Book Corner #15: 'Lay of my Land' by Andrea Zittel - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Zips are one of the key details on KENZO pieces this season. Look out for the zips forming the emblematic K - the symbol of our fashion house – on leather pieces such as our Kalifornia bag and our ‘K’ perfecto jacket

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Using the zips to create the K twists these classically inspired pieces to forge originality that is quintessentially KENZO. The zips are oversize and extravagant, a nod to the excess of the 1980s and the punk aesthetic that triumphed the use of zips, which were a major source of inspiration for the collection. 

The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of Californian culture all summer long, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. Over the course of the season, we have taken you on a virtual roadtrip, taking in modernist and experimental architecture, Venice Beach skaters, gourmet bathers, Mike Kelley's stuffed animal sculptures and David Hockney's swimming pool. So for the last book corner of Spring/Summer 2014, we couldn't resist asking Angelo to indulge in probably California's most famous aspect...Hollywood! 

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I have to admit that there is something that Hollywood does better than anybody else, and that is manufacturing the actors’ image. That’s what the dream factory’s all about! Nobody really wants to know that Marilyn was rather short and that every ‘candid’ shot necessitated a good hour of hair and make up beforehand. “Fame,” in which Brad Benedict has gathered a collection of pop, surrealist, kitsch or caricatural  portraits, is at the same time a tribute to Hollywood and a wink at the reader. Nobody is really taken in, and it’s actually fun: Mona Lisa is masculine, Liz Taylor is unrefined, Woody Allen is fickle, Maris Callas is roaring… Fame is as much a catalog of faces as of graphic designs and styles, from the figurative to the most expressive, and the funniest. Photography, that cannot be ignored, has somehow made drawing obsolete –  for now anyway… 

Fame – Brad Benedict Bei Taschen comics, 1984, 112 p. Ed. Taschen.
KENZO - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

At KENZO, we have been sharing our favorite recipes that have been influenced by the themes of the collection. 

 

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Last season, Petit Comité drew inspiration from Asian and Indian cooking to offer us recipes that were as delicious as they were surprising.


With summer just around the corner, Chefs François Pasteau and Olivier Roellinger taught us how to reconcile the protection of endangered species by cooking delicious fish dishes using pollock, mackerel and black mullet. Yummy!

Carol and Humberto belong to what is known as Generation X, as they were both born in the mid-seventies.

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Their generation epitomizes the uninhibited 1980s creative emancipation that was perfectly embodied by subcultures and counter culture movements like punk.  Carol and Humberto have manifested the spirit of Generation X in their re-appropriation of KENZO, constantly diverting classical French fashion codes to create the unexpected; going from darkness into light, from humor to seriousness.


For the Spring/Summer 2014 collections, Carol and Humberto drew on the defiant and militant characteristics of Generation X and mixed them with the spirit of celebration and optimism that is quintessentially KENZO. 

Go Whale-watching on an L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruise.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!

 

Go Whale-watching on an L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruise
Just sit right back and I’ll tell you a tail- a whale’s tail that is, while you’re aboard this three-hour tour. Blue whales, the largest mammals on the planet, once hunted to brink of extinction, are thankfully still around, and can be found in record numbers off of Santa Monica Bay. Never seen one of the most amazing creatures on the planet in the flesh? Well now’s your chance to see them up close (safety for the animal and passengers will determine how close). And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see it expel from its blowhole, which can sometimes reach 30 feet or more. Sheer beauty and sheer power, the blue whale is a definite sight to see on the L.A. Harbor Breeze Cruises.

 

100 Aquarium Way, Dock #2 in Long Beach. 562-432-4900 www.lawhalewatching.com 
 

Kayak through the Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!

 

Take a ferry from Santa Barbara and head to California’s biggest island, home to the largest and deepest sea cave in the world (nearly a quarter mile long and one hundred feet wide). At the Painted Cave, named for its colorful walls, explorers can paddle or float down into its deepest, darkest chambers. For those worried about getting “trapped”, visit in the spring when a waterfall flows over the entrance/exit. The cave can be difficult to access due to the Nature Conservancy, which owns and manages the northwest portion of the island where it’s located, so it’s best to go through a travel company.


Stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, and fishing are optional. 805-899-4925 www.channelislando/painted-cave-kayaking.php

Ride a dolphin at La Laguna de San Gabriel at Vincent Lugo Park.

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This season, KENZO heads out to California, Carol and Humberto’s home state. We asked Joy Yoon - author of the book 'The best things to do in Los Angeles – 1001 ideas' (Universe / Rizzoli International) - to select some surprising and unexpected addresses in Los Angeles. Our tenth and final installment of the series is about water activities!

 

Creatures of the sea come to life in this make-believe lagoon playground. Dozens of oversize ocean-themed concrete sculptures, designed by artist Benjamin Dominguez in the 1960s, are as fun as they are noteworthy. You can crawl over a sea serpent, climb and perch on top of a giant octopus, and even slide out of the mouth of a pink whale. If you’re looking to actually get wet, there’s a one-foot-deep gated pool for kids to splash around in.


Corner of Wells and Ramona Streets in San Gabriel 626-308-2875 www.friendsoflalaguna.org

The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of Californian and underground culture all summer long, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he picked up ‘Corinne Day – Diary’. The diary is an art book consisting of 100 photographs taken over a 10-year period; a raw, unflinching look at the lives of British photographer Day and her friends. 

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I love fashion because it’s always on the move.  Even when it’s looking back at its own past, it’s still constantly moving forward and innovating.  Fashion photography on the other hand has always been more cyclical.  Seeing for example the work of Juergen Teller, which is instantly recognizable, evokes memories of Corinne Day’s photography in the 1990s.  They share the same documentary outlook, the same passion for counterculture, and the same desire to exhibit alternatives in the purest sense of the word.  Corinne Day was frequently compared to the legendary Nan Goldin and her sudden death of a brain tumor in 2010 cut her down in her prime.  This “diary” bearing handwritten notes remains like a photographer’s manifesto - a memory of her chaotic daily life.  A chaotic life which saw her shooting spread after spread for international fashion magazines and high art exhibitions alike in London.  This unique insight makes it a true collector’s item.  

Corinne Day - Diary, 2000, 116 p. Ed. Kruse Verlag.
KENZO – 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

“What makes L.A. magic? L.A. is unique as a birthplace for music and an inspiration for music subgenres evolving, splitting, morphing…  Hushed like an exciting secret, the city of Angels offers a sun-kissed source of inspiration in contrast to the over-saturation of cultural hubs like Paris, London and Berlin. L.A. has a distinctly young vibe about it today.”  In the second part of our L.A. music digest, Milly McMahon chats to L.A. electronic acts Inc., P.Morris and Rare Times to hear their take on the climate of new music and how hot temperatures keep their audiences the coolest.

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(Top photo by Lonnie Gallegos)

 

Kansas native P. Morris moved to L.A. to live life bright and right. A member of L.A. collective Fade To Mind and label owner of Bear Club Music Group, to date P. Morris has produced for Kelela, Solange, Feist and Le1F. He is also an L.A. taco and Thai food connoisseur.

 

Milly McMahon: What was the first thing that struck you about LA when you initially arrived?
P. Morris : Pretty much immediately upon arriving in L.A., I was in love with the weather. It's a huge cliché, but coming from Kansas where it can go from snowing to completely sunny in a day, the stability of L.A.’s weather is a serious perk for me. Los Angeles is amazing also because there is so much nature in and around the city, as opposed to New York City which is all concrete. Here, I'm less than 30 minute drive from the ocean or the mountains or a nice hike.

 

M.M.: Has your musical style changed since moving there?
P.M.: Although it's too soon to say concretely, I think L.A. has started to have an effect on my music. I think at my core, I've always felt myself to be an "experimental" artist. Being here, I've learned lots of different ways to experiment with what I'm trying to do and to feel like I have that kind of freedom is priceless to me right now. In general when I was working on stuff in Lawrence, I was very closed off - more likely to be found at home working on music than out and about. Since coming here, I can't help but come into contact with a lot of different vibes and I've been very welcoming to outside ideas coming into my process.

 

M.M: How does that fit into the larger L.A. music scene?
P.M. : In general, we all think of Los Angeles as the breeding ground for a lot of the pop culture and pop music. Being here and around that kind of stuff, it's definitely helping to challenge and expand my idea and definition of my own music. I haven't really released any new material since moving here, but I think my next step will be me leaning into some of the stuff I've picked up since living here.

 

M.M. : Besides California, is there anywhere else in the world where you have an affinity?
P.M.: I recently went to the Pacific Northwest and literally fell in love. Both Washington and Oregon are incredible states, I could see myself settling down in either.

Listen to P. Morris on Soundcloud.
 

L.A. duo Alex Talan and Anthony Calonico a.k.a. Rare Times, release records via local independent imprint Feel So Real. Making sexy-sleazy music inspired by the West Coast’s illicit nightlife scene, the production duo share a workspace on the Bay with a pornography studio. 

 

(Photo by Mike Harris)


Milly McMahon: How did Rare Times first become established?
Alex Talan: Anthony and I met in college and began making music together. It was lush and romantic, on a Vangelis and Berlin David Bowie tip. I'm originally from L.A. and convinced him to move down here. We moved into a warehouse space on Alameda and Olympic and started going to undergrounds nearby. Music for Dancers was a big influence on us.

 

M.M. : Why do you think California has become such an exciting breeding ground for new music?
A.T.: California is a beautiful place with cool, open-minded people. L.A. has a surprising amount of cheap industrial space. Musicians need spaces to live and play loud. The scene is diverse. You can see great jazz, funk, techno, house, disco and industrial. The underground is very strong. There are fewer barriers for artists. Listeners are very open to new sounds.

 

M.M.: What makes the west coast such a unique place for underground music movements?
A.T. : I think that the spirit of the West Coast is hedonist. No matter how dark you get with your music, it's still sunny and warm outside.
Anthony:  It's hard to be segregated by scene here. Every musician/producer/DJ has friends who are into different kinds of music. There's also the people who put in the hard work to keep it going: Dublab, Mount Analog, No Way Back, As You Like It, Droid Behavior, A Club Called Rhonda, Funkmosphere, Far too many to name a few...


M.M.: How would you describe your sound?
Anthony Calonico: It's a sensual mixture of adult contemporary, house-y melodrama and a bit of jazz. I like to croon over the beat, laying something soft and beautiful over a hard contour, never disturbing the essential groove, only communicating with it. We want to lure people into our world, one that for us is filled with as many fantasies as truths. A lot of people refer to our music as retro, which is appropriate. But we're also interested in bizarre pairings, new age scales, radio pop, and going even deeper into the groove. Some of our new material is straying from pop form, and exploring longer forms.

 

M.M. : Most of your work references L.A., do you see yourselves more as voyeurs, looking in on L.A. life, or do you write and reflect as if you are a part of it?
A.C.: When we lived on Alameda above Sam's Hofbrau it was difficult not to be a voyeur. Sometimes when I'm on my roof in Koreatown, I play trumpet to people on the street. I try to feel their moods and tempos. I also feel like a jazz gargoyle. I like to watch, and I like to be watched.

 

M.M.: Why is it good to be in LA if you’re a musician?
A.T.: People are open minded and they go out every night!


M.M. :Is there a huge difference between LA in the day and LA at night?
A.C.: It can be brutal in the day, especially trapped in your car with no AC. Night often feels open and luxurious. There's a lot to explore, and it’s easier to get around. Koreatown is a great 24 hour zone. Wi Spa is best around 3am.


M.M. : What was the last thing that you saw or heard that really moved you?
A.C.: Jessie Lanza at the Bootleg Theatre in January. It was a hypnotic and beautiful experience. She appeared like a goddess in a ring of white light with long flowing hair. The house was full and everyone was in love with the music. Every song translated perfectly. The minimal arrangements were even more effective, and her voice was incredible.

 

Listen to Rare Times on Soundcloud

Brotherly duo Andrew & Daniel Aged are Inc.. Longtime L.A. staples, together the darkly influenced artists have performed and recorded with Raphael Saadiq, Dam-Funk, Steve Arrington, John Legend and FKA Twigs amongst many others. Signed to 4AD, Inc. are currently planning a European tour and LP release.


M.M. : Why did you first begin making music together?
A.A.: Music is where we belong, beyond choice. It's a good for the soul.


M.M.: Before forming as a duo you worked with people like Pharrell, Cee-Lo, Elton John, how did that come about and why did you decide to form INC.?

A.A.: It was good to see all of that. As for Inc. it was just gut feelings and a spiritual blastoff.

 

M.M.: How would you describe the current music scene in LA/California?
A.A: I was walking with my lover at a farmers market and saw an old couple playing music together, they looked like an older Tony and Esther. l bought two tubs of hummus, and one avocado. It was ideal.


M.M.: Do you feel that LA music has changed within the last 10 years?
A.A.: It got more vegan bloated, you know that feeling?

 

Listen to Inc. here

Read Part One of 'The Best Coast is the West Coast' here.

The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of Californian culture all summer long, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. Andrea Zittel is an American installation and social practice artist preoccupied with human adaptability and self-sufficiency, manifested in her experiments in building functional “living systems”. Lay of My Land, Angelo’s pick of the week, documents and reflects on these experiments, called A-Z West and located in the California desert.

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Lay of My Land


California is not just about sea, surf, Hollywood and highways.  It’s also about desert.  Yes, to you and I desert might be synonymous with the idea of flat empty expanse between where we’ve been and where we’re going, but to artists that is not always the case.  Andrea Zittel has been channeling her creativity for a decade now whilst living in the Joshua Tree desert, designing and building unique living modules that are practical but minimalist, and offer an insight into her thoughts on community and modern life in the U.S.; on the freedom the desert offers, and most importantly what the desert expects in return.  Zittel and her work demand that we discover another California.

Lay of My Land, Andrea Zittel, 2011, 160 p. Ed. Prestel.


KENZO – 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.