Shared posts

30 May 00:18

voidwish: "The Big Bang Theory except every instance of canned...


"The Big Bang Theory except every instance of canned laughter is replaced with Tidus’s laugh from Final Fantasy X."

20 May 14:21

cisphobe: cisphobe: stop i regret putting “Stop” i never want...




i regret putting “Stop” i never want this bird to stop

30 Mar 11:08

Prints on prints on prints at Stella Jean RTW Fall 2014. In the...

Prints on prints on prints at Stella Jean RTW Fall 2014.

In the world of Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean, prints never go out of fashion. Showcasing her latest collection at Milan Fashion Week, the designer stated her ‘ultra feminine’ Fall RTW range took inspiration from “the crossroads of Italy, Japan and Africa” (the entire continent, Stella?) shown in her Italian tailoring and symbols, kimono-inspired outerwear and dresses, and use of Dutch Wax print, the unofficial 20th-century adopted fabric in many parts of West and Central Africa.

Despite her ambiguity on her last-mentioned geographical source of inspiration, with heavy vintage 1950s-1970s silhouttes, Dutch Wax prints and use of men’s fabrics, Stella Jean had me coveting every single outfit that cruised down the runway. Come next fall, no wardrobe will be complete without a hint of Stella Jean.

View the entire collection.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Soundcloud | Mixcloud | Instagram | Newsletter.

All Africa, All the time.

26 Feb 20:46

Going to the Mall in Brazil

by Mariana Assis

Since last December, Brazilian shopping malls have become the stage for a new style of youth gathering: the rolezinho. Roughly translated as “little excursions” or outings, the rolezinhos can be characterized as planned meetings (via social network) of a large group of youth from poor neighborhoods, with the intent of seeing each other, flirting, eating and drinking at McDonald’s, taking pictures to post on Facebook, and simply having fun.

This can be considered a collective action with direct links to at least two different issues that characterize contemporary Brazilian society. First, rolezinhos cannot be understood without taking into account the almost nonexistence of public spaces for leisure and enjoyment. Coupled with the historic negligence of the Brazilian state to the population’s right to recreation, the ongoing privatization and destruction of the few existent public spaces of the kind leads to the curious situation in which a shopping mall and, particularly, its food court and parking lot, become a place for hundreds of young people to hang out. Second, the country’s economic growth in the last decade, with its emphasis on consumption, dramatically changed the social landscape, reinforcing the notion that in order to be someone, one needs to possess material goods, more specifically, branded merchandise. This last element is emphasized by the musical genre known as “ostentatious funk” and embraced by young Brazilians living in the periphery of big cities, particularly in São Paulo (many of whom take part in the rolezinhos). Commonly framed as the more acceptable version of the Brazilian funk genre, the lyrics of “ostentatious funk” as well as the video-clips produced by the MCs, cultivate a mode of life which places value on consumption. Wearing certain brands of clothing, driving certain cars, drinking certain liquors would altogether provide status, access to women and, most importantly, entrance into a differentiated social group.

In this context, there is nothing uncommon about young people from the outskirts of one of the richest (and most unequal) Brazilian cities deciding to hang out in the shopping malls. Besides associating this particular mode of consumption with social status, the teenagers taking part in the rolezinho do not want to be locked up at home in on the weekends, as pointed out by one of the organizers. Uncommon, nonetheless, is the effect such an action causes when they choose to do it collectively in large groups. The first rolezinho brought together no less than six thousands teenagers to a mall on December 7 in Itaquera, on the outskirts of São Paulo. They were met by fear and panic from both the shops’ owners and other clients, followed by violent police repression. Since this first event, the rolezinhos became a fever, drawing together hundreds (sometimes thousands) of youth to various malls on the outskirts of São Paulo and other major cities in Brazil. At the same time, they ignited a violent response from the administration of the shopping malls. These have resorted not only to private security, but also state police force – in many cases legitimated by judicial decisions – either to keep the youth literally out of these spaces by locking the doors and deciding on an individual basis (racially biased) who is allowed in, or to welcome them with tear gas, rubber bullets and, in the most extreme cases, arrest.

Different framings, from the radical left to the most extreme right, have been used to read and interpret this new social phenomenon. I would like to put forward a different way of comprehending the rolezinho as political, one that does not depend upon the intention of the participants – who clearly want to have a good time – neither aim to turn them from victims into heroes. Rather, the argument advanced here relies on the meaning of the action itself vis-à-vis established social norms.

Brazilian society has long been understood as one whose foundations led to multiple forms of segregation. Take, for example, the case of race, which plays a very important role in the rolezinhos. Brazil was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery, in 1888. Despite some attempts of formulating the nation as a model of racial democracy due to its mixed population and the nonexistence of institutionalized segregation, the reality is that racism pervades every dimension of Brazilian society. While more than half of the population defines itself as black or brown, the average income of these, according to IPEA, is slightly less than half of whites. The majority of the population in the poorest areas of the large cities, the slums, is black. Access to a university degree only became a tangible aspiration for black and brown Brazilians after the introduction of affirmative action in public universities. Finally, the rate of homicides among the young black population is alarming and much of it constitutes summary executions by the police force.

Another clear example of segregation, which is also crucial for understanding the rolezinhos, is found in urban development. The design of the Brazilian urban landscape portrays the deep inequalities which characterize our society: while upper class neighborhoods have access to facilities, implement renovation and conservation plans and are served by a variety of public services, the poor areas exhibit precarious living conditions. On a certain level, one can claim that the our cities display, through their streets, squares, buildings and public services, the differentiated citizenship characteristic of our socio-political heritage. Formally, citizenship is universal and inclusive, but when it comes to the benefits linked to citizenship, especially social rights, only a small parcel of the population enjoys them fully. Urban space in Brazil mirrors the unequal distribution of wealth and political exclusion of the lower classes.

To a certain extent, the economic and social development of the country in the last decade intervened on those two axes of segregation, by providing, on the one hand, some social goods that allow for social ascendency, such as education, and, on the other hand, by increasing the power of consumption of the working classes. Nonetheless, the social norms already well established, along with these material forms of segregation remained in place. These norms, which are constitutive parts of la police in Rancière’s terms, organize society, arrange bodies by defining “the allocation of ways of doing, ways of being, and ways of saying, and sees that those bodies are assigned by name to a particular place and task”, thereby instituting “an order of the visible and the sayable.” In Brazil, these norms are legitimated, to a great extent, by the myth of racial democracy, largely accepted by the population who most of the times abide by such rules of propriety. In this sense, the so-called “differentiated citizenship” is not only accepted, but also guides the ways in which people organize and manage their lives as well as locate themselves socially.

The rolezinhos constitute the moment when black and brown teenagers decide to collectively occupy sanitized and disciplined spaces of consumption – a consumption which in the first place was not meant for them – in order to make of it a locus of enjoyment and fun in their own terms – a form of leisure, linked to a lifestyle much celebrated by “ostentatious funk”, so far segregated and misrecognized. By doing so, they disrupt those very norms, putting into question the police order and exposing the great fallacy of the myth of racial democracy. And this disruption causes fear and hatred. They are bodies occupying spaces and reclaiming a form of citizenship which was not meant for them. And this is precisely why, independent of the initial intentions of their participants, the rolezinhos are political: they are disruption of the police order. As Rancière formulates it, not only is the police order hierarchical, it also relies on the assumption of inequality. Politics, on the contrary, is founded on the premise of equality. It challenges, it disrupts, and it interrupts the easy permanence of the police order.

One could counter-argue and say that the rolezinhos cannot be understood as a dissensus because they aim for inclusion in the one of the constitutive spaces of the contemporary police order: the space of neoliberal consumption. However, I am not claiming that politics is pure or devoid of contradictions. Rather the opposite, politics is impure and paradoxical, it blends with the police’s order without ever merging with it. The politics in the rolezinho is located precisely in its impurity: by aiming to exercise their neoliberal right of enjoying a life of consumption and fun outside the limits of the ghetto, black and brown Brazilian teenagers expose and call to question the very norms of segregation which remain intact in all other spaces of social life. If these norms have not been tamed even by the rules of the neoliberal market, with all its promises of freedom and equality as consumers, one can imagine where they stand in every other social realm. It is time to take a rolezinho into these spaces.

* This piece first appeared in Dissident Voice.

24 Feb 08:36

pastelbmob: Dian Pelangi WE ARE in PASTEL :) Photoshoot Dian...


Dian Pelangi

Photoshoot Dian Pelangi, Hijabers Community and Risty Tagor in Ancol Beach

This is one of those shots that makes me love eyebrows

21 Feb 20:23

The Old Reader Premium!

Johan Palme

This wasn't the deal, ThOR. You said no cut features. I doubt 90% of your users have less than 100 feeds, like you claim.

I'm paying up for a year, but if this means lots of people leave, then I'm out.

We are thrilled to announce that we are rolling out Premium accounts for The Old Reader. Since taking over the application in August we’ve made tremendous strides to improve the dependability and speed of the application. We’ve also begun the process of building and releasing heavily requested features and have worked diligently on user support. We believe The Old Reader is now truly a world-class application!

Our next goal is to ensure the long term financial viability of The Old Reader. Hosting, development, and support are not inexpensive and while it’s never been our goal to get rich off of this application, long term sustainability and growth will require revenue. So we explored several models for generating revenues including a premium offering and advertising. In the end, we’d like to avoid advertising as we feel it’s too invasive and runs counter to our strong belief in the open web. So we started working on a premium offering that would allow 90% of our users to continue on with a free account that is largely unchanged from what they are using today.

What will you get with The Old Reader Premium?
- Full-text search
- Faster feed refresh times
- Up to 500 Subscriptions
- 6 months of post storage
- Instapaper and Readability integration
- Early access to new features

What will it cost?
The Old Reader Premium will cost $3/month or $30/year. However, for the next 2 weeks (or up to 5,000 accounts) we’ll be offering the service for $2/month or $20/year and we will lock you into that price for a minimum of the next 2 years. This is our way of saying thanks to our existing users and hopefully getting the Premium service off to a great start.

Do I have to upgrade?
No! 90% of our users can continue on for free just as they are today. However, users with more than 100 feeds will need to upgrade to premium. Otherwise, all functionality will remain available to free accounts. We also offer a 2 week trial period for the premium service and will even allow that trial period to get extended for those still interested in moving to Premium.

We hope you are as excited about TOR Premium as we are. It’s a great value for a service that we know our users will love. Thanks for continuing to support us and thanks for using The Old Reader!

21 Feb 15:49

nietzscheisdead: six things every girl will ALWAYS have in her purse: another smaller purse an...


six things every girl will ALWAYS have in her purse:

  1. another smaller purse
  2. an aging picture of ringo starr
  3. a six pack of heineken 
  4. the complete box set of every season of Deadliest Catch
  5. the hat you thought you lost at Disneyland when you were 5
  6. a tiny, infinitely dense marble that contains our own universe
21 Feb 15:46

Dent De Man Spring Summer 2014 Lookbook

by Terence Sambo


The brand seeks to mix traditional menswear tailoring and soulful print choices for the contemporary gentleman with style. Dent de Man also offers a contemporary silhouette to reflect personality and lifestyle.

The Dent de Man spring summer 14 collection delivers vintage African prints in full throttle. They stay true to their traditional tailoring ethos in terms of cuts, lines and silhouettes but re-invented in terms or shapes. I shared the image above with a friend and mumbled something to the fact that it’s like a future take on African style and I agree. Will be reviewing the label’s AW14 collection soon.





17 Feb 08:47

fuckyeahdementia: wat

10 Feb 11:57

Tasha - Keep Them WavingSweet soca tune from Tasha, one of the...

Tasha - Keep Them Waving

Sweet soca tune from Tasha, one of the Groovy Soca Monarch 2014 semifinalists.

08 Feb 19:56


by Terence Sambo

0114_IF_LOOKBOOK_V2_SHOT 14_131

The underlying energy of the brand relies on the sublime and the inexplicable. Inspired by apocalyptic and anarchic subject matters, combined with a mutated vision of subculture, fashion and art. Itokawa Film brings a futuristic perspective to design.

Itokawa Film is the result of a union between menswear designer Samuel Membery and visual artist James Ari King. It’s an art, fashion and design collective which places emphasis on simplicity and wearabilty. The name ‘Itokawa’ has got Japanese origins and is actually an asteroid. – Excerpts from the LCM Review






More images after the jump…


08 Feb 17:37

deliciouslydemure: "I have a husband" "So what? I have 2 wives....


"I have a husband"

"So what? I have 2 wives. You can have 2 husbands."

Xala (Ousmane Sembène, Senegal, 1975)

07 Feb 08:57

much doge. so linguistics. wow. I have written a grammar of...

much doge. so linguistics. wow.

I have written a grammar of doge: here’s a highly informative summary picture. The full article is up right now at The Toast and I’m very excited about it.   

Here’s a note on something that I couldn’t fit into the Toast article: the main exception to the shockingly conventional spelling typically found in the doge meme (especially as compared to LOLcat) is precisely in those doge phrases that don’t match the typical pattern of beginning with so, much, many, such, or very, for example in “sekund generashun” above. I created the image so I might be a bit biased here, but it would have felt wrong to spell that part conventionally. However, text-only examples of doge tend to stick very rigidly to the doge phrase syntax and have correspondingly un-creative spelling. 

05 Feb 10:26

levvis: half of a salmon fillet and a clarinet


half of a salmon fillet and a clarinet

04 Feb 17:05

The Rediscovery of William Onyeabor

by Connor Ryan

Recently the curatorial platform Nowness posted a short video directed by musician and filmmaker Brian Bainbridge and Camille Wasserman that features the quirky yet graceful performance of the New York Roller Dancers as they skate to the music of recently “re-discovered” musician William Onyeabor:

The video represents one of the more creative and compelling appropriations of Onyeabor’s singular musical style to date. In fact, since late last year when Luaka Bop, a New York record label owned by David Byrne, released the reissue album ‘Who Is William Onyeabor’, it has seemed that the story of Oyneabor was, for most of the media, the story of the search for a “mythic” outlier on the landscape of Nigerian popular music.

Reviewers, bloggers and journalists have pointed to the parallels between reissue specialist Eric Welles’s search for Onyeabor and Oscar-winning documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man‘ which narrates the quest by South African fans to find the 1970s Detroit musician Rodriguez. (That film, btw, left out many convenient facts.) Out of the buzz emerges an inventory of the more intriguing turns in Onyeabor’s life: he purportedly studied film in the Soviet Union, traveled to Sweden to procure his sound recording equipment, singlehandedly recorded and pressed eight albums before he dramatically renounced pop music and dedicated himself to evangelical charismatic Christianity. Onyeabor chose to live out his days as a successful businessman in Enugu, what most commentators seem to view as a life of obscurity.

As The Guardian article on the matter makes evident, for better or worse, this sort of recuperation, rediscovery, reissue phenomenon is a cultural practice in its own right. But as with postmodernist cultural recycling on a whole, the musician, style or commodity returns largely shorn of its historical significance.

In focusing on the rediscovery of an eccentric pop music personality, the original Nigerian audience and the terrain of popular music at that time fall into the background, or disappear altogether. In the case of Onyeabor, the apprehensiveness with which commentators have acknowledged the musicians embrace of evangelical Christianity stands out. And perhaps they should be pardoned, since how would an arts columnist explain to a non-African audience Onyeabor’s devotion to the ministry of T.B. Joshua? And is that an explanation anyone really wants? But the fact that scores of popular musicians in Nigeria, including Ebenezer Obey, Orlando Owoh, and Sunny Ade, have turned away from popular culture and toward the sphere of evangelical Christian music is an undeniable and telling change, a reflection of a larger shifting outlook on life, ephemera, and success.

The rediscovery of Fela Anikulapo Kuti has worked in much the same way. To begin with, Fela has never needed to be rediscovered within Nigeria. His birthday remains the occasion for an annual music festival called “Felabration” at which musicians from across West Africa draw enormous crowds to the New Afrikan Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos. Within Nigeria’s media environment, Fela’s presence remains unabatedly strong and controversial. The social meaning of his music is not finished or closed. When a DJ plays “Shuffering and Shmiling” at a Lagos bar or nightclub the lyrics have a vexing effect on audiences: “Suffer suffer for world [chorus: "Amen"] / Enjoy for Heaven ["Amen"] / Christians go dey yab / ‘Inspiritus hevinus’ / Muslims go dey call / ‘Allahu Akbar.’” You can see the dance floor empty of those made uncomfortable by the song’s unabashed critique of Christianity and Islam. At the same time, those who remain on the dance floor seem to belt out the chorus’s ironic “Amen” even louder. The continued relevance or irrelevance of a musical figure like Fela to an African audience doesn’t factor into that figure’s “rediscovery” outside the continent.

As the rumor surrounding Onyeabor indicate, he remains largely unknown to audiences on the continent and abroad. But this doesn’t mean that his music is unavailable in Nigerian marketplaces. I was astounded to learn that his original albums sell for as much as ₤600. Walking home one night, I heard Onyeabor’s distinctive music playing from the music and video vendor in my temporary neighborhood in Lagos. I was able to purchase a video CD of Onyeabor’s music set to what seemed to me like several early amateur music videos. The VCD cost two hundred naira, or a little more than a dollar. I suppose there is something to be said about the advantages of pirate media markets. If he is available to local audiences, why isn’t Onyeabor a paragon of hip in Nigeria today?

I had an American friend Facebook me with a link to Onyeabor and a comment to the effect that they really liked him and wanted to know more. I sent back a link of WizKid and Olamide, explaining that although Onyeabor is exciting and intriguing music, these are the artists that Nigeria finds unassailably cool right now. They responded that they could not stomach the auto-tuning and objected that the videos recapitulated the shallow consumerism of American pop music today. I agree, and yet it would be quite the coup if tastemakers like Nowness could post a video for Olamide’s “Duro soke.”

03 Feb 20:15

Namibia's vintage guru on fashion, thrifting, and Namibian style

by Cory Doctorow

Loux the Vintage Guru's Tumblr is full of photos of snazzily dressed models clad in the vintage clothing Loux discovers in the markets of Namibia and the styles he creates based on them. In a revealing interview, Loux (a self-described "hipster") vividly describes the process of thrifting in Nambian markets, and the fashion potential he's unlocking by reimagining the clothes of his parents' generation.

From a young age, I was inspired by my late grandfather, the old man always dressed in suits and shiny shoes and would tell me, “my son, fashion is what you adopt when you don’t yet know who you are, make sure you are always well-dressed”. So I grew up loving fashion from childhood...

I learned from local tailors in Namibia as well as some friends I made from Japan. But I do believe the ability to design well is a God-given talent. I didn’t go to school to study it but I do have plans to further improve my skills and go to fashion school one day soon. For now, I have a very small workshop, I’m an emerging tailor and get training from professional tailors. I often use their workshops where they assist me in bringing my pieces together...

I call my style sophisticated-punk, it’s a bit of a mixture, but I think true style is an expression of your day to day mood. I fell in love with vintage pieces, especially from the 1960s, and normally alter them to fit me and modernise them in my own way. Most of the suits I wear are actually my late Dad’s suits. I wear a hat with every outfit as well as vintage club ties– I think they’re both stylish and respectful.

Loux the Vintage Guru [Tumblr]

Interview with the Vintage Guru of Namibia [Messy Nessy]


25 Jan 20:31

somethingfriday: here’s a crow using a jar lid for a sled, if...

Johan Palme

Berdshare, someone reshare it to the berd people?


here’s a crow using a jar lid for a sled, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. i know i am.

25 Jan 09:40

Animated gifs and electronic music

by Ethan

I was looking at a collection of perfectly looped gifs on Buzzfeed and thinking about how they remind me of sample-based electronic music. In both cases, you’re taking a piece of a linear recording and making it cyclical. Do it wrong and it’s extremely irritating. Do it right and it’s mesmerizing. I’ve given a lot of thought to how looping a segment of audio changes its meaning, but am only just starting to think about the visual equivalent.

George applauds

Like samples in hip-hop and techno, good animated gifs take something familiar and make it strange, or they take something strange and make it familiar. And like samples, gifs are especially expressive when they come from pop culture. Unlike hip-hop and techno producers, gif creators are quite anonymous; I can’t name a single one, and their work is almost always unattributed on the web.

Usually gifs are silly, but sometimes they can be moving. I like this one of a kid riding a dirtbike through the desert from Breaking Bad. No spoilers, but like every character on the show, the kid meets with tragedy; it’s nice to imagine him riding through the desert forever unharmed.

Breaking Bad dirt bike

Pairing video loops with sound has so far been mostly super irritating. There’s a TV commercial in rotation right now that does that, and it just looks like an epileptic seizure. Maybe because it’s very difficult to align the optimally satisfying video loop points with the optimally satisfying audio ones. There are some wonderful video remixes based on the idea of looping short segments, but there the priority is sound; the video edits are totally nonsensical, though still satisfying in their own way.

Maybe the only way to pair audio and video loops is to have one of them necessarily be meaningless. Or maybe we should just enjoy the sample and the gif on their own terms.

Michelle Obama approves

23 Jan 07:34


Johan Palme

Weird transparencies meets full-scale naivist animal embroideries. Pretty much par for the course, then.

Fifty-five looks for fifty-five operas. The Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were after something new for Couture this season, and they found it in the age-old tradition of opera. The show opened with a nod to La Traviata; Giuseppe Verdi's score was embroidered in black on the long, full skirt of a parchment-colored tulle dress. After that, Chiuri explained, "we wanted to describe the character of each [opera's] protagonist in a primordial way." By the end, they had called out all the greats: Puccini's La Bohème inspired an elegant navy cashmere cape and silk crepe sheath. Bizet's Carmen produced a pleated bronze tulle gown with silver-gray guipure lace embroideries.

Admittedly, the connections were sometimes tenuous, but that didn't detract from the austere beauty of simply draped silk marocain dresses in earthy shades of sienna, green, and mahogany. Or the divine splendor of a gold thread dress embellished with four thousand smoky gemstones that took twenty-five hundred hours to affix. The monastic and the regal are the twin signatures of Chiuri and Piccioli's work chez Valentino. Both sides of that aesthetic presumably appeal to Florence + the Machine's Florence Welch, who was perched near Giancarlo Giammetti in the front row.

The surprise was all the animals—a veritable menagerie of them, or as the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns would've had it, a carnaval des animaux. A swan, a snake, and a peacock made from feathers that wrapped around the waistline of ballerina tutus…lions and elephants on a double-face cashmere dress and a coat (not embroidered, mind you, but built into the fabric of the garments, like a puzzle)…even a gorilla and its baby were spotted tucked amid the leather floral appliqués of an organza cape.

The creativity of the set dressers at the Rome Opera House had a profound effect on the duo this season; Chiuri and Piccioli invited the opera's artisans to paint the show's runway and backdrop. But if theatricality is a virtue onstage, the more realistically the creatures were rendered here, the better off the clothes were. By contrast, a satin tiger practically pounced off the skirt of the finale dress. The workmanship was second to none, but the designers may have overestimated the big cat's charms. All in all though, this was another bravura performance.
—Nicole Phelps
23 Jan 07:29


Johan Palme








22 Jan 03:31

Umit Benan’s Stylish Ode to Jackie Robinson

by Alex Frank


About 3,500 miles away from America on a runway far, far away, Paris-based menswear designer Umit Benan was celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. day the best way a fashion designer knows how to: with models and clothes. An all-black cast of characters walked the Turkish designer’s latest collection, an inspired ode to Jackie Robinson (maybe Benan loved 42 as much as everyone else we know), to a soundtrack of the “I Have a Dream” speech. If that wasn’t enough, like a streaker on the field, Benan ran out on to the runway with a sign protesting racism—the second designer since Walter Van Beirendonck to make this round of fashion shows an explicit call for equality. Do we even need to mention that every perfect piece of the baseball-influenced wardrobe makes us want a full kit uniform from the Benan team?

22 Jan 02:12

Alexandre Vauthier

Johan Palme

Haha, there's some really rock'n'roll pieces in here. Not sure about the kink.

With a wall of glowing lights at the far end of a glossy black runway, it seemed that Alexandre Vauthier wanted to establish a nightclub ambience for his Spring couture show. Not so. "It was beach and windsurf!" he said emphatically, noting that even the ambient music reinforced the mellow vibe. There was, come to think of it, a beachy attitude to the oxblood bra that appeared midway through—its cups framed in crocodile—and to the hot pants that opened the show. They were shown with heels and a fold-over clutch that had a chain running between them, mimicking a surfboard leash: This was surf fetishism, perhaps.

Vauthier also gave exposure to a loosely interpreted ethnic theme that played out as jewel-encrusted paneling, extra-long fringes, and intricate leather braiding. If it vaguely recalled a not-so-distant Givenchy couture collection, the designer's pursuit of exceptional fabrications became the more interesting story. A preview of the clothes a day earlier at his showroom brought this into focus. Here, a leopard-spotted lamé reproduced from Saint Laurent's atelier. There, a deceivingly simple oversize warm-up jacket in rare white astrakhan. Up close, sheer leggings combined extra-fine tulle and lace in contoured accord. The rigid ruffles were the stuff of hat construction, an idea that emerged from Vauthier's correspondence with Maison Michel. Ingeniously, he affixed them to a bodysuit instead of a dress—and just like that, the surf theme reemerged. If only he had kept proportions tight and short instead of extending the swirling mass into a creeping tail.

There's some pleasure in knowing that Vauthier does not shy away from extravagance—or bike chains as choker necklaces—as long as the final product bears witness to his creative process. Plus he clearly understands restraint, avoiding closures on his men's-style blazers to keep his top layers fluid. He could benefit from recalibrating his ratio of hyperfeminine to token masculine; this way, his collections might not end up as engulfed by their sexiness. But one imagines that for some clients that is precisely the appeal.
—Alex Veblen
21 Jan 10:56

Beijing Citizens, Shrouded In Pollution, Flock To Giant Screens...

Beijing Citizens, Shrouded In Pollution, Flock To Giant Screens To View Artificial Sunrise | Zero Hedge, via Dianna L.

(The image on the screen is actually a frame from an tourism advert - read full story here.)

19 Jan 12:52

theysayimpsychodiaries: Chimamanda Adichie - The Danger of a...

Johan Palme

This is the sort of thing I unfortunately miss because of my pathological dislike of TED as a phenomenon. :/


Chimamanda Adichie - The Danger of a Single Story (TED Talks 2009)

Tell me again, what did you say about representation not being important?

17 Jan 23:16

The BBC's Ad For Sochi Is Needlessly Intense

Maybe it's because Charles Dance, AKA Tywin Lannister from 'Game Of Thrones' is narrating but guys, you might be overselling the Olympics a little.
17 Jan 08:56

“Somalis on Ice”

by Johan Palme
Johan Palme


Goodbye Eric The Eel! Shuffle over, Jamaican bobsleigh team of 1988! There’s a new team in town: The Somalia national bandy team. And of course, the media is all over it.

For those uninitiated in this rather marginal sport, it’s similar to ice hockey except with football-sized fields and goals, more players and a ball instead of a puck. According to the official story, the Somalia national team was formed as an integration project in Borlänge, Sweden, and is aiming for this year’s world championships in Irkutsk, Russia. They’ve even managed to recruit notorious hardman and troublemaker Pelle Fosshaug to coach them. And none of the players have been part of a bandy team before!

Isn’t it a fantastically heartwarming story, though? The underdogs, struggling to affirm our shared humanity? “A bit crazy, lovely, picturesque,” as Fosshaug says? The media certainly seems to think so. Literally every single large-sized media institution in Sweden has covered the story, as have Norwegian and Finnish media, and Reuters, and the Wall Street Journal, and the BBC, twice. (They’ve also contributed our “delightful” post title.) Now film crews from bandy non-entities France, Holland and Britain are following the team as they fight to obtain visas in time for their big show.

Why the huge interest, from media that normally write no bandy articles at all? Clearly, the story structure itself trumps any other concerns. Inscrutably paradoxical media logic dictates that the best way to show humanity and uniqueness is to reduce people to clichéd archetypes, individuals co-opted into symbols. Stories from Africa or convering Africans are never really about people, of course; they’re about images, ideas, stereotypes of people. The Unlikely Sports Heroes are just another iteration, and one that partially serves to reinforce the image of inferiority. Because Unlikely Sports Heroes never actually win anything.

And these stories have another irresistible media quality: the contrarian story, the “man bites dog,” the news that they claim goes against the norm. “Somalis playing bandy” is but a slight twist to that seemingly endless trope, “non-white people skateboarding,” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Uganda, wherever. Or what sometimes seems to be the most-filmed story cliché about Africa in the past few years, the heavy metal music scenes in Mozambique, Angola, Botswana or Soweto. And even though it is told again and again, the story is always presented as unexpected, that this is something that “goes against the image” of Africa. Thus, in its very exceptionality, reinforcing that stereotypical image rather than shaking it.

And the thing is, of course, that marketers know what kind of double stereotypes the media crave. Planting a story by making it appealing to the press is a time-honoured tactic, and in an era where proper journalism is increasingly scarce it has become an ever-more-common and ever blurrier generator of news. At the apex, the news, the marketing and the spectacle all get mixed up into semi-fictional events without a clear source or instigator, into what columnist Rob Walker once dubbed murketing — marketing for its own sake, promotion without an obvious promotee. Here in Sweden, infamous PR Agency Studio Total has had a politician burn money, dropped teddy bears over Belarus, faked bloggers and pretended technology could interpret dog thoughts, all eagerly lapped up by the international media.

So what about this story? Is it murketing? Alarm bells should probably start ringing when you realise that there was a film project in conjunction with a major television channel before there even was a team:

In cooperation with the Swedish television profiles Filip and Fredrik, production companies Mexico Media and Thelma/Louise and Channel 5, a feature film will be made to depict the project. The film will be shown in 2014.

Consultants are brought in to manage every aspect of the team’s image; even the Somali IOC delegate Daqa Niamkey (interviewed by the project) talks about it as “an opportunity to change the image” of Somalia more than a potential sports feat. However much the individual team members are fighting for success (and good luck to them!) the whole project doesn’t really seem to be about them at all.

The question is, in whose eyes is that “image” supposed to be changing? There’s been a significant discussion in Sweden this autumn about whether the whole idea of trying to “change the image” of various immigrant groups is bunk, because it shifts the supposed problem to those who are at the receiving end of a “bad image” which, let’s be clear about this, is quite literally a synonym for racist prejudice. Putting the impetus on Somalis to “integrate,” as this project supposedly does, ignores the horrible reality of a Sweden where hate crimes against Somali people are on the rise, where 76% of the population perceives ethnic discrimination to be widespread, where the gap in average level of employment between Somalis and the entire population is 52 whole percentage units, three times as large as the UK or the US. Perhaps, instead of trying to “change the image” of Somalia through “integration” and murketing spectacles, Sweden should take a long hard look at its own structural racism instead.

16 Jan 23:03

Yohji Yamamoto

Johan Palme

This! I'd wear all of this

There was only one question to ask Yohji Yamamoto after his show: How do you explain such a multitude and mishmash of prints? "People kept telling me I do too much black," said the designer, characteristically minimalist in his response. It was the most maximalist collection Yamamoto has shown in some time, but it was not the layering that shocked; all those pant cuffs under pant cuffs, collars over collars, and zippered slashes are Yohji 101.

This time, those zippers were aided by coffin-shaped pulls. If you tried to process Yamamoto's elongated three-button blazers and cropped pants, you'd wind up quickly diverted by skulls, serpents, and blood-red camouflage. Indeed, the collision of wild dandy florals, tamer sketched patterns, and psychedelic illustrations that bordered on occult will prove divisive depending on whether you more closely identify with a Korean pop star (G-Dragon was sitting front-row) or an editor who remembers back when Yamamoto's ample shapes were radical enough. All those ropes looked uncomfortably akin to nooses.

But there is something especially equalizing—arguably even self-actualizing—about the way Yamamoto, now a septuagenarian, continues to clothe grizzled models (this time boasting blue streaks) in looks as eccentric as those worn by his rosy-cheeked babes. Yamamoto's face appeared half-decaying on the back of a leather jacket—a selfie of sorts. In a way, it made the collection seem like an elaborate vanitas in which the wealth of symbols overcompensated for the designer's recent spell of restraint (hey, it's all relative). Hence the follow-up question: Mr. Yamamoto, you yourself wear so much black. Will we see you in these prints? "You will," he replied. "Promise."
—Alex Veblen
15 Jan 20:55

Walter Van Beirendonck’s Runway Against Racism

by Alex Frank
Johan Palme

WVB is sooo my fave, he is amazing


Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck is pretty much the senior professor of the world of men’s fashion—he even trained a young Raf Simons as an intern in his studio—and his collections often read like theses for the political issues on his mind, whether it’s gender inequality, climate change, LGBT rights or race. This season, it looks like he’s as miffed about Chanel’s recent appropriation of Native American garb and H&M’s hipster headdress dust-up as activist groups are: at his runway show today in Paris, models walked out in mile-high crowns with “STOP RACISM” written across in red paint. As clear as daylight as that political message seemed to be, the rest of the collection was his typically beautiful mish-mash of hard-to-place influences. Club kids? Spandexed Jane Fonda aerobics? Gay soldiers? This is an academic treatise that might take some time to unpack, but if you want to do some background research, check out this amazing collection of vintage WvB over at the VFILES.

For more on Van Beirendonck, read our 2012 feature-length interview with the maestro.

14 Jan 00:47


Johan Palme

Ahahahaha these are fantastic. Excentric-to-deranged art deco gentlemen.

In the sweet watercolor that decorated the invitation for Etro's show today, animals attended to the sartorial needs of a Milanese gentleman. A wild boar held one end of a tape measure, a bird the other; a bear adjusted the shoulder of the gent's jacket; a squirrel waited patiently by an old sewing machine. In its charming whimsy, the image seemed pretty typical of where Kean Etro's head is at so often, but there was a serious message in there, too: Among Italy's endangered species are the master tailors who have made the country an international byword for artistry in cloth.

The financial pages have been muttering that Italy's economy has turned a corner. Shoots of growth, indicators increasingly healthy, and so on. Any Italian you ask begs to scornfully differ, but the show staged by Kean today took the high road. We were told to expect "an ode to the very best that Etro and Italy have to offer," a celebration of the artisans in Puglia, in the South, who have been working on Etro's menswear for ten years. And that's just what happened: an exhibition of tailoring at its idiosyncratic, dandified best—culminating in a respectful acknowledgment of the proud, sturdy men and women responsible—that was so heartfelt on Kean's part it brought a tear to the eye.

The first outfit offered a rarefied vision—three-piece suit, coat, tie, gloves, shoes, and bag, all in the same windowpane check—that carried Milan's current appetite for top-to-toe dressing to an extreme. And the show never let up from there. A nightmare for matchy-matchy-phobes, no doubt, but as a reiteration of the conventions of bespoke dressing, it pulled off a few surprises (when fit is everything, trousers "adhere to the legs," as the show notes decorously described the impact of tight pants) and it also presented a manifesto for modern masculinity that was both reassuringly broad-shouldered and pleasingly eccentric. And it's been a while since the Etro paisley looked as good as this, as an engineered print on an overcoat or as a ghostly shadow print on velvet.

At the show, Kean distributed his "10 Best of Italy." Slow food, a favorite publishing house, herbs, bears, and boars were included on a particularly eclectic list, with the implication that most of them were under threat in some way. On today's evidence, Kean is going to change that, one fashion show at a time.
—Tim Blanks
13 Jan 13:33

Vivienne Westwood

Johan Palme

Yay helmet hair

Vivienne Westwood's cause du jour is fracking. Her always-polemical show notes read (in full): "Attention: Fracking is the Big Fight. In England we must all challenge the irresponsible behavior of our governments who are trying to force fracking upon us with no consideration of alternatives. The public must be informed. One thing is sure: At this point in time we must think before we rush into further action to fracture our earth."

Tracing a connection between cause and collection is a touchy business. Fracking tends to pit the environmentalists against the oil barons, so it probably wasn't too far a stretch to see a reference to petroleum in the models' black-spackled hair—and maybe not even to go one step further and suggest that the darker palette, with more black than usual, picked up the theme, too. Ironic or not, all that black made this collection look more wearable than some of Westwood's acid-toned outings. But take it too far at your peril. There were the usual wild three-button suits and tailored coats, but the collection was positively thick with duvet coats, big sweaters, sweats, and tracksuits. Many were more provocative than your average trackies (in gold lamé or see-through mesh, for example), but they nonetheless telegraphed a kind of kick-around comfort and ease. Which would have made the show's message something along the lines of: Relax. But Westwood doesn't do that, and, God bless her, she likely never will.
—Matthew Schneier