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Things to Read #36

Read all of Cathy Horyn’s Fashion Month reviews online. She gets it.

“From Barnum’s correspondence it becomes clear that accepted ideas about the Circassian ‘beautiful white slave girl’ were paramount in his decision to add them to his roster.” Circassian beauties and how the freak show was fashioned.

“That Anna was not invited to Bob Marley’s funeral and spent the day inventing that thing where models layer designer vests over T-shirts.”

The New Yorker style issue is out this week, and that means some great fashion longreads are in store. Online; a photographic portfolio of Callot Soeurs’ dresses and an essay about the fashion makeover of the humble Birkenstock.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche is doing Vogue’s ‘Today I’m Wearing…’ this month.

Margaret Atwood loves Game of Thrones. Unsurprised.

MIA reflects on the tenth anniversary of Arular and unsurprisingly, Diplo turns out to be a Not Great Person. But Arular is still a great album, so I guess the lesson we can all learn is… Shit happens? Even talented people can be horrible? 10 Dollar is still a total choon?

“The funny thing about time in the OR, whether you frenetically race or steadily proceed, is that you have no sense of it passing. If boredom is, as Heidegger argued, the awareness of time passing, this is the opposite: The intense focus makes the arms of the clock seem arbitrarily placed. Two hours can feel like a minute.” But then Paul Kalanithi got cancer, and time started to warp.

Like most young women suffering from a Girls hangover, I have found a new love in Broad City. That being said, it’s almost heartening to know it’s not universally loved – and with good reason.

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Things to Read #34

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s probably the right time to announce that I (and some standup gals) are launching a new website in April and it’s about women and there will be monthly themes and thinkpieces and personal essays and it will be very feminist but it will not be a Feminist Website. *phew* So, if you are interested in submitting, email me.

Very much looking forward to Robin Givhan’s book, The Battle of Versailles. Read a snippet here.

“When I’m at Fendi, I don’t even remember what I am doing somewhere else, and if I am somewhere else, I forgot what I did here. What I do for Chanel never looks like Fendi. I have no personality. Perhaps I have three.” Oh, Karl. You are so opaque.

Shooting, smoking, drinking: vintage photos of dangerous women.

The mechanics of feminine badassery.

“I worry about making pain a ticket to gain entry into the women’s club.” Abuse and violence and how that shapes a woman’s identity.

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New Fashion, Classic Films

The Autumn fashion issue of New York magazine (that’d be the one with Tavi on the cover then) has pulled off a Photoshop coup, pairing the stars of classic films with key A/W catwalk pieces. It’s gimmicky, I know, but photographer Bobby Doherty has, in some cases, pulled off a fairly seamless transition; a fashion between guilty pleasure and pure unabashed, unironic fun.Marlene in Balenciaga! Meryl in Burberry! Marilyn in Moschino! In a week of many deeply shitty happenings, this made me smile.

Much, much more over at The Cut.

Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz and Saint Laurent boots

Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz and Saint Laurent boots

Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour and Dries Van Noten coat.

Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour and Dries Van Noten coat.

Brigitte Bardot in Contempt and Chanel scarf and top

Brigitte Bardot in Contempt and Chanel scarf and top

Tippi Hedren in The Birds and Moschino jumper and jacket

Tippi Hedren in The Birds and Moschino jumper and jacket

Liza Minnelli in Cabaret and Marc Jacobs dress

Liza Minnelli in Cabaret and Marc Jacobs dress

Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums. Coat by Valentino, bag by Hermès.

Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums. Coat by Valentino, bag by Hermès.

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Things to Read #2

Winona Ryder as Heathers' Veronica Sawyer by Mike Mitchell

Winona Ryder as Heathers’ Veronica Sawyer by Mike Mitchell

Teaching The Camera To See My Skin – Some aspects of photography are racist. I did not know that.

AnOther Loves Tattoos.

Kurt Cobain died twenty years ago yesterday. His vigil was a covert suicide prevention rally as well as a memorial.

Karl Lagerfeld has the be the most quotable fashion designer alive.

A 6,000 word dissection of 10 Things I Hate About You. You’re welcome.

My Dad sent me this review of the new Lydia Davis book, unaware that I already had a copy. Paternal synchronicity (seriously though, it’s a good book). Super short stories that cut to the bone and experiences that are so specific but so common that you think Davis could be writing just for you and your weird little brain.

An Oral History of Heathers, one of the best teen movies ever made. Bonus points for Winona Ryder trying to sell Heathers 2 to Meryl Streep (co-starring Meryl as the First Lady) while filming in an rural Portugal, where Ryder knew Streep would have no escape.

Lest we forget though, Heathers was a biting satire with a serious amount of disgust for its characters.

Sex Ed for Boys. Communication, communication and more communication.

The Wild Girl Gangs of Marrakech

Kesh Angels, the work of Moroccan-born, UK-based photographer Hassan Hajjaj is a hallucinatory look into a young subculture that most people aren’t privy to – the Moroccan motorcycle girl gang. Women on scooters with Nike djellabas, knockoff designer slippers, heart-shaped shades and a flagrant disregard for perceived speed limits. They’re got the attitude and unblinking, unwavering stares of Russ Meyer film heroines, but the only killing these ladies are doing are with their threads.

It’s only a matter of time before this gets co-opted into an M.I.A music video – or maybe that’s kinda happened already

P.S – If you like this, you might like this old post on the Hell’s Angels and the women who rode with them.

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Kesh Angels is running at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York until March 8th

More photos at The Guardian.

Nina Leen: Feet Focus

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I’ve posted a fair bit on Life photographer Nina Leen – about 1234 times.

In her day, Leen was better known as a photographer of animals. Perhaps it’s her ability to capture the small, unusual, honest details which make what should be slightly humdrum shots of feet so very special. Some of these pictures are posed, some are not. None of them look stiff or forced.

Only one of them makes me want to stash a comb in my socks or, at the very least, start to wear socks.

It’s getting cold out there, kids.

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Kim Gordon for Saint Laurent Paris

I make no pretensions of being a Cool Person, so it’s OK to tell you that the first I ever saw of Kim Gordon was in jaundiced two-dimensional form, stealing sandwiches from Peter Frampton in that episode of The Simpsons where Homer becomes a human cannonball.

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Like little red bicycles or people wearing Uggs outside in the rain, once you see her for the first time, she pops up everywhere. Of course Kim Gordon isn’t just remarkable for her music or her not-giving-a-shit attitude towards miniskirts over fifty, she’s a legitimate style icon (and I really hate that phrase) – someone to draw unquestioned inspiration from.

Hedi Slimane may have drawn a muted response for his first collection for the interestingly-rebranded Saint Laurent Paris (I haven’t looked at it yet – bad blogger, bad!) but his campaign images are quite striking. They feature Gordon, Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson and Ariel Pink – Pink doing that thumb thing that my uncle used to do at parties to scare the bejaysus out of us children. It’s very reminiscent of Slimane’s previous efforts in his Rock Diary, which show what a skilled imagemaker he really is.

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A Pop, Op and a Jump – Lacey for Vogue Nippon

British Photographer Lacey was an assistant to Tim Walker – and it really shows. Her inventive use of props (by design pair Craig and Karl) and collaboration with make-up artist Andrew Gallimore have made the pages of Vogue Nippon even more mind-bending this month. Styled by Beth Fenton, it’s part Pop, a little Op and a big, glam wheelbarrow of weird brilliance.

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The Reading List – Muses: Women Who Inspire

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Muses: Women Who Inspire is a lavish coffee table book, published by Flammarion, all about the romantic muse. ‘Romance’ is definitely the watchword – almost all of the muses in this book were engaged sexually with their masters (for want of a much better word). The modern muse is disregarded – Edie Sedgewick for her drug use, Grace Jones for her perceived lack of longevity and Kate Miss for, well, just being Kate Moss. The woman in this book cover a period of roughly 100 years, from about 1850 to 1950, from the Countess Castiglioni (who, both hearteningly and pathetically, was her own muse) to Giulietta Masina, the sprite-like wife of Federico Fellini.
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This rather large hardback is stuffed to the gills with women, some you have heard of, some who are a whisker away from relegation to the purgatory of obscurity. The selections are wide-ranging from art to literature to film to photography and often quite illuminating, but the treatment of said muses is interesting.

In quite a lot of the profiles, we don’t learn how the women directly influenced the artists – unless it is quite obvious (Salvador Dali using his wife Gala as a model, for example). The women are related to in terms of their influence and not their personality, which is unfortunate. Photographer Lee Miller’s life after her affair with Man Ray is referred to only in a cursory way, which is surprising as that period of her life was the one in which she would make the biggest impact on the world. Rather worryingly, Lewis Carroll’s disputed paedophilia is treated in almost apologetic terms in Alice Liddell’s profile, saying in one breath that his behaviour was dubious and in the next that “one should steer clear of judging a personality that was undeniably complex, paradoxical and disarming”.

The real strength of this book is the layout as well as the selection of muses. A rich and diverse amount of photographs and artworks as well as a rich and diverse group of women are masterfully showcased. The scandals, the heartbreaks, the subtle manipulation – it’s all here. If you like a shot of scandal with your history, you’ll enjoy this book.

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Muses: Women Who Inspire is published by Flammarion and is available in all good bookshops.