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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

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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 www.ftn-books.com

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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.

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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 www.ftn-books.com

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 www.ftn-books.com 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.
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 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