Xiao Wen x Dana Lixenberg

China's Quirky Star Model and Marc Jacobs Muse Disrobes After Fashion Week

Bare-faced and beguiling, current fashion world darling Xiao Wen Ju lets her guard down for renowned Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg, unwinding after a gruelling Fashion Week schedule of fittings and shows in this series of intimate and raw portraits. “It’s always a bit challenging to do a natural portrait of a model,” says Lixenberg, who shot Ju in Manhattan's Lafayette House hotel. “Somehow youth and beauty dominate, so it almost helped that she was exhausted and had come from a rehearsal.” Twenty-year-old Xiao Wen, who hails from the ancient city of Xi’an in China, signed with IMG in 2010 and quickly climbed the ranks both in her home country and internationally, featuring on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar China that May as well as walking for designers including Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada the following year, ultimately scoring Marc Jacobs’ Spring campaign in 2012. “There’s a playful element to her,” says Lixenberg, who has shot for publications including The New Yorker, Newsweek and The New York Times Magazine and exhibited in solo shows at Amsterdam's FOAM and the Nederlands Fotomuseum. “She looks like a little dancer: petite, almost Audrey Hepburnish and very slim and flexible like a kitten. She had a quiet charisma, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it popped up in film.”

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  • Today's Extra
    Today's Extra

    Roy Lichtenstein Paints a Tomato

    The Influential Pop Artist Rolls Up to the Tate Modern in an Animated Homage

    A tomato or Roy Lichtenstein's hand-painted Benday dot? Today’s charming animation by Damien Florébert Cuypers and Benoît François pays tribute to the American artist’s dynamic oeuvre. Using his signature primary colors, vivid geometric details and pop imagery, the French duo imagined Lichtenstein on a journey from ‘low’ to ‘high’ art. “We were guided by the desire to underline some of Lichtenstein's specific paintings, styles and techniques,” explains François, who has been collaborating with Cuypers since meeting in high school, and has illustrated for the likes of T, Apartamento and New York Magazine. “Like scientists with a microscope, we zoomed in, then out, on this painting.” Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, opening this week at Tate Modern in London, brings together 125 of the twentieth-century pioneer’s most definitive paintings and sculptures, as well as unseen film work showcasing, as François notes, “the America of the 60s and 70s.”

    Lichtenstein: A Retrospective runs from February 21 - May 27 at the Tate Modern, London.

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    Black Light Dinner Party: We Are Golden

    New York City’s Electronic Indie Kids Inspire a Cartoon Adventureland

    Flying buccaneers, a psychedelic teapot and a golden-nosed narwhal all contribute to the fantastical world of “We Are Golden,” the third video from Brooklyn-based indie band Black Light Dinner Party. After the success of 2012’s B.L.D.P EP and its video for “Gold Chain” starring legendary adult film star Ron Jeremy, “We Are Golden” offers a first glimpse of the band's much-anticipated debut album. Singer Jack Côté croons over a shimmering synth-pop lullaby, accompanied by Zach Lipkins on drums, Joel Friedman on keys and Dan Stevens on bass as his lyrics are twisted into an irreverent, dreamy adventure by animator Jonathan Seligson. “We had some ideas and sent them over,” says the band, “but when Jonathan responded with the following we just decided to go with it: ‘A Barbarella-type Eskimo adventurer and her polar bear companion race against a trio of Czarist-style Russian pirates on giant flying Tetris pieces.’” Although an acolyte of master storytellers Hayao Miyazaki and Walt Disney, Seligson looked to TV—specifically the Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and Dexter’s Laboratory—as references for the technicolor trippiness. “The story, setting and character dynamics came to me spontaneously upon hearing the song for the first time,” the animator recalls. “As I listened, the imagery simply manifested in my mind’s eye.” We asked each band member to describe the appeal of their own favorite animated classic. 

    Jack: Ratatouille. It makes me cook something delicious, French, and bad for me to eat while watching. That might be more about the food though.”

    Zach: Kung Fu Panda. I like a panda who marches to the beat of his own drum.”

    Joel: The Triplets of Belleville. I’m amazed by all the visual detail. I love how the animators exaggerate the physical features of the characters, they look like caricatures of real people.”

    Dan:Waking Life. The film used various artists who layered animation on top of actual footage, creating a dreamlike effect that I find beautiful.”

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