Inspiration: Americana, John Chamberlain, and Prada’s Hotrod Hotties


Have you seen the Spring ’12 Prada campaign and are you feeling it?  I immediately loved it as it looks like film stills from a sophisticated bad girls movie about chicks and Chevy’s from the 1950’s.  Steven Meisel succeeds in capturing a distinctly American cultural reference for the Italian fashion brand.  It’s a fantasy I want to buy into– hotties at the gas pump, filling up their cherry hotrods in flaming heels.

On a related (or completely un-related) note, yesterday I went to see the sculptor John Chamberlain’s show at the Guggenheim, as well as an accompanying lecture by art critic Dave Hickey about the show.  (Sidenote: If I could have a fantasy dinner party with 10 guests, Dave Hickey would make the list– he is an irreverent, hysterical card, with a lyrical way of speaking and a thick southern drawl.  He is hyper-informed on everything from pop culture to the infinite details of art history and says things like, “that sculpture just breaks my heart”- meaning it’s great! It’s refreshing to find someone to whom very little is sacred. Read his book Air Guitar!)

As I was looking at the show, the new Prada adds kept popping into my mind.  It wasn’t just about the cars though, it was about the use of color, the confidence, and the distinct American-ness of it all. The historical and cultural references that Prada is fetishizing in their ads, are happening in real time in John Chamberlain’s work.

Chamberlain was born in Indiana and served in the US Navy on an aircraft carrier (machinery, engineering, technical know-how). He lived in Detroit (cars, manufacturing). He then spent time as a hairdresser and make-up artist in Chicago (interest in surface and sheen) and eventually found his way to study art at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (composition, poetry, modern art).  He collected all the pieces in his work from salvage yards across America and he set up studio in a run down part of Sarasota, Florida.  He came from a time when more Americans worked with their hands in factories, when people built things. He re-appropriated scrap into something more poetic, and maybe something distinctly, culturally American.

A car itself doesn’t have a personality– it’s a thing with a practical purpose, but when you take it apart, crush it, bend it, wad it up, pair it with plastics and spray paint, and reassemble it, it takes on a whole new identity.

Is it too much of a stretch that when looking at Chamberlain’s work, I can see a supremely confident woman? Well dressed, balanced perfectly on her flaming heels, staring me down? And maybe she’s messy too, complicated and bent up, colorful, vulnerable in the spaces between all that hard metal– much like these fantasy characters in Prada’s campaign- rebels without a cause, tough, smart, well-heeled, sexy, and American built, or at least born of the cultural myths of the American consciousness.

I know, Miuccia Prada probably wasn’t thinking about Chamberlain– and Chamberlain could have no premonition of the fashion world of 2012 when making his work in the 60s and 70s– but in the spirit of Dave Hickey’s philosophy, “it’s kinda fun” to think about these possible relationships.

You can see John Chamberlain: Choices at the Guggenheim in NYC through May 13.






all images from Prada and the Guggenheim

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Magic: Happy New Moon!

last image via Penabranca, other images sources unknown

May all of our dreams come true! xx

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Art: Klaum, A One Night Affair

My friend Edda P (yea Edda!!!) has curated this art show in NYC on Saturday night with works by photographer Silja Magg.  Icelandic crew in the house!  Sure to be a fun party. xoxo

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Inspiration: French Vogue in Morocco

All images by Inez and Vinoodh

These images are from one of my favorite shoots to date from French Vogue.  It was shot by the illustrious photo duo Inez and Vinoodh and styled by fashion heavy hitters Carine Roitfeld and Camilla Nickerson.  Every time I see these images I am reminded that A) I want to go to Morocco really soon! and B) Inez and Vinoodh manage to elevate fashion imagery to high art in the same way Richard Avedon did.

I have an upcoming interview having to do with Morocco that I am really psyched about!! Stay tuned…

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Inspiration: Proenza Schouler SS 2012

photos by Tommy Ton from his blog Jak & Jil

You don’t always have to go somewhere to take a trip.  I love how the Proenza Schouler Spring ’12 collection transports us to Hawaii in the late 50’s and to the future at the same time! Spring/summer fashion doesn’t always have to be floaty frocks and pastels– PS shows us that spring can be graphic and bold.  This collection has a wicked sense of architecture and craft, but still manages to have a sense of humor– Polynesian Bond Babes from the future!  I love the vintage Hawaiian shirt prints and the wet suit and tiki references.  It is slick but so fun! Sighhhhhhh…..

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reblogged from the mysterious and lovely penabranca

This pic makes me feel really good.  Looking forward to a surfy getaway before the winter is over….



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