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The realest and most drool-worthy monthly inspiration stolen and compiled by Moodmail.

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Slow

A Saturday at Fondazione Prada

Exactly two months ago we travelled to Milan (unexpectedly as a road trip, due to a storm in Amsterdam) to visit our friend Roel. Looking back at that weekend in February once more; it is safe to conclude that it turned out to be a greatly inspirational (Jos Brink-themed) couple of days, in which we were able to see some of nature's most beautiful hidden treasures in the marble quarries of Carrara ánd some of humankind's more interesting creations when we visited the sweaty Pinacoteca di Brera; the Pirelli HangarBicocca to, for the first time, see Anselm Kiefer's mysterious towers up close; and (finally!) Rem Koolhaas' Fondazione Prada Foundation, where we had the chance to experience the deeply haunting and still extremely relevant 'Kienholz:Five Car Stud' exhibition and sat down with Boglioli's former Creative Director Davide Marello for an enlightening conversation on the state of Italian tailored menswear fashion. The low, late winter sun was out, the sky was blue and the air was cool: this is that rather perfect Saturday at the incredible Fondazione Prada Foundation in captures by Joachim. [ Continue reading ]

Tokyo Compression

When the thrilling 'Tokyo Compression' series by German master photographer Michael Wolf was first presented in 2010, like the rest of the world, we were stunned by its captivating oppressive beauty. In the years that passed, the Asia dwelling photographer kept expanding the series, next to all of the other long-lasting chapters that portray the DNA of different Asian mega cities like Tokyo (and for instance Hong Kong, where the photographer has lived a significant part of his life) as sublime fine-grained puzzles full of mystery and unfamiliar beauty. In total, Wolf worked on'Tokyo Compression' from 2010 until 2013, with three publications as a result, that are among our favorites and part of the most interesting publications of its kind.

Today, we encountered not only one, but three reasons to shine light on this highly inspirational work once again: firstly, the arrival of the definite finale of the 'Tokyo Compression' series in printed form, with yesterday's release of the fourth book named 'The Final Cut' by German publisher Peperoni Books. Secondly, we discovered that some months ago the body of work was nominated for this year's prestigious Prix Pictet and most importantly; as a result of all this renewed interest, the series will be exhibited throughout the world once more in 2017. After it was shown at Blue Lotus Gallery in Hong Kong in the first months of the year, to our great pleasure, a 'Tokyo Compression' exhibition will open for the public in two days in our homebase Amsterdam, where it will be shown next to 'Hong Kong Coat Hangers' at the Wouter van Leeuwen Gallery until the 20th of May. Within that period another part of 'Tokyo Compression' will travel to London, were it will be on display at the Victoria and Albert alongside the other 11 nominees of the Prix Pictet until the 28th of May.

We are extremely excited by this fourth coming of one of our favorite series of all time, so we decided to share some of our favorites below. When in Amsterdam or London: don't miss the opportunity to see Wolf's magic first hand in the coming two months as this seems to be the final chance to do so! [ Continue reading ]

The Red Forest 6

We have been big fans of the work of Norway-based Iranian collage artist Ashkan Honarvar since his graduation days at the HKU University of the Arts in 2007. In the decade that followed, he has been steadily producing series after series on an extraordinary high level, dealing with reoccurring themes like colonialism, war, mass destruction, megalomania and other grotesque behavior. Always succeeding in creating imagery that is both intelligent and haunting, slightly repulsive but always captivating. In March of this year Ashkan presented another highly ambitious series of eight chapters named 'The Red Forest' that he has been releasing over the course of different weeks.

Within the new body of work, all of the different subseries touch the same ('Honarvar signature') aesthetic atmosphere and share the same underlying technique, but every chapter has its unique elements, telling different segments of the narrative. And although every chapter complements the strong emotion of the overarching concept, our favorite out of the body being the sixth, as shared below. The story behind 'The Red Forest' is based on the first seven years of Ashkan's life, growing up in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, which at first sight suggests it is one of the most personal series till date. Yet the seamless fit of the series within the signature running through his portfolio, probably tells how personal his work always is, despite it referring to subjects that are much looser connected to the artist own history. One element within 'The Red Forest' that is a novelty is Ashkan's use of 3D renders, with the skulls and human figures (the female figure is Norwegian model Malena Morgwen) in this project, made with a 3D application Zbrush and then printed out and, as per usual, finished with handmade collage.

Both the subject-matter (as a point of reference for all of Ashkan's work) and this new layer of depth in the disfigurations of human representations, grabs us by the throat a little stronger than ever before, making 'The Red Forest' a significant development and possible important new chapter within the evolution of the brutally talented Ashkan Honarvar. Leaving us waiting eagerly where he will take these new artistic facets in the future.. [ Continue reading ]

Margiela: The Hermès Years

at MoMu Fashion Museum Antwerp

Last week, we once again had the privilege to witness another highly anticipated (a little more than any other we have seen before) exhibition opening at our favorite museum in Antwerp: the MoMu Fashion Museum. In the new exhibition, for the first time ever, the museum focusses on genius Martin Margiela’s often forgotten Hermès collections that he created from 1997 to 2003. The exhibition also touches beyond his extraordinary work for the Parisian house and furthermore showcases the relationship between these collections and the complete vision he created with Maison Martin Margiela.

Groundbreaking deconstruction and timeless luxury –two worlds that Martin Margiela made his own– therefore are the starting point of the exhibition named 'Margiela, The Hermès Years', uniquely displayed in a "split-vision" Hermès orange/Margiela White scenography, designed by the museum's regular collaborator, but more importantly also Margiela's former trusted scenographer: Bob Verhelst. For anyone looking for a razor sharp yet very emotional insight into where many of today's ideas about fashion and modern luxury still find their core inspiration, we can only urge to travel to Antwerp before the end of  August, as this extraordinary exhibition clearly showcases the work of an unparalleled visionary in what for us is already among the best exhibitions of the year. [ Continue reading ]

Romain Laprade

The highly talented Paris-based Romain Laprade is among a select group of photographers, succeeding throughout his ever-expanding body of still imagery work to create highly exiting depictions that are nothing short of cinematic: working in a deep warm color palette full of atmosphere and class. From the moment we caught his work of numerous modernist and post modern buildings (most recently the extraordinary Villa Noailles in Hyères) on Instagram, we have truly enjoyed his exquisite perspective on the world around us and kept track of his portfolio with every new entry. The photographer predominantly finds the inspiration for his imagery by mindfully observing his environment, both in the city, in nature and the exchange between the two. Laprade finds the most aesthetic details in the ordinary or on the other hand captures remarkable architectural creations in the most aesthetic frames. In all of these captures there is an interaction: between the borders of the frame; shades of the colors; rays of light; shadow and textures. These elements, that make up his remarkable signature, prove to be a guarantee for engaging images, having catapulted Laprade to one of our favorite photographers working today from the moment we first caught it. Enjoy some of our favorite images below. [ Continue reading ]

Kotn Flagship Toronto

There was a time in which Egyptian cotton stood for the highest possible quality one could get. In particular Helmut Lang's t-shirts made from that particular fiber, for us at least, being the epitomy of understated luxury. Unfortunately, soon after the term and use became established within the globalizing luxury industry, it started to go down hill with the thriving industry. More and more farmers started mixing Indian and American seeds with their original sources for cotton, which caused both a quality drop and resulted in government involvement in the market that eventually toppled the whole industry drastically: with smaller amounts of true premium Egyptian cotton being exported every year. In spite of these developments, in our minds, cotton from Egypt never lost that connotation of the remarkable. Therefore, when at the beginning of 2016 we encountered a small Toronto-based fashion brand named Kotn —honoring the great heritage of true premium Egyptian cotton and understated basic clothing— that came as a wonderful surprise.

A year earlier, Kotn was founded by friends Mackenzie Yeates, Rami Helali and Benjamin Sehl. Based in Toronto, the company partners directly with cotton farmers and textile factories in Egypt's Nile Delta to produce their high-quality basics, including T-shirts, sweats, boxers and dress shirts. By scrapping the middleman, Kotn ensures a fair wage for their manufacturers and an honest price for the consumer. What started with a quest for the perfect white t-shirt has expanded into a full line of men’s standards – hoodies, henleys, sweatshirts, sweatpants, polos, oxfords, pajamas and underwear. Kotn launched with a direct-to-consumer online model, which has garnered a cult-following for the successful Toronto-based start-up. Last week, the company brought their vision to the next level by opening their first brick-and-mortar shop on Toronto’s Queen Street West. Whenever in Ontario's capital, make sure to drop by and get familiar with their inspirational vision! [ Continue reading ]

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry

at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles

After it was first presented to the world at the MCA Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City last year, two weeks ago the MOCA in Los Angeles opened the tremendously exciting 35-year retrospective of one of our favorite painters working today: Kerry James Marshall. Marshall’s figurative paintings have been unparalleled in their consistent portrayal of African American culture and history. The now nearly 600 years of painting in America contains remarkably few African American painters and even fewer representations of black people. Marshall —being a child of the civil rights era— set out to redress this absence from the moment he consciously picked up his paintbrush, inspired by one of his personal heroes: social realist painter Charles White. 'Kerry James Marshall: Mastry' is the artist's first major retrospective in the United States, containing nearly 80 paintings, all of which contain images of Black subjects going about their daily business, presented with utter equality and humanity. A deeply accomplished artist, who makes ravishing paintings, Marshall’s strategy was three fold.

First, as a young artist he decided to paint only black figures. He was unequivocal in his pursuit of black beauty. His figures are an unapologetic ebony black, and they occupy the paintings with a sense of authority and belonging. Second, Marshall worked to make a wide variety of images populated with black people. This led him to make exquisite portraits, lush landscape paintings, everyday domestic interiors, and paintings that depict historical events, all featuring black subjects as if their activities were completely and utterly normal. Third, Marshall concentrated on painterly mastery as a fundamental strategy. By mastering the art of representational and figurative painting, during a period when neither was in vogue, Marshall produced a body of work that bestows beauty and dignity where it had long been denied. Both on the individual level of Marshall's extraordinary unique artistic vision and today's context granting an ever-growing relevance to his body of work: making that when you are somewhere near Los Angeles, there is no reason whatsoever to miss this incredibly relevant exhibition! [ Continue reading ]