What Happened to The Fyre Festival?

fyre festival modelsBlogger extraordinaire and cultural pendant Bob Lefsetz said it best: “when someone says if you just pay enough you’re a member of the club, know that the club is not worth joining or you’re not getting inside.” He was speaking about the belly-up Fyre Festival models Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, Chanel Iman, Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin sold to their fans via social media. A music event that is not going to happen.

Rabid Instagram fans/Twitter followers threw down $250,000 for a music weekend promising acts like Blink 182, Rae Sremmund, Skepta, Desiigner, and Pusha T. prompted by an urging of the hippest models in the world. Back in November Vanity Fair ran a piece about the show’s head honcho’s Ja Rule and Billy McFarland flying a gaggle of models to the island for a promotional shoot, which opened the door for our best/young/most beautiful to urge fans to come to the show. Social media being what it is and these women having thousands of followers apiece, the Fyre Festival was a see-and-be-scene the hippest simply couldn’t ignore.

But fans arrived at the private Bahamas island to find chaos, and even on the airline getting there, bad food.

Kendall Jenner felt the social media backlash the worse. Coming on the heels of her problems with a recent Pepsi add, she deleted all mention of the soft drink and the Fyre Festival off her social media feed. This of course raised red flags and with news of the actual festival being a bust, the gaggle of models as well as the festivals promoters are being taken to task.

The “two transformative weekends” of music, fun and a private (=expensive) hang on Fyre Cay will not happen, but the world is well aware who set it all up and who advertised the event.


And the jeans have it: “Denim Day” and Topshop

denim dayThis week not latex, not rubber, not lace, or even some sort of lingerie is making the big news. Forget even Kim Kardashian cavorting in her retro bikini (though, yes, that story did get a lot of trending news on Monday) it seems jeans are the big rage in two fashion stories presently.

Today (4/26) is “Denim Day.” It’s a worldwide annual rape-prevention campaign encouraging people who stand in solidarity with sexual assault victims (and really, who wouldn’t?) to wear or even display jeans on this day. The movement began in 1999 as a response to an Italian Supreme Court overturning a rape because the court claimed the teenage victim wore “very, very tight jeans.” Defying logic for how the rape occurred and how the court took the circumstances to be consensual in the end (?) women in the Italian Parliament began wearing jeans in a sign of solidarity. The movement went global with Peace Over Violence organizing the campaign.

So, wear or show today as you see fit…a nice tight pair of jeans if you can. Demonstrations will be taking place in over 50 cities around the US.

Topshop isn’t interested in tight jeans as much as they are ‘no jeans’ to their jeans.

For 100 Australian dollars the brand will sell those who want to be seen…a lot. The Moto Clear Plastic Jean has, what Topshop calls: “classic pockets detailing and are cropped at the ankle bone”, and make a “a statement piece for a festival or costume party,” which “take the look to the extreme with a bikini and sequin jacket or dress down, layered under an oversize jumper or asymmetric hem dress.”

And we thought latex makes us heated and exposed?!

From the important to the frivolous, this range of news is what we all like so much about moda, isn’t it?topshop clear jeans


A Mid-April Round Up Of Fashion News

zaraYou know how we like to keep you abreast of fashion news. In this ever-changing, kinetically charged culture we live in, news of all types comes and goes, dies-on-the-vine pretty much the minute it surfaces and none quicker then what is happening with moda, fashion, 时尚, mode whatever you want to call it. So here is a round-up of stylish doings for mid-April 2017.

None other than old Von Gutenberg friend, top latex designer, colleague Dawnamatrix was featured in a long wonderful piece about what they do, how they do it, and how it relates to the current music scene. The Shira Karsen interviewer/article just posted at Billboard.com and you can find it here: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/lifestyle/7751614/the-latex-fashion-designer-to-the-stars. When anybody from the V.G. family makes news like this, we really do love boasting about it.

As quickly as designer Zara posted their “Pepe the Frog” skirt for sale, they took the denim skirt sporting the infamous frog heads down. As one might recall this particular frog head with glasses became a symbol for a specific ultra-arm of one political party during the Trump-Clinton election cycle. People have seemingly not forgotten who the frog was adopted by and Twitter was alive with objections to Zara’s new wardrobe piece. Enough objections that Zara pulled the skirt.

And lastly…

In another ‘pulled’ add this week-pulled for different reasons then poor Pepe-Rimmel London gave in to pressure over what eagle-eye watchers were calling a misleading mascara add with model Cara Delevingne in the main offending role. UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled to ban the ad, saying that Delevingne is seen sporting false eyelashes and fillers to them, while selling Rimmel’s line of mascara, Scandaleyes Reloaded. As the add “didn’t say Delevingne had also been given individual lash inserts to fill in gaps and that some lashes had been re-drawn in post-production” the BBC said, the add rings false on the seeming amazing properties of Scandaleyes Reloaded.


Filmmaker Matthias Von Braun Down…But Not Out

Matthias Von Braun 1Fetish filmmaking doesn’t get much better then what Matthias Von Braun has to offer. From gas masks, to futuristic weaponry, to all kinds of alternative costuming and pushing plenty of science fiction, dark-apocalyptic tropes, Von Braun has furrowed deep into our nightmares in his short films. Movies like Switch, Decay 11, and Slave (to Technology) to name just a few, present this singular filmmaker’s oh-so-unique visions of fantastic landscapes and narratives. Recently postponing his naughty sci-fi full length Post-Human Perversions, this talented visualist quit filmmaking after the ordeal of trying to make this film. But through email and postings Von Braun heard from people across the globe to get back to what he does best…and luckily, now he has.

Once again Von Braun is starting an Indiegogo campaign, now to make two short films, Evolution and Orifice. As he describes each project on his Indiegogo page:

“Evolution will be a terrifying glimpse into human evolution featuring Post-Human cybernetic slaves. Orifice will be my most sexual short film to date. An inhumanly cruel dominant female Post-Human will seduce and destroy her human male victim.”

These new movies will feature naked females, body paint, rubber, and dark science fiction/fantasy story-telling. It seems like Von Braun is back to his provocative best with these new endeavors.

While the mainstream world tries to work through various versions of “Fifty Shades of Grey” or Instagram pics of the latest Kardashian showing off in a latex corset, filmmakers like Matthias Von Braun continue to give us the truth of the lifestyle we all love. Certainly not for everyone and not always easily digestible, when one works in the world of alt. realities, one might just ruffle a few feathers, whether one is wearing feathers or not. But all the better, we say.

Matthias Von Braun limited-time Indiegogo campaign for these short works, where contributors can acquire an exclusive T-shirt, can be found here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/matthias-von-braun-t-shirt#/ Matthias Von Braun 2

Shawna Virago Music Pioneer

ShawnaViragalbumWe don’t get to review or even expound all that often on musicians here…beyond maybe on what they might be wearing (see the last blog). Certainly ladies like Nicki Minaj or Beyoncé give us plenty to look at and maybe mention, especially when they wear something totally alternative. A little latex splash, some leather boots, maybe some naughty costume play, we are off and running with descriptions and what it means when music mixes with this kind of style. But then there is the case of transgender music pioneer and cult solo acoustic artist Shawna Virago and what she brings to fashion, music and culture in general.

Shawna is a transgender trickster weaving intricate magic with her stark lyrics and raw punk acoustic playing. Twisting together folk, punk and transAamericana, Shawna has been performing as an out transwoman since the early 90’s. Mixing her highly personal tunes with standup she has been named one of the nation’s “Top 25 Hot Femmes,” while the Advocate said her song “Objectified” was one of the nation’s top transgender anthems. The new tunes on Heaven Sent Delinquent, the muted-strummed tragic tale of “Gender Armageddon,” mid-tempo fun stuff like “Pleasure Car” or country story-song “The Ballad Of Miss Suzy Texas,” are just a few of the choices on her rich new release.

Virago’s music video “Transsexual Dominatrix” has screened at over 30 film festivals throughout North America and Europe, and was awarded Best Music Video at New York’s CineKink Festival.

Shawna Virago is also a writer (beyond songs) of some note. Her written work has appeared in “Gender Outlaws: Next Generation” and in the anthologies “Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary” and “Take Me There.” She has also been featured in documentaries on PBS and NPR.

Shawna Virago’s new album Heaven Sent Delinquent is available here: https://soundcloud.com/shawnavirago/sets/heaven-sent-delinquent-full. And you can catch the video for Shawna’s “Gender Armageddon” here: https://youtu.be/8kz0vo0exmY



Male Fashion Statements At The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

TIOften here we are commenting on some alternative wardrobe or fetish wear accessory a celebrity lady, pop diva or some sexy female model has worn. With Grammy’s, Oscars, red carpet moments at fashion affairs, God knows we have plenty to talk about. Add in the daily deluge of snuck shots we get across Instagram daily of our brightest and best, there is always lots to see of the moda choices of our cultural feminine elite. In this just past 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, men seemed to have made the grand alternate fashion statements for a change.

In an homage to Tupac Shakur, rapper T.I. wore a leather corset and suspenders. It was a replica of what Tupac wore for a famous photo shoot way back when. There was a lot of criticisms over T.I.’s outfit, of course one doesn’t just step out on the stage of something like a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction and not get hammered online the day afterwards. Other male celebs who stepped up their style this night: Snoop Dogg wore a black tracksuit with a tribal pattern down its sleeve. And Niles Rogers wore a matching navy jacket and matching trousers incorporating white piping, with a pair of Louis Vuitton slippers with white elephant at the tips.

The R’n’R HoF is one of those institutions rife with controversy…and very little of it about the wardrobe choices of inductees or presenters. Every year when nominees are announced a whole host of other seemingly worthy artists are left of the new list, the Hall is criticized for its choices, yet again, still the evening still goes on. In fact, now H.B.O. broadcasts what has come to be quite a show, taped from Brooklyn’s huge Barclays Center.

Whomever makes it in, whomever is forgotten, the result this year at the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was that male musicians made some grand fashion statements.


Arket Launches

regent streetH&M launched its new brand, Arket (translated as “sheet of paper”) to feature ready-to-wear couture for all ages and genders. They will also carry fashion accessories and housewares, in what the brand is calling this “modern-day market.” It is a brand new concept for the brand, introducing new brick and mortar locations and a hoped for unique shopping experience for the modern day buyer.

Items here will range from $42 to $124 and as Arket’s Ulrika Bernhardtz said the new venture “relates to our origin in the Nordic tradition of functional, long-lasting design and symbolizes the blank sheet.” And who knows blank sheet functionality better than the Swiss?  

Arkets first store will open in fall 2017 in London, on Regent Street. Additional openings are hoped for in Copenhagen, Brussels and further onward. The stores will also feature a café.

It seems H&M has had this particular venture in the pipeline for the past two years. According to the company they found a broad customer base looking for their products, who needed a comfortable shopping experience. As Bernhardtz continued to elaborate, his company wants a “…modern-day market a destination where you can both shop and enjoy healthy food.”

Despite some recent financial downturns for the company it seems that the long range goal with Arket is to eventually open in 18 countries. In fact, in the beginning of the year H&M announced a slowing expansion of store openings, a caution so many retailers have experienced lately. But Arknet seems to fly in the face of this philosophy. H&M will also continue to support its other brands: Other Stores, Cheap Monday, and Weekday, to name just a few and Arket will also feature other brands in the stores.

Finally, why this particular name? As Bernhardyz sais it “…symbolizes the blank sheet, the sense of optimism and possibility we felt creating this new brand.”


Carl’s Jr. Banned Again, This Time For Too Sexy Suits

Carl's Jr.Swimsuits fall into a specific fashion category all their own. In the past few year with the rising popularity of plus-sized models and body-positive campaigns, we have seen so many different new suits, bodacious beach photo spreads in S. I.’s “Swimsuit Edition” and ever sexier cuts and styles to maximize skin. And in advertising-beyond just selling the suit-like underwear pics, time and again we have seen countless models hawking all kinds of products while wearing a bikini. Carl’s Jr. the fast food burger chain has used swimsuits in their adds as well…and has once again gotten in trouble for doing so. Maybe now for good!

Model Kara De Toro was in the latest banned commerical from the burger chain. Volleyball playing cuties, as much smacking the ball as each other’s bottoms are featured munching into huge Carl’s Jr. burgers. They are also ogled by men munching burgers. And they are more than a few lose-ups of the women’s backsides.

From Guess model Charlotte McKinney walking through a farmer’s market naked, to Kim Kardashian munching into a salad in only a robe to Paris Hilton beginning the campaign way back when washing her car in a bathing suit (this was another commercial that was banned) one could argue that the burger chain makes these sexy commercials very much hoping to get banned. But Carl’s Jr. can’t be singled out as the only food chain, the only company in the U.S. or globally to use a well-shaped lady in less than nothing to sell a product.

Anti-feminist, the usual ‘sex sells’ advertising, Carl Jr’s attempt to poke and prod a public just ripe and ready to tweet and blog a backlash? One thing is for sure: models wearing skimpy suits munching on burgers certainly gets the country’s attention.

Kara De Toro called the banning of what seems the whole sexy girls add campaign presently as “So Sad.”

Facebook v.s. Julia Busato

BusatoNot that being banned by Facebook, even for a short time, might not give one some major cred, photographer Julia Busato is fighting back, harder than she has yet with her work. Her “Mannequin Series” of female body-positive images came under attack by fellow Facebookers and a banning by the infamous social media portal just recently. In a statement the Canadian photographer just released she said about this ban:

A spate in malicious reporting has once again hit my page and once again I would like to remind you of a couple of things.

First, I make a living from the contacts I make on social media. Being blocked from Facebook, for example, can have a serious negative affect on one’s ability to pay their bills, and reporting images because of who posts them or because you don’t like them is going to contribute to that.

Second, it is nothing less than bullying, It is abusing system that Facebook themselves are complicit in allowing. It is gaming the system for your own good. But messing with a person’s financial security isn’t cool and you should be ashamed of yourself if you do. Don’t be abusive. It will come back to you and it will come back harder.

In the pics in question Busato has photographs basically naked ‘larger’-sized ladies holding a mannequin in front of them. In a few shots of these models, who are not pros by any means, a lady or two is “flipping the bird” subtly and not, making an extra statement of posing against convention.

“I really want to show the world that no matter what size, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, physical/mental limitations or social status; we are all women and all strong enough to get through this together,” Busato told Huff Post. “I just want women to love themselves unconditionally because we are all beautiful in our own way.”

Busato’s photos have been shared more than 200,000 times and ever more ladies are asking to pose for the series.

Trend, Style, Music Icon: Happy 31st Birthday Lady Gaga

Gaga superbowlStefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born 31 years ago today. Better known as Lady Gaga these days, the music/style/advocate/acting diva is a multi-millionaire cultural-force-to-be-reckoned-with, and only seems to be coming into her stride one year into her third decade.

Just this year alone we saw Gaga literally jump into Super Bowl 51’s halftime. She was also seen on our T.V. screens stopping by “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and won a Golden Globe Award for best actress for her vampiric run on “American Horror Story: Hotel.” She is also set to star with Bradley Cooper in the remake of the A Star Is Born for 2018.

Arguably no young woman has made this kind of an overall cultural impact since Madonna back in the dim and distant, rubber bracelet-ed, pastel-colored jumpsuit-ed 80’s. Slamming into our attention via a newly born MTV and her weak-voiced yet ridiculously-hummable tunes, we watched the round-hipped beautiful ‘Material Girl’ catch on just as Gaga has. These women poke and prod convention and the media (in Gag’s case, the web) with what they wear, say, sing and stand for. Yes, sex sells in the music business and Lady Gaga, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry trot themselves across stage and on red carpets in leather, latex, lace and as little of it as possible. But all good cultural icons know they must keep evolving to stay relevant, and Lady Gaga has seemed to stay relevant better than most.

From meat dresses, to big pink cowboy hats, to singing about gay sexual choices to pimping for Pepsi, Gaga does keep herself in constant cultural motion.

But in the end it might just be the music we will come to know Lady Gaga for the most. From hits songs like “Bad Romance,” “Perfect Illusion,”  to what will prove to be a star turn at this year’s Coachella (Gaga replaces of Beyoncé, who pulled out due to her pregnancy), in the end it seems Lady Gaga wants you to know her from what she sings more than any other aspect of what she presents of her brand.

But it is hard to ignore the spectacle that it is this red hot 31-year-old.

Happy Birthday Lady Gaga.