Smilla smiles: inspired design is powerful

October 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

If you haven’t felt elated after this commercial, there must be something wrong. With you – sorry about this – not the commercial. Too often are marketing and commercial crudely turned down, despised. But when inspired humane design is combined with promotion, there’s nothing more powerful. Well, or maybe a few things, but from a creative point of view, you’ve already reached a meaningful stage. This is what Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister does. He allegedly combines personal experience with marketing design works for companies. He divulges a message, he promotes, in some way, progress and peace. There is something about awareness in his works. People who refuse to acknowledge creative marketing campaigns as art should have a look at Sagmeister’s work.

To do so, I strongly recommend the exhibition about Sagmeister’s design works for promotion purposes in Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, from now until Feb. 2012: “Stefan Sagmeister – Another Exhibit”. You’ll meet with him (via some of his TED conferences) quite early and instantaneously realize how strong the power of personal development can be in professional work. He basically shows how liberating and inspiring a time off can be on your creative instincts – especially of you’ve started feeling like a goldfish in its bowl lately at work. He also makes you think about how curious simple sentences of an everyday life philosophy can provide ground to powerful marketing messages.

Everybody monkey in Glasgow

But it’s not only about selling. Well, it is, of course, but it’s about sharing – that’s what I felt. You can see these huge monkeys scattered across the world, each of them carrying a one-word board. You have to travel around to match one word with the others and find out the complete sentence says: “Everybody always thinks they are right.” And that’s indeed how most of the conflicts and wars start. This was to initiate the Six Cities Design Festival; and was commissioned by the Scottish government (haha and here’s the personal heartbeat coming up – Glasgow, I love you!) So, well…this is not only about how marketing can become a work of art (as a matter of fact, marketing design is already art in itself because it’s strong design with a message). It’s more about how you can share and bring people together through art, via a support that’s supposed to remain commercial. This is how far personal involvement goes…

For an insight into Sagmeister’s studio:

I also recommend Sagmeister’s TED videos.


(wwl) hauntings

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

In one of the comments about his own video, Jake McKee says: “Maybe I should add some zombies for effect”. Well although I won’t deny my boundless passion for the undead, his cemetery time-lapse videos are better without any brain eaters. Star-charting the graves in a Texas cemetery looks pretty haunting enough to me. Enjoy.

chronicles #7 On the wild side of the road

October 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Everybody talks about it, everybody’s listening to its soundtrack and nearly all my male friends are pretending to be Ryan Gosling since they’ve seen Drive. The gloves, the shining scorpio jacket, the aviator glasses and the hammer (bonus accessory). Nightcall posted on the facebook wall to show they’ve loved the movie. Yes, I can’t deny it, Drive is just a killer movie. A perfect killer. everything’s perfect, especially the photography and the light. The length of the scenes is perfect (too long? no. Just enough time to enjoy the perfect framing). An expressionless hero, about whom we don’t know anything. Where does he come from, where will he go, why is he behaving like this, how did he learn to kill like this? A sort of vintage avenger, on the whole.

Vintage Californian. This is how this movie can be described, with a slight Tarantino touch in the second part, not even more subtle. Apart from this, the whole movie seems to have been shot with this old camera of my Dad’s. Same rays of sun falling on my Mum’s face on that photograph in which she’s sitting on the bank of a river — I’m thinking about the scene Carey Mulligan is herself musing about near the river and what we see is more the sun in the leaves than the actual scene. I love this way of shooting, because it’s just so fashionable, and so “what we lost souls would want to be”. A real human being, and a real hero. Or at least pictures in which we’re pretending to have real heroic lives.

The trailer actually doesn’t show anything of what Drive really is. It almost looks like a random action movie except for the part Ryan cold bloodily kills all the bad guys with either a hammer or his own angry fists, which turn out to be the same in effects. But don’t watch the movie for its action plot. That wouldn’t be so exciting. Go for it, to see Gosling with his half concealed in the dark, leaning on a racing car like we damn would die to drive in even once in our lives, admire the way he manages to be so inhumanly closed to any sort of feeling and at the same time the human feelings are bursting out of each hole of his skin. And finally, go and listen to the soundtrack, without which this movie wouldn’t be halfway through where it is now.

(remXIX) same style same story

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

While in Paris there’s a photography exhibition relating the history of photography identification (Archives Nationales, Paris, Fichés?), a lookbook of a special type is delivered on the Internet under the name of Social statement? Classification process? Fashion dictation denunciation? Well if you, individual, thought you had a unique style, you’re gonna be taught that individuality doesn’t exist anymore in our times of mass-produced “fashion”. While clothing has been democratized, it also multiplied the styles and made it accessible to all of us. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not saying I disapprove of this… I also like being able to afford a new jacket corresponding to my “style” every other month, or just changing styles altogether and change shops.

While brands like H&M, Zara, Mango, and others just contribute to make fashion more avalaible to the masses, we all bathe in the illusion that we express our uniqueness in our clothes…. Well, first of all, this is just an impression, and the strangest of it all is that deep inside us, we must be well aware of this phenomenon. Like two Darwins and psychologists of clothes, photographer Ari Versluis and profiler (yes, I said profiler) Ellie Uyttenbroek, both from the Netherlands, are establishing portraits of types. Typographying society through their clothes – interestingly enough, I like the fact that this can be related to my final dissertation topic, but that would be too long a story. This stresses the obvious contradictory fact that distinction and adoption of a community style are tightly bound and dependent on each other in nowadays’ way to try to assert one’s identity.

"Gabbers" is a good ironical lookbook with a small audio comment on each picture describing the fashionoligical features of each category, and likes to be taken as a reliable anthropological study on the Homo Fashionus. All lovers of dressed up society will delight in this.

(fash) walking in Giverny with Van Gogh #lfw11

October 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Summer will be floral. It’s been quite a while I wanted to post this article but somehow, it got lost among my drafts and I forgot about it. However I’m feeling that the exceptional temperatures we’re currently enjoying in Paris make it a special opportunity to go back on a clear trend of NYFW and LFW: the impressionist painted floral patterns. I know I can sound a bit obsessed with flowers – which might be true – but obviously, I’m not the only one. So, apprently, designers have been inspired by impressionist master Monet, who used to take long walks in his domain in Giverny, France. That’s where he painted the famous series of the Nympheas (below) and thus made us realise the colours of the world weren’t necessarily as we perceived them in the first place. Change your iris.

Brushpaints and floralescent colours, that’s what we get in Christopher Kane‘s S/S 12 collection, as well as in Erdem‘s, a bit in Jenny Packham‘s (small flowers thrown on white canvas), like in Kinder Aggugini‘s. But that’s not all. Gouache was not the only painting medium that inspired fashion designers this time. We also find a bit of watercolour in Lela Rose‘s creations, swirling into abstract orchids. Interesting as we already observed this trend in mass ready-to-wear two years ago (I clearly remember buying a watercolour-pattern dress in Manoukian back then).


But of course, 19th century painters could not be complete without Master Van Gogh, whom Rodarte didn’t hesitate to  call for. Away the trembling references to Monet. Here, dress is the canvas. Dress in the painting.


This reminds us that far from its first function of body covering, dress has always had a decorative function, before turning into proper art. Long before we invented the Fashion Weeks to serve the purposes of this that regents us, Fashion industry, painters and artists found in dress the meaning of the body. Arising it to the level of art made it possible  to be employed as an expression of wearer’s inner sense of aesthetic – if it exists. And here, “upper” art finally collide with fashion, that doesn’t even belong to the series of the traditional arts, because it never lost its functional aspect of dressing the body. Because of its useful aspect, never will it completely be called art, won’t it? So is this a tribute? A challenge? A sarcasm? Well… this is to be debated. In the meantime, sunflowers have escaped from their vases.

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