Henry Diltz, the Seventies, and Beautiful Ugly Dudes

The Auckland Art Gallery (where I work) has this show on at the moment Who Shot Rock and Roll, and I was pretty skeptical and dismissive of it at first because it is so obviously a crowd-pleaser, and, you know, meant to draw in those crowds. I also thought maybe it would be a bit cheesy? Like embarassingly baby-boomerish or something (there is a lot of Mick Jagger in there). But then I saw it for the first time and, damnit, it's pretty cool. I'm slowly falling in love with Elvis Presley (who really reminds me of R-Patz!) and I wish this was the first photo I'd ever seen of Amy Winehouse, because she looks so tough and soft and mysterious all at the same time, and I would have thought to myself "who is this person? Man I really have to hear her stuff". Instead my initiation into Winehouse was a retail job where the other shop girls played her on repeat all day, every day. They ruined her for me before there was a chance.

But by far my favourite inclusion in the exhibition is a slideshow of something like 80 photographs from Henry Diltz. I didn't realise before this exhibition, but Diltz is the author of some of my favourite music photographs of all time. He is special because he takes Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young!) - some of the ugliest dudes in rock ever (second maybe to Spinal Tap) - and can make them look angelic and serene.

Ok maybe David Crosby is always pretty hairy and goofy looking, but you don't notice so much in Diltz's photographs. Just look at these photos to realise what feats Diltz achieves in the portraits above.

Diltz took huge amounts of photos of Neil Young, who I am just going to go out and say is my number one favourite musician ever. And the first photo in this next series is my favourite photo of him.

Richard Pryor, David Cassidy and Jackson Browne are some of the others who were photographed by Diltz. Who knows how that David Cassidy photo came about but it's hilarious. And, well, Pryor could do anything and it would be hilarious.

He also makes those photos in which you catch yourself getting nostalgic for, and wishing you were in, the seventies. Which is all very silly for you to do because you never experienced the seventies and it didn't have the internet for god's sake. But still, it's a special kind of photo which does that to you. In these photos you can almost hear that folk-rock soundtrack.

Aaaaand let's finish with adorable animal photographs. What guys.

all images from Morrison Hotel Gallery


Miuccia Prada, Feminist

Miuccia Prada has done again what she did three years ago for Spring 2010. This show wasn't obviously spectacular, revolutionary or jaw-dropping. Certainly not in comparison to Prada's previous collections. And so people were disappointed. I think many people (regular internet people, not critics) were disappointed with this showing exactly because it wasn't, as Hamish Bowles puts it, "the radical season changer that Miuccia so often serves us". But the problem with holding such high expectations, of always expecting these radical season changers, is that quieter instances of genius are not appreciated. There is the sentiment 'if it's not big, it's not good', and for some this collection was a bit of a let down. But it really shouldn't be!

This collection was, in my opinion, fantastic. Let me list the reasons why:

1. It felt like Prada was getting out some of her feminist energy. It was there in that dichotomy between girlish sweetness and, to paraphrase Prada, a toughness and seriousness. To be precise she said that the collection's folding resulted from her wanting it to be tough, although I have no idea how folding is inherently tough or serious. But let's not get caught up in the details! Importantly I think that what really defines the current wave, or new generation of feminists (that I think can safely be said to be symbolically helmed by Tavi Gevinson) is the co-existence of stereotypical, traditional notions of girlishness (such as dressing up to look good) with feminist ideals. So here I am projecting that Prada has given us the modern feminist - tough, serious, self-possessed, and covered with pink, flowers, and short skirts.

2. In a kind of carry on from my last point, I could imagine Kathleen Hanna rocking everything (and there were total Courtney Love vibes)

3. Jessica Stam.

4. Guinevere van Seenus.

5. That amazing folding, which was also seen at Christopher Kane! Thanks to Hamish Bowles' review I've learnt how this folding also relates to this "new feminist" dichotomy. Prada talked about "the struggles women have between toughness and softness, the rigor followed by delicacy, and the poetic part of women", and this is reflected in the folding of the Japanese kimono, which is about "tough rigor, the delicacy after, and the folding". Hmmm, "tough rigor", maybe that's how folding is tough and serious.

6. Ribbed underwear, and coats in summer. Nothing more to add.

So overall, I felt the Prada spirit very strongly here, with all those wonderful tensions between femininity and feminism, and all those wonderfully uncomfortable details (like ribbed underwear). Everyone came around to Spring 2010 eventually (myself included), and the same slow-building appreciation may happen here again.

all images from vogue.com


London's Tops

Hello, I'm back, exams are over! Sorry for the three week gap.
So a semi-bumper post looking at my favourite shows from London. Ok so some of these collections are legit good, as in critically approved (Kane, for example), and there are others which I am just personally really fond of, without them being super amazing art or anything (ahem, Mulberry). So let the lowdown commence!

Meadham Kirchhoff

So Meadham Kirchoff this season? The t-shirt says it all:

I'm going to go out there and say that this was the best collection of Spring 2013. This collection actually made me emotional, and that doesn't happen very often. The last time my eyes got a bit moist and my heart quickened just from looking at clothes was Marc Jacobs Autumn 2010. And after viewing the collection I read this review, and it made everything even more emotional and somehow more real, like this collection was part of a story instead of masquerading commerce.
I find it funny that I should love this collection so much, yet last season's left me feeling relatively cold. I guess sometimes you cannot pin down exactly what makes something exceptional.


I'm not going to lie and say that Mulberry was cutting edge or anything, but damn it was fun and I want that hair and makeup and the florals and gold and mint was preeeeeeeeeeety. That is all.

Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders was way off kilter. Like off the kilter chart kilter. What strange mind puts beige and metallics together, or covering entire dresses in sequins (unless it's for a showgirl or drag queen). And the clothes were all set off by that wonderful/horrifying blow up sex doll lipstick. I swear it's the stuff of nightmares. So kudos to Saunders for achieving that!

One random look in venom green? Genius!

Christopher Kane

Good ol' Christopher. He always delivers. While designers usually supply show attendees with notes about the collection, their inspirations etc, Kane didn't this season. Apparently, it's not about anything at all.
Nothing? It just is? That is kind of... awesome. And for someone who loves the intellectual side of fashion, delving into the source and meaning of things, it's strangely exciting.

What I thought was also kinda remarkable about this collection is that it had not one but many "it" elements. Not only those plastic bows/ties, but also those large stiff folds, as well as that last dash of black censor-strips. This also translates to quite a diverse collection. From these glorious folded pastel dresses through to rubber bows and floating organza. I love that feeling of not quite knowing what will come down the runway next.


The reason that Erdem is so often one of my favourites is that he continually surprises me. Obviously not surprise as in "flowers? what a surprise!", but as in he manages to do so much with florals, something different every six months, and something original. 

There is something poetic about the fact that the power went out during the show, yet the colour combinations of the dresses - orange, red, pink, subtle dashes of fluorescent yellow (above) - punch out incredibly bright. Via Tim Blanks' review at Style.com I discovered that Erdem called these brights, mixed with pastels, "uncomfortable colour combinations". It made for, once again, a wonderfully odd London collection. 

all images from vogue.com