The Brooklyn Institute Debuts Online ‘Philosophy of Fashion’ Course



Who would’ve thought that 2020 would unfold into a terrifying sci-fi flick, converting our daily work, exercise and social routines into virtual events? Finding resourceful ways to spend the time that’s been freed up from grinding commutes and, let’s admit, FOMO, has become the new norm. But as no virus is capable of killing our love of learning, the Brooklyn Institute’s upcoming Philosophy of Fashion online course immediately piqued our interest.

It’s quite rare these days that the intellectual realm of philosophy would find itself bumping up against the oft fleeting world of fashion (we recommend reaching back to Roland Barthes’ exalted 1967 work The Fashion System), let alone become the topic of an extended course. But for those who thrive on dichotomy, the class provides a case study that answers fashion-focused cerebral questions: “What does fashion have to do with modernity, political economy, commodity fetishism, media and climate change?” and “How does the philosophy of fashion intersect with ideas about gender, class, identity, morality, politics, and sex?” Essentially, despite its reputation as being ephemeral, what depths does it uncover about us?

The course was designed and will be led by Rebecca Ariel Porte, Ph.D, and core faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. Looking at the philosophy, theory, and history of fashion, Porte will turn to writings from influential theorists, sociologists, philosophers, and biologists including Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Karl Marx and Charles Darwin.

The four week course begins Wednesday, April 8th and runs through the 29th—so one might emerge from quarantine with a much keener understanding of why we wear what we wear.


The Brooklyn Institute For Social Research

For New ‘Dior Talks’ Installment, Tracey Emin On Feminism + Art



While all physical resources obviously must be directed at life-saving and emergency efforts related to the coronavirus outbreak right now, it’s also important to continue to stoke the philosophical and ideological flames that have brought such great progress to our contemporary reality. And as another instance of Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s commitment to the socio-cultural causes of women, Dior has launched #DiorTalks, an ongoing podcast series examining art’s evolving relationship with feminism.

The fourth installment has just been released, and features the unrelentingly provocative Tracey Emin, who exploded into the public consciousness in the early ’90s as part of the Young British Artists. Chiuri has actually specifically pointed to her as an inspiration, and even made a visit to Emin’s London studio when she took the reins at Dior in 2017.



In the episode, Emin recounts her journey from a troubled childhood in Margate, to the explosive young creativity coming out of Camden squats at the onset of the ’80s, on to her 1999 Turner Prize, a 2013 CBE, and her appointment as a Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Throughout, she has been a fierce, uncompromising voice of feminist exigency, in what remains still a male dominated art world.

She recollects, “Twenty years ago, people were saying, ‘Oh, there she goes again, bloody Tracey Emin, complaining about abortion or rape.’ I wasn’t complaining about it, I was making a strong point about it.”

While she preps for the monumental Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul exhibition opening at the Royal Academy on November 15, you can listen to the full podcast here.


Ferragamo is Launching a Very Stylish TRIVIA Game



When relegated to trips outside being only about fetching groceries and toothpaste, our irrepressible love of fashion is certainly given a distinct recontextualization. Though as a kind of empowerment therapy, we highly recommend dressing up a few times a week, even when just running out to pick up a box of cereal or stock up on wine.

But we also suggest shutting off the news and virtually spending some time with your favorite fashion brands, skimming their Instagram pages to plan for those post-corona outfit ideas—as an attitude of hopefulness can make quarantining significantly more bearable. Our friends at Ferragamo have actually just taken a proactive/creative approach to giving us a fashion fix, launching their new TRIVIA project via their very popular social media channels, Facebook and Instagram specifically.



Via quizzes and anecdotes, and with strikingly realized graphics, the game takes you through the history of the storied Florence fashion house, with a focus on legendary founder Salvatore Ferragamo. It was nearly a century ago that he returned to Firenze from America—1927 to be precise—and began making the shoes that would ultimately and decisively earn him a prestigious place in the international footwear pantheon.

For our part, we’ve already starting planning an autumn trip to Tuscany, which would absolutely include another visit to the Ferragamo Museum—as thinking about returning to travel is a sort of therapy unto itself. But for now, we’ll absolutely be tuning in to #FerragamoTrivia every Sunday and Wednesday—we’ll see you there.

Fendi’s New #BaguetteFriendsForever Short Stars Winnie Harlow + Shannon Hamilton



If we’re being honest, we really just can’t take any more bad, nay quasi-apocalyptic news right now. So the arrival of the next clip in Fendi’s heartwarming #BaguetteFriendsForever series has made us particularly, if momentarily happy this week.

The ongoing campaign brings together real life, and famous but not spectacularly so best friends—BlackBook, for instance, recently featured the episode with Tommy Dorfman and Naomi Watanabe—for a brief but fabulous adventure that ultimately revolves around the exalted Fendi Baguette bag. In the newest installment, The Unexpected Baguette, model Shannon Hamilton, in New York at the time, rings up pal Winnie Harlow in Miami, earnestly expressing how she wishes she could be there with her—which curiously enough, seems like a very relevant sentiment right now in this time of stifled travel and mass quarantining.



Later, during a seemingly solo Fendi shopping session, Harlow is checking out the scented FENDIFRENESIA, when someone comments, “Nice bag.” And, well, guess who it is?

“The best part about our friendship,” Harlow explains, “is that we have been and always will be there for each other. I can always be completely myself with Shannon; there’s nothing like having someone in your corner that’s going to have your back through thick and thin.”

With so much fashion advertising coming off so aloof and unattainable, we genuinely applaud Fendi for not only creating something so earnestly endearing…but also for celebrating the unparalleled joy of best friends spending carefree moments together. It will definitely make you want to pick up your phone immediately and tell your BFF just how much you miss them. Especially now.


First Images: Stockholm’s ‘Hem’ Has a New Soho Studio Space

Images by Brian Ferry



Over the last couple of decades, the American obsession with Swedish design has become essentially a matter of fact. And so the recent U.S. invasion of Stockholm-based Hem has seemed almost inevitable, if not way overdue.

Indeed, the brand (whose name simply means “home”), was founded in 1983, at a time when the States were more concerned with outré movements like Memphis. But a new, post-millennial wave of style magazines have ceaselessly exalted all things Scandinavia, paving the way for a primary 21st Century aesthetic that hasn’t much tolerance for wacky shapes and pastel colors. Hem actually opened its first outpost just last year in Downtown Los Angeles; and now it has unveiled its first New York studio, a 2500 square foot historic loft on Soho’s Broome Street—long where the city’s best design shops have clustered.

Hem has ever been known for its simple but elegantly modern lines, with an emphasis on craftsmanship over ostentation. And to be sure, classics like the Kumo Sofa, Last Stool, Alle Tables, Touchwood and Udon chairs, and the Alphabeta pendants will all be on offer, alongside new pieces like the Max Lamb Max Table and Bench, and the Powder-Vases by Jenny Nordberg—all of the latter making their first appearances in the States.



Fully embracing their new NYC home, which is a typically high ceilinged Soho space, a notable feature is the site-specific sculptural installation by Brooklyn duo Chen & Kai, which stands at around ten feet feet tall, and is characterized by 20 mirrored panels. So guests can take in a kind of “broken” or schizophrenic view of themselves…though Hem describe it as a kind of deconstructed skyscraper.

“New York has been our single most important market since Hem’s inception,” enthuses Petrus Palmér, CEO and Founder. “It is a city filled with creativity and entrepreneurial ambitions and home to many architects and designers we admire. While it took some time to find the perfect space, Soho was always a must for us, as one of the most walkable and visually striking parts of the city, and center for so much of its design and creative leaders. We’re thrilled to make it our home.”

For those who cannot make it to one of the Hem U.S. locations, shopping online is also an option.


RHYME SO’s Brilliant ‘Fashion Blogger’ Pokes Fun at Fashion + Social Media Excess

Images by Sarai Mari 



Being just on the other side of the New York, Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks, perhaps allows for at least a small measure of…ironic distance. And so the glorious new RHYME SO single “Fashion Blogger” can just be enjoyed for its joyfully sardonic brilliance.

The duo of Australian singer RHYME and Mondo Grosso’s Shinichi Osawa is kind of unexpected; but the track itself is an impossibly infectious mix of sexed up funk riffs and ’80s club culture, with smart-alecky lyrics about fashion world self-importance, and obsession with social media.



RHYME SO explain it as, “Our main point in ‘Fashion Blogger’ is to share a widely talked about commentary but make it…you know…fun. A way to urge people to take themselves less seriously and get off the excess, unnecessary social media that may harm mental health.”

The accompanying video is a riotous glam skate-off, with RHYME going up against Drag Race star Milk (both actually used to be professional figure skaters). Between the former’s deadpan performance, the latter’s unabashed showiness, and the hilarious, condescending indifference of the judges, it’s our absolutely favorite thing right now.


Tag Heuer Just Debuted a Sleek New ‘Connected Watch’ That Can Also Keep You Healthy



Perhaps it’s an omen of a sorts, that we were able to sneak in one last splashy launch party before the coronavirus lockdown in NYC. And the introduction event for the sexy new Tag Heuer Connected Watch definitely provided enough glamorous diversion to hold us over for the next few weeks.

And there are plenty of reasons to love this sleek new timepiece, which combines the fashionable looks of TG’s statement Carrera watch with the functionality of a smartphone, the brand’s third generation version of this line.

Very much designed with sporting types in mind, there’s an impressive range of bells and whistles that are intended to measure your performance and vitals. Indeed, through a Google Assist program, it comes connected to a sports app that will track your GPS and heart rate, with accelerometer and gyroscopic sensors to synch up with sports such as cycling, running and golf. It can all be integrated with Apple Health and Google Fit.



Most impressive is the ability to transition from different looks as you change your mood—giving it a sort of underlying fashionplate/superhero vibe. To be sure, it easily switches from a dressier steel bracelet to a sportier rubber style, via interchangeable and distinctively good looking straps. The works are housed in an elegant 45mm steel or titanium case, while the touchscreen OLED display offers five different face options, for instance the classic analog Tag Chronograph, the Heuer 02 skeletonized dial, a digital animated orbital face, and their heritage timekeeping stopwatch.

On hand for the final hurrah (for now) were Frederic Arnault of LVMH, along with brand ambassadors Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Oliver Cheshire, Paulina Vega and VIP’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Broderick Hunter and Young Paris. It was a pretty fabulous note to end on—but we’ll be back soon.


Above two images by BFA

Daniel Arsham’s ‘Future Relics’ Sculptures Bring Dior Into Your Living Room



As the very notion of Fashion Week has faced existential threats from an increasingly digital world, the top houses have taken to ratcheting up the conceptualizing—as we reported recently of the Prada and Ferragamo Milan shows.

For his Summer 2020 Men’s presentation for Dior, Artistic Director Kim Jones went as far as erecting a tent in Paris’ epic Place de la Concorde, ultimately paying tribute to late punk stylist and fellow Brit Judy Blame (who passed away from cancer in 2018). He also enlisted American artist Daniel Arsham as a creative collaborator on the sets—and now miniaturized versions of his sculptures are being offered as an exclusive collection in Dior boutiques worldwide.



Arsham has become well-known for his haunted, “decaying” sculpts of familiar everyday items, cameras, sneakers, etc. For Dior, he has created a series of five called Future Relics, which are perhaps the perfect metaphor for the gradual degeneration of Western ideals and values. Included in the collection is an homage to Christian Dior’s 1951 book Je Suis Couturier, now a jewel box.

These will surely be among the most talked about must-haves of 2020. For our part, though, we’re just trying to decipher if the clock being stopped at 10:10 is trying to tell us something.


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
EARRINGS: Tana Chung



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
Image 3: DRESS (WITH GLOVES): Vintage Moschino Couture from LIDOW ARCHIVE
EARRINGS, RINGS: Renato Cipullo
Images 2 & 5: BLAZER: Vintage Moschino Couture from LIDOW ARCHIVE
SHOES: Vintage Ralph Lauren from LIDOW ARCHIVE


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.




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