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.

schermafbeelding-2016-10-31-om-17-07-05

012-modebelofte-design-week-eindhoven-2016-ph-gj

035-modebelofte-design-week-eindhoven-2016-ph-gj 074-modebelofte-design-week-eindhoven-2016-ph-gj 075-modebelofte-design-week-eindhoven-2016-ph-gj

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 »

RIETVELD ACADEMIE Fashion 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

barmil_01 danh-l-kasia-gatkowska-2-1200 ci-hx_ewyaae-sr

Collectie Arnhem 2015 + 2016

September 16th, 2016 by admin

A recurring privilege is to do the communications workshop for Collectie Arnhem, the project for 3rd year fashion students at ArtEZ, where they work collectively, as if they were a true fashion brand. Putting the right words to their creative concepts is always an interesting proces, making all the decision making yet to be done so much more focussed and on the edge. These are the 2015 and 2016 editions of Collectie Arnhem, shown traditionally in the wake of Amsterdam Fashion Week in January.

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

Collectie Arnhem 2015

 

image001

campaign image Collectie Arnhem 2016

 

© PHOTO PETER STIGTER       COLLECTIE ARNHEM 2016

© PHOTO PETER STIGTER – COLLECTIE ARNHEM 2016

ANNE DE GRIJFF

September 16th, 2016 by admin

A former colleague in the fashion department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Anne de Grijff is a fashion designer after my heart; pioneering in ‘demi-couture’ and ‘slow fashion’. It was therefor an honor to deliver all the necessary copy for her communication and website AND to be photographed by none other than Koos Breukel – however unforgiving his portraits are, but that was exactly the point of having real women as role models (Characters) for the brand.

Koos Breukel for Anne de Grijff

Koos Breukel for Anne de Grijff

‘Casa’ Viktor & Rolf for Vogue Living Australia

September 16th, 2016 by admin

It’s always a pleasure to work with interior photographer Kasia Gatkowska. For Vogue Living Australia we did a production on Viktor & Rolf’s amazing offices in Amsterdam, which was later re-placed in the Portuguese edition of Vogue.

schermafbeelding-2016-09-16-om-14-08-51schermafbeelding-2016-09-16-om-14-09-07

schermafbeelding-2016-09-16-om-14-09-22

 

 

schermafbeelding-2016-09-16-om-14-09-40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The editor at Vogue Living Australia severely simplified my article, hence I insist on publishing the original version right here >>

Read the rest of this entry »

Modebelofte 2015 ‘Performing Advancers’

September 16th, 2016 by admin

It is going to be hard to ever outdo the 2015 edition of Modebelofte, held in the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, with a record number of 42 participating designers from a record number of 15 international MA and BA fashion courses. The ‘Performing Advancers’ exhibition of ‘fiercely innovative fashion talent’ was in fact so spectacularly designed by Niek Pulles a.k.a. Heyniek and Harm Rensink that it won the ‘Best of Dutch Design Week Award’ for its overwhelming generosity, awesome location and reach. What a victory for the fashion discipline in this particular design walhalla context.

artwork by Bastiaan de Nennie

artwork by Bastiaan de Nennie

Owning the stadion, this is how it's done

owning the stadion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The designers selected for the 2015 edition were: Isabelle Tellié , Tung Trinh and Josephine Goverts from ArtEZ, Arnhem; Fabian Bredt, Bram Vervoort, Olivier Jehee  and Nikki Duijst from Royal Academy of Art (KABK), The Hague; Ting Gong, Chisom Ogundu and Tone Bjerkaas from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam; Fatma Kizil from Willem de Koning Academie, Rotterdam; Anouk van de Sande and Vera de Pont from Design Academy Eindhoven; Jessica Walsh, Alan Oakes and Pauline Choi from Parsons School of Design, New York; Chou Yun Ting from Shih Chien University, Taipei; James Mitchell, Jim(Chen-Hsiang)-Hu, Gabriele Skucas, Milligan Beaumont, Gabriel Castro, Matty Bovan and Beth Postle from Central Saint Martins, London; Charlotte Grace Georgina Harris, Kathryn McGee, Yunseo Choi, Hannah Williams, Matilda Norberg and Nneka Okorie from Royal College of Art, London; Sian Alexandra Hadnum, Dawn Ansuh, Jessica Brown and Hannah Curtis from Middlesex University, London; Robyn Priestley from University of Westminster, London; Odella Yue from Winchester School of Arts, University of Southampton; Hannah Wallace from Manchester School of Art; Calum Whitley from Birmingham City University; Laure-Severac, Edoardo Rossi, Sofie Gaudier and Marie Sophie Beinke from Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

Without further ado, see HERE a video impression by Heyniek, and below some images of this unforgettable event.

Jim (Chen-Hsiang) Hu (Taiwan), Central Saint Martins

Jim (Chen-Hsiang) Hu, Central Saint Martins – “The name of XI (系) in Hanese and English are both chosen, in Hanese, many words associate with fabric adopts 系 (pronunciation: xì) as a basic component, semantically it could be understood as fibre, which is the basic component of fashion. In ancient Hanese, it could also be explained as association, connection, attachment, and the situation of one comes after another, as cause and effect.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessica Brown, Middlesex University

Jessica Brown, Middlesex University – Inspired by the 1982 sci-fi Tron; Jessica Brown’s collection embodies a knitted future rife with crochet, luminescent fabrics and gamer rebels out to make a statement. Knitwear specialist Jessica Brown developed complex 3D knitted structures using natural British wool, colored nylon-stuffed Italian yarn, tubular ‘cyberlox’ crin and glittery lurex combined with synthetic fabrics, foam and silver foil for her warrior like menswear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah Williams, Royal College of Art

Hannah Williams, Royal College of Art – Inspired by the way in which sculptors worked Hannah Williams set out to create garments by sculpting onto the body. In her process driven approach, she captured each sculpting session live and the remains of the unused silicone, plaster and acrylic left on the floor was then created into a dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabian Bredt, Royal Academy of Art (KABK)

Fabian Bredt, Royal Academy of Art (KABK) – Identities have become extremely adaptable, leaving the designer to conclude that he belongs to the most plural youth generation in history. Aiming for a more collective group image rather than creating individual looks he chose to design triptych style, dividing each look over three outfits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn Ansuh, Middlesex University

Dawn Ansuh, Middlesex University – took inspiration from a series of photographs by Pieter Hugo, called ‘The Hyena and other men’, which documents Nigerian street performers who train hyenas and use them to perform tricks. They use whatever objects they can find on the streets.

Hannah Curtis, Middlesex University

Hannah Curtis, Middlesex University – To riot or protest is often deemed as an act of mindless violence or destruction with little consideration for the consequences. But beyond this lies passionate defence of cultural and social identity as well as protection of traditional values.

Modebelofte 2014 ‘Seductive Precursors’

September 16th, 2016 by admin

Better posted late than never as the 2014 edition was when Modebelofte – an annual international selection fierce freshly graduated fashion talents showcased during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven – came into full force when initiator YOU ARE HERE teamed up with curators and designers Niek Pulles a.k.a. Heyniek  and Harm Rensink. Having been part of the Modebelofte team from 2012, guarding the concept and all the copy along the way, it is my honor to shine some light on the creative forces released into this world year after year. See HERE a video impression by Heyniek.

The designers selected for the 2014 edition were: Charlotte Tydeman, Angel Chen, Richard Quinn, Fiona O’Neill, Olya Kuryschuk, Jessica Mort and Anita Hirlekar  from Central Saint Martins; Ida Gro Christiansen  and Emma Hardstaff from Royal College of Art, in London; Adam Marc James from University of Westminster; Inna Stein & Caroline Rohner from Weissensee School of Art, Berlin; Tijme Veldt, Fien Ploeger, Klara Válková, Marije Seijn and Jurjen van Houte from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam; Hyein Seo and Flora Seierl from Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp; Bastian Visch and Gino Anthonisse from Royal Academy of Art, The Hague; Karin Vlug, Vera Roggli, Chiara Siahaan, Sonia Aissaoui and Yiyu Chen from ArtEZ, Arnhem.

A selection:

In an attempt to capture body movements Ida Gro Christiansen came to combine flexible materials with stiffer ones allowing for new shaping possibilities and a different shaping language. The untraditional material combination adds an uncontrollable dimension into the pattern cutting process. The main material for the collection is a base of super thin stretch tulle, with boning heat pressed into it, made of laser cut furniture wool from Kvadrat hand painted with a high gloss rubber. 

In an attempt to capture body movements Ida Gro Christiansen came to combine flexible materials with stiffer ones allowing for new shaping possibilities and a different shaping language. The untraditional material combination adds an uncontrollable dimension into the pattern cutting process. The main material for the collection is a base of super thin stretch tulle, with boning heat pressed into it, made of laser cut furniture wool from Kvadrat hand painted with a high gloss rubber.

modebelofte4

Flora Miranda’s collection deals with the disintegration of physical borders, with the immaterial body and being. Her vision was to beam oneself from one place to the other, to break the system of space and time. The collection shows futuristic garments, fragmented and fleeing from their strict form. Colours are reduced to black and blue, making the body seem ‘scanned’ and read as pure information. The material shows sharp borders and hard shapes. Digitally printed leather is floating in rings around the body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

modebelofte-tijme-veldt-dutch-design-week-2014

Tijme Veldt’s graduation collection ‘Rosa Supernova’ is about a boy who can’t tell the difference between his dreams and his reality anymore. The visual narrative closes in on the moment in which he loses control. The harsh reality of the world transforms into the boy’s own colourful one. The complexity of this experience is translated in a play with estranging proportions, dense layers of fabric and transparent headpieces to suggest a falling movement.

Emma Hardstaff’s graduation collection ‘Soft Extravagance’ was driven by the concept of ‘exploded silhouettes’ resulting in flat patterns that transformed through fabric manipulation into oversized yet defined garments. The use of a sheer skeleton, the tulle layer, allowed for the apparent suspension of the key elements that make up each garment. Fabric manipulation creates the illusion of a constructed and recognisable garment.

Emma Hardstaff’s graduation collection ‘Soft Extravagance’ was driven by the concept of ‘exploded silhouettes’ resulting in flat patterns that transformed through fabric manipulation into oversized yet defined garments. The use of a sheer skeleton, the tulle layer, allowed for the apparent suspension of the key elements that make up each garment. Fabric manipulation creates the illusion of a constructed and recognisable garment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

024-copy

Marije Seijn’s collection is about ‘the decay of glory, the fall from grace’, inspired by the story of ‘Little Edie’, as told in the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens. Marije Seijn ‘built’ her garments with numerous layers of worn out found materials, wools and shiny fabrics, all merged together in voluminous pieces. It is unclear whether pieces are constructed by layers of damaged fabric or by desperately recovered ones.

Fien Ploeger’s graduation collection ‘Full Blown’ explores the concept of hyperreality in relation to the body. Her designs alter the body in a way that not necessarily answers to current beauty ideals. She explores the extremes of our tendency to perfect ourselves. “Is it still fashion or does it become an object? The estranging fashion objects are made off slick, shiny materials that grant them a sense of beauty, like Jeff Koons’ balloon sculptures.”

Fien Ploeger’s graduation collection ‘Full Blown’ explores the concept of hyperreality in relation to the body. Her designs alter the body in a way that not necessarily answers to current beauty ideals. She explores the extremes of our tendency to perfect ourselves. “The estranging fashion objects are made off slick, shiny materials that grant them a sense of beauty, like Jeff Koons’ balloon sculptures.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

027-copy

Olya Kuryschuk’s graduation collection of ‘trashed wedding dresses’ is a vision of clashing fashion cultures. To her the ‘glittery, glamorous wedding dress’ is the symbol of the trashy fashion values of the West. Olya Kuryschuk mixes this ‘trashy-ness’ with a completely different world of trashy fashion in Africa; ripped clothes and garbage bags. The result is equally ‘pop culture’ and tribal.

For her graduation collection ‘#1’ Vera Roggli experimented with rubber. Allowing herself to be guided by this design process, tirelessly perfecting her procedures, led to a new material with highly specific effects, and to a new way of attaching fabrics to each other. Vera Roggli also interpreted rubber into 3D designs such as bags and shoes, which she made in collaboration with footwear and product designer Roderick Pieters.

For her graduation collection ‘#1’ Vera Roggli experimented with rubber. Allowing herself to be guided by this design process, tirelessly perfecting her procedures, led to a new material with highly specific effects, and to a new way of attaching fabrics to each other. Vera Roggli also interpreted rubber into 3D designs such as bags and shoes, which she made in collaboration with footwear and product designer Roderick Pieters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

015-copy

The idea behind Richard Quinn’s graduation collection is ‘to bring cracked couture to life’. His dresses are life size 3D versions of his design process using a collage technique of ripped up and reassembled images of classic evening gowns. White painting canvas is used for the main fabric to resemble sketching paper. This effect of the rough sketch versus the perfectly finished couture dress is also implemented in his prints and embellishments.

009-copy

Charlotte Tydeman’s final collection explores the objectification of female forms during the 50’s through sculpture and pin-up imagery. Her designs mix elaborately worked fabrics with bold sexual shapes in neoprene, all predominantly in skin and pink tones, in equal parts ‘couture dream dress’ and comment on the most contemporary feminist identity.