BlackBook Interview + Exclusive Photo Shoot: Caroline Vreeland Talks Leather Bustiers, Russian Lit + Singing the Blues

HAT: Vintage 1960’s Yves Saint Laurent from LIDOW ARCHIVE
GLOVES: Wing & Weft from LIDOW ARCHIVE
EARRINGS: Tana Chung
DIAMOND NECKLACE: Renato Cipullo

 

 

We first encounter Caroline Vreeland walking down the stairs on our way to pick up some snacks for the studio crew in Brooklyn’s gritty-but-gentrifying Bushwick. We are there with photographer Jess Farran for an exclusive BlackBook shoot, and Vreeland arrives wearing a cropped, oversized denim jacket, vintage high-waisted Levis, classic Chelsea boots, and dark sunglasses—which makes her seem like she’s just escaped from ’80s pop video.

She has just landed from Canada, where she sojourned with a new love interest between scheduled appearances. Although she comes from a storied fashion pedigree, and is an accomplished model and singer-songwriter in her own right, Vreeland cheerfully accompanies us to a modest local bodega to pick up the necessary comestibles.

 

 

As we walked a few blocks together before the start of the shoot, we began to catch up on her life. Caroline has a very soft, approachable way about her that is immediately disarming. It stands in contrast to her glamorous, compelling public persona which, combined with Marilyn Monroe good looks and alluring Audrey Hepburn mannerisms, radiates a certain star power, amplified by her growing social media and magazine cover presence.

Throughout the shoot, and over a bottle of 2018 Mon Cher Gamay, a wine—light, sweet and tart—that seems a fitting metaphor for the dynamic yet accessible Caroline. Before the camera started snapping, we engaged her on a wide range of topics…but most notably, her new album Notes on Sex and Wine (released this past Monday, March 2).

 

 

Your album is a bit autobiographical; how does it feel to put so much of yourself out there?

It’s the only way to do it. I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me, because Instagram is such a great platform for building my fanbase. But it’s almost cookie cutter—the images on there are generally what the world wants to see, and it can be boring. So with this album, I put out what I want the world to see and hear. The real shit. And I was going through a really bad breakup—I know, ‘whoa is me,’ we have all had bad breakups—and I have since recovered. But I was going through a dark time.

How did you deal with it?

I wanted to show that I wasn’t getting intimacy, and I took to drinking. I was so lonely when I moved to Miami, that’s why the album is called Notes on Sex and Wine. It was the lacking of one thing, while I was drowning in the other thing. In order for me to get passionate about my work, it has to have everything in it. It took about two years to produce this album. 

Is it better to love, or be loved?

That’s a great question, no one has ever asked me that before. It’s usually easier to be loved. If you love and it isn’t reciprocated, then you feel stupid and hurt. I want to be loved…adored, actually, by everyone. I do have a lot of love to give, though. But at the end of the day, to be loved is better. It sounds selfish, but it’s the truth. When I was in Miami, I was giving all the love and I wasn’t getting it back.

 

Images 1 & 4: DRESS: Troy Dylan Allen from LIDOW ARCHIVE
EARRINGS, RINGS: Renato Cipullo
NECKLACES: Tana Chung
Image 3: DRESS (WITH GLOVES): Vintage Moschino Couture from LIDOW ARCHIVE
HAT: Vintage from LIDOW ARCHIVE
EARRINGS, RINGS: Renato Cipullo
Images 2 & 5: BLAZER: Vintage Moschino Couture from LIDOW ARCHIVE
PANTIES: LIDOW ARCHIVE
SHOES: Vintage Ralph Lauren from LIDOW ARCHIVE
GLOVES: Wing & Weft from LIDOW ARCHIVE
EARRINGS, NECKLACE: Tana Chung 

 

You’ve become a celebrity through your modeling, music and social media. But what is it that people still don’t know about you?

I think I try to be this badass, crazy bitch in my public image; but my closer friends remind me that, in reality, I’m the girl that just drinks red wine and goes home early. People might be surprised to learn that I am very into sci-fi podcasts, for example—all the ones that are on the Welcome to Night Vale channel…anything that has some sort of conspiracy theory in the mix. I love those. I am an avid reader and enjoy Russian literature—Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Chekhov, really big on it.

Which is definitely different from your public image. 

I come across as sexually aggressive, but when I am with someone I am comfortable with, I am much more subdued. I am really extroverted most of the time; but now that I am in my thirties, I am starting to really treasure my alone time. I’m living in Brooklyn now, so I am really just discovering my neighborhood and I have a couple of spots…I really love Bar Tabac [a Parisian-style bistro in Boerum Hill]. 

Your music has a lot of soul in it. Who are your biggest influences?

I started learning music when I was 8-years-old, and I played the wind at a school play, just making blowing sounds into the microphone; I had determined at that moment, I wanted to perform. I remember liking Fiona Apple and also starting to like performing in front of people.  So I started taking vocal lessons. In my youth I was listening to Al Green, Etta Jones, Nina Simone—that blues sound is in my album is now. And then I went through some growing pains and tried pretty much every genre. At first I thought I wanted to be like Christina Aguilera or Beyoncé—that sort of loud, belting pop, so I did a project like that.

 

 

‘Drinking For Two,’ Paste Magazine Studio Session, January 3, 2020

 

But there was more to you?

Yes, next I did a project where the sound was more like that of the Black Keys; then I tried something that was more orchestral, like being the female singer of Muse. So I have done all this shit only to come back, and the blues are the thing that roots me now. It took more than twenty years to come to that. What I am channeling on this album is definitely Amy Winehouse, in the sense that I like to write about things that are darker in content; which means that the production has to be kind of down. But what Amy always did was find ways to incorporate movement in her work, even when the subject matter was so dark. Patsy Klein and Nancy Sinatra are also big influences sonically. When working with my producers, we would pull up sounds and moods that we would like and try to emulate them in my own version.

You recently performed before an adoring crowd here in New York, at the Standard East Hotel—and you’re also doing a few more live dates in the area. Do you enjoy it?

Yes. I have this crazy, bitchy, demanding French stylist, and he told me that I have to have a different, unique outfit for every single venue. Which is interesting because, while I am performing in large venues, they are still kind of divey in look and feel; and yet, I will be dressed to the nines in very thoughtfully chosen, customized outfits. I have a strong affection for fashion, but I also want to be some combination of myself—a person—and an image. So even though I like to be very candid and open in my interactions with the audience—I talk about my day, and how I am feeling—I still want to put on a bit of an image and a show.

People have come to expect that of you.

I will wear a custom tailored outfit, and then make it more dramatic with a cape, for instance; or maybe by wearing a leather bustier. Different outfits allow my performances to take on different shapes. I just want each show to be distinctive and have its own life.

Any surprises we can expect?

I’m using a drummer in my show for the first time…and I will be singing a cover song that no one has ever heard me do before.

 

 

Credits:

Images by Jess Farran
Producer and Text: Alfredo Mineo @alfredomineo
Photographer and Director: Jess Farran @Jess_Farran
Stylist: Haile Lidow @hailelidow
Hair and Make Up: Henry De La Paz @henrydelapaz
Beauty: Eileen Harcourt @harcourts  Using TATCHA Beauty @tatcha

South Korea Fashion Ascendance: Ten Labels You Need to Know

Alana Hadid in Beyond Closet Sweater 

 

 

South Korea is taking America by cultural storm of late, stunning Hollywood with its Best Picture Oscar win for Parasite, and exporting K-Pop bands that make the girls scream louder than Bieber could even imagine. Even K-Beauty skin care is a thing.

Korean brands are also shaking up the fashion scene with an arsenal of fresh looks and new thinking, centered on a concept of creating playful and edgy, yet accessible looks that work well on a variety different body shapes…and naturally, coming to be known as K-Fashion. BlackBook was treated to a show of those very emerging designers during New York Fashion Week and, in short, we were blown away.

 

 

For the event, fashion trade pub The Daily Front Row and The Selects, a showroom in SoHo that represents rising Korean fashion talent, presented the Fall-Winter 2020 collections of ten emerging Korean labels, including Beyond Closet, BMUET(TE), Heohwan Simulation, Hidden Forest Market, KYE, LEYII, LIE, NOHANT, SWBD and WNDERKAMMER.

Here we present a quick but pithy overview of each line—but we strenuously recommend visiting The Select’s showroom at 62 Greene Street to see them all firsthand.

 

 

Beyond Closet

The brainchild of Tae Yong Ko, who first decided to pursue a career in design after attending Fashion Week. Inspired by a preppy, Americana aesthetic, it is informed by the designer’s belief that what people have in their closet accurately reflects their personality and lifestyle.

BMUET(TE)

Incorporating unconventional construction and pattern cutting, up-and-comers Byungmun Seo and Jina Um launched BMUET(TE) to challenge preconceived notions of fashion via their singular creative direction, which they described to BlackBook as “weird but beautiful.” We found the collection to be modern, expressive and distinctive.

HEOHWAN SIMULATION

Educated in history, designer Hwan Heo blends aesthetics and craftsmanship from the past with his visions for the future in his London-based label HEOHWAN SIMULATION. The newest collection is an homage to luxury and casual wear from the ’80s and ’90s, but revived through a sustainable lens.

Hidden Forest Market

Husband and wife duo Ji Hyun Hwang and Sung Jun Cho launched their line Hidden Forest Market in 2012, to give women the freedom to tell their stories through their own personal style. The couple’s new collection translates the sweetness of summer nights into fashion with effortless sophistication.

 

 

KYE

Kathleen Kye offers designs that are deeply personal, often reflective of the current state of global, social and political affairs. She approaches this with a sense of humor, wit and optimism, offering women designs that are vibrant in mood, with a colorful palette, and elaborate detail.

LEYII

A graduate of Central Saint Martins, Seunghee Lee has shown contemporary brand LEYII at Seoul Fashion Week since 2010. The collections are a celebration of femininity, emphasizing the beauty of the female form with minimalist structural lines and meticulous, delicate draping.

LIE

Another Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Chung Chung Lee masterfully blends geometric patterns, sculptural shapes, bold color, and playful textures, championing female individuality, expression, emotion and strength—qualities central to the brand DNA in LIE.

 

 

NOHANT

Giving his followers a new way to look at unisex essentials, Noah Nam incorporates Parisian elements of modernity and elegance in everyday garments, while maintaining focus on distinctive design, enduring style, and uncompromising quality.

SWBD

SWBD, or Sewing Boundaries, is a unisex brand created by Dong Ho Ha, who is not one to shy away from experimentation. As each collection’s design direction continues to evolve, Ha aims to use fashion to bridge the gap between gender and generation.

WNDERKAMMER

A play on the classic “wunderkammer,” or cabinet of curiosities, WNDERKAMMER is designer Hye Young Shin’s own unique collection of objects which hold special meaning for her and serve as a source of inspiration. Crafted in natural and eco-friendly fabrics, designs are geared toward the needs of the modern woman—versatile, pragmatic and sophisticated.

 

Secteur 6 is Undertaking a ‘Regenerative’ Fashion Revolution

 

 

Secteur 6 is rethinking the entire way we source, produce and wear clothing.

While the current trend is sustainability, with seemingly every brand jumping on that particular bandwagon, Secteur 6 is taking it to the next level by pioneering a regenerative process end-to-end. What exactly is the difference between sustainable and regenerative production? While the former focuses on sourcing and manufacturing that minimizes impact to the environment, the latter actually enhances the environment through agricultural methods that enrich soil and capture carbon (amongst other things).

The founders, brothers Amit and Puneet Hooda, have played a pivotal role in establishing the Secteur 6 district of Delhi, India as a regenerative and transformative neighborhood that combines state of the art facilities with expertise in leading edge design and production. The Hoodas specifically set their sights on the fashion industry—currently recognized as the world’s second-largest polluter. And their Secteur 6 brand specializes in organic and regenerative manufacturing, from dying techniques to locally sourced and organically created fabrics and textiles. Their mission is to eliminate poverty for the people in the region by employing local farmers, and selling apparel that is both conscious and chic, with a goal to, as Amit puts it, “change the world one look at a time.”

 

 

To set the tone and direction, the Hoodas secured designer Rosemary Rodriguez—the former creative director of Paco Rabanne, Thierry Mugler and Maje. 

They just revealed a seasonless collection at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), offering “see now, buy now” and fall deliveries with bright colors such as poppy, fuschia and neon rainbow, that combine to create a look which works just as easily in downtown NYC, as in some far flung exotic destination. Artfully presented by master stylist Masha Orlov, the collection includes tangerine berets (modern pill box hats), evocative of Paris, which she mixed with bright-colored stockings. The collection pays tribute to the country of origin, with an embroidered Indian lotus flower.

It was made possible by Secteur 6 developing and creating game-changing textile innovations, such as using bananas, rose petals, organic cotton, hemp bamboo, and plant-based viscose, in keeping with their sacred commitment to source locally using regenerative agriculture.

 

 

This season features classic utilitarian and intentionally relaxed silhouettes, fringe embellishments, paillettes, embroideries and appliques. The ethical, as well as uniquely stylish collection, even includes silk pajamas for an elevated athleisure.

“There is a serious change afoot,” enthuses Amit, “and Secteur 6 is committed to changing the direction of where the earth is heading, while simultaneously elevating the feminine in all her forms.”

With proceeds supporting the education, job training, healthcare and community improvement of the workers in their facilities and farms they work with, a Secteur 6 purchase will not only power your wardrobe, but will contribute to elevating communities and renewing our environment.

 

Art as ‘Mixed Reality’? Ruinart X New Museum Debut AR Driven ‘First Forever’ Installation

 

 

The New Museum, whose existence has coincided with a rush of the art world down to the Lower East Side, remains steadfast in its mission to present breakthrough art concepts. But it has just added something a little different to the mix: augmented reality, and the effervescent bubbles of France’s oldest Champagne estate, Ruinart.

In a bold collaboration between an epicurean classic and artists pushing us towards new ideas and ways of seeing the world, the Ruinart x NEW INC Forever First Mixed Reality Pop-Up has just made its auspicious debut at the venerable NYC museum.

 

 

The partnership was indeed inaugurated this past weekend with a splashy event in the Sky Room, which was transformed into an exploratory lounge space, bringing together the art and fashion world elite (Heidi Lee, Hannah Levy, Timo Weiland, Ash Owens) with tech biz leaders, to preview the award-winning virtual reality project Tree—by NEW INC alumni team Milica Zec and Winslow Porter—and a totally new augmented reality experience Dawn Chorus—by Reese Donohue in collaboration with artist Sarah Meyohas, with both installations exploring the intersection of humanity and nature.

If you’ve ever wondered what would it be like to be a tree in the rainforest, Tree facilitates the transformation via touch, sight, sound and smell, whilst bringing attention to the harsh realities of contemporary deforestation. The multi-sensory Dawn Chorus places users among virtual birds flocking around a real, physical Yamaha piano. Harmony of visuals and sound allow for the exploration of different perceptions of frequencies of musical scales, and the movements of said birds.

 

 

The pop-up will be open to the public Saturday, February 1 and Sunday, February 2, and available to all ticket holders on a first come, first served basis. In another first for the museum, the pop-up will actually feature a Ruinart Champagne bar, where visitors can purchase Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and Rosé champagne to sip while they experience the artworks…only heightening the overall sensorial effects.

For Ruinart as a company, it is yet another in a long tradition of art patronage—which, in these times of dwindling public arts budgets, is a particularly welcome thing.

 

 

BlackBook Interview + Exclusive Shoot: Model-Provocateur Omahyra on Faith, Art & Quitting Instagram

Images by Nelson Castillo
Above image clothing credit: Natasha Zinko, Green feather dress from ODDS, Miami Design District

 

She is the original badass of fashion, walking for designers such as Tom Ford, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Vivienne Westwood. Many might recall first seeing Omahyra in Jay Z’s hit “Change Clothes” alongside Naomi Campbell.

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NYC since age 10, model Omahyra now lives and works on her art in Miami. She is a humanitarian with a passion to give back to the world, enriching the culture through words and visual art. We caught up with her recently for an exclusive BlackBook interview, which also included this provocative shoot by photographer Nelson Castillo. During our conversation, we got inside the mind of the runway icon, painter and veteran of such movies as X-Men: Last Stand and After the Sunset—we were not disappointed.

 

Accessories credits: APM Monaco Jewelry, Balenciaga Shoes

 

During Art Basel you were part of the Levi Haus Miami, where guests were able to interact with you and create unique pieces. One of the sayings/options to be transferred to pieces was “OMG Omahyra Inspire The Future.” Can you please tell us where the phrase originated from and what it means?

There are layers to it. O.M.G. are my initials: Omahyra Mota Garcia, and it’s what I’ll be using as my artist name—but it also references my love of and belief in God. So the phrase “O.M.G. Omahyra inspire the future” is actually “OH MY GOD OMAHYRA INSPIRE THE FUTURE.” This was something my best friend Leo Velasquez would say to me. He loves kids and his goal in life was to always be doing something that would inspire the kids coming up behind him. He was just there pushing everybody to reach for their dreams. For me this moment was exactly that.

And Levis was a supportive partner for you?

I have always dreamt of being looked as an artist or creative director, working with a brand like Levis. They gave me this opportunity to achieve a dream of mine, to show a part of myself that I always kept private. So that phrase is me introducing myself as the artist that I am, while paying tribute to my best friend and someone I miss dearly. I pray to inspire the future the same way Leo did.

Your work is vibrant, with use of neon colors, at times, reminiscent of a mandala, geometric shapes, cosmic, as if you were painting frequency or sound. How do you approach your surfaces before you begin the process of painting and what is your favorite medium to work with?

When approaching surfaces, I always begin with feeling and interacting with the surface, feeling the texture on it, envisioning my lines and where they should go. My favorite medium to work on is acrylic on canvas. I love the freedom, it allows me to just paint as I go. I never pre-plan or sketch what I’m painting. I just paint what I feel and canvas and acrylic allows me to add depth and layers and the ability to just go with the flow of energy and frequency about me. Thank God for that!

 

Clothing credits: Fendi Top, Alexander Wang Pants, Boxers & Cycling Shorts

 

You recently deleted your grid on Instagram. What was the catalyst for this? Can you tell us why you left just one image from 2016 and what that photograph represents to you?

My Instagram grid was full of my past work, life, etc. I never really shared my passion with the world before so I wanted to start new and fresh, especially with me working toward my debut art show. The photo of me on my Instagram was a selfie in the mirror, which to me represents what I want to show the world. I want you to see a reflection of me, given to the world through my lens. The world has always seen me through the lens of someone else.

You have developed some unique and spectacular works of art. How do people access them? Where does your art live?

My work currently lives in my house. I’ve always painted for myself and my passion. I never shared any of this with the world but I believe now is the time. I’m working on my debut solo show, and from that point forward, my website will launch and you will be able to access everything through there.

 

Clothing credits: Staud Dress

 

Turning to fashion and your history on the runway, are there any designers you would want to walk for today? We’ve seen you pop up in Raul Lopez’s Insta stories, for example. Will we see you walking down the runway for Luar?

I’ve been in this state of transcendence and transformation. The only runways you will possibly see me on are those of my friends. Raul is a friend of mine, but we haven’t discussed walking in his show. If he asks, I would definitely consider it. But I’m more at the stage where I want people to see me for my other talents and passions. For instance, I created my own clothes as a child and I want to get back into that. Just giving people a piece of me through different interests I have.

Do you have any daily rituals?

My rituals mostly center around prayer and searching for God ‘s presence while making sure that my kids have everything they need.

What things are still a mystery to you?

God’s physical image! That, and why do the best people leave us so early?

 

Credits 
Model- Omahyra Mota @omahyramotaofficial
Photographer- Nelson N. Castillo @nelsonncastillo
Creative Director & Producer- Bianca Carosio @biancacarosio
Stylist- Mariela Ortega @bymo___
Makeup Artist- Autumn Suna using Chanel makeup & La Mer skincare @autumn_suna
Location- Maps Production House
@mapsproduction

 

Clothing credits above two images: Proenza Schouler Zebra Top, Off White Jeans, Natasha Zinko Shoes from ODDS Miami Design District; Top from Vetements, from Mrkt Deux, Raf Simons Denim from Mrkt Deux

Ungendered in 2020: Olivia Kim & Eileen Fisher Collab For Pop-In@Nordstrom

 

 

For their latest installment of Pop-In@Nordstrom—for which past partnerships have included Everlane, Gentle Monster, Goop, and Opening Ceremony—Nordstrom has just debuted ungendered capsule collection that marries the eco ethos of Eileen Fisher with the future-forward vision of Olivia Kim. Traditionally designing for women, Fisher has been creating elegant, timeless styles more than 30 years.

In its commitment to sustainability, EILEEN FISHER Pop-In@Nordstrom focuses on organic and reclaimed materials. This exclusive edition of the Eileen Fisher System is a uniform for the new world—an inclusive world. The 30-piece collection inspires creativity through connection and great design in an array of minimalist colors, and is crafted from a variety of conscious fabrics, including cotton and polyester fleece derived from recycled plastic bottles. The editorial was styled on both men and women.

 

 

“Our vision for this collaboration was not to design a collection for him or her, but for all of us,” enthuses Kim, Nordstrom VP of Creative Projects. “It was such an incredible opportunity to partner with Eileen Fisher on this project. I have always had tremendous respect for her not only as a woman who founded a successful business, but one that has done so with a thoughtful and responsible approach to fashion. We are aligned in our core values around inclusivity and sustainability and we are excited to share these important messages with our Pop-In@Nordstrom customers.”

Fisher continues, “Nordstrom has always been an important partner to us, so we are delighted to work with Olivia Kim and her team. Olivia is a true creative–reimagining our iconic shapes and styles into a unique collection that reaches across generations in new ways.”

From classics such as the collar jumpsuit and crew neck tee to the slouchy cropped pant and open V-neck cardigan, it’s a wardrobe of pieces designed to work together.

EILEEN FISHER Pop-In@Nordstrom is available online at Nordstrom.com/pop through February 9, and at select Nordstrom stores throughout the US and Canada.

 

Artful Intimates – Blair Breitenstein’s Mural for Hanro Celebrates Elegant Underthings

 

 

Hanro has been reinventing luxury intimates and underthings for more than 135 years – and an artistic bent has long been a part of their DNA. In recent years, artists the likes of Izak Zenous, Esther Bayer, Petra Dufkova, Marc-Antoine Coulon, and Miles McMillan have all been enlisted as collaborators.

Fittingly, then, the’ve just transformed their New York City flagship into a veritable work of art, with the installation of a one-of-a-kind, hand-painted mural by Blair Breitenstein – the celebrated fashion illustrator whose work has been previously esteemed by the likes of Prada and MAC. Recognized for her expressionist take on contemporary fashion and beauty, she has garnered a loyal following, and has been has been featured in Vogue, Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar.

 

 

Influenced by fashion photography, Breitenstein exhibits an emphasis on the imperfect line, with layers of crayon, marker and acrylic – making her work instantly recognizable.

BlackBook was treated to an exclusive preview of the mural, now gracing Hanro’s Meatpacking District boutique, and were dazzled by the artist’s trademark use of slender figures, and strikingly angular faces, brought to scale in this larger-than-life piece. While staying true to that aesthetic, Breitenstein has also cleverly tapped into the essence of Hanro, showcasing a deliberate delicateness, with a soft color palette in the mix.

Following the preview, we caught up with Breitenstein to discuss this project and its importance within the context of her overall oeuvre.

 

We see that you use watercolor in much of your work. Is that your preferred medium?

I actually like to use markers and pastel as my preferred medium. I like the combination of textures. Markers are flat and saturated and pastels are gritty. I think the pastel elevates the marker. I also love the accessibility of those tools, you can use them anywhere – they dry fast and are clean.

What was the process of creating the mural for Hanro?

I used acrylic paint – it was different, because I had less control. When I use markers on paper, I can simply start over, and with the mural, this wasn’t the case. I had a sketch I used as a guide…and trusted myself! The key to the success of this project was not psyching myself out.

 

 

Historically, your work has been with couture and accessories, while Hanro is a brand dedicated to intimates and loungewear. How did you change your approach for this project?

I did consider the differences in how I went about it. I usually work with bright, complementary colors and exaggerated features – but the Hanro aesthetic is softer and more natural in my opinion. I discovered that I really like an earthier palette. As I planned the work, I thought about softening my usual girl – no fake eyelashes, no red lipstick: Hanro is loungewear, so the girls should look comfortable.

What inspires your design aesthetic? Over time, how have you evolved as an artist? 

I love fashion photography from the 60s through the 90s – some of my favorites are Sam Haskins, Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin. I have evolved as an artist in that I tend to create artwork based on what I love, versus thinking about what people want. I think this makes my artwork better, more genuine and passionate.

 

We are privileged that below is an illustration that Blair Breitenstein did exclusively for BlackBook.

 

 

 

 

Chanel’s ‘Mademoiselle Privé’ Exhibition Opens in Tokyo

 

 

Chanel will be taking its Japanese devotees on an intimate journey into the very sources of the brand’s ideology this fall, on the fifth leg of its installation, Mademoiselle Privé. It is an apt title, one that also adorns the doors of its Paris Creation Studio at 31 rue Cambon.

The innovative exhibition features iconic pieces from its archives, and will be open to the public this month and is up through December 1 at Tokyo’s B&C Hall. It follows a successful run earlier this year in Shanghai, which was preceded by Hong Kong in 2018, Seoul in 2017 and London in 2015.

 

 

Visitors will experience Chanel’s creative processes as well as its absolute sense of luxury up close, with three different worlds being presented: haute couture, fragrance and jewelry. Among the highlights is a panoply of fabrics and patterns from Chanel’s most groundbreaking designs, with several salons dedicated to different materials used in past collections.

Also, a gallery devoted to the classic fragrance Chanel No. 5, which was created in 1921 and remains absolutely iconic. It’s just one example of the label’s unmatched longevity and relevance, as the scent continues to remain en vogue after nearly 100 years.

 

 

Perhaps most dazzling is the Bijoux de Diamants jewelry, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s collection of diamonds in platinum designed in 1932. It pioneered the use of flowing, asymmetrical styles at a time when high jewelry was quite stiff, making use of motifs of the sun, stars, and lions – favored symbols of the legendary designer. At the time of the release of the collection, it was quite unusual for a couturier to dabble in high-end jewelry.

To any connoisseur of Chanel, the installation is a delight to the senses, and is perhaps even a reason to stop putting off that trip to Tokyo.

Chanel Mademoiselle Privé Tokyo will be presented through December 1 at the B&C Hall in Tennoz, Shinagawa. 

 

Must See Exhibition: ‘Super Funland’ Delves Into the Peculiar Eroticism of Carnivals

 

 

Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when open celebration of human sexuality was decidedly taboo, carnivals and fairs served to pique the erotic imagination through otherwise verboten imagery and suggestion. Indeed, they have long drawn on the subconscious – celebrating repressed desire, promiscuity, and rebellion against sexual and societal norms, and serving as outlets for hedonism throughout history. They also allowed revelers to experience decadent pleasure and, quite often, actual vice.

Fittingly, the Museum of Sex, whose mission is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history and cultural significance of human sexuality, has just opened its largest and most immersive exhibition to date, Super Funland: Journey into the Underground Carnival. Inspired by the social, artistic, and purely salacious aspects of historical fairground attractions, it reimagines the illicit thrills of a lost world of traveling carnivals and World’s Fairs for 21st century audiences, blurring the line between art and experience, and inviting visitors to become participants in said history as well.

 

 

Super Funland‘s exploration of the carnival’s roots is accompanied by a multi-floor interaction exhibition of thirteen humorously explicit games and amusements, as reimagined by contemporary artists – allowing for the possibility of losing oneself in both the carnality and the simple joy of the fair.

The exhibition opens with the living history of Al Stencell, who proverbially joined the circus at age 11 and documented the midway’s underbelly of burlesque, strip, and girlie shows along the way. The exhibition then transitions into an immersive 180-degree cinema, which depicts the carnival’s origins, followed by “Stardust Lane,” a forty-foot kaleidoscope where six dioramas represent examples of bawdy moments from the World’s Fairs and Coney Island, which emerged in the 19th century as one of the most notorious meccas devoted to hedonism.

A variety of amusements encouraged licentious behavior, with headline attractions such as the “Blowhole Theater,” which exposed the lower halves of skirt-wearing visitors. Upon visiting New York in 1909, Sigmund Freud himself purportedly said that, “The only thing about America that interests me is Coney Island.”

 

 

Additional highlights to arouse the senses include a 4-D immersive “Tunnel of Love” ride, an erotic fortune-telling machine modeled as RuPaul and styled by personal designer Zaldy; and an elaborate illuminated climbing structure leading to a two-story spiral slide, which whisks visitors into the museum’s psychedelic carnival bar, Lollipop Lounge. One can also test one’s romantic vigor with a biometric Kissing Booth.

Original commissions were created by an international team of artists and designers that include Bompas and Parr (UK), Droog (Netherlands), Bart Hess (Netherlands), Rebecca Purcell (US), and Snøhetta (Norway).

Seriously, Super Funland is without a doubt the most fun you’ll have all year for the price of a museum admission.

The Museum of Sex is located in at 233 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan’s NoMad district – so to keep the hedonism going, we suggest drinks at the nearby Clocktower, the always fabulous bar/restaurant at the New York EDITION hotel, inside the namesake’s architectural treasure, followed by a late dinner of decadent comfort food at The Breslin inside the Ace Hotel just a few blocks up.