Posts Tagged ‘fashion’
This is one of those randomly topical posts.
Image of the day: photog Franco Rubartelli’s iconic image of ’60s supermodel Veruschka, swaddled in fawn-hued fur and leather straps.
The humidity ’round here has been out of control this past week. (The April-May season is a killer. Killer.) We denizens of the tropics, though, have at least the comforts of casual wear and flip-flops … for this spread for the July ’68 edition of Vogue, shot under the searing sun of Arizona’s Painted Desert, stylist Giorgio di Sant’Angelo (yes, the designer started out as a lowly stylist) swathed Veruschka in a full-body, fur-lined wrap, held together with asphyxiating tightness by bands of brown leather. Rubartelli’s photograph of his then-squeeze made fashion history – it remains one of the most famous images of her – but the combination of sizzling heat and winter wear proved too much: she simply “tipped over like a tree.” (“Lummbeerrrrr !”)
Read an account of the episode here.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, the sun’s been great for getting the brown on, but just looking at this image (and the ones below) is making me slightly dizzy …
Like the good people of PETA, I want to say “NO TO FUR” — but that hardly seems necessary in Singapore’s context.
Image from youthquakers.
I’ve been obsessed with Anthony Poon‘s paintings lately.
More on that later though. While doing some research, I stumbled onto a fashion spread in the 1987 issue of the Her World Annual (below), which featured Singaporean designer Tan Yoong’s creations, inspired by the work of several local artists — of which Poon was one.
Tan Yoong left the gallery with his imagination fired by six local artists’ works. The challenge presented itself – to translate art executed in fabric, metal, ink and acrylic into a form which could be draped on the human body. The works themselves were diverse expressions from a group of second-generation painters and sculptors. Gathered under one roof for the Asian Contemporary Art Exhibition 1986, fashion designer Tan Yoong was transfixed by the textures, colours, shapes and forms which were a bold departure from the restraint of linens, organza’s and crepe de chines in his workshop. A few months after th exhibition, six outfits emerged which imitated the perfection of what Tan Yoong had seen in the gallery, but with a new interpretation of form and shape. In one instance, Teo Eng Seng’s The Great Gossip, the transformation was subtle: a cluster of withered Sakura trees imported by the artist from Japan, inspired in Tan Yoong a design full of Eastern austerity and grace – a jacket-suit textured with embroidered pleats, fold after fold falling in a restrained ripple down the body. Thomas Yeo’s collage composition, on the other hand, found a reflection in gossamer-thin layers of organza, while Eng Tow’s fabric sculpture (Four Winds) became a fragile shell of hand-painted organza. Whether in idea, colour or texture, Tan Yoong has faithfully created fashion in the image of Art.
[Top] FOUR WINDS, Eng Tow: ‘Constant change and movement is personified by the nature of wind. There is constant change in life, in the things around us. Just like wind, you can’t see it, but you know it’s there. Four Winds is a way of showing this change.’
[Bottom] A hand-painted silk organza blouse features the intricate Eng Tow pleat. But the delicate shadings come from Tan Yoong’s palette.
[Top] UNTITLED II, 1986, Tan Teng Kee, Sculptor: ‘You can heat metal, you can fire it, you can cut it up, build it up … It needs strength, a big hammer to hammer it. Yet, it’s also very flexible. My work is not so smooth that you can stroke it – if you’re not careful, you might be pierced. You can say that I have some thorns too …’
[Bottom] The timeless fluid lines of this crepe jacket-suit find a counterpoint in the stark modernism of polished metal and jagged edges.
MOVEMENT IN WHITE, 1986, Thomas Yeo, Artist: ‘Some people say, how can a mountain look like that? I ask them, have you really seen a mountain? Before you look at the painting, you’ve got to get rid of the pictorial preconception. You’ve got to clear the mind, be an innocent, and look again.
Looking at abstract painting, a lot of people expect to visually come to terms in the first encounter. But it takes time to understand the modern picture language. And you’ve got to allow yourself to be exposed to the different mediums. Then, you can come to terms and grasp the language. Abstract works require participation. You can’t just sit there and look …
When I see a great painting, all my hairs stand. It moves me.’
The gentle blithe spirit of layered gossamer echoes the delicate paint on paper on paint collage …
FIRE DHYANA, 1986, Tan Swie Hian, Artist: ‘Dhyana means meditation.
There is an episode in the Buddhist scriptures – a monk meditated on a pool of water and became the water, such that he found rocks in his body. He had become the water and the rocks were rocks from the pool …
The fire dhyana is inspired by fire. Once, when Buddha was meditating on a mountain, he achieved the state where he became fire. When you achieve that state, you can become a holocaust … You can achieve anything through meditation, through the power of the mind.
For me, to create requires the freeing of one’s mind. A great artist, according to Picasso, has no one style. There shouldn’t be any restriction to what may appear on your sheet of white paper …’
The flame of thousands of beads flickers on hand-painted fabric, raising this tunic-and-skirt ensemble to a high point of sophistication.
THE GREAT GOSSIP, 1986, Teo Eng Seng, Sculptor: ‘My job is just to create the object, and it’s for the viewer to respond – people using the trees will have to use their imaginations. In all my work, I like to see that there is an allowance for people to come up with something which is a part of them. I want to create an event or occasion when people can participate. It is not just passive art.
I don’t think artists today can run away and hide in a cave. You need to be able to share your art with others, to forge relationships …’
Pleats crest on pleats to fall in a gentle froth of fabric just below the hips. Tan Yoong’s mastery of the medium has resulted in opulence but with Oriental understatement.
P ON GREY RECTANGULAR, 1986, Anthony Poon, Artist: ‘One always wants to do something different, but it needs continuity to maintain a seriousness about it. I look to see the progression – how some good things become better …
The years before my seriousness occurred, I dabbled and had a lot of fun. I think there comes a time in life when one has to decide. I made up my mind that the good that would eventually arise in this journey, would be very obvious – to attain the consistency which I am very conscious of.
Some day, I want to gather all my works together and illustrate the changes, and show how they’re related in the continuity process.
I think that the format of the canvas is just as important as the content … I must do them big. And I’ve been asked, how big is big? … My dream of the scale …
The great satisfaction is, once you overcome it, you regain the confidence and surety of what you can achieve.’
Shape has been given new definition with colour. A midriff blouse sheds its frivolity when teamed with an elegant, black body-conscious shift.
God, how I love Poon’s meticulously plotted, methodically coloured canvases …
Interestingly enough, the work of Op Art pioneer Bridget Riley – Op Art provided Poon with one his biggest influences – was likewise transposed into the realm of the sartorial back in the ’60s (though perhaps not voluntarily). Art historian Pamela Lee relates the episode in her book, Chronophobia: On Time in the Art of the 1960s:
For soon after hanging her works at the MoMA, Riley met up with Larry Aldrich, among the best-known collectors of contemporary art in the city. A dress manufacturer for B. Altman’s, among other stores, Aldrich owned one of the two Riley paintings in the show, Hesitate, and had built a public institution to house his collection in Ridgefield, Connecticut. He had a good reputation for supporting the work of emerging artists, and so Riley was pleased to meet him. After exchanging introductions in the gallery, Aldrich invited her to his Seventh Avenue studio for a “surprise.” The surprise was such that Aldrich arranged a photographer to document the event.
Yet upon her arrival, Riley was not so much surprised but shocked and offended. For Aldrich had taken the pattern of Hesitate, now hanging at MoMA, and commissioned Maxwell Industries to make a mass-produced textile out of it. Aldrich’s in-house designer “Morton Myles for Young Elegante” then fashioned the fabric into simple modish shifts, all the better for the wearer to serve as a moving screen for the optical dazzle. An obscure, blurry photograph … [above] records the tension of the summit. Hands in pockets, Aldrich attempts to gauge her response. Riley presses her fingers to her temples as if massaging an incipient headache. “I was shocked,” she stated flatly of the encounter. “In England, there are laws that take care of things like that,’ she complained to a fashion reporter. “Nobody asked my permission for the fabric.” ……
For his part, Aldrich willfully ignored Riley’s claims by suggesting his actions were populist in intent. “Everybody else thought it was gay and amusing,” he shrugged. “I respected her attitude, but I made no effort to apologize. After all many people approached me to get Hesitate fabric or buy dresses for the Op art show at the museum. They wouldn’t have wanted to if it were wrong.” In the spring and summer fashion season of 1965, he would produce a number of Op art dresses from paintings in his own collection. In addition to Riley, the artists Julian Stanczak, Richard Anuskiewicz and Vasarely would also have their own work transformed into the dresses by “Young Elegante,” as seen in a photo spread in Art in America … [below]. Unlike Riley, however, they were content to oversee the metamorphosis.
Here, then, begins the vertiginous rush into the craze for Op fashion of the mid-sixties. Coverage was not limited to the fashion trade, although Vogue, Harper’s, Women’s Wear Daily, and other style magazines weighed in on the phenomenon exhaustively. In addition to design magazines, which seized upon Op as an important trend in interior décor, local American papers from all across the country clamored to get a piece of the Newest Thing. Days after the opening, photos appeared in the papers documenting the wild and vibrant styles that various artists, collectors, and socialites wore to the event. Black and white was the order of the evening, taking the form of checks, stripes, dots, and mind-numbing patterns. Ethel Scull attended with Warhol on her arm, mysterious behind huge black glasses and a wavy line lame suit. Larry Rivers showed up wearing two ties, one black, one red, as if playfully dressing the part of an afterimage. Store windows in New York – Bonwit’s, I. Miller, Lord and Taylor, Elizabeth Arden, and Altman’s among them – all scurried to showcase the new fashions against equally eye-popping backdrops. “Op fabrics, Op stockings, Op maternity wear, Op everything,” one reporter put it, “exploded on the style scene.” There were even such inventions such as Op restaurants, Op beachwear and, improbably enough, Op girdles. And in a presumably unironic twist, Women’s Wear Daily reported on Op cosmetics, highlighting a fanciful new way of adorning the eyes. In record time, then, Op became something of a media spectacle. It even made it to the airwaves in a show hosted by no less of an art authority than Mike Wallace, entitled “Eye on New York.”
Hesitate (1964), Bridget Riley. In the collection of the Tate.