Sies Marjan

“Yes, they are beautiful girls, you can’t deny it, but they are real women with real bodies and there’s something nice about realness” – Sander Lak. So says Sander Lak of his look-book “Girlfriend Project” for AW16 ‘Sies Marjan’ collection. Lak is all about the personal and authentic and “Girlfriend Project” is a reflection of this. Shot by Kacper Kasprzyk and Boris Mikhailov “Girlfriend Project” takes the form of a series of scrapbooked photographs using five females from Lak’s inner circle as models, all of which are different nationalities. Inspiration came from teen diary entries and poetry books. Lak asked Kasprzyk to to create something that felt handmade, tactile and real. With Mikhailov, Lak decided ‘less is more’ on set and so Lak and Volkova skipped hair and make-up for the models, further pushing the importance of “real”. A bit about the brand. ’Sies Marjan’s‘ debut show at NYFW in February was an instant hit. Creative director and founder Sander Lak presented an AW16 collection of androgynous separates that sat alongside super-feminine, Parma Violet-hued chiffon slip dresses and deconstructed shirting met by low-slung skirts that revealed strips of delicate silk. So far it’s been a runaway success for ‘Sies Marjan’, after just one season the brand has secured stockists in the likes of ‘Matches Fashion’, ‘Selfridges’ and ‘Harrods’. Having spent his youth travelling the world, Lak moved to London to undertake a masters in menswear at ‘Central Saint Martins’ under the direction of Professor Louise Wilson and found himself in a year group that included the likes of Mary Katrantzou and Christopher Shannon. Having cut his teeth designing womenswear at ‘Phillip Lim’, ‘Balmain’ and ‘Dries Van Noten’ (the latter of which he remained at for five years) when the opportunity to go solo with his own label arose Lak was ready for it. The name of the brand stems from the marriage of his mother and father’s first names. Says Lak, “Sies is a kind of obscure Northern Dutch name, so quite specific, and Marjan is a more common Dutch name, a lot of people think that Sies Marjan is an actual person, which I find very interesting. I’m quite happy to hide behind this fictional figure!”

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sander lak pink and white yellow clogs


“My work resembles plants, roots and other organic beings that interconnect forming real construction systems in which the total is formed by many small parts.” – Serena Garcia Dalla Venezia. Chilean textile artist Serena Garcia Dalla Venezia creates large, multi-coloured fabric installations produced from small handmade balls filled with cotton and sewn together. The accumulation of fabric, use of colour and repetition of manual work mean that Venezia’s installations appear to be almost organic in growth, her art works seem to transform before your eyes. This all makes sense when you consider Venezia’s fascination with accumulation and chaos. The works grow, expand and invade space in their own way, similar to how certain plants, corals and microscopic organisms behave – beyond human control. Venzia’s work ranges in scale from framed artworks to large installation pieces.

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serena chilean artist green pink balls

Whitney Wood Bailey

“Using both organic and highly controlled painting techniques the resulting composition is a compromise between excess and restraint, impulse and logic.” – Whitney Wood Bailey. Meet the incredibly well studied artist Whitney Wood Bailey. Bailey received a BFA in Painting from ‘Auburn University’ in 2005. Whilst earning her undergraduate degree Bailey studied with the ‘University of Georgia’ in Cortona, Italy. Following graduation from ‘Auburn’ Bailey studied with the ‘Rhode Island School of Design’ in Pont-Aven, France. From France Bailey moved back to the states and interned with the ‘Paul Kasmin Gallery’ whilst studying under painter Larry Poons in New York City. In 2008, Bailey received her MFA in painting at ‘Savannah College of Art and Design’. Bailey’s work is a beautiful balance of fluid, organic shapes with controlled manifold ticking marks. The linear hatch marks (“ticking”) in Bailey’s work were inspired by visits to the ancient art caves of France. Bailey’s current work in her solo exhibition ‘Cosmic Nostalgia’ is a departure from her organic fluid style, it appears more chemical and outrageous by comparison. Her canvases are filled with blazingly bright shades and crazy, carnivalesque spectacles of form and colour. Bailey is a Georgia native who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. ‘Cosmic Nostalgia’ is showing at HATHAWAY | Contemporary Gallery in Atlanta until January 4, 2017.

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WWB single piece blog shot

Leaf It

“I just work very carefully with very small hooks and needles … it took me a very long time to get to know the limits of the materials I work with. When I start a piece of work I have a fairly clear idea what a particular leaf or piece of wood will allow me to do, so thankfully breakages are very rare these days.” – Susanna Bauer. Artist Susanna Bauer was born in Germany and studied landscape architecture at Munich’s ‘Technische Universität’ and then art at London’s ‘Camberwell College of Art’. These days Bauer calls Cornwall home. Bauer works with found, natural objects like leaves, wood and stone and decorates them with crochet. These delicate leaves and other natural objects Bauer’s specialty. Bauer was taught how to crochet as a small child in Germany but was more interested in making tiny items instead of blankets and covers. The skill of making tiny items led Bauer to a career in model-making but her love of nature drew her back to this beautifully intricate work and an ongoing series of 3D leaf artworks. LOVE!

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SB leaf embroidery cone shapes

Roe Ethridge

“We can now all make our lives look like a magazine spread. Your family pictures, your family album used to look quite different from the Sears catalogue. Roe sees these things are very close together and he’s interested in exploring the line that’s been increasingly blurred between those two worlds,” – Kevin Moore, exhibition curator at the Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. Photographer Roe Ethridge has long has a subversive way with his photo-books. His newest endeavour ‘Neighbors’ is no different. Spanning 15 years of Ethridge’s output ‘Neighbors’ the book coincides with the Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center exhibition ‘Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor’ as part of the FotoFocus Biennial which runs from from October 7, 2016 to March 12, 2017. The photographs chosen for the exhibition frequently depict familiar, happy domestic scenes, but in a perversive style that feels unfamiliar and slightly dark. In one photograph Ethridge shows a stylised yet utterly unstylish Thanksgiving dinner spread based on a memory of a holiday celebration he attended in Atlanta in 1984. Indeed, Ethridge’s own family is often his subject. His wife, Nancy Hagen, mimics a Polaroid ad from the 1960s that Ethridge found in an old issue of National Geographic. In another, Ethridge is seen holding his son Auggie outside a house they were staying at on Shelter Island, New York. The photo is personal, but Ethridge wanted it to look like a stock photograph. “They had a kind of inventory of Americana at this house. In some ways, it felt like the vision of the American suburban ideal that I think my parents wanted to project out to the world and so in that particular picture I was interested in my son as Auggie, as my son, but also as a sort of archetype of a boy.” – Roe Ethridge.

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RE Neighbours fantasy girl

Pollock Puzzle

A little something for the ones you love this Christmas. You’re welcome. Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956) opted for an early exit from high school in California to study with Thomas Hart Benton at the ‘Art Students League of New York’. After gleaning what appealed to him from the Regionalists, Mexican muralists and Surrealists, Pollock worked for the ‘Federal Art Project’ from 1938 to 1942. By the mid–1940s Pollock was painting in a wholly abstract manner and in 1947 arrived at the drip and splash style with which he is most often associated. In 1964 Springbok Editions issued ‘Convergence’ as a 340-piece jigsaw that was touted as “the world’s most difficult puzzle”. In 2016 Pomegranate issued a 1,000-piece jigsaw of ‘Convergence’ just about tripling the challenge. One for the competitive members of the family, oui?!

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convergence puzzle


‘I might have been born into a very literal sense of chaos, but in fact that state is true of all of us’ – Anselm Kiefer. In 1969 Anselm Kiefer, then a 24-year-old art student in Karlsruhe, travelled round various locations in France, Switzerland and Italy where he was photographed giving the “sieg heil” (Hitlergruß) salute outside prominent buildings. His exhibiting of a selection of the images, under the title ‘Occupations’ (‘Bezetzung’) for his degree show provoked anxiety and incomprehension amongst his tutors and later anger among the public and critics. The taboo-breaking work has now entered the art-historical canon and Kiefer has been credited with an early “naming” of the evil that so many of his countrymen had chosen to forget. More than 40 years after it was produced ‘Occupations’ remains one of the most polarising artworks to have emerged from postwar Germany. Kiefer was born in a small Black Forest village in March 1945, just a few months before the end of the war. He was brought up near the Rhine, not far from both the Swiss and, more importantly, the French borders where he now lives and works. After studying Law and Romance languages and literature, Kiefer devoted himself entirely to painting. He attended the ‘School of Fine Arts at Fribourg-in-Brisgau’ and then the ‘Art Academy in Karlsruhe’. In Kiefer’s new show at the White Cube, Bermondsey, entitled ‘Walhalla’ the corridors are lined with beds, each named after a person significant to the artist. For instance ‘Brunhilde’ is a shield-maiden and a valkyrie in Germanic mythology. ‘Walhalla’ is a mythical place in Norse mythology, a paradise for those slain in battle. Walhalla is also neo-classical monument built by Ludwig I King of Bavaria in 1842 to honour heroic figures in German history. ‘Walhalla’ the show includes paintings and sculpture by Kiefer. ‘Walhalla’ by Anselm Kiefer is at Bermondsey until February 12, 2017.

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Walhalla Brunhelde

Nina Hagen

When I was twelve years old I came for a day trip to London with my best friend Jane Lutwyche and her mother Joan. After hitting Oxford Street we made our way to Carnaby Street, very exciting for a suburban girl, and it was here I bought a t-shirt with Nina Hagen on it. I didn’t know much about Hagen then, but I loved the image. I don’t know what happened to that t-shirt but I do know what happened to Hagen. Hagen was born in 1955 East Berlin and raised by her mother, a film and TV actress named Eva-Maria Hagen, and stepfather, singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann. From an early age Hagen rebelled against the confinements of her Communist surroundings. By 1974, Hagen was already singing with a group called ‘Automobil’ and in 1974 released her hit single with them, ‘Du Hast den Farbfilm Vergessen’ (‘You Forgot the Colour Film’) a veiled, politically charged statement aimed at the sterility of the Communist state. Upon connecting with three like minded musicians in West Berlin’s Kreuzberg district in 1977 – Manfred Preaker, Herwig Mitteregger, Bernhard Potschka of the band ‘Lokomotive Kreuzberg’ and composer Reinhold Heil – the ‘Nina Hagen Band’ was officially born. The band gained popularity but split by 1979. Hagen had made her mark and proved to be a deeply influential figure within Germany’s nascent punk scene. Hagen pursued a solo career in New York, then made her way to Paris to collaborate with fellow aesthetic rebel, Jean-Paul Gaultier. For ‘Street’, Hagen’s fifth studio album released in July 1991 (featuring songs in both German and English) she commissioned Gaultier, along with British punk fashion maven Vivienne Westwood, to design the three different outfits she wore on the cover. After producing some 15-odd solo albums­­ (most recently ‘Volksbeat” in 2011) and hundreds of songs over the course of her career, Hagen even found the time to pen three autobiographies and dub the voice of Sally in the German release of Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. At 61, Hagen shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

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nina dark hair fag

The United States Of America

At times like this, publications such as Taschen’s weighty new release, grandly entitled ‘National Geographic. The United States of America’ serves as an grounding reminder that not only is history perhaps the greatest educational resource of them all, but also that everything is transient. The book forms a follow-up to Taschen’s mammoth three-volume publication ‘Around the World in 125 Years’ but here it takes the USA state by state instead, allowing a century of American history to play out something like a microcosm of the world. When seen through the eyes of National Geographic’s unrivalled photojournalists even minor events assume a poignant gravitas. The collection brings together more than 700 captivating images from the magazine’s illustrious archives charting the change and growth from Alabama to Wyoming. ‘National Geographic. The United States of America’ cleverly pairs the momentous with the commonplace, going some way in the process to restoring faith in the capacity of the United States to withstand times of hardship and to come out fighting on the other side.

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Nat Geo stone face

What A Performance

“Beaton was rarely awed by his sitters but he was absolutely fascinated by Mick Jagger. A good indication of how Beaton felt about his sitters is how many images we have of them in the archive and whether they warrant their own box of negatives. Greta Garbo, who he was obsessed with for decades, has her own box, as does Audrey Hepburn, and Jagger.” – Joanna Ling, keeper of the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive. Cecil Beaton and Mike Jagger first met at the Boudin Ball in February 1966. Beaton was struck by Jagger’s charm, going on to note in his diary that the singer was “… one of the most elusive people … like the Mona Lisa he knows everything, has seen everything.” Thus when Beaton was invited to photograph on the set of what would be Jagger’s acting debut in the notorious X-rated film ‘Performance’ he jumped at the chance. Hedonism ruled the day on set. Director David Cammell encouraged the cast and crew to take drugs and forge sexual relationships to help create the required air of debauchery. As a result it took two years for the heavily edited, yet still X-rated, version of the film to finally be released. Jagger and his compelling co-star Anita Pallenberg (then girlfriend of fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards) are widely rumoured to have crossed a line during a supposedly simulated sex scene, much to Richards’ fury. Beaton’s images are taken in the lavish house of Jagger’s character ‘Turner’ a former rock star who becomes embroiled with notorious east end criminal, Chas (played by James Fox) when he takes him in as a tenant. For Beaton, also an Oscar-winning costume designer and a set designer, the swathes of Moroccan fabric, jewel-hued walls and opulent furniture would have greatly appealed to his sensibilities as did such a forward, provocative film. ‘Performance by Cecil Beaton’ is at Sotheby’s S|2 from November 25 until December 23, 2016.

#chapeaulondon #chapeaublog #dedicatedtothethingswelove #wordsandpictures #amazing #london #lifestyle #cecilbeaton #cecilbeatonstudioarchive #sothebys #performance #film #photography #mikejagger #anitapallenberg

beaton performance jagger and pallenberg