Bomber Jackets vs. Chanel

Fire WallSometimes it’s cool to find something that is completely different and out of style, and wear it, when no one else would have thought to do so. That is, if you found something that is just on the line of awesome and ugly.  The current nerd-1970’s style by Gucci for Spring Summer 2016 is a prime example. Toeing the line of bad taste, but not crossing it. Check out their Berlin photo shoot here.

Chanel has taken it a little further this season, maybe too far, with that cross between those mountain climbing sandals, and the tennis shoe that lights up at the heel when you walk; think Tele Tubbies meets Birkenstock. Luckily, fashion trends change, so let’s just for that one to go away forever.

On the subject of Ms Chanel, though, I found a piece in Geneva at a vintage store a few years ago, which I knew would be awesome, but it’s not one of those pieces  I can really wear when no one else is wearing anything like it. It’s a 1980’s bomber jacket, its shiny satin gaudily adorned with prints of jewels and playing cards, the iconic CC displayed much too big on both front and back. Luck has it however that bomber jackets are back for this season, so I will definitely wear it with confidence , even though I do admit that I “toned it down” by cutting out the shoulder pads. It’s still as unsubtle as can be.

Wearing something a little out there, it’s probably best to flaunt it – dark jeans and a turtle neck are just going to look strange with it, unless the turtle neck is mustard yellow, and you are wearing something like the kangaroo fur lined Gucci loafer with those jeans. Or try a black cocktail dress and some Mad Max inspired forehead makeup.


 

Bomber Jacket: vintage Chanel.

Cocktail Dress: Aldo.

Earrings: Blogger’s own.

Skull ring: Urban Outfitters.

Makeup: M.A.C.

 

 

 

Blood Spattered Princess

Fairy Chair Collage

You may have been in love with Tord Boontje’s work before you’ve ever heard of him. Its beauty is almost indescribable; there is so much poetry and daintiness in his designs, it’s almost too much to take in.

Tord Boontie, winner of numerous awards for his creations, was born in the Netherlands, and artistically formed in London.

He has designed furniture that looks like elaborate fairy gowns, light shades that remind of exotic flower bouquets or ethereal angel wings, and installations that look like elfin jewels.

Even large objects such as sofas and steel-and-glass coffee tables look as light as graceful paper origami, delicate and whimsical; some of them inspired by a world similar to Dr. Seuss’. And they exude the lighthearted coolness of Scandinavian spirit.

Tord Boontjes work can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the TATE in London, as well as the MoMA in New York, amongst others. And some items are available on his website (here).

Ikarus Wings and Headpiece

The furniture purist that I am, a firm believer in the square being the perfect shape, and less always, always being more, and who thinks that organic shapes are crowded and hard to look at, I would live in a house entirely furnished by these works; from the chairs to the wall hangings, the tableware, and of course, his most magnificent creations, the lights.

There is an edgy side to Tord Boontje’s work, too, hidden under all the vine-blossom lightness; his witch chair, particularly when photographed amidst a circle of fire by Angela Moore, or the black stag that is looming on wall hangings and in installations, and of course the installation of doll chairs he did in collaboration with the late Alexander McQueen make one see that there is more behind this than the flowers and butterflies that meet the eye.


  • Lamps (used as background, wings, headpiece, dress) and Fairy Chair: Tord Boontje
  • Black peeptoe heels: Costume National
  • Black pants with lace print: Vero Moda
  • Black tank top: Zadig & Voltaire
  • White lace top: H&M
  • Makeup: M.A.C

Chucky Fat Face

Chuck Close and Philip Glass

Maybe he is America’s greatest contemporary painter. I heard that people either hate or love his work, there’s no room for indifference. If I had to pick a group, I would be part of the latter.

It seems to me that I do remember the first time I stood in front of a Chuck Close painting and after a short moment of not knowing what I was looking at, I went “oh – wow”. It was at the Art Museum in Zurich, Switzerland, and the painting in question was a black and white photo realist portrait. In my mind, it was the portrait of Philip Glass, a musician, whose greatest accomplishment, again, in my mind, is being a portrait subject to Chuck Close. (But I know nothing about music, for which I have a very limited taste, so any music related comments made in this blog should probably be ignored).

What struck me when looking at “my” first Chuck Close was not the photo realism, but it was the size of the work – his paintings are enormous, and they are the purest form or portraiture, just heads, barely a shirt collar here and there, no discernible background. Essentially, faces. Giant faces.

With his early work, you can go up to the canvas, as close as the museum alarm system will let you, and there is incredible detail, just like when you blow up a photo that was taken with an expensive camera.

With his later work, and that is what I love even more, getting closer causes the actual face to escape you – as you get closer, you discover an underlying alternate reality, of circles and dots, made in colors that seem unlikely to be found on skin or eyes or hair of a human being. It’s like really closely looking the photo in an old magazine and discovering all these small dots of seemingly unsuited colors. If you love color, and I do, you can get completely lost in that maze of circles, inhabiting meticulously drawn squares which fill his canvases.

Chuck Close Self Portrait

Seeing any of his work is always moving and awe-inspiring. And with some art, it’s ok or even wise not to go beyond the art itself. Van Gogh was crazy, Gaugin was self obsessed, Rousseau was an arrogant asshole. Not knowing the artist as a person and not seeing them work lets you enjoy their legacy without the looming shadow of whom they may have been or whom we believe them to have been.

But watching the 2007 documentary “Chuck Close” directed by Marion Cajori shows an intelligent, likeable person, and amongst very out-there friends like Brice Marden, Alex Katz, and, again, Philip Glass, who may add unintended comedy by hard to follow statements about art, a shockingly normal individual, not just for an artist. His struggles are told but in an unsentimental way, and despite my continuous frustrations with canvas and paint, it even made me want to sit down and pick up a paint brush. Above all, it is very inspiring to see one of the great talents of portraiture work, and I will definitely look at his work with even more appreciation the next time I come across one of his portraits again.

The Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art will show a number of his works from January 17 to April 5 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Me? I just rolled out of bed…

Pajama with Samurai Sword

If you are like me, you were trying to stick out the athletic wear fad, hoping no one would notice that you were never seen wearing brightly colored spandex and quick wick fabrics with a Louis Vuitton bag and perfect hair to go shopping downtown Chicago or sipping a mocha latte at a nearby coffee shop.

I will admit it: I insist on only wearing Underarmor shirts to actually work out. Cute as they may be. But now I kind of wish I had at least done neon pink running shoes with a suit just once, maybe to an art fair or somewhere equally as safe, so that I could stick out the next one with a calm conscience. Because the whole casual dress mania has just upped itself one: wearing pajamas to a formal dinner, the opera, the Oscars, or even more out of your comfort zone: the office. Yes, in broad daylight , on a weekday, when everyone else is there. It’s almost reminiscent of the dream where you realize you forgot to put on pants.

Conveniently, I received a pajama for Christmas that I thought was so cute that I should find a way to wear it out. What??? No, of course not.

You may soon notice that the advice of “just add some sophisticated accessories, like metallic heels and a shiny belt” proves to be absolutely useless. The festiveness of these items just emphasizes the pajama quality of the outfit, giving it the elegance of a 1980s brothel.

And once the decision on accessories is made (stay away from strands of pearls; see brothel reference above, and go with something original instead), shoes add a whole other dimension to the dilemma. Certainly because usually, there are no shoes with pajamas.

My advice here: stick to the bizarre . If people are distracted by your shoes, they are less likely to notice that you walked out of the house in your jammies. Go with something artsy and sculptural but not too cutesy. For inspiration, see my post on United Nude – any of their special edition creations would work just fine.

If confidence makes a difference with many outfits, it is absolutely essential here. So go ahead, have fun. Make it look natural. Oh, and maybe you can wear those gym clothes to bed instead.

Pajama top and bottoms: H&M  /  Blazer: Gucci  /  Shoes: Aldo  /  Zipper necklace: local artist  /  Earrings: H&M  /  Makeup: M.A.C  /  Samurai Sword: the MET

Frame and Skulls

The Zebra Approach

Asylum with stairsOne of my staples for days when I lack time or inspiration was taken from an article on wardrobe travel advice: stick with black and white, and add one or two pieces in a matching color that pops.

There is nothing more classic than black, white and red. But you can substitute that red for teal, tangerine, mustard yellow, neon pink or whatever. As long as it’s bright (so, no brown). No matter what you do, it will look put together without looking like you tried too hard. If you really want to be a minimalist, combine a white sweater, black pants and red lipstick. BOOM.

If you have been fascinated with matching prints, but were never really able to do it successfully without looking clownesque, here is your chance: Mixing black and white patterns is the gateway drug to mixing color patterns. See it as mixing patterns for beginners, if you will. And if you want to be funny, wear patterns head to ankle, and then wear a simple black or white shoe.

Another advantage to black and white: you can be loud without being loud (I am thinking black and white patent leather Wingtips), or weird without being weird, like with a knitted vest.

The trick is to balance black and white, and then just ad a small item or two in one color.

And yes, if you travel, bring your favorite black and white pieces and combine away. And simply buy the colorful accessories on your trip.


 

Lace pattern pants: Vero Moda

Knitted vest: Kookai

White sweater: INC

Black and white pumps: Saint Laurent

Belt: 1980s Vintage

Clutch: Michael Kors

Pearl and ebony leather necklace, black cuff: Blogger’s own

Makeup: M.A.C