Printed, Embroidered and Camouflaged Butterflies

Valentino Pre-Fall 2014

 
 

Valentino Couture Spring-Summer 2014

 
 

A psychedelic print from a 1973 Valentino show was the inspiration for the Resort 2015 collection.

Advertisements

A Floral Fairy-Tale

RED Valentino Spring/Summer 2014 Collection. Photos courtesy of Women’s Wear Daily

 
 

Creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli made a floral fairy-tale theme set the tone at RED Valentino.There were also macro floral prints on flirty tops and dresses framed by black-and-white gingham, and a butterfly motif in yellow or pink on button-up shirting and full skirts.

Prismatic Butterflies

Sketch of a custom Valentino Haute Couture dress by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. The dress is a tulle gown with butterfly wing inserts on the bodice and flying butterflies on the skirt. The cape is embroidered with nacre micro sequins and lined with a multicolor organza butterfly.

 
 

Perry performing during the acoustic section of the tour (including By the Grace of God, a mash-up of “The One That Got Away” and Thinking of You, and Unconditionally). Newark, New Jersey in July 2014.

 
 

The Prismatic World Tour is the third concert tour by American singer Katy Perry, in support of her fourth studio album, Prism (2013). The tour began on May 7, 2014 in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the Odyssey Arena.
A portion of the money generated from tickets for the second leg of the tour were donated to UNICEF, Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Perry first teased the tour during her We Can Survive event at the Hollywood Bowl on October 23, 2013, where she encouraged fans to see her on her 2014 tour, stating that it would be “magical”.

Letting the Light In

Prism (2003) is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Katy Perry. The promotional photographs and album cover were shot by Ryan McGinley.

 
 

After ending her California Dreams Tour, Perry stated that she intended to “live a little” before recording any new material that was “worth listening to”. When ex-husband Russell Brand left her on December 30, 2011, she felt devastated and contemplated suicide. Perry revealed to Vogue in June 2012 that she planned to record a “darker” album than her previous records. She stated: “It was inevitable, after what I went through. If I had a time machine and could go back in time, I would. But I can’t, so, you’ll discover another part of me.” To Interview, she admitted she aspired to include a more acoustic vibe to the record.

The development of Prism started when Perry was embarking on the California Dreams Tour. She began with a process she deemed “slow cooking”, which consisted of recording random “fragments of ideas” into her mobile phone’s dictaphone application. A member of Direct Management Group, Ngoc Hoang, then transcribed the audio files, which he inserted into what Perry described as a “treasure chest”; such object was consulted by Perry later on during the album’s recording sessions. While Perry started recording the album officially in November 2012, accompanied by Greg Wells and Greg Kurstin, she noted she was still in a “dark place”, and that she had not “let the light in”. The sessions began again in March 2013, following a trip to Africa which Perry credited as having “put [her] priorities in perspective”, thus leading her to “do more work on [her]self”. Perry also viewed a video made by Eckhart Tolle, which discusses loss. She commented: “When you lose something, all your foundations crumble—but that also leaves a big hole that’s open for something great to come through.”

Bread-and-Butterfly

Illustration by John Tenniel

 
 

Stills from Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi; Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1951). This British-American animated fantasy comedy-adventure film was produced by Walt Disney Productions and based primarily on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with several additional elements from Through the Looking-Glass

 
 

‘And then there’s the Butterfly,’ Alice went on, after she had taken a good look at the insect with its head on fire, and had thought to herself, ‘I wonder if that’s the reason insects are so fond of flying into candles — because they want to turn into Snap-dragon-flies!’

‘Crawling at your feet,’ said the Gnat (Alice drew her feet back in some alarm), ‘you may observe a Bread-and-Butterfly. Its wings are thin slices of Bread-and-butter, its body is a crust, and its head is a lump of sugar.

‘And what does it live on?’

‘Weak tea with cream in it.’

A new difficulty came into Alice’s head. ‘Supposing it couldn’t find any?’ she suggested.

‘Then it would die, of course.’

‘But that must happen very often,’ Alice remarked thoughtfully.

‘It always happens,’ said the Gnat.

After this, Alice was silent for a minute or two, pondering. The Gnat amused itself meanwhile by humming round and round her head: at last it settled again and remarked, ‘I suppose you don’t want to lose your name?’

‘No, indeed,’ Alice said, a little anxiously.

Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass
Chapter 3, Looking-Glass Insects

A Proud Flower

Early illustrations for The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery

 
 

“I believe that for his escape he took advantage of the migration of a flock of wild birds. On the morning of his departure he put his planet in perfect order. He carefully cleaned out his active volcanoes. He possessed two active volcanoes; and they were very convenient for heating his breakfast in the morning. He also had one volcano that was extinct. But, as he said, “One never knows!” So he cleaned out the extinct volcano, too. If they are well cleaned out, volcanoes burn slowly and steadily, without any eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are like fires in a chimney.

On our earth we are obviously much too small to clean out our volcanoes. That is why they bring no end of trouble upon us.

The little prince also pulled up, with a certain sense of dejection, the last little shoots of the baobabs. He believed that he would never want to return. But on this last morning all these familiar tasks seemed very precious to him. And when he watered the flower for the last time, and prepared to place her under the shelter of her glass globe, he realized that he was very close to tears.

“Goodbye,” he said to the flower.

But she made no answer.

“Goodbye,” he said again.

The flower coughed. But it was not because she had a cold.

“I have been silly,” she said to him, at last. “I ask your forgiveness. Try to be happy . . .”

He was surprised by this absence of reproaches. He stood there all bewildered, the glass globe held arrested in mid-air. He did not understand this quiet sweetness.

“Of course I love you,” the flower said to him. “It is my fault that you have not known it all the while. That is of no importance. But you–you have been just as foolish as I. Try to be happy . . . Let the glass globe be. I don’t want it any more.”

“But the wind–”

“My cold is not so bad as all that . . . The cool night air will do me good. I am a flower.”

“But the animals–”

“Well, I must endure the presence of two or three caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies. It seems that they are very beautiful. And if not the butterflies–and the caterpillars–who will call upon me? You will be far away . . . As for the large animals–I am not at all afraid of any of them. I have my claws.”

And, naïvely, she showed her four thorns. Then she added:

“Don’t linger like this. You have decided to go away. Now go!”

For she did not want him to see her crying. She was such a proud flower . . .”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince

A Visual Knockout

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, 2007) is a biographical drama film based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir of the same name. It starred actor Mathieu Amalric as Bauby.

 
 

The film is a visual knockout. Schnabel draws on Bauby’s fantasies to blast moviegoers with a kaleidoscope of dreamy images — some subtle, some banging loud — and an array of captivating music and sounds. Critically acclaimed, the film received many awards and nominations including the Best Director Prize at Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film & Best Director, as well as 4 Academy Award nominations.It would go on to win numerous international awards, including a BAFTA for adapted screenplay, and Golden Globes for best foreign language film and best director.

Although made in France with a French-speaking cast, the film was originally to be produced by the American company Universal Studios, and the screenplay was originally in English, with Johnny Depp slated to star as Bauby. According to the screenwriter, Ronald Harwood, the choice of Julian Schnabel as director was recommended by Depp. Universal subsequently withdrew, and Pathé took up the project two years later. Depp dropped the project due to scheduling conflicts with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. (Gore Verbinski, 2007) Schnabel remained as director. The film was eventually produced by Pathé and France 3 Cinéma, in association with Banque Populaire Images 7 and the American Kennedy/Marshall Company, and in participation with Canal+ and Ciné Cinémas.

Painter-director Julian Schnabel said his influence for the film was drawn from personal experience:
“My father got sick and he was dying. He was terrified of death and had never been sick in his life. So he was in this bed at my house, he was staying with me, and this script arrived for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. As my father was dying, I read Ron Harwood’s script. It gave me a bunch of parameters that would make a film have a totally different structure. As a painter, as someone who doesn’t want to make a painting that looks like the last one I made, I thought it was a really good palette. So personally and artistically these things all came together.”

The script written for the film has been criticized by Bauby’s closest circle of friends as not faithful to events and biased in favor of his ex-partner. His late-life partner Florence Ben Sadoun claims to have been a faithful companion, visiting him frequently at Berck-sur-Mer, the hospital where he lived during his final days. Bauby notes her visits in his memoir. Sylvie de la Rochefoucauld also claims to have visited him frequently at the hospital.

While Bauby was still alive, French director Jean-Jacques Beineix made a 25-minute film, Assigné à résidence (or House Arrest), that captured Bauby in his paralysed state, and the process of the book’s composition

About 200,000 Blinks

French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby photographed by Jeanloup Sieff, 1996

 
 

On 8 December 1995 at the age of 43, Jean-Dominique Bauby (author and editor of the French fashion magazine ELLE), suffered a massive stroke and lapsed into a coma. When he woke up twenty days later, he found he was entirely speechless; he could only blink his left eyelid. Called locked-in syndrome, this is a condition wherein the mental faculties remain intact but most of the body is paralyzed. In Bauby’s case his mouth, arms, and legs were paralyzed, and he lost 27 kilograms (60 lb) in the first 20 weeks after his stroke.

Despite his condition, he wrote the book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by blinking when the correct letter was reached by a person slowly reciting the alphabet over and over again using a system called partner-assisted scanning. Bauby composed and edited the book entirely in his head, and dictated it one letter at a time. To make dictation more efficient, Bauby’s interlocutor, Claude Mendibil, repeatedly recited a French language frequency-ordered alphabet (E, S, A, R, I, N, T, U, L, etc.), until Bauby blinked to choose the next letter.The book took about 200,000 blinks to write and an average word took approximately two minutes. The book also chronicles everyday events for a person with locked-in syndrome.

The French edition of the book was published in France on 7 March 1997. Bauby died suddenly from pneumonia ten days after the publication of his book, and is buried in a family grave at the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) describes what his life is like after suffering a massive stroke that left him with locked-in syndrome. It also details what his life was like before the stroke. The evocative title comes from Bauby’s notion that while his body was submerged and weighted down — impossible to move — his imagination and memory were still free and as light as a butterfly’s wings: “My cocoon becomes less oppressive, and my mind takes flight like a butterfly. There is so much to do. You can wander off in space or in time, set out for Tierra del Fuego or for King Midas’s court.”

An Inquisitive Butterfly

“Did I ever mention that her bare arm bore the eight of vaccination? That I loved her hopelessly? That she was only fourteen? An inquisitive butterfly passed, dipping, between us.”

Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita

 
 

Handwritten draft dedicated to Vera Evseevna Slonim, Nabokov’s wife. In the summer of 1948, Nabokov wrote the firsts texts of a novel, drafted on the back of his entomology index cards. This drafts were for his most famous work: Lolita.

 
 

Vera ended her own budding career as a writer to support her husband as critic, reader, and typist, and sustained the family through her work as secretary and translator. After moving to the United States of America in 1940, she learned to drive and chauffeured her husband on many field trips, notably in the North American West, to hunt butterflies. To protect him she carried a handgun. Nabokov relied on her in his work and “would have been nowhere without her.” During his lectures, she would sit in the front row. She was his inspiration, editor, and first reader; all his works are dedicated to her. Lolita was saved by her from the flames more than once. However, personal letters pertaining to her and her marriage were destroyed.

 
 

The Butterfly and the Bee Vs. The Bear

 
 

By late 1963, Cassius Clay (he haven’t changed his name to Muhammad Ali yet*) had become the top contender for Sonny Liston‘s title. The fight was set for February 25, 1964, in Miami. Liston was an intimidating personality, a dominating fighter with a criminal past and ties to the mob. Based on Clay’s uninspired performance against Jones and Cooper in his previous two fights, and Liston’s destruction of former heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson in two first-round knock outs, Clay was a 7–1 underdog. Despite this, Clay taunted Liston during the pre-fight buildup, dubbing him “the big ugly bear.”

Clay began taunting and provoking Liston almost immediately after the two agreed to fight. He purchased a bus and had it emblazoned with the words “Liston Must Go In Eight.” On the day of the contract signing, he drove it to Liston’s home in Denver, waking the champion (with the press in tow) at 3:00 a.m. shouting, “Come on out of there. I’m gonna whip you now.” Liston had just moved into a white neighborhood and was furious at the attention this caused. Clay took to driving his entourage in the bus to the site in Surfside, Florida where Liston (nicknamed the “Big Bear”) was training, and repeatedly called Liston the “big, ugly bear”. Liston grew increasingly irritated as the motor-mouthed Clay continued hurling insults (“After the fight, I’m gonna build myself a pretty home and use him as a bearskin rug. Liston even smells like a bear. I’m gonna give him to the local zoo after I whup him… if Sonny Liston whups me, I’ll kiss his feet in the ring, crawl out of the ring on my knees, tell him he’s the greatest, and catch the next jet out of the country.”). He declared that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” and, summarizing his strategy for avoiding Liston’s assaults, said, “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.” Clay insisted to a skeptical press that he would knock out Liston in eight rounds (Former Light Heavyweight Champion José Torres, in his 1971 biography of Ali, Sting Like a Bee, said that as of 1963, Ali’s prophetic poems had correctly predicted the exact round he would stop an opponent 12 times).

When Clay won, he became the youngest boxer (22 years old) to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, though Floyd Patterson was the youngest to win the heavyweight championship at 21, during an elimination bout following Rocky Marciano‘s retirement. Mike Tyson broke both records in 1986 when he defeated Trevor Berbick to win the heavyweight title at age 20.

 

*On March 6, 1964, Islam leader Elijah Muhammad announced in a recorded statement played over the radio that Clay would be renamed Muhammad Ali. Muhammad means “worthy of all praises,” while Ali means “most high.”

 
 

The Soul of a Butterfly is the autobiography of Muhammad Ali. It is written in collaboration with his daughter, Hana Yasmeen Ali.It is not a comprehensive autobiography but a breakdown of the important events and experiences in his life; this is suggested in the book’s subtitle, Reflections on life’s journey. The book includes some of his and his daughter’s poetry, and snippets of Sufi thought.

An Effort to Recapture What is Lost

Lord Jim is a novel by Joseph Conrad originally published as a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900.
An early and primary event is the abandonment of a ship in distress by its crew including the young British seaman Jim. He is publicly censured for this action and the novel follows his later attempts at coming to terms with his past.

 
 

Lord Jim (Richard Brooks, 1965) It’s the second film adaptation of the novel by Joseph Conrad. The first was a silent film released in 1925 and directed by Victor Fleming. The film stars Peter O’Toole (Jim), James Mason (“Gentleman” Brown), Curt Jürgens (Cornelius), Eli Wallach (The General), Jack Hawkins (Captain Marlow), Paul Lukas (Stein), and Daliah Lavi (Jewel).

 
 

Peter O’Toole and Paul Lukas

 
 

After Jim rejects Marlow’s suggestion that he go to America, Marlow decides to consult Stein, the proprietor of a large trading company with posts in “out-of-the-way places” where Jim could more easily live in peace. Stein, according to Marlow, is extremely trustworthy and wise. We learn a little about Stein’s past: he escaped Germany as a young man after getting entangled with revolutionaries, then came to the East Indies with a Dutch naturalist. Stein remained in the area with a Scottish trader he had met, who bequeathed him his trading empire and introduced him to a Malay queen. Stein became an adviser to the queen’s son, Mohammed Bonso, who was battling several relatives for the throne. He married Bonso’s sister and had a child with her, and began to collect beetles and butterflies. Bonso was assassinated, and Stein’s wife and child died from a fever. Stein tells Marlow an anecdote about a particular butterfly specimen in his collection. One morning, he was tricked into leaving his compound by an enemy of Bonso’s and was ambushed along the road. After feigning death, he attacked and dispatched his attackers with bullets, but a few escaped. Suddenly, he saw a rare butterfly glide past him. Moving quickly, he captured it in his hat, holding a revolver in his other hand in case the bandits should reappear. Stein describes that day as one of the best of his life; he had defeated his enemy, possessed friendship and love, and acquired a butterfly he had long desired.

Stein collects butterflies, which may seem like just a passing hobby. But we think there just might be something more to it. Let’s take a look at Stein’s description of his favorite pasttime:

“When I got up I shook like a leaf with excitement, and when I opened these beautiful wings and made sure what a rare and so extraordinary perfect specimen I had, my head went round and my legs became so weak with emotion that I had to sit on the ground. I had greatly desired to possess myself of a specimen of that species […]”

He sighed and turned again to the glass case. The frail and beautiful wings quivered faintly, as if his breath had for an instant called back to life that gorgeous object of his dreams. (20.10-5)

 
 

 
 

Each time Stein captures a butterfly, he must kill it. He both admires and destroys these beautiful bugs, because each time he gets his hands on one, he takes away its freedom, and the beauty of the insect in flight. It’s a bit of a contradiction, right? If you love butterflies so much, Stein, perhaps you should leave the poor things alone. But he can’t. For Stein, all beauty is fleeting and all perfect moments must come to an end. His own personal history seems to confirm this: his wife and daughter were tragically killed, and live on only in his dreams and memories. He spends the aftermath of that tragedy tracking down and capturing butterflies, perhaps as an effort to recapture what he has lost.

Aside from personal considerations, Stein’s butterfly hunting is also a powerful symbol of the British Empire (and other European empires). Stein goes tromping around foreign places, capturing these things of beauty so he can study them and show off his trophies to his admirers. That sounds eerily familiar when you consider that European imperialism was all about traveling to foreign places and capturing their resources for European use. Perhaps these butterflies represent what is lost when Europeans colonized these far-flung foreign lands.

Boy with Butterfly Net

“It happens very often that a man has it in him, that a man does something, that he does it very often that he does many things, when he is a young man when he is an old man, when he is an older man. One of such of these kind of them had a little boy and this one, the little son wanted to make a collection of butterflies and beetles and it was all exciting to him and it was all arranged then and then the father said to the son you are certain this is not a cruel thing that you are wanting to be doing, killing things to make collections of them, and the son was very disturbed then and they talked about it together the two of them and more and more they talked about it then and then at last the boy was convinced it was a cruel thing and he said he would not do it and his father said the little boy was a noble boy to give up pleasure when it was a cruel one. The boy went to bed then and then the father when he got up in the early morning saw a wonderfully beautiful moth in the room and he caught him and he killed him and he pinned him and he woke up his son then and showed it to him and he said to him see what a good father I am to have caught and killed this one, the boy was all mixed up inside him and then he said he would go on with his collecting and that was all there was then of discussing and this is a little description of something that happened once and it is very interesting. ”

Gertrude Stein
The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family’s Progress

 
 

Boy with Butterfly Net, Henri Matisse, 1907

 
 

Visiting Italy in 1907, Henri Matisse was deeply impressed by the frescoes of Giotto, the 14th-century artist who ushered in the Italian Renaissance. Matisse especially liked Giotto‘s simplified volumes and restricted primary colors. In response to his Italian experiences, Matisse set about making Fauvism more dramatic and monumental. Here, he created a spare landscape composed of flat areas of land and sky with a single grand figure. The boy was modeled after the nephew of Leo and Gertrude Stein.

Misspelled Happiness

“What exactly is success? For me it is to be found not in applause, but in the satisfaction of feeling that one is realizing one’s ideal. When, a small child rambling over there by the fir trees, I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong. Happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away.”

Anna Pavlova