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Joke Robaard (1953)

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An interesting artist. First time i encountered work was at a fashion centre and later i learned more on the artist. SHe is fascinating and there are not many publications on her. The best was published by VALIZ and is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com

The Dutch artist and photographer Joke Robaard originally trained in fashion, investigates the configuration of groups of people, for example in networks of friends, colleagues, companies and neighbours. She ‘directs’ individuals in certain positions and patterns in relation to one another, which are then photographed, and uses clothing to illustrate where the connections lie and how they are constantly shifting.

Her work is based on a huge collection of images and texts relating to people’s clothing behaviour patterns. Robaard does not categorise them as ‘fashion’, but wants to find out how clothing works. Her archive can be seen as a cartographic record of everyday clothing. Robaard moves simultaneously through the various zones of visual art, photography, video and fashion.
Moving through art, photography, video and fashion her beautifully designed book Folders, Suits, Pockets, Files, Stock includes texts by Gilles Deleuze, Roland Barthes, Robert Bresson, Jorinde Seijdel and the artist herself.

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Pierre Poiret ….King of Fashion

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The following text was originally published in the New York Times.
Poiret’s achievement is not as visible today as that of Coco Chanel, who built on some of his ideas and discarded others. His fashion house closed in 1929, and he spent his remaining years impoverished. But Poiret was for a while a revolutionary in revolutionary times and also a canny impresario. His radically streamlined, unstructured, often stridently colored clothes freed women from corsets while evoking exotic, non-Western cultures and a fierce disregard for social convention.

He introduced these corset-free garments in 1906, the year before Picasso committed his decidedly uninhibited (and unstaid) “Demoiselles d’Avignon” to canvas. But with his love of the exotic, his brilliant use of color and pattern, and his penchant for simplified, almost rudimentary form, Poiret most resembles Matisse.

Poiret functioned as a kind of one-man cultural scene. He collected art, gave lavish costume parties and made astute use of the press while laying the groundwork for fashion design as a modern art and a modern business. His clients included Sarah Bernhardt, Nancy Cunard, Isadora Duncan, Colette and Helena Rubinstein. Man Ray photographed Peggy Guggenheim in a Poiret gown and turban. Edward Steichen’s first fashion photographs were taken of models in Poiret’s atelier.

He was the first designer to understand the value of designing for well-known actresses both onstage and off. He was also the first to create his own line of perfume, named Rosine, for his eldest daughter, and the first to open an interior design store, Atelier Martine, named for his second daughter but inspired by the Weiner Werkstätte. His innovations included the chemise, harem pants and pantaloons and the popular lampshade skirt. When he visited the United States in 1913, he found himself called the king of fashion and discovered the underside of modern fashion success: His lampshade skirt was being copied far and wide.

Organized by Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton, who are curator in charge and curator of the Met’s Costume Institute, “Poiret: King of Fashion” conveys quite a bit of his complex genius and his contradictory relationship with modernity. It displays 50 garments on mannequins (by Beyond Design) whose ovoid faces and cryptic features evoke Brancusi and Modigliani. The silk backdrops, which are the work of Jean-Hugues de Chatillon, a French set designer who served as the exhibition’s creative consultant, accent the show’s spaciousness with indelibly Parisian vistas of leafy parks, chic theaters and luxurious drawing rooms. All told you may have the sensation of drifting through a series of extraordinarily beautiful fashion illustrations, an art that Poiret cultivated to his advantage.

 

Poiret’s liberation of the female body was in part inspired by the gamine build and independent spirit of his wife and muse, Denise, whom he married in 1905. In other ways it was born of necessity. Although he was initiated into the couturier business between 1898 and 1903, working as a designer for Jacques Doucet and then the House of Worth, Poiret never trained in the exacting crafts of couture tailoring or dressmaking.

His design ideas began with the flat, rectangle of the fabric itself, as did the Japanese kimonos and North African caftans he admired. They then evolved through draping, not tailoring, into garments with a minimum of seams that pretty much hung from the shoulders.

Poiret drew from a broad range of sources. Early in the show there is a trio of nightgowns, based on the Classical Greek gown known as the chiton, that are precursors to the 1950s negligee and the early 21st-century socialite party dress. To one side of these are two white high-waisted dresses that hark back to the severe yet demure gowns of post-Revolution France, displayed with an Atelier Martine chair that has bubbly hand-painted fabric.

Nearby is evidence of Poiret’s attraction to a more ornate form of non-Western dress: a gauzy harem outfit studded with enormous beads of turquoise celluloid that Denise might have worn to their most famous fete, “The Thousand and Second Night” costume party on June 24, 1911.

But turn around and you will see a stark simplicity that may take you aback: a gown that resembles nothing so much as a 1960s abstract painting. Wrapped gracefully around a mannequin, it has no sleeves or collar to speak of, just four broad, alternating bands of stylishly darkened red and blue.

Poiret’s best clothes were abstract in a very real sense, with a kind of self-evident structure that is a precursor of Minimalism, as well as of clothing designs as different as those of Rei Kawakubo, Hussein Chalayan and Andrea Zittel. His basic form was a cylinder, with or without sleeves attached. It appeared in his work as early as 1905 in his Révérend Coat embellished with Chinese roundels. The first garment in the show, it is worn over a white, lacy, high-necked, pinch-waisted Edwardian gown, like those Poiret designed at the beginning of his career. The sartorial conflict accents the shock of the newness of his sense of form, structure and color.

His best known and most audacious designs are a series of full-length columnar opera coats that begin in 1911 and culminate in the 1919 Paris Evening Coat, merely a swath of uncut fabric with a single seam. In a wonderful bit of exhibition magic this Möbius-like feat is demonstrated in a brief digital animation projected on a scrim that then turns transparent, revealing the actual coat behind it.

But even without digital aids you can see how his garments are built, step by step. A day coat began as a black satin jacket based on a Chinese robe. To this he added four strips of cream-colored wool jacquard striped horizontally with thin lines of brown for two cuffs, a simple folded-over collar and a slightly gathered skirt that reaches almost to the floor.

The contrast of fabrics joined in this single form is elegantly harsh, like a combination of Hudson Bay blanket and black tie. A similar contrast is drawn more closely in a jumperlike dress made of gold-lamé twill.

Poiret followed modernity only so far. By the mid 1920s Chanel was designing convenient, understated clothes for women enjoying an increased sense of physical and social freedom in the wake of World War I. But Poiret ignored the shorter skirts and trimmer lines and continued enveloping women in luxurious garments that began to look cumbersome.

the following books on Poiret are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Giorgio Armani (1934)

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I have a soft spot for fashion catalogues. It is not that I am a “fashionado” but the way these seasonal publications by the greatest of fashion designers are published I admire. They search for the best photographers, stylists, designers and really spent serious money on a publication that is in most cases given away for free. Chanel is arguably my personal favourite. They published in the Lagerfeld years really great catalogues and the combination Claudia Schiffer / Karl Lagerfeld is hard to beat by others.

Still, a great effort was done during the last 30 years by “Giorgio Armani” being in the fashion business since 1975 , they currently have over 300 stores spread all over the world ( except Africa). This means their appeal has to be truly international and with the seasonal catalogues, they presented in a universal way their fashion to their public. Besides some very nice Chanel catalogues, FTN books has also some great and classic Giorgio Armani catalogues available.

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Madeleine Vionnet (1876-1975)

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Madeleine Vionnet….one of the great fashion designers from last century and by far the most gifted of couturiers according to Ietse Mey,  former curator of the Kostuummuseum in the Netherlands. At one time she explained that the reason why Vionnet has been so important for the world of fashion is that she had a special way of cutting the fabrics.

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She became known for clothes that accentuated the natural female form. Influenced by the modern dances of Isadora Duncan, Vionnet created designs that showed off a woman’s natural shape. Like Duncan, Vionnet was inspired by ancient Greek art, in which garments appear to float freely around the body rather than distort or mold its shape. Her style changed relatively little over her career, although it became a little more fitted in the 1930s.[6]

In the 1920s, Vionnet had created a stir by developing garments utilizing the bias cut, a technique for cutting cloth diagonal to the grain of the fabric, enabling it to cling to the body while stretching and moving with the wearer. While Vionnet herself did not invent the method of cutting fabric on the bias, she was the first to utilize bias cuts for the entirety of a garment.

http://www.ftn-books.com has 2 publications on Madeleine Vionnet available. One by Ietse Mey

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Franco Pinna (1925-1978)

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Without knowing who the photographer was i have encountered , many, many photographs by Pinna in the time i read the PARIS MATCH. Studying french i had to read the language, which meant that i bought weekly the Paris Match. Pinna’s photographs are easily recognizable and have a signature of their own.

He was born in La Maddalena, on July 29, 1925. In 1952 he moved to Rome and, after a brief experience as a cinedocumentary operator, constituted the cooperative Fotografi Associati together with Plinio De Martiis, Caio Mario Garrubba, Nicola Sansone, Pablo Volta, which was dissolved in 1954 due to economic difficulties. He followed the anthropologist Ernesto De Martino during several research expeditions in southern Italy (Lucania, 1952, 1956, 1959, Salento 1959), obtaining documents of great artistic and cultural value. In 1959 he published his first book, entitled La Sila, which was followed by Sardegna una civiltà di pietra (Sardinia, a stone civilization) (1961). Meanwhile, his photos appear in the magazines Life, Stern, Sunday Times, Vogue, Paris Match, Epoca, L’espresso, Panorama. From 1965 Pinna became the trusted photographer of Federico Fellini and made scene photos of his films Giulietta degli spiriti, 1965, up to Fellini’s Casanova in 1976; he also publishes some photo books (I ClownsFellini’s Film) inspired by his films. He died suddenly in Rome on April 2, 1978.

http://www.ftn-books.compinna has a nice italian publication on Pinna available.

 

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Salvatore Ferragamo (1898-1960)

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Ferragamo has now become a classic within the fashion industry, but before this . Ferragamo was one of the very talented and appreciated fashion designers who made HAUTE COUTURE and started with shoes. This is a how many of the great names in fashion started in some way. Hermes started with saddles, Vuitton with suitcases and Ferragamo with shoes. In many of these cases the brandname is the most important asset. The Ferragamo brandname is no exception.

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Under the umbrella of Ferragamo and its classic logo, many fashion products have been marketed. Shoes, scarves, bags, glasses, belts, jewelry ….all FERRAGAMO, but i must confess that these are not ordinary designs, these are true collectable items for fashionistas, as is this beautiful publication on Salvatore Ferragamo.

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Peter Lindbergh (1944-2019)

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Yesterday i learned that the great Peter Lindbergh has died on the 3rd of September. Maybe he was not the greatest of his generation, because Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Karl Lagerfeld became much more famous than Lindbergh ever would become, but among the Stern, Vogue and Vanity Fair readers he was known for his excellent, non polished photographs.

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Setting a trend among photographers where the model had to be photographed as “natural” as possible. He will be remembered for these magnificent photographs which he took for 99% in black and white. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice Lindbergh books in its inventory.

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Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019)

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Karl Lagerfeld dies at the age of 85 today.  Cat lover and fashion designer he mostly will be remembered for the fashion he designed in the years he designed Haute Couture and pret a Porter for Chanel. His muse Claudia Schiffer was feautured in many catalogues published in those years of which some are availabel at www.ftn-books.com

Beside fashion he had two other great loves.. first of all his cat Choupette and secondly photography, because beside his fashion designs he was a very accomplished and talented photograper too.

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Aziz Bekkaoui (1969)

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One of the dutch fashion designers i truly enjoyed working with was AZIZ (Bekkaoui). I met a few of the great fashion designers in my time at the Gemeentemuseum. Frank Govers i found authentic but not that sympathetic, the same with Frans Molenaar …at a distance a likable personality, but as soon as you had met he was not the friendliest one. Max Heymans….. a rude person that thought of himself to be the king among dutch fashion designers, but for me he never reinvented himself, but his importance was based on a very loyal clientele who thought his designs were ina class of their own. Mart Visser a found sympathetic and one of the last i worked with was AZIZ Bekkaoui. A Moroccan born fashion designer of who i personally think is one of the most original ones to have appeared on the dutch fashion scene in the last few decades.  No gimmicks like Viktor & Rolf, but true and original fashion His fashion designs are inventive and highly original and…..he is certainly one of the friendliest designers i have met.

At the time of his Gemeentemuseum show he was hardly known, but the catalogue we made for the show was one of the most original ones at the time i was working at the Gemeentemuseum. Designed by Gracia Lebbink, we chose for a felt like white cover and the best printing possible…the result a highly collectable fashion exhibition catalogue which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

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William Klein (1928) a master of abstract photography

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I found an excellent biography on Artnet on William Klein, but for me the importance of Klein is the fact that William Klein made a stunning catalogue together with Wim Crouwel for his 1967 exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The catalogue has some very bold typography and the use of the bright yellow in contrast with the black and white photograph in the back makes it for me a classic. Here is the Artnet bio.

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William Klein is an American artist known for his unconventional style of abstract photography depicting city scenes. Although similar in subject matter to other street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Saul Leiter, as well as fashion photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Klein’s images break from established modes. “I came from the outside, the rules of photography didn’t interest me. There were things you could do with a camera that you couldn’t do with any other medium—grain, contrast, blur, cock-eyed framing, eliminating or exaggerating grey tones and so on,” he reflected. “I thought it would be good to show what’s possible, to say that this is as valid of a way of using the camera as conventional approaches.” Born on April 19, 1928 in New York, NY, Klein studied painting and worked briefly as Fernand Léger’s assistant in Paris, but never received formal training in photography. His fashion work has been featured prominently in Vogue magazine, and has also been the subject of several iconic photo books, including Life is Good and Good for You In New York (1957) and Tokyo (1964). In the 1980s, he turned to film projects and has produced many memorable documentary and feature films, such as Muhammed Ali, The Greatest (1969). Klein currently lives and works in Paris, France. His works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

There are more titles on or with contributions by William Klein available at www.ftn-books.com