Thursday, February 24, 2011

one-week flashback! katie gallagher f/w 2011 BTS

renegade designer + intrepid girl reporter in a quite unflattering candid, photos throughout by corinne schiavone

Last Sunday, Milk Studios did not have their shit together. Capacity issues the night before, leading to crowded elevators and the fire marshall being called, made those in charge extraordinarily paranoid, and all designers showing on the 13th had to un-invite half of their guestlists and inform the rest that, due to tight capacity, their attendance might not be granted.

Katie Gallagher's people very begrudgingly (trust, none of her PR wanted to do it) sent out the email at around 5 PM, so a lot people, feeling fucked over, didn't want to bother with a fight. On the other hand, I was already (im)patiently waiting at Y-3--which was AMAZING and SO MUCH FUN and EVERYONE WORE BLACK and SANDPAPER FLOORS but COULDN'T SEE SHIT--and had planned to meet up with the lovely Corinne for dinner before the show. I wasn't about to shut both of us out.

(As an aside, could someone help me set up a decent cut/jump feature? I have loads of images I want to share, but it's getting to be really cluttered.) So the two of us, armed with excellent makeup, a giant camera, connections, and a touch of moxie, got to Milk at 6:45 for an eight-o'-clock show.

And so went "Gris-Gris," Katie Gallagher's presentation for F/W 2011. She said she was influenced by African voodoo; the titular gris-gris is in fact a magic amulet, “little leather sacs for spells. People would put little bones in there, nails, hair, different things.” That sort of witchy, pastoral influence was felt throughout the entire space, anchored by imposing monolith of wooden grids and crumpled black sculpture, almost like The Wicker Man in scope. The shock of sumptuous mustard yellow leather (can I HAVE the jacket posted above? Please?) went straight back to voodoo: “It’s kind of reminiscent of cornmeal,” Gallagher said. “These tribes would draw little sigils in cornmeal, and I found this really cool leather to match, it’s a really nice mustard. Plus, I wanted a little bit of color to go with the grey."

the opening runway pass, video by me

And let's talk tunes. Katie and her boyfriend, Nikolay, score the presentations to industrial perfection. Last season, it was Einst├╝rzende Neubauten and Front 242 to set an intense, high-energy EBM mood for "Arena;" this season, it was all Death in June (you can hear the very opening strands of "The Only Good Neighbor" in the video posted above--remember when Prada used it too? Sorry, Douglas P.) and Coil (can anyone identify the song in the video? It's really bugging me, I KNOW I know what it is). Even better than sitting at a runway show and recognizing something in utter shock--like the Prodigy seemingly fucking everywhere this NYFW--this almost neurotically perfect blend of sight and sound is just what I like.

Monday, February 21, 2011

mishka nyc x psychic tv

How am I only now hearing about this? (Okay, the news hit the blog circuit only a week ago, but that's an eternity in fashion/post-industrial obsessive time.) Mishka NYC--the people who brought you that guide to GRAVE WAVE--are releasing a capsule collection designed in collaboration with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, dedicated to Psychic TV.

After the soul-crushing news that Einst├╝rzende Neubauten had cancelled their entire US tour (I still haven't quite gotten over that anger), and the even more devastating news of Peter Christopherson's passing in late November, PTV's show at Europa last December was just what I needed--complete with horror face paint, dirty spoken word, and some mindbending guitar solos. Genesis is truly a fascinating individual, one of the most important and inspirational artists/provocateurs/WRECKERS OF CIVILIZATION~*~ of the past century, leaving he/r impact on music, performance, transformative art, and gender politics irreversibly. (For the record, I'm also really looking forward to Marie Losier's The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye documentary, which hopefully will be hitting the festival circuit soon.)

I think I could rock the hat, if nothing else. Mishka's also put up a really thorough interview with Gen--more like a conversation, following the rather tangential, non-linear trajectory of he/r travels. My personal favorite part so far, with regards to the Myrtle-Wyckoff L stop in Ridgewood:

Do you find the hipster kids annoying?

Call me self-hating.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

martial canterel interview [prefixmag]

It's no secret that the comeback of coldwave and minimal synth has me full of glee--well, as much glee as is appropriate for the genre. Electronic music's always been a major passion of mine, from the Kraftwerk and early Ultravox my dad played me as a kid to the early-morning early days of Methods of Dance at Oberlin, and seeing people who've been plugging away at a dying, unfashionably icy genre (at the time: these were the days of electroclash, mind you) for ages finally come to blogger prominence is pretty awesome.

Say what you will about the "comeback" of "dark media:" say that witch house is bullshit and potentially racist/classist (yes, these are arguments about Salem and the appropriation of screwed music I've read online), say that it's a passing fashion (of course it is, and if a bunch of kids running around with plum lipstick and black hoods bothers you, reassess your priorities. Didn't they tell you that fashion hurts?), give it socioeconomic heft by correlating "grave wave" with the gloom of the recession, but one thing remains: a lot of these bands are really, really fucking good, and a lot of these musicians deserve it after years of playing basements or dive bars.

Credit goes to Minimal Wave Records for naming it and Wierd Records for...popularizing it, I guess. Relatively. Step outside of Brooklyn and no one really gives a shit--perhaps in other pockets of urban America, and perhaps further abroad in the genre's countries of origin, but its prominence and championship is really on the internet.

It's funny to have done these two interviews back-to-back for Prefix: first, Martial Canterel (aka Sean McBride, also of Xeno & Oaklander)--read HERE--who talked to me about the "coldwave renaissance" and its appeal today:

[T]he real attraction, and for me the paramount attraction, is the equipment itself. The last 20 years of electronic music have primarily involved emulating analog synthesis, speeding up and tidying up the process, "stabilizing,” of making a performance of this music akin to someone checking their email. The true materiality of this music is what really appeals, its truly electric nature, the vulnerability of the instruments, the synthesizer as an "instrument with a limit.” All these things purport a kind of humanness to electronic music; something we haven't seen widespread in many a decade.

...and currently, I'm wrapping up a feature interview with Andy McCluskey of OMD, who--in an unbelievably charming, self-deprecating, and fascinating way--waxed poetic on his own influences, why OMD saw it fit to come back now (he's noticed the tides turning in his band's fashion/direction too!), and assessed today's synth acts. I can't reveal all until it's published, but here's a gem of a quote: "Most other bands, if they want to make a comeback album, they just have to sound like themselves. But we had this abject dilemma: we used to be the future! What do old modernists do in the postmodern era? Discuss."

I have a lot to report still when it comes to Fashion Week: not seeing shit except Grace Coddington's flaming red hair at Y-3! Backstage at Katie Gallagher going on and on about how awesome Coil is! Front row at Parkchoonmoo! Sleeping through Rad Hourani! Meeting a really attractive male model from the Jeremy Scott show afterwards--and shaking hands with Kanye, and getting street ambushed--and playing with his gluey hair (all in the name of JOURNALISM)! But...priorities. Will keep them coming!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

complexgeometries f/w 2011

My Fashion Week started off quite slowly, thankfully. Unlike last season, when I was running around Lincoln Center and elsewhere like a chicken with my head cut off from 9 AM the first day, I got to take it easy the first two days. Mostly because I was getting over a pretty miserable case of laryngitis (still hacking up a lung now, but I can actually speak), and I very much valued the time I had in bed.

So what was my first order of business once I didn't feel like death reincarnate? Head on down to the West Side Highway for a jaunt at the strip club.

Clever setting on the part of complexgeometries, that is. The Westway was taken over recently by the folks from Smile and the Jane, but they've kept the "Gentleman's Club" awnings, stripper poles, and $20 lap dance signs intact. A bit of cognitive dissonance seeing bloggers hanging in front of the neon, cheesy mirrored walls, but CG's presentation made for a really titillating show.

As much as I love CG's gothy, complicated "it's-a-t-shirt-but-now-it's-a-cowl-and-now-it's-a-skirt" mutant way of looking at clothing, it's even better to see them branch out into these unbelievably cozy, slouchy red sweaters, musky grays and taupes, and something altogether softer.

I loved the sci-fi vibes of shimmering, inky black transparent capes, raw quartz jewelry...and lest we forget the glam-rock moon boots of my dreams, courtesy of a collaboration with LD Tuttle:

Out of this fucking world.

Later that night I ventured over to the always clusterfucky Seven party at the Tribeca Grand: see pictured Natasha, yours truly, and Meg sporting all black everything. The sort of fashion-goth, egotistical craziness on display at this party is something that must be seen to be believed, and I'm glad I finally had the full-fledged shitshow experience. Once and never again for me, so sayeth my headache the morning after.

Today is the real winner for me: Y-3 and Katie Gallagher! Will be sure to update immediately.