Serge Lutens, a Visionaire in Many Ways

28 Aug
Serge Lutens & modelSerge Lutens & model
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Serge Lutens (born 14 March 1942, in Lille, France) is a French make-up artist,  photographer, filmmaker, hair stylist, perfume art-director and fashion designer.

Serge Lutens

Short Biography

Serge Lutens was born during the war, on March 14th, 1942 in Lille, in northern France.

Separated from his mother when he was just weeks old, his personality was indelibly marked by this original abandonment. Permanently torn between two families, he lived life at a distance and through his imagination. He was a dreamer. At the École Montesquieu, they said he was “on the moon”: he paid no attention, although his teachers recognised that he was a gifted storyteller.

In 1956, at the age of 14, he was given a job against his will – he would have preferred being an actor – in a beauty salon in his native city.

Two years later, he had already established the feminine hallmarks that he would make his own: eye shadow , ethereally beautiful skin, short hair plastered down. He also became known for the colour black, from which he never deviated. He confirmed his tastes and his choices with the female friends of his whom he photographed.

serge-lutens-in-1972-age-30Serge Lutens at work, 1973
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He was 18 when he was called up to serve in the army during the Algerian War. He was remoulded. This was an important break that led him to make his decision: to leave Lille and head for Paris. This was 1962.

Helped by a friend, Madeleine Levy, and bearing large prints of his photographs of his friends, Serge Lutens, experiencing his first years in Paris at a time of insecurity and want, contacted Vogue magazine. For him, this magazine represented the essence of beauty: a sort of convent that he mythologised. Three days later, he collaborated on the Christmas issue.

Serge Lutens for Vogue

Makeup artist Serge Lutens’ 1973 beauty shoot for Vogue. Each image is inspired by various renowned French Artists throughout history. This particular image pays homage to Fernand Léger’s 1922 painting, “La Femme et L’enfant”

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The creator of a vision through makeup, jewellery and extraordinary objets, Serge Lutens quickly became the person to call, and the fashion magazines were not mistaken: Elle, Jardin des Modes, Harper’s Bazaar were constantly after him: he worked with the greatest photographers of the time, all the while pursuing his own photographic work. During these years, his talent was fully acknowledged.

In 1967, Christian Dior, who was preparing to launch its makeup line, called upon him. For the House of Dior he would create colours, style and images. Finally, his vision was unified through photography.

Serge Lutens for DiorSerge Lutens for Dior 1975

Serge Lutens for Dior

Serge Lutens for Dior

Dior, 1973 Photo by Serge Lutens

Serge Lutens for Dior

In the early 1970’s, the famous editor-in-chief of US Vogue, Diana Vreeland, was unstinting in her enthusiasm: “Serge Lutens, Revolution of Make-up!” His success was resounding. Serge Lutens became the symbol of the freedom created through makeup, for a whole new generation.

In 1974, mirroring his taste for films and the legendary actresses in them, he made a short: “Les Stars.”

During this period, he travelled widely, exploring Morocco and later Japan. These two countries, with their rich and yet so different cultures, came together in him and confirmed his way of seeing and feeling.

le-monde-photo-serge-lutens-1971Serge Lutens & geisha, ph. for Le Monde, 1971
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He recalled them some years later, in 1980, when he signed on with Shiseido for a collaboration that was to enable the Japanese cosmetics group, until then unknown on the international scene, to establish such a powerful visual identity that it became one of the world’s leading market players in the 1980’s and ‘90’s.

In 1982, for the same brand, he conceived Nombre Noir, his first perfume, dressed in lustrous black on matte black, a concept that foreshadowed the ubiquitous codes of the 1990’s. While his first perfume marked the 1980’s, it was through his creation of Féminité du Bois and Les Salons du Palais Royal in 1992 with their dreamlike décor, that Serge Lutens led his first true olfactory revolution in the field of perfume.

Fragrances like Ambre sultan, Tubéreuse criminelle, Cuir mauresque… have since become indispensable, writing a new page in the History of Fragrances.Shiseido

The logical culmination of this came in 2000 when Serge Lutens created the brand that today bears his name and establishes his uncompromising style. Perfumes and makeup (“Nécessaire de beauté”), his expressions in this area, are marketed through specialised and selective distribution and more confidentially at the Palais Royal-Serge Lutens.

His innovations in this field have received many prestigious awards, including several FIFI awards from the Fragrance Foundation.

Serge Lutens

In 2004, at the invitation of “Lille, European Capital of Culture,” he designed an olfactory labyrinth around scents from his childhood: this installation met with great intergenerational success.

In 2007 Serge Lutens was awarded the distinction of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Starting in 2010, Serge Lutens established a connection between perfumes and literature and opened up a new path with what he calls an anti-perfume: “L’Eau Serge Lutens.”

Serge Lutens

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Books

L’Esprit Serge Lutens: The Spirit of Beauty (Editions Assouline, Paris, 1992)

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Serge Lutens (Editions Assouline, Paris, 1998)

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Photographer, make-up artist, interior and set designer, creator of perfumes, fashion designer and designer of extraordinary objects, autodidact Serge Lutens is an “image maker” of genius. He first began working for French “Vogue” in 1963 where he worked with, among others, Bob Richardson, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdouin and Irving Penn. At the age of only 27, already acclaimed for his inimitable style, he moved to Dior to develop the company’s image and create their make-up lines, after which he transferred his talents to Shiseido, where he has been “image creator” for over 15 years. He divides his time between Paris and Ben Youssef, the medina in Marrakech, and his work reflects a sophisticated blend of European refinement and rich orientalism, taking the femme ideale, or ideal woman, as its central motif. His first book – published in 1992 and now a collector’s item – was an “event” in the publishing world. Today, with his second book, produced in luxury edition, Serge Lutens returns to reconfirm his art, which brings together pure aesthetics and a quest for perfection.

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Serge Lutens currently lives in Marrakech, Morocco.

2012 serge LutensSerge Lutens, 2012
.info: http://en.sergelutens.com/all-about-serge-lutens/serge-lutens.html

Agnieszka Osipa, Costumes inspired by Slavic Fairytales

7 Aug

Agniezska Osipa

Poland based costume designer Agnieszka Osipa creates a wardrobe for another world. Another time. Her creations turn modern women into mythic royalty — protectors of ancient lands. 

Osipa draws inspiration from painting and folklore. As a girl, she was fascinated by folklore and felt inspired by Eastern European traditions. This surreal mythology has helped form her artistic style.

Yes they are often added to my design process,” Osipa says. “This is where I am from, and I feel that Slavic culture is often regarded as minor compared to other cultures of the world, I try to change that by showing how rich and inspiring it can be, when you really dig into it.

She graduated from the Lodz Academy of Fine Arts, with diploma in fashion design.

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

https://www.facebook.com/Agnieszkaosipadesigner

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

https://www.instagram.com/agnieszkaosipa/?hl=nl

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

info: http://sobadsogood.com/2016/04/05/darkly-beautiful-fashion-inspired-slavic-fairytales/

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Agniezska Osipa

Inspired by Swans

24 Jul

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Beautiful and Proud
reflecting on Nights Water
is Tomorrow’s Swan

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Tim WalkerTim Walker

Tim Walker

Tim Walker

Tim Walker

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Tim Walker

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Headpiecesfly

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kate moss by steven klein

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Alexander McQueen

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Alexander McQueen

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Anna Pavlova

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Anna Pavlova's White Swan costumeAnna Pavlova's White Swan costume

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Daniela Gregis & a Not so Well Informed Blogger….

10 Jul
Daniela GregisDaniela Gregis

Looking for information about designer Daniela Gregis, I stumbled upon an article I’d like to share. Not because it’s a great article, but because of the nonsense written in the article. 

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The Article

This is the point in my fashion career where I start to get mean.  Not because I want to, but because I have to.  Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be right.

I received an invitation to attend the Daniela Gregis Fashion Show for the AW2016/2017 collection during the Milan Fashion Week, and I was very excited to attend.  Fashion Show invites are hard to come by for relatively unknown fashion bloggers and you can read about how to make the most of the Milan Fashion Week for Beginner Bloggers in the article I wrote for the Independent Fashion Bloggers website.

The experience started off a little odd because I got there early wanting to read the press kit to find out more about the designer and the collection.  I tried to do some research online but found literally NOTHING about the brand.  A website with little more than a vague, cryptic description of dissonant phrases, plus the brand has NO SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE WHAT SO EVER!

None.

What?  In this day and age how can a brand even think about selling with absolutely no social media, and yet this is NORMAL, especially for Italian brands who have already established their distribution channels pre-the internet age.

This is still shocking to me, but as a manager and marketer I get it (I think of it as the coward’s way out), but I get it.  I even put together some tips on how fashion bloggers can ease brands into social media in this article for the Independent Fashion Bloggers website.

Don’t Fear The Negative

In the article I mention above, one of the reasons I presume brands shy away from social media is that they fear the negative publicity that can occur from “online shaming”.  Negative tweets, Instagram images with too few likes, critical comments on Facebook, they are all possibilities once you put your designs out there for the world to see.

But here’s the thing.  If you truly stand behind your brand and designs you should be willing to accept the critiques of your followers, buyers and fans along with those of the people who do not buy your brand.  I mean, feedback is one of the best aspects of social media.

You don’t need to listen to everything being said, but believing enough in your brand and designs to participate in a two-way conversation is part of the fashion game now a days.

Daniela Gregis, Clothes for Old Ladies Who Want To Look Like Old Ladies

I have nothing against Daniela Gregis, and it would be wrong of you to think that by referring to her designs as “old lady clothes” I am being negative.  Actually, quite the contrary.  In a world where designers are feverishly making clothes for thin, “Goddess like” women who are all over 5’10” with no hips …I am getting TIRED OF THE SAME OLD.

That being said, Daniela Gregis is an “old lady”, and by old lady I mean a mature woman well into her 60s if not 70s.  It is clear that her collections are targeted to women such as herself, and indeed she furthers this point by actually walking her “catwalk” herself.

Her designs are a very specific blend of unsewn “rawcut” edges, hand knits, asymmetrical shapes and taffeta mixed with  cotton.  A very particular style worn by granola eating, hippy Italians (if granola actually existed in Italy), the whole flavor of the collection was “nonna” aka “Grandmother”.

She is surprisingly well distributed in some of the country’s more prominent stores and her brand is less of a brand than a reflection of herself and her moods.

The only piece of informative text that was to be found in the press kit was a small blurb in English and Italian that went something like this:

“Daniela Gregis laughs, worries, gets angry and has a little present for everyone…friends, relatives, cousins, artists, children, mothers and perfect strangers exchange roles, interact and shape some always new and entertaining creations*creatures…”.

Although I personally would never wear this style, and find it a little sad when fashion moves toward craft and away from the sartorial roots that Italy should be known for, there are things that I do like about her collection.

I appreciate how purposefully unsexy all of the shapes are, intended to create voluminous spaces to house the body while not accentuating any particular aspect of its femininity.  This could be something I seek out as I enter the second half of my life! Who knows!

You don’t need me to tell you that mature women are making waves in the fashion world.  The number of 40+, 50+ and 60+ fashion bloggers is on the rise and for good reason.  Surprisingly enough, main stream fashion has not caught on to the trend fully and only a handful of brands from cosmetics to clothing are really serving and reaching out to this demographic.

A few years ago, I was responsible for putting together a catalogue for one of our luxury exotic leather belt lines.  It was a few weeks before our presentation at a  fashion fair in Paris and I contacted a 50 year old ballerina to be the model for the catalogue.  OH THE CRITICISM I RECEIVED!!

Why did you get such an old model? What did you find so perfect about her? Why didn’t you use a regular model?

Let’s think about it.  How many 17 year olds do you know who can afford 650 euro for an alligator belt? And more importantly,  of the 17 year olds in the world that CAN afford our belts, how many of them are interested in spending their money on “classic” designs as opposed to the latest trend that some rap singer is wearing!?

My audience is NOT 17 year old models, why should I use them to speak to the women who are potentially my clients?  And yet, this decision was poopoo’d upon.  I would like to set the record straight that I am ahead of the times, because the following year, it seemed like beautiful “blue haired” models where in all of the catwalks, a token symbol with little substance of fashion’s willingness to represent who they actually sell to.

But I digress,  Although Daniela Gregis’ collection is not my style I applaud the fact that she is creating clothes for the more than “mature” audience and is willing to put herself in the limelight to prove her style’s wearability.

Now, if she was on social media she would know about this review!  Social Media and “the internet” is not something every over 60 year old has embraced, so I will just assume that her lack of social media presence is part of the technology age gap and less about social media fears.

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My Response

This fashion blogger did some research on the internet and found nothing on the brand,  plus the brand has NO SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE WHAT SO EVER! In this day and age how can a brand even think about selling with absolutely no social media, and yet this is NORMAL, especially for Italian brands who have already established their distribution channels pre-the internet age.

Everybody has the right to determine how to run their company. How and if to promote their brand. Because there’s the possibility to work with social media, doesn’t mean you have to promote on social media. There are brands that choose to not promote at all, also brands which are relatively young, like for instance Paul Harnden Shoemakers. A very sought-after brand, although almost nothing is known about the designer.

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one of the reasons I presume brands shy away from social media is that they fear the negative publicity that can occur from “online shaming”.  Negative tweets, Instagram images with too few likes, critical comments on Facebook, they are all possibilities once you put your designs out there for the world to see.

For some brands, the clothes/collections speak for themselves. Some fashion bloggers have the idea they can make or break a collection, but they’re overestimating the power of social media.

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But here’s the thing.  If you truly stand behind your brand and designs you should be willing to accept the critiques of your followers, buyers and fans along with those of the people who do not buy your brand.  I mean, feedback is one of the best aspects of social media.

You don’t need to listen to everything being said, but believing enough in your brand and designs to participate in a two-way conversation is part of the fashion game now a days.

If you truly stand behind your brand and designs, you don’t need a two-way conversation. Maybe for designers who only want to please their customers, feedback is a good aspect….

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That being said, Daniela Gregis is an “old lady”, and by old lady I mean a mature woman well into her 60s if not 70s.  It is clear that her collections are targeted to women such as herself, and indeed she furthers this point by actually walking her “catwalk” herself.

The “old lady” on the catwalk is not Daniela Gregis, but the beautiful model and actress Benedetta Barzini!!!! If the writer of the article had taken five minutes to to do some research online, she would have found out Daniela Gregis is the woman in the photograph above this post, like it took me five minutes… 

Benedetta Barzini has been modeling for many decades. Discovered on the streets by Consuelo Crespi in 1963, Diana Vreeland soon spotted her potential as a model and arranged a photo shoot with Irving Penn, which established her successful fashion career in New York. She also worked with other notable fashion photographers such as Bert Stern and Richard Avedon. Barzini graced the cover of the first issue of Vogue Italia in November 1965. In December 1966, she was named one of the “100 Great Beauties of the World” by the American fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar.

Benedetta Barzini. Photo by Irving Penn. Vogue, September 1968.Benedetta Barzini, Ph. by Irving Penn. Vogue, September 1968
Steven Meisel , Romeo Gigli ,Benedetta BarziniBenedetta Barzini, ph.Steven Meisel for Romeo GigliBenedetta Barzini in a brown, cowled linen dress by Christian Dior, photo by Avedon for Vogue 1967Benedetta Barzini, ph. Richard Avedon, Vogue 1967 Vogue US, January 1965. Bert Stern. Benedetta Barzini.Benedetta Barzini,ph.Bert Stern, Vogue US, January 1965 Gregis-RF16-0148_img_400_665 Benedetta Barzini in Daniela Gregis show

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A very particular style worn by granola eating, hippy Italians (if granola actually existed in Italy), the whole flavor of the collection was “nonna” aka “Grandmother”.

I appreciate how purposefully unsexy all of the shapes are, intended to create voluminous spaces to house the body while not accentuating any particular aspect of its femininity.  This could be something I seek out as I enter the second half of my life! Who knows!

Daniela Gregis collection is sold by the Dover Street Market stores (multilevel fashion retail and concept stores created by Rei Kawakubo of Japanese fashion label Comme Des Garçons) in London, Tokyo and New York, together with Raf Simons, Vetements, Gucci, Dior and The Row (the luxury brand by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen). So maybe the writer of the article doesn’t get the style of clothes Gregis designs…… ? 

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You don’t need me to tell you that mature women are making waves in the fashion world.  The number of 40+, 50+ and 60+ fashion bloggers is on the rise and for good reason.  Surprisingly enough, main stream fashion has not caught on to the trend fully and only a handful of brands from cosmetics to clothing are really serving and reaching out to this demographic.

Wow,mature 40+, 50+ and 60+ fashion bloggers are on the rise….! What could they have to say? And do they need special brands? 

I think “mature women” could know a lot more about fashion, then the writer of the article. And “mature women”, like Anna Wintour, Franca Sozzani, Miuccia Prada, Pat McGrath, Grace Coddington and many more still dictate fashion today…..

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Now, if she was on social media she would know about this review!  Social Media and “the internet” is not something every over 60 year old has embraced, so I will just assume that her lack of social media presence is part of the technology age gap and less about social media fears.

The writer of the article is on social media, so I assume one day she will know about this review and find out, Daniela Gregis is not “over 60 years old” and her collections are sold in the trend setting Dover Street Market stores and are not (only) made for the “mature women” in the second half of their lives…. 

If you want to be a great fashion blogger, respect choices people/brands make, do good research before you start writing and don’t overestimate the social media!

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A/W 2016/’17  Daniela Gregis

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info: http://reasonstodress.com/danielagregis/

 

Raf Simons created a Robert Mapplethorpe Collection

26 Jun

Raf Simons s/s 2017

It was the invitation that bore the first clue to what the SS17 collection would hold – a self portrait of Robert Mapplethorpe, the photographer best known for his highly controversial documentation of New York’s gay and fetish communities in the 1970s and 80s. Mapplethorpe’s image and images ran throughout the collection, appearing on every garment both literally and in more referential ways. Besides the photo prints, both of the artist and of his subjects and still life compositions, his influence could be felt in the shine and studs of a leather bar trucker hat, the subtle sexuality of a thin belt worn around the neck. 

Raf Simons s/s 2017

More than simply repurposing the work, Simons expressed a desire to present the world of an artist he has followed for years to a new audience. “I want to challenge myself also for the [Robert Mapplethorpe] Foundation to hopefully make it believable to a different audience… (to) reach out to different generations, not only people who are following art.”Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons about this collaboration

Usually when I work in collaboration with an artist I go ask the artist. This time I was the one who was asked to collaborate. The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation contacted me because they wanted to know if I was interested in finding a way to do something together. As soon as we started talking I began to feel that they’re really in another world. I was curious to find out why they wanted to do this and then I was interested to see what kind of schedule they had in mind. Maybe this was something they wanted to do in relation to the retrospective that was going to open, the documentary that’s about to come out and the film that’s been shot.

Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons s/s 2017I went through all the work. Mapplethorpe kept all his original contact sheets. The archive is very beautiful to look at. Every print is in the same scale so you can see everything. There’s a huge number of books with categories for famous people, black guys, flowers, Lisa Lyon, her portraits, Polaroids… I was familiar with most of it, but there were also many things I’d never seen before. I was quite struck from the emotional impact seeing portraits of artists and certain people I admire who have passed away.Raf Simons s/s 2017

I’m a fashion designer, so I thought the biggest challenge for me was not to be boring and show Mapplethorpe’s work in a gallery again, but instead to show it in relation to my own environment.

Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons s/s 2017

Raf Simons declared: “It’s so easy to go wrong.” 

I am a huge fan of the work by Raf Simons and of the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. But this time, I think Simons did go wrong. Years ago I made some clothes with printed-on photo’s of Joy Division and I can honestly say, these items were much more interesting than this collection. I wish I could show some pictures of the Joy Division items, alas I wasn’t and still am not good at documenting my work….

Simons could have been much more creative with the Mapplethorpe theme. I think, the way the photographs are presented in/on this collection doesn’t do Mapplethorpe’s work right at all.

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Mapplethorpe, A Biography  

by Patricia Morrisroe

Book cover

The only biography I read as often as the biography of Coco Chanel!

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info:

http://www.wmagazine.com/fashion/2016/06/pitti-uomo-raf-simons-transforms-robert-mapplethorpes-photography-fashion/

 

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