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Issey Miyake (1938) and Irving Penn

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The first time i encountered the name of Issei Miyake was when an exhibition in the Nederlands Kostuummuseum was organized by curator Ietse Mey. The pleated fabrics by Miyake impressed and on a later occasion at the Groninger Museum i became an admirer of his designs.

Miyake has not become a mainstream designer and his designs are to complex to be worn in daily life, but he is important and he developed under his own brand name “l’Eau d’Issey” a range of balms and aftershaves which have become highly successful and made him a wealthy man. One publication must be discussed in this blog, because it is one of the best fashion photo books ever and its printing is outstanding and probably the reason why this is such a beautiful book. The fashion designs “shine” and look to float on the white blank pages. The photography is by Irving Penn, who made this the ultimate Issey Miyake book. Highly recommended and available at


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Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018)

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This morning i learned that one of the great fashion designers died.  At the time i was working at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the curator Ietse Mey, organized an exhibition of the fashion by de Givenchy worn by Audrey Hepburn and to enhance the exhibition a film festival was organized at the Filmmuseum with fashion worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movies. At the occasion of the opening i saw both celebrities and it struck me, that even as mrs. Hepburn was already ill at that time, she looked radiant and beautiful. The show was a huge success and one of the first in a long line of fashion exhibitions which were held at the museum. The catalogue is of course completely sold out , but sometimes you will encounter a copy on the book markets. If you find one….do not hesitate to buy it, because it is rare. An edition of only 1000 copies means that it was sold out almost instantly and it was never reprinted.


Blouin has done an excellent biography on de Givenchy. Here is the text of it and if you are looking for more de Givenchy, Hepburn, LVMH /Louis Vuitton publications check

Tributes continue to come in to Hubert de Givenchy, the French couturier whose elegance defined the 1950s and 1960s and the style of Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and more. Givenchy died at the age of age 91 in his sleep on Saturday; his death was announced by his namesake fashion house. During his lifetime, he had received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1983, and a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1995.

Givenchy was born in 1927 to a religious aristocratic family. He learned the couture “métier” from working for Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong, and Elsa Schiaparelli, before founding his own namesake label. Givenchy would later establish his Parisian atelier across the street from Cristóbal Balenciaga, who was his dear friend and his longtime role model. He was also influenced by Madame Grès and Christian Dior, and inspired by artists. He notably created taffeta evening coats and robes du soir in homage to Joan Miró during the 1970s.

His first collection was presented in February 1952; it featured modern separates, providing more affordable and versatile options than the haute couture looks that were standard in the French fashion world in the middle of the 20th century. Nonetheless, Givenchy also made opulent and heavily embellished garments (with pearls, feathers, and ribbons), impeccable cocktail ensembles, and elegant accessories, notably sumptuous hats. He was known for dressing a wealthy, stylish clientele: Jacqueline Kennedy was a longtime client, as was Grace Kelly and the Duchess of Windsor.

The darling of the Givenchy fashion narrative, however, was Audrey Hepburn. They met when a mutual friend told the designer that Miss Hepburn was keen to be introduced, and Givenchy assumed the lady in question was Katherine Hepburn. Their friendship blossomed despite the misunderstanding, and Givenchy ended up making costumes for Audrey Hepburn’s then-upcoming film, ”Sabrina” (1954)—as well as “Funny Face” (1957), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “Charade” (1963), and “How To Steal a Million” (1966). While Givenchy and Hepburn created many iconic sartorial moments on film, perhaps none rivaled the glamorous wardrobe of Holly Golightly, the onscreen heroine of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” who walked down Fifth Avenue wearing dark sunglasses, pearls, evening gloves, and a black Givenchy column dress. (In 2006, the dress was sold at a charity auction at Christie’s in London for six figures).

Givenchy was also associated with various successful perfumes: from the fruity and feminine L’Interdit (created in 1957 for Hepburn) to the heavily floral Amariage (created in 1991).

Givenchy sold his fashion house to the LVMH Group in 1988 and retired after his collection in July 1995. John Galliano succeeded him; less than two years later, he in turn was succeeded by Alexander McQueen, then Julien Macdonald. Riccardo Tisci held the reigns from 2005 until 2017, much to the original designer’s displeasure. Currently, Clare Waight Keller is the label’s Artistic Director.

In March 2016, the fashion house created an archival department to conserve and promote all garments and accessories dating from the original designer’s tenure, from 1952 to 1995. Just last year, the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais in northern France celebrated Givenchy’s work and presented 80 beautiful looks and accessories that spanned his career.

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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fashion


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This blog is how i experience books and art and what i read about them and this is certainly an article i want to share with you. The guardian did an excellent article on Basquiat and his Fahion style/ A style which looks random , but was a well thought out way of dressing… Hooray for the Guardian. Here is the article and do not forget that has some nice titles on Jean-Michel Basquiat.

There’s an image of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover of the New York Times magazine from 1985. The photo is by Lizzie Himmel; the headline New Art, New Money. The artist, wearing a dark Giorgio Armani suit, white shirt and tie, leans back in a chair, one bare foot on the floor, the other up on a chair. The combination of the suit and the bare feet is typical of the way Basquiat defined his own image; always with an unconventional bent.

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I’ve obsessed over his style when standing in front of Hollywood Africans, a 1983 work from a series where the images relate to stereotypes of African Americans in the entertainment business. It is a banger of a painting and will form part of Basquiat: Boom for Real, a retrospective opening at the Barbican in London this month.

I have a longstanding interest in the way artists dress, from Picasso to Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe to Robert Rauschenberg, and I think their wardrobes exert as powerful an influence on mainstream fashion as those of any rock or Hollywood stars. These artists carved out instantly recognisable uniforms: clothes that symbolise the same singular point of view as their greatest works, usually with the sense of complete ease that is the holy grail of true style.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017.
 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017. Photograph: Jean-Michel Basquiat/Barbican

Basquiat’s wardrobe was distinctive, whether he was in mismatched blazer and trousers with striped shirt and clashing tie, or patterned shirt with a leather jacket pushed off his shoulders. He was perhaps most recognisable in his paint-splattered Armani suits. “I loved the fact that he chose to wear Armani. And loved even more that he painted in my suits,” Giorgio Armani says. “I design clothes to be worn, for people to live in, and he certainly did!”

In many ways, this bricolage approach to clothing is akin to the way he created his art. “His work was a mysterious combination of elements – text and colour, historical reference, abstraction and figurative techniques,” Armani says. “In his life, he also mashed up creative activities – he was a graffiti artist, a musician, an actor, a maker of great artworks. This eclecticism made him a mysterious and unconventional man. That mix made him stand out.”

Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat and classmate Al Diaz graffitied statements across New York as SAMO© in the late 70s, before he went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 80s art scene with his unique and brilliantly chaotic paintings. He died in 1988 at just 27, but is still regarded as one of the most influential painters of his generation. A painting from 1982, Untitled, sold this year for £85m, putting him in a unique club alongside the likes of Picasso in terms of record-breaking sales.

“He was an incredibly stylish artist,” says Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne. “He was very playful about the performative aspects of identity.” He was also aware of the “renewed fixation on celebrity” that coincided with the art boom of the 80s, particularly in New York. He famously appeared in Blondie’s Rapture video, dated Madonna and befriended Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985.
 Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Cathleen McGuigan, who wrote that 1985 New York Times feature, recounts Basquiat at the hip Manhattan hangout Mr Chow’s, drinking kir royal and chatting to Keith Haring while Warhol dined with Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran nearby. “He attracted the attention of Warhol and Bowie, so was endorsed by those who had already achieved that rare style-icon status,” Armani says. “And he had a very unique look – he had hair as distinctive as Warhol’s and wore suits in a way as stylish and relaxed as Bowie.”

Basquiat’s interest in clothing was not just something he explored or exploited at the height of his fame. In Basquiat: A Quick Killing In Art, by Phoebe Hoban, clothes are an important part of his life story. His mother had at one point designed them, while one of his teachers noted he had pencils sticking out of his hair from an early age. Soon after he killed off SAMO© he was painting sweatshirts, lab coats and jumpsuits for Patricia Field, who gave him one of his first shows at her East Eighth Street boutique. Descriptions of his stirring appearance include this by American curator Diego Cortez: “I remember on the dancefloor seeing this black kid with a blond Mohawk. He had nothing to do with black culture. He was this Kraftwerkian technocreature … He looked like a Bowery bum and a fashion model at the same time.”

Basquiat went on to model in a 1987 Comme des Garçons show wearing a pale blue suit, black buckle sandals, white shirt and white bow tie. Robert Johnston, style director at British GQ, describes Basquiat’s style as “a work of art in itself” and adds: “While meaning no disrespect to his talent, it is hard to imagine he would have taken New York so much by storm if he’d looked more like Francis Bacon.”

Basquiat’s influence on menswear is still felt today. While other icons have referenced his style – Kanye West sported a T-shirt bearing his portrait, Frank Ocean namechecked him in lyrics by Jay-Z, who dressed as him for a Halloween party – there is a more direct effect on fashion. There have been collaborations, via his estate, with the likes of Reebok and Supreme. There’s a photo of Basquiat wearing an Adidas T-shirt with a pinstripe suit which is a template for how the younger generation approach the idea of tailoring. At the S/S 18 shows in Milan, wonky ties with suiting at Marni made me jot down “Basquiat” in my notebook. And with the Barbican show his influence will spread. “The way Basquiat mixed classic tailoring with a downtown nonchalance fits the mood in menswear,” says Jason Hughes, fashion editor of Wallpaper*. “A refined suit worn with an unironed shirt, skewwhiff tie and beaten-up sneakers. The fact that he painted in those suits feels slightly anarchic and nonconformist. I want to wear a suit like that.”

This article appears in the autumn/winter 2017 edition of The Fashion, the Guardian and the Observer’s biannual fashion supplement

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Juergen Teller ( 1964 ) and Louis Vuitton

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For Nicolas Ghesquiere first Fall 2014 womenswear collection, Louis Vuitton invited German photographer Juergen Teller for a distinctive interpretation of the collection.

Photographed from the House’s Parisian headquarters, with intimate views of the Seine and Eiffel tower, twelve models grace the Fall 2014 women’s collection in edgy attitude.

In this selection, glorious smooth, full-grain leather is contrasted with hybrid materials. Bold, bright colours are juxtaposed with muted halftones. Hand-crafted artisanal techniques are updated with high-tech twist. It was my luck to find a , in pristini/ still sealed condition special edition of this important Louis Vuitton Publication. I did not want to open it, because a collector should want it in this condition, but found some excellent photo’s by Teller on Google to support the quality of this special LOUIS VUITTON edition and perhaps this is the present you are looking for for Christmas.

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More Juergen Teller available at


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Carel Willink (1900-1983)

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In the time the PC. Hooftstraat in Amsterdam was not a fashion street, but an ordinary city street with a butcher, a grocery, baker, vegetables shop and even a garage. In those days there were some galleries who held residence in the P.C. Hooftstraat,. Among them there was gallery IKON, which presented religious icons and yes, i was the shopkeeper …it was one of my first jobs in the art world. At one day Carel Willink passed by , returned and entered the gallery. Hat, walking stick, bow tie . He really looked like a bohemian. Now almost 35 years later i still remember the person, but as an artist i lost interest. His technique is phenomenal, but in the last years of his life he only took consignments and made portraits for famous dutch people. One exception… . The (nude) portrait he made of his wife Sylvia is exceptionally beautiful.

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Kees Maks (1876-1967) .

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Another painter of daily life in the Netherlands, but only known in the Netherlands , is Kees Maks. The same as Mondrian, Sluijter and Gestel, he tavelled to Paris in his younger years before the first World War. There he entered the Salon the Automne and became a member, where he met Kees van Dongen ( see blog yesterday) and became influenced by this painter. Maks was fully recognized as an important painter when his painting Nightcafe was purchased by the Musee de Luxembourg in 1927.

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Contemporaries often placed Maks’s modernity in his figures, who were clothed and coiffed according to the latest fashion and demonstrated the latest dances, such as the FURLANA. Maks himself chose the clothing for his models, undoubtedly assisted by his wife who worked at Hirsch and later became and independent fashion designer.

As DE TELEGRAAF put itin in 1920….MAKS proved himself a painter who dares to go into raptures over the fashion of time. But despite all this qualities Maks in only known in the Netherlands and is rarely encountered in collections outside our borders.

There are a few tiles on Maks available at

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Inez van Lamsweerde (1963)

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Is she an art photographer, fashion photographer or staged photographer? I really do not know, but between these 3 there is not much difference in the works of Inez van Lamsweerde. Fashion or personal art photography blend perfectly. You can see many of her latest examples on her site On this site her project together wth her “partner in crime” Vinood Mathadin are depicted. Here is one example from the series of photos they made for Yves Saint Laurent.

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Arguably she is one of the best fashion photographers in the world , but for me personally she is the best. Just because of the arty way she depicts her models and still shows the best qualities of the Fashion they wear. For more titles on van Lamsweerde, please visit

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Fondation Louis Vuitton


We joined our friends David and Monica this weekend in Paris. Planning this to meet each other half way planet earth took some organization, but it was worth it, because the exhibition of the Sergueï Chtchoukine collection is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all these marvelous paintings in one place. Later i will blog on the exhibition itself, but for now i will focus on the building in which it is presented…the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Starting as a company making high quality bags, travel trunks and accessories out of prepared canvas and leather, the company later became one of the leading companies in the fashion world. Nowadays they are part of the LVMH group. A large holding specializing in luxury goods and one of the wealthiest companies in the world….and that shows, because in the Bois de Boulogne they build a museum which can not be compared with anything i have seen except the other Gehry designed buildings. Guggenheim Bilbao, Vitra in Weil Am Rhein and the Disney Concert Hall in LA), but this one is special….. First of all the layers / shells are all executed in white instead of the aluminium ones in Bilbao and L.A.). constructed and attached to each other with wooden supporting beams and because of the outer layer material, it was possible for Daniel Buren to convert these shells into one of his most complex, impressive and colorful In Situ works ever.

When you walk towards the entrance you get a glimpse of the pattern as it is executed, but when you leave the museum at the other side and walk into the garden, …..get some distance…..there it is …. you see a beautiful building totally covered by a great work of art. I do not know how long the Buren will be visible on the building but as long it is there, try to see it because it is well worth to see this one “live”. Compare it with the Christo In Situ works. Whenever you have seen one there is no photograph which can be compared with seeing the project with your own eyes. The scale in which it is executed makes these works special and so is this Daniel Buren….and Yes the Fondation Louis Vuitton is not the only one who combined these artist together, because books on Vuitton, Gehry and Buren can all be found at

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Coco Chanel and Sol LeWitt

An unlikely combination, but…. they have something in common. Recently a new cotton bag with a special design by Sol LeWitt was published by the same publishers as the one who published the Cotton bags with the Chanel exhibition some 2 years ago. Same size and same quality and both cotton bags are available at

I know for certain there are bag collectors and these original museum cotton bags are produced in such small numbers that they are highly collectable and only available for a very short time. So be quick in this first week of January and purchase the bag(s) for your collection.

this blog is daily published on

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Gemeentemseum Den Haag..From Rodin to Bourgeois

It was an exhibition i was really looking forward to. I know the collection of sculptures the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has very well and thought they would make a superb exhibition with them. Last weekend we visited the exhibition and….i must say i was disappointed. The statues and sculptures were grouped  and i could distinguish themes and periods within the groups, but what struck me most is that there were too many sculptures on too little space. For me sculptures must have space around them. That is the reason sculptures outside work so well. In the Gemeentemuseum there were too many on too little space and on top of it, the epic spider by Louise Bourgeois was not shown within the exhibition, but was squeezed into one of the smallest cabinets of the museum.


This sculpture exhibition competes with too many other exhibitions at the same time and far too many objects within the exhibitions, made the museum visit one of the least attractive ones of the last years.

I love the museum, but this collection deserves far better than the way it now is exposed to the public. Far too many objects. No space between them….no air to breathe at all . The SCHATKAMER in which the STIJL period is exhibited on the ground floor is one of the worst museum spaces i know of in the Netherlands and now that the inner garden is (unfortunately) covered( see photos), because they wanted a space to drink coffee ( beside the restaurant), read some magazines and sell some books( beside the museumstore), the beautiful Bourgeois sculpture is now squeezed into a cabinet and is no longer a part of the sculpture exhibition FROM RODIN TO BOURGEOIS, because it is placed out of the exhibition on the other side of the building. So please free the inner garden space from everything in it and make this an exhibition space and put the Bourgeois, Nauman, Carl Andre in it or better…. use it for the Sol LeWitt,Serieel project nr. 1: Groep B (1966-1970). These sculptures really deserve some space and a better exposure. That would be a real “tribute to Sol LeWitt”. Go and see what space can do for a beautiful sculpture. Visit the Serra in the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Giacometti in the Beyeler and see how it must be done to present them in the best way possible. Space and air is what these great sculptures need.

A last remark, the Museum shop is turning into a souvenir shop. If that is what they feel the museum needs, the museum certainly must follow that path, but i feel strongly that it is nice to learn something about the great art which is shown in  a museum and for that you need other products than scarves, cups, pencils and the occasional postcard. For books on the Gemeentemuseum and its collection and exhibitions there is still another place to visit ….please visit and find here the publications this great museum has published over the last 60 years.

One positive thing about the current exhibitions. The Tomas Rajlich exhibition is exquisite ( blog next week) and the Ravesteyn room with the Givenchy dresses and the Audrey Hepburn filmclips in the background is great.



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Hussein Chalayan

In the 90’s several exhibitions were held in the Gemeentemuseum with some fashion items by Issey Miyake, but after these exhibitions there was a period without any real fashion talents. Exhibitions were held with new aspiring fashion designers but none had the original quality of Miyake until………there was Hussein Chalayan, but this time in a different location..the Groninger Museum.


For me, suddenly he was there and the Groninger Museum made a wonderful exhibition with his designs. I do not follow fashion very much, but for me Chalayan combined fashion with Modern Art and sculpture and the setting in the Groninger Museum ( Mendini architecture) made it very special. According to Vogue he now makes HIGH TECH dresses. His approach to fashion has stayed the same. Explore the boundaries of fashion, ,wearability is of less importance, but originality is what he is looking for ….and finds.

The article on Chalayan in Vogue can be found here:

Publications on this fascinating fashion designer are rare but has some nice ones.