In this week’s Design post, we are going to step out a bit and have some fun exploring the world of the X-Men comics, checking out what all the cool Mutants wear when they head out to do some serious partying!
This June, the Hellfire Trading Company invites readers everywhere to the inaugural Hellfire Gala to announce the first team of Krakoan X-Men to the world and unveil the startling plans that mutantkind has in store for the Marvel Universe. The Hellfire Gala will unfold in issues of your favorite ongoing X-Men series as well as Planet-Size X-Men, a special double-sized one-shot. These twelve issues will all center around a single night that will go down in Marvel Comics history and while it’s too early to reveal the world-shattering steps mutantkind is about to take, one thing is for certain: the X-Men have never looked better!
These Hot Pink custom boots, designed to mimic a pair of cat’s paws, were worn by pop star Katy Perry on her 2014 Prismatic Tour. Created by NYC-based design house The Blonds, the boots were part of a Pink Leopard-Print, Stretch Velvet Catsuit (seen below) worn by Perry onstage.
Photographed in the Grammy Museum in Hollywood, California.
This colorful, lace-up ankle boot is one of a pair of boots worn by the actress playing the character of Mrs. Potts in the Broadway production of Disney musical, Beauty and The Beast. Aren’t they fantastic? If it weren’t for these photos you would probably never have seen this rad boot, as Mrs. Potts‘ feet are generally obscured by her nearly floor-length skirt (and the fact that she is, you know, a human teapot).
Photographed in the Museum of the City of New York in Upper Manhattan
Neil and Liane as Alice and Alice (Photo Courtesy of Liane Butler)
When my friend Liane and her husband Neil were invited to a Wacky Alice in Wonderland-Themed 40th Birthday Party, they took the term Wacky as seriously as possible. Not only did Neil go full drag as an extremely authentic blonde-haired Alice, but Liane took her look even further, recreating the classic Shock Rocker eye makeup of Alice Cooper. Seriously, that is just genius. Genius!
Although they are obviously having a great time at the party, notice how Liane stays in character. What dedication!
Liane is also the mother of adorable, two year-old identical twin boys! Welcome to her nightmare!
Here they are again at the party! It looks like fun! Alcohol!
Today Liane also posted a photo of the cake on FaceBook! Amazing!
The Museum at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology has been known to host some pretty fabulous special exhibits, and the only bummer about them is that you usually are not allowed to take photographs of the clothes. This restriction can really take the fun out of it, because if i can’t take pictures, it’s like I wasn’t even there. Fortunately, at the Museum’s current exhibit, Fairy Tale Fashion, photography is not only allow, it is encouraged. And that is a fantastic thing, because this exhibit is just insane.
Kirsty Mitchell, The Storyteller (from the Wonderland Series)
Fairy Tale Fashion is a unique and imaginative exhibition that examines fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. In versions of numerous fairy tales by authors such as Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, it is evident that dress is often used to symbolize a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. The importance of Cinderella’s glass slippers is widely known, for example, yet these shoes represent only a fraction of the many references to clothing in fairy tales.
Charlotte Olympia Storybook Clutch Bag (2013) Once Upon a Time Collection
Organized by associate curator Colleen Hill, Fairy Tale Fashion features more than 80 objects placed within dramatic, fantasy-like settings designed by architect Kim Ackert. Since fairy tales are not often set in a specific time period, Fairy Tale Fashion includes garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. There is a particular emphasis on extraordinary 21st-century fashions by designers such as Thom Browne, Dolce and Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Prada, Rodarte, and Walter Van Beirendonck, among others.
Photograph from Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland Series
Here are some of our favorite pieces from the show!
Snow White inspired designs.
Minadiere Crystal Apple Handbag By Judith Leiber, inspired by Snow White’s Poison Apple.
Designs inspired by Snow White & Rose Red, by the Brothers Grimm. Above: Bear Prince Suit and Rose Red Dress Designed by Thom Browne.
Below, Snow White Evening Gown by Dolce and Gabbana (2012).
Most of the clothes are displayed in the near dark to protect them from the harmful effects of excessive light exposure, and since flash photography is a big no no, it takes a super steady hand and a pretty good camera to get decent shots. I think mine came out OK; your mileage may vary.
Alexander McQueen Dress Inspired By Rapunzel
Designs inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen.
Center: Snow Queen Snowflake Evening Dress by Alexander McQueen (2008)
Mirrored Dress By Tom Ford (2014).
Invisible Shoes By Andreia Chaves (2011).
Left: Altazurra Spring Dress (2015); Right: Gingham Dress By Adrian (1942)
The Wizard of Oz has had a huge influence on fashion as you can see by these eclectic designs, all inspired by the beloved fantasy by L. Frank Baum.
The Ruby Gown, Red Dress by Rodarte (Fall 2011)
Molyneux Emerald Evening Gown (1930)
Two different takes on the Ruby Slippers. Above: Crystal Rose Shoes by Noritaka Tatehana (2010)
Christian Louboutin Lady Lynch Stillettos (2009)
Little Red Riding Hood: Comme des Garçons Ensemble (Spring 2015) Japan
Little Red Riding Hood is also well-represented!
Red Cloak (Late 18th Century) and White Nightdress (Circa 1885)
Inspiration: Beauty and The Beast
Rodarte Spring Dress (2007) Inspired by Beauty and the Beast
Queen of Hearts by Hideki Seo
I didn’t get too many good photos of any of the Alice in Wonderland-inspired outfits, because it was just too dark!
Playing Card Dress by Manish Arora (2010), Go Ask Alice Waistcoat By Audrey Buckner (Fall 1992)
Nicholas Kirkwood, Alice Shoe
Above and Below: Swan Lake
Court Gown By Vivienne Westwood, Inspired by Cinderella.
Below: Cinderella Stepsister’s Dresses By Anne Fogarty and Bluemarine.
Christian Louboutin, Cinderella Shoes
In this exhibit, I was introduced to one Grimm’s fairy tale that I previously was completely unfamiliar with: Furrypelts. The story goes that, in an effort to deter her father’s proposal of marriage, a beautiful young princess demands that he provide her with four seemingly impossible garments: dresses that shine like the sun, the moon and the stars, and a fur cloak made from the pelts of every animal in the kingdom. When the king manages to obtain theses clothes, the princess flees into the woods, disguising herself in the cloak and packing her three magnificent gowns.
Gold Sun Dress By Zandra Rhodes
She later uses the gowns to awe a king in another land.
Moon Dress, Detail
The princess is wearing her glittering star dress when she finally wins the king’s affection. The silver bead-and-sequined Star gown pictured two photos above, far left, is from the early 1930s.
Fashions inspired by Sleeping Beauty’s Court
Gowns Inspired By The Little Mermaid
As you can see, Fairy Tale Fashions is worth making more than one trip to see everything in the exhibit, and the galleries do get very crowded on Saturdays, so maybe try to plan your visit for a weeknight, when the museum is open late. Enjoy!
Fairy Tale Fashion will be on Exhibit Through April 16th, 2016 at the Museum at FIT, Located at Seventh Avenue and 27th Street. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, Noon to 8:00 PM, and Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is Free.
All Photos By Gail Except Where Noted (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)
Hey what’s up? Today we are having our first official snowfall here in NYC, and it is lovely, but mostly it makes you start pondering how are we going to get through the winter months, and still have fun, without leaving the house. If you are looking for ideas of fun outings you can take in the borough of Manhattan that involve indoor activities, and which are all pretty close to public transportation (i.e. limiting required outside time) then you should plan to head over to the Discovery Center in Times Square for the Star Wars and the Power of the Costume Exhibition, which is just outstanding.
Each Section of the Exhibit Leads With a Poster Like This, Which Indicates the Theme of the Costumes You Are About to See
Perhaps you are thinking that you have not seen all of the Star Wars films, and won’t have fun because you don’t know all of the specific minutia of the backstory for each character that wore a particular costume, so I am here to tell you that it does not matter. All you need is a loose grasp of the franchise and the names of a few main characters and you’ll be good to go, because there is such clear and compelling narrative that follows each display. I learned so much and was so intrigued that it made me want go back and see the films I haven’t seen yet. Even the ones everyone whines about.
Let’s get to the costumes!
Jedi Robe of Anikan Skywalker and Gown of Queen Padme Amidala from Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (Photo Credit: Geoffrey Dicker)
The exhibit galleries are scattered with quotes like the one above, from Director George Lucas, and others who worked on the costumes, which add a new dimension of understanding to what “The Power of the Costume” means.
The Jedi Vs Sith Gallery has interactive features and also the best lighting of any gallery, which is helpful, because flash photography is not allowed.
Darth Maul, what badass.
Robe worn by adult Luke Skywalker next to child costume of the young Anakin Skywalker, the future Darth Vader. Heavy.
The Droids have one small gallery.
Early Sketch for C-3P0, Which was Modeled on the Robot in Fritz Lang’s Silent Film, Metropolis
C-3PO, BB-8 and R2-D2
Princess Leia Robe, and Padme Amidala Pre-Senate Robe, Which was Modeled After the Japanese Kimono
The Phantom Menace costumes were inspired by the art of the Pre-Raphaelites — 19th Century English painters – who had particular visions of heroines and female beauty. The use of rich color influenced the fashions of Padme’s handmaidens and the citizens of Naboo.
The Yellow Throne Room Costume (above) included a hood, constructed to extend out and create deep shadows, used to hide the faces of the handmaidens and give them a sense of mystery. This also enabled Padme to travel in disguise as one of the group.
The elaborate costumes of the first three episodes generally serve to emphasize the point that, once The Empire falls to The Dark Side, fashion goes out the window.
Imperial Navy Uniform
Few costume designs in the history of film are as iconic as the Imperial Stormtroopers. This “Spooky White Space Armour” was inspired by designer Ralph McQuarrie’s knowledge of medieval armor.
This is a mirrored room filled with suspended Stormtrooper Helmets. Very cool and super hard to photograph!
Assorted Light Sabers
Senator Amidala, Chancellor’s Office Gown
Robe of Emperor Palpatine
There is a deeply fascinating backstory on the de-volution of Senator/Emperor Palpatine that accompanies several of the costumes worn by actor Ian McDiarmid.
Costumes of Jango and Boba Fett
Tusken Raider Female and Male Costumes
Princess Leia Boushh Bounty Hunter and Slave Bikini
Truth: the famous Leia Slave Bikini looks very jenky up-close. I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable it was to wear (look out for Carrie Fisher’s hilarious quotes to that effect, somewhere in the display narrative).
Chewbacca the Wookie, and Han Solo
There is no argument that actress Natalie Portman got to wear the best costumes of any character. Padme Amidala’s clothes are simply stunning.
Padme Tatooine Homestead Dress
Padme Meadow Picnic Dress
Padme Twilight Nightgown
This the costume Padme is wearing when the audience first sees that she is pregnant with Luke and Leia.
Padme Lake Retreat Arrival Dress
Padme Geonosis Arena Costume, and Naboo Starfighter Pilot Costume
Anakin and Padme Wedding Scene
Padme’s Funeral Gown
There is no question that Padme Amidala stole Darth Vader’s thunder in the costume department, but as we all know, he got the last laugh.
Darth Vader Costume
Geoffrey and I visited the exhibition at 6 PM on a Saturday, when attendance was sparse (read: it’s a good time to go, as the exhibit is open on Saturdays until 9:00 PM). A highlight of our time there was when we overheard one of the exhibit attendants excitedly tell another attendant that a guest was “on her knees, fully worshiping the Darth Vader Costume.” Hilarious.
Darth Shadows– HAHA!
The final gallery of the exhibition is dedicated the latest episode in the franchise, The Force Awakens, which I saw over the Christmas holidays, and just loved.
First Order Stormtrooper, First Order Tie Fighter Pilot, First Order Snowtrooper Costumes
Costumes Worn By Finn, Ray and Poe
After having all kinds of crazy fun, it was time to Exit Through the Gift Shop and ogle the vast bounty of Star Wars swag available for purchase!
A Little Boba Time T Shirt
“I Woke Up Like This” Darth Vader T Shirt
If only this shirt had come with long sleeves, they would have made an easy sale.
Backpacks and Lunch Sacks For The Kids!
Darth Vader Bobble Head
And for the truly lonely, Actual-Size Cardboard Character Stand Ups!
Get More Information on Star Wars and The Power of the Costume Exhibition and the Discovery Center Times Square, Including Address and Directions, Hours, and Purchase Tickets Blah Blah Blah, at This Link!
Fans Queue Up for the Black Lake Video Screening at the Bjork Retrospective at MOMA (All Photos By Gail)
I’ve been aware of the Icelandic singer/performer Bjork since the first album by her band Sugarcubes was released in 1986, but aside from what a person who pays somewhat close attention to modern music can’t help but absorb through the pop culture ether, I didn’t know / care much about her / her music before making the trip to the Museum of Modern Art at an earlier-than-usual hour on March 8th for the opening day of its much-hyped Bjork Retrospective.
Assorted Artwork from Bjork’s Singles’ Sleeves
It wasn’t necessarily important to me to wake up at 6 AM on the first day of DTS (groan) in order to be among the first in the door of MOMA to see an exhibit that had already garnered puzzlingly negative reviews based on a press preview that I was somehow not invited to. But Geoffrey is a diehard fan, and, as such, he insisted we simply must go on that Sunday. Based on the few photos I’d already seen, it definitely looked like there would be lots of cool costumes and props, so how could we possibly not have fun, right? Plus, we always get in for free. Win win!
More Singles Cover Artwork
Here’s what we saw when we got inside:
The Bjork exhibit has three parts. First, there is a cinema where you can watch a retrospective of all of Bjork’s videos, from Debut (1993) through Biophilia (2011). I will go back another time before the exhibit closes to check these out.
There is also a screening of a ten minute video for the song “Black Lake” that Bjork made especially for this exhibit. “Black Lake” is from her latest album, Vulnicura, which Geoffrey informs me is all about her breakup with long-time partner, Avant-garde artist Matthew Barney, who, bluntly put, is a bit of a weirdo.
“Black Lake” is like a very dramatic mini opera, and the video shows extended shots of Bjork kneeling on the painful-looking rock floor of a cave, plus some other stuff. All I could think of was that I bet her knees hurt. You can tell that Bjork is a good actress and I enjoyed the video, although the song is a pretty big downer.
Yet More Singles Cover Artwork
The main part of the exhibit is what everyone is calling “Bjork The Ride,” but which is really called Songlines. To get into Songlines, you need a separate, timed entry ticket that you will need to pick up at the front desk of the museum as soon as you get in. When we went, we had to wait in a line that was only about half a block down the 54th Street side of the museum, but I am thinking we were lucky that it was not much longer. We got our timed tickets at 11 AM and they were for the 12:45 PM entrance to Songlines. So we had one hour and 45 minutes to get “Black Lake” out of the way (total waiting and viewing time: 20 minutes) and then fart around in the museum for another hour and change.
Bjork Songlines Exhibit Exit
Finally it was our time to experience Songlines, and we were so excited we could barely live! You first enter through a darkened hallway where you can stand around and watch rows of monitors showing clips of performances from Bjork’s various tours, but who wants to do that? We wanted to get to the ride, man!
Before you enter the labyrinth that is the Songlines exhibit, an attendant will equip you with an iPod thingy that hangs around your neck and plays Bjork’s period-appropriate music as well as a narrative / story about a magical princess, or something, as you walk through the various rooms. They will tell you that it takes about 40 minutes to walk the entire exhibit, and…you’re off on your Bjork Adventure!
3-D Model for Debut Cover
Each section is dedicated to one of Bjork’s albums. You will see costumes, props and personal items and you can take as much time as you want looking at everything. I enjoyed the princess story but it was a little disorienting to me with her music also playing over it. It reminded me of being on acid, to be honest.
Airmail Jacket by Hussein Chalayan
All is Full of Love Robots
I am not going to be able to add much information here, because I don’t even own one of her albums, and I honestly only know three or four Bjork songs, one being “Army of Me,” which is a work of genius.
Look! It’s baby Bjork! How cute is she? So Cute.
Pagan Poetry Dress and Vespertine Music Box
This display reminded me of the Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Met that happened a few years ago, which was just insane. It is probably no accident that McQueen designed a lot of Bjork’s dresses.
Swan Dress By Marjan Pejoski
Remember this dress that Bjork wore to the Academy Awards a few years ago? Of course you do.
Bell Dress by Alexander McQueen; Medulla Hairpiece by Shoplifter
This dress is just unbelievably gorgeous.
Crystal Mask by Val Garland
Body Sculpture By Bernhard Wilhelm, Volta Era
This is my favorite thing in the entire exhibit.
Feather Ear Pieces By Shaun Leane
Biophilia Dress (Detail)
I really thought that Songlines was just excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone, but Geoffrey offered his take on why a lot of Bjork fans don’t dig it. For him, when you consider that Bjork’s career has spanned thirty years (pre-dating her work with Sugarcubes), there was just so much left out that it couldn’t avoid being let down, and I admit that I see his point. So, I guess therein lays the rub. You’ll have to judge for yourself, but you should definitely go and check it out!
Bjork Retrospective will be on Exhibit through June 7th, 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art, Located at 11 West 53rd Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenues, in NYC.