Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Most Memorable Moment of 2013 - Part 3. Rick Owens S/S 14 "Vicious Men"

Here they again, my favourite rebel-rousers of last year: Estonia's Eurovision entry, Winny Puhh doing that crazy primal shriek they do so well. This time as part of a Rick Owens fashion show. It is as electrifying/terrifying as their first foray into world-wide infamy but somewhat less so as they only serve as an aural and visual backdrop to selling clothes. That said, the band come out better of this enterprise than the designer as we are focusing on the bizarre goings on to such a degree that we fail to notice the models strutting their stuff around them. Therefore as a fashion show it doesn't quite succeed but makes up for it in breathtaking spectacle and the internet buzz it created for a designer only the die-hard fashionistas have paid much attention to, prior.

Still, what a breathtaking, subversive extravaganza!

Most Memorable Event of 2013 - Part 2. Rick Owens S/S '14 "Vicious Women"

..."And God Created Woman" - or should it be Rick Owens created "Viscious Women"?

Is September 2013 a turning point for women's fashion? Is it the date when designers finally pull their fingers out their asses and face up to the reality of women's wear? How long can they continue creating images of an idealised female body shape that does so much damage to women's body image and psyche? Anorexic-looking teenagers on catwalks or billboards do no one favours. The buyer who can afford those clothes are middle-aged with a figure of a middle-aged woman. How can the customer relate to what she sees advertised? How do these unrealistic images lure them in the shops? There seems to be a disconnect and designers need to wake up - for their own, the manufacturers's and the entire business's sake.

Hence the Rick Owens show's revolutionary effect on today's fashion. Beyond the clothes (some certainly wearable) the show's impact is more socio-cultural. The first obvious difference is the race of most of the models. Has there ever been a globally significant show dominated by black women like this? Most likely not. But the even more culturally relevant issue is the size of the models. Clearly, these are professional step-dancers, therefore don't necessarily represent the average, but the message Owens is sending out is clear. Photoshopped, stick-thin women are not the norm, designers therefore had better start paying attention to their true audience/market!

Putting aside these hefty issues, there is then the performance. Are catwalk shows - with their recent instant worldwide exposure through the internet - the new THEATRE? Simply because of their populist reach, shows like this or Owens's "Vicious Men" S/S 14 and, especially, Meadham/Kirchhoff's A/W 12 extravaganzas can affect global change in attitudes to body image or women's place in society but can also have a transgressive influence on an international level. But above all, as we have seen in the above mentioned examples, they can be (deep breath in) cathartic. It is no longer enough to send 16 year-olds down a catwalk to a house track, the potential of such setting must be explored for dramatic purposes with a narrative arc, attention to performing to an audience and music.

"Vicious Women" was exactly such a theatrical experience. It was fresh, eye-opening, dramatic, spine-tingling, intensely emotional and, yes, absolutely cathartic! A performance that has permanently seared itself onto our collective consciousness - a seminal cultural moment.

Chaps Choir: Alilo (Rachuli) Live at Union Chapel Dec 17, 2013

Been singing in an all male choir for a year and this was the year's highlight

The Most Memorable Moment of 2013 Part 1

Experienced rather a few outstanding cultural events last year (David Bowie at the V&A, Chaps Choir at the Union Chapel, the cathedral in Palma, Majorca, etc) but this video AND song made the hairs on my back sit up and say WTF!!! Spine was tingled, bumps goosed, mind blown and pants wetted. Not only is this a visceral, primal scream of punk intensity but a proper (dare I say) pop song that I couldn't stop whistling for weeks or indeed get out of my head...And then they returned a few months later on a Paris catwalk and again rocked my world

Winny Puhh, we salute you!

The Sounds of 2013 - Albums

Disclosure: Settle
Pet Shop Boys: Electric 
Jon Hopkins: Immunity
Austra: Olympia
Woodkid: The Golden Age
Jacco Gardner: Cabinet of Curiosities
Matthew E. White: Big Inner 
Cults: Static 
Jim James: Regions of Light and Sound of God
Troumaca: The Grace

The Sounds of 2013 - Singles

Music that gave me involuntary boners on repeated occasions in 2013. (Can't decide on the top 4 - they're all equally awesome) 

1. Todd Terje: Strandbar
1. The Swiss: Eluisa
1. CHVRCHES: Recover (Cid Rim Remix)
1. Teleman: Christina
5. !!!: Slyd
6. Larry Gus: Figueroa Island
7. Troumaca: The Grace
8. Pet Shop Boys: Love Is a Bourgeois Construct
9. Osunlade: Dionne
What Gets You High)
10. Summer Camp: Fresh
11. Temples: Colours to Life/ Shelter Song
12. Toro Y Moi: Say That
13. James Blake: Retrograde
14. Bonobo: Cirrus
15. Pantha du Prince: Photon
16. Zagar: Space Medusa
17. Jungle: The Heat
18. The Cults: I Can Hardly Make You Mine
19. Midlake: Antiphon
20. Pulp: After You

Semi stiffs:

Bombino: Aman
David Bowie: I'd Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)
Disclosure: F For You
Alex Barck: Spinning Around
Franz Ferdinand: Evil Eye