Fashion, when not falling under the category of Anna Wintour’s “dirty word” trend, can be iconic and timeless. Even more timeless than the high-end garments themselves are the photographs taken to capture their elegance. Fashion photography has been evolving over the past 100 years, and Mayfair’s LUMAS gallery is currently shining light on the genre’s masterpieces in a preview for a few short days before opening the official exhibition across its 35 galleries around the world.
The “enfant terrible” of British fashion, Alexander McQueen, rose from obscurity to become one of the world’s top fashion designers until his untimely death in 2010. His pieces were deliberately provocative and yet also sensual. In the first room of Savage Beauty at the V&A, London, his 2006 collection, Widows of Culloden, features a range of silk black lace dresses and suits that McQueen referred to as reflecting “the dark side of my personality.” These clothes clearly demonstrate how he utilised gothic themes to make the women wearing them feel powerful.
Our 5 To See This Weekend reveals fascinating insights into the creative world. Nick Waplington’s backstage photographs from Alexander McQueen’s final show reveal the couturier’s raw energy as he finalised designs on Horn of Plenty (2009), and MACBA presents the previously unseen collage collection of writer Osvaldo Lamborghini. A series of artists at ICA Philadelphia consider the margins of history in Traces in the Dark, and Paul Seawright’s latest series of photographs highlights the lack of mobility in the USA which lies beneath the American Dream.
Fine art photography gallery LUMAS has announced an exclusive event showcasing limited editions of iconic works by the foremost fashion photographers of the 21st century, which will introduce previously unreleased masterpieces to the public. The gallery will be premièring 10 new works, including Edward Steichen’s legendary portrait of actress Gloria Swanson.
Walking Legs, is one of Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin’s most loved campaign series, commissioned initially by French shoe designer – and longstanding friend, collaborator, client – Charles Jourdan. Shot against quintessentially English home, town and country landscapes, this high-end 1979 campaign is surely an unusual one – comprising a range of disembodied mannequin legs which appear to be strutting along proudly in their glimmering designer heels.
This week’s 5 To See features work from the internationally renowned, the critically acclaimed, the culturally overlooked, and promising newcomers. Mima presents the fine art of David Lynch, charting a relationship with names and identity which has come up time and again in his filmography. Belgian designer Dries van Noten invites visitors to explore his creative inspirations at the MoMu in Antwerp. Meanwhile, the work of Georges Noël is on display at the Musée d’Art Moderne, paying tribute to the Béziers-born artist.
From the glossy veneer of the pages of Vogue to the polished presentation of fine art, Alistair O’Neill and Shelly Verthime galvanise the work of Guy Bourdin within the galleries of Somerset House in Image Maker. Bourdin was the first photographer to present a fashion item through a crafted, complex narrative that is at once provocative, shocking, exotic and ominous. Truly legendary in his image making, Bourdin’s works were uncanny and mysterious, full of violence and charged with sexuality and surrealism.
Exhibiting women’s fashions from the 1950s, Age of Glamour will open the now extensively refurbished Fashion Galleries at Lotherton Hall. This new, 21st gallery space includes modern cases, improved lighting and new interactive technology, allowing the addition of film and sound elements.
Issue 63 of Aesthetica hits shop shelves 1 February. In the February / March edition we explore innovation through experimentation with the new. Moving outside of comfort zones can be invigorating. It’s in these moments that we have the opportunity to embrace fresh ideas and apply them to everyday life. Drawing upon a range of influences can create something entirely original and interdisciplinary. Each artist featured in this issue follows that ideology. Many of the practitioners are people that have backgrounds in other areas but have moved between art forms and disciplines cross-pollinating their output along the way.
Our 5 to See this Weekend provides plenty of opportunities to interact with the artists, whether it’s discovering the quiet life of photographer Vivian Maier, whose work was encouraged by the children she’d cared for as a nanny, or catering to Bruce Asbestos’ marketing whims. There’s also the chance to meet Alec Soth at his Songbook exhibition in New York on Saturday 31st January, or discuss DIY culture with Graeme Durant in Newcastle, and Pep Dardanyà’s exhibition at MACBA includes a QR code to encourage the further discussion of his work with visitors.
There’s plenty to get involved with this weekend in the art world. Ronchini Gallery, London, is home to the UK’s first solo exhibition of Pier Paolo Calzolari, an influential figure in the Arte Povera movement. The works of Michelangelo Antonioni are compiled with new contemporary photography to explore themes of voyeurism and media theory from the 1960s to the present day. Meanwhile, the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014 showcase is still available to view, using a plethora of new media to explore current affairs, human nature, and desire.
The world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, The Hasselt Fashion Museum, takes audiences behind the scenes of Paul Smith’s world, which is dominated by intuitive creativity, in Hello, My Name is Paul Smith. Running 30 January – 7 June, the show, which previously appeared at Design Museum, London, unveils the expert craftsmanship and individual talent of a top designer.
Described as a “grotto of visual excess” Julie Verhoeven’s exploration of gender identity past and present is a disturbing explosion of vulgar kitsch and womanhood. Invited to take over the Fox Reading Room at the ICA, the fashion designer has combined film, illustration and mixed media sculpture to create a surreal installation that is both disconcerting yet provocative.
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With his trademark stripes, printed shirts, slim-cut suits and quirky trims, Paul Smith has created an inimitable style that transcends each season’s trends and flippancies, always with quality at its core, always with humour in its design. Hello, my name is Paul Smith at the Design Museum, London, celebrates Paul Smith as a company and a creative mastermind. Looking at the impressive scale of its global operation today, the exhibition draws on Paul Smith’s personal archive, from the company’s beginnings to its international prominence today. The show explores how Paul Smith’s intuitive take on design, together with an understanding of the roles of designer and retailer, have laid the foundations for the company’s lasting success and offer a unique insight into the magnificent mind of Paul Smith.
This exhibition in the Marais district of Paris looks at Bettina, the signature model of the 1950s, in photographs and sketches from an array of practitioners. The work studies her life, beginning with her childhood spent in Normandy, where she studied painting from an early age; the war spent with her sister and grandmother in Angers, before her grandmother was killed in a bombing raid and the two girls moved to Agen before returning to Elbeuf, where they lived until the Liberation. Bettina emerged from these difficult years, and from several brushes with death, unscathed and perhaps stronger, having learnt that she was naturally fearless.
For those who are passionate about contemporary art and culture, Aesthetica Magazine is the ultimate guide for keeping up-to-date with the latest news from the international art scene. Order a Gift Subscription for someone special this Christmas and save 20% off newsstand prices while also benefiting from a free gift wrapping service and a chance to write a personal message.
The December/ January issue of Aesthetica is now available to purchase online and in stores internationally. In Issue 62, Aesthetica focuses on the idea of the unconventional. It’s a celebration of practitioners who are experimenting in their field by working in interdisciplinary ways and introducing concepts from other areas of art and design into their work.
With the start of advent it is time to write those Christmas lists and get shopping. We’ve curated a selection of goodies for a variety of tastes from independent businesses, high-end fashion houses and cultural institutions. From candles to trainers, books to skirts, we’ve got it covered. Read on to find out more about each of our top products.
Issue 62 of Aesthetica is out in shops now. One of the most thrilling discoveries is someone who is breaking new ground and embodying the word “innovation.” It’s important to look at both established and emerging artists that are the driving force behind this type of progress. At Aesthetica, we are interested in people who are experimenting while stepping outside of the everyday. We want to engage with works that challenge us and change perspective.
Major exhibition, Knitting Nottingham places the spotlight on the Nottingham’s position as a world centre of creativity and innovation. It has been organised by Nottingham Trent University at Bonington Gallery, as part of this year’s anniversary of 170 years of art and design. Rather than just include conventional knitted pieces, on display will be tea sets made from electro-plated knit, exhibits by internationally renowned designers, samples of 3D print combined with knitwear and technology embedded into yarn.
Fashion in Motion at the V&A showcases the work of leading international designers through one-off catwalk events. This innovative programme strives to show fashion as it is meant to be seen: in motion. For the museum’s next Fashion in Motion edition, the V&A are collaborating with knitwear collective Sibling to present highlights from the London-based label’s menswear collection.
A new solo exhibition of the work of American photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager, opens at the National Gallery of Victoria from 14 November. Founded in 1861, Australia’s oldest public art gallery proudly introduces its audiences to Prager’s lusciously rich photographic oeuvres. In her elaborately conceived and poignantly staged photographs, Prager freely references the aesthetics of mid-20th century American cinema and photography.
Innovative and forward-thinking, Women Fashion Power at the Design Museum celebrates the exceptional and influential women from the spheres of politics, culture, business and fashion, and features cutting-edge creatives who have had an impact on our wardrobes and the world stage. Showcasing the work of 25 high-profile women through the presentation of clothing, photography, archive footage and interviews, this trailblazing exhibition looks at how iconic women of the past and present have used fashion to define and enhance their position in the world.
A new Jewellery Gallery has opened at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. With an outstanding contemporary collection of jewellery, the institution has opened a special space for the beautiful, provocative and fascinating pieces to be appreciated by the general public as one whole collection. The display includes work by Ted Noten, Caroline Broadhead, Gijs Bakker, Karl Fritsch, Wendy Ramshaw, Otto Künzli and Felieke van der Leest. Broadhead speaks to Aesthetica about her interest in movement and the jewellery she has on display.
Horst P. Horst is one of the most iconic fashion photographers of the mid-20th Century. Known by the one-word photographic byline “Horst”, his expansive oeuvre of fashion and portraiture photography was a collaboration of talent, glamour and imagination. Spanning from the 1930s through a career of 60 years, Horst mastered an unrivaled technique in his image making. Of its time his use of lighting and composition were but two significant factors that helped contribute to a definitive and iconic style that would help to deem his work revolutionary; not singularly in terms of photography, but also with regards to advertising editorial, fashion and design. Noted as the primary photographer for Vogue by the mid 1930s, the artist’s images involved art directors, fashion editors and set technicians in precise and often intricately arranged studios.
Director Mary Nighy and Karen Millen teamed up to produce No More Tiaras for the launch of the company’s two global flagships. The 3 minute short celebrates individual style and looks at the brand’s recent evolution, and it is due to be screened in the Fashion film strand at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014. Chief Creative Officer of Karen Millen, Gemma Metheringham, speaks to us about their new film, The Journey, and the rise of the fashion film genre over the years.
Aesthetica Issue 61 is now available to purchase online and in stores internationally. The new edition considers progress and change. There are a few questions around this including how much time needs to pass before something needs to change, or is it simply the case that progress is continuous? The key element is to recognise developments, keeping your eyes and ears open. This is particularly important in the art world because when you start tracking artists and noticing trends, this is when things start to get exciting, especially when those trends are just under the radar.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is a new Parisian centre for contemporary French and international artistic creation, contained within a building commissioned by Bernard Arnault, and designed by the American architect Frank Gehry. The building resembles a cloud of glass: twelve large transparent sails covering a main body, itself formed from an assembly of pure white blocks. Sunken into the ground, the Fondation appears to float within the surrounding Jardin d’Acclimatation whose trees and greenery will play light tricks with and be mirrored by its vast panes.
Nestled in a small gallery adjacent to Manchester Art Gallery’s shop is a display of obscurely beautiful contemporary jewellery, which teeters on the edge of being fearsome. Old saw blades hold pearls and diamonds, while strings of broken bottle necks and spectacle eye glasses have been transformed into necklaces. Far from anyone’s usual expectations of jewellery, this is the world of contemporary artist Bernard Schobinger.
Photo.clothing combines the fad of all over prints on t-shirts with art, to produce vibrant and unique items of clothing. The team have joined up with Magnum photographers Martin Parr and David Alan Harvey and have created 500 t-shirts with their distinctive photographs. All of the shirts are hand printed in London on high-quality materials that stays wrinkle free and soft to the hand. Photographers are invited to join the community and submit their own photographs to be transformed into a fashionable garment. We speak to the developer of Photo Clothing, Michael Hanreck, about the company and his favourite designs.
To celebrate ten years of existence, Dover Street Market holds The Next Ten Years: a series of events, installations and special products. For the duration of September, the basement and second floor of Dover Street Market will be totally transformed, the Rose Bakery will be enlarged and artists design four new fitting rooms. Furthermore, an event space on the first floor, an expanded jewellery section and wallet display will be given over to Louis Vuitton for the entire A/W14 season.
The Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) is delighted to announce it is now a BAFTA recognised festival, an achievement that is unprecedented for a festival in its fourth year. This latest accolade stands testament to the creativity and bold programming of ASFF, which has now firmly established itself as a dynamic player on the film festival circuit.
Johny Dar approaches his artistic practice from an innovative angle, painting directly onto his models’ bodies. Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is perceived as art, he works across fashion, bodypainting, books, art installations, multimedia and events. His project Dare blends clothing and paint, placing his models in a catwalk show that appeared at Berlin Fashion Week earlier this year. We speak to Dar about his interest in collaborative projects and his audience.
Artist Filmmaker and Designer Sarah Jane Palmer was selected for the Aesthetica Art Prize longlist with her film Net. The work is an ongoing performance/installation in which she continues to produce a net drawing on a 10-metre paper roll during her residency at the Lace Market Gallery in Nottingham. Net is part of a body of work based on research into Nottingham’s historic lace trade and Palmer’s own ancestral connections to lace design.
With the Aesthetica Art Prize call for entries deadline on 31 August 2014, we look in depth at the work of longlisted artists from the latest edition. Anyes Galleani is an Italian-born, Los Angeles based visual artist that uses photo montage and collage to create unique images and paintings.
In the countdown to the Aesthetica Art Prize call for submissions deadline on 31 August 2014, we look in focus at artists from the latest award. Conceptual artist Marie Brenneis was featured in the Video, Installation & Performance category with Deliberate Digression an installation that incorporates wearable sculptures exploring themes of fantasy and conformity.
Lizzie Cawthray is challenging the outdated notions of knitwear with her fresh, stylish and playful company, Needle. Cawthray aims to produce luxurious pieces that make her customers feel fantastic. After working as the knitwear product developer at LK Bennet for a number of years, Cawthray decided to focus her attentions fully on the versatile material and Needle was born. She speaks to Aesthetica about her future plans and the designers who inspire her.
Mexico has had a long and tumultuous history that has contributed to the making of it as such an iconic country. From ancient pre-hispanic people to the urban modernity of its contemporaries, the vast array of influences that have been adopted by its citizens has created a uniquely Mexican worldview and way of life. Now placed as an ‘emerging power,’ the country’s enduring recognition of its traditions, alongside a simultaneous ability to embrace the future, makes for an intriguing society.