23 Jun 2013



... I had the chance to visit the Erwin Blumenfeld exhibition at Somerset House.

The exhibition concentrates on Blumenfeld's artistic period in New York and some of his most extraordinary fashion photographs in colour are on display. After the photographer's death in 1969 his  estate was divided into four stakeholders and due to conflicts between the parties many of these images never got published or presented to the public. Sadly he is not as well known as his contemporaries, e.g. Irving Penn or Richard Avedon. However, as history has taught us that does not necessarily reflect the brilliance of an artist. Blumenfeld belongs without doubt to the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries he found innovative and imaginative ways to present fashion and photograph the most beautiful women of his time. 

Erwin Blumenfeld. Grace Kelly in Cosmopolitan, 1955.
Erwin Blumenfeld. Variant of a cover for Vogue, 1949.

After his death his outstanding reputation gradually faded into obscurity, however, this phase has fortunately come to an end. Following the exhibition at Somerset House is a Retrospective of his work in the Jeu de Paume, Paris in October. Although the Paris exhibition is definitely worth a trip, I would not want to have missed the smaller one in London. 
Since it focuses mainly on his fashion photography additional show cases feature the images in their original context - the pages of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Detaching the photographs from the pages of the magazine often implies a shift of meaning. That is why I enjoy the concept of combining new prints on the walls and the original magazines. 

Even though I would love to visit the Retrospective in Paris, I will not have to feel all too miserable should  I not make it. I am already looking forward to two other exhibitions at Somerset House. 

Miles Aldridge. I Only Want You to Love Me #1, 2011. 

Next month Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me opens and will be the largest exhibition of his work to this date.  

Mario Testino. Isabella Blow, 1997.

My personal highlight of the year is probably Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! 
The exhibition will display pieces from her private collection, which is now owned by Daphne Guinness.
Come November I will be almost as excited as waiting to open Christmas presents. 

For more information visit www.somersethouse.org.uk

6 Jun 2013



Jason Evans

...is usually not the first thing I'm thinking after waking up in the morning. I am rather cranky before I've  had my first cup of coffee.

While I drink my coffee I practice another morning ritual: www.thedailynice.com   
simple white web page + photo of something that made Jason Evans happy = smile
Thanks Daily Nice!

2 Jun 2013

All time favourites

Punk's not dead...

Jean Baptiste Mondino. Punk's Not Dead in: The Face, 1990.

.... at the moment it seems that punk is very much alive and can be spotted everywhere. The most publicly criticised event was probably this year's Met Gala to celebrate the opening of the exhibition PUNK: Chaos to Couture. Personally, I found it hilarious to see all the celebrities dressed up in their glamourous "punk" outfits. 
As Madonna was one of the few who seemed to have understood the theme, she did put on every fashion cliché punk has to offer - from a tartan jacket to a dog collar necklace and ripped fishnet tights. Well done, Madonna - I mean, it is the gala of the Costume Institute (!) and we have 2013 and are not stuck in the 1970s, so who cares if wasn't exactly a convincing interpretation of punk. 

Madonna - Met Gala 2013 
(Photo: Getty Images)

I have learned from previous experience that I cannot pull off punk style at all. Every time I tried, I ended up looking like I'm going to a Halloween party. Nevertheless, I am a huge admirer of the era.     

The image above is one of my all time favourites. When it was published in 1990 the original spirit of the subculture was all long gone and punk's fashion had found its way into mainstream culture. It indicates how distorted versions of punk live on through the appropriation of succeeding generations. The professional and polished aesthetic of the image doesn't seem to fit the rebellious DIY concept of punk. However, the subculture has had a lasting influence on fashion and the constant returns of punk motifs reference fashion's ambivalence of evanescence and revitalisation. 
Mondino's image seems to admit that punk in its original form is dead but that the desire to express rebellion and otherness lives on. 

No wonder, Abbey Lee Kershew's political statement written on her torso was regarded as the most authentic expression of punk on this particular evening. Flashing her stomach - not to forget her black knickers and almost (!) bare breasts - at a posh event like this, was probably the most true-to-punk way to communicate her message. (Okay, it could have been even a bit more rebellious.) 
As Vivienne Westwood recalls the good old days: "We were interested in what we thought was rebellious, in wanting to annoy (English) people - and the way to do that was through sex."         

Abbey Lee Kershew - Met Gala 2013
(Photo: justjared.com) 

Reference: Vivienne Westwood cited in: Arnold, Rebecca. Fashion, Desire and Anxiety. London, 2001: p. 47.