GERRIT RIETVELD class of 2017

November 7th, 2017 by admin

I could not be prouder of our graduates, and this year’s show was something special as we took it to the streets, under the ring road overpass in Amsterdam West, just across the street from WOW. The livestream of The Fashion Show 2017 should be still available HERE. The amazing artwork and communication for our graduation show was done by Rietveld graduates from the graphic design department, namely: Eduardo Leon, Nina Schouten, Steinarr Ingolfsson and Christophe Synak.

And here are some jaw dropping looks by our graduates, all photography by TEAM PETER STIGTER:

Miro Hämäläinen

Ninamounah Langestraat

Ninamounah Langestraat

Nathalie Vlaun

Nathalie Vlaun

Boris Kollar

Boris Kollar

Yujin Jung

Yujin Jung

Karen Huang

Karen Huang

Line Langkjer

Line Langkjer

Chelsea Peterson

Chelsea Peterson

ILLUSION by Rikkert Leijs

November 7th, 2017 by admin

Another wonderful Grès et Delibasi talent I enjoyed working with on his necessary copy is Rikkert Leijs. This young gun’s artisanship and creative sense of direction made his debut in Milan triumphant and next thing he knew he was on Art Threads for Designjunction 2017.

KOCOWISCH

November 7th, 2017 by admin

Rarely is a copy writing job so much fun and such close collaboration as it was for KOCOWISCH designers Koen Coppens and Willem Schouten. Together with their agent Grès et Delibasi and my dear friend and art director Mrs. Karen Heuter we made this beautiful brochure for their debut collection of lamps and jewelry inspired by mathematical shapes called The Kocohedron Collection.

Cultuurfonds Mode Stipendium 2017

November 7th, 2017 by admin

Sparring partner, ghost writer, speech coach… I don’t even know what to call myself working behind the scenes for Dutch Fashion Foundation’s Angelique Westerhof, whenever the occasion rises, like the annual Cultuurfonds Mode Stipendium ceremony. The rightful winner for the 2017 stipend of a generous € 50.000,- was Gerrit Rietveld Academie alumnus Ronald van der Kemp, and our speech trumpeted his impressive artisanship, his generosity towards fashion students and emerging designers, and most of all his gutsy new approach using whatever he can get his hands on, from leftover couture fabrics to vintage pieces and whatever scrap of material his magpy-eyes desire.

Collectie Arnhem 2017

November 7th, 2017 by admin

Freedom! Inconvenience! Madness! And a hard-boiled egg… the press release for Collectie Arnhem 2017 – that resulted from my communications workshop with these 3rd year fashion students at ArtEZ – literally oozed with fashion’s newfound optimism and extrovert creativity. Yellow, the colour of the sun and the sole colour in the entire collection, made everything beam with hope. Well done Iris Bambacht, Anna Bernal-van Geenhuizen, Douwe de Boer, Guusje de Bruin, Jolijn Corporaal, Emmy Hermans, Amarens Joustra, Sarah Kerbosch, Merrit Koek, Gina Malagodi, Naomi Marcela, Mehdi Mashayekhi, Alicia Minnaard, Nina Pen, Dennis Schreuder, Maria van Steenoven and Amber Willemztijn, the presentation at …,staat’s NewWertheater was delightful!


Moderating MODEVOLK @ O-P-A

November 7th, 2017 by admin

Talking about fashion…. it was an honour and great fun to moderate this evening about fashion and identity titled MODEVOLK, held at Ontwerp Platform Arnhem (O-P-A) on October 20th, 2016, where my former student Duran Lantink presented his Sistaaz of the Castle project that he did with that other Rietveld alumnus Jan Hoek (their project won the Dutch Design Award in 2016), and where Museum Rotterdam curator Sjouk Hoitsma talked about her ROFFA 5314 project. The take away of the evening was that any form of cultural appropriation that does not involve the actual culture is totally last century.

MODEBELOFTE 2016 ‘Adaptive Travelers’

October 31st, 2016 by admin

It’s been thrilling as always to be part of the Modebelofte team, bringing the fiercest talents from the best international BA and MA fashion courses to Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Although my part in this – textual curation, communication and hosting the Expert Meeting for fellow educators, press and designers – is peanuts compared to what it takes to put this show on the road. Shout out to the fabulous curator & event designer team Niek Pulles (Heyniek) and Harm Rensink, our superwoman project manager and PR queen Holly Syrett of GW Agency, the team responsible for all the trafficking, the graphic designers at Studioand.nl and campaign photographer Imke Ligthart…. and of course the queen bee of them all, initiator Ellen Albers of You Are Here. Check out the Modebelofte 2016 ‘Adaptive Travelers’ site for all the wonderful participating designers and more.

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WHOLE: 25 years of Freudenthal/Verhagen

September 23rd, 2016 by admin

My fabulous friends, art director Karen Heuter and photographers Carmen Freudenthal & Elle Verhagen just released this awesome ride of a book, covering 25 years worth of memorable work by Freudenthal/Verhagen. I’ve had the honor to work with Carmen and Elle on several occasions. That’s how we became friends. That’s how I ended up making a Hitchcock style cameo appearance as a Viktor & Rolf model on the opening spread in this anniversary book. And that’s how I got to do quite some writing in and around this special publication. Read my personal introduction below, followed by my interview with their long time collaborator Bernhard Willhelm after the break.

Images courtesy of Karen Heuter and Freudenthal/Verhagen

whole-book-real

 

It was during the spring of ‘98 when I first had the pleasure of working with Carmen Freudenthal and Elle Verhagen, and it was due time too. BLVD Magazine, where I was a senior editor with ‘fashion’ as one of my main responsibilities, was preparing for its 5th anniversary issue, and Carmen and Elle just happened to have a proposal that fit the bill: we would celebrate the wave of Dutch conceptual fashion talent of that moment with an extra large fashion shoot using contemporary dancers and performers for models and national park De Hoge Veluwe as the décor. It was a celebration of the creative freedom that marked the decade, and that was so manifest in BLVD., which was all about thrusting ourselves into the future where the digital revolution was lurking and the new humanity makeable. The models-who-weren’t-fashion-models were not modeling the usual high profile clothes that were going to be for sale that summer but instead they were dancing like cavemen around their bonfires, caught up in some kind of ritualistic performance with the highly experimental young designer pieces – some of which were designed especially for the occasion – adorning their powerful naked bodies, revealing ‘private parts’ and all. It was in fact a photographic performance, minutely choreographed by Freudenthal/Verhagen, their camera and their computer. The ‘naked in heathland series’ as we called it, gained extra momentum for Carmen and Elle when, after it had made its impact in BLVD’s festive issue, it featured in i-D magazine as well. Somehow, suddenly, these two originals, who had already spent a decade putting out their highly autonomous ‘staged photography’, experimenting with room filling installations, on set trompe l’oeuil effects like projections as well as pre-Photoshop dark room montage techniques, they had become an establishment of sorts. Their signature was out.

book-presentation-5

 

For Freudenthal/Verhagen it must have meant that their seemingly conflicting proposition, using art photography to take a critical stance towards the established fashion imagery, had finally entered this international dialogue, this visual language that is such a big part of the fashion discipline. And fashion design, in its creative core, is something they love. The ‘naked in heathland series’ had caught Bernhard Wilhelm’s eye and together they embarked on a perennial collaboration that would deeply engrave their wildly imaginative collage style in the international fashion world’s collective memory. Their lookbooks for Bernhard Wilhelm became collectibles, and then they made a book out of it. That same year I joined them in Rome for ‘Dutch Touch’ with the Dutch Fashion Foundation for which occasion they’d made another book called Wonder Holland.

However in demand, instead of seizing their moment as established high profile fashion photographers, knowing all to well the sacrifices they’d be forced to make, Freudenthal/Verhagen saw an opportunity to return to their earlier 3D installation work when Arnhem Mode Biennale offered them a main stage in Museum voor Moderne Kunsten Arnhem. Their photo’s seemed to come to live, leaving the frame as the silk they were printed on draped off the walls and onto the floor. As if having found the secret code to the magic mirror, Carmen and Elle have been comfortable crossing over between their chosen disciplines ever since, be it fashion imagery, photographic installations or anywhere the two can meet, like in advertising, and all the while they keep experimenting with their toolbox. From the very first moment I had the pleasure to sit with them and discuss their editorial ideas it has been clear to me that Carmen Freudenthal and Elle Verhagen are true artists. Their painstaking and time consuming work processes, the ever so earnest dedication to their artistic vision – which, being strangely entangled with a marvelous sense of humor, is simply inimitable -, their continuous drive to create against the grain, all this now accumulates as a Whole. A seriously hard earned delight.

Read the rest of this entry »

GERRIT RIETVELD class of 2016

September 17th, 2016 by admin

Next in my update madness is the 2016 batch of fashion forces – whom I’ve had the honor to teach on theoretical level – graduating from Gerrit Rietveld Academie. For as long as it is ‘up’, do watch the show HERE. Is was a true milestone, and not just because of the madly impressive, monumental location: the Europa Hal in Amsterdam RAI.

gratfs16_invite

the most amazing show location

the most amazing show location

proud teachers Amie Dicke, Niels Klavers (head of the Rietveld fashion department), moi & Oscar Raaijmakers, snapped by JW Kaldenbach

proud teachers Amie Dicke, Niels Klavers (head of the Rietveld fashion department), moi & Oscar Raaijmakers, snapped by JW Kaldenbach

A few of my favorite collections:

Vere van Hal

Vere van Hal

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Yoko Maja Hansen

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Yoko Maja Hansen

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Ralph W Dennis

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Ralph W Dennis

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Ralph W Dennis

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Naomi Hille

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Naomi Hille

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Marianna Ladreyt

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Iris de Jong

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Iris de Jong

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Therese Palmhager

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Eva Valdimarsdottir

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Eva Valdimarsdotti

 

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Isis Postel

RIETVELD GRADUATION SHOW 2016

Isis Postel

HOZAN ZANGANA

September 16th, 2016 by admin
Shaping from intuition

Shaping from intuition

 

Hozan Zangana was fifteen years old when he applied for asylum in The Netherlands in 1998. His future starts a decade later when he decides to study at Design Academy Eindhoven. Not an obvious choice, given the road he had to travel, but it is exactly this background that will determine the essence of his design practice.

Born and raised in Kirkuk in the north of Iraq, Hozan Zangana was mesmerized from a very early age by the original 7th century Kufic script with its heavy calligraphy full of voluptuous curves and fat strands like charmed snakes. They almost seem small sculptures. Silent shadows of ancient Mesopotamian and Persian statues. Hozan Zangana digs deep in his study of the shapes of the Kufic script and discovers how the history of the region is told through the hands of the old calligraphy masters; there must be a relation between this monumental writing style and the rise of a religion that prohibits the making of images and sculptures and that would destroy so many art treasures. Age-old cultures have been reduced to two-dimensional decorative patterns this way. The original volume, which is so meaningful for the Kufic calligraphy, disappears over time and the script slims down to mere lines. Modern Kufic can expect only one question: ‘What is it?’ This question is essential to Zangana; it draws us as spectators into an abstract space. The result is a collection of intuitive objects that communicates like the 7th century Kufic script.

In the midst of the chaos of the world and its eventful history Hozan Zangana creates silence. He works in meditative concentration; once the ratio is silenced his heart and hands can speak out freely. This is how his objects come into being; they all tell a story which contains a message for years and years to come, he hopes.

It was the designer Enzo mari who introduced Hozan Zangana to the story of an old tribal chief who urges his people to return home before dark so as to not fall prey to the animals. When two members of his tribe repeatedly return late he decides to observe them. While the others come running like hares to their nests the old chieftain finds the two dropouts lingering on a hill, their gazes caught in the beauty of the sunset. Enzo Mari was referring to our intuitive vocation towards beauty and art. For Hozan Zangana the story contains an all too familiar truth; people are still on the run and art will never loose its light.

Photography by Kasia Gatkowska

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