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April 19, 2014

Trois Soeurs

Adventures in Monochrome in a Spellbinding French Fashion Short

“When you're a young artist, you don't really have another choice than preserving an independent spirit if you want to make your ideas happen,” says Zoë Le Ber, who stars in the seductively languid Trois Soeurs alongside fellow Parisians Solene Hebert, last year’s face of Nina Ricci, and Priscilla de Laforcade, an actress and member of the indie-pop duo Les Chanteuses. Directed by Bulgarian photographer and filmmaker Elina Kechicheva, the trio form part of a generation of emerging models, actresses and singer-songwriters, with mutlti-hyphenate Le Ber recently directing the exhibitionist art short, Hors Les Murs for fashion and culture title Purple. “French cinema is known for its unexpectedness and accessibility, and today there is still the same drive as the days of the 'New Wave' to do something living and pertinent,” says Herbert.“The cinema is still so young," adds Le Ber. “The nouvelle vague was just the first intense wave of a long series, I hope.”

Favorite French classic film?
Zoë Le Ber:
Playtime by Jacques Tati
Solene Hebert: Pierrot Le Fou by Jean Luc Godard
Priscilla de Laforcade: La Maman et la Putain by Jean Eustache

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Abstracting Beauty: Inez & Vinoodh

The Dutch Visionaries Unveil a Genre-Bending Show in LA

Swinging between worlds of art and fashion for 26 years, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin transform their A-list subjects into Gothic beauties and charge floral still lifes with their Netherlands heritage. Part of an elite group of image-makers alongside Steven Meisel, David Sims and Mario Sorrenti, the husband-and-wife duo used digital manipulation to push fashion imagery to extremes, with campaigns for the likes of Lanvin, Givenchy and Miu Miu. This week marks the opening of Inez & Vinoodh, a retrospective exhibition at the Gagosian in LA, following their first show with the gallery in Paris earlier this year. From a cyborg Lady Gaga to a daisy-sprouting Bill Murray, and a room of 18 botanical portraits, the show features cult editorials from the likes of V, Interview and Vogue. “Our work has always been about this duality and dichotomy between the campy and the classical, the grotesque and the stylish; the elegant and the extreme,” explains van Lamsweerde, “inside each room, and together, which relates to the fact that we’re two people, two brains, doing everything together.” Here one half of the sought-after duo reveals the secrets of their unique vision. 

On their fascination with flower arranging…
Inez van Lamsweerde: Working with flowers, for me, is about coming as close as I can get to abstract painting; it’s very intuitive. We go to the New York City flower market in the morning and get everything we love, and with a very fast tempo we create these still lifes. It’s about bringing out the heroic side of each element, and that’s what we do with people. That’s always been our point—glorifying the specificity of human beings, whereas with the flowers it’s glorifying the specificity and the character of each flower. It’s all about this idea of finding the one element in someone’s physiognomy, heightening that through the lens and making everyone into a hero.

On abstracting beauty…
Four or five years ago we did a portrait of Natalie Portman­ that is very angelic. It’s her wearing a hoodie and her skin is incredibly flawless. There’s a giant hand resting on her forehead that belonged to Dick Page, who did the makeup. He put his hand on her head to fix something on her face; we took the picture and it now has a religious connotation. It’s a very still and sublime photograph of her. For this show, we used makeup to blacken her face all around her mouth and nose, as if she’s fallen with her face into the soot, or if her makeup ended up around her mouth instead of on her eyes. It creates this dichotomy; all of a sudden, this purity and beauty and angelic nature is destroyed by our own hand, with makeup. In this case it actually makes it dirtier and shows an underlying darkness, visualized on the outside. 

On LA artists…
I love Charles Ray for the uncanny and the hyperreal. Mel Ramos is another one of my all-time favorite artists. You could relate our portrait of Natalie Portman to a work by Mel Ramos [“Drawing Lesson #7”]. There’s an image of a beautiful blonde woman sitting in a chair and someone is painting her and drawing her, but in the image on the canvas her face looks completely destroyed. That’s dichotomy.  

On the power of digital…
I’m excited by the fact that social media like Instagram and Tumblr have enabled everyone to be a photographer, and made photography the number one communicator in the world. I’m thrilled about that.

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Double Bill: Léa Seydoux

Glen Luchford Captures A New York Moment with the Rag & Bone Stars in Today’s Two Films

Glen Luchford's short films for NY fashion house rag & bone are as beautiful and elegant as they are real. Starring actors Palme d'Or winner Léa Seydoux and Michael Pitt, and set to a yearning Sparklehorse soundtrack, Luchford’s signature is a combination of dramatic understatement and modern nostalgia for the craft of shooting on film. “Having the confidence to let the shoot flow is a great feeling, because anything can happen,” explains Luchford, whose only direction for Seydoux and Pitt was to do “whatever came naturally. My aesthetic is planned and controlled reportage—which is obviously a contradiction. On the day, you have to just let go and see what happens. Sparks fly and unexplained ideas pop up.” Luchford started his career at as a fashion photographer on the style magazine The Face, going on to shoot iconic campaigns as well as directing the award-winning feature film, Here to Where. Rather than pose in the rag & bone collection, it seems Seydoux and Pitt were encouraged to live in it.

What are your earliest memories of film and photography?
Glen Luchford:
I saw Snow White in the cinema when I was three years old, and something in the imagery stuck. I only remember a few scenes but they stayed clearly imprinted. Then The Wizard Of Oz at five, which blew me away. The fact that video didn’t exist then, and their unavailability, made them even more exotic and exciting.

What appeals to you about fashion?
Fashion has an ADD quality to it: it can't focus on anything for too long and has to keep shifting its gaze, like an irritable kid. I loved playing musical chairs as a child. Part of me feels like I’m still playing.

How has your filmmaking evolved since Here to Where?
: I’m not as good. Youth gives you something extra.

What are you most proud of?
Walking into The Face magazine's office and saying, “Give me a job, I can do that.”

What inspires you today?
Instagram, Intelligentsia Coffee and the word ‘Yes.’

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