Saturday, January 14, 2012

Divine Style Intervention - In Style & In Vogue.

The FALL, a film directed by Tarsem Singh - released 2008.
Photographs by Stephen Berkman.

I have mentioned on a previous blog entry that I love Vanity Fair magazine. The latest issue with Lady Gaga on the cover has a very relevant and thought-provoking article on Style. In the article titled, You say you want a devolution? written by Kurt Andersen, he states that you must ‘hold it right there. From the fedora to the Afro, styles have changed with the times. Unless you’re living in the 21st century’. 

He dares to say that for most of the last century, 'America’s cultural landscape – its fashion, art, music, design, entertainment - changed dramatically every 20 years. But these days, even as technological and scientific leaps have continued to revolutionize life, popular style has been stuck on repeat, consuming the past instead of creating the new’ (Kurt Anderson, Vanity Fair, Issue 617. 2012 page 74).
Reading the article and viewing the independently produced film titled, The Fall - a dvd that jumped into my hands with the words, watch me tonight (a divine style intervention), sparked the idea for this particular post. The DVD was rented from my favourite video shop in the Killarney Shopping Mall - in walking distance from my flat.  An untimely storm cut off my DSTV satellite connection to watching pleasure. However it was a blessing in disguise – nothing beats viewing a fabulous, beautifully styled film (images captured here).

The film The Fall – is stylish in every way, even the plot is endearing. If you are fascinated by the images of the film showcased here, and you want to know more about the film, its narrative etc? Follow the link provided to a site that not only explains the plot of the film, but also showcases a pre-release promotional 80-page book that measured a whopping 35.6 X 43 cm. 

Designed by Stefan G Bucher, it was produced from 7000 on-set photographs, mostly taken by the photographer Stephen Berkman, some of which is showcased here. Beautifully styled to wet the appetite of the potential distributers. The choice of locations are equally phenomenal - follow the provided link to a blog titled The Fall: Film Locations, showcasing a large number of the above mentioned photographer's images taken at the various sights. It might just evoke your next holiday destination. 
The bridge scenes (Piketberg) and the chosen location for the hospital scenes (Valkenberg Hospital in Cape Town) are all very local – proudly South African. The director Tarsem Singh has mainly created advertisements and music videos  - a reflection of the design style of the film.

Gaga and Madonna are a generation apart, but largely indistinguishable in look and sound (Anderson, Vanity Fair, Issue 617, 2012 page 78).
I can’t agree more with Kurt Anderson’s findings in the article mentioned in the opening paragraph. In numerous discussions with colleagues, I have also drawn parallels between the performances and styles of Madonna and Lady Gaga - even though they are a generation apart. Could the lack of radical style changes be attributed to our present obsession with all things green - a direct response to climate change and many other contributing factors? Consumers in the present economic decline are investing in products that are contributing to a value adding experience (for instance, a clean, green and healthy lifestyle). Bauman states,  ‘that the postmodern era is seen in the literature as a time of individualism and changing values, manifested in freedom of choice, changes of lifestyles (consumption and leisure time) or new social movements, such as environmentally conscious consumer groups’ ( Zygmunt Bauman 1996). The buzzwords are therefore green and authentic – in direct response to constantly changing fashion trends and styles of the past, that were synonymous with mass production and consumption – advocating a Disposable culture.

Are we therefore expected to wear t-shirts and jeans and loose all sense of style? Quite the contrary, being stylish is often attributed to someone having good taste. Perceived though the five senses, including smell, touch, hearing, sight and taste. He or she, who has a passion for beautiful things and admires quality in everything life has to offer, is often prepared to wait for the bespoke product and or the desired experience (go the extra mile to get it).

Michel Guerard,
French of course
It must also be said that wining and dining at your choice restaurant and or enjoying your own fovourite homemade meal (recipe), can be equally satisfying - contributing to that feel good experience. Here there has been a radical shift. Food and products are presently photographed and styled very differently than in the past. The image on the left and below on the left are from 1988, a book  titled Master Chefs of Europe. Photographed by Michael Boys. 
Close-up shots (above and below) seduce the consumer, enticing ones senses - you can almost smell and taste the latest styled and closely photographed food dishes. Focusing food up close reveals and almost releases the flavours and textures of the ingredients (from memory), especially the herbs and spices. To wet your appetite, I have included one of my quick meal recipe images, styled and photographed in the latest trends (above and below). The complete recipe will feature soon on my blog (step by step).
Silver spoon and found object (pipe handle spoon).
Marchand van Tonder. Contemporary Jewellery Designer.
South Africa.
In conclusion, contemporary designer makers are therefore more concerned with timeless and classical design, products that can stand the test of time, and is enjoyed for generations to come. 21st century products have to be truly useful, useable and desirable – a collectable item to be handed down from one generation to the next – recognized as products of inheritance. Consumers are seen to be placing far greater emphasis on products and experiences, which Haanpaa refers to as status symbols of their lifestyles and values (as cited in the article, Consumers’ green commitment; indication of a postmodern lifestyle? By Leena Haanpaa. 2007). View this incredible site INSTYLE – you can trace your choice product from Farm to Fabric – your Life Sustainable Textiles through every stage of production.

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