Direction NEIL BARRETT Interview and Beauty Consultant ALESSIO NESI Make Up Artist MASSIMILIANO DELLA MAGGESA Photography CAROLINA AMORETTI
Neil Barrett’s aesthetic provides a taste of dry and minimal lines. The cut follows principles of abduction and summary in oder to find the absolute form in the outline of the figure, severe and essential. This same way, even the search for make-up, status symbols of every fashion-house, identifies a DNA made of detached purism. Elegant, not improvised, Neil Barrett’s neo grooming is a semiotic system of pure and “constructivist” geometric forms.
Simple signs, interpreted through monochrome black, saturated and opaque, express an independent soul, synthesize a unique body of work condensed into a visual story made of six images, which, in this global area, resets the differences between male and female and do not abandon themselves to the ghosts of the past.
How would you describe your work in purely aesthetic terms? Graphic blocking, neutral colours plus one accent only.
How was the make-up of Neil Barrett realised ? Which the developments? To take specific graphic images that we use in our prints, interiors and packaging and apply them to another canvas, the face.
Which is your relationship with colour and how do you approach the relationship with make up? I like to achieve impact without using colour to see all trough monochromatic black and white lense and still have the strenght of the image. Otherwise when I do use colour, I use one colour only or many tones of one colour.
Your definition of beauty? Purity of line, balanced imperfection.
How did your relationship with Video develop? It’s a backstage of this work, as we would do with a fashion show… but recorded spontaneously with an Iphone.
Alessandro lives in Florence. A multifaceted artist as well as protagonist of the cultural underground scene of the 80s. Decorator, illustrator, set designer, costume designer. He lives outside commercial logics of fashion. Reserved and determined, as fussy as constant in his creative career. He worked for brands such as VALENTINO, GUCCI, FENDI and MOSCHINO, for which he designed accessories and prints for fabrics. His latest creation, jewels for the Haute Couture Fall 2015 collection of Maison Valentino, presented last July 9th in Rome, in the picturesque setting of Piazza Mignanelli. Strange dreamy figures, skulls, totems. Enigmatic creatures suspended between macabre and ironic which take life from precious materials like gold. Necklaces, diadems, bracelets, earrings, belts and amulets are worn on hazy dresses which dark, severe and opulent silhouette oscillates between christian and pagan; it wisely quotes gothic sculpture of the twelfth century and the unrivaled exaltation of savoir-fare of italian atelier. The jewels of ALESSANDRO GAGGIO are unconventional creations, there to impress and attract the viewer. Unique pieces shaped by his skilled hands, from which come also wax sculptures, precious materials and glazed soil.
How did the collaboration with the MAISON VALENTINO start? I know Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli since many years, we have mutual respect for both our strengths and our shortcomings. For this Haute Couture collection, they found that the style of my jewelery was in tune with their clothes, and I’m very happy about this, because, as usual, I found their collection amazing. Which were the developments of the project? Working with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli after so many years has been, and I hope it will be, very challenging and funny, also because they work with a lot of very pleasant people.
What has changed today in the use of jewelry? Jewels for me, for what is my vision of them at least, is not related to preciousness but to beauty and its expressiveness; whether they are linear or elaborate, but this is a very personal opinion. You Experience following a defined path or your instinct? I always work following my instinct, my creations come from a clear initial idea, that is developed in the most simple and effective way, always remaining faithful to the concept that each piece is unique and must have a soul.
Which are the biggest limits which a designer has to face to become famous or just to work? In order to implement freely their own design projects and make himself known, the biggest limit is the economic availability, taking for granted that there is talent. Your professional background is diverse. What all the very different experiences done have taught to you? My professional/creative experience taught me to understand something about humanity: vices, virtues, defects, qualities, bullying and kindness.
Your first and most successful design experience? It ‘hard to say because I never deliver something of which I’m not sure. Experience taught me to kill every creation failed and still to today, it often happens that I actually kill. Your reference points for style? I have no point of references for style, I only know what I like: sincerity, lightness and a lot of irony.
My blog tells Beauty in its various forms. What is your idea of beauty? For me Beauty is irony and expressiveness, with or without conventional proportions, as long as created and experienced with immediacy, culture, ethics and respect. What’s in your playlist? And what were you listening to while drawing the jewelry collection for Maison Valentino? My favorite are songwriters, both Italian and not, I have songs and music that I am very close to, regardeless what I am doing, whether I deraw, speak or stay in silence. A wish for 2015. I hope to continue doing what I like and that my job will give me more and more satisfaction.
Vive a Firenze, Alessandro. Artista poliedrico tra i protagonisti della vita culturale underground degli anni ’80. Decoratore, illustratore, scenografo, costumista teatrale. Vive fuori delle logiche commerciali della moda. Riservato e determinato, pignolo quanto costante nel suo percorso creativo. Ha lavorato per firme del calibro di VALENTINO, GUCCI, FENDI e MOSCHINO, per le quali ha progettato accessori e stampe per tessuto. L’ultima creazione i gioielli per la collezione Haute Couture, Autunno 2015 della Maison Valentino presentata lo scorso 9 Luglio, nella suggestiva cornice di Piazza Mignanelli. Strane figure oniriche, teschi, totem. Creature enigmatiche sospese tra il macabro e l’ironico prendono vita da materiali preziosi come l’oro. I gioielli di ALESSANDRO GAGGIO sono creazioni che escono dall’usuale per stupire e attrarre chi le osserva. Pezzi unici plasmati dalle mani sapienti del poliedrico artista, dalle quali nascono anche sculture in cera, materiali preziosi e terraglia smaltata. Come nasce la collaborazione con la MAISON VALENTINO? Conosco Maria Grazia e Pierpaolo da moltissimi anni, abbiamo stima reciproca sia per i nostri pregi che per i nostri difetti. Per la collezione di Haute Couture hanno trovato che lo stile dei miei gioielli fosse in sintonia con i loro abiti, e ne sono molto contento, perché, come al solito, ho trovato la collezione veramente bella. Quali gli sviluppi del progetto? Lavorare con Maria Grazia e Pierpaolo dopo tanti anni è stato e spero sarà molto stimolante e divertente, anche perché capaci di circondarsi di persone molto piacevoli. Com’è cambiato oggi l’uso del gioiello? Il gioiello per me, per quella che è la mia visione, non è legato alla preziosità ma alla bellezza e alla sua espressività, lineare o elaborato esso sia, ma è un parere del tutto personale. Sperimenta seguendo un percorso definito o segue l’istinto? Lavoro sempre seguendo il mio istinto, le mie creazioni derivano da un’idea iniziale chiara, che viene sviluppata nella maniera più semplice ed efficace, rimanendo sempre fedele al concetto che ogni pezzo è unico e deve avere un anima.
Quali sono i limiti più grossi che deve affrontare un designer per farsi conoscere o semplicemente per lavorare? Per poter realizzare liberamente i propri progetti di design e farsi conoscere il limite più grosso è la disponibilità economica, premettendo che ci sia talento. Il suo background professionale è vario. Cosa le hanno insegnato le diverse esperienze? La mia esperienza lavorativa/creativa, mi ha insegnato a comprendere qualcosa dell’umanità: vizzi, virtù, pregi, prepotenze e gentilezze. La sua prima esperienza progettuale più riuscita? E’ difficile da dire, poiché non consegno mai qualcosa di cui non sono sicuro. L’esperienza mi ha insegnato a uccidere ogni creazione non riuscita e ancora oggi, uccidere, mi capita spesso. I suoi punti di riferimento per lo stile? Non ho punti di riferimento per lo stile, so soltanto cosa mi piace: sincerità, leggerezza e tanta ironia. Il mio blog racconta la bellezza nelle sue varie forme. Qual è la sua idea di bellezza? Per me la bellezza è l’ironia e l’espressività, con o senza proporzioni convenzionali, purché creati o vissuti con immediatezza, cultura, etica e rispetto. Cosa c’è nella sua playlist? E cosa ha ascoltato mentre disegnava la collezione di gioielli per la Maison Valentino? Prediligo i cantautori, sia italiani che non, ho canzoni e musiche a cui sono molto legato che ascolto a prescindere da qualunque cosa faccia, che disegni, che parli o che stia in silenzio. Un desiderio per il 2015. Spero di poter continuare a fare ciò che mi piace e che il mio lavoro mi dia sempre più soddisfazione.
Signorina Eleganza. The new fragrance by Salvatore Ferragamo told by “nose” Sophie Labbé. In partnership with Elle.it
“To create Miss Elegance, we tried to translate into a fragrance the sophistication of brand Salvatore Ferragamo as well as the elegance that we saw in the Collection Croisiere 2013, which was held at the Louvre Arcades in 2012, marked by a White smooth soft skin “, tells us Sophie Labbé , IFF Senior Perfumer VP (Internationa Flavors & Fragrances), creator of the fragrance. 2013 has been a year of great olfactory success for the Florentine fashion house, which continues its rise in 2014, also thanks to the launch of Miss Elegance, recently presented in Tokyo with a party of 300 guests, among which press as well as socialites and celebrities. Miss Elegance is a rich olfactory creation that celebrates the more seductive side of Ferragamo femininity, with an innocent mood, inviting agreements and a romantic sillage. “To translate the feeling of the show to Miss Elegance, I decided to create an illuminating note, very feminine “, explains Sophie,”carved around the lovely leathery – Apricot facet of Osmanthus flower then sublimated by an arrangement of powdery white musk . And to add a sophisticated touch of extravagance. I decided to create an agreement of refined and gourmand almond powder“. The result is surprising and convincing. Sophie Labbé has managed to transform images in fragrance, keeping in mind the strong sense of reality and simplicity of the Tuscan brand that in its creations has always that magic touch of italian sovoir -faire, that makes it special. Fragrance main theme is an extreme elegance and sophistication, linked to an individual feel . “Being smart today“, echoed Sophie, “means respect yourself, wear what suits your personality and do not try to follow too many trends that do not match“. This way, also in the creation of this fragrance, its creator has focused on naturalness and simplicity, without blindly following season dictates, because beauty accordingto Sophie “is more a matter of emotion and self-harmony“.
Eau de Parfum Signorina Eleganza SALVATORE FERRAGAMO
“Per creare Signorina Eleganza, abbiamo provato a tradurre in una fragranza la raffinatezza del marchio Salvatore Ferragamo e anche l’eleganza che vedevamo nella sfilata di Croisière Collection 2013, che si è tenuta al Louvre Arcades nel 2012, improntata a una fluidità di soffici pelli bianche”, racconta Sophie Labbé, Senior VP Perfumer IFF (Internationa Flavors & Fragrances), creatrice della fragranza. Il 2013 è stato un anno di grandi successi olfattivi per la maison fiorentina, che continua la sua ascesa nel 2014 anche grazie al lancio di Signorina Eleganza, presentata di recente a Tokyo alla presenza di 300 invitati tra stampa, socialite e vip. Signorina Eleganza è una ricca creazione olfattiva che celebra il lato più seducente della femminilità di Ferragamo con un mood innocente, accordi invitanti e un sillage romantico. “Per tradurre la sensazione a pelle dalla sfilata a Signorina Eleganza, ho deciso di creare una nota illuminante molto femminile” Spiega Sophie,“scolpita attorno alla deliziosa sfaccettatura Coriaceo-Albicocca di fiore di Osmanto poi sublimata da un accordo di Muschio Bianco polveroso. E per aggiungere un sofisticato tocco di extravagance, ho deciso di creare un accordo di Mandorle in polvere raffinato e gourmand”. Il risultato sorprende e convince. Sophie Labbé è riuscita a trasformare immagini in odore tenendo presente il forte senso della realtà e della semplicità del brand toscano che nelle sue creazioni ha sempre quel tocco magico di sovoir-faire italiano che lo rende speciale. Il tema centrale della fragranza è un’eleganza estrema e sofisticata, legata a un sentire individuale. “Essere eleganti oggi”, fa eco Sophie, “significa rispettare te stesso, indossare cosa calza la tua personalità e non cercare di seguire troppi trends che non corrispondono”. Così anche nella creazione della fragranza la sua creatrice ha puntato sulla naturalezza e sulla semplicità, senza seguire ciecamente un diktat di stagione perché la bellezza secondo Sophie “è più una questione di emozioni e armonia di sé”.
What is beautiful? What is bad-looking? The good and the ungly are relative in different times and cultures, even though over the centuries it has been tried several times to define templates to define what was beautiful and what was not. The concept of ugliness is more and more immediate today. Cruelty and the macabre that characterize contemporary society, from movies to video games, sublimate the concept of monstrous that no longer coincides with being bad. Contemporary art celebrates the ugly also in a provocative sense, stimulating disgust and fear, but also arousing charm, mystery and erotism, as it emerges from the photographic work of Joel-Peter Witkin (New York 1939) who arrives to the MNFA of Florence, (until June 24th) thanks to the collaboration between Fratelli Alinari and Baudoin Lebon Gallery, in Paris.
Still life with breast, 2001 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN, courtesy Baudoin Lebon
A journey of 55 selected works proposes an inventory of enigmatic images that summarize central themes of his work: love for fetid rotting flesh, religious restlessness, nudity, links with eros, suffering, pleasure , but also deterioration and death. Debunking works arouse a sense of inadequacy and dark ominous. They open a hole in our sweetened visions of order and beauty. Witkin’s compositions narrate photographic reinterpretations of art history with the reconstruction of painful natures, laid with care and with a taste oriented to monstrous charm. They create a world in the middle, to the edge of surreal, where figures cut out spaces of afterlife, within which to pose. His mortuary love turns this way into inconcievable ability to represent death and its decay.
Prudence 1996 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN, courtesy Baudoin Lebon
His works are full of formal citations among which we can recognize the great names in history of photography, such as Muybridge, Rejlander and Holland Day, intertwined with Greek and Roman sculpture and with baroque, neoclassical and modern art. Portrayed scenes are full of references, more or less explicit, to the great masters of art, from Bosch to Velasquez, from Goya to Manet. Witkin faces their own same problems using unusual models, with a freak charm, androgynous, dwarves, cripples, hermaphrodites. He himself says that before shooting, he draws the idea that hewants to accomplish. He makes sure that the metaphysical creative act takes shape even before it is put into practice. The model-dead body seen as an outrageous object, becomes something else compared to the proportions of the body usually seen in art.
Coubet in rejlander’s Pool, New Mexico, 1985 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN, courtesy Baudoin Lebon
Over the centuries, art has come back with insistence to represent the aesthetics of ugly, accepting pain of death to sing its own experiments of death-in-life and tell the whole transience of life, awareness of pain, tragedy but also the post-modern anxiety of new, gruesome icons. Witkin’s works have been exhibited in major museums and international art centers; in 1999 he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Art set des Lettres and in 2000 Commandeur of the same honorary French order.
Self Portrait, reminiscent as a Self Portrait as a Vanité, 1995 © JOEL-PETER WITKIN courtesy Baudoin Lebon
How did your interest in photography start? I ws born in 1939. During WWII, my father would show me pictures in newspapers of the devastation. As a child, I believed the entire world (except where we lived in Brooklyn) was being destroyed. I was fascinated by all those pictures. i wanted to make photographs in order to make sense of the world in the time I had to live in this life. Looking at your photographs you can not notice the theme of nakedness linked to suffering and pleasure. By whom and what are you inspired? The themes of Splendour and Misery for me are Alfa and the Omega of life-the extremes of goodness and evil. My models are usually naked because in that way, they are timeless. The history of the Catholic faith has always been my vision of life. Your works, by formal approach, look more like paintings than photographs. How did you develop this type of printing technique? Most photographs are worthless beacuse they have no basis in fact ou purpose. My photographs reflect the history of western Civilization and the moral decisions of that history. I developed my singular vision through years of personal and aesthetic development. Dwarfs, cripples, abundant women, hermaphrodites, androgens. It looks like a freak show casting. Where does the decision to focus on models out of the norm come from? My Italian grandmother, who raised me, was a cripple. i loved her for her soul, not what she looked like. My first photographs were made at a “Freak Show” (I detest that term because it is demoralizing and mean) in Coney Isalnd when I was sixteen years old. To me, these people were “beyond normal”. They showed the genius of God and our need to love.
“Even as a child I had a passion for design, I used to read architecture and interior design magazines alternating them with comic books by Peanuts C.M. Schulz” says Lucio Vanotti, a young designer from Milan, who grew up in a sunny mountain village in the province of Bergamo. “The choice between fashion design and architecture has not been easy. I believe these two passions coexist in my work and who knows how they will evolve“. Trained at Marangoni school of fashion in the nineties, Milan as his true home, he lived there for more than four decades. Reductionism and detached purism with a certain adversity towards ornament, Vanotti’s style summarizes the instances of fashion of his time with geometric formalism of cut, shape and volume, with a constant reference to design. The rough and ascetic silhouette of his clothes are inspired by the philosophy of Adolf Loos, it translates beauty in one only shape without making it depending on the ornament and its a Goal! His first project was in 2004. A small collection of t-shirts for a Japanese showroom named LUCIO, then, by involving the designer Marika Masi into the project, the collection with the brand February was born, from here consensus and satisfaction, by the creative gota of his city. 2012 is the decisive year. “It was time to have fun all the way to enter fully into my creativity“. With the primary focus on his name, Lucio Vanotti, its line becomes a brand: the space of personal expression for a minimal and cross collection, to decompose and recompose at his will, but most of all new, because very rarely he would abandon himself to common retro quotations.
A game: can you please state an artist allined with your aesthetic and with your brand’s soul? Carl Andre. How would you define your style? Icy, intimate and concrete.
Work by CARL ANDRE, founding father of minimalism.
How do autumn winter 2013 male and female collections grow? They are born by the union of two sensations:solid and liquid, black / gray / blue. As for other collections inspiration is linked to architecture. This season I imagined a construction of concrete with the shape of a cube, which contrasts with the blue of sky and the blue of sea. What developments? I studied perpendicular forms overlapping parallelepipeds. I played with the light of blues and white in contrast with grays and blacks, keeping focus on substance.
What is Beauty for you? Truth, in all its forms, just like sincere and innocent beauty of animals. As a designer, Where do you draw your inspiration from? My daily life is my source of inspiration. I can stop in front of a work of art, such as a chair. A stranger in the subway. Curiosity is everything. Feeling the spirit of things that surround us. Go beyond the surface.
Projects for the future? first of all to continue to express myself freely; I have many projects, one for all, deepen my accessories collection.
The perfume is art or not? Today the distinction has a great sense if compared to commercial perfumes. Take for example the graceful scents of Lorenzo Villoresi‘s fragrances: carthusian creations of harmonious arrangements put together with love for research for ancient influences and suggestions, often collected in distant countries. Reductive would be to call them just fragrances, it is more appropriate to use the word “piece of art”. Created in his Wunderkammer, a laboratory nestled on the top floor of an ancestral family home, overlooking the medieval development of Via de ‘Bardi and the most noble and ancient city of Florence. We are talking about the same building that will host the site of the world’s first interactive workshop dedicated to essences and perfumes which opening is scheduled for September 2011.
Lorenzo Villoresi con mouillettes
-When did you realise that you would become a perfumer?
I discovered the love for fragrances in 1981, during my first trip to the Middle East, particularly in markets and through sellers of essences and perfumes in Cairo. Since then, essences, spices and fragrances have become a passion, I have grown parallel to university studies in philosophy and ancient religions. I started to do a thousand experiments, studying every type of publication I could find on the subject of plants, essences, perfume and cosmetics, distillation, production of aromatic substances of all kinds and so on… The first designs were relatively simple, always characterized by the presence of natural materials at the center and the heart of the fragrance, sometimes single-minded (Vetiver, Patchouli, Sandalwood, etc..), sometimes fanciful but always characterized by the strong presence of special and precious essences.
– What value has for you the sense of smell?
We live in a society where visual and auditory aspects predominate and where both images and sounds tend to be aggressive and prevaricating. In the streets, in our cities, smells seem to be only those of the exhaust gases so we try not to notice them, we try to escape even if they tend to dominate. But if we concentrate with attention and curiosity, mentally isolating the noise around us, we discover that the city, like all things, has its secret perfume: trees that blooms in hidden gardens, the fragrance of bread fresh from the bakery, fruits on market stalls, rivers, plants, old books in libraries, the wood of antique furniture, the impalpable perfume of snow brought by the Tramontana wind, grocer’s spices, flavor of ice cream …. We are surrounded by delicious smells but often we are too distracted to notice. For me smells are another way of knowing the world and people around us. I also think that using perfumes, to wear them or to use them in our homes, is an important enhancement of our quality of life. Fragrances add a scent dimension to our experiences and add poetry to our everyday life. Fragrances, like music, are intangible and invisible but they make our deepest emotional chords vibrate and they make special even the banal routine of preparing to leave the house every morning.
– How was your sense of smell educated?
Our sense of smell has enormous potential to explore. But as in all things, it takes time, patience and passion.We must exercise our sense of smell to feel different smells and to store them, maybe by mental associations to something that smells very familiar, this can be done by taking notes, trying to imagine what other ingredients-odors may form a harmonious whole. It is necessary above all to get used to notice the smells, even the most subtle and light, the smell of paper, that of stones, the smell of morning dew. All things have an odor, but as we are bombarded by a welter of strong smells, harsh, artificial and unpleasant, we risk to lose the ability to perceive those most refined. Sharpen our sense of smell means first of all to sharpen our sensitivity and our perception.
– In your collections typical elements of traditional Tuscans elements stand out: What is your relationship with the world of perfumes and how do you deal with the relationship between color and material?
The elements of our traditional Tuscan collections are actually quite limited: you can find them in potpourri and in sachets flavored withm spices, in fragrances for the environment such as “Mediterranean” or “Iris” or in the use of certain materials like alabaster for the production of glasses for scented candles. These Tuscans elements have a limited relationship with the universe of fragrances in general. The relationship between color and material is a problem that we dont consider.
– You have travelled extensively. Different country, different fragrance … Can you draw a map of favorite olfactory notes in every continent you have been?
Not really, because if we talk about globally distributed fragrances, such as those of fashion brands, we talk about fragrances distributed in almost every countries and not the other way round.
– The olfactory registry is subject to sensitivity changes. How do you think olfactory aesthetic is oriented right now? How are the developments of the second decade just begun going to be?
During this period in furnishing as in fashion as in many other fields there is a general tendency to return to the classic, to sobriety, to the solidity of things that last. Even in scents, so I guess that fragrances with a more traditional and “reassuring” style, such as fresh flowers for the woman and citrus wood for men, will be rediscovered. However the traditional distinction between masculine and feminine fragrances is increasingly blurred and then the family of so-called unisex fragrances continue to be very successful. This are usually quite fresh fragrances which are easy to wear.
– At this time the smell is the sense most pampered by all the creative sectors. Do you think in the near future, perfumers will begin to collaborate with the major industries (automotive, marine, etc …)? They’re already doing it! The so-called olfactory marketing is becoming more widespread and large companies often ask to perfumers to create for them a kind of corporate fragrance with scents created just for them to spread them worldwide, in their showroom or in their flagship stores.
– A creative business tactic is to create intermediate collections, one-shot and capsules: the strategy of a continuous flow may also revolutionize the patterns of artistic perfumery?
I think that rather than to subvert them it would upset them: there cannot be creative and search for beauty in such a flood of perfume and the public is actually noticing it. Increasing numbers of women and men who stop using commercial perfumes, are turning to lesser-known brands, where you can still find the original flavors, different ingredients made with good quality and creativity that is the “artistic perfumery.” If we put ourselves in this industry to churn out pseudo-news every three months we have really lost sight of the idea.
– The craftsmanship is the link between tradition and innovation. Could it be the means to save the system from the crisis?
All companies, both industrial and craft, producing good products, usually survive crisis. For “good” I mean well done and with an aesthetic and material value very perceptible , made with quality ingredients, created with an artistic sense and love of beauty, products that can really improve the quality and not only the content of our lives.
– The Academy of parfums is the first world interactive workshop, dedicated to essences and perfumes. How did the project start, which the developments?
The project is an extension of our current activities with a series of enrichments. We have always had a cultural and informative vocation about the world of perfumery; our headquarter recently moved from 125 to about 1,500 square meters, it has a garden of herbs, an information center, a library, various collections of flavors, a shop, spaces for events, courses and seminars. All this to provide information and entertainment as well the opportunity to meet many different types of aromas. Should open in September 2011.
-You have created a real univers.Which elements would you add to this world?
I would like to but for now it is just a dream. Cultivating a few plants in the countryside around Florence, used for distillation and extraction, in order to create a complete cycle . A good part of the most important plants used for extraction in perfumery could easily be grown in Tuscany as well as some time ago there was not much difference between a rose from Liguria and one from the not distant Grasse.