practice Ikebana: tell us how you got into this and what it has taught you?

Hiroshi Teshigahara, son of the Sogetsu Ikebana School founder and the second Iemoto (grand master), was an avant-garde movie director. I was a big fan of his movies- “Woman in the Dunes”, and “The Face of Another”. One night I was casually googling his name and found out he was an Ikebana artist. I was looking for a medium to address my voice in a better way, and the next day I called my Ikebana school. Been studying for four years, I finally got a certificate last year.

It has been teaching me a lot.

The importance of preparation and cleaning up. Showing respect to your teachers, and classmates. Patience. Never compromise but forgive yourself.

You can never complete learning an art form working with nature, because you will never be able to use the same material ever again. 

Can you give us a few pointers on what makes a balanced arrangement, and how can an arrangement effectively come alive?

Focus on three things. Line, color and mass. How do you feel today? Pick one main color. Use three strait or curved materials, in three different lengths. 

Create a mass, or keep it 

Give space to each other. Don’t fully cover the vase, create a room. 

You can keep the flowers or branches live longer if you cut the stems under the water. This is to prevent air coming in the stem, and let it absorb water.

What sensations does ikebana give you? Calm, satisfaction, energy?

Ikebana is about life and death. You need to face how selfish you are to cut, bend, or nail the flowers or branches only to express yourself. You are sacrificing nature. 

Do you listen to music while practicing ikebana?

One time I was listening to dark techno while working on the piece, and it was not right.

The sound of the scissors are the best music. 

You should always listen to silence and find your own rhythm.


What does beauty mean to you?

Life and death.


What was the last thing that made you excited?

Eating french fries with my friends.  

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A Certain Authenticity and Authority of Voice: A chat with Proenza Schouler on their collaboration with Birkenstock

20.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Collaboration – never has the creative industry needed to explore the potential of partnerships in such a laterally minded way. As the world goes through what has been dubbed a collective trauma, connected and meaningful interactions have been formulating as the experience of the global crisis solidifies groups – memories that will be shared in the future.

Partnerships are becoming more reasonable, more cultivating, more open to input and experience.We see the term maker traversing a spectrum of craft, limited not to certain adages and opening itself to dialogues with how others are coping and creating. On the crest of the pandemic breaking on western shores, Proenza Schouler collaborated with Birkenstock. Shot by Juergen Teller, the collaboration evokes an impression of the importance to look at function within form once more: of what people want, what people need.

Twin spoke to Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler about this cross pollination of ideas and why we need collaborations now more than ever.  

How did this partnership come about?

J&L: The collaboration happened quite organically. A friend of ours who was working on a project with Birkenstock mentioned to them that we were fans of the brand, and that perhaps we should all meet together to discuss a potential collaboration. We met, and the rest is history.

What was the attraction to either design house?

J&L: Birkenstocks have always had a special place in our lives and are one of the few things that the two of us have in common from our separate and completely different childhood experiences.

Lazaro: I grew up in Miami, so the ocean was an important part of my life. Spending your free time on the sand and on boats was what one did as a kid. Birkenstocks were what my friends and I always wore because they were easy, comfortable, and had a kind of counterculture nostalgia associated with them that was very much in the air during those days. I remember wearing them to my first day of college at the University of Miami and not thinking twice about how appropriate that would be. It was simply part of the culture down in the tropics. When I moved to NY, I of course took my Birkenstocks with me and actually still have those exact pair in my closet. They are one of the few things I still have in my possession from those early days before Proenza Schouler.

Jack: I grew up in Tokyo but moved to New Jersey as a child with my family. Growing up in the 90’s and being the free spirited and independent kid that I was, I ended up leaving home at a young age and traveling around the country with the Grateful Dead. It was during those years that Birkenstocks really became a staple of my everyday life. On tour, that was the de facto uniform. They became a kind of symbol of a by gone era that the kids around me were glorifying in a way, and trying to relive on our own. Of course, it was a different time altogether, but Birkenstocks somehow connected the past with the present. I moved to San Francisco after I eventually finished high school, then ended up at an arts boarding school in Massachusetts, before ending up in NY and starting at Parsons. Birkenstock were a part of my entire journey into adulthood and to this day are still a mainstay of my life.

Would you say this is a meeting of likeminded creatives or actually an opposites-attract partnership?

J&L: We love the idea of two New York designers who have a brand firmly planted in the eco system of NY fashion collaborating with a historic German shoemaker. The cross pollinating of cultures and ideas and work styles feels totally pertinent to the world of today.

Why do we need collaboration in the fashion world now more than ever?

Collaborations can be great if they feel organic and natural. We actually don’t do many of them as we like to focus on the work we already do in-house. We have pretty clear ideas of what we like and what we don’t, and sometimes with too many cooks in the kitchen the process can get difficult. There are already two of us, so adding more people into the mix can sometimes get complicated. On the other hand, if the collaborator does something iconic that we feel makes sense for us and our woman, and we  have a very clear idea of what we would like to do for it, then of course it is a great thing to do. It opens up your brand to people who wouldn’t normally interact with it and vice versa. It can be an incredibly interesting thing to do on many levels and we think the one-off nature of the project usually makes it exciting and desirable for people. 

It’s important to open up your studio to new voices, new ideas, new people, in an effort to push the boundaries of what is possible in-house. We could have done our own version of a Birkenstock sandal with Proenza Schouler shoes, but it would never be a real Birkenstock. Authenticity is something we care deeply about and if we wanted to create something in the world of Birkenstock, who better to do it with than the masters of that kind of shoe: Birkenstock.

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ELHANATI – the mysterious energy of adornment

13.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Storytelling – synonymous with the meaning of jewellery. From wedding rings, birthday necklaces, celebratory bracelets, the concept of jewellery as symbolic of a tale is a natural role it continues to play. 

This is vey much the case for Danish based jeweller Orit Elhanati. 

From searching the past as much as the present for symbolism reworked into contemporary elegance and at times somewhat biomorphic shapes, Elhanati feeds into the notion of what we define as a modern woman. Not shy of her past and its impact, nor fearful of what the future can unfurl.

We spoke to Orit about her cross-cultural approach to design, the textural possibility of 18 carat gold and the protective powers something so close to your skin can bring.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my environment and people around me. Nature, the sea, the clean lines of the desert, rocks and nature is deeply inspiring to me. I am not religious, but I believe in these greater powers that have such a force, that we cannot comprehend. Each thing I create, whether it be a piece of jewellery or something in my home, is somehow inspired by all these different places and people. It is very important to me that there is a feeling behind everything I do. I am in love with the works of Zara Hadid that has incredible ways of creating beautiful, yet functional design with soft and curvy lines. Gaudi’s mysterious universe as well as Henri Matisse’s sensual lines and touch to name a few have inspired me.  

Why did you choose to launch a jewellery brand ?

Gold has always fascinated me. I have always been infatuated with my grandmother and her friends sitting on the porch in Tel Aviv dripping in gold. This has imprinted itself in my mind and has followed me throughout my life – I love the way jewellery is made to be passed on through generations and becomes a part of the woman and her story. I remember the exact moment when I knew it was my calling – I have never looked back since, and have had ELHANATI since 2011.

Has this reason evolved or changed since your brand’s inception? You are now doing a range of both fine jewellery pieces and more costume jewellery styles: was this diversion part of the plan?

18K gold has always been my preferred material. I love the texture of the gold, I love working with it. However, the main thing for me is creating, and I love having a larger canvas as you can with demifine and limited collections, so this is something that has been a part of ELHANATI from the start, with other things in the pipeline too.

You have a cross-cultural approach to your designs: how does each part of your heritage manifest in your jewellery?

I am a Danish jewellery designer with roots in Israel. I create handmade jewellery from our atelier in Copenhagen, drawing inspiration from the Nordic lightness and minimalism and mysterious energy and surroundings from the Middle East. I only work in 18K solid recycled yellow gold: I am in love with the feeling of working with it, creating textures. Everything I do is connected to nature, so this texture helps me tell stories. The yellow gold I always use, has a direct connection to the Middle East. Many of the things I create are stories about the streets of Jerusalem, the path to the dead sea, the textures of the mountains, cliffs and desert lines. There is also a symbolic meaning connected to the pendants on the necklaces, that protect and empower the bearer.

How do you see the jewellery landscape evolving after this year?

I have always been designing jewellery for men, and bespoke pieces, and I can see the demand is increasing for both of these types of jewellery, so this is something I think we will see more of next year. I am currently working on some amazing projects that I cannot say more about just at present. I can say it something I am very excited about. I love pushing myself and learning new things and working on new projects and collaborations creates something very magical and a completely different universe in my work. I have been really lucky to work with some amazing talents. 

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Designing calm – Tekla Fabrics on what the beauty of simplicity feels like.

09.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

There is something irrevocably slow on your senses when you look at Tekla. The colours are near chalky in their palette, the cotton looks crinkly fresh, the towels almost smell of warmth.

The Copenhagen based brand founded in 2017, and ever since has laid out a clean, concise and calm vision, the equivalent of the sound of running water in a brook, the sensation of swimming in April in the harbour, of sitting on boardwalks, of lying in sun dappled sheets at 10am on hazy Sunday mornings.

An unsatisfied search for home textiles led founder Charlie Hedlin to commence the creation of a line of functional yet formulaic home textiles that would not forego beauty nor ignore the importance of practicality and sustainability either. Seeing images of bedsheets in Danish homes, it is hard not to connect the founder’s visual aesthetic to his roots – modern but not too avant garde, classic yet not traditionalist. It’s a balance on stable foundations, and the brand’s growth is a perfect reflection of that. 

The campaign imagery alongside also harks back to the bounteous presence of nature for many Danes, treasuring their forests and lakes as much as their boardwalks and harbour swims.

The simplicity of the sheets shots too – with its delicate focus on complementary colours and their gentle companionship – reminds us of Copenhagen loft apartments, with high ceilings, elegant furnishings and warm Spring sun pouring through onto the parquet flooring.

It isn’t often you come across a truly delightful home textiles brand, but in the age of isolation, more and more people are turning their eye inwards to their current surroundings. No more will trims and embellishments reign, but predictions of a softer desire in all of us as vulnerability comes through and the fragility of nations becomes ever clearer.

Keep Tekla close in your night and day: a brand to soothe, to comfort, to remind you of the beauty in small things such as box fresh cotton sheets, and towels to engulf after cold dips in the ocean. 

Why and how did Tekla begin?
 The need for starting Tekla was honestly trickled from my frustration of being extremely difficult to find beautiful, yet affordable home textiles. I’ve moved around so much – Paris, Amsterdam, L.A. and every time I moved I needed to buy new bed sheets or towels. However, there was nothing that made me think ‘This is it’. At some point, it was not about home textiles anymore, but it was about creating something that you buy to wear in your spare time or to sleep in; products that I want to use, that are very functional but in a beautiful way. I started developing the concept and the idea while doing freelance work on the side for the first 8 months. I started it all from my savings, but since we registered significant growth in the first 6 months, and the first bigger order needed to be done prepaid, I decided to take investors on board. 

What is the meaning behind the name?
 I was in a national sailing team when I was a kid and I called all my boats Tekla, so that’s where the name came from. 

Why do you think bedding and bathroom have never been explored before in the same extent Tekla has? 

I have always felt that I could buy any piece of furniture, but the lack of good sustainable and affordable home textiles made me want to create something new and different. I think people these days start realizing the essential roles of things we possess at our homes and their value. Home is your personal safe space, a reflection of who you are as a person. Everywhere you move, you are conscious of being in space that is comfortable. You want to surround yourself with different feelings, emotions, that takes you back to the serenity of childhood. Something you can escape in and I think that will matter more than ever now.
 

What is it about the bedroom that fascinates?
 I always considered my bed a safe space when I was a kid and I still feel that way today— I let go of all the things in my head, what’s going on at work and this and that. Your bed is a carefree-zone. It’s where you’re at your most vulnerable and emotionally exposed.

 

What do you think the creative industry will learn in this time of unprecedented change? 

Ultimately, this could lead to a positive outcome for the planet and its people. Industry- wise, surviving brands will become more adaptable, resilient and attuned to emerging change. People will hopefully slow down, and their regular travel, production and consumption patterns will shift. People’s shopping habits will change and companies would need to adapt accordingly. 

How do you plan to expand, or do you think specialization on key areas of business is key? 

At the moment it is very hard to talk about expansion. Rather than expanding our product line, we want to improve the quality to keep delivering the best possible product on the market. Everything from our packaging to the raw materials that go into every one of our designs, there is a deep respect for craftsmanship, the tactility, and functionality of natural fabrics and materials. We work with a responsible-first approach and try to be as transparent as possible regarding our actions. However, areas remain, where we can still improve, and these are a priority both when we embark on new projects but also in the continuous optimization of our existing setup. These actions will become essential in the upcoming months for brands to position themselves on top of the ladder. 

How do you establish a narrative into the brand?
We do not really plan the narrative beforehand. I think it all comes down to being honest about your product and staying true to yourself, then the narrative shapes itself. Building trust between us and the consumers is the most important thing for us. And it matters now more than ever because when the outbreak eventually ends, consumers will not begin searching for brands they hope they can trust, but rather stay with those who they have already established relationship with. 

Would you call yourself a luxury brand? / What do you think defines luxury?
 Joining together a refined and understated design language with the best of today’s materials for products that will stand the test of times in both quality and appearance. A combination of thoughtful products and quality, that serves a genuine purpose in the world, that is a luxury for me. 

Where do you find inspiration?
 I am getting inspired by spaces and textures. Tekla is about freedom, and to me, functionality is freedom. To live simply and not have too many things, to live in a space with less but better furniture makes it all so relaxed, and adds more quality to your life I think. It’s about creating a room that feels light and warm. This inspiration you can find anywhere, galleries, museums, airports. However, homes that I have always admired are spaces designed by Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe, Axel Vervoort and John Pawson. Even if it’s, some people might say – minimal, I would say it has so much thought into every element in the room that it gives you serenity, that I do not think a lot of other rooms give you. Lately, I have been inspired by the Kanaal project by Axel Vervoort – a cultural and residential complex built near Antwerp, which opened recently after 18 years in the making. 

Follow Tekla at @teklafabrics

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Viktor & Rolf explore the romanticism of tradition, shown through archive nostalgia and partnership with Melissa Shoes 

10.02.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

VPlastic and Paris Fashion Week Couture: there have been stranger partnerships, but Melissa Shoes’ collaboration with Viktor&Rolf certainly paired with aplomb. 

With Viktor&Rolf’s collection inspired by childhood memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and Denise Holly Hobbie-Ulinskas’ eponymous 1970’s illustration character, Viktor&Rolf took a turn back to the archive for their fabric swatches, lending the collection a looser air: more romantic, more nostalgic.

Teamed with classic Melissa sandals in delicate shades of powder blue, white and pink, and bags imitating woven lace, Viktor&Rolf took a brave partnership and made it feel effortless.

Looking at the collection and discussing their decision to explore the archive, the symbolism of consideration for this season’s design process was at the helm. Historically, the technique of patchwork originated from frugal necessity: old clothes were cut up in patches and sewn back together in decorative patterns, in order to be used again. By reusing their high-end couture fabric samples in this way, Viktor&Rolf create a surreal paradox that underlines the beauty of imperfection. This collection highlights the creative principle of conscious design. Doing more with less; constraints providing a steppingstone for meaningful creation.

Their collaboration with Melissa Shoes further implied the importance of creative partnerships through working together, specialisation, and a relaxed nostalgia that reflected on past skills and how they can be integrated into today’s technological advances.

With Melissa shoes made from their signature vegan Melflex, and Viktor&Rolf’s emphasis on consciousness design, a deeper thoughtfulness and responsibility were takeaways from this collaboration at couture season.

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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 Deeper Look(Book): Emma Charles SS20

01.10.2019 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

What’s in a name. Namely, what’s in an Emma Charles Lady Gwen?

The young London designer has been crafting her signature style for the last three years, one of the key brands focussing on the move from the millennial IT bag to the Generation X preference for the sweet spot price point – a bag that delivers big on directional design and construction, at a price that satisfies predominant freelance pockets while not scrimping on the wow factor or the work/play/bar/dinner expectations a bag needs to fulfil.

Her signature style, the Lady Gwen, is like the prettiest fortune cookie you ever saw. Served in a seasonal selection of colours, always on the discretionary scale, the unique shape gives Emma the head start over her competitors for something that is immediately recognisable to its creator. 

With a slew of bag brands popping up, as audiences look for the underground name they can pioneer, rather than the monster fashion house design they can wield, Emma is on to a good thing: with an intimate range of luxury stockists, we called it first. 

Her clothing range, lesser known, is no less worthy of a second look. Drapery and embellishment is key, but much like her bags, it is done in a delicate manner: a plume of marabou feathering on the shoulders of a black blazer; a constellation of modern studs on a bag. 

Emma’s colour palette is always delightful, matching discretionary tones with shots of zesty greens or blushing pinks. 

As she works to expand her handbag offering, Emma shows she is still a designer finding her feet. Formulas have occurred in seasons that have not made the cut for the next. This is good to have this time for exploration – as when it works, like it has with Lady Gwen, it magically begins to fall into place.

Wanting an example of sharp style and well tested design? Come for the  Lady Gwen and stay for the capsule collection separates.

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Fragile Face Laid Flat: A coup for Matches Fashion as Venetia Scott turns the focus on her own photography work with gallery duo Sion & Moore

26.09.2019 | Art , Blog | BY:

What’s in a face? What expressions do they hold. What do they aim to reveal, and what do they choose to conceal to the viewer.

Venetia Scott, Fashion Director of Vogue whose own photography work spans over a decade, has put the spotlight on some of the most famous faces she has shot, cropping down the image, and spotlighting a tight frame on nothing above the crown and nothing below the neck.

The result? Mesmerising faces entrance and envelop the viewer, as we are caught in their beam. The graininess of the zoom only enhances a sense of retrograde nostalgia about the shots: are we looking back into something or forward?

Scott developed the idea for the work whilst blowing up parts of her images – she noticed that, whilst detail is lost in the zoom, a new quality arises – one that draws you in. The portraits are beautifully eerie, looking as if they might have been taken from missing person files. The face of each girl captivates the viewer but stops short of telling us everything we might want to know. 

The name of the exhibition came about after Venetia saw it written on the side of a packing crate in Paris. Is it a face of fragility or resilience? Is it a two dimensional shot or is the woman looking right back, while sealed in the frame?

With all the images being of faces made famous from fashion shows and magazines, notably many from Venetia’s intrepid career, we are also presented with faces some of us have grown up with and have shaped our ideas of beauty and grace. They are familiar, from Lindsey Wixon to Lineisy Montero Feliz, and yet we hardly know them at all. 

In conjunction with the brilliant Sion & Moore, whose duo of former photography agent Kim Sion and creative consultant Lucy Kumara Moore, director of Claire De Rouen Books, have launched quite the partnership in a contemporary gallery project, the exhibition also heralds a new movement coming into play in Matchesfashion. Exploring the overflow of fashion into other creative spheres, the exhibition hopefully signals many more photography expositions in the 5 Carlos place address. Matchesfashion, as ever, has the finger on the creative pulse, and by celebrating the arts in all its fascinations, they are opening their doors wide for a new stream of showcasing and celebration. 

Fragile Face Laid Flat runs until 28th September at Matchesfashion, 5 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London

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World Meet ROWSE: the skincare brand making skin as clean as its morals

17.08.2019 | Beauty , Blog | BY:

What can your skin say about you? Your lips part: you are elated. Your ears wiggle: you are excited. Your eyes gleam: you are mesmerised. Up close, each hair, freckle and pore move, interact and breathe together in their very own eco-system: an image ROWSE beauty want to embody. A brand built on passion for natural ingredients and passed-down processes, ROWSE beauty is all about the gentle communication of nature.

Nuria Val is a quiet woman when you first meet her – shy, bashful almost, with a blush to her cheeks when she speaks about nature, family, photography.

When you get to know her, she is timid yet driven – holding ambition that is humble and decidedly environmentally aware.

Alongside Gabriela Salord, Nuria has co-founded the skincare brand ROWSE as a celebration of raw beauty, inspired by personal values and a deep respect for the environment. 

With a mission to connect people to the planet through an intentional line of plant-based skincare, the duo are aiming to develop meaningful dialogue about how we understand and interpret nature. Their plant-based formulations and recipes are non-toxic, organic, cruelty-free, and tested in independent laboratories. 

This brand feels like it is Nuria coming into her own: with a plastic free promise by 2020, Nuria’s love of the environment is clear, alongside her determination to create a brand that is dedicated to the natural needs of the wonders of our bodies and skin.

The winter oil is a coup – the smell alone transports you to memories you never thought you had, and the recipe tab is a brilliant edition: there is not always a singular solution for skincare, and this encourages us to listen to what our skin needs (rather than what we want) and to interact with ourselves accordingly. 

We spoke to an incredibly inspirational new brand, budding from meaningful purpose and honesty-driven values. 

Why did you want to launch ROWSE? 

I came up with the idea of ROWSE while travelling to inspiring places such as Lanzarote, Reunion Island, Japan, Iceland, Stromboli, Philippines, among others. I was dazed by the power and beauty of nature there and curious to explore how it could be used for beauty purposes. When I met Gabriela Salord, co-founder of Rowse, we both connected really well from the very beginning and we decided to start this adventure together


What does ROWSE the name mean? 

our name comes from the concept “the rise of raw”

What do you hope people will learn from ROWSE? 

Our mission is to connect people to the planet through an intentional line of plant-based skincare; build and nurture a purpose-driven creative community; and develop meaningful dialogue about how we understand and interpret nature. 

What was the last thing that made you excited? 

We’re about to launch a ceramic collaboration for ROWSE that we will share in September, I just took the pictures of the collaboration and I feel so excited to share them!

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A Deeper Look (Book) : Lacuna

08.08.2019 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Twin takes a deeper dive into the jewellery and RTW brand Lacuna,  based in Paris

An unfilled space; a gap. It feels like a statement definition already, with the designer Annabelle calling her namesake brand Lacuna. While it also happens to be Annabelle’s last name, it seems fitting to look at the meaning from both angles. 

Lacuna is a brand with a grown up elegance but a sensual sensibility, matching Annabelle’s design pedigree within Chloe, Cerruti, Kenzo and now Margiela designing under Galliano the show collections. 

Seeding out these sensual and undoubtably mesmerising images of her first collection entitled ‘Serpent I’, within her jewellery we see beautiful beady eyes resting on a deep reddish gold that wraps over hands, loops under ear, swirls around necks. Beautiful peachy pearls and shimmery little Swarovski baubles drift amongst dark petroleum-black planet pearls.

Introducing the brand via her perfectly executed look book, Lacuna takes a classic introductory format and makes it sexy: she reminds us of the evocative powers of jewellery, of the way it can emphasise, flatter, signal something unsaid. 

Photographed by the German photographer Marlon Rüberg and styled by Annabelle herself, you can see this is a brand Annabelle has planned for a while. Keeping the team intimate is reflected adamantly in the imagery – room for spontaneity and happy accidents, but clearly polished until it reached a standard Annabelle was happy to brand as her own.

This is not to mention the wonderful hand painted concise collection photographed alongside: a rose overlaid on a python in blues, yellows and red. Stiff silks in kimono shapes and slinky slips drip off the model’s frame. 

Lacuna is a cosmic brand: refined but contemporary – the feeling that it is slightly intergalactic with these biomorphic forms floating on gold wires in unfilled space.

We anticipate great things in her future explorations of deep jewellery space. 

What made you begin your brand?

I have lived and worked in Paris as a womenswear designer for the last ten years- at many different houses and for different sort of creative directors. I wanted to continue doing that and at the same time start working on a personal project. I chose fantasy jewellery as it’s a product that is not connected to my daily work but I had always interest in and I’m a collector… I researched for weeks in all kinds of libraries and museums which was amazing to do, I wanted to give it time to grow. I found the best jewellery ateliers in France to work together with as well as an amazing atelier for my hand painted pieces.

Who photographed and styled the look book? 

Marlon Rüberg is a German photographer and director who shot my look book in Milan, where he also lives and works. He is a very good friend of mine who I met when we were both living in London more than ten years ago. He’s very talented, we share the same references and I knew that he could translate exactly what I had in mind and create a lot more to it than I had imagined. I trust him completely. I styled it myself- for my first look book I wanted to keep the team small and intimate. I like to be prepared and we planned out each shot- but I also like to see what happens on set when everything comes together … I like to try out new things spontaneously on the spot and see what happens. 

What was the inspiration behind your first collection? 

I went far back in my memory and landed at one of my first fashion obsessions that I could remember. My mother used to wear very colourful printed, Philippine exotic house dresses or caftans at home, which was very unconventional growing up in German suburbia and she also used to wear very decadent and chic 80s jewellery on special occasions like receptions or cocktails (my dad used to work for the Philippine government).

All the dresses are hand painted and have different kind of techniques on them, the colours are all mixed by hand. Each piece of my jewellery collection is single, the hand pieces as well as the earrings- I wanted a unique look. 

What did you want to explore in your look book imagery? 

I wanted to present my pieces in a sensual but also sculptural way- that’s why I choose the milk bath scene, the model floating on (fake) fur…


What are your enduring interests. 

I’m always looking at new exhibitions of artists, photographers, sculptors, painters, but also vintage books and magazines … I’m interested to see new aesthetics, mediums, point of views and I’m always happy to meet new people who I can learn from and work together with

Why do you think look books are important? 

For me, editorial, video, look books, any sort of image that accompanies a project, is the ultimate visual diary to show the vision of the brand, its world. Every aspect should look considered. For my next project I would like to focus more on the printed version.

Do you think attitudes in fashion are changing?

The only ‘trend’ or attitude I support at the moment and hope will endure is the sustainability and recycling one in terms of how fashion is being made and produced. But in general I think fashion attitudes go cyclical and one movement will always trigger the counter movement.

What do you want your audience to take away from your brand?

I want it to become synonymous for an avant-garde and extravagant look. 

What powers does jewellery hold?

When you buy it for yourself, it’s empowering. As a gift, it can become very memorable- when it’s family jewellery or from your loved one.


What powers does clothing hold? 

It’s empowerment and disguise at the same time. 


What was the last thing that made you excited? 

Coming to a conclusion what my next project will be about! A lot of different ideas have been going through my head, I was with a friend and talked and talked and talked- and it all became clear.

Credits:

Photographer : Marlon Rueberg 

Model : Kasia Jujeczka

MUA: Giulia Cigarini 

Hair : Daniela Magginetti 

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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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