Race Imboden: Balancing Act

The Olympic Fencer Turned Brooklyn Nighthawk Captured in His Natural Habitat

Jonas Lindstroem presents a voyeuristic reflection on the dichotomous world of Race Imboden, the youngest, top-ranking foil fencer in the world. Today's film comes a little over a year after the flame-haired 20-year-old was spotted and signed by Request Model Management while competing at the London Olympic Games. “The idea was simple,” admits the German filmmaker and contributor to InterviewWallpaper* and Modern Matter. “We followed him around with the intention of just letting things happen.” Oscillating between work and play, Lindstroem cuts from Imboden lunging at the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club to striding through a neighborhood dive bar. “Fencing is all about dedication to a very fine technicality that can only can be learned through allowing yourself to be insane enough to submit your body and mind to the sport,” says Imboden, who walked the runway for Louis Vuitton and was shot by Alasdair McLellan for Topman for Spring/Summer 2013. “Modeling is more about letting that insanity shine through.” Imboden’s athletic virtuosity is matched by a passion for music that has seen him drum in a punk band, intern for record label Fool’s Gold and DJ—read on for his take on the top five artists currently soundtracking his life. 

King Krule
Lyrically and musically his album stands up to all the hype, which is rare these days. He’s got that low voice that makes him unique. “A Lizard State” may as well been the only song on my iPod this summer. 

Danny Brown 
It’s refreshing to hear a dude spitting about sniffing Adderall instead of how many diamonds there are in his chain. Plus his verse on A$AP's “1 train” blows everybody out of the water.

Treasure Fingers
Quality house music. Everybody needs to go down to the disco every once and a while. Like Danny Brown, he is a Fool’s Gold artist, and I have a soft spot for everything they put out. 

The Searchers
Who doesn't love a few broken-heart tunes from a British beat group. For me, their “Needles and Pins” is a tie with the Ramones version. 

Buddy Holly and the Crickets
You don't really need me to tell you they're fantastic. “Oh Boy” is a classic, and these kinds of rockabilly sounds have really stood the test of time.

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    Sooyeon Lee: Grand Slam

    The Table Tennis Champ Stars in Matthew Donaldson's Slow-Mo Homage to the Sport

    Korean table tennis champion, actress and former model Sooyeon Lee challenges herself to a high-fashion endurance match in today's film by NOWNESS contributor Matthew Donaldson. "It's a vehicle to show how extraordinarily elegant she is," says the filmmaker and photographer, who enlisted stylist Katie Shillingford to emphasize Lee's technique. "The sport requires the body to jolt into action in an aggressive manner that is mesmerizing," she says. "I wanted the clothes to accentuate these movements.” Shillingford commissioned designer Geraldine Chevrolet to create bespoke fringed tights, gloves and a hat, pairing the custom accessories with neon, black and nude jumpsuits, dresses and leggings from Christopher Kane, Mark Fast, Jil Sander and Versace. Originating in 1880s Britain as an after-dinner parlor game, the Olympic sport of table tennis has recently emerged as the boutique pastime of choice, evidenced by actress Susan Sarandon's SPiN, a chain of ping-pong clubs which counts Lee as its ambassador and has locations in New York, Toronto and Hollywood. "It's become very trendy," Lee observes. "It's sociable, you don't need to be super athletic and it's good for the brain."

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    Ballroom Battle

    NOWNESS is Burning in Clara Cullen’s Interactive Voguing Experience

    Make it to the third and final round to crown your champion. Taking cues from ball culture and the hyperreal aggression of Japanese video games, today’s dance-off sees eight new-wave ballers walking it out to be named overall winner by the viewer. “The scene is so alive and the culture is amazing, with all the different houses dancing off,” says Buenos Aires-born filmmaker Clara Cullen, recalling her first experience of attending a vogue ball in New York three years ago. “It started at 3am and didn’t end until nine in the morning.” With dancers including Aniyah Lacroix, Bootz Givenchy and Cullen’s close Ballroom Battle collaborator Alex Mugler, this film takes the underground dance-offs that started amongst America’s black and Latino gay communities out of the clubs and into an online sphere, with help from the transatlantic digital studio, Convoy. With Philadelphia’s Kevin JZ Prodigy providing the beat-laden soundtrack and live commentary, every dancer belongs to a “house”—their moniker is adopted from a leading fashion label and they are clad in their namesake’s clothes: Alex, of course, dances for the House of Mugler. “When I was a kid I used to play the video game Street Fighter,” adds Cullen, whose filmmaking education included stints with Spike Lee in New York and Werner Herzog in Los Angeles. “I wanted to take each dancer and make them into a very defined character, so people could choose their favorite and stick with them.” 
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