Category: Fashion

Choreographer Larry Keigwin brings together dance and fashion at Lincoln Center

September 7, 2010 |  4:36 pm


It appears that fashion designers aren't the only people who bow down to Anna Wintour, the icy editor of Vogue magazine. The dance world is also eager to please the all-powerful fashion doyenne, as evidenced by Tuesday's "Fashion’s Night Out," a Vogue event taking place at Lincoln Center.

Choreographer Larry Keigwin has taken on the job of staging the party, which is being billed as the world's largest fashion show featuring more than 150 of the industry’s top models as well as a slew of celebrities. CBS is livestreaming the event from Lincoln Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza.

Keigwin is one of the heads of the New York dance company Keigwin and Company that specializes in flashy, high-energy productions that bridge the worlds of high art and popular entertainment. The company has performed at such notable venues as the Joyce Theatre in New York and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

"Fashion's Night Out" is being co-organized by Vogue and SPEC Entertainment. Andre Leon Talley, the magazine's editor at large, is hosting the event along with model-blogger Hanneli Mustaparta.

-- David Ng

Photo: Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley. Credit: Diane Bondareff / Associated Press

Why Rainn Wilson Hates LACMA (and other 'Cell Phone Stories')

August 4, 2010 |  1:09 pm

Rainn Wilson wants to tell you all the reasons why he hates the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. And the museum is happy to help him do it.

RainnWilson, who plays Dwight on NBC's "The Office," gave Culture Monster a preview of what he's thinking: "LACMA's a very valuable piece of property that really should be developed. I'm thinking condos immediately. I know it's by the Grove but I think another mall might be a good idea as well. My mission is to destroy the remaining art institutions in L.A. and look at the value of the real estate beneath them."

The actor will share such ideas in a "hostile" takeover of LACMA's Twitter feed on Friday and Saturday as part of "Cell Phone Stories," a summer-long project in which guest artists are using mobile-phone technology and social media to create "episodes" designed to re-imagine the museum experience.

In seriousness, Wilson says, he's a LACMA member and has been going to the museum for years. He and his father collect art. He loves LACMA's collections and  said he is a fan of "the Broad wing, which I think is one of the greatest buildings in Los Angeles."

Wilson also is a Twitter master -- he estimates he has about 2 million followers -- so it's easy to see why he was recruited for this episode (which is succinctly named "I Hate LACMA"). "They want to show that you can poke fun at the museum and that a museum can have a sense of humor," Wilson says. He's eager to oblige. "I'm gonna take 'em down."

"Cell Phone Stories," which was launched in May and ends Sept. 6, was conceived by artist Steve Fagin at the request of LACMA director Michael Govan. Subscribers receive weekly texts alerting them to offerings on the museum's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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Monster Mash: Meryl Streep among arts honorees; new Geffen season includes LaBute, Letts

April 12, 2010 |  8:18 am

Meryl -- Academy's awards: Actress Meryl Streep and conductor James Levine have been elected honorary members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Those inducted into the main body include composers Tania Leon and Fred Lerdahl, architect Thom Mayne, painters Thomas Nozkowski and Peter Saul and authors Marilynne Robinson, Francine Prose, Thomas McGuane and Richard Powers. (Associated Press)

-- Marquee names: The Geffen Playhouse's 2010-11 season will feature works by Jane Anderson, Neil LaBute, Tracy Letts and Lynn Nottage. (Los Angeles Times)

-- Family fight: A handful of longtime board members of New York's Whitney Museum of American Art, including its biggest benefactor, is opposing a plan to expand the museum to a second building. (New York Times)

-- Height of elegance: A new exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London showcases Grace Kelly the actress, bride, princess and, notably, style icon. (Daily Telegraph)

-- Fresh start: After two years of renovations, the Oakland Museum of California will reopen as an interactive art-history center whose curators aren't afraid to mix it up a little. (San Francisco Chronicle)

-- Answers, please: Several of the United Kingdom's leading theater organizations have devised a new way to measure how well a production works. (Hint: Think audience questionnaire.) (Guardian)

-- Designing woman: Dixie Carter was best known as TV's feisty Julia Sugarbaker, but the actress-singer, who has died at age 70, also was a veteran of New York and regional theater. (

-- Final farewell: A crowd of about 1,500, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attended a memorial service for Wolfgang Wagner, the grandson of Richard Wagner and longtime director of the Bayreuth opera festival dedicated to his grandfather's works. (Associated Press)

Also in the L.A. Times: "Glee" heartthrob Matthew Morrison has a decade of Broadway experience under his belt; music critic Mark Swed reviews Franz Schreker's "The Stigmatized" at Los Angeles Opera; many comic-book superheroes trace their roots to Wagner's "Ring."

-- Karen Wada

Photo: Meryl Streep. Credit: Rich Schmitt / AFP/Getty Images

United States Artists announces winners of $50,000 grants

December 14, 2009 |  7:00 pm

Mulleavy Rodarte Fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, architect Neil Denari, choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, filmmakers Charles Burnett and Renee Tajima-Pena, composer-musician Daniel Plonsey and photographer Anthony Hernandez are the Southern California winners of 2009 United States Artists grants, to be presented tonight at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. 

The unrestricted $50,000 grants are given each year to 50 artists in the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts and visual arts.

Citizens and legal residents of the U.S. are eligible for the privately funded awards, selected by a nomination process. This year’s award winners come from 18 states and range in age from 18 to 82. Among them are Hawaiian hula master Hokulani Holt-Padilla, Texas composer and jazz trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe and New York writer Sapphire, whose novel, “Push,” inspired the film “Precious.”  Recipients in the visual arts category include Terry Allen of New Mexico, Dario Robleto of Houston and Vija Celmins, Joan Jonas and Kim Jones of New York.

The awards ceremony will pay tribute to Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad for their lead gift of $1 million, which has funded grants for 20 artists over the last four years, and the Miami-based Knight Foundation, which has donated $1 million to support artists who live in the 26 cities that have been home to Knight newspapers.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photo: Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s Rodarte, spring/summer 2010 collection. Credit: Dan Locca

Related: Recipients of United States Artists grants can get creative with spending them

Art-world figures join the Obamas on Vanity Fair's Best-Dressed List

August 9, 2009 | 11:30 am

Cy Twombly

It may come as no surprise that fashion-forward first couple Barack and Michelle Obama made Vanity Fair's 2009 International Best-Dressed List.

But Culture Monster is pleased to report that a number of arts figures also made the cut alongside the predictably chic Hollywood stars, politicos, businesspeople and lesser-known royalty.

Those nattily attired artists include American abstract painter Cy Twombly, 81; photographer Bruce Weber, 63; Agnes Gund, former Getty Trust board member and president emerita of New York City's MoMA, and Ike Ude, an artist and founder of aRude magazine, who cites as his fashion influences Edward VIII and Charles Baudelaire. 

There is also one arts leader in the popular lesser-known-royalty category: Count Manfredi Della Gherardesca, 48, a resident of London, who describes his personal style as "classic with many twists."

Here's Twombly, above, in a contemplative mood at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art in 1995 during a comprehensive survey exhibition of his work. You can see for yourself that the artist looks far more fashionable and certainly less rumpled in Vanity Fair.

Sad to say, Culture Monster did not make this year's list -- but, for the record, we clean up nicely too.

-- Diane Haithman

Photo: Cy Twombly. Credit: MOCA photographer Carol Cheetham / For The Times

L.A.'s Natural History Museum stars alongside ZZ Top

August 4, 2009 |  5:12 pm


What is ZZ Top doing posing in front of this museum diorama of African elephants and buffalo?

As our friends at the All the Rage blog report, the image belongs to the new Fall 2009 ad campaign by designer John Varvatos that was shot at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park.

Photographer Danny Clinch conducted the shoot in the museum's African Mammal Hall and North American Hall during off hours, according to a museum spokeswoman. The photo shoot took place on March 9, says the museum.

The diorama shown above depicts a waterhole near the Tana River in Kenya and is populated by cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana). The background art for the diorama was created by Duncan Alanson Spencer.

Yard, a creative agency based in New York, conceived the ad campaign, with inspiration coming from ZZ Top’s 1976 World Wide Texas Tour as well as the leather featured in the John Varvatos fall lineup.

ZZ Top consists of Billy F Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.

-- David Ng

Photo: Members of ZZ Top pose at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Credit: Danny Clinch / John Varvatos

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Natural History Museum modernizes 1913 building, looks to the future

Free day for Bowers' Rembrandts, if you dress for access

July 12, 2009 |  8:30 am

Rembrandt Why is this man frowning?

Apparently, Rembrandt, who engraved this self-portrait in 1630, didn't foresee that the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana would be celebrating his 403rd birthday on Wednesday by offering free admission to anyone who shows up dressed as the birthday boy -- or in any other form of Renaissance period garb.

Those with doublets, tights, plumed hats, flowing gowns, halberts and helmets -- or any other leftover costume from a Shakespearean stage production or the Renaissance Faire -- can pull it out of the trunk and skip the $12 regular admission or the $9 fee for seniors and students.

But those who want to truly dress for the occasion might consider a more raggedy look. The just-opened exhibition at the Bowers -- best known for its cultural history shows of Asian, Oceanic and ancient artifacts -- celebrates the ultimate Dutch master. It's called "Sordid and Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt's Etchings."

So cheer up, Mynheer van Rijn.  

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Obama cocktail dress, from dumpster to fashion runway

May 27, 2009 | 12:17 pm


Nancy Judd, a 1990 graduate of Pitzer College who heads a company called Recycle Runway, will return to her Claremont alma mater Saturday with a one-day exhibition of fancy garments made from trash and ingenuity.

Judd makes outlandish clothing from castoffs such as phone book pages, junk mail, plastic bottles, aluminum cans and cassettes. But the star of the show at Pitzer's Nichols Gallery is likely to be the "Obama Cocktail Dress." It's a slinky, body-hugging number crafted from the president's campaign posters. As the "fabric" winds around the body, from above the knee to below the armpits, white letters form a crisp graphic pattern on a black background and the name "Obama" pops up over and over.

 The eye-popping dress and other couture fashions in the show are products of a company that aims to transform waste into a valuable resource. With a goal of changing "how the world thinks about the environment," Judd says that "making garbage beautiful, glamorous and sexy" may entice people to redefine their concepts of Judd in obama dress rubbish.

The Obama dress got its start the day after the election, when Judd harvested armloads of plastic posters from dumpsters. She soon turned the refuse into a line of garments dubbed the Obama Campaign Collection, which debuted at the Green Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C.

The Claremont exhibition will coincide with a ceremony at Pitzer, where the artist will receive the college's 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. The gallery will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

-- Suzanne Muchnic

Photos: Nancy Judd modeling the "Obama Cocktail Dress." Credit: Pitzer College.

Monster Mash: Breaking news and headlines

April 23, 2009 |  8:34 am

Hitler paintings

Hitler watercolor -- Controversial sale: Collection of paintings thought to be early work by Hitler goes up for auction.

-- Liberace, the Musical?: "The Man, the Musical and the Memories" aims for a Broadway run this fall.

-- Caught in the middle: Family's dispute over inheritance leads city of San Francisco to agree to sell Oceanic art pledged to de Young Museum.

-- Stepping down: Longtime director of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to retire. 

-- High fashion design: Prada unveils its $10-million Transformer venturewith Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

-- In the spotlight: Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks to star this summer in her own play at New York's Public Theater.

-- Cutting edge: Artist David Hockney tests a new medium: his iPhone.

-- Lawsuit continues: Art collector sues Louis Vuitton over works purchased at the Museum of Contemporary Art's Murakami exhibition.

-- Updating its look: Natural History Museum modernizes its 1913 building and looks to the future.

-- High-flying ballet: Clear Channel donates billboard space for public art project.

-- Lisa Fung

Images, top and lower: Landscapes believed  painted by Hitler  are up for auction. Credit: EPA

LACMA fashions a new reputation

January 2, 2009 | 11:18 am


With a single acquisition — quietly in the works for three years and made public Friday — the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has become a major center for the study and display of 18th and 19th century European clothing.

The new addition of about 250 outfits and 300 accessories created between 1700 and 1915 includes men’s three-piece suits, women’s dresses, children’s garb and a vast array of shoes, hats, purses, shawls, fans and undergarments. Wonders of innovative design, meticulous construction and intricate needlework, they were painstakingly assembled over a quarter of a century by two European dealers.

LACMA bought the collection with funds provided by Los Angeles philanthropist Suzanne Saperstein and other donors. As a matter of policy, the museum does not disclose the cost of acquisitions, but sources familiar with the European costume market said that this was a multimillion-dollar deal. Many of the ensembles would probably bring six-figure prices at auction because of their workmanship, condition and rarity.

“We could never put this collection together, dress by dress, even if we had the money,” said Sharon S. Takeda, senior curator and head of the museum’s costume and textiles department. “We had a very good 18th century collection, but it was strongest in English and American material.”

The new cache — predominantly French, with some items from the Netherlands — is a near-perfect fit that “makes LACMA’s collection incredibly strong,” Takeda said. “We will be able to show fashion history, how the silhouette changed from decade to decade, and talk about other things that happened at the same time.”

The collection also seems likely to prove a valuable resource for Hollywood costume designers.

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