A diverse glimpse into the worlds and personalities of fashion, beauty, culture, philanthropy, and art.
LOS ANGELES FEMALE FILMMAKERS FESTIVAL
This weekend Passerbuys and Women & Film will present the first annual Female Filmmakers Festival (FFFEST), a 3-day screening and talk series dedicated to celebrating accomplished female filmmakers and empowering women who want to break into the industry.
FFFEST will take place from October 12th through October 14th at the Downtown Independent theater in Los Angeles, California and will foster a community for female filmmakers to share resources, guidance and inspiration.
FFFEST’s diverse program includes feature-length such as the critically-acclaimed SKATE KITCHEN directed by Crystal Moselle, the award-winning MOSSANE directed by the first Sub-Saharan African woman director, Safi Faye and short films such as the premiere of MAVERICK by Cara Stricker. Between screenings, FFFEST will host exclusive talks featuring some of the top women working in the contemporary film industry such as Sarah Finn (Casting Director, Black Panther), Lake Bell (Director, In A World), Jameela Jamil (Actress, The Good Place) and Natalie Farrey (Head of Vice Film) as they provide answers to the most pertinent questions facing women working in film today.
The primary mission of the Female Filmmakers Festival is to inspire more women to make films by celebrating the women leading the way, and by creating a space where women can share information amongst each other.
FFFEST has also teamed up with women-owned and women-led fashion brand VEDA to create custom merch for the festival where a portion of proceeds from every sale will go to Camp Reel Stories.
“I founded Passerbuys out of a desire to have women share resources and information amongst one another. As a lifelong fan of cinema, it felt natural to transfer such ethos to a film festival. There are a number of great organizations supporting women in film, and I see FFFEST’s role as a space to bring them together and hopefully become a tradition to celebrate and support female filmmakers.” – Clémence Polès, Founder of Passerbuys and Co-Founder of FFFEST “Women & Film was created to celebrate the women directors that have paved the way as well as the trailblazers and contemporary women of cinema. Our goal is to act as both a learning tool and source of inspiration among filmmakers, both accomplished and budding. We want FFFEST to create a sense of community for women in film in the hopes that more stories by and about women get made.” – Natalie Fält, Founder of Women & Film and Co-Founder of FFFEST
“Women are responsible for creating some of the greatest works of film in the history of cinema, yet the mass media has rarely depicted or celebrated women behind the camera. In response to that, we saw FFFEST as an opportunity for our audience to celebrate the women who’ve made strides in film and continue to today, and to inspire budding women filmmakers to join the industry and share their stories.” – Mimi Packer, Co-Founder of FFFEST
“We have stories to tell and we have a different perspective. Women in general tend to be more emotionally connected and in-tune with their surroundings but the demands of life can cause creative complacency. fffest was created to reawaken these hidden narratives and provide a platform to inspire more women to bring their stories to life.” – Dasha Faires, Co-Founder of FFFEST
CAMP IN FASHION – COSTUME INSTITUTE’S SPRING 2019 EXHIBITION AND MET GALA
(New York, October 9, 2018)—The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that The Costume Institute’s Spring 2019 exhibition will be Camp: Notes on Fashion, on view from May 9 through September 8, 2019 (preceded on May 6 by The Costume Institute Benefit). Presented in The Met Fifth Avenue’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, it will explore the origins of the camp aesthetic and how it has evolved from a place of marginality to become an important influence on mainstream culture. Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on ‘Camp’ provides the framework for the exhibition, which will examine how fashion designers have used their métier as a vehicle to engage with camp in a myriad of compelling, humorous, and sometimes incongruous ways.
“Camp’s disruptive nature and subversion of modern aesthetic values has often been trivialized, but this exhibition will reveal its profound influence on both high art and popular culture,” said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. “By tracing its evolution and highlighting its defining elements, the show will embody the ironic sensibilities of this audacious style, challenge conventional understandings of beauty and taste, and establish the critical role this important genre has played in the history of art and fashion.”
In celebration of the opening, The Costume Institute Benefit, also known as The Met Gala, will take place on Monday, May 6, 2019. The evening’s co-chairs will be Lady Gaga, Alessandro Michele, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, and Anna Wintour. The event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements.
“Fashion is the most overt and enduring conduit of the camp aesthetic,” said Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “Effectively illustrating Sontag’s Notes on ‘Camp,’ the exhibition will advance creative and critical dialogue about the ongoing and ever-evolving impact of camp on fashion.”
The exhibition will feature approximately 175 objects, including womenswear and menswear, as well as sculptures, paintings, and drawings dating from the 17th century to the present. The show’s opening section will position Versailles as a “camp Eden” and address the concept of se camper—”to posture boldly”—in the royal courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV. It will then focus on the figure of the dandy as a “camp ideal” and trace camp’s origins to the queer subcultures of Europe and America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In her essay, Sontag defined camp as an aesthetic and outlined its primary characteristics. The largest section of the exhibition will be devoted to how these elements-which include irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration-are expressed in fashion.
Designers whose works will be featured in the exhibition include Gilbert Adrian, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Thom Browne, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, John Galliano (for Martin Margiela, House of Dior, and his own label), Jean Paul Gaultier, Rudi Gernreich, Guccio Gucci, Demna Gvasalia (for Balenciaga and his own label), Marc Jacobs (for Louis Vuitton and his own label), Charles James, Stephen Jones, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld (for House of Chanel, Chloe, and his own label), Herbert and Beth Levine, Alessandro Michele (for Gucci), Franco Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Norman Norell, Marjan Pejoski, Paul Poiret, Miuccia Prada, Richard Quinn, Christian Francis Roth, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jeremy Scott (for Moschino and his own label), Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren (for Viktor & Rolf), Anna Sui, Philip Treacy, Walter Van Beirendonck, Donatella Versace (for Versace), Gianni Versace, Vivienne Westwood, and Charles Frederick Worth.
The exhibition is organized by Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, with Karen Van Godtsenhoven, Associate Curator. Theater scenographer Jan Versweyveld, whose work includes Lazarus with David Bowie as well as Broadway productions of A View from the Bridge and The Crucible, will create the exhibition design with The Met’s Design Department. Select mannequin headpieces will be created by Shay Ashual. Raul Avila will produce the gala décor, which he has done since 2007.
A publication by Andrew Bolton with Fabio Cleto, Karen van Godtsenhoven, and Amanda Garfinkel will accompany the exhibition and include new photography by Johnny Dufort. It will be published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.
The exhibition is made possible by Gucci.
Additional support is provided by Condé Nast.
CELAYA BROTHERS GALLERY
Celaya Brothers Gallery (Mexico City), in collaboration with INEZ SUEN (Brooklyn)is pleased to announce its first participation in TX Contemporary Art Fair
Celaya Brothers Gallery is presenting a selection of artworks by Agostino Iacurci (Italy), Camila Rodrigo (Peru),Josh Reames (USA), Juan Carlos Coppel (Mexico), and Mathew Zefeldt (USA) at Booth 517 at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas October 4-7 with special exhibitions by Houston’s own, Rene Garza (USA). TX Contemporary will begin with the Opening Night Preview (Thursday, October 4, 6-10pm) and will open to the public October 5-6 (11am-7pm) and October 7 (12-6pm).
The exhibition pieces discuss the relationship between man and nature by way of still lifes, burning landscapes and eroded mountains. The artists explore -in various disciplines such as photography, sculpture, and painting and in a wide range of styles – how capitalism has driven societies to perceive progress as a (de)construction and to understand humanity as the opposite of nature.
Agostino Iacurci – Through his work with synthetic forms and bright colors, by means of an essential language, Agostino Iacurci is able to manage multiple layers of interpretation. This approach sets his tales on the perennial threshold between innocence and artifice, serenity and catastrophe; on a magnetic tension that is the interpretative key to our very existence. His recurrent themes include self-perception, uncertainty, imagination, and play. His work has a cynical and critical vision of reality —pessimistic at times— setting the stage for drama, and at the same time sublimating it, alleviating it. Iacurci’s work challenges the limits of sinuosity by presenting an image that seems familiar and innocent but is, fundamentally, malicious. And in that uncertainty lays its richness, a half-open door that leads to other interpretations.
● Agostino Iacurci’s work has been exhibited at the MACRO Museum in Rome, Italy; the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, USA; the Media Library of Orly in France and the Biennial of Urban Art in Moscow, Russia.
● Has collaborated with Adidas, Urban Outfitters, Penguin Books, La Repubblica, TBWA, Mailchimp, Laterza, Minimum fax, Herman Miller, L’ Unità, Orecchio acerbo, Sugar Music, Edizioni Lapis, , Cielo Tv, Smemoranda, WALLS_Contemporary Public Art, Rat Creatives, Roma 3 University, B5 Production and more.
Camila Rodrigo works with photography, sculpture and installation to reflect on the effects of erosion and wear, focusing on the idea of progress as a (de)construction, a contrast between past and future. Her images examine the passage of time, the transformation of the natural space parallel to the reorganization of society.
● Finalist in the 2010 Lacoste Elysée Prize
● Exhibited at the National Museum of Lima, Peru; the Museum Rosphoto in St. Petersburg, Russia; the Musée de L’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the Palais de l’Árchevéché in Arles, France
● Part of several private collections such as Juan Mulder (Lima, Peru), Eduardo Hoeschield (Lima, Peru), Jorge Villacorta (Lima, Peru), Fola (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
● Published in: 77 Artistas Peruanos Contemporáneos by Mario Testino, YOUTH by: Prestel (Random House), Re Generation: tomorrow photographers today (Aperture foundation), and E l Placer es más importante que la Victoria (Tasneem Gallery), among others.
Josh Reames’ paintings use contemporary tools available on the Internet to create surreal patchworks of contemporary signs and symbols that portray the flattening of artistic hierarchies in our postmodern world. Reames employs computer drawing applications and Google images to create assemblages of “modern hieroglyphs.” His work considers abstraction and painting in relation to the Internet and is informed by the strange, new space where a majority of viewership takes place: online through blogs and websites. His conceptual framework functions as a kind of filtration device for cultural byproducts and its attending relativism, flattening signs, text and symbols, cultural objects and icons to the same-level composition, thereby removing their hierarchy.
● Represented by industry leading galleries.
● Named one of the 30 Emerging Artists During Frieze Week by Artsy
● Juror’s pick in the 2011 New American Paintings, Midwest Edition #95
● Was artist-in-residence at Ox Bow (funded by Joan Mitchell Foundation)
● Exhibited at the Museo Di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Michigan; Luis de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, The Hole in New York, and Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco, among others.
● Published in Artcritical, Artnews, Artsy, Hyperallergic, New American Paintings, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Art Review, among others.
Juan Carlos Coppel The burning of tires is a practice carried out by farmers to raise the temperature of the fields and avoid the crops to frost during the winter preserving months of work, one of the main economic activities of the state. This procedure poses an ethical and environmental problem related to the ecological devastation of the agricultural field, even in the context of a rationalized production. The images, taken in a field to the north of Sonora, play ironically with the nineteenth-century painting by pondering, on a romantic mood, a concern of our time.
● Took specialized courses in photography with Jay Dickman (Pulitzer Award winner) at the National Geographic, in Paris with Manuel Abellán and at the International Center of Photography in New York.
● Won the Acquisition Prize in Fotoseptiembre and the Acquisition Prize in the XV Bienal de Artes Visuales del Noroeste.
● Exhibited in the National Center for the Arts CENART (MX), Sonora Museum of Art MUSAS (MX), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (USA), among others.
● He was invited to the 4th edition of Salón Acme (MX), the XVII Biennial of Photography in Centro de La Imagen (MX), the VII Biennial of Visual Arts MIRADAS in Tijuana (MX), Guatephoto (GT) and Foto España (SPA).
● He was member of the 2016-2017 Young Creators Program of the National Fund for Culture and Arts FONCA and the Contemporary Photography Program in North Mexico.
● He is part of the private collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California and the Sonora Museum of Art in Mexico.
Mathew Zefeldt – His work uses representational imagery as an element within a larger composition. It’s less about what the repeated image represents necessarily, but rather the interplay and relationships of the parts to the whole, and each other— reflecting the pluralist landscape we find ourselves in today. Zefeldt uses images from our life and culture, to reproduce them in an almost lifeless, systematic way. His interest in the aesthetics of digital collage is addressing the multiple visual languages and bringing them together in one plane, creating an overlay of styles and gestures that echo the fragmented, heterogeneous nature of contemporary reality.
● One of two national recipients of the Dedalus MFA Fellowship in 2011
● Exhibited at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, the Minneapolis Institute of Arte, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Circuit 12, Joshua Liner Gallery, and Lisa Cooley among others.
● Published in LA Times, Art Ltd., New American Paintings, and Art Fuse, among others.
Rene Garza is a New York based Artist that is in residency in Houston, TX where he was raised. Garza has spent over 15 years as a fashion and celebrity stylist traveling the world in a business ruled by visceral aesthetics. Using this time to create a body of work that reflects his long standing love of conceptual art. As an artist in many mediums, Garza notes his inspirations usually comes from travel, minimalism, geometry, dark gothic and romanticism. Garza currently has a public art installation in Houston, Texas called “A Moment” that covers an entire building’s facade and is meant to inspire calmness in our busy lives. “A Moment” follows up the exhibition of a drawing of graphite on paper at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
ABOUT Celaya Brother Gallery – IG @celayabrothers
Celaya Brothers Gallery (CBG) is a unique space that challenges the creative limits of the participating artists. A contemporary art gallery with a proactive offer that invites international artists to develop unique concepts and defy the parameters of their time.
ABOUT INEZ SUEN – IG @inezsuenart
INEZ SUEN is a multi-service international creative company for a changing art market. INEZ SUEN offers a wide range of services such as strategic planning, advising and consulting, and art exhibition production.
ABOUT TX Contemporary
Texas Contemporary, Houston’s leading contemporary and modern art fair, brings top galleries to the area’s discerning collector base. Now going into its seventh edition, Texas Contemporary 2018 will feature 65 exhibitors and an innovative program of special projects and public installations.
RICHARD BERNSTEIN: STARMAKER
Kicking off New York Fashion Week, the Richard Bernstein: STARMAKER book launch party was celebrated at PUBLIC ARTS at Public in New York City earlier this month.
The venue walls were plastered with enlarged artwork of and cut outs of Interview Magazine covers spanning from 1972 to 1989. Legendary cover stars came to life on stage in a Studio 54 VIP Room setting while being catered to by a bevy of hunky bus boys. Performers who resembled Divine, Liza Minelli, Halston, Pat Ast, Jerry Hall and Grace Jones danced and partied the night away.
Celebrities in attendance were the creative director of the new Interview Magazine Mel Ottenberg, Pat Cleveland, Halstonette Karen Bjornson, famed Studio 54 publicist Carmen D’Alessio, Gaultier muse Stella Ellis, Angie Everhart, Amanda Lepore, Miss Jay Alexander, Dianne Brill, artist David Croland, Michael Musto, head of Warhol Enterprises Vincent Fremont and Jeffrey Deitch.
The private event was hosted by authors Mauricio and Roger Padilha whose book Richard Bernstein: STARMAKER Andy Warhol’s Cover Artist is now available in all major bookstores worldwide and is published by Rizzoli International Publications Inc. and presented by Alcone Company with FHI-Heat, Oralgen, Svedka and PUBLIC ARTS at Public.
Performers as Liza Minelli and Halston
Performers as Divine, Pat Ast, and Grace Jones
Stella Rose St. Claire
Mel Ottenberg, Stylist and Creative Director of Interview Magazine
John, Ellen, and Rory Trifon, family of Richard Bernstein
Jeffrey Deitch, art dealer and curator, and Mauricio Padilha, co-founder of MAO Public Relations
Journalist Michael Musto
Angie Everheart, model and actress
Jonte Moaning, performer, dressed as Grace Jones
Dianne Brill, Queen of New York nightlife
Stylist Wouri Vice
(left) Chris Makos, famed photographer, (center) Shelly Fremont, film director and producer, (right) Vincent Fremont, film producer and head of Warhol Enterprises
Legendary models Karen Bjornson (left) and Pat Cleveland (right)
D’USSE RE-MIXER AT THE MCINTOSH TOWNHOUSE NYC
Drawing fascinating parallels between remixing a classic cocktail and remixing a classic song, the interactive series will travel to select destinations across the country, offering bartenders, influencers and journalists an intimate taste of D’USSE, the cognac category, and its role in both cocktail and music culture. You’ve never tasted Cognac like this before.
Three iconic Masters of their Craft lead the NYC launch sessions:
• Cellar master Michel Casavecchia – fresh from the brand’s home at the historic Chateau de Cognac, the legendary creator of D’USSE XO and D’USSE VSOP will reveal his inspirations behind each expression while offering tailored one-on-one tastings.
• 9TH WONDER – the Grammy Award-winning producer responsible for hits by Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J Blige will unveil the fascinating parallels between remixing classic cocktails and tracks through an interactive DJ Masterclass utilizing The World of McIntosh’s renowned sound system
• Legendary Cocktail Expert DEREK BROWN and his team from D.C.’s award-winning Columbia Room, will provide guests with a sonic wave cocktail demonstration showcasing how using a singing bowl to stir cocktails with sound vibrations allows an interpretation of sound through drinks and impacts its flavor. Each of these artistic elements play off the core concept of how altering one simple ingredient – sound, tone, or even spirit base – can change the way something tastes or is perceived.
Monsieur Michel Casavecchia is the Cellar Master of the prestigious Château de Cognac and the creator of both D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO. He is proud to be part of the privileged line of heirs of the Baron Otard, charged with perpetuating the tradition of the knowledge of blending ‘eau-de-vie’ (water of life) into Cognac.
Michel was born in Lorraine, in the eastern part of France to a father with a passion for collecting and enjoying fine Cognac. This passion, which Michel inherited at a young age, has driven him throughout his career. Though he has not followed the traditional path to becoming an elite Cellar Master, Michel’s relentless dedication to Cognac had led him to the Château de Cognac where he has spent more than a decade overseeing the Cognac making process of some of the world’s finest Cognacs.
After ten years as an apprentice at the Château de Cognac learning from his predecessor and refining his craft, Michel received the opportunity to move into the role he has wanted to achieve most of his life. After nearly 20 years as the curator for some of the most prestigious Cognacs in the world, Michel was tasked with developing a new Cognac for Bacardi, D’USSÉ VSOP.
Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, is a Grammy award-winning hip hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and rapper from Durham, North Carolina, U.S. He began his career as the main producer for the group Little Brother, and has worked with notable musicians including Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Drake, Destiny’s Child, and Kendrick Lamar.
As a college professor, 9th is an adjacent hip-hop history professor at Duke University and has held several Artist-In-Residence positions at top universities across the country including University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Harvard University. Through his positions in academic, 9th seeks to educate students on the history of hip-hop as well as advocate for its future.
Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning “Best American Cocktail Bar” Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that’s housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of “The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who’ll Save Us in 2017.”
A native Washingtonian with deep ties to the city — his great-grandfather was once D.C.’s police chief — Derek admits that Washington provides a unique vantage point as the capital city, having mixed drinks for everyone from royalty, ambassadors and senators to fellow Washingtonians, interns and students. He’s concocted cocktails at the White House, clinked glasses with Martha Stewart and was even appointed Chief Spirits Advisor at the National Archives. Derek’s philosophy for crafting memorable drinks goes beyond what’s shaken, stirred and served in a glass. “When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature, I think about how they connect to history,” he explained to Imbibe magazine, which named him 2015’s Bartender of the Year. “I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”
Derek’s passion for spirits has taken him across the globe, where he’s learned about the integral role food and drink play in the culture, customs and values of communities worldwide. He’s also written about drinks and drinking for The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bon Appetit magazine, among other publications.
ABOUT D’USSE: D’USSE [dew-say] launched in 2012, D’USSÉ is an ultra-premium cognac that blends over 200 years of tradition with the modern inspiration of Cellar /Master Michel Casavecchia. D’USSÉ is a uniquely powerful, authentic cognac that starts off with distinguished intensity, giving way to a pleasantly smooth, balanced finish. With exceptionally blended expressions including D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO (launched in 2014), D’USSE lends itself to a variety of elegantly crafted rich, and complex cognac-based cocktails.
Guests enjoyed Derek Brown and Columbia Room’s sonic wave cocktail demonstration using a singing bowl.
Georgia Fowler enjoying the classic Sidecar at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER
Ron Hill crafting his own re-mixed cocktail with D’USSE VSOP
Jamal Jackson at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at McIntosh Townhouse
TK Wonder with DJ Millie, in between her sets of the evening at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER
Martin Salomon enjoying the Side Chick cocktail – a riff off the Side Car – at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER
Quiana Parks and her friend at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER
Elijah Dominique and friends at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at the McIntosh Townhouse
DJ Millie entertained guests with sets throughout the evening at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER
Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder led guests through a DJ Masterclass using the World of McIntosh’s renowned sound system
Amrit at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER at the McIntosh Townhouse
Vashtie enjoying the Side Car at the NYC D’USSE RE-MIXER
John Cameron Mitchell rose in the world of cult-entertainment after directing, writing, and starring in the award-winning film Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). His Broadway production of Hedwig garnered him a 2014 Tony Award for Best Revival of Musical and a Special Tony Award for his return to the role in 2015. His seriously impressive depth of work includes the improv-based film Shortbus (2006), and 2010’s Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman which scored an Academy Award nomination for her role. He executive produced Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation (2004) and has played recurring roles in HBO’s Girls, Martin Scorsese’s HBO series Vinyl, The Good Fight and current season of Mozart in the Jungle. Mitchell has also been busy behind the camera directing and co-writing the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s punk-era How to Talk to Girls at Parties starring Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman.
“At last! My journey to Oz, long-deferred by silly obstacles like unemployment and air fare, is a reality! I shall strap on a Cubist corsette and chromium wig, regale you with haphazard stories from 55 years of fake rock stardom and wail your favorite Hedwig songs like some kind of wonder woman within. Please prepare for my eminent arrival”, Mitchell said.
Producer David M Hawkins said, “John Cameron Mitchell is one of the great artists of our generation – a multi-award winning writer, actor and director. I first saw him on Broadway as Dickon in ‘The Secret Garden’ in the early 90’s and next in his Tony winning rock star turn in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’. Since producing Hedwig in Australia in 2006 I have become good friends with John, our connection means the world to me. We have talked since 2008 about a concert tour to Australia and at last the stars have aligned. We intend to bring a decent hit of the Greenwich Village vibe to Oz. I am so very excited to share this incredible artist with my country. You are in the best hands for one hell of a ride meeting the original Hedwig, and the man behind her!”
We had the chance to interview the artist behind the transformational costumes, Erik Bergrin, and discuss Hedwig, lucid dreaming, and finding inspiration as a bored teen at Blockbuster.
Photo by Eva Mueller at the artist’s studio
What was your inspiration behind the costumes for the tour?
John came to me and said he was thinking about a costume that had this cubist, geometric, Trompe-l’œil, black and white thing happening that wasn’t Hedwig but Meta-Hedwig. As in, it has some reference to Hedwig in the costume and there should be panels that are removed during the show to become more boy in the end. He mentioned there was not going to be a built set, but that the costume should act somehow like a set–which was the sentence that made me convulse with excitement. I love doing huge wearable things, which I think is one of the reasons he came to me.
Initially I made tons of drawings of huge pieces on wheels that would drag behind him. All of these outfits packed with tricks such as a gigantic overcoat that would slowly come apart and piece by piece be thrown onto a giant magnet board behind him to reveal a story on the inside. Or this huge mirrored contraption that would come out backstage and be placed around John, and he would spin in a circle and the drawings on the costume would come to life in an animation reflected through the mirrors of the contraption. But I had to edit it down after every meeting and not let my imagination get carried away. I knew he was going to the Sydney Opera House, so I thought it would be fun to play with multiple overlapping triangle shapes. Basically my inspiration was working in these parameters, but still making it my own.
How did you get involved with the project?
I met John years ago as an extra on one of his films, “Shortbus.” We stayed in touch and I guess he thought of me after seeing the pictures from my latest art exhibition, Shadowwork. It is a series of 9 large figurative fiber sculptures, each about 7 feet tall. I have a background in costuming and I work as a costume tailor for Broadway shows, so I think it was the combination of my large costume work and the fact that I know how to create for the stage. I was working on the costumes at the same time as preparing for Shaddowwork. At a meeting with John, I met Mike Potter who did the wigs, hair, and makeup for Hedwig since the very beginning and we became very close. He was helping me with both shows and I was helping him with sewing the wigs. We worked closely, bouncing ideas off each other, so the wig and costume were from the same world. It made the whole process such a blast!
How did the idea of the gender binary and Hedwig’s transformation from female fantasy to undressed man come about?
I always felt that the film is more about finding yourself and less about gender or another person that can define you.
And speaking of Mike Potter who has been with the show since the beginning, the film and original show, I will quote him as a more qualified source…, “It’s like she gradually sheds her armor. Her costume and hair are almost a defense mechanism. But she comes to realize she doesn’t need any of the things that she think she needs. i.e. all her artifice, in order to be whole. She’s only whole when she’s stripped bare. It’s like being reborn.”
How does the idea of Hedwig’s iconic character come into the costume construction?
Hedwig was always famous for her brilliant handmade-style clothes and is now busting out on an international stage. Enjoying the spoils of her riches, she is debuting a next-level, more mature, steel-hued Meta-Hedwig look. Shining like the brightest star. The tour is called The Origin of Love, and when the show opens John comes out singing the titular song. The sleeves open up to reveal the faces from the origin of love animation, and when closed the front of the sleeves form Hedwig’s tattoo. Mike Potter’s wig and makeup are classic Hedwig, but aged to show her impending mortality, as he says in the show.
When you began your artistic career making costumes for the clubs in NYC while in school, did you ever think it would become a career in fine art/ performance?
I don’t think so? But I’m not sure because I never really had any goals. Which I know is unusual to say, but I never really did anything with a goal in the end. I started sewing when I started making costumes. Eventually, I put a book together of the things I made and got hired at a costume shop my friend was working in. Then I hopped to other shops and spent a long time working with really brilliant tailors. Every day I used to leave feeling terrible because I was working with super talented and experienced people and I wasn’t able to do anything properly. That kind of experience really humbles you when trying to learn. It taught me to put severe focus into everything, because I never wanted to have that feeling of a broken spirit when I left the shop. I soon realized that the fear of not wanting to feel like that caused a snowball effect that grew until it was impossible to do anything right. As soon as the tiny seed of fear was planted, I kept at it and at some point something shifted, and I can’t at all tell you when, but things seem to work like that with me.
Some of Erik’s early sketches of Hedwig’s transforming costume
Can you elaborate on how your background/education in psychology influenced your work on Hedwig?
I would say everything in my life up until I made this costume are causes and conditions for the way I designed it. All of the experiences in my past have subtle effects on how I design, so its difficult to distinguish how each particular experience directly influences me. I can, however, tell you that my psychology education brought me to my study of eastern philosophy and meditation, and lucid dreaming. One instance where lucid dreaming directly influenced the costume happened a couple of weeks into the project..
I was hitting a block when I was sketching. When I get stuck sometimes I’ll turn to my dream practice for advice. I do several exercises during the day that help me become aware of the fact I am dreaming when I am asleep. When you’re in a dream you’re in a subtle part of your subconscious, so there are all of these practices you can do to explore the darkness or shadows you have lurking in there. I was in the middle of a dream that had my best friend in it, who I have a deep and long history with, and I became lucid and turned to him to ask for help.
I turned to my friend and said, ”What should I do with my project?,” In a quick and desperate manner, because I wanted the answer before I woke up. Every time I leaned in close to ask him this question, his face morphed into wolf features. He wasn’t answering so I asked again, “WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY PROJECT?” The wolf morph happened again, and again he didn’t answer, so I asked a third time and this time we fell together off of a balcony to the ground floor. We were looking at each other and he said to me,”This is all I ever wanted. For you to be nice to me…” I completely froze and remained still for a minute, just staring, and it generated this incredibly raw feeling of tenderness. I immediately had my heart broken open. I woke up after a minute or so and even when recalling this now I get choked-up. It left me in a sensitive and vulnerable state. I woke up a minute later and the strong feeling was still there. I knew what I had to do was stop working from a mass of thoughts and references and just hold this feeling to guide my mind to make the decisions. I made some drawings from this place of vulnerability and it all came together that day. I trust any design that comes from that place. I had so many moments like that when I was making, “Shaddowwork.” These experiences have taught me my creativity is best accessed from a place of vulnerability and tenderness.
What was it like working with John Cameron Mitchell?
Magical. He’s the perfect mixture of professionalism and fun. He is super sharp, always coming up with new puns. Working with someone who can bring a costume to life so magically is so valuable. I had my idea of what the costume would look like on him, and then he would try it on and animate it in a whole new way. You just have to surrender to the magic because it’s so much greater than anything you could have come up with in your head. It forces you to detach yourself from your original ideas. Something like that can only come from someone who has the magic.
When did you first watch Hedwig and the Angry Inch (the movie or the Broadway adaptation) and what did you feel from that experience?
I think I was 18 on a really boring vacation in Florida with family, and I rented it from Blockbuster video. VHS. My sister fell asleep and I watched it alone, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it the next day. I don’t think I fully understood all of it, but was so mesmerized by the way it looked and sounded, that I watched it a couple of times in the 2 days. The songs stayed with me. I got the soundtrack and the more I listened to the soundtrack the more I wanted to watch the film, and the more I watched the film the more I wanted to listen to it.
What was it like working with the legendary rock ‘n’ roll photographer Mick Rock?
It feels like you’re working with a legend. Reading about his background and everyone he’s been on tour with and the iconic shots he has photographed, it’s all in him as soon as he walks in the room. He had amazing stories; I could listen to them all day.
What was the inspiration behind the photoshoot and video?
The goal was to really capture this next interpretation of Hedwig in an amazing way. This is a whole new direction for the character, which was truly born for The stage. Mick Rock, who already shot one of the penultimate Hedwig photos as well as so many other iconic rock photographs, was the perfect photographer to capture it.
As an artist and costume designer, what is your goal with each piece? What do you want the viewer to take away from your work’s message?
I definitely made Shadowwork as a way to get something out of me. I know there are ways to merge the dream state and the conscious state. I’ve read a lot of about it and have experienced glimpses where the lines were almost blurred. It’s like lucid dreaming. When you become lucid in the dream state you can call out to different shadows in your subconscious. Shadowwork was one of my ways of doing this in the waking state. Building this series of my own mental hell in order to get it out and confront it. So one of the larger goals is to merge the dream state and the waking state.
For this costume, I think I just wanted to live up to the legacy of Hedwig and make the fans excited and proud.
What can we expect next from you? Are you going to collaborate further with John Cameron Mitchell on any other projects? Or Mick Rock?
I am currently doing a book called WORDS AND PICTURES about my Shaddowwork series consisting of stories, drawings, and photos… and about John and Mick: I HOPE SO!!!!!!!!
SOCIAL WORK – THE NYC FASHION BRAND FUSING EASTERN REVOLUTION AND WESTERN REBELLION
The SS19 presentation of Social Work, the brainchild of Qi Wang and Chenghui Zhang, was presented this past June on the sewing room floor of a factory in the New York City garment district. The Spring/Summer collection was modeled on the actual workers of the factory as well as traditional models, blurring the lines between manufacturer and consumer, proletariat and bourgeoisie.
Both Wang and Zhang met at Parsons, where they graduated in 2017 from the fashion design program, after interning for such brands as Ralph Lauren and 3.1 Phillip Lim. During their time at Parsons, Zhang was awarded the Hugo Boss Scholarship and went on to be featured in the likes of Vogue Italia & High Snobiety.
Much of Social Work’s designs involve the inventive manipulation of textiles and silhouettes. In their S/S 19 collection, their inspiration comes from 60s youth-oriented counterculture in the western world and the concurrent Great Cultural Revolution that happened in China, and the distinct contrast of sociopolitical changes presented by these two sides.
In the Western world, new cultures, lifestyles, and anti-authoritarian movements were booming. The influence of government was undermined. While in China, the whole country was enveloped by the political terrorism pursuing the “true communist ideology.” Many of the silhouettes in this collection combine the western 60s mod styles with Chinese workwear uniforms, and designed for both genders, incorporating slogans from George Orwell’s 1984.
The resulting collection is a mash-up of the muted tones and unique prints of 1960’s home decor and the symbolic bright red and austere, traditional clothing of the working communist. The Social Work lookbook images offer a clear artistic representation of the tension between rebel and revolutionary.
Photography by Chris Shoonover and Jonathan Schoonover | Makeup by Agnes Shen | Hair by Akira Nagano
FASHION’S BIGGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR: THE 2018 MET GALA
By: Sarah Conboy
From Left to Right: Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner
On Monday, May 7th, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City hosted its annual gala in conjunction with the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Sponsored by Versace, Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman, and Condé Nast, the exhibition’s theme is “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The show traces fashion’s connection to Catholicism, including pieces from designers such as Azzedine Alaïa, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian LaCroix, and more. As a special addition, the show presents a number of garments and accessories loaned from the Vatican’s collection at the Sistine Chapel sacristy.
Spanning not only the Costume Center, but the Byzantine and medieval galleries at The Met 5th Avenue and The Met Cloisters uptown, “Heavenly Bodies” was organized by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. This year’s co-chairs included Rihanna (who dressed for the Gala in a papal-inspired look by Maison Margiela), Amal Clooney (dressed in a Richard Quinn, recent recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design), Donatella Versace (dressed in a beaded Atelier Versace number), and of course, Anna Wintour (dressed in a glittering Chanel Haute Couture gown).
Rihanna in custom Maison Martin Margiela
Frances McDormand in Valentino Haute Couture
Guests included a number of A-List celebrities and public figures. Kate Moss attended for the first time since 2009, showcasing her supermodel figure in a short, black Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello dress. Other models making a cameo at the Gala were the likes of Kendall Jenner, the Hadid sisters, Ashley Graham, and Joan Smalls. Virgins to The Met Gala—pun intended—included debuts from Cardi B (guest of Moschino’s Jeremy Scott), and SZA. Other musicians at the Gala were man-of-the-moment Donald Glover, Solange Knowles, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry. A number of award-winning actors came, from George Clooney (supporting wife and co-chair Amal) to Blake Lively, Frances McDormand, and Chadwick Boseman amongst many more. On the designer front, the Olsen twins, of The Row, attended, as well as Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, accompanied by muses Jared Leto and Lana Del Rey. Couples Hailey Baldwin and Shawn Mendes, and Elon Musk and Grimes, made their first public appearances at the event.
Once inside, guests were treated to a seated dinner, and a preview of the exhibition before it officially opens to the public. As we imagined, the night closed with an on-theme performance by Madonna, who aptly sang “Like a Prayer” and “Hallelujah.” A number of after-parties were thrown to continue the festivities, most notably a post-Gala party hosted by Donatella Versace at the Mark Hotel.
“Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” officially opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 10th, and will run through October 8th.
Madonna in custom Jean Paul Gaultier
Lana Del Rey in custom Gucci
Jennifer Lopez in custom Balmain accompanied by Alex Rodriguez
A FLAWLESS NIGHT: LONG LIVE THE QUEEN
The Town Hall presents: A FLAWLESS NIGHT: LONG LIVE THE QUEEN A Tribute to Flawless Mother Sabrina on Thursday May 10, 2018 at 8pm Featuring A 50th Anniversary Screening of the Landmark Documentary The Queen, The Pioneering Producer’s Drag Show Beauty Pageant, Filmed at The Town Hall in 1968 For more information and to purchase tickets please go here
The Queen 1968 film poster
In 1967, Jack Doroshow, aka Flawless Sabrina, produced and hosted a legendary drag pageant at The Town Hall in New York. It was documented in the film, The Queen, and selected for the Cannes Film Festival. The film came to be regarded as a landmark of queer culture.
The Queen captures the groundbreaking (and law-breaking) spirit of Flawless Sabrina, who began producing drag shows in 1959 and continued on for a decade afterward. Crisscrossing the country, Flawless mounted dozens of local shows each year where many queens – including Divine – performed in drag for the first time. Andy Warhol saw a performance in Pittsburgh and helped locate a benefactor to fund a film of the “Miss All America Beauty Pageant” at the Town Hall, and The Queen was released in 1968.
Fifty years after the release of The Queen, the Town Hall and the children of Flawless Mother Sabrina celebrate their legacy. This special event, hosted by Linda Simpson, will feature a rare theatrical screening of The Queen plus performances by Taylor Mac, Justin Vivian Bond with Nath Ann Carrera, The House of LaBeija, Julie Atlas Muz, Tigger!, Brandon Olson, Poison Eve, DJ Sammy Jo, and more, joined for one special night to pay homage to a New York City icon, mentor and mother.
Zackary Drucker, transgender artist and producer of the TV series Transparent will be on stage to introduce the film. Says Drucker: “The Queen is an invaluable relic of a bygone era that is sparsely documented.The history of drag queens and trans people is largely an oral history, but The Queen is a rare window into our community pre-Stonewall, when it was still illegal to cross dress.”
Over the years, Flawless Sabrina served as mother and mentor to hundreds of artists and musicians like Drucker, and as an inspiration to countless more people who visited her salon/home on the Upper East Side. Flawless Sabrina’s activism and compassion for others created reverberations that can be felt and observed to this day, from the continued tradition of drag performativity on RuPaul’s Drag Race, to having influenced the U.S. government to ensure trans people could change the gender marker on their passports.
On November 18, 2017, Flawless Sabrina, one of the loudest and proudest voices for the LGBTQ community, passed away at age 78. The Town Hall event honors Sabrina’s fearless commitment to art and individuality, reflected in the motto: “If it doesn’t make you nervous, it ain’t worth doing.”
For more information and to purchase tickets please go here
A portion of the proceeds from A Flawless Night: Long Live The Queen benefits Ali Forney Center in its mission to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently. Since AFC’s launch with just six beds in a church basement in New York City, the organization has grown to become the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youths in the country – assisting nearly 1,400 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides 70,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered site housing program.