Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dear Readers,

My apologies for the prolonged silence. A family emergency came up in February.  It is still on-going, but I hope to begin posting again soon with some regularity.  In the meantime, thank you for your patience. Please send good vibes.

With Love,
TCW xx

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cindy Sherman: Early Works at the Gucci Museo, Florence

During Pitti in Florence, I had the pleasure to attend the opening soiree for the Gucci Museo's newest exhibit, Cindy Sherman: Early Works. Earlier in the day, I was lucky enough to have a private spin round the museum, the archive exhibition as well, with curator Francesca Amfitheatrof who explained to me, not only some of the finer more fascinating points of Gucci's history, but why exhibiting contemporary art makes perfect sense for the brand.

The building which houses the museum has a rich artistic and artisan history closely intertwined with that of the city and the brand itself. Inaugurated in September of 2011 at the direct request of current creative director Frida Giannini, inside the 14th century Palazzo della Mercanzia, the building once housed the brand's creative offices. The palazzo itself, which dates back to 1337, housed the Ufficio della Mercanzia (which also served as Frida's studio and is the room where the Sherman exhibition now hangs), was where the great Florentine artists in the time of the Medici would go to ask the Commune for funding for their works. It represents, at its very core, the spirit of arts as communal works in Italy's famous capital of Renaissance arts. As such, the museum donates half of its ticket revenue towards the restoration of the arts in Florence.

The Sherman exhibition keenly espouses this spirit, and serves as another plot point in a story of the historic dimension of art, including fashion, coming together with the contemporary. The exhibition itself clearly delineates Sherman's working out of the artistic methodology during her formative university years that  propelled her to fame. The three bodies of work on display include "Murder Mystery People," 1976, "Bus Riders," 1976 and "Doll Clothes 1975." As Francesca said to me while we watched the animated film "Doll Clothes," where Sherman depicts herself as cut out paper doll trying on an assortment of clothes, puppeted by her own, real life hand that appears oversized in the frame: "she has figured the whole thing out." "Murder Mystery People," a series of photographs storyboarded as a film noir in which Sherman plays all the characters, is shown in cut outs, of which Sherman reprinted 17 of the original 82 in 2000 and are now all on display in the exhibition. "Bus Riders" operates along the same lines, but depicts the wide arrange of everyday characters to be found riding a bus. Throughout these early narratives, Sherman's exploration of self-transformation and her astute study of the world around her is palpable in its nascent, experimental phase. Her exploration of body posturing, facial expressions, gender and costumes are wonderfully underscored by the smallness of her university studio, the extension cord so she could fire the camera visible in each frame.

Displayed starkly on the vaulted walls of the medieval palace, atop the curated icons of Gucci's archive, the continuity between art, place and fashion is keenly reinforced. Sherman's work picks up on key philosophical threads that can be unwound from the practice of fashion, ideas of distortion, self-manipulation, self-refashioning and fantasy that come from the simple act of slipping into one ensemble or another. And, in my opinion, provoking this sort of cross-pollination of themes and discussion, is precisely what a museum, fashion or otherwise should be all about.

Gucci Museo
Piazza della Signoria, Florence
January 10th-June 9th, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lockit Jewellery by Louis Vuitton

One of the most endearing  jewellery collections I've seen in a while, Louis Vuitton has created a series of "love padlock" inspired necklaces, rings, bracelets and more, embodying the legend that by attaching a padlock to the railing of a bridge (Milvian Bridge in Rome, Ponte Vecchio in Florence,  Pont des Arts in Paris and so on) and then throwing the key into the water, couples will seal their love forever.

Cleverly leveraging one of the brand's own iconic signatures, namely the Steamer padlock, the Lockit Jewellery Collection is yet another perfect example of Louis Vuitton fusing their heritage with contemporary rituals concerning travel--this time, celebrating love around the world. The delicate padlocks are fashioned in rose, yellow or white gold, and worn as a pendant, swaying along a chain next to a set of keys. The padlock’s fine jewellery version is adorned with diamonds in an exact working replica of a real padlock with an accompanying white gold key. Not exactly an item for chucking into the Seine, eternal love guaranteeing or no.