Style.com: Wu-Tang, Aging Artfully
In 2013, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented convergence of hip-hop and art. First there was Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music-video shoot this summer; then came Kanye West’s experimental Yeezus tour de force; and last night the two communities came together yet again, at NeueHouse in Manhattan, for a panel talk in celebration of the Wu-Tang’s twentieth anniversary, with Clan architect Oliver “Power” Grant and sculptor Tom Sachs. The latter is a longtime Wu disciple, who recalled listening to their records as a kid after Hebrew school in the nineties. Although the two couldn’t possibly be more different—Power was raised in the projects of Staten Island, a.k.a. “Shaolin,” while Sachs grew up in wealthy Westport, Connecticut—they found surprising common ground in “bringing the ruckus.” For example, they were both mischievous as kids. Sachs keyed his father’s BMW to make one of his first statements about consumerism, while Power ultimately decided to assemble and launch Wu-Tang because group leader RZA was locked up in jail and needed bail money, and he was on probation himself. According to Power (it’s worth noting that he never rapped with the group, focusing on business instead), “it was a form of desperation and inspiration” that caused them to “get past the corner” and start creating. Sachs agreed, saying that fear is the only thing that stops people from “creating your own reality and writing your own rules.”
Later in the evening, the conversation turned to consumerism, which remains a particular source of fascination for Sachs and informs many of his most famous works, such as Chanel Guillotine and Prada Deathcamp. Power quickly related: “I think that consumerism dictates what rap is and what it’s going to be, because that’s what it’s been doing.” He continued to discuss the origins of the Wu-Tang phoenix logo (“RZA was like, ‘Yo, I want my shit like Batman.’”) and the brand expansions that he has helped bring about, including Wu Wear clothing, the Wu-Tang video game, and even Wu Nails on Victory Boulevard, in Staten Island, which closed a few years ago. “Wu-Tang is forever going to be culturally relevant,” he said. “Even if we don’t have a record out, our brand is for real. This shit is like Coca-Cola now.”
In addition to their forthcoming album and reunion tour, the Clan’s major news is their Wu-Tang Hybrid Arts initiative, a.k.a. Wu Ha, which features works inspired by the Wu-Tang’s history (during the talk, several artists were live-painting portraits of different members such as Raekwon, ODB, and RZA), including Sachs’ combination ode to Wu-Tang Ladurée macarons. It will be displayed in a larger exhibition that opens at the Japanese American National Museum, in September 2014.
Photo: Benjamin Rosser
Style.com: Rick Owens’ World, Now Web-Wide
After a slight hiccup following its announcement earlier this week, Rick Owens’ new Web site is up and running. Owens’ collections for men and women, including his lower-priced DRKSHDW and Lilies lines and a selection of furs, will be available through e-commerce, shipping globally. The site also has an archive of Owens’ show photos, links to the labels’ various Instagram feeds, and a selection of the eternally quotable Owens’ favorite interviews—excerpted or distilled down to their key questions and answers. (Isn’t that what the Internet is for—reading shorter?) In that spirit, Style.com put a mere two questions to Owens, which he was kind enough to respond to via e-mail, with his usual all-caps zeal.
Why was it important to you to launch an online store?
IT’S IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO LAUNCH AN ONLINE STORE. IT’S EVOLUTION.
Fair enough. Do you shop online?
I GET ALL MY BOOKS ON AMAZON. I LOVE BOOKSTORES BUT DON’T WANT TO CARRY A BAG OF BOOKS HOME.
Style.com: The Beyoncé Method
By now, you’ve surely heard that Beyoncé broke the Internet on Friday when, without warning, she released her new self-titled album. Naturally, mania ensued following the unprecedented arrival of Queen Bey’s fourteen tracks and seventeen videos on iTunes. But she’s not the only pop star who’s carried out a musical sneak attack of late. Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite new talent, Lorde, dropped a surprise track, “No Better,” via iTunes on Friday (though Mrs. Carter kind of stole her thunder), and this morning rapper Angel Haze shocked her label when she unexpectedly leaked her entire debut album, Dirty Gold, on SoundCloud. The record was set for a March release. No doubt, this “Beyoncé Method” has gotten fans’ (and the music industry’s) attention. But perhaps we can’t give Bey all the credit—remember when David Bowie shocked us all by debuting his first single in a decade, “Where Are We Now?” via iTunes way back in January? After over forty years on the scene, Ziggy Stardust is still the “Queen Bitch.”
—Katharine K. Zarrella
Photos: Getty Images (David Bowie, Beyonce, Lorde); BFAnyc.com (Angel Haze)
Style.com: On the First Day Of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me, Two Furry Donkeys
Donkeys, magicians, and rabbits. Did the circus come to London? Nope, just the Love magazine Christmas party, held last night at Camden’s Lady Ottoline, and hosted by editor in chief Katie Grand and Neil Barrett. Donkeys greeted partygoers upon arrival, and somehow, we were not surprised. This is LOVE after all, and it has its own quirky way of celebrating not just a great year, but also, its advent calendar, which is now at day 18. Thus far, it’s featured the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Georgia May Jagger, and Lindsey Wixson prancing around in their Calvin Klein smalls. Even Clara, Katie Grand’s pet rabbit, was a calendar girl.
Edie Campbell, Florence Welch, Arizona Muse, Paul Simonon, Rankin, Tim Walker, and many more attended last night’s fete. And given that it’s almost year’s end, guests shared their highlights from 2013. “Standing in the hurricane on the beach at Dungeness with Sølve Sundsbø getting soaked whilst shooting a ‘summer’ story was kind of funny,” said Grand of her most memorable moment this year. Lulu Kennedy, LOVE‘s editor at large, also weighed in. “An editorial meeting presided over by Clara. She sat on a cushion in the middle of the table looking very regal, chewing our notes and printouts.”
— Afsun Qureshi
Photo: Boo George
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Style.com: A Dinner Date With Jason Wu
For the past two seasons, Jason Wu’s ads have explored New York’s most iconic eateries. With Inez & Vinoodh behind the lens, he took Stephanie Seymour to La Grenouille for Spring ’13 and dined with Christy Turlington at Mr. Chow last Fall. The restaurant tour continues for Spring ’14, as Wu’s latest campaign depicts show opener Karen Elson posing against the famed leafy wallpaper at Indochine. “There is something so unapologetically glamorous about these images that seem to embody everything that I adore and want to express through my clothes,” said Wu of the ongoing narrative.
The restaurant, which has hosted more art and fashion fetes than we have room to list since opening in 1984, is a fitting backdrop for Wu’s moody Spring snaps. And the designer has some particularly fond memories of the enduring hot spot. “I first went to Indochine when I was a student at Parsons. I snuck into a party there during fashion week and met Cindy Crawford. I was so starstruck!” Wu recalled. “As a child of the 90s, I’ve always idolized supermodels, and that was the first time I had ever met one. It was a religious experience.” The insider mainstay has since become one of Wu’s favorite places to grab a bite. “There’s never a dull night there! I always meet the most interesting people,” he said. These days, it’s safe to bet that Wu is always on the list.
Take a first look at Jason Wu’s Inez & Vinoodh-lensed Spring ’14 campaign here, exclusively on Style.com.
—Katharine K. Zarrella
Photo: Inez & Vinoodh
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