Balmain Recruits Naomi, Claudia and Cindy for New Campaign, a Promising Return to Fashion’s Golden Age

Photo via Vogue

The #BalmainArmy just enlisted some needed recruits, hopefully marking the militant march away from Olivier Rousting’s fixation on all things Kardashian. Three of the original supers—Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford—stepped in front of photographer Steven Klein’s lens for a newly unveiled series of high contrast black-and-white images.

Speaking to Dazed Digital about the campaign, Rousting had this to say: “I used to stare at them—on TV and in video clips; in magazines and in campaigns… They made fashion relevant, as relevant to pop culture as music, cinema and sport…”

For the past few years, Balmain has defined the fashion ethos: over-the-top commercialism, marked by fast turnarounds and a major sidestepping to true artistry. Though the clothes are often striking and certainly well-constructed, they don’t propel fashion forward. They’re stagnant in a sense, with no meaning behind them.

Gone are the days of fashion as thought; challenging works, such as Alexander McQueen’s Highland Rape cannot exist in fashion today, at least in a lucrative sense. People want easy and accessible, and Balmain is partly responsible for that.

Add that to the brand’s squadron of reality TV poster children—Jenners, Hadids or Kardashians— and you’ve got one hell of a boring mess. Don’t even get me started on that tragic H&M campaign, which attempted to capture Balmain’s excessive materiality through cheaply produced and ill-conceived garments.These fashion shifts, helmed by Rousting’s Balmain, have left artists like Raf Simons, Alber Albez and Alexander Wang reeling from the current state of fashion affairs. Simons and Albez, specifically, have been quite vocal with their bleak outlooks on the industry’s future.

“We designers, we started as couturiers, with dreams, with intuition, with feeling.” Albez said in the New York Times. “We became ‘creative directors,’ so we have to create, but mostly direct. And now we have to become image-makers, creating a buzz, making sure that it looks good in the pictures. The screen has to scream, baby.” But, he said, “I prefer whispering. Everyone in fashion just needs a little more time.”

So, let’s take this latest campaign as a call to action for both Balmain and our industry. It’s time we bring fashion back to the Golden Age. We need thoughtful garments that propel society and fashion forward, not just clothes that look pretty for a fleeting span of time. Slow everything down and make it matter.

BlackBook Premiere: Conrad Sewell Drops ‘Who You Lovin’ Off His Forthcoming ‘All I Know’ EP

“I’m trying to write pop in the context of soul,” said Australian singer/songwriter Conrad Sewell late last year, while perusing a London liquor store. “I’m finished now for [2015]; I can just chill and hang out with my family.” But with a forthcoming EP slated for U.S. release Jan. 8, the “Firestone” hitmaker has much to look forward to in the New Year.

Sewell’s new EP, titled All I Know, will feature six songs, all lyrically centered on stories of heartbreak. “When I moved to Los Angeles, I broke up with my girlfriend,” he said. “It sort of sparked a lot of those songs” Each of the six tracks are imbued with relatable references to love and lust, Sewell’s voice being the defining element.

“[It’s] quite different,” said Sewell, discussing his distinct sound. The rising talent’s vocals occupy a lane comparable to that of Pop King Michael Jackson—an undeniable radio-friendly quality with authentic, passionate undertones.

With recent stints performing at Jingle Ball 2015 and winning Australia’s coveted Song of the Year Aria Award for “Start Again,” Sewell is an artist to be watched closely this year. Ahead of All I Know‘s nearing release, we’re thrilled to premiere “Who You Lovin”—a bright, funky single that masks the singer’s pain with buzzing dance production. Listen, below:

 

 

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Photography: Alexander Saladrigas
Creative Director & Producer: Jake Freeman
Art Director: Dfernando Zaremba
Styling: Anthony Pedraza
Grooming: Homa Safar (Oribe, Laura Mercier, Bumble & Bumble)

ListaPost Will Make You an Organized Instagram Connoisseur

Instagram has proven itself as the social outlet of choice for those operating in creative industries, especially in fashion. The platform functions as both a marketing tool and place to source inspiration, but Instagram isn’t without flaws; screen-capturing images and trying to locate them in an ever-expanding camera roll is one hell of a hassle.

ListaPost, a new app for iPhone and Android, allows you to index Instagram images and share curated libraries with anyone, anywhere. “We have eliminated the need to take screenshots, freeing up storage space on the user’s phone, while providing a tool that allows users to organize their favorite posts in one place and share them,” said ListaPost Founder Benjamin Nazarian.

Users can seamlessly save Instagram images into folders without disrupting the functionality of the app. These folders can then be shared among colleagues and friends, embedded into websites and emails, and shared via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Though the essence of the app is organization and curation, there’s an added bonus: “ListaPost gives you the power to tell a story by uploading multiple images in a singular post as a slideshow—recapping a major event [or] a campaign launch” Nazarian said. With regards to anything from meme compilations to editorial moodboards, ListaPost will be your new best friend.

 

Old Navy Tees Discourage Toddlers from Being Artists

via ArtNet

Another day, another token douche revealed. The Internet’s running amuck over Old Navy’s discouraging new toddler t-shirts, which the retailer discontinued earlier today after viral controversy ensued. The tees in question boasted a “Young Aspiring Artist” slogan with “Artist” crossed out and replaced with either “Astronaut” or “President.”

Aren’t artists more often than not a conduit for social change—more so than, say an astronaut? Defining cultural events, such as the Harlem Renaissance wouldn’t have been possible without artists; there would be little social commentary without artists and visionaries like Susan Sontag and Friedrich Nietzsche both progressed human thought through their art. What’s most ironic about this fiasco is an artist likely conceptualized Old Navy’s t-shirt.

Thankfully, the San Francisco-based retailer has since pulled the controversial product offline and an official spokesperson released the following statement:

At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously. We would never intentionally offend anyone, and we are sorry if that has been the case. Our toddler tees come in a variety of designs including tees that feature ballerinas, unicorns, trucks and dinosaurs and include phrases like, “Free Spirit.” They are meant to appeal to a wide range of aspirations. With this particular tee, as a result of customer feedback, we have decided to discontinue the design and will work to remove the item from our stores.

 

Alt Citizen’s Nasa Hadizadeh Chooses Her Favorite Anti-Pop Songs of 2015

With so many year-end music recaps focusing solely on commercial powerhouses (we’re looking at you, Justin Bieber) we thought it appropriate to disenfranchise from the commercial music sector.

So, instead of posting a multitude of tracks that trumped the charts in 2015, we spoke with Alt Citizen’s Editor-in-Chief, Nasa Hadizadeh, to find out what buzzed in her world. “There was definitely a resurgence of loud, aggressive female voices in rock who are covering lots of new unexplored territories,” Hadizadeh said. “I use [music] to escape, to heal, to feel good, to reminisce.”

Though a few big names made the cut, indie artists reign supreme throughout Hadizadeh’s selection. Let’s escape the drab world of radio hits and indulge in some progressive 2015 tunes:


 

“Desire” by Dilly Dally

Dilly Dally released their debut album ‘Sore’ this year and it’s full of power and emotion—messy, loud, tender and beautiful. ‘Desire’ is lustful and sexy and will bring you back to those times you stayed up all night thinking about your crush.

 

“Time Wasted” by Shopping

Shopping makes intricate yet playful music with insightful lyrics, perfect for chill hangs with your friends.

 

“Wave of History” by Downtown Boys

Downtown Boys will nurture your anger and rage, and remind you it’s time for a revolution.

 

“Grief” by Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt’s ‘I dont like shit, I dont go outside’ is the perfect album for an introspective, long walk home.

 

“Take It All Back” by Sui Zhen

Sui Zhen makes sweet nostalgic pop music that makes you feel like you’re living inside a movie.

 

“Wesley’s Theory” by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is full of wisdom; ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ is heavy and self-aware.

 

“Bassicallly” by Tei Shi

Tei Shi’s brand of alt-R&B is sensual and empowering.

 

“errrrrrrrrrror” by Poor Grrl”

Ominous dance-inducing art beats with dark, somber lyrics.

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“Corvettte” by Shannon and the Clams

Romantic garage-rock goodness.

 

“Pretty Pimpin'” by Kurt Vile

Kurt Vile will chill you out; if you’re ever feeling anxious or stressed, just put on some Kurt. 

 

“Let It Live” by Fuzz

So many textures and so many genres are explored in ‘ii.’

 

“Umbongo” by Girl Band

Girl Band’s sound is chaotic, loud and cathartic.

 

“Grim” by Acid Dad

Acid Dad’s brand of psychedelia is charming and impressive.

 

“Self Hypnosis in 3 Days” by Wand

Blast this and head bang with friends.

The Amazon Street Art Project Launches, Features Seven Artists and Seven Exclusive Prints

“Bunny” by AIKO

Amazon is taking to the streets with its latest arts initiative, The Amazon Street Art Project or #ASAP. Though the e-comm giant has been selling art for nearly two years via the Amazon Art platform, this is their first foray into commissioning it. Leading the charge is RJ Rushmore, the highly respected curator and founder of Vandalog. “[Street art] was the first kind of art that I found both contemporary and accessible,” Rushmore said. “Art should make people think, not make them feel stupid.”

Rushmore was given a clear directive from Amazon (seven prints and editioned works made by street artists) and nearly free reign to execute it. “They were happy to let me figure out the best doors to open,” he said. Though the timeline for completion was short, Rushmore knew exactly who in the street art community could execute the project without sacrificing quality. AIKO, Ron English, Logan Hicks, Faith47, Ganzeer, Stikman and Gaia comprise the talented roster of street artists chosen by Rushmore and Amazon for #ASAP.

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“Wasted Lives” by Logan Hicks

He approached the curatorial effort in such a way as to showcase the broad scope of the genre. “[It] is difficult to define,” Rushmore said. “Give it a try. Is it just art on the street? No, because public sculpture is not what we mean when we say ‘street art.’ Does street art mean using spray paint and stencils like Banksy? No, because there are so many other ways to put up street art. What makes these seven artists indicative of street art as a whole is how different they are from one another.”

The Amazon Street Art Project launches today and lasts through the 13th or until the work is sold out. Each of the seven works is limited to 50 prints, ranging in price from $200-$550. “Successful street art can be complex and even conceptual, but, to some degree, it also has to be understandable to any random passerby,” Rushmore said, and Amazon has brought that attainability to the Internet.

PROM’s Stunning F/W Fashion Film Brings Together Established and Establishing Designers (Watch)

PROM is a New York-based creative agency that takes young, driven creatives and pairs them with industry veterans in an effort to broaden the scope of their promising work. They’re passionate about empowerment and this latest project is a testament to it.

The nearly two-minute fashion film and editorial, “OLGA,” brings together a mix of established and establishing designers, echoing this laudable mission statement. “The video was inspired by our desire to create a narrative through the pairing of style and location,” explained PROM co-founder and director Luca Repola. “Ultimately, our goal was to establish tone through color, movement and texture.”

Starring the titular Olga Datsenko, who’s signed to Marilyn Agency, the film follows our protoganist seeking solace in the quiet reaches of an urban landscape. A sense of solitude echoes throughout the film, recalling nostalgic memories of days spent wandering and wondering about the wider world. Watch the F/W-focused fashion film, below.

 

Scenes from OLGA

Photography: Micaiah Carter

Styling: Kaysy Gotay

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Dress: Fe Noel, Top: LaQuan Smith, Shoes: Jean Michel Cazabat, Jacket: Vintage, Ring: Miranda Konstantinidou

_MG_1940Dress: LaQuan Smith, Earrings: Miranda Konstantinidou, Shoes: Jean Michel Cazabat, Bag: Gedebe

_MG_1630Jumpsuit: Fe Noel, Jacket: LaQuan Smith, Shoes: United Nude

_MG_5909Coat: Dior, Pants: LaQuan Smith, Dress: Saunders, Necklace: Vintage, Fur Collar: Fe Noel, Shoes: Jean Michel Cazabat, Bag: Gedebe

_MG_1370Top: Nicole Miller, Pants & Earrings: Miranda Konstantinidou, Coat: Fe Noel, Shoes: Jean Michel Cazabat

Not Just a Label Pop-Up at the Waldorf Astoria to Showcase 100 Independent Designers

Photos Courtesy Thilo Ross (Image Agency)

Not Just A Label’s independent design ethos takes its first IRL step into Manhattan tonight. The e-comm giant and supporter to more than 20,000 brands from around the globe has opened its holiday pop-up shop at the Waldorf Astoria in partnership with the Made in NY initiative. “[They] made this whole project possible,” said NJAL Founder Stefan Siegel.

The shop is NJAL’s first in the United States and will showcase 100 independent designers over the course of its 10-day residency, all of which are New York-based and produced. Siegel referenced the unique ability of New York over other fashion capitals to produce within its own borders as inspiration for creating the shop. “New York still has a fairly intact garment industry, which makes it unique and this is something we’d like to underline more,” he said.

In conjunction with the pop-up, a bevy of talks and workshops centered on New York design will take place within the space. “In our eyes retail should never be the only focus,” Siegel said. “We want to give back to the community and also allow for a knowledge exchange to happen.” Highlights include talks guided by Siegel with PR maven Kelly Cutrone and Parsons School of Fashion Dean Burak Cakmak, both focused on what it truly means to be “Made in NY.” Another conversation, this time guided by the CFDA’s Sara Kozlowski, will take on New York’s fashion education system with all of its power players.

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Japanese Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto Discusses 220-Photo ‘Seascapes’ Book

Aegean Sean, Pillon (1990)

“I’m very craft conscious,” says the Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto in conversation with Christie’s International Head of Photographs Darius Himes. “Only artists ascend to the highest technique. You have to train your hands first. I still believe in my hands.” Sugimoto, known for his time-centric photographs of dioramas, abandoned American theaters and seascapes speaks pensively. The direct, meticulous and commanding nature of his work matches that of his presence, which attracted an entranced crowd at Manhattan’s Strand Bookstore.

Sugimoto and Himes spent the hour-long conversation dissecting his craft as true artisans would, celebrating the newly released second edition of Sugimoto’s Seascapes. He describes his vision of sky and water as a form of time travel—a way to capture the ancient world and see it from the perspective of its inhabitants. “It’s the only artistic device I can use to travel through time,” says Sugimoto in regards to his 8×10 large format camera. “The more I think about it, I can share the first consciousness of mine and human beings themselves.”

sugimoto-seascape-north-atlantic-cape-breton-1996North Atlantic Ocean, Cape Breton Island (1996)

Beginning the series in 1980, Sugimoto cites his childhood memories of the sea as inspiration. “One day through the train I saw clear skies and an extremely sharp horizon,” Sugimoto says, recalling a destination two hours from Tokyo. “It still remains strong.” The artist’s images are somewhat algebraic, yet they remain distinct through details. For example, the horizon line cuts directly through the center of each photograph, though the varying exposure times offer both clarity and confusion by way of focus. Some images are sharp, while others are not.

They are primitive—primordial, even. There is a sense of foreboding in Sugimoto’s seascapes: No white caps, clouds, boats or birds. There is no visible life. They are simple and clean, preempting humankind itself. Sugimoto and Himes end their dialogue on a humorous note, with Sugimoto assuring the audience that his seascapes are not taken from the same vantage point. Thunderous applause ensues.