Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar….
Generally positive reactions to Raf Simons’ ode to Robert Mapplethorpe last week in Florence. The revered 80s photographer is having a moment, after his retrospective exhibitions at LACMA and The Getty Center in Los Angeles (and the HBO documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures) reminded us of the breadth of his output. As with Gosha, Raf is well versed in finding ways to demonstrate his passions while keeping to his signature house codes.
So, haphazardly oversized silhouettes continue to dominate, as do the cut-and-paste, collagy motifs familiar to any Raf fan-boy (or girl). The collaboration was initiated by the Mapplethorpe camp and eagerly embraced by Raf. As well as recognisable portraits of Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Robert Sherman, other recurring Mapplethorpe themes included male nudes, antique statues and elegant flower photographs.
These were artfully and respectfully placed by Raf, framed in the open neckline of a slouchy sweater, on the bib of a dungaree, or arranged in triplicate down the side of a shirt. As Raf commented to the FT (registration required), “I wanted to approach it like when you do an exhibition at a museum or a gallery, but of course the medium is so different. Which was a big challenge, because otherwise you have T-shirt with prints which is what most people do but which I don’t find very respectful.”
While the naked male member glimpsed on a shirt was seen by some as deliberately provocative, it was the flower prints that grabbed my attention. They reminded me of my Raf-for-Dior flower placement sweatshirt from SS14 along with an orchid-print silk square scarf. But to anyone unfamiliar with Mapplethorpe’s work, they just represented covetable, wearable pieces.
To accompany the show, Raf produced an exhibition of his 20-year-old archive, which helped to reinforce his recurrent themes. The oversized white shirts and layered, cropped knits, the peekaboo photo placements, they’re all Raf signatures that we know and love. Yet how perfectly they translate as canvases for Mapplethorpe’s work…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Vogue Runway; Yu Fujiwara for W magazine
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Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…
1. GUCCI’S GUCCIGRAM IS GENIUS
“#GucciGram is a starting point to tell different stories, which are all united by great freedom. Today creativity is often born and finds its voice in digital media, a vital source of visual culture.” Alessandro Michele With its #GGBlooms and #GGCaleido prints, which layer a dazzling floral bouquet as well as an ever-shifting geometric pattern inspired by the eponymous kaleidoscope over classic double-G print fabric, Gucci underlines our new cultural reality. Namely, we’re all on the Internet, all the time. The way we consume visual art has changed. We don’t need to wait to go to a museum anymore. We just open Instagram on our smartphones and have immediate, intimate access to brilliant photographers and artists around the world who post their work as soon as they create it. Inspiration is drawn as easily from 19th-century Florence as it is from 21st-century technology. Everything is a remix. #GucciGram takes place in this cultural collision. The artists #AlessandroMichele has chosen all take different approaches to Instagram, but what they have in common is their ability to use the Internet to disseminate new forms of imagery. At the forefront of cultural innovation, these artists have chosen to create work on their own terms and present it directly to their audiences in a subversion of the old indirect relationship of artists, curators, and viewers. Gucci on Instagram shows us that we can seek out our own creative voices online and approach culture voraciously. Text by @kchayka