Fashion September 30, 2009 By Gabriel Bell

spacer1 Lauren Kovin

kovin cover2 Lauren Kovin
Photography by Sari Wynne for Lauren Kovin

spacer1 Lauren Kovin kovin title Lauren Kovin

It was only a week or so ago that Alexander McQueen, one of fashion’s most beloved enfant terribles, launched his spring/summer 2010 collection at London Fashion Week with a simultaneous “virtual runway” presentation over the Internet, offering what would appear to be a fully democratizing experience where the front-row illuminati of the industry were no closer or further away from the action than the 16-year-old fangirl taking in the designs from her bedroom computer. Keen editorials noted it as a step forward. Even keener ones noted that McQueen may actually be behind the times, that the Internet, social networking, and fast video transfer speeds have already brought us to a point where buyers, customers, creatives, and, yes, 16-year-old girls are finding new looks and designers as fast as (or sometimes faster than) top editors. In this new world of networked fashion, video has become key and designers such as Viktor & Rolf and Marc Jacobs, as well as labels low and high have put a great amount of time and money into creating immersive visual experiences that will at once showcase the clothes, capture the attention, and convey the aesthetic behind the cloth. Problem is, in comparison to the world of music videos, movies, and commercials, most “video lookbooks” are gauzy, languid things that manage to be both beautiful and sleep inducing. Lauren Kovin, however, has managed to put together a spring/summer 2010 video lookbook with a razor-sharp edge to match her crafty, clever work.

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Art, Books September 30, 2009 By Sarah Coleman
goldin cover Nan Goldin
Photography courtesy of Rizzoli New York

goldin title Nan Goldin

In the 1980s, photographer Nan Goldin rose to prominence with The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, an ambitious body of work that depicted the underbelly of New York’s East Village and Lower East Side. Shot with minimal equipment in low-light conditions, featuring depictions of drug use, sexual liaisons, and domestic violence, Ballad ushered in a style known as the “snapshot aesthetic” and influenced a whole generation of younger artists. In an era of Facebook and Snapfish, it’s easy to overlook Goldin’s significance — but in its time, Ballad was as bold and original as artistic statements get.
     As talented as she is, Goldin would have been nothing without the extensive network of friends and fellow artists who served as her subjects. One of her friends was Bette Gordon, an up-and-coming filmmaker who, in 1983, asked Goldin to document the making of her film Variety. Gordon and Goldin were both members of No Wave, a loose coalition of avant-garde filmmakers and musicians on the Lower East Side. Intensely collaborative, the No Wave artists shared ideas and equipment, played music and acted and lived together in the neighborhood’s famous cold-water walk-ups.

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Art, Greenspace September 29, 2009 By Derek Peck

spacer Kim Hollemantrailer cover Kim Hollemanholleman title Kim Holleman

The other day, walking down the street near my apartment in the Lower East Side, I came upon a trailer park, right on the corner of Stanton and Suffolk, which hadn’t been there before. By trailer park I mean a trailer, parked. Not an expansive terrain of trailers. But also, inside the tiny, silver Coachman Travel Trailer was a park — yes, growing plants, shrubs, and trees, a miniature cascading waterfall and pond, wood and concrete benches, and skylights to let in sunshine. I stepped in, and enjoyed the natural park setting, the sound of trickling water, the dappled sunlight on the outstretched plant leaves.
     Originally commissioned in 2006 for an exhibit at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Kim Hollerman’s Trailer Park is not new. It’s been written about before, and some of our readers may have seen it when it first exhibited (parked?) back in ’06. But for me, it was a fresh slice of genius on a sunny fall day.

Currently parked at NY Studio Gallery, 154 Stanton Street.

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Fashion September 29, 2009 By Andy Wass

limifeu cover Limi Feu: I am Womanlimi title Limi Feu: I am Woman

Limi Feu’s Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 collection solidifies the label’s position as an icon for the everywoman: cerebral design of definition and refinement rather than flair and innovation. Limi Yamamoto (yes, daughter of Yohji) launched her line in Tokyo in 2000, and debuted in Paris with the Spring 2008 collections. Her last Paris runway show revealed forty-one characteristic looks, less punky than some past seasons. This season is a bit cleaner: the almost-Dickensian looks avoid provocation and instead teem with class. Yamamoto steers the monochromatic palette away from severity by incorporating the relaxed fits of blousy pants, asymmetrical hems, and slightly oversized – but never sloppy — white collared shirts, vests, and outerwear.  Yamamoto interprets women-doing-menswear in a way that’s more elegant-sophisticate than sterile power suit. The easy layers and drapery of knitwear in some looks suggest the energy and activity of a woman — even when oversized, pieces retain functionality. Other looks effuse 1920s American elegance. A few looks even boasted bolts of color, like furry fuchsia and yellow tights, or a harlequin print, while still looking polished. Yamamoto says she crafts her savvy tailoring with Japanese women in mind, and her runway models are typically from Tokyo. She summarizes her distinction from her father’s designs simply: “He is a man, and I am a woman.” 


Fashion September 28, 2009 By Gabriel Bell
pleet cover Samantha Pleet

pleet title Samantha Pleet

It was a drizzly day late in a New York summer that almost never was when Samantha Pleet unveiled her spring 2010 collection at the Soho Grand this Fashion Week. So drizzly in fact, that the intended outdoor presentation by the young, Brooklyn-based designer was moved to the moody confines of the hotel’s dining room where the lightly dressed models and the rest of the attendees found shelter. No matter — once the waitresses plopped a couple of strawberries in the free Champagne and the clothes were revealed, it was early spring all over again.
     Pleet, who creates her designs with her partner and husband Patrick, has already become notorious and beloved for her particular facility with that controversial piece of womenswear — the romper. It’s a positive, sexy, youthful statement in gray times and, to a more cynical follower of fashion, perhaps just a bit too fun. But Pleet is so very good at capturing a bright mood and orchestrating her merry band of models — which this year included friends like like musician Nicole Atkins, artist Carlin Altman, and designer Angela Barrow — she’s gaining popularity even among a
generation of women who often seem wedded to the Alex Wang school of dark, boyish looks and arch, grungy aesthetics. Her work belongs under patches of sunshine, alongside croquet matches, and wherever Champagne comes with a bit of fruit. Right now, we could all use a bit of that.

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Art September 25, 2009 By Gabriel Bell

junior title Junior Fritz Jaucquet

It’s well known that Postmodernist re-appropriation — or at least the popular tendency to reuse, recycle, and refashion industrial products into art — began with a bit of toilet humor. Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” — a simple urinal presented as a “readymade” sculpture in 1917 — was a watershed (pardon the pun) moment in Dadaism and the resulting movements. Although recycling today has taken on a different meaning, artists are still pulling ideas and materials from that ultimate place of meditation and material —The Can. Take French artist Junior Fritz Jacquet, who fashions spent toilet paper rolls into faces and other sculptural works. Jacquet is practicing the old art of origami with references to African mask styles and a very healthy dollop of French cheekiness. But his “les masques” collection reminds us that in every First-World household, there is a constant struggle to stay green in the bathroom where we waste the most water and discard the most paper products. Consciously or unconsciously, Jacquet has given a human face to this little-talked-about environmental crisis. We are the trash we make, say the little faces. Just think of that next time you run out of TP.

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Art September 24, 2009 By Editors

Music September 24, 2009 By Joy Merrifield

filler3 Iceland Airwaves

icelandcover2 Iceland Airwaves
Photograph by Joy Merrifield

filler3 Iceland Airwavesiceland title Iceland Airwaves

As I plan for this my second trip to the annual Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavik, I’m packing for survival: water, light layers, wet naps, and a Twitter account. Not being a corporate brand, a 16-year-old girl, or Lily Allen, I’ve never had reason to chop up my rich existence into Twitter’s 140-character blurts. But this year I’m using Twitter as a sort of psychic traveler’s insurance — a place to store my valuable memories, since carrying a brain to the rock-til-you-hit-the-heated-floor shows and apocalyptic parties would only slow me down. How else would I remember any stories to bring back to my envious friends back home? For that matter, how else would I know where to start looking for my camera, wallet, and dignity when I wake up in the Reykjavik police station? 
     None of this is to say the Airwaves festival cannot be enjoyed sober. This year’s lineup is glacier-fresh, with over 100 local Icelandic acts and twenty-five debut performances (I’m personally looking forward to Dynamo Fog and Agent Fresco). And even the particularly vicious local economic meltdown hasn’t scared the party out of Reykjavik’s people. Last year the crowd at the awful, exhilarating Crystal Castles show at Tunglid was so exuberantly, brutally sardined, my companion and I only just escaped being crowd-surged down an open stairwell which had been carpeted in broken glass. I doubt I’d look back at the near-death experience so fondly without a healthy dose of Brennivín (a regional alcoholic beverage/poison) fogging my memory. But Airwaves isn’t just for cheeky teenagers and bloggers with press badges.


Art, Features September 23, 2009 By Jenna Martin
asgarda cover Asgarda
Photography by Guillaume Herbaut

asgardas title Asgarda

In the Ukraine, a country where females are victims of sexual trafficking and gender oppression, a new tribe of empowered women is emerging. Calling themselves the “Asgarda”, the women seek complete autonomy from men. Residing in the Carpathian Mountains, the tribe is comprised of 150 women of varying ages, primarily students, led by 30 year-old Katerina Tarnouska. Reviving the tribal traditions of the Scythian Amazons of ancient Greek mythology, the Asgarda train in martial arts, taught by former Soviet karate master, Volodymyr Stepanovytch, and learn life skills and sciences in order to become ideal women. Little physical documentation existed on the tribe, until recently, when renowned French photographer, Guillaume Herbaut, met the Asgarda back in 2004 in the midst of the Orange Revolution.

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Music September 22, 2009 By Derek Peck

yoko cover Yokoyoko title Yoko

Just released today, Between My Head and The Sky is a continuation of Yoko Ono’s musical and artistic journey, but also represents the return of her Plastic Ono Band — this time with son Sean Lennon in a major supporting role, on guitars and also with his new label, Chimera. The album also touts legendary Japanese “noise” musician Cornelius on numerous instruments, including guitars, percussion, and electronic programming, and his influence is delightfully present. Throughout her career Ono has been pushing boundaries in art, music, and, of course, in speaking her mind. At 76, she’s still a vibrant creative force that deserves to be reckoned with — and, vocally, she can still channel her inimitable inner-banshee. On this track, “Waiting for the D Train”, Ono perfectly captures the maddening energy and tension of waiting for most any notoriously late subway line. (For all you Brooklynites, just insert an ‘L’.) Next time you’re stuck on a  subway platform, make sure this is on your i-Pod, hit play, and…let go.

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Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band – Waiting for the D Train