• Art of Non-Symmetric Knowledge

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    Saturday, March 10th starts with a vernissage of Carl Lagercrantz’ exhibition “NON-SYMMETRY” at GALLERY GREGER at Hornsgatan 46 in Stockholm. Being a great-great-grandson to the founder of Villastaden (Villa Town) and prominent figure in Stockholm’s cultural, political and financial life, Henrik Palme, Carl Lagercrantz draws knowledge and inspiration in that invaluable heritage. Furthermore, he skilfully alternates the cultural prosperity of the family’s history with his American background. The artist was born in 1972 in the United States of America, where he could both observe and learn from the blossoming of different modern and postmodern art movements, starting with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and ending by Neo-Pop kitsch style of Jeff Koons. The artist usually says, “I do not form my art, letting my art form me”.

    His art path began with his mother, who was an artist and also Carl’s first art teacher. Even though the main academic focus finally fell on political science, the painting has always been a strongly integrated part of Carl’s life. He has never stopped educating himself in art and attended painting classes of Martin J. Garhart and classes in sculpture of Barry Gunderson. Through the years Carl has had several exhibitions, inter alia Spain and Sweden. The artist’s works adorn homes of a number of owners around the world.

    NON-SYMMETRY” is a new step in Carl’s artistic development, where he gathers his inspiration from different aspects of our life, such as brutality and poetry of the city landscape admired by J. G. Ballard, letting the art be a filter for interpretation of the collected experience. Somewhere, at the junction of the ideas of Russian Cosmism and the roughness of our hyperreality treacherously surrounded by artificial intelligence, the artist creates his own reality - his art. Architecture and engineering, philosophy and religion, fashion and art, poetry and cosmic space the artist tries to comprehend through his art. It is both his personal diary and his discovery of a world in art and art in the world. Art is a cosmic universe, built on the ambivalence of past and future, placed on the border between abstraction and science fiction, questioning the role of humans. Art is a remedy to comprehend the world as much as it is a way to understand the human’s role in this world.

    His artworks are intended to create a discourse about non-symmetrical nature of knowledge, where the latter is seeing as a dichotomy consisting of a hard part and soft one. The soft part is the one we cannot structure as it consists of emotions like fear and love, carried out by the limbic system. That soft part is our creativity, which the artist depicts by placing the latter in the context of the real life stained by the futuristic spirit of the hard – structured and technology-dominated – part of knowledge. Accordingly, he endeavours to understand the future role of humans, based on a strong belief in evolution, in the world we are creating together by means of politics, fashion, technology, art and philosophy. Is it a new transcendental realm we are heading towards? Let’s go and see the exhibition between March 10-14!

  • Magic City - The Art Of The Street

    Written by Fashion Tales

    MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET
    presents today’s most vital and imag- inative art form – Street Art – in all its diversi- ty: political, lyrical, biting, critical – and always entertaining. Visitors embarking on a journey of discovery into MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET will find it hard to contain their astonishment: around each corner, new imag- inative graffiti is found, astounding 3D-illusions, monumental wall paintings, multimedia installa- tions, and all kinds of strange objects and sculp- tures as if from a dream. A feast for all the senses!
    All the works, apart from a few loans, were pain- ted, sprayed, scratched, glued, or even knitted. The overwhelming variety shows that Street Art – although now elevated from the underground to the exhibition rooms of museums and auction houses – is as iconoclastic and experimental as ever. Furthermore, due to increasing global urban- isation and networking it has become a kind of “seismograph”, which reacts to what is happen- ing in cities globally on an almost daily basis. It responds to the everyday challenges of urban life with ever-new visual surprises and thought-pro- voking impulses. Art doesn’t get any more excit- ing than this.
    This openness to new ideas in response to the now is what shapes the spirit of this undertaking.
    Just as cities and their Street Art are continu- ally changing, so the face of MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET is being constantly trans- formed. On its world tour, at each new stopover, MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET re-cre- ates a unique exhibition adding new artists and themes. This constant transformation is what makes MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET unique, and, in comparison to traditional exhibi- tions, extraordinarily responsive and up-to-date. However, one thing remains constant always and everywhere: its variety and openness across na- tional borders. In an age in which boundaries and exclusion are on the rise again, MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET with artists from all five con- tinents, stands for a global sense of community, free from prejudice.
    This was precisely the aim of the curators, both of whom are acknowledged Street Art experts. Carlo McCormick is an art critic and author of numerous books such as City as Canvas and Trespass; and Ethel Seno has been co-curator of exhibitions such as Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contempo- rary Art in Los Angeles and Coney Art Walls in New York. They declared that their goal was to create a “playground for the imagination”, in a new hybrid form – on the one hand a classic exhibition, but without “art in frames”, and on the other, a type of street festival allowing visitors the freedom to wander through the rich displays. The result is a fasci- natingly staged presentation of museum-curator- ial quality, but without the “threshold of fear”, as there are no thresholds.

    MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET was conceived and realized by SC Exhibitions, the pro- ducers of the internationally acclaimed exhibition Tutankhamun – His Tomb and His Treasures (6 mil- lion visitors worldwide). For MAGIC CITYTHE ART OF THE STREET, a global team of experts was gathered together, including Rainer Verbizh, Tobias Kunz and Annette Doomanand, Brooklyn Street Art (film programme), Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer (sound production), and Don Karl and Akim Walta (Urban Art publisher).

    Detailed information is available at
    www.magiccity.art

    Stockholm Weekend 22-25 February.

  • BARBARA I GONGINI - Nordic Luxury Avant-Garde

    Written by Jahwanna Berglund

    Intro by Ksenia Rundin
    BARBARA I GONGINI is a Nordic luxury Avant-Garde fashion design brand founded by designer Barbara í Gongini, who introduces a conceptual aesthetics, consisting of powerful geometric cuts and soft elliptical silhouettes. While beholding the garments, you imagine a strong fashion cocktail, mixed of Rick Owens’ gothic-grunge of essentiality and Maison Margiela’s androgynous architecture of tailoring, flavoured with vigorous artistic identity, genuine craftsmanship and raw authenticity of BARBARA I GONGINI. It is an intellectual celebration of cuts and shapes, encouraging a broad fashion discourse.

    What is the inspiration behind this season’s collection?
    I think we all have that little place somewhere in our inner core that emanates very much of where we come from.  I originate from the Faroe Islands. By living not just on the islands, but also outside - we have our Headquarters in Copenhagen - you get another perspective on that place. You start romanticizing, as it becomes very dear to your heart, making you longing for this peculiar place. I have been looking very much into that feeling and just compressed it in a visual way. I believe that it comes from this place within. The inspiration itself has never been questioned. We have selected the monochromatic shades, which mirror the natural elements such as sawing grass, mud and rough basalt cliffs. The choice of colors remains as a silent canvas, where on the contrary the cuts and shapes of the garments are set in the limelight.

    While keeping your signature moody Nordic avant-garde construction, this season you bring in some lighter colors that haven’t been so prominent in recent collections.
    Even though, the Avant-Garde is not influenced by trends, you sometime slightly have to bend to adapt to market needs.  Therefore we decided to implement a selection of styles in a variety of color. We are touching a new terrain with earthy shades, depending on which season; we either go in the darker or lighter realms of color. It broadens our selection but it still lies in symbiosis with our monochromatic designs.

    Have you always incorporated used leather into your collections and production?
    The process of reusing leftover fabrics as well as leather has always been incorporated into our design DNA. We get the leather scraps from the manufacturer and sew smaller items from those.  Another approach is to create Showpieces from leftover material. Our Modular Human Showpieces were created from a carpet, which we found on the streets and are now traveling around the world for being displayed at well-known design museums.

    Your collections have always captivated a broad audience in regards to gender and age. Do you see this becoming more prevalent in the fashion arena?
    We at Barbara I Gongini, celebrate the male, the female and everything what lies within. We don’t think exclusively in terms of gender. A lot of our female customers buy our Menswear and the other way round. We celebrate this fluidity!

    Besides your current clients, what person would make you happy to see dressed in your SS18 collection?
    I am personally not very impressed by the mechanism of fame. Don`t get me wrong, I really appreciate when people succeed with something that they really burn for! Personally, I love to see the different types of people on the street, the ones who made an effort and considered what to wear. This can be a form of pure art. Therefore what really inspires me is the people, not a particular person. Of course, I was happy when I got the opportunity to dress Lenny Kravitz’s band, for instance, it filled my heart with joy. That was really cool, because I dig his art, too.

  • Hail, the Dark Lioness!

    Written by Ksenia Rundin

    South African visual activist Zaneli Muholi has turned Stockholm’s frosty Friday morning into a subtropical celebration of self-reflection and contemporary identity politics. Her solo exhibition “Somnyama Ngonyama” (Hail, the Dark Lioness) invites us into the hard everyday life of LBTQI-world of the Republic of South Africa and narrates their story through her personal experiences expressed in a myriad of reality-embellished and self-speaking black-and-white photographs. Tyres, torn plastic bag, clothes pegs, metal sponge, a vacuum cleaner hose and, all of a sudden, a Japanese kimono - every item, besides creating an aesthetic aura for the beholder’s eyes, bears a deep and significant reference to the past and challenges the future. Using all these attributes, Zaneli Muholi claims the right to her own body without waiting for someone to validate her existence.

    By turning the camera towards herself, she creates a conversation filled with a deep emotional cascade and a long camp for freedom of individuality and freedom of love. Meanwhile, she also creates an expressive intimacy based on a cultural context and wrapped into a complex notions of sustainable beauty and desire. The photographer draws attention to urgent environmental issues, sexual politics and violence by creating strong emotional ties confiding her personal trauma to the camera lens. She establishes her own artistic language, dancing as a robe-walker between classical portraiture, fashion photography and ethnographic imagery, letting the dark lioness become the focal point of the moment eternalised.

  • Style, Substance and Simplicity of Mr. Smith

    Written by Pari Damani

    Starting the interview, the founder of Mr.Smith David Justin says that for a brand owner, the print becomes so much more valuable. Print gives recognition because I feel when I read something in print, even about another brands, it has more merit to it due to the thought process behind. It’s a long lead that needs to be prepared, as it is not just instantaneous. The Creative Director Freda Rossidis calls herself “an ever magazine buyer”. And we are diving into the world of Mr.Smith to speak about the brand, its products and life around it.

    Do you guys work together, or did you use to work together? How did it start?
    David: I have a background in Business and Commerce. My mother has always had a salon, so when I was a kid, I was always there sweeping hair. On Thursday night I was there making coffee for the clients. I also travelled a lot with my mother when she was going to fashion week. After my university studies, I worked for an Australian hair care company a number of years. After that I developed Mr. Smith and with professional help of Frida created and launched balancing shampoo conditioner. We worked on the product for 15-18 months and finally made it absolutely perfect. We never release any of our products until they reach our level of perfection. Freda works with the product as such, concentrating on quality and professional need and imagery, while I deal with marketing. Such division of duties, constitutes, I suppose, the concept of the brand.

    Did you try it on people at the salon first?
    Freda: Yeah, it was all salon tested. I was doing all the testing and it went on for quite some time.
    David: We tested it in Australia and America on different hair types and at salons with different price points. I think we achieved an amazing result with the balancing shampoo conditioner, and I still consider the latter as my favourite product today.

    What made you think that there was a need for (this sound really bad) but another hair product in this world?
    David: I don't think there is a product on the market that stands for what we - an Australian owned brand - are offering. It is an Australian made product which is sulfene and paraben free, PETA-certified and also packed in an aesthetically pleasing way, adding a luxury feeling to it.
    Freda: The product is not available online, as we do not just want to sell. We believe that it is a premium performing product and the client needs that professional knowledge and guidance we could provide in store. It is not just a cookie-cutter product but a customised commodity. Thus, when customers come in we ask about their hair, how often they wash it, how they like it to feel etc. Then, we can adjust the product specifically to a customer’s hair. Possibility to do it online is rather limited and a customer usually ends up with buying a product for a wrong hair type, what changes the effect of the product and consequently, the customer’s experience as such. Therefore, we put a lot of effort in educating our hairdressers about the products and how to use them. Like David says, we want to support the salons and we do not ever want to be presented online.

    Oh, that is nice, like going back to how it used to be. Freda, how involved are you within Mr. Smith, is it your brand?
    Freda: I do the creative direction for the brand, what means all the imagery that you see, work with the fashion week and putting teams together. Furthermore, I do all the testing of all the products, because I do not just want to know how to use the product, when putting it on the market, but also to know how the product feels. I know exactly what we need because I’m in the industry, working from inside and reaching out to the customer. However, I am not physically at the salon anymore but attending shows, photo shoots and working with different celebrity clients. I am not engaged in the packaging process, as it is David’s area.

    The name, Mr. Smith, where does it come from and why Mr. Smith?
    David: We wanted something chic, minimal, clean and that reflected the packaging. We didn't want anything ego driven. I didn't want my name on the bottle because my aim was to avoid the product to be associated with a certain person. We were looking for something that reflected what we stand for as a brand and fit in as a premium product. Our idea is to let the product speak for itself, rather than have a spokesperson on behalf of the product, advocating for it. Thus, it is a fictitious name. Mr. Smith really does reflect ambiguousness and it is androgynous as well. It also allows the consumer to ask questions about the brand.

    A lot of beauty brands which are coming from Australia, promoting healthy organic life and are not tested on animals. Why do you think that is?
    David: I think at the moment we are probably the only professional brand that actually is manufactured in Australia. Many brands are based in Australia but not produced there, so we are one of the few that physically produce in Australia. Our factory is situated in the vicinity of our office in Melbourne. Hence, everything is locally sourced and produced. This is how we try to support our own network, our own community and also help with the QC [quality control]. It gives us an opportunity to just dash down to the factory, check the production process and control the quality before it's filled. Hence, before the product goes out, we know that is has been tested and we also make sure that the consumer actually gets a premium product that is really made in Australia. We also confirm that the product lives up to the “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo.
    Freda: I think we are all pretty conscious of what we use on our bodies all the time. I have always been very aware of having organic vegetables and cleaning products at home. And we have always loved animals, even before we had Mr.Smith, therefore we are against testing products on animals.
    David: The clients and the price point expect that these days.
    Freda: We are wiser now, ready to pay more for the product that is made in Italy, because we know people have been paid fairly.

    If you didn't do this, what do think you would do?
    David: I would probably have done skincare. Yeah, if I hadn't done haircare I would have done skincare, cosmetics, grooming or fashion.
    Freda: It would have been skincare for sure. David has always been meticulous, even as a child. Whenever he would draw something, it had to be perfect. If the paper had a mark on it, he wouldn't use that piece of paper.
    David: I think you need to be like that to create a brand.
    Freda: Yes, you do. Everything is meticulous and I think that is why David is successful. He really cares about and loves his brand and is really detailed with everything, which goes in the products, even what concerns product placement and distribution.
    David: We feel absolutely blessed here in Sweden.

    Were the products made, thinking of the Australian woman or were they made for women worldwide?
    Freda: No not really…
    David: There is no Australian woman, because everybody has this idea about the Australian blond woman, but she doesn't exist. It is so universal and that is why we have specific products for different women, men, hair types, whatever it may be. The product is completely unisex, universal. We don't have a specific woman in Australia, as it is so multicultural. The product is very universal and I think that is why I have had so much success in such a short time. It works for any clientele.

    You feel that you can build it. It's light. I think that people have been sick of the heaviness in other brands. Has that been a focal point as well?
    Freda: One thing that I always say with an editorial brand is that when I test the products I test them like I would use them for a shoot or on a show. I like to mix the products and if I have used a few products at the same time, I still want you to wear your hair tomorrow without having to wash it. Therefore our products are light, they are not heavy. I had a girl for an educational day last time I was here and I did about six different looks and I layered and layered so many products and the next day we had a show and it was a model that called in sick and I said to the coordinator, “Get the girl we had here yesterday, her hair was perfect I can use her again today”. When she came to the show, I asked her “Did you wash your hair” and she said, “No!”  I felt her hair, it was perfect, and I used her again on stage and reworked everything, using more products. And it didn't look heavy. I'm sure if you talked to all of the sellers, they would say the same thing. The products are really easy to work with. They don't build up any heaviness in the hair and they are water soluble and colour-safe, what means using the shampoo does not wash all the colour out.

    Do you ever get sick of working with each other?
    David: We don't work together all the time, otherwise we would kill each other.
    Freda: I work at fashion week, so I go to New York and we see each other then but after I go to Milan and Paris. I am the Creative Director, he is the CEO and then we have a lot of other stuff as well. The funny thing is that, on the show that we did in Norway David could be in one room and I would be in another, but when we had to style someone, our aesthetics would be very similar. David has a really good eye.
    David: Freda can do what I am thinking about with hair and I can basically do what she is thinking with packaging.
    Freda: I do my job and he does his job but we often think alike.

    What shows do you do?
    Freda: We have Mr.Smith shows.
    David: We did Noon BY Noor in New York. We did Rachel Comey. We always get four or five shows every fashion week period, so we try to do it for brands that reflect our aesthetics rather than just choosing any mass marketing brand. Usually we go with the younger cool brands, as long as we stay true to us.

    So what is the must-have? What is the product that everybody needs in their hair?
    David: The Foundation, I feel like there is nothing comparable to it on the market.
    Freda: The Foundation, if we talk about styling. If I styled your hair, I would use the dry foundation what would make your hair feel really gutsy. It provides heat protection and gives the hair substance, what makes it stay the way it originally was styled. If you have fine and curly hair, I would use the foundation mixed with some of the cremé, because it would give your curls hold and softness. So that is probably our most popular styling product around the world. Not just here. I think the dry foundation is our biggest seller. It is not a shiny hair product, but a bit more matt. It is a cool product. Again, you need to know how to use it in order to get the most out of the product.

    What inspires you the most? Where do you get your inspiration?
    David: Creating new products.
    Freda: I am fortunate to get to work on the biggest shows in the world, because I do that as well as working with Mr.Smith, so I assist some amazing talents. I have worked on every show from Givenchy to Chanel, from Fendi to Hermés and Marc Jacobs. Thus, I just feel blessed that I get to assist these amazing artists. When I am backstage I look at the fashion, so I can see what is happening next season so I am always there, seeing what we are going to be doing, and I am able to bring that back to Mr.Smith. I get my inspiration from fashion week and venues that I attend. And travelling, and just meeting new people, getting inspired by the people and the environment around you. Like other hairdressers. I am inspired by people we have met in Stockholm just the last few days and by talking to them and seeing the way they dress.
    David: I think our inspiration comes from the effortlessly cool, it is about not overdressing it or overstyle it. We are not about the sexy or sexy type of hair. We are about minimal and chic. I feel that people that use our brand are more self-aware and self-confident. They don't need to be in your face or over the top. They are understated and self-confident.

    Are all of the products organic?
    David: All of the products use organic ingredients. However, to say that they are 100 percent organic all the way through is not true, because it is so hard to do that. We just state facts and as a brand, we think we are honest and we tell the truth. We use organic ingredients and botanicals, but not completely organic. All the products except for the three tubs product are “PETA-Approved Vegan”. We have a lanolin and bees wax, an animal extract in the three tubs, what means it is not vegan but it is still PETA-certified and absolutely not animal tested.

  • Hysteria by Happy Socks

    Written by Fashion Tales

    Hysteria by Happy Socks, the first lifestyle sock brand for modern, fashion conscious women, presents a bold collection of expressive design items in fine qualities for Spring/ Summer 2018.

    Hysteria see women embracing their individuality as a mark of strength, and believe in their right to express themselves however they want.
    By resting on the powder red shores of the Mediterranean Sea and dipping our toes in the tranquil teal waters, we found our colors. By glancing at the defiant delicacy of the roaring 1950s, we found the length and fabrics we needed to make sure this collection is a striking addition to a Spring/Summer 2018 wardrobe.

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