Posts tagged paris

gilles rigoulet

I came across these earlier today and I had to have them!

They’re by the photographer Gilles Rigoulet and I bought them from him at his stall in the brocante on Rue de Bretagne in the third arrondissement of Paris.

They were taken in the mid 80s at the Piscine Molitor, in the 16th, just before it closed down. I find them quite witty with an extremely good eye for composition and texture. They remind me of Lartigue in a way.

The Molitor is currently under renovation after being boarded up for decades and is scheduled to reopen next year as a swishy new complex with a hotel, restaurants and medical centre.

Coming across these was quite timely then although I’m not sure if topless sunbathing and swim shorts will be allowed. Paris is notorious for its Speedo only policy! Trust me, I have to suffer this every week!!

gilles rigoulet 1 gilles rigoulet 2 gilles rigoulet 9 gilles rigoulet 4 gilles rigoulet 5 gilles rigoulet 7 gilles rigoulet 6 gilles rigoulet 10

There’s been quite a few amazing designer retrospectives as of late: YSL, Vionnet, Yohji Yamamoto, the 30 Years of Japanese design at the Barbican in London, the new Alexander McQueen… And now Madame Grés. Or Alix as she was known at the start of her career.

Its on at the Musée Bourdelle, near the Tour Montparnasse in Paris till July.

I was actually there on Monday with some friends but stupidly forgot that this was Paris and some museums are shut then. Ah, well, you live and learn! It looks amazing from the pictures I’ve seen. Apparently Madame Grés always wanted to be a sculptress hence the poetic display of 80 pieces of her incredibly draped dresses and minimalist sheathes amongst the grecian sculptures at the museum. In my opinion she did achieve her goal, sculpting out of cloth these intricate forms. Like Madeleine Vionnet she was a trailblazer that liberated women from the restrictive corset and she is probably the only couturier of her time you could still wear today and not look like you were wearing “vintage”. Master class. Can’t wait to see it!

Madame Grés:

“La Couture à L’Oeuvre”

Musée Bourdelle

16 rue Antoine Bourdelle

75015 PARIS

image above, Irving Penn, Inventive Paris Clothes 1909-1939 [The Viking Press, 1977]


Forgot about this one. I took it in a nightclub/ theatre in the Pigalle. It was at a BBB [Black, Blanc, Beur] party.  Can’t remember the actual name of the club. Anyway, BBB keeps changing location every week, Its held now at a club off the ChampsÉlysées.

Anyhow, had a crazy Vodka-infused night there a few weekends ago. Verdict on new location: Nah. Or maybe I’m just getting too old for this sort of thing.


Hmmmph, I thought blogs were meant to be of the moment? Its more like “off minute” round these parts. Yes, the Kertesz show that I was banging on about earlier. Months earlier. That I saw Months Earlier. Twice. That I was going to blog about. Well like a sourdough “Mother” its been bubbling away at the back of the fridge that is my brain. Never too late. Is the show still running? If you saw it, well done. If you didn’t, tough titty!

Corner of Leger’s studio, Paris,1927


I first came across the work of Kertesz in the library during my first year as a BA fashion student. It was a small book on his distortion photographs. They blew me mind away. Sort of creepy-intriguing — women in classic poses that had been fucked about with so much that they looked like alien silk worms. This was back in the 1920s so a lot of circus mirrors and concave reflective surfaces were utilised. No Photoshop here.

My Brother Jeno…, Hungary, 1917

Distortion 88, 1933

Kertesz is largely regarded as the father of photo-journalism and his career spans over six decades, from the turn of the 19th century to the 1980s, prolific till the end. He is also arguably, the first truly modern photographer. I really like the way he saw the world as place inhabited by shadows, reflections and bird’s eye perspectives. He was born Hungary, haha, lived in Paris during the 20’s and later relocated to New York during the 2nd World War as he was a Jew. His back catalogue is immense. Strike that, MAMMOTH. I dream of the day I’ll own one of his prints but seeing them en masse at the Jeu de Paume on a crystal clear autumn’s day last year was heavenly.

Rouen, 1929



I particularly love this photograph of the artist Alexander Calder, shot in Paris, 1929. He was a cool dude, Andre. Hung out with the Intelligenstia and artists of the day, photographing them and their studios and homes. Mr. Calder just looks so bloody sexy in this pic, so broody. And what a Tache that rests above those lovely lips!

Ropes, 1928




Chimneys, Paris C, 1927



Rainy day, Tokyo, September 14, 1968



Paris 1963



Paris 2010


Tracing Footsteps.  I was walking along the Seine one day and walked across the Pont Neuf onto the little island that sits in the middle of the river. I was with a friend and he wanted to show me Paris from a different perspective. As we walked back up the steps onto the Place du Pont Neuf I noticed that this was the same setting for the Kertesz photograph above. Coincidentally we’d just been to see the show. Creepy, perhaps.



Clayton “Peg-Leg” Bates, Paris, 1929

This image of Clayton “Peg -Leg” Bates, the famous black tap dancer who lost a leg at the age of twelve is perhaps one of my favourite photographs by Kertesz. I just love the tonality, compostition and the erotic tension the wooden leg gives the image. I wonder if Robert Mappelthorpe was inspired by this image when he created Man In Polyester suit? The idea of sex is comically more obvious here but there are so many similarities: 2 black men, 3 piece suits and both images cropped above torso. And is it just me or do the hands not play a more significant role than phallus or faux foot? I find it quite funny how Clayton Bates has his hands crossed over his crotch and Polyester Suit man doesn’t, leaving that infamous Trouser Elephant for the whole world to see.

Man In Polyester Suit 1980

Sam HASkins


Colucci Edizioni, 1980

Sam Haskins is KING. I fell in love with his work last year when I came across his book African Image, in a bookstore in Paris. I posted some of the images from said book [click here to view] and they have received the most hits on this blog. Its pretty clear that I’m not alone in my appreciation. Tommy Hilfiger collaborated with him last year and the result was Fashion Etcetera, a special edition book collating a broad selection of his work from his expansive career.

I’m in Paris again – if anybody knows of any one bed apartments going do let me know – and I happened on an exhibition of his work at the Libraire Ofr. on rue Dupetit-Thouars after dinner. I was so bloody excited. And scared. I’m weak when it comes to books and try to avoid bookshops. Naturelment, the moment I walked through those doors I knew I’d be leaving a few hundred Euros poorer…

Its a great expo. I wasn’t familiar with his calendar works and they’re hung simply in the gallery space at the back. Bloody gorgeous. I’m not sure why I find that 60s softcore vibe so alluring but I was totally hooked. The compositions are quite extraordinary. And the colours! Its quite evident how influential Mr Haskins has been. You’d be hard put to open up a fashion magazine and not see it. With our reliance on digital photography and Photoshop© its just awe-inspiring how Mr Haskins was ahead of the curve, using old school print techniques to create these lush, graphic photo-montages. And narrative. Each image tells a story. But they’re all interlinked by one precise vision. AMAZING_


Calendars and Other Stories

8 July – 22 August 2010

Ofr Bookshop, Libraire, HQ

20 rue Dupetit-Thouars (Carreau du Temple) 75003

I walked away with an original copy of PhotoGraphics and Fashion Etcetera. Now all I need to get my greedy paws on are November Girls, Cowboy Kate and the calendars book.

Just touched down in Paris. Well, rolled in actually. Managed to use up those free Eurostar tickets I got after the Christmas Channel Tunnel Fiasco. Like a true Brit abroad I’m now ensconced in a Brit-owned bistro with free WiFi, drinking German Bier. In Paris. Ah, well, as they say, when in Rome...

A fashion show is a delicate balance of many parts that come together for one fleeting moment. A memorable show is about the clothes, of course, and much more: the casting, the venue, lighting, production and, perhaps most importantly, The Music. Poor music selection can throw everything off balance. It can be distracting, jar the designer’s message and make the models walk funny. Not a good look.

This is where Bespoke Sounds come in. Show music production has been monopolised as of late by Michel Gaubert [Collette CD fame] and Frédéric Sanchez. Name a show in any of the four capitals and you’ll no doubt find one of their names in the credits. They’re great at what they do but things can turn formulaic, no? Thierry Depuis Grizard, one half of Bespoke Sounds Paris, spent 3 years honing his craft at Chez Gaubert. This baby’s now  flown the nest, grown his water legs and decided to head out into the big wide open world of sound. About bloody time too as Mr Grizard’s music taste is second to none. His obssession reaches anorakish, train-spotter standards. He and partner in crime, Pierre Mazerolles, have already produced music for a host of shows and soundtracks for Ralph Lauren and Gaultier. I can see big things happening for these two talented, charming fellows. Ever heard of the one about David and Goliath?

Director Jean-Jacques Beineix is probably more famous for Betty Blue but his 1981 debut, “Diva”, has a beauty of its own. Several, in fact. The first being American soprano Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, who plays a determined, beautiful opera singer, Cynthia Hawkins, that refuses to record any of her work. I very much like this idea of a singer who has never heard their own voice played back to them.

The incredibly beautiful Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez

What draws me to Diva isn’t the plot, which hasn’t aged too well. A sort of tangled story of love, corruption and deceit. The aforementioned Wiggins Fernandez literally glows throughout the film as the main character’s love interest. Her rendition of Alfredo Catalani’s La Wally is heart-wrenching. As is Vladimir Cosma’s, who created the soundtrack, Satie-inspired Promenade Sentimental.

There are some truly spectacular scenes in Diva and credit needs to be given to the cinematographer, Philippe Rousselot. In fact, the whole film felt like a composition of image and sound. That probably sounds a bit obtuse as that is fundamentally what cinema is but each frame seems so carefully arranged that to watch Diva feels almost like flicking through a photographic album. Not to say that the film is devoid of emotion or suspense. The scene in which Cynthia and her young admirer Jules [played by Richard Bohringer] stroll around Paris in the early hours of the morning is one of the most tender love scenes I have ever seen.

Miss Hawkins’ wardrobe is also noteworthy. Doesn’t her one-shouldered dress, that Jules steals at the beginning of the film, remind you of Halston? Especially, Bianca Jagger?

Triple delicious.

Marc Jacobs and Paul Helbers have raised the bar so bloody high. This is total, absolute luxury. The shows so far haven’t delivered such a precise, no nonsense line up of perfect, manly clothes. If you’ve gots the cash this is really where you should blow it. Inspired by the Wiener Werkstätte movement, formed in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century, the clothes have been drafted with the precision of an architect. However, there’s a certain nonchalance about the way they have been put together. Natural. The muted colour palette is a dream: coal, smoke, putty, camel, brown. The tactile is played off against the techno – calf skins, mohairs, velvets versus quilted nylons and hi-tech suitings. Great boots too. Did I say delicious?

Waltzing Viennese, I really think so: Josef Hoffman// Palais Societ, Brussells

catwalk images:


Lights, camera, ACTION!!

On the way to the John Galliano show last night the heavens opened. The torrential downpour was hardly surprising. It had been so close during the day that it took me nearly an hour too cool off after a shower. Arriving at the venue, a disused factory in the south of Paris, there was an eerie atmosphere as people stood huddled in groups under the railway bridge that ran parallel down the street, cutting it into two halves. The current state of fashion could not have been illustrated more succinctly. The bridge seemed to symbolise the disparity between what was real and the illusion of The Show.

The rain ceased, the Gods de la Mode seemingly having wept enough. A strange, quasi-comical dance commenced as precariously-heeled fashionistas gingerly negotiated muddy puddles in The Long Walk to the The Show. The atmosphere was quite laid back, all things considered. There was Queen Carine, the editor of French Vogue, leaning against a railing at the loading bay whilst being interviewed by a Japanese journalist. She wore a heavy man’s coat over her shoulders like a cape. Her kohl-smothered eyes seemed alert but the weight of the coat bellied the constant strain of a month of shows, mad scrums, transatlantic flights, parties, endless schmoozing and air kisses.

I stood for a while, people-watching. I pondered the meaning of the show invite, a mock clapper board. It hinted at the silver screen. It was clear that Galliano had gone to the movies this season. At Dior he had been inspired by film noir. For his own eponymous label the Hollywood brief was sure to be more recherché in its interpretation. It later transpired that his famous research trip for this season had been to LA.

Take One

Take One

We stood for a while longer.

Finally, we were allowed to enter a cavernous hall were we stood a for while. A sense of impatience grew as we were kept waiting, human sardines cloaked in darkness. The air was heavy with the scent of knackered perfume, warm sweat and sour breath.

We stood for a while.

A group of girls began clacking their clapper boards and soon the whole room followed suit. The bouncers at the curtained entrance to the inner sanctum paid no attention. The clacking eventually died down.

We stood a while longer.

Then bang! The rush inside began as a few hundred worn out souls funnelled their way in.

The Kiss

The Kiss

A solitary Grace Coddington. Her haunched I’ve-seen-it-all before shoulders said it all. What followed was a bizarre procession of the ridiculous. One by one, and sometimes in pairs, The Celebrities began to arrive. Dita Von Teese! Sequined pale blue dress, ruby lips, porcelain skin. Fragile. Her lips smiled in a strained way. Hey, she’d seen a lot of shows and done a lot of smiling over the last few weeks. Give an artiste a break-down! David Lynch kept flashing through my mind, no doubt aided by the soundtrack to Mullholland Drive that played. John, what are you saying? The paps were in a feeding frenzy, like piranhas gorging of the flesh of the famous. Flash! Flash! Dita! Ditaaaaaa!!! Then like the fishy shoal that they were they suddenly shifted focus as they caught the scent of more celebrity prey. Katy! Katy! Kay-teeeee!!! She’s-hot-then-not-so-cold Katy Perry appeared for role call, veritable beau Brummel, Russel Brand, in tow. Overly glamorous pink evening dress. Perfect hair. Placid expression. Anna Piaggi, fashion’s greatest living eccentric, shuffled past, ignored. You know that things have gone awry when fashion’s grande dames are treated almost like gate-crashers walking into their own party to find it full of strangers.

Then it was the turn of Leigh Lezark, girl about town. This was one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever witnessed. Squashed next to the International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes, the earlier downpour had created a leaky cavern. Suzy dutifully held up an umbrella to protect La Lezark but perhaps, more importantly, her signature quiff  as the paps “papped” away. Hilarious!

Purple Haze

Purple Haze

Then The Almighty arrived. Prince, pretty in cyclamen. Frenzy. Frenzy. Frenzy! The show finally began, photo-ops over with, deals sealed in tabloid and cyberspace.

What about the show?

Well, it was classic Galliano. Pigalle Revisited via Sunset Boulevard and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” crossed with “Grey Gardens”. Faded grandeur. Expired fame. Mild schizophrenia. All paraded through a red laser show and large bubbles that descended onto the catwalk to disappear into a puff of smoke moments later. A beautiful but telling commentary on the ephemeral nature of celebrity. Katy and Dita looked slightly at unease. Prince loved the bubbles, apparently. One stunning dress in yellow bias cut chiffon with panels that danced around the model had every red-carpeter clocking it it up, licking their ruby lips… In reality, the real show centred on the Piranha Moment and Galliano’s infamous bow. He apparently even has a rehearsal for his bow. Now that I would love to see, the master posing for an absent audience!

And then it was over. I leave you with this post-show image. My camera died on me so I regrettably couldn’t take more. It says it all in a nutshell.

Show's Over

Show's Over


The Lone Ranger

Fashion’s Favourite Person seen from the back at the John Galliano show, October 7, 2009. Apparently, Anna Wintour was only in town for the run-throughs with designers before heading back to New York. Could this spell the birth of a new era of shows? A return to salon presentations held exclusively for the great and the good? Fashion is characterised by its tendency towards polarisation. On one hand there is the über private view and on the other we have live streaming of shows on the internet.  Interesting.

Another late night in Paris. It was early on in the evening, not too busy just yet, the edgy fashionistas, Eurotrashistas and Big-walletistas/No-personalitistas hadn’t swamped the club. You could actually feel the air conditioning – this was back in July and Paris wasn’t quite a deadzone just yet. Just liked the way the lights looked and the starburst-y effect the crappy camera on my iPhone gave.