Daniel Arsham: From the Future

When I think of art made from stone, I think of old relics and timeless pieces carved by the great artists that came before us. Daniel Arsham brings a new, modern definition and viewpoint to this concept. Arsham has an incredible ability to create minimalistic, breathtaking pieces of art, whether that be pieces in collaboration with Dior, replicating iconic characters or cultural objects, or creating art exhibits that allow the viewer to immerse themselves into his interests of art and architecture.  

Arsham began his collaboration with Dior’s Kim Jones when he created monolithic letter sculptures to be scattered down the runway spelling out the word ‘Dior’ for the Spring 2020 men’s show. The monolithic letters were consistent with Arsham’s signature style, using both stone and crystals and then carving them out to make them look as if they were worn and weathered. In addition to his pieces on the runway, Arsham helped to design many of the items in the collection that evoke his style of art. Another notable series Arsham has executed is the Future Relics series. In this series, Arsham takes future relics, which are familiar and common objects that are obsolete in the future world, and puts his signature stone carving to work. He highlights the object as a basic entity, while still bringing out the important features and aspects of the object at hand.

Most recently, Arsham was inspired by Pokemon to not only curate some of the characters and cards in sculpture form, but also collaborated with Uniqlo to bring his sculptures to limited edition pieces of apparel. Although Pokemon is the latest cultural asset that he has turned into his signature future relic, Arsham has previously made an NBA bronzed basketball, a Vogue magazine cover from a block of stone, and a life size sports car to name a few items. As part of his ongoing immersion into the modern art world, select pieces from Arshams collections will be auctioned off at Christies in their first single-artist online auction. For those interested, bidding will begin on June 19th, 2020, and will include pieces from his Pokemon, Dior, and Future Relics series’s. 

Throughout his career thus far, Arsham has shown that it is important to turn our passions and creativity into objects that celebrate and preserve our culture. He has defined pop modern art and extended it into all aspects of our lives through entertainment, fashion, and live experiences. We at Cultoure look forward to seeing the art that Arsham continues to curate, and how he will continue to pave the way for other modern artists to follow. 

Mask On: Covid-19 Edition

Companies and fashion houses around the world are learning that they need to adapt to the ever changing circumstances that come along with covid-19 to not only thrive in the fashion industry, but to merely keep their doors open. Around the world, individuals have found their new normal to be social distancing and the use of face masks when going outside or being around other people. Face masks, which were once merely for medical usage, have now taken over our way of life and become our new normal. As a result of this, fashion has looked to profit off of this new “accessory” and create their own masks that align with their brand’s images and overall aesthetics. 

Ranging from the likes of Off-White, Christian Siriano, and Takashi Murakami to Re/Done, Love Shack Fancy, and Cotton Citizen, brands are doing their part in not only supplying customers and first line workers with effective masks, but are making them as a fashionable way in which individuals can wear the brands that they love while still staying safe and healthy. With this, many brands who have had the means to make masks have not only donated masks to those in need of them, but have partnered with organizations that are aiding the fight against covid-19 and give a percentage of their profits made off of these masks. 

Regardless of living in these uncertain times, fashion brands have found a way to not only improve their business relative to our current situation and economy, but do their part in helping our communities stay safe and healthy while still allowing individuals to express themselves through their fashion choices. It is important that we all not only support those fighting this virus and the many organizations helping to do so, but that we also look for unique ways in which we can each help and make our world a healthier, safer place. 

Gucci’s Year of the Rat (or Mouse)

January 25th, 2020 signified the Chinese New Year, which is also referred to as the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year signifies the beginning of a new calendar year based on the cycles of the moon. With every new year comes a Chinese zodiac animal that goes along with it, and this year is the year of the rat. Tapping into the use of red as a symbol of the lunar new year and this year’s zodiac animal, designers created campaigns and capsule collections allowing all of society the opportunity to celebrate the year of the rat.

A favorite lunar new year collection here at Cultoure is Gucci’s Mickey Mouse collection in collaboration with Disney. Tapping into its logo print and traditional silhouettes, Gucci incorporated Mickey Mouse into every aspect. Whether it was the Rhyton sneaker with a giant Mickey Mouse laying down, the Canvas Slippers donning Gucci’s “GG” logo in brown and Mickey Mouse, or the signature Gucci t-shirt with Mickey Mouse in his trademarked pose, Gucci incorporated the famous mouse in the most fashionable way possible. What made this collection so special was the fact that it took a recognizable figure that is loved by society, and integrated it into the capsule collection to honor and celebrate the Lunar New Year. Although celebrating the Lunar New Year, Gucci’s use of Mickey Mouse can be loved and appreciated by all, regardless of their connection to the Chinese tradition. 

The collaborations designers curated for the Lunar New Year are the true definition of Cultoure; the intersection of culture and couture. They celebrated the acceptance of all cultures and traditions, all while doing so in the most fashionable way possible. Although not always through fashion, we as a society should accept and celebrate everyone and their respective ways of viewing the world and the many people and cultures it encompasses. 

Diving Into Kim Jones’s Dior Fall 2020 Show

Pulling inspiration from the sun, sand, and culture of Miami, Kim Jones most recently debuted his Fall 2020 collection for Dior in Miami. The collection and show was curated in collaboration with Shawn Stussy and his popular surf wear brand, Stussy. The collaboration with Stussy is the latest in Jones’s takeover of Dior, as he has additionally collaborated with KAWS and Raymond Pettibon since his appointment as the artistic director of menswear in 2018. Through collaborating with Stussy, Jones has created and set the standard for what the melding of streetwear and high fashion should like look. 

Arriving in vintage Cadillac’s, guests were greeted to a completely wrapped runway covered in Stussy’s iteration of Dior’s logo through using his signature “wave print” which was laid on top of an ombre blue and green background. Stussy’s logo was seen throughout the show, due to its inclusion on numerous pairs of shoes, pieces of clothing, and bags. The melding of both the visions of Jones and Stussy can be seen through the mixture of colors and structures of the pieces in the collection. As if collaborating with Stussy was not enough for a single show, Jones revealed his collaboration with Air Jordan on an AJ1 sneaker. The sneaker includes Dior’s navy blue logo on the nike swoosh. This collaboration grabs the attention of those obsessed with sneakers, and allows them to invest in an original, classic shoe with a high fashion twist. This collaboration is completely on trend with what streetwear followers and buyers are looking for from the high fashion houses. 

Jones’s and Dior’s collaboration with Stussy continues to show the shift fashion houses are making to include streetwear and streetwear brands in their collections. Streetwear has not only continued to thrive individually, but has and continues to infiltrate the world of high fashion. Jones and the Dior he has curated serves as a prime example of how high fashion can incorporate streetwear effectively, and draw in fans from multiple sectors of fashion. In my opinion, Jones has found the perfect middle ground of not only incorporating streetwear giants into his collections, but still being able to express his own artistic ability and eye. 

Where Marie Antoinette Meets Sportswear: Thom Browne Spring Summer 2020

The Paris Fashion Shows for the Spring Summer 2020 have continuously brought imagination, surprises, and master craftsmanship. The most astonishing of them all, in my opinion, has to be Thom Browne’s recent show. Browne’s clothing has been worn among many professional sports players, thus being his inspiration for his collection. “I’ve always used sports as a reference, and today, playing with the severity of the 18th century reference, grounding it in sports, was a way to bring it into the men’s world.” 

In all of his shows, Browne incorporates the element of theatrics and surprise. He is known for his use of stripes and striped fabrics throughout his pieces. The show was led by a ballet performance from the American Ballet Theatre’s James B. Whiteside, who wore a high-cut seersucker tutu made out of the signature stripes, and a tricolor blue bee stung lip. What followed was extravagant and meticulous tailoring, crafted French Revolution fashion, and 2D garments. 

This show stood out as it not only brought light to Browne’s brilliance when it comes to designing and executing clothing, but also brought attention to his ability in costume design. The larger than life dress silhouettes reminded onlookers of clothing worn by those in the Antoinette-era, whether that be the ginormous trousers or shapely sports jackets. Although paying homage to the Antoinette-era, the pieces also resembled those worn in the ivy league. He included jock straps and inserted balls into the sides of the skeletons of the skirts to give the full effect. The outfits were matched with bags for many sports; baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. Finally, every model was seen wearing a tricolored blue bee stung lip and sweat headband. 

Browne is the latest designer to incorporate the past with the present, and does so in such a whimsical, exciting way. His show not only allowed onlookers to use their imaginations, but allowed him to bring his ideas to fruition and show the public what takes place in his head. 

Rihanna’s Reign

Rihanna has blown everyone away, yet again. The music powerhouse has never failed to amaze those around her both through her vocals and choice of style. She has started trends and shown individuals that it is okay to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to clothing, and to be your true self. 

Rihanna has previously dabbled in the fashion and makeup industries through having a collection in collaboration with Puma; Fenty x Puma, and her own beauty line. These collections not only exceeded all expectations but went on to cement Rihanna’s name as not only someone who could wear daring and well thought out clothing, but could produce and design it as well. 

Most recently, Rihanna has launched her own brand, Fenty, with the help of the multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. The first collection launched in May 2019 in Paris, France. This collection included structured denim, corset dresses, strappy spiral sandals, pleated pants, and fanny packs. The second collection is set to drop at a pop-up store in New York City in June 2019. This collection, although similar to the first, focuses more on vacation pieces, vibrant colors, glitzy accessories, and graphic t-shirts paying homage to Rihanna’s home, the Barbados. 

Rihanna’s brand not only emulates her as an individual and artist, but is also size-inclusive. These two attributes of her brand set here apart from the rest of the industry, and serve as a breath of fresh air. Rihanna explained her vision to the T, The New Times Magazine. “I want to be as disruptive as possible. The brand is not traditional. There is no runway show. It’s a new way of doing things because I believe that this is where fashion is going eventually.” I could not agree with Rihanna more, and think that her vision and initiative will urge others to take the same actions. In my opinion, she is the future of the fashion industry. 

Kaws’s Uniqlo Takeover

Brian Donnelly, more well known as Kaws, is the genius behind the Companion and BFF. Both characters are the faces of the Kaws brand. They have been most commonly produced as figurines in varying colors, sizes, and designs. 

Starting in 2016, Kaws began his collaboration with Fast Clothing giant, Uniqlo. Throughout the years, he has not only done collaborations with Uniqlo, but has brought in Peanuts and Sesame Street as well. These pieces did not contain classic Kaws characters, but included the signature X’s in the eyes. 

The final collaboration between Kaws and Uniqlo dropped at the beginning of June in China, and utter mayhem followed. Shoppers began by sprinting towards the products which then led to violent shoving, tug of war antics to retrieve their desired merchandise, and the removal of clothing from mannequins. The collaboration included an array of t-shirts with the companion and/or the BFF in numerous colors and canvas tote bags emblazoned with similar images. 

The Black Friday like behavior does not come as a surprise due to Kaws’s growing popularity around the world. This is especially relevant due to shoppers possibly not being able to get their hands on Kaws x Uniqlo collaborations ever again. Kaws’s success partnered with the growing and affordable nature of Uniqlo has allowed for the collaborations to not only thrive, but constantly sell out throughout the last three years. 

This collaboration serves as one of numerous examples of effective partnerships that bring together art, fashion, and culture. Collaborations have consistently drawn in masses of individuals, and continue to become more sought after. 

Everything Virgil Abloh

Pop culture icon, Virgil Abloh, has yet again amazed the masses. Although thriving with his brand Off-White and as the menswear designer for Louis Vuitton, Abloh couldn’t stop there. His most recent endeavor has been curating his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and opening the Louis Vuitton Chicago Residency. 

The exhibition, “Figures of Speech”, aims to show how Abloh is constantly redefining fashion, art, and design. The exhibition includes everything from his Nike x Off-White sneakers to sayings with his signature quotation marks to unconventional paintings and sculptures that include his pieces from various collaborations. He explains how “this 20-year survey shows how I am constantly looking for a way to transform myself from consumer to producer, navigating a path between ‘tourist’ and ‘purist’, between the literal and the figurative.” Although working with various mediums and collaborating with different kinds of brands, Abloh has begun to bring together streetwear and high fashion.

My favorite piece from the collection is the images of the three year old shot for Louis Vuitton menswear spring/summer 19 collection. The images of the boy with the vibrant duffle bags stand in stark contrast to the all black room, allowing them to stand out and immediately catch your attention.

The Louis Vuitton Chicago Residency surfaced in direct correlation with the exhibition opening. The pop-up store was inspired by Abloh’s all orange low top Louis Vuitton sneakers that are rumored to drop with the coming season’s collection. Everything in the store is consequently neon orange. The store not only highlights pieces from the fall collection, but doubles as an art installation. Unique, stylish male mannequins are a staggering two stories tall. One can not only admire the art installations but can shop orange accessories that are being sold exclusively in the Chicago pop-up. 

Chicago has become a global fashion destination through the opening of the exhibition and the Louis Vuitton Residency. Both locations are a prime example of how fashion and art are continuing to intertwine, and affirms the fact that Virgil Abloh is at the forefront of this continuing movement.