The 2018 MET Gala Reveals Heavenly Bodies

METStars in their “Sunday Best” will be out and about on Monday, May 7th for The 2018 Met Gala. The “Oscars of fashion” has as its theme this year Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. And by all accounts the influence of Catholicism in fashion, might just bubble up some controversy on the order of Madonna playing with all that Catholic iconography during her career to nude dresses strutting down the red carpet of a museum show (with the same name opening at the MET at the same time) that The Vatican has already loaned 40 rare items to.

Nobody can say for sure what Rihanna, Katy Perry and other famous stars will wear to the gala, but this year the MET exhibition is all about the “dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art.” Dolce & Gabbana, Christopher Kane, Jeremy Scott, Versace (Donatella is co-hosting the gala) and Valentino will be among the designers featured. The Vatican as much endorsed specific designers for the exhibition as it contributed pieces, among them a tiara worn by Pope Benedict 14th in the 1600s, made up of 18,000 diamonds and pieces.

The Met Gala seems to serve a dual purpose, one that has much more of a pop resound, the other for fashionistas and fans considered a nice museum outing for the day. Surely, a red carpet event of this magnitude brings out the bloggers and paparazzi in throngs; wake up May 8th and everybody (V.G, included) will be commenting on who wore what. But also the big doings are a big advertisement for just what the Met is showing this year in their exhibit.

No one can say whether the gala or the exhibit will prove more popular as last year’s one-two met punch…or even if it needs to. But a little Catholic-fueled controversy never hurt any worthy cause.

Fetish Alternate Boutique Relaunch

Stables MarketCertainly, retails spaces where folks go to purchase latex and other alternative wardrobe wear have been dwindling over the past few years. From Berlin, to Amsterdam to London, San Francisco and beyond, we all know brick and mortar stores have been losing the fast fight to online buying. With bespoke pickings available on the web, as well as ‘off the rack’ purchasing, so many people, both full time fetish fashionistas as well as the occasional buyer, have taken to getting their stuff off the web.

It’s with pleasure then that we report on London’s FAB re-launch into a bigger space. Anytime we see a latex couture retailer doing well or a new one opening, we are assured that lifestyle haute couture is thriving. Folks going out, stepping off their iPhones for a second, seeing the light of day to socialize and buy some latex is always a good sign of how well our community is doing.

Just this March past, Max Deviant’s Fetish Alternate Boutique, reopened in the basement right next door to the Oi!Oi! shop at Stables Market. Bigger than its previous location and all on its own this time, FAB is raring to serve the community the way it never has. Increasing both its amount of clothing and accessories, the new store also increased its display of artwork. FAB has also included a new selections of wigs to be enjoyed.

Max promised more designers also to be featured in the future. The store’s growth can only be imagined at this point and we couldn’t be happier for them.

Located in the Northern part of London, the Stables Market is on Chalk Farm Road. The official street address: Unit 456, The Basement Market, The Stables, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH (tel: 44 7958 217175). Store hours are Mon closed; Tue/Wed/Thu 13.00–19.00; Fri/Sat/Sun 12.00–19.00.

Get more info on FAB here.

Beychella

BeychellaNo one is surprised that Beyoncé’s sets at Coachella Saturday were amazing. In fact, bloggers have been changing the name of the festival just past to “Beychella.” Guest appearances by Jay-Z (the husband and wife team are touring outdoor stadiums this summer), her ex-Destiny Child band mates, and dancers, dancers, dancers. This more than made up for last year when Miss Bey had to demure from performing (though who could complain with Lady Gaga stepping in for her). But along with Beyoncé’s seemingly stunning tear-the-house-down display, there were also five costume changes…and the usual, wardrobe malfunction.

In five different bespoke Balmain outfits, Beyoncé shimmied, thrust, shook and pretty much kept up with her platoon of dancers. It was when Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams came out to sing “Lose My Breath, that Miss Bey lost some of her Balmain one-bare-shoulder camouflage bodysuit. A strap came loose up top and Blue Ivy’s mom had to tug on her strap and occasionally lift a hand to her breast to keep covered. A short time after  Beyoncé lost her knee-high boots as well, as they slipped down to her ankles.

From above and below the lady was besieged.

For the fashion completist, for her two concerts sets Beyoncé and Balmain created two different wardrobe collections. Miss Bey wore, cut off jean shorts, a yellow hoodie and custom Christian Louboutin fringe boots. She also wore a mesh black top, adorned with a crest, matched with a black body suit underneath, black thigh highs and garters. For us all particularly, she strutted after another change in a black latex bodysuit and oversized jacket with shoulder pads. She also appeared in cape and headdress like some Nefertiti Goddess.

With her summer tour starting soon, the great social media news this music festival attracts and keeping up with a well publicized wardrobe malfunction, Beyoncé is at the top of the world.

 

 

Playmate of the Year Redux

PlayboyPlayboy has unveiled Nina Daniele as their latest Playmate of the Year. Why is this such a big deal? Nina is the first woman to be bestowed this an honor since the magazine’s founder, Hugh Hefner died, last year. She also appears on the cover of Playboy as the magazine sports a brand new logo. Instead of the usual, ‘Entertainment for Men,’ the seminal men’s magazine will now sport the ‘Entertainment for All’ motto.

In an 11-page retro-style pictorial, fashion photographer Jennifer Stenglein has shot Daniele as the infamous “Femlin” pinup character. This cartoon was created by Hefner and illustrated by Playboy favorite Leroy Neiman, appearing first in the magazine in 1963. Femlin has as much been featured in the magazine’s pages as on lots of Playboy product. She was a sure totem of an age when the magazine was not only the forerunner of its kind but when the nude centerfold was indeed the ‘center’ of the magazine’s appeal, along with its fiction, “The Playboy Interview” and reviews of music and film. In 2015 nudes were banished from the Playboy, but Hefner’s son Cooper, who runs the brand now-and recently changed the motto-also re-introduced nudity to the magazine last year. That March/April 2017 release was the issue that Nina first appeared.

In an era of #MeToo and the consistent attention on women’s rights, the argument of Playboy’s relevance, even its possible propagation of negative stereotypes, especially in light on the nude now reinstated (and the press that a new Playmate Of The Year is already getting) is a weighty concern for many. But as Connor wrote in a press release he sent to Fox News:

“Playboy’s content has always been and always will be created with the male point-of-view and our take of masculinity in mind. But the truth is the Playboy brand now appeals to a hugely diverse group of fans, including a very substantive way, women who intersect with Playboy at our events, clubs and through our products and fashion collaborations.”

Pussy Riot Sells You Swag

pussyriotDo you like some politics with your moda? We’ve certainly seen designers make major statements on runways in the past few years. And all manner of T-shirt or even a style can display some sort of current cultural significance. But punk guerrilla group Pussy Riot, certainly no stranger to pro-feminist political statements and current anti-Trump rhetoric, is now releasing a line of clothing. Their Pussian Federation collection features the multi-colored balaclavas the group is famous for, as well as socks, T’s and patches. As the group has always been about “confounding stereotypes of female sexiness,” PR has teamed up with the art community Kultrab and 9cyka to create this haute couture to support the political art publication MediaZona as well as further their cause.

As the online store for the collection states: “In the current political situation where our country has no freedom of speech, clothing became an act of self-expression, a way of showing that we disagree.” One wonders what country they are speaking about, their home of Russia or beyond?

Pussy Riot infamously wore brightly colored balaclavas, each lady sporting a different color, at one of their “performances” at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. This well publicized public outing garnered the group international attention in 2012. They also donned the same wardrobe for their music video, “Police State” of last year. That video features actress Chloe Sevigny playing a cop, and actually ripping the trademark balaclava off of PR’s Nadya Tolokonnikova,, (See here).

Fashion, music, film, art in general as political statement? Is it effective, culturally changing, fun, performance art? Who knows? What is certainly known is that groups like Pussy Riot get their fair share of press, are globally recognized and championed and if they want to get into the business of selling some swag, they might just be popular enough to make a few dollars and continue their cause.

The Continuing Saga Of Kendall and Kylie and Tupac and Biggie

Kendall KylieYou might recall Kendall and Kylie Jenner ‘appropriating’ pictures of Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and a host of other musical artists and even album covers.The sisters took these images and then superimposed their faces or company logo across them making up T’s and sweatshirts they were selling for over a $100.00 bucks a piece. Within a day the ladies were hit with a backlash from Biggie’s mom, the music stars’ estates and the photographers of the original images, saying since Kendall and Kylie did not own these images so they could not use them. Quickly taking the shirts down, stopping the selling of them the ladies issued this apology:

“We did not mean to disrespect these icons and understand that we missed the mark completely. We sincerely apologize to the artists, their families and estates and anyone who may have been offended.” Though whether or not the women understood the legal “no no” they perpetrated, is anybody’s guess.

In fact, Kendall claims only one shirt was sold.

Photographer Al Pereira sued Kendall and Kylie initially for their use of his Tupac and Biggie pictures. He then dropped the lawsuit, now he is back, suing the company who made the shirts. Kendall has filed a lawsuit of her own against the photographer, claiming his “frivolous lawsuit” has now gone on too long and she has spent too much time and money defending herself in court. Kendall is looking for twenty two thousand dollars in damages. Her team claims Pereira has been at this suing business for quite a while, having filed over 450 copyright infringement lawsuits since 2015.

Beyond what Pereira wants-and from whom-and what damages Kendall thinks she is entitled to, there is still the quandary of how easy it is to grab that which is not yours, via digital media and sell it anew. Be it in fashion, music, literature, whatever one makes one doesn’t seem to really own all that much these days.

 

 

Photographia Erotica Historica

Photographia Erotica HistoricaPhotographia Erotica Historica, is what Berlin-based publisher Goliath Books calls a mini-book. Leather-bound, gold embossed, this is a unique collection of “photographic obscenities“ from long long ago. Charged, as we are, with reporting on alternate fashion, latex couture and moda in all forms, time and again we like to celebrate the primary form of the human body, the nude, and even that which, could be called erotica, but through our 21st century viewing is certainly sedate and beautiful.

This particular collection features two hundred stunning black and white shots, the large percentage of which are woman posed solo in a studio (though there are some two-women shots as well as couples and some shots of the models shot outside.) A direct result of Louis Daguerre’s invention in 1837 (the daguerreotype is named after him) he managed to create the new medium of photography in his studio using silver plates. And of course some of his first attempts included nudes.

A market sprang up for the consistent flood of newer ‘real‘ people in photographs and in 1851, with the invention of the wet-collodion, suddenly photographers could produce numerous prints to be made from a single negative. Suddenly consumers wanted more pictures-very much like those seen in this book-and the photographers of the time had a hard time keeping supply for such an ardent demand. In the 19th century came George Eastman’s invention of role film and his Kodak camera, and the interest and demand in nudes, photography in general, has never slacked.

In no way could you consider any of the pictures in Photographia Erotica Historica lurid, or obscene, but of course they were labeled so in the day.

What Goliath presents here is based on mini books that were produced in the last decades of the 19th century. No larger than three inches in fact, books of stories, encyclopedias, Bibles and collections of nudes were produced in this small form, quite often because they could be easily hidden.

As you might expect, many of the original miniature books are now collectors items.

Find Photographia Erotica Historica here. And the rest of what Goliath Books offers, here.

Les Fulles Rocks

turntable20Fashion and music, we have talked about their relationship often. From grabbing Bieber merch, to Rihanna fashions, to Yeezy sneakers, you can’t ignore the connection between moda and music in the modern world. Go back even further to Madonna’s ‘look’ influencing a whole generation, The Beatles haircuts, Elvis’ Nudie Suits; there is no mistaking the connection between the mediums. As we have even postulated here only a few months ago, for quite a few years of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show now, folks seem to be tuning in more for the music acts who might be appearing then to see angel wings.

And this Sunday there will be a star-studded live retelling of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1970 rock opera, titled “Jesus Christ Superstar, Live” starring many of our current musical legends. Most importantly behind the music will be costumes created by Tony Award winning costume designer, Paul Tazewell.

Now, in the era of #Me Too, the all-female Les Filles is pushing to be the fashion industry’s place for music. And certainly above and beyond the usual marriage of music and fashion.

Music lawyer Bec Adams created her collective of talent a half-a-year ago. Les Fulles includes fashion designers, musicians and industry makers and shakers. This isn’t some highly visible musician coming out with a new line of clothes or simply a design label attaching themselves to a tour. Les Filles is about collaborating, deejaying, and producing big time haute couture events. From working New York Fashion Week after-parties, to creating the soundtrack to female-backed fashion films (Les Filles recently worked with the Jonesy brand and musician Detiger on a film collaboration) to consulting on placing live bands in spaces. Les Filles, is as Adams says “A legitimate music agency.”

A seeming one-stop shop for anyone involved with fashion, parties, really any aspect of life that needs a ‘soundtrack,’ be it live, recorded or even just consulted upon, Les Fulles seems like the all-female place to go.

As Beyoncé-and Blue Ivy-does, so will the world?

At the recent Wearable Art Gala in Los Angeles, the Knowles-Lawson-Carter family stepped out in high haute couture, well-publicized, Instagram-able fashion. Sporting gold from head to toe, Beyoncé with her daughter, Blue Ivy, executed perfectly the theme of this 2nd annual event, “From WACO to Wakanda.” Taking their cue from Black Panther’s fictional African world Miss Bey and her daughter were dripping in gold gowns, wigs and jewelry, as befits Nubian warrior queens.

With Jean Paul Gaultier earrings dangling to Beyoncé’s shoulders, Blue Ivy’s custom Annakiki gown of ribbons and gold lamé (and her gold wig), and her mom’s body-hugging gown, the pair were a shimmering spectacle. Beyoncé’s truly one-of-a-kind gown was designed by Falguni Shane Peacock, and sported a train of metallic gold cutouts that created a 3-D foil train. One might recall, last year Beyoncé attended the Wearable Art Gala wearing a flower crown. This year she went above and beyond.

This L.A. event was surely a family outing in more ways than just what mother and daughter wore. Beyoncé, as well as her mother-in-law Gloria Carter, were honored this night for their humanitarian causes and the event was hosted by Beyoncé’s mom Tina Knowles Lawson (in her own gold concoction, a satin dress made by Jean-Louis Sabaji). Step-dad Richard co-hosted. Beyoncé sister Solange was also on hand. Stars like Ashley Jackson, V. Bozeman, Chloe and Halle Bailey and Magic Johnson were also in the house.

With the recent news that Beyoncé and her husband JAY-Z are touring their combined On The Run 11 tour this summer, the pop/R&B/rap popularity of the Knowles-Lawson-Carter family is assured. And the pictures of Beyoncé holding Blue Ivy’s hand at this year’s Wearable Art Gala (pictures every digital portal grabbed a hold of) glittering as they did, there is no doubt mother and daughter shimmer along with everyone else in the family.

Britney Spears steps into the Kenzo Time Machine

britney-spears-kenzo2Parisian designer Kenzo’s creative directors, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, approached one of the world’s most recognizable stars to be the face of their label’s nostalgia-based, collection: La Collection Momento for Spring 2018. Shot in L.A. by Peter Lindbergh, none other than Britney Spears models cropped denim jackets, thigh-high lace-ups, and sweatshirts and hats showing an old ‘throwback’ Kenzo logo.

The pictures of the campaign were just released this week.

But the 36-year-old mom/diva is getting criticism from eagle eye fashionistas who say that Britney’s already youthful face is much too close to a ‘throwback’ of old Britney. What many in the Twitter sphere are singling out as bad photo-shopping done to battle ageism, has Britney looking too young in the Kenzo pictures.

Not that this would be the first time photo-shop has been employed for the purpose of making someone (yes, usually a female model) appear younger, smoother, more evenly skin toned, skinnier, in a word, ‘better.’ And God knows what is done digitally in this regard is only a new paradigm, advertisers and even venerable Playboy Magazine have been managing photo trickery for years. But with Britney Spears heading this campaign, the implied tag that a mom of two could still look so great sporting such 80’s looks, Kenzo might just have to field the criticism of the ubiquitous digital retouching, obvious here as it is, on the Queen of Pop’s kisser.

All will be fine in Britney’s world of Las Vegas residencies. And Kenzo will go right on producing. It’s just that when someone as well-known as Britney Spears undergoes such an obvious retouching, the pictures truly are a shot-heard-round-the world.

But as we well know, photo-shop retouching is the gift that keeps on giving as everyone employees it to keep the time machine ever chunking along for ultimate reward.