Diesel and Terry Richardson Collab for 30 Year Milestone in Japan

Cover/ Poster Images by Terry Richardson; Party Images Courtesy of Diesel

Diesel celebrated 30 years in Japan this month with a huge Tom Ford-style see-now-buy-now fashion show, photo collaboration with Terry Richardson, and exclusive design collabs that yielded awesome new ready-to-wear pieces.


The fashion-filled night kicked off with an exhibition of some of Diesel’s best archived looks, dating back to 1978 and curated by Diesel Creative Director Nicola Formichetti. From there, a runway show of the A/W 16 collection was presented, with garments from the line available for purchase immediately after the event.

fashin-show fashion-collabs

“Japan is where I was born and it has always played a prominent role in my creative process, being a constant source of inspiration, a huge part of who I am,” said Formichetti. “Celebrating 30 amazing years of Diesel in Japan is a match made in heaven, I can’t wait.”

The celebratory night was attended by musicians, models, and actors, as well as some of fashion’s most high-profile editors. Design collaborations on display included parternships with Jogg, N. HOOLYWOOD, and Yuko Koike.

fashin-party fashions-elite

“I have always been in love with Japan, said Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. “I visit the country regularly, as do our design team. This special anniversary is dedicated to Diesel’s Japanese supporters, who always push us to do more and better.”

The night ended with a bang: the unveiling of a new photo project by Terry Richardson in partnership with Diesel.

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Home Page Video

The whole night can be streamed here.



Boards of Canada Premiere Video on a Screen in Tokyo

Since single edition 12”s were unearthed on Record Store Day, Scottish experimental ambient electro dudes Boards of Canada have been teasing us, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that leads to Tomorrow Harvest, the band’s first album in seven years. And having remained quiet—save one-off cryptic releases—since Trans Canada Highway, we’re pretty thrilled that in come June 10th, we’ll all be able indulge in our favorite chilled-out and hauntingly spacey tunes.

But yesterday, in another piece of the puzzle that completes the album’s release, Boards decided to exhibit more music via a screen in Tokyo. Projected in Shibuya, the video is as ambitious as one would assume but does feature a hint of new music. 
So check out the video for yourself below, as well the trailer for the record, and head over to cosecha-transmisiones.com (password: 699742628315717228936557813386519225) to pre-order Tomorrow’s Harvest.

Japanese Art Collective Gutai Group Gets Guggenheim Retrospective

The Gutai Art Association, a dynamic group of artists that formed in the Hansion region in 1954 post-war Japan, re-envisioned a social approach to art making. They lasted until 1972, with works presented via performance, exhibitions in the environment, and galleries, as well as in department stores. But what would it have been like to witness the activity during their formation and watch these interpreters present ideas that paralleled their experience in a forming democratic nation?

Gutai: Splendid Playground, the first full spectrum retrospective in North America landed at the Guggenheim Museum on February 15—a great time to observe this avant-garde’s movement and spot clues that add up to a dynamic visual rebellion. You’ll take away a clearer perspective and keen interest in applying their initiative to your daily life.

The Gutai’s first presentation was a thin publication of black and white reproductions of artwork from the original 17 members in 1955. Moving forward both with the creation of work and the writing of the Gutai Manifesto in 1956, by the founder Yoshihara Jiro, a governance for interacting with material and chance was established. “With our present awareness,” the manifesto states, “the arts we have known up to now appear to us in general to be fakes fitted out with a tremendous affectation.” At its inception, this movement constructed the modern Japanese creative dialect and established a new platform for artists to “make something that had not been made before.” Gutai, translated, means concreteness, and the word is formed by the characters for “tool” and “body.” The meaning shaped the perspectives of these avant-garde artists and the word’s character construction created a framework for them to “put the greatest importance on all daring steps which lead to an undiscovered world.” This was a concrete desire to set their spirits free: “Keeping the life of the material alive also means bringing the spirit alive, and lifting up the spirit means leading the material up to the height of the spirit.”

One artist, Kazuo Shiraga, used aggressive forms of force translated across paper and the ground. He hung from ropes above surfaces covered in pools of paint. Using his feet, he skid-out paintings with unusual composition balance. They look like the aftermath of a tribal ritual. With the earth work and performance piece Challenging Mud (1955), he wrestled with a mixture of wall plaster, cement, and mud. The work results in a photographic record of a fight until exhaustion—a definitive resistance performance piece.

Saburo Murakami lead charges through surfaces with Passing Through (1965) (pictured), a performative painting made by launching his body through a stretched layers of rice paper on multiple frames. These were lined up to form a blocked pathway. Inspired by his young son’s temper tantrums, Murakami’s action left traces that transformed emotional flailing into a manifestation of heroism—like an American small-town football team crashing threw a pep rally banner. Failure only exists if you believe in it.

With all the cultural and artistic transformations, Jiro Yoshihara sought his own form of “satori”, the enlightenment of Zen. With his Circle (1971), he painted out a circular form on a colored canvas. Yoshihara said he could not manage to paint even one circle with satisfaction—an indication of the difficulty to reach a level of peace and his dedication of pursuit for perfection.

Atsuko Tanaka, one of the few women members of Gutai, reinterpreted her physical relationship to space using thoughtfully drawn, and planned out ideas executed as performance. In one, The Electric Dress (1956), she constructed a sculptural work that covered her entire body. It was composed of electric wiring and light bulbs that pulsed and radiated into a space. Only her hands and eyes were visible from the burqa-like couture gown—think Alexander McQueen meets a Bowery Street light store. She became an illumination of a new circulatory system in exhibition spaces. Another work, that is installed and re-created in the Guggenheim exhibition, Work (Bell) (1955), the challenge becomes for the viewer to understand the perimeters of a space. As a loud bell sounds and it’s ringing slowly diminishes, all that remains is an auditory outline that traces the body of the room.

Gutai artists even took to the sky to present exhibitions. With the “International Sky Festival” in 1960, they created reproductions of their drawings and paintings, and incorporated ones from artists outside their immediate community like Lucio Fontana and Alfred Leslie. Set up on the roof of the Takashimaya department store and affixed to balloons, the works slowly rose into the Osaka sky. It’s an announcement of freedom from the confines of the exhibition space. The works become part of the vast span of the atmosphere.

The Gutai group’s goal was liberation. It challenged compositional beliefs and strayed from the rules of technique. When you view the works, focus on how they are inter-connected and use the spiral-arena of the museum to get amongst the visual philosophies. As you gear up to see the exhibition, make a plan to take part in Ei Arakawa’s performance-as-exhibition-tour Concrete Escort I, II, III on March 22 and April 12. The New York–based Japanese performance artist gathers painters, poets, and curators to address Gutai in the present day. You’ll be escorted throughout the galleries of the museum—becoming an active participant in the power and dynamic between women and men; singularity and plurality; performance and painting. Liberate yourself in the New Year—reestablish your relationship to works of art on a concrete and primal level. See this exhibition using the 360-degree perspective, then launch out onto 5th Avenue and challenge the currents of our constructed reality.

Noise You Need: ‘Yellow Loveless’

We discussed late in 2012 the eternal defeat of being a My Bloody Valentine fan: mastermind Kevin Shields is great at getting our hopes for new material up and then spiking them like mason jars on asphalt. So here’s your consolation prize: a bunch of noisy Japanese bands covering Loveless, start to finish.

You can get the entire tribute album—no, I’ve no idea why it’s called that, except that perhaps they designed the cover first?—on Japanese iTunes, which I know we all have, or Amazon, but luckily a lot of these tracks have been showing up on YouTube. For example, you’ve got Boris’ take on “Sometimes,” which will be enough to sell most noiseheads on the project.

Elsewhere, there’s the hilariously lounge-fried “When You Sleep” from Shonen Knife, a cover of “Touched” by The Sodom Project that sounds like that one Nine Inch Nails song from Natural Born Killers (so help me I will not look it up). Best of all, though, may be Lemon’s Chair’s version of “What You Want,” which accesses the danciness of album closer “Soon” for dream-pop of the highest order. To the clouds!

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Looking at Cute Things Can Help Productivity; We’re Not Convinced

So, you watched the debate last night. You might be feeling a little delicate from playing one of the many debate drinking games in existence. You may just have very little hope for humanity at this point, and the last thing you can think about right now is that big pile of work-related stuff you have to get done, like, now. But all you want to do is look at YouTube videos of baby otters and hedgehogs and click-bait galleries of kittens and feel better about living on this planet. Is that so much to ask? 

Apparently, if your supervisor catches you in a Cute Overload vortex, you may have at least a threadbare excuse. A new Hiroshima University study titled "The Power of Kawaii" (a term from Japanese culture meaning something overly cute or lovable) suggests that looking at cute li’l puppies and bunny rabbits may actually make you more productive in the workplace. In the study, two groups of participants were asked to play a board game—one group after looking at baby animal pictures and the other looking at slightly-less-cute adult animals. The former group finished more quickly and with more accurate results, suggesting that the images led to a spike in concentration. The scientists, who published the study in the journal Plos One, suggested this increase in concentration may be due to the images of cute and vulnerable things triggering the caring, nurturing impulses in the human brain, leading to participants paying more attention. I mean, whatever you need to tell yourself that your perusing images of baby arctic foxes or videos of corgis listening to "Gangnam Style" (believe me, the Internet has tried) is a brilliant career move. 

On that note, here is a man being love-attacked by a litter of golden retriever puppies, so basically, after watching that, you should be able to finish your spreadsheets and head to happy hour a little bit early. Or, you get sucked into a cute-puppy video k-hole. Whichever happens first. 

Try Not To Run Out of the Room Screaming After Learning About “Bagel Heads”

The phrase "bagel heads" may conjure any number of images or possible definitions. Maybe they’re fans of circular bread-type items who all frequent the same deli, or people who wear modified bagels as hats. Maybe it’s a new low-budget torture-porn horror film that takes place inside the freezer of a deli. Nope. It is none of those things and probably more fascinating/terrifying than whatever else you were thinking of.

In Japan, the shiny new thing in body modification, as we are informed from a September 2012 episode of the National Geographic show Taboo, are “bagel heads.” Daring body-mod enthusiasts have medical saline solution injected into their foreheads to create the shape of a bagel. The results are temporary, and presumably safe, and the recipients seem to really like it but it still kind of looks like a really bad allergic reaction to something. One artist bringing the “bagel heads” to light is Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda, an artist, photographer and journalist who has been highlighting extreme body modification trends and underground scenes in Japan for years.

We’re not sure if this is catching on or if it’s just everybody calling a few people doing a thing a “trend” (like teens drinking nail polish remover to get high), and certainly, if you’re into that extreme level of body modification, by all means, do you, but the clip below from Taboo will probably haunt your dreams. (Those with phobias of needles are advised to avoid, avoid, avoid; just go to the next post).

Happy Thursday, everybody! Hope you have a great day!

[via LaughingSquid]

All I Want Is a Pair of Denim Underpants

You guys, my birthday this weekend. I will be 29 years old. And that’s actually 29 years old, not thirtysomething but just saying I’m always turning 29 because ha ha ha isn’t that so clever and cute? Anyway, because I am not yet in my thirties, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to wear denim underpants. Right? Right.

My friend Darci told me she was going to get me these for Christmas, but fuck that! I can’t wait that long. All I’ve ever wanted in my life is a pair of boxer jorts, because it really is time to take freeballing to a whole new level. I mean, LOOK AT ALL OF THE STYLEZ:

I think the pair with "me" in Japanese really say "me," wouldn’t you agree?

Contact the author of this post at tcoates@bbook.com and follow him on Twitter.

Justin Bieber’s Crew Mutinies Over Japan Trip

Justin Bieber’s crew is staging a mutiny over the prospect of the heartthrob’s tour going to Japan. The tour is currently in Australia, where some crew members told manager Scooter Braun that they wouldn’t go to Osaka and Tokyo on May 17 for fear of radiation from the recent nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. Braun told the crew, “Man the fuck up and do the right thing by these kids.” Sounds like a melodramatic TV movie.

During this same meeting, the traitorous crew pointed out that Avril Lavigne and Slash, of all people, had canceled their Japan tours. Braun fired back that Maroon 5 hadn’t canceled theirs. The two sides are still at loggerheads, and the status of Bieber’s Japan tour is up in the air. A bunch of cowards, all of them! Japan has had a terrible spring and Japanese tweens deserve to see the Bieber.

In fact, Justin is having kind of a bad time of it general. Last week in Sydney, a teenage boy threw eggs at him and his dancers (missing them, thankfully — or not thankfully, depending on your perspective). The teen was apprehended at his parents’ house.

So the Bieber team is kind of a mess right now! I’ve always felt kind of sorry for Justin Bieber, ever since that New York magazine profile of him last summer. He’s leading a very strange existence. It probably doesn’t help when people throw eggs at you and your whole crew refuses to cooperate.

Morning Links: Lindsay Lohan Rejects Plea Bargain, Gwen Stefani Gives A Million to Japan

● Lindsay Lohan is headed to trial after rejecting a plea bargain that would have had her facing up to three months in jail — far less time than the prosecution’s desired six months to three years. She’s instead taking the case to trail in hopes of maintaining her, um, innocence. [NYDN] ● How I Met Your Mother‘s Josh Radnor is adding to the canon of college flicks with Liberal Arts, a movie that he’s set to both star in and direct. He’ll be joined by actual liberal arts student Elizabeth Olsen. [THR] ● MTV has renewed it’s once relevant The Real World for at least two more seasons. For those counting: the show’s current season, set in Las Vegas and playing out like a sleepy episode of Jersey Shore, represents the 25th season. The 26th is already in casting, meaning this guarantees a 27th and 28th. That’s a lot of strangers. THR]

● Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E., the album he was promoting on Good Morning America before his shirtless outbreak, appears to be on track to debut at number one on the Billboard charts. That’s better than if Rebecca Black took the top spot, right? [Digital Spy] ● Gwen Stefani, an early American adopter of Japanese Harajuku style, has donated $1 million to Save the Children’s Japan Earthquake Tsunami fund, saying “I’ve been inspired by Japan for many years and have a true love, appreciation and respect for the Japanese people and their culture.” [No Doubt] ● Lady Gaga maintains what sounds like a healthy relationship with her father, and per his request, only has tattoos on the left side of her body. “He asked that I remain, on one side, slightly normal,” said Lady Gaga. “I think he sees this as my Marilyn Monroe side and he sees this as my Iggy Pop side.” [Rolling Stone]