Monday, 26 September 2011

Life is...

"Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise."

George Gershwin (26th September 1898 — 11th July 1937)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Gay Cowboy, man-bag or Victorian ruffian?

And so farewell then, London Fashion Week 2011 - out with a whimper, not much of a bang.

At least Men's Day was quite camp (of course!)...

TopMan Design gave us man-bags and a touch of "60s Biba":

Shaun Sampson for MAN label gave us "Joseph":

A Child of the Jago - as befits a label named after an obscure East End novel - focused on a cross between 80s "Buffalo Style" and "Victorian Ruffian":

But best of all, Jeremy Scott went for the full-on "Gay Cowboy" look!

No scandals, not much in the way of headline-grabbers. Fingers crossed for Spring!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Queen of Fashion Week

"I'll never stop dyeing my hair - I don't want to look like a grey-haired old lady."

On costume design for opera: "I really enjoy dressing huge people who have to look like fairy princesses".

“I feel that if I don’t do something that identifies me, then I feel like a lost person. Even if the rest of the world don’t like it, that doesn’t matter. What matters is I haven’t compromised myself inside.”

"I wouldn't mind being made a Dame. Vivienne is one, after all!"

Zandra Rhodes (born 19 September 1940)

London Fashion Week

Friday, 16 September 2011

Little Bird

Annie Lennox by Satoshi Saikusa, 1991. Image © Satoshi Saikusa
Annie Lennox is celebrated as one of the finest musical voices of our time and one of the most successful female British artists in UK music history. An innovator, icon and performer, her success has spanned four decades and she is internationally renowned both for her music and her personal style.

The House of Annie Lennox is an immersive and intimate display which explores the image and creative vision of the artist. There will be a small selection of costumes and accessories worn by Lennox, together with photographs, personal treasures and awards, ephemera from the political campaigns she has championed, music videos and a specially commissioned video of Annie in conversation.

Black sequinned evening dress and tailcoat, worn by Annie Lennox in the 'Little Bird' music video, 1992. Image © V&A/La Lennoxa
Lennox was born in Scotland on Christmas Day, 1954. In 1971, at the age of 17, she left home after gaining a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Today, she has achieved over 80 million record sales worldwide through her work with The Tourists (1977–80), with Dave Stewart as Eurythmics (1980–90), and subsequently as a solo artist. She is now as well known for her political campaigns as for her music. Winner of numerous musical awards, in 2011 she was awarded an OBE by the Queen for her services to charity.

This display pays tribute to Lennox's passion for life and creativity. Through her artistic output in many fields, she has influenced and transformed the position of a generation of female performers.

Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The House of Annie Lennox is on at the V&A from 15 September 2011 to 26 February 2012.

Annie Lennox official website

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Promise in the stars

"We can't all be stars because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as I go by."

"You may look back on your life and accept it as good or evil. But it is far, far harder to admit that you have been completely unimportant; that in the great sum of things all a man's endless grapplings are no more significant than the scuttlings of a cockroach. The universe is neither friendly nor hostile. It is merely indifferent. This makes me ecstatic. I have reached a nirvana of negativity. I can look futility in the face and still see promise in the stars."

"Being well-dressed gives a feeling of inward tranquility which psychoanalysis is powerless to bestow."

Sebastian Horsley (8 August 1962 – 17 June 2010)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

"Reality is a dirty word for me"

Over at Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle, it's all about the Last Night of the Proms.

Ken Russell's take on the classics, however, is a little more extreme...

"Reality is a dirty word for me, I know it isn't for most people, but I am not interested. There's too much of it about."
Ken Russell

Savage Messiah - a Ken Russell site

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Bad Boy of art

"There is a war against vice in Lancaster. I am going home to speak for vice."

"Paintings must be looked at and looked at and looked at... no writing, no talking, no singing, no dancing will explain them."

Charles Demuth

From the GLBTQ Encyclopaedia:
One of America's first modernist painters, Charles Demuth was also one of the earliest artists in the US to expose his gay identity through forthright, positive depictions of homosexual desire. Demuth, the son of a successful merchant, had the financial freedom to pursue his artistic vision without debilitating regard for public opinion - concerning either aesthetics or sexuality - while his talent ensured that even the most provocative works were of unassailable quality.

Demuth is best known for his many Precisionist paintings of the 1920s, works inspired by Cézanne's landscapes, Constructivist compositions and - closer to home - Hartley's abstractions, but his more significant historical contribution may be the audacious manner in which he responded to the homophobia that greeted his work Distinguished Air (1930).

Loosely interpreting Robert McAlmon's story of the same title, a story set in a Berlin "queer café," Demuth portrayed a situation at an exhibition opening, in which a male couple admires Constantin Brancusi's notoriously priapic sculpture, Princess X, while an ostensibly straight male gallery-goer admires the crotch of one of the gay men.

When several exhibitions refused to include Distinguished Air, Demuth responded by creating overtly homoerotic watercolors of sailors disrobing, fondling themselves, and even urinating in each other's company.

Demuth's expression of homosexuality in his art began to become more obvious after his return (after a rather debauched extended period of time, a lot of it spent in saunas and sleazy bars) from Paris in 1914.

Five years earlier in 1909 he had met Robert E. Locher, a handsome and debonair theatre and interior designer and architect and they formed a long lasting homosexual relationship. It was to Locher that he left the bulk of his paintings on his death. [Charles Demuth and the bad boys]

Although he lived and worked in many environments including several stays in Bohemian Paris, New York's Greenwich Village and the "artistic" (nowadays more likely known as "gay-friendly) community in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Demuth (due to ill-health) ended his days where he began as a resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

There is a museum to his memory established there (although its website appears rather reticent to acknowledge the fact that their treasured artist was a rampant homo) - The Demuth Museum.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Bad Girl

"Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."

"An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises."

"It is better to be looked over than overlooked."

"Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before."

Mae West (17th August 1893 – 22nd November 1980)

Mae West's shoes

All About Mae official website

Monday, 5 September 2011

Miss Razzle-Dazzle

"There are so many really good dramatic actresses that are not working right now. And there are many who cannot sing and dance and shake their butt...and I really enjoy that."

"When you have your overture and there’s people in the house – who paid money to come see you and who want to be with you – who have heard about you or know you from somewhere – do you know what a thrill that is? Can you imagine? Let me at them!"

Mitzi Gaynor (born 4th September 1931)

Visit my regular blog Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle for more Mitzi Gaynor (in celebration of her 80th birthday)...

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Last Drag

"I have no ambition to be the Liberace of the drag world. Why do I have to be described as 'Charles Pierce, female impersonator? Why not just 'Charles Pierce, actor?"
It was not easy for the critics to describe Charles' unique act, but when they did, he would happily appropriate the description. Apparently it was Herb Caen (in whose San Francisco Chronicle gossip column Charles appeared 50 times) who dubbed Charles a "male actress." Another description Pierce enjoyed was The Master and Mistress of Surprise or Disguise. When he played the Fairmont Venetian Room in the 1980s, the ads showed Charles as Bette Davis, holding a smouldering cigarette, with the caption, The Last Drag.

Charles' first stand-up comedy routines were naïvely costumed. In a radio interview in 1983, Charles said, "Through the years the act has had a lot of phases. I originally started in a tuxedo with a box of props. Then I started working clubs in Florida that required a lot of changes in material, so then I started working more or less in drag, and I say 'more or less' because Florida [laws] were very strict: You could wear black pants, you could wear a black turtle neck sweater, but you could not wear a dress. You could put feather boas on, and hats and gloves and pocketbooks, but you couldn't be in drag. And so we did a lot of pantomimes, and then I would do my 'live' material (maybe 10 minutes) at the end of that show. Eventually we ended up here in San Francisco (When I say 'we,' I refer to my partner at that time, Rio Dante), and we 'holed up' at the Gilded Cage for six years. We did a lot of pantomimes, and Mae West's [rock and roll] Treat Him Right was one of them."

Charles Pierce, the star of stars, we salute you!

Read more on IMDB

Friday, 2 September 2011

En Garde!

...the Autumn Fashion Week season is almost upon us!

New York 8th - 15th September
London 16th - 21st September
Milan 21st - 27th September
Paris 27th September - 5th October