Exploring "Fashion" with Inez and Vinoodh

Me Kissing Vinoodh (Lovingly) 1999


Inez van Lansweerde and Vinoodh Matadin guest edited the fashion issue of Aperture Gallery's newly revived magazine, and what the Dutch photography duo and fashion/art/advertising crossovers curated is a beautiful Ode to Mode that is as multi-tasking as they are. 

Inside the pepto pink cover, featuring Richard Hamilton's "Fashion-plate", the prolific duo showcases their own work, including some never-before-seen images, as well as that of other artists, photographers, film makers, and editors that influenced their work and the industry at large. 

Images and interviews run the gamut from Sixties Ed van der Elsken nudes to Shisheido ads from the 1970's to a portrait of rising star and all-around outlier Iggy Azalea accompanying an article about the forces shaping post-9/11 fashion. A healthy dose of current and mainstream imagery, like the editors' own iconic shots of Lady Gaga, Anya Rubik, and the ubiquitous Kate Moss are dotted throughout, providing the connective tissue for an issue that in just 131 pages gamely covers generations and genres of fashion, photography, and art.


HIGHLIGHTS OF "FASHION":


1.) "Uneasy Bedfellows", a referential article by Alistair O'Neill detailing the tricky relationships between documentary photography and fashion photography is especially pertinent given the glaring presence of the guest editors' blazing, delicious self portrait "Me Kissing Vinoodh (Lovingly)". 




2.) Immediately after followed another article, "Fashion Film & the Photographic", a thoughtful reflection by Marketa Uhlirova that examined the similarities between the two titular mediums.

Fashion film, like fashion itself, is particularly fascinating in that it dances the fine line between art form and commercial, and is more often than not a little of both. One question posed by Uhlirova that even the casual fashion film buff can appreciate is the ever-present notion of "stillness" and "restricted expression". She offers two schools of thought, the first being that photographs are more memorable, and the second that consumers and buyers alike need stillness to be able to appreciate the fine details of the featured pieces. Whatever the reason, it definitely warrants further reflection, especially given the ever-increasing use of fashion filmography to express a designer's mood-du-jour and indeed inspire a tinge of desire dreamed up with the end goal of loosening purse strings.




3.) As an overall fashion-busybody, I relished Penny Martin's interview with Emmanuelle Alt. Reading more like a conversation, with Martin frequently interjecting her own experiences in the industry to coax out admissions from Alt, the piece painted a gorgeous portrait of one of the industry's Anti-Editor Editors. I plan to frequently refer back to Alt's responses, like these below, which  you can find heavily earmarked and underlined in my copy of the magazine:

Penny Martin: When it comes to initiating a shoot, [are common] influences even mentioned between collaborators of the same age?
Emmanuelle AltWell, this story began with Inez and me exchanging images by e-mail. Sometimes it comes from almost nothing; it might just be a color. When you’re shooting in the sun—you know that strong blue sky in St. Barths—you need a contrast. So I might say, “What do you think about red and white?” And Inez is like, “Oh, yeah, sure!” I’ll send a picture of a red shoe and a RenĂ© Gruau illustration, which is full of red, and just a silhouette or a little sketch. It’s not always photographs—often it’s a painting or a frame-grab from a YouTube film. Very quickly, we’ll start to build up an image of a woman, and then we can discuss the casting. Some photographers will keep changing their casting or think they need a stronger idea. But Inez isn’t someone who hesitates. It’s like three phone calls and everything is booked.
---
PM: How many people were on set with you and Inez and Vinoodh?
EAOh, it was always twenty, minimum. You have the digital operator, and now you have a producer...it's like a mini version of the cinema industry.
---
PM: Which of the images that you were involved in creating do you look back at - which would you say were most important in terms of establishing your signature visual language?
EA: About four years ago, my first story with David was "Commando" with Iselin Steiro - she was wearing army stuff; this was a tough, new character we created. I was very proud. And not long after I came to Vogue, I started wotking with Inez and Vinoodh and I think we really created something together.

PM: Do you mean all those images of Jessica Miller with the extravagant poses?
EA: Yes, that was the beginning. They were good, I think. I loved the feminity and the mystery of Inez in them.
---
PM: I remember saying to [Vogue art directors] Michael and Mathias when they first got the job, "Oh my God, that archive! Having that resource downstairs is going to be great." I was so surprised when they replied that they had no intention of using it.
EA: It's a dilemma, working with an institution with such a history. "Should I look back? Should I not look back?"
PM: In our industry, a conversation about using archival references can be very nuanced. [People] might think you're accusing them of copying someone else's work.
EA: Well, people can't say they don't work with references - I mean, they're everywhere, from advertisers' storyboard to fashion designers' mood boards. But sharing a picture in order to discuss lighting or allude to Jessica Lange's hairstyle from a particular film is different from redoing something. And what's the point of that? It's like when singers cover "La vie en rose" - you just know it's going to be a disaster since there's nothing to add.



4.) In "Inez and Vinoodh: The Art of Transformation", Donatien Grau argues that the photograph "Me Kissing Vinoodh (Lovingly)" is a metaphor for the pair's relationship - both in art and in life. The sensual femininity, attachment, trust, and a fierce sense of equality depicted in the image, argues Grau, capture the very essence of the twenty-five year collaboration that has defied the individualistic nature of photography and yielded an incredible portfolio of work.

We're offered nearly 30 stunning photographs accompanying the article, among them these:

A two-tone stretch satin and lace pantsuit by Bertrand Marechal, The Face 1994

Lamb, Agnona Campaign

Maggie's Box, Yohji Yamamoto campaign 1998

Eniko for Peace, Self Service Magazine

Pick up a copy of Inez and Vinoodh's "Fashion" issue at Aperture (547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor, NYC) or online - it's disguised as a magazine but will certainly become a trusted source of inspiration and reference, and a coffee table mainstay for years.

Cheers,
Renata

Farm to City


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I love love love denim on denim, and I played off of the farmer-chic look with a fringe bag and an easy, knotted bandana that doubles as a super-light scarf for this in-between weather. Knee-high boots in supple suede were referential, but the burst of sleek black dressed up the look for a city jaunt.

Cue that Target commercial, and sing it with me: "Denim."



Cheers,
Renata

"Feuillage" - Fall Fashion Styled by ScorpionDisco.com






Last month, a team of photographers, fashion enthusiasts, creative types, and one gorgeous model spent a full day shooting a fall fashion spread at the Kensington, a beautiful new high rise in downtown Boston with views for days and the most perfect lighting. The concept for the clothing was bright, cheery fall colors that evoked foliage, or as us Francophile fashion types like to say, "Feuillage". Photographer Gina Manning is known for her iconic shooting style, adding and manipulating the colors and shadows before shooting, rather than in post-production, which makes virtually every shot different and injects a hearty does of other-worldly effect that is just perfect for the spooky season - my favorite!


PHOTOGRAPHER: Gina Manning 
ART DIRECTOR: Louisa Mardirossian
CAMERA ASSISTANT: Mike Pecci
GAFFER: Anthony Jarvis
STYLIST: Renata Certo Ware
HAIR / MAKE-UP: Bre Welch MODEL: Janna Ahmetjanova, Maggie Inc.
PA: Mimi Vecchione
STYLIST PA: Karen Morales
LOCATION: The Kensington (http://kensingtonboston.com)

J. Crew Sweater Weather

Lambswool Sweater, J Crew; Pleated Skirt, Milly at Saks; Seychelles Work Booties, PB&J Boutique

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Sweater weather is the better weather! Have sweeter words ever been blogged?

I'm always excited for October, not just because it's my birthday month but because I get to stock up on cozy wool knits, and J. Crew is always a first stop. I picked up this gorgeous umber number on an early September Sunday, on a morning when it was too hot to even walk through the SoWa farmers market, but it wasn't long before I got to don it as part of my regular autumn uniform. I just love the thin white cotton shirttails peeking out from underneath that makes it look like I spent a lot more time layering than I did.

This multi-tasking sweater is easy to throw on over black jeans, but I love wearing it with a pleated mini skirt, like this one from Milly, scored a couple years ago at Saks. Seychelles heeled work boots from PB&J Boutique in Cali play off of the youthful uniform look, and made perusing the cobblestones of Beacon Hill quite the adventure.


Cheers,
Renata

The 411 on M-61

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A few weeks ago, I spoke with Bluemercury founder and CEO Marla Beck about M61, the new line she created for women who love all-natural, safe products that are as effective as a trip to the dermatologist. Here's what she had to say about the collection:


Tell me about your line, M61:

I started researching for M61 seven years ago because we had clients coming in that wanted natural products that worked, and we had other clients coming in that loved the dermatologists' products but they would read the ingredients list and say "I don't want all this stuff!". We really bridged the two worlds. We combined dermatologist-loved ingredients like gylocolic acid, salicylic acid, peptides, vitamin A, vitamin C with the natural world - Superfoods for your skin!

Superfoods - yum!

Some of my new products - the Jet Glow line, for example - has antioxidant rich gojji berry and red seaweed, so you can envision the firming from that and glycolic acid, which exfoliates the skin to deliver peptides deep down. The Hydraboost Cream, our first cream in a jar, has vitamin B5 and papaya in it - people think of papaya as an exfoliant, but it's actually used as a healing ingredient in South America - when kids get bumps and bruises they put papaya on it - it's very soothing, great for sunburn as well.

Who's the client for M61?

It's really made to wardrobe - just like nobody buys fashion from one brand, you may have a really nice designer jacket and wear it with a Zara top. We're seeing older women use our Power Glow Peel with a La Mer moisturizer, or younger college students coming in. And interestingly, Asian clients and French clients have heard about the line and buying it - we have no idea how or why, but the Newbury Street manager said they are coming in and asking for the product.

What do you think appeals to them?

It's clinical - there's a list of 100 ingredients that can't be in the products, and for the European clients that's really important . They're leading us in natural ingredients, and they have rules about the what can go into skincare - some ingredients are legal in the US and are not legal in Europe.

Hard at work on the M61 line.
Image c/o Bluemercury

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