Close-ups on the industry’s fresh faces, bold iconoclasts and distinguished créateurs

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June 3, 2014

Beyond the Skin

Jonas Åkerlund Takes Model Shaun Ross on a Hyperkinetic Trip Through LA in the Final #DefineBeauty Film

“Hollywood is so good at only seeing what’s on the outside, and using that first impression instead of going deeper,” says Jonas Åkerlund of the location of the final film in the #DefineBeauty series, in which he follows American model and actor Shaun Ross around the back streets and freeways of Los Angeles. “I think Shaun has spent all his life with those reactions. Look again and you see that this guy is really beautiful.” The Swedish filmmaker is known for music videos that span over 25 years—from Madonna to Beyonce, Iggy Pop to U2—and feature films including the darkly comic 2002 release, Spun. His gothic style is apparent in today’s portrait of the famed albino model, who recently starred in Lana Del Rey’s 30 minute film, Tropico. “When Shaun showed up on Hollywood Boulevard, Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse were affronted,” the filmmaker says of filming Ross, who was styled by his wife B. Åkerlund. “Like, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing here?’” Elements of Beyond the Skin were shot by Ross himself with a camera provided by the director, whose cat was given a supporting role. “She’s also albino so I thought they might have a connection,” says Åkerlund. “They actually did. She wouldn't stop sitting on his head.”

Look one: Top & skirt by Yuima Nakazato.
Look two: Head piece by Maiko Takeda, cape & pants by Yuima Nakazato, shoes by Nereku.
Look three: Leather jacket by Bohemian Society, metal mesh top & bracelets by Michael Schmidt Studios, boots by Gasoline Glamour.
Look four: Jacket by, Hyein Seo, top & shorts by Yuima Nakazato, shoes by Nereku.

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Fashion Poweristas

Robb Young and Man Repeller Sound Off On Modern Sartorial Icons

From Anna Wintour’s indestructible bob to Anna Dello Russo’s obsession with feathers, fashion’s inner circle are known as much for their style signatures as their ability to influence others. We invited two authorities with differing perspectives to analyze the distinct looks of the aforementioned tastemakers. Author Robb Young makes a study of the loaded dress codes of female political figures in his new book Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion, unpacking everything from Michelle Obama’s J. Crew-helmed casual revolution to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s sophisticated embrace of Dior; Leandra Medine’s witty Man Repeller blog dissects the fashion statements women love and men love to hate—from harem pants to clogs. The conversation that ensued takes on industry power dressers Daphne Guinness, Diane Pernet and Emmanuelle Alt.

Robb Young: I’ve always felt like [Vogue Japan editor-at-large] Anna Dello Russo was tutored in a dress-up school where Isabella Blow was headmistress and Anna Piaggi was teaching physical education. If it’s not flyaway feathers it’s a watermelon hat. There’s something powerful about not taking your look too seriously.

Leandra Medine: Let's also note that RuPaul likely played the role of fine arts teacher. [Dello Russo] wears gilded apples on her head. One highly respected man repeller indeed.

RY: That’s something [American Vogue editor-in-chief] Anna Wintour would never, ever do. With her fur stoles and floral frocks, she’s a walking advertisement for appropriateness. But she still makes a visual impact. I think it’s the helmet hair. No doubt it’s as soft as alpaca, but the way that the impenetrable bob frames her sunglasses always makes me think of NASA-approved headgear with a bulletproof visor.  

LM: I do commend her for making outfit repetition a societal norm. As to her hair, three words: Dora the Explorer. And I mean that with utmost respect!

RY: If anyone beats Anna in the hair department, it’s our lady of perpetually shaded blackness, [editor of influential blog A Shaded View On Fashion] Diane Pernet. There’s such fortitude in that silhouette of hers. She’s magnetic and aloof, austere and decadent. Contradictions like that spell power, if you ask me.

LM: Diane Pernet is my queen of darkness, the substance of which my dark abysmal insides are made. If anyone knows how to garner attention, it’s D. 

RY: And when style eccentricity runs through blue-blooded veins, it's always a traffic-stopping combination: step forward the chaos of [socialite] Daphne Guinness’s canvas. I just saw her at the Charlie Le Mindu show in London looking as refined as ever. When a woman with as delicate a figure as hers can stomp around in those alien McQueen hooves and still look both elegant and ferocious, it says a lot.  

LM: Daphne Guinness? Refined? That's a name and adjective I never thought I'd see in one sentence. Unless the sentence was Daphne Guinness is the antithesis of refined. How a woman could wear heelless Nina Ricci shoes with ensembles that resemble vertebrae and still manage a busy love life and a romp or two is mind-boggling. In a good way.

RY: If you thought my sense of refinement was unique, you might think I've lost the plot when I say I think there’s more than just discipline in [Vogue Paris editor-in-chief] Emmanuelle Alt’s look. There’s a touch of decadence, too. In her world, wearing a cornucopia of the wildest runway looks would be the default, but, instead, she dares to wear “comfy rock-n-stroll” every day. It says, “I'm a natural authority and I don’t need to prove it.”  

LM: I'm on the same page as you on this one. Her monochromatic tendencies—which only include the crème de la crop of designer labels—speak lengths to her personal style. She spares no expense on the flimsiest of cotton tees, which goes back to your point about her touch of unusual decadence. I'm looking forward to watching her rule the new Vogue throne.

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Fleurs d’Excès

Dior Haute Joaillerie's Victoire de Castellane Unveils Her Botanical Sculptures at Gagosian Paris

For her debut solo art exhibition Fleurs d’Excès, Victoire de Castellane remade the Gagosian Gallery in Paris into an imagined Eden. NOWNESS was given exclusive access to the wearable, one-of-a-kind jeweled sculptures prior to the show's opening. “In real life I don’t like flowers,” De Castellane reveals. “I can’t get attached to something that dies so quickly, so I make flowers that live forever.” Created from precious materials including lacquered silver, white gold, nephrite jade, rubies and smoky quartz, the flora are named according to the artist’s fictional classification system—with monikers such as Heroina Romanticam Dolorosa and Crystalucinea Metha Agressiva—to connote the illicit pleasures of mind-altering substances while hinting at their potential peril. Parisian-born De Castellane discovered her calling at the tender age of five when she took apart one of her mother’s charm bracelets to make a pair of earrings. After 14 years of designing costume jewelry for Chanel, in 1998 she joined Dior to launch the house’s Haute Joaillerie department. Facehunter's Yvan Rodic was there to shoot the show's opening and private after-party hosted by Larry Gagosian and Giovanni Testino; click here to see images from the Paris Fashion Week event.

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