Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Art

Sassoon brings hair styling exhibition to downtown L.A. Art Walk

Sassoon style is coming to Art WalkThose who doubt that hair styling is an art may want to check out a new offering at the monthly Art Walk in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday. 

Jeremy Davies-Barbala, senior creative director for Sassoon Salon in Beverly Hills, is orchestrating the premiere of Sassoon at the Art Walk, designed to highlight hair style as a creative statement.

Essentially, models in the windows of the Robert Reynolds Gallery will present a collection of artistic styles, focused on the most creative aspects of color and cuts. The presentation will occur in 20-minute increments from 8:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. at the gallery, 408 S. Spring St. 

I suspect the styles will go beyond the now-classic look the late Vidal Sassoon gave actress Nancy Kwan, shown here, in his heyday -- but even this one was considered ground-breaking in its time for the structure and architectural quality for which Sassoon became famous.

The downtown L.A. Art Walk happens on the second Thursday of each month, mostly in and around the galleries on Spring and Main streets between 2nd and 9th streets.



Vidal Sassoon had a style of his own

Wigs and extensions make fantasy hair mainstream

Black women are rewriting the rules on hair texture and style

--Susan Denley

Photo: The Vidal Sassoon bob that shook the world -- on actress Nancy Kwan. Sassoon style is coming to downtown Los Angeles' Art Walk. Credit:Terence Donovan


Pasadena exhibit is inspired by legendary Helmut Newton

Pasadena exhibit inspired by Helmut NewtonThe legendary photographer Helmut Newton got his start photographing fashion and ads, often in shockingly sexualized ways. (The photo here is part of a promotion for Montblanc pens.)  He became one of the mostly highly regarded photographers of his era (he died in 2004) and he was generous in sharing his skill and insights with aspiring students.

Three of those former students -- George Holz, Mark Arbeit and Just Loomis -- have mounted a traveling exhibition of work they've done inspired by what Newton taught them when he took them under his wing more than 20 years ago. "Three Boys from Pasadena: A Tribute to Helmut Newton" was curated by Newton's widow, June, and is on display at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design's Williamson Gallery through Aug. 26.

Writer Steve Appleford found out more about the exhibit for a story in Sunday's Image section. It says something about the power of art and friendship.


"Herb Ritts: L.A. Style" at Getty

Renowned photographer Lillian Bassman leaves a legacy 

--Susan Denley

Photo: In a detail from a Helmut Newton photo -- part of a promotion for Montblanc pens -- one model uses another as her personal note pad. Credit: Helmut Newton



'Snow White' ballet, with Gaultier-designed costumes, hits L.A.

Ballet preljocaj
Those who want to avoid the busy mutliplexes through the opening weekend of "The Hunger Games" might want to consider heading to the ballet instead -- especially if they happen to be fans of both high fashion and avant-garde dance.

That's because Ballet Preljocaj's production of "Snow White" -- with costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier -- hits town for three performances starting Friday evening. (In case you missed it, I wrote a piece about the ballet -- and the costumes -- that ran in Sunday's Calendar section.)

Although the ballet itself is not new -- it premiered in France in September 2008 and has toured Europe and Asia extensively -- it hadn't been performed in the U.S. until last weekend's March 17 stateside debut at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.

Ballet Preljocaj's "Snow White," 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A. Tickets: $28 to $110. Information: (213) 972-0711 or


'Hunger Games' fashion comes to fiery life

Paris Fashion Week: Jean Paul Gaultier gets in the aloha spirit

Paris Fashion Week: Jean Paul Gaultier does elder-chic

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: A scene from Ballet Preljocaj's "Snow White" ("Blanche Neige"), which will be in town for three performances beginning March 23, 2012. Credit: Jean-Claude Carbonne 

MOCA’s 'The Total Look' exhibit opens to a stylish crowd

Cameron Silver, left, John Demsey, Jeffrey Deitch and Peggy Moffitt at the opening of "The Total Look'

This last weekend may have been buzzing with all things Oscar, but Saturday night belonged to Peggy Moffitt, who was feted by a crowd of art and fashion patrons for the newly opened exhibit “The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton,” which opened Sunday at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. 

Guests got a first look at the MAC Cosmetics-sponsored exhibit, which showcases a selection of  Moffitt’s extensive collection of Gernreich’s creations as well as films and photographs taken by Claxton of Moffitt wearing the clothes. Vidal Sassoon and Peggy Moffitt at 'The Total Look' opening

“We pulled from the over 400 samples [of Gernreich pieces] Peggy has.” Said MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch, who was introduced to Moffitt by the exhibit’s curator, Cameron Silver. “Seeing the fashion is as good as seeing a great painting or sculpture.”

Attendees certainly seemed inspired by Moffitt’s trademark mod-style eye makeup and Gernreich’s graphic, body-conscious pieces, opting to emulate the look that evening. Several women wore a distinct black cat-eye on their lids, and a few donned Holly Golightly-style dresses to get into the '60s spirit. The evening also drew a handful of notable names, including Mila Kunis, Michael and Eva Chow, China Chow, Wolfgang and Gelila Puck, designer Trina Turk, Silver and Moffitt, as well as legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, who sat by Moffitt’s side at dinner and was the first to rise during a standing ovation for the still-striking 75-year-old former model.

For John Demsey, chief executive of MAC Cosmetics, the evening and exhibition brought up a little family history. “My grandfather owned the company that supplied yarn to Rudy Gernreich back when he was designing,” Demsey said.

Impressive what Gernreich, who was based and designed in L.A, did with that yarn until his death in 1985, working it into ahead-of-its-time fashion that still resonates with fans today.

“The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton” runs through May 20, 2012 at the MOCA Pacific Design Center

-- Melissa Magsaysay


A-list stars attend pre-Oscars Vanity Fair dinner

Marni at H&M collection launches with a star studded Hollywood party

Rooney Mara, Kate Beckinsdale at the Costume Designers Guild Awards

Top photo: Cameron Silver, left, John Demsey, Jeffrey Deitch and Peggy Moffitt at the opening of "The Total Look: The Creative Collaboration Between Rudi Gernreich, Peggy Moffitt, and William Claxton." Credit: David X. Prutting / Billy Farrell Agency

Right photo: Vidal Sassoon and Peggy Moffitt. Credit: David X. Prutting / Billy Farrell Agency

Spirit hoods and Butterick patterns inspire Shag's latest paintings

The latest paintings by Josh Agle, better known as Shag, came about after the artist noticed teenagers and hipsters wearing hoodies and beanies with animal ears, antlers and horns

Although still firmly rooted in the Mid-Century bachelor bacchanalia he's known for, the latest batch of paintings by Josh "Shag" Agle also manages to mine a trend we've noticed over the last few seasons -- animal prints and curious pieces of hipster-meets-wildlife headgear, like those made by SpiritHoods.

In the paintings, which are part of a new solo show, "Animal Kingdom," that opens Saturday at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, gamine gals can be found lounging about in all manner of feline finery, or playing cat-and-mouse with an assortment of well-dressed fellows sporting antlers or horsing around in equine costumes.  

"I'd started noticing the hoodies and the knit caps with the ears not last year but the year before," Shag told All The Rage recently. "And I thought they were cute, but then I came across some of those old Butterick patterns at the Long Beach Veterans [Stadium] flea market -– and there was one in particular that was for making kids’ and adults' animal costumes. There were different patterns for ears and tails so depending on what fabric you used you could change the costume."

"I've been painting women dressed as cats and things like that for years, but I liked the idea of painting people in costumes to sort of represent their persona, and that was the germ behind the idea for this group of paintings."

Agle said there will be 15 new paintings as well as some rare prints "and a few other things" at the upcoming show. He also filled us in on the details of the 2010 accident that landed him in the hospital and temporarily sidelined his career.

"In late 2010, I fell through a big, giant plate glass window at my house -- like the ones in my paintings, I have huge floor-to-ceiling walls of glass in my house -- I'd gotten back from a trip to the U.K. at about 3 a.m. and stupidly thought I wouldn't go to bed and [would] just start working, even though I'd been up for almost 48 hours. I started feeling lightheaded and that's the last thing I remember before waking up in intensive care in the hospital."

Agle says the resulting injuries forced him to stop painting for a while. "I couldn't even really hold a paintbrush," he said. "So I took most of 2011 off; I didn't paint for a few months or do any shows." 

A little over a year later, he says he's back at it. "I have some scars and a little bit of nerve damage in my shoulder, but for the most part I’m recovered. ... I love to work. I’m a workaholic."

In addition to the upcoming show, Shag's artwork and inspiration will soon be seen on Harvey's handbags and limited-edition Vannen timepieces, both slated to make their debut this spring.

In the meantime, any cool cats and hipster kitties prowling for a Shag fix would do well to bust out their best spirit hood and shake a tail feather over to the Culver City gallery

Shag's "Animal Kingdom," Feb. 11 to March 7, Corey Helford Gallery, 8533 Washington Blvd., Culver City. 


Culture: They're carrying a torch for tiki

Shag rags: New men's line mines the artist's ouevre

Muppet SpiritHoods: Being green just got a little easier

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: "The Cat Carrier" is one of the 15 Shag paintings set to appear in the artist's upcoming solo show. Credit: Corey Helford Gallery

Fantastical art and fashion abound at LAXART Ball

Ball of Artists
The plate-breaking clowns in the kitchen, the cricket concert in the conservatory, and the party ball (literally) of performance artists on the patio were just a few of the incredible delights to be savored  Saturday night at the LAXART Ball of Artists at Beverly Hills' historic Greystone Mansion.

The event was a smash hit, following a long list of smash hits in L.A. this season, beginning in November with the Museum of Contemporary Art's gala of human centerpieces, conceived by performance artist Marina Abramovic. (Would hate to be a party planner in this town -- the bar has been set unreasonably high.)

Organized by LAXART, a nonprofit community arts space, in partnership with the Getty Research Institute, the Ball of Artists included some 20 artists and site-specific performances throughout the 1926 Tudor-style mansion and surrounding grounds, and was billed as the concluding celebration of the citywide Pacific Standard Time: Performance and Public Art Festival.

Of course, the performance artists were far from the only eye-catching inhabitants of the mansion  Saturday night, with attendees turning out in all manner of fantastical finery.

The men were dressed all along the spectrum (and some even in the whole spectrum), from bare feet to kilts to black tie. One fellow turned up in bright red Nike athletic shorts and a button-front dress

Continue reading »

'Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection’ on view at LACMA

Rodarte sketch

It's worth a visit to the L.A. County Museum of Art to see "Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection," by L.A. fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, newly installed in the museum's Italian Renaissance gallery, surrounded by classic Renaissance artworks.

Coming around the corner from the elevators into the third floor gallery, the nine gowns take your breath away, suspended from invisible wires in the middle of the space, their warm colors (cantaloupe, mint green and celestial blue), draped and pleated textures playing off the figures in the frescoes and paintings on the walls. 

Wing-like design motifs and soft feathers make some of the gowns look as if they could unfold and take flight. (And bring to mind the Mulleavy's costume designs for the film "Black Swan.") Others are decorated with hand-forged gold metallic headpieces, breastplates and belts inspired by gilded rays and other elements of Renaissance art.

Rodarte at LACMA
The collection, on view through Feb. 5, was first shown in June 2011 as a site-specific installation at Pitti Imagine, an apparel trade show in Florence, Italy. The gowns are the first works by Rodarte to enter LACMA's permanent collection, a promised gift to the Costume and Textiles Department.

The Mulleavy sisters were on hand Thursday to discuss the collection. Museum Director Michael Govan introduced them, saying how pleased he was to have the collection, which he described as "something that is contemporary that responds to art history."

The designers traveled to Florence for the first time for the project, and were overcome with the beauty of the art, especially the Fra Angelico frescoes at San Marco. "Everywhere we went, we cried," said Laura. "Color really guided us for this," Kate said. "We usually work with the idea of who is going to wear or buy something. But this was an opportunity to do something just to make it."

"Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection," through Feb. 5, Ahmanson Building, third floor, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 857-6000.

-- Booth Moore

Images, from top: "Fra Angelico Collection" sketch by Kate Mulleavy, promised gift of Rodarte. Credit: Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

"Fra Angelico Collection" gowns by Rodarte. Museum Associates/LACMA.


Spring 2012 New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

Fall 2011 New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

In the handcrafted work of Rodarte, MOCA sees much more than runway style

Bedhead X LACMA: Spend a night at the museum in Paul Laszlo PJs

Bedhead Pajamas front window
Los Angeles-based loungewear label Bedhead Pajamas, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has created a collection of loungewear and table linens using a 1954 Paul László textile design from its “California Design, 1930–1965: Living in a Modern Way” exhibition.

If you didn’t notice the trippy textile in the exhibition itself (which opened Oct. 1 and runs through June 3, 2012), you might have caught the collection in LACMA's gift shop –- though we have to confess all of our attention at the time was focused on procuring one of the cool-looking posters (adapted from a Ray Eames design that originally appeared on the cover of the May 1943 issue of "Arts & Architecture").

Paul Laszlo's European Group textileBut, a few weeks later we couldn’t have missed it as we walked past Bedhead’s 3rd Street flagship boutique, where a pajama-clad family of four Midcentury Modern mannequins had taken up residence in the storefront window display (Look! Ultra-modern flair for baby!), posed alongside two of the museum's street light pole banners. 

Even if you're not familiar with the name, you're more than likely familiar with the work of the architect and interior designer László (1900-1993), a Hungarian emigre who liked to oversee every aspect of his projects -- not just drafting architectural blueprints, but textile design, furniture, lamps and the like. His contributions to the landscape of Los Angeles and beyond included stores like Bullock’s Wilshire, Robinson’s and Orbach’s, and celebrity clients like Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor earned him the nickname "the millionaire's architect." 

According to Bedhead Pajamas’ CEO and designer Renee Claire Bertrand, the collaboration project began when Wendy Kaplan, head of LACMA’s Decorative Arts and Design department, asked Bertrand to select a textile from the museum’s “California Design” exhibition to use on an array of gift shop merchandise, and she chose the Laszlo upholstery textile design, which according to the Bobbye Tigerman essay in the book accompanying the exhibit, "drew on the biomorphic shapes of Hans Arp and Joan Miró." (Purists take note: according to Bertrand, the version that appears on the merchandise has been tweaked ever-so-slightly from the original, making it slightly smaller in scale and slightly brighter in tone.)

Bedhead TshirtThe result is a range of pieces that includes men’s, women’s and children’s pajamas, T-shirts, boxer shorts, table runners and napkins, which have been available through the LACMA gift shop and Bedhead’s bricks-and-mortar 3rd Street store since Oct. 1.

(If you're not nearby, the pajamas are currently in stock at both Bedhead's and LACMA's websites. The women's pieces are a 95% cotton and 5% Lycra blend with lavender piping, the men's are 100% cotton sateen with brown piping, with retail prices ranging from $128 to $142 -- depending on where you buy them and whether you're a LACMA member.)

“The collaborative products have been selling remarkably well, which points to the possibility of doing numerous projects of this kind, with a variety of museums,” Bertrand told us. “This show is going to travel the globe and it’s hugely popular.”

Although Bedhead is already known for the surfeit of boldly patterned PJs it creates, the pairing of the icon of Midcentury design is an especially good fit given that it keys into the overall vibe of the 3rd Street store interior, which includes a 10-foot-in-diameter Herman Miller conference table, George Nelson dining table, Dutch modern industrial chairs and a pair of 1930s Alvar Aalto bent wood shelving units. 

Bedhead Pajamas, 8336 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. 


Paul László: A flair for Hollywood

Review: 'California Design, 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way'

LACMA hosts first Art + Film gala honoring Clint Eastwood and John Baldessari

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: The front window of Bedhead Pajamas 3rd Street flagship; a T-shirt from the Bedhead Pajamas for LACMA collection. Credit for both: Grant Mudford.

The original Paul László textile design circa 1954, image from LACMA

Rankin, Damien Hirst 'Myth' collaboration to debut in L.A

Rankin Hirst collaboration in LA
Fashion photographer Rankin, and skull-bedazzling artist Damien Hirst have chosen Los Angeles as the place for the world debut of a collaboration titled "Myth, Monsters and Legends." 

The photo exhibition, which opens at the Rankin Gallery Los Angeles on Oct. 13, leverages the duo's artistic skills to update, re-imagine and breathe creepy but beautiful life into assorted Greco-Roman mythological beasties including Medusa (above left) and Cerberus (portrayed by Hirst himself).

In addition to the artists themselves (who are apparently longtime friends), the third person whose presence can be felt throughout is model Dani Smith (she's the one portraying the heavy- lidded Gorgon Rankin Damine Hirst and Dani Smith above), whom, as Hirst says in the press release announcing the show, he'd originally met through another photographer by the name of Sante D'Orazio, and has since become one of his favorite
subjects. (Hirst cast her in the U2 music video for "Even Better Than the Real Thing" that is included in the current leg of the band's 360 tour.)

"In my show, she's supposed to be an unobtainable beauty that an art collector tries to possess. He commissions artists to make sculptures of her -- as a sun god and a centaur," Hirst explained.

The show makes its world debut with a private viewing on Oct. 12, opens to the public the following day, with a similar exhibition scheduled to open at London's Annroy Gallery a week later.

And, while the model in the myths may remain an unobtainable beauty, reminders of it aren't -- since a book version of "Myths, Monsters and Legends" is slated for release on Oct. 20. 

"Myths, Monsters and Legends," Oct. 13 to Nov. 5, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at Rankin Gallery Los Angeles, 8070 Melrose Ave.


Rankin, Swatch collaboration: The eyes have it

Poll: How offensive is Damien Hirst's diamond-encrusted baby skull?

Spring 2008 collections: Now That's a Label to Die for

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Images from Rankin and Damien Hirst's "Myths, Monsters and Legends" collaborative exhibition, which makes its world debut in Los Angeles on Oct. 12. Credit: Rankin and Damien Hirst

'Posing Beauty' photo exhibition at USC Fisher Museum of Art

We covered "Beauty Culture," the current exhibition at the Annenberg Space for Photography that explores different interpretations of beauty. And as that show draws to a close this November, the subject is tackled again in an exhibit called "Posing Beauty" at the Fisher Museum of Art at USC.

The exhibition, curated by Deborah Willis, professor at New York University and chair of the school’s department of photography and imaging, is making its West Coast debut at USC from now until Dec. 3. The grouping of 80-plus pieces mostly black-and-white photography aims to present works that capture the aesthetic of each photographer and their relationship with their subject.

Subjects such as beauty queens, 1960s swimsuit models, barber shop culture, couples donning their church clothes and music icons like James Brown and Otis Redding are presented throughout the space and displayed in one of three categories: “Constructing a Pose,” “Body and Image” and “Modeling Beauty and Beauty Contests.”

The photos are gorgeous and the subtext begs for further discussion on what we consider beautiful and the various ways artists and photographers have expressed their feelings on the subject over the last several decades.

Read more about "Posing Beauty" in this Sunday's Image section.


Celebrities turn out for the opening gala of "Beauty Culture" at the Annenberg Space for Photography

As 'All My Children' ends, Susan Lucci recalls top Erica looks

Miss Universe 2011 shares beauty tips

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: "Atlantic City, Four Women," circa 1960s by John W. Mosley. Credit: John W. Mosley, Curatorial Assistance


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