Growing up in Los Angeles during the golden age of Californian punk, the duo was inspired by this aesthetic encompassing music, fashion and visual arts. The famous black and white logo drawn in ink of a cult band from the Orange County scene is called to mind and revisited in the collection in both tops and straight-leg shorts. This scene also conjures up the thought of waves drawn with a black felt tip pen, which were ultimately reproduced on tops and accessories.
Today, our throw back Thursday comes from Denise Lai, blogger and founder of SUPERWOWOMG and her KENZO logo sweatshirt from 1994. Twenty years ago!
She explains: "My mom always dressed me and my little sister like twins since we were so close in ages (just 14 months apart!). Of course we had to be in matching KENZO ENFANT sweaters for our yearly new year's eve party back in 1994!"
Where is LA?
California is the background for our Spring/Summer 2014 collections so we asked inspiring locals to share their visions of Carol and Humberto's homestate. Dorothée Perret is a French editor and publisher based in Los Angeles. She founded the independent publishing house DoPe Press that was created with the magazine PARIS, LA in 2008. With a background in fashion and a close connection with artists, DoPe Press supports strong personalities who exert a subtle influence in today’s culture. Here's her very own definition of LA and its lifestyle.
Last weekend the "center" of the Los Angeles art world took place at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA for the Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair. Free and open to the public, the fair attracted nearly 25,000 visitors curious to discover artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 250 international independent publishers. Prices ranged from a couple of dollars to a couple thousand, and business was brisk. I was proud to be part of this amazing gathering with DoPe Press, my publishing house, and to witness a revived interest in printed books and magazines. The event was carried by a huge sense of community and positive energy. People from all over the place — skaters from Fairfax, it-girls from Hollywood, hippies from Echo Park, and bleached boys from Malibu among others — pressed shoulder to shoulder for three days, thirsty to devour and exchange books, art, and contemporary culture.
It was infused with a Californian spirit and the genuinely free attitude people adopt on the West coast. A melting pot where North America touches the South, where the West meets Asia.
In my personal experience this is where L.A. stands right now.
Arriving from Paris one year ago, I was excited to discover sparks of energy and vitality throughout the city, from the dispersed nodes of the art world to the surprisingly active nightlife and a small but passionate fashion demimonde. The magazine I started several years ago, Paris, LA, has always existed between the two cities, and many of my regular contributors, from photographer Todd Cole to the artists Brendan Fowler and Catherine Opie, in unique and different ways epitomize the city’s paradoxically laid-back and supercharged creative scene. Once in a while my Parisian sensibility makes me wish for the dense urban fabric of the Marais, but what Los Angeles has taught me is that proximity isn’t necessarily energy. In the vast desert distances of L.A., sensations are like wildfires, spread on the wind, sweeping rapidly from the mountains to the sea. In Los Angeles, sparks fly.
But of course even the eternally bright sunshine of Los Angeles will never remove the dark aura of mystery, intrigue and glamour that seem to be at the secret heart of this unknowable metropolis. The brightest sunshine makes the darkest shadows. Hidden behind an anonymous door at the end of a parking lot in West Hollywood is an opulent fragment of Old Europe at its most perverse, decadent, and sophisticated. The Chalet Society, an exclusive invitation-only gathering organized by the artist Piero Giolia, seems to exist out of time and place, an artist’s salon constructed in solid oak and red velvet. In a detail that would not be out of place in a David Lynch film, the conversation is accompanied by an elegant woman pianist in her own room, playing softly with her back turned to the audience. While there are decadent touches of Giolia’s native Naples evident in the décor, it is an experience that nonetheless, by virtue of its very placelessness, could only be possible in Los Angles.
In tandem with the burgeoning art life, L.A. offers an incredible take on fashion. The streets abound with cool kids dressed in their own personal styles —including exclusive tattoos never seen before. It’s refreshing to come across people who dress with their own taste or an attitude-- and not according to the pages of trendy magazines. In Los Angeles the landscape is so overwhelming that it opens you to new contingencies. It’s also America—the country of individual freedom, so there is no mental judgment on the way you look, which allows all kinds of fantasy and eccentricity to arise. This feeling of difference is not only palpable on the way a person looks. It’s also part of a whole engagement toward life. It’s about the way you eat, the way you built your house, and which education you choose for your kids.
In California you can live your individuality to the limit. People don’t need validation from others, people validate themselves. Above all, it is not a trendy place, but a land that inspires you to dream a life. And like a mirror, it is only visible as a reflection".
The 29th edition of the International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères will take place from the 25th to the 28th of April 2014 at the Villa Noailles. The exhibitions will run until the 25th of May.
The festival is directed by Jean-Pierre Blanc and Didier Grumbach, who support young talents in the field of fashion and photography every year. Thanks to the partners of the festival, many prizes reward the new wave of creators in competition.
This year the presidents of the jury are Carol Lim and Humberto,our creative directors. They were in Paris on the 22nd of January and chose the final 10 candidates among more than 312 apllications, 55 nationalities, 45 pre-selected.
They were assisted by a team of friends and fashion specialists:
Carol Song, buyer at Opening Ceremony
Chloë Sevigny, actress
Jay Massacret, editor-in-chief of VMan
Eric Wilson, fashion editor of american InStyle
And other personnalities who will complete the jury and join them at the Festival d'Hyères.
The jury selected ten young fashion designers from 8 different countries.
Ukraine, Women Collection
Netherlands, Women collection
France, Women Collection
Netherlands, Men collection
Estonia, Women collection
Japan, Women collection
France, Women collection
Austria, Women collection
Belgium, Men collection
Lettonia, Men Collection
Set credit: Mathilde Nivet
The FALL/WINTER MENS SHOW
This morning our Fall/Winter 2014 men's show was taking place in Paris not far from our headquarters. This season, the West coast is still the main inspiration but this time we head North to the rainy cities.
With this collection, we focused on how perceived classic elements could be broken and reinterpreted.
An effort in opposites attract where the familiar is twisted. The collection is bold, precise in its considered mixing of textures, proportions and shapes.
Everyday tailoring is distinguished yet distorted and what appears as the norm is reflected in an unconventional light. The silhouette is fragmented and layered. Trousers are high waisted, straight legged and worn with chopped knits.
4-button, high-revered suit jackets appear peeking out from underneath hooded sweaters. Discerning asymmetric and delineated stitching on coats and jackets break the classic and defuse the standard. Peacoats with raincoat volumes feature stepping on the back to add extra strata to the silhouette. The collections palette of browns and greys is jarred with injections of orchid and wild lime.
Prints include landscapes, factory worker’s tool creatures and an x-ray neon check. We embroidered replicas of the prints onto plastic foil knits.
To complement our winter collection, accessories are industrial and surface as elements from a steelworkers uniform. Safety boots anchor the chopped up silhouette.
The tool creature bracelets adorn workers wrists while spanner and nuts are pinned to down jackets. Our messenger bag is oversized, metalized, quilted and worn hugged against the body.
KENZINE: Where does your name Synchrodogs come from?
SYNCHRODOGS: We feel some animalistic spirit in us and rather canine, in our behavior in particular. That’s where the word “dogs” come from. At the same time we both are very alike in what we think is beautiful and what's ugly, our tastes and perceptions are “synchronized” to some extent. Those two elements put together are “Synchrodogs” and characterized us quite well.
K: Could you tell us about your background?
S: We both are Ukrainians, self-taught in photography and art. Graduating from technical universities, Tania was supposed to work in some library or archive, Roman should have done some robot automation. Luckily we were both introduced to photography by friends and it also strongly encouraged us to start!
K: How did you two meet and started working together?
S: As we are naturally from two different cities, 8 hours by train from each other, we are grateful that Internet made our meeting possible. In 2008 we both had accounts on some super old school photography website and started exchanging with each other. We were making photographs separately for a year before we met, so we were more or less at the same stage of 'ambitious beginners'.
K: Synchrodogs is a duo, who does what?
S: Both of us do everything. Firstly we develop ideas, then we try to make better ideas out of them. After that we create props and find locations where we can shoot. In between those we also talk about technics, like framing and composition. In our duo nobody is a model and we are both are photographers, though we often use ourselves to make a shot. For us it is often easier to play with our own body, rather than explaining our expectations to a model, so that the shots look as planned. But we mostly use this approach working on personal projects.
K: Do you also have solo projects? Or do you work with other people?
S: No, there is no art of Tania Shcheglova or Roman Noven, we do everything under the alias of Synchrodogs.
K: Is Ukraine a source of inspiration? Kenzo Takada was very influenced by slav cultures in the 80s. Is there a folkloric dimension in your work?
S: For us Ukraine is still a very tribal country, with all its primeval lifestyles mixed up with a slight post-soviet union feeling. People want to look fashionable but since they have no money and don’t read international fashion magazine they have to be inventive to take the most glamorous advantage of their small budget. This creates an absolutely unique background for us to live in, where every girl next door girl is wearing golden high heels just going to buy some bread in a shop. A clear example of this authentic fashion can be seen in our Misha Koptev project.
K: How would you explain the concept behind your Spread of the Week editorial?
S: The main concept for this shooting was to use sewing materials like bows, patches and fabrics, ribbons and brooches, to create those styles that would go in line with the KENZO Fall/Winter 2013 collection.
K: You put your models in abstract situations and poses. How would you define your relationship with the human body in general?
S: In our personal art projects the role of human is diminished, the person is something abstract, something that exists only in the context of nature, something that interact in the context of universe. In commercial shootings we prefer the model to remain less glamorous, more emotive, sometimes even awkward.
K: Where does your obsession for shooting nudes by frozen lakes or forests in winter come from?
S: We don’t have some exact obsession with forests, but it’s true that many of our personal projects are nature related, like the 'Animalism, Naturalism' series. We have to admit that we do love spending time outside the cities, with no people and no buildings around.
K: What would be your top 5 places in Ukraine to visit?
S: 1) Carpathian mountains with its snowy peaks.
2) Crimean Peninsula with its wild nature, sea and heaven garden in Yalta.
3) Lviv with its historical buildings and tiny streets.
4) Kiev with its capital status.
5) Luhansk with its deepest ukrainian ghetto.
Tête à tête with Daniel Sannwald
Daniel Sannwald is a German photographer and director based between London and Munich. He directed a very colorful neon video for M.I.A's new single "Y.A.L.A" where she wears a KENZO Lotus Eyes dress and KENZO jewelry by Delfina Delettrez. He talks about his collaboration with the artist and the magazine...
"I really like working with M.I.A. I met her first for her album artwork shoot a while ago. A lot is based on trust and mutual appreciation for each others work. We both really enjoyed working together and thought it could be cool to do a video one day. I was very happy when the i-D x Kenzo x MIA project came up. The brief was very open and was a dialogue between i-D, M.I.A and I. She is quite a free spirit and changed the song 3 times before the actual shoot. I quite love her for that as she works very much with her instincts and so do I. It was a bit stressful to pull a video together in such little time, but I am very happy with the end result. I wanted to create a visual story rather then a narrative based piece. The idea was to create a psychadelic trip and a lot of colours! As we worked with a visual journey the track gave us the speed of the edit and how we used and applied certain effects. We also tried to pick the looks which worked best in the UV light. It's nice how the clothes start glowing in some parts of the video!
MIA has a very strong vision, something I think is very rare these days with some artists. She wants to make sure that the work resembles her artistic message. However, she has always seen this as a collaboration between the two of us and luckily both our creative visions are very close to one another".
BOOK CORNER #33: Exactitudes
Fast fashion would have us believe that the entire free world now dresses the same. Documentary makers Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroeck demonstrate that strikingly rigid dress codes do in fact continue to exist.
Teenagers, Young Executives, Tattoo Babes, Chairmen and Bimbos all express a group identity through their wardrobe choices. The book documents 58 social groups in 12 portraits. Each portrait is identically framed and shot on a white background, and the “models” have been asked to strike the same pose: “Exactitudes”, is a contraction of “exact” and “attitude”. This volume archives a defined period (1994-2002) but more importantly illustrates the combination of elements that make up a style, and how people are tied up with their social, political or sporting allegiances. A far cry from ready-made fashion.
"Exactitudes", Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroeck, 2002, 128 p. Published by 010 publishers, Rotterdam.
Kenzo, 49, avenue George V, Paris.
It now winks!