BOOK CORNER #3: "Vidal Sassoon, How One Man Changed the World With a Pair of Scissors" - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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Artist John Baldessari regards images with suspicion. He appropriates them because he can’t help seeing a pseudo-reality or constructing his own. This is the kind of series dreamed up one evening over a beer and a bag of chips. Potato chips come in all sorts of rounded, undulating and irregular shapes that offer obvious comparisons to human features. 

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Baldessari spots hidden faces, closed eyes and prominent cheekbones and presents a gallery of celebrity portraits that can only be picked out by scrutinizing the golden hues and greasy sheen of one potato chip after another. Back to that beer: such a well-judged leap of the imagination from the humble spud elicits admiration as well as wry grins all round. This is art at its most fascinating: poetry emerges from the subtlest twists. Baldessari’s chips –which the cover proclaims as “guaranteed fresh”– are served with a side of humor.

 

 

 

Miracle Chips, John Baldessari, 2009, 96 p. Published by Little Steidl, Gottingen.
Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.

Now that the 1990s have been relegated to vintage territory, it could be fun to cast our eye a little further back, all the way to the punk era. And this collection edited by Julie Davis is the perfect excuse. Davis compiled gig reviews and interviews with a couple of dozen other punk bands such as The Ramones, Buzzcocks, and The Damned. 

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But never mind the content; the look of this book is what really caught our eye. It is presented as a fanzine, with typewritten copy, stenciled headers, corrections scrawled in by hand, raw black and white photography and an almost conversational tone. This is an unposed, unstyled snapshot of a generous and accessible musical genre for which performance matters as much as being in tune. So what changed? In the late 1970s, style was defined primarily by music (punk, ska, and later new wave), ideas, energy, and of course clothes and attitude. Style today tends to be disconnected from content and the 1970s are considered prehistoric.

 

 

"Punk", Julie Davis, 1977, 96 p. Published by Davison publishing, London.
Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.

Tomorrow, our French stores are open!

 

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This week, we cross the sea to go to England and explore the British design of the 80's.

 

 

 

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The explosion of punk in London at the end of the 70's was not just a musical phenomenon. The shockwave caused an upheaval in all the creative fields: things would just never be the same again after the Sex Pistols. This well-structured, well-illustrated book describes pre-punk society, the decorous, conventional 50's, when life revolved around the family and the values of hard work and effort. That is, until punk arrived on the scene and started to really shake things up…

 

Fashion, graphic design, journalism, interior decorating… the 80's were a call back to the revolutionary 60's, with prominent figures such as Vivienne Westwood, Peter Saville and Terry Jones. Surprisingly, we are now beginning to consider the 80's as just another episode in history, a not-too-distant past that nonetheless only shares a distant kinship with the current style. Just long enough ago, it seems, to be on its way back in!
 

"Street Style – British design in the 80's", 144 p., Ed. The Design Council (London), 1987.

Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.

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This week, our BOOK CORNER's choice is the amazing "How One Man Changed the World With a Pair of Scissors" about Vidal Sassoon.

 

Who?

Before becoming a hair care product brand, Vidal Sassoon was the hairdresser who designed the most emblematic women’s hairstyles of the 60s (bouffants, bobs and geometric cuts), just as Mary Quant was inventing the miniskirt.

 

So what?

The fashion world was turned upside down under his influence: we’re talking King’s Road, Grace Coddington and David Bailey. You might think of fashion as being just a combination of clothes, but what really defines a period is what people are doing with their hair. What people put their hair through, the choices they make, conformity or eccentricity… Hair is not just another frill of femininity; it says it all in terms of style and attitude.

 

How?

This book portrays Vidal Sassoon over a period of nearly 40 years through a collection of quotes from the hairdresser himself and the people who were close to him. It takes you on a journey through the recent history of style, the people who created it and those who talked about it. The design of the book was entrusted to Steve Hiett, whose colorful pop touches are a perfect match for the subject.


"Vidal Sassoon, How One Man Changed the World With a Pair of Scissors", 168 p., Ed. Rizzoli (New York), 2012.
Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.

 


 

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