Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A decadent pictorial spread across W Magazine, somewhere along 2004 (for the admittedly-thrifty 12 year old me, innocent perusal of magazines in bookstores meshed well with my schoolgirl budget) had me gazing into the pages -- wondering if I stared hard enough, perhaps time dimensions would shift and I'd be the fortunate inhabitant of Ryan McGinley's ethereal world. The instant admiration was greatly helped by the presence of then-coke-addict, eternal-goddess Kate Moss; perched atop clouds, decked in an ornate fur coat and sans everything else. The marriage of it, the consequential perfection, and how I badly wanted to be in the photo spread had me becoming a Ryan McGinley cult follower until today.

Kate Moss by Ryan McGinley, W Magazine 2004

Directing and creating soft, paradisical series of imagery from behind the lens was one part of McGinley's appeal. The fashion industry raised praises to the skies for his work, spread across various Condé Nast publications (Vogue et al) and launching models' careers in between (the hand-picked Coco Young's career greatly benefited from being McGinley's protege). The young New Yorker's body of work and signature style of photography structured his success solidly. Through my eyes, he offered something much more than snapshots riding on fashion's vicarious glamor -- his exhibits were like a limb, warmly extending its hand inviting you for a temporal escape.

Ryan McGinley's photos. source, Ryan McGinley

Mastering photography wizardry was one thing, McGinley then proceded to work with the Icelandic ambient quartet Sigur Rós -- after being courted by the band, naturally. The byproduct of this holy union was Sigur Rós' poetic music video, "Varúð" (please don't ask me for the phonetics of it); and staying close to McGinley's dream-weaving tendencies, it was a poignant reflection of New York city, where he was born and bred. There's an inevitable romantic quality about his work, from the lighting palette that bears semblance to interplanetary commotions to the way he captures his subjects in various states of soul-bearing vulnerability.

Karlie Kloss by Ryan McGinley, T Travel Winter 2012

Years of mute admiration (lie, I wax lyrical of him across all social media platforms every now and then) never sparked any bone in me to compress my adoration towards (one of) my favorite photographers -- that was before stumbling upon a New York Times' T Magazine's cover of Karlie Kloss (who, is my favorite too), dangling her spindly gams on the edge of a Nicaraguan cliff. Not only did it inflict an acrophobic trepidation, but a circus of emotions -- and this is what Ryan McGinley does to me with his images. I hope he never puts the camera down.

Monday, March 26, 2012



What’s not to love when it comes to fashion’s lovable duo behind Proenza Schouler? Mix in a little bit of handsome, meticulous crafting skills and a sweet story to back it up—you’ve got New York’s fashion darlings under the name Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez. The down-to-earth tricenarians intertwined paths in Parsons School of Design in 1999—the moment what was to be the fusion of creative minds that spearhead the New York fashion house Proenza Schouler today.

Armed with internships from Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs--the duo proceeded to work side by side at United Bamboo as complementing counterparts. Jack and Lazaro discovered subsequently that both of them have a strong affinity towards the play of silhouette, colour and proportion. It wasn’t until their thesis project that the inevitably catchy name “Proenza Schouler” came about—the result of intermixing their mothers’ maiden name into a two-word moniker.

Lithesome models strutted down the runway of Proenza Schouler’s Spring/Summer ’09 collection with the infamous tossed-to-the-side hairdo, inspired by Jerry Hall’s ‘do circa the retro era and revived by the current grunge ambassador Alice Dellal. It was the tougher side than the usual classic Proenza image as Daiane Conterato opened the show with a zip-front jumpsuit in the summer shade of beige as structured duds in lily whites followed suit. The duo also sent out cheeky mint hues paired with leather and sheer dresses in multifaceted silhouettes, with awe-worthy sequined jumpsuits at the end to secure ardent desire from the spectators. Proenza Schouler mapped out their Pre-Fall ’09 with varied textures over the intrinsic sombre mood of Fall’s palette with surprise hues thrown in (think teal, royal blue)—key layering were present in metallic shades of bronze and gunmetal over the classic noir, whilst navy-clad python dresses were reworked with appropriately placed cut-outs and cage-esque lines. Pops of sequined garments in aubergines round up the cool vibe encapsulated in the collection.

Fall/Winter ’09 at Proenza Schouler brought the brand back to its roots: structured jackets ruled over the timeless tweed offerings, deftly-crafted bustier dresses in muted tones, slinky dresses knotted at the décolletage and the crowd’s favourite of Jack and Lazaro’s marriage of violet silk and mesh fabric that Brazilian knock-out Raquel Zimmerman brought absolute justice to. It also helps that the fashion house has branched into the handbag department, launching the coveted-to-the-extremity PS1 series in navy, beige and python. Toted by the nocturnal PYTs and budding fashion icons, it’s enough validation that it’s here to stay.

Written by Amira N. Amirudin
Late 2009, Sieg Magazine