This Too Shall Pass

George Harrison flipping the “bird”. Photo by Aaron Rapoport

 
 

این نیز بگذرد‎is an adage indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets, and is often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. Some versions of the fable, beginning with that of Sanai and Attar of Nishapur, add the detail that the phrase is inscribed on a ring, which has the ability to make the happy man sad and the sad man happy. Jewish folklore often describes Solomon as giving or receiving the phrase. The adage and associated fable were popular in the first half of the 19th century, appearing in a collection of tales by the English poet Edward Fitzgerald (Polonius: A Collection of Wise Saws and Modern Instances). On September 30, 1859, Abraham Lincoln included a similar story in an address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in Milwaukee:

 

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

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Polyhedric Image

«I met Richard Avedon when I was doing photojournalism about Salvador Dalí. Avedon was making a portrait of Dali in his studio and told me: “Enrique, I am working for Vogue and they are paying to me, don’t do the same photo.” I told him that my reportage was about twenty four hours in the life of Dali and I stood behind to make the photo of Avedon photographing Dalí while he and the model were posing.»

Enrique Meneses

 

Dali and model by Richard Avedon, 1964

 
 

Salvador Dali’s Fountain of Heraclitus necklace composed of peridots; diamonds, emerald-eyed lions’ heads and 18-carat gold; executed by Alemany and Company of New York, and owned by Mrs. Owen Cheatham. Dali makes imperceptible changes in the photograph by Avedon.

 
 

Dali, model and Richard Avedon by Enrique Meneses

A Key Motif in Dior’s Fashions

Monsieur Christian Dior and his gardener, date unknown

 
 

The story began in 1906 in the hills above Granville in Normandy within the gardens on the property where the Dior family had recently settled. Around the villa, Christian Dior‘s mother built a lush garden from the ground up combining rare species of plants. It was young Christian who created and designed the rose garden. Throughout his life, the rose remained his favourite flower. It was key motif in his fashions (featured in prints, embroidery, brocades, etc.) and an essential note in his fragrances. Furthermore, the very name of his childhood home – les Rhumbs – is also a subtle reference to the rose: it defines the cardinal divisions of space, which in French is called ‘la rose des vents’, or windrose. Therefore, the rose, which was so vital to the life and work of the designer, has also become essential to Dior Jewellery collections such as Rose Dior Bagatelle.

Ever since, each designer at Masion Dior (Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano and Raf Simons) had followed the tradition of including roses in the collections for this iconic French brand, whether in prints, accesories or even on a showstopping stage.

 
 

Rose de France afternoon dress in taffeta with colored rose print, Spring-Summer 1956 Haute Couture collection, Ligne Flèche (Arrow Line)

 
 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Roses Mousseuses influenced the rose print

 
 

Carmen Dell’Orefice wearing Dior by Yves Saint Laurent. Photo: Richard Avedon, 1957

 
 

Madrileña Dress of floating pale gray faille, Dior by Marc Bohan. Alexandre of Paris coiffure. Photo by Richard Avedon for Harper’s Bazaar, December 1960

Covered Up in Pink

“Apart from the two side seams the dress was folded into shape rather like cardboard. Any other girl would have looked like she was wearing cardboard, but on-screen I swear you would have thought Marilyn had on a pale, thin piece of silk. Her body was so fabulous it still came through.”

William Travilla

 
 

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend number, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)

 
 

This wasn’t the dress designed for this scene. William Travilla had designed a breathtaking show girl costume with jewels sewn onto a black fish-net body stocking up to the breasts, then covered in nude fabric, embellished with a mass of diamonds, costing close to $4,000. It never got past the cutting room floor. It was rejected because it came out that Marilyn has posed nude for a calendar back in 1949 (the infamous Golden Dreams photographed by Tom Kelley), when Marilyn was desperate for money. And instead of riding on the revelation, Travilla was given strict instructions to cover Marilyn up.

 
 

 
 

It was rejected because it came out that Marilyn has posed nude for a calendar back in 1949 (the infamous Golden Dreams photographed by Tom Kelley), when Marilyn was desperate for money. And instead of riding on the revelation, Travilla was given strict instructions to cover Marilyn up.

 
 

 
 

The original concept for the new dress included black gloves and shoes, and no one is sure why they became pink, but Travilla redid his sketch to show pink gloves. When people see the actual dress they often remark that in real life is lighter than it appears in the movie. That is easily explained by the use of glorious Technicolor according to Travilla himself, not only did he have to design the dress, but he had to make sure he got the fabric right, as Technicolor would make it appear more vibrant on film.

This dress was made out of peau d’ange, a sort of silk satin. The aim was to show the outline of the body, but for the dress to move with the body and not crease – which was rather difficult when Marilyn was moving up and down the stairs. Eventually the silk satin was glued onto felt, with a black lining added to the back, to give it a stiffness.

 
 

Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of the song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend and her pink dress are considered iconic, and the performance has inspired homages by Madonna (Material Girl music video) , Geri Halliwell, Kylie Minogue,  Anna Nicole Smith, Christina Aguilera, and James Franco (Oscar 2011).

Hells Angels and Prolific Demons

“When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets”

Hells Angels’ motto

 
 

The Hells Angels’ official website attributes the official “death’s head” insignia design to Frank Sadilek, past president of the San Francisco Chapter. The colors and shape of the early-style jacket emblem (prior to 1953) were copied from the insignias of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron

 
 

An image of the “HAMC Death Head design” mark registered for various goods, including jewelry, by the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

 
 

The alleged infringing “Hell’s Four Finger” Ring

 
 

“Hell’s Knuckle Duster” Clutch

 
 

Jacquard box dress

 
 

Shoes from Angels and Demons, Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2010-2011 collection

 
 

In October 2010, the Hells Angels filed a lawsuit against  Alexander McQueen for “misusing its trademark winged death heads symbol”, after the fashion house featured motifs similar to its famous winged death head. Lawyers for the motorcycle gang cited four products from the late designer’s final collection, created shortly before his suicide in February 2011.

They named the  ‘Hells Angels’ jacquard box dress, and a knuckle-duster ring in the complaint, as well as a scarf and a handbag.

The complaint argued that the symbol has been used by the Hells Angels since at least 1948, and that it is protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The lawyer representing Hells Angels claimed “This isn’t just about money, it’s about membership. If you’ve got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you’re an impostor.”

Twice in the weeks leading up to his death, Mr. McQueen messaged on Twitter, “Hells angels [sic] and prolific demons.” What seemed a non sequitur then appeared to be a reference to the collection he was working on, imprinted with the angels of Sandro Botticelli and the demons of Hieronymus Bosch.

In March 2007, the Hells Angels filed suit against the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group alleging that the film entitled Wild Hogs (Walt Becker, 2007) used both the name and distinctive logo of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation without permission.The suit was eventually voluntarily dismissed, after it received assurances from Disney that its references would not appear in the film.

Special Tribute to Liz Tilberis

Harper’s Bazaar, July 1999 issue. Tom Cruise’s cover was the last cover approved by Liz before her death just 3 months prior. All ad revenue went to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Models, photographers, stylists, make-ups artists, etc., donated their time for free. There are no editorials. It is the one issue which features the solidarity of the fashion industry for an icon.

 
 

Illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld

 
 

Obituary by Cartier

 
 

Christy Turlington photographed by Patrick Demarchelier

 
 

Guinevere Van Seenus photographed by Craig McDean, clothes by Yohji Yamamoto

 
 

Naomi Campbell photographed by David Bailey clothes by Versace

 
 

Left: Linda Evangelista illustrated by Mats Gustafsson; Guinevere Van Seenus photographed by Richard Burbridge

 
 

Nikki Uberti photographed by Terry Richardson, clothes by Dolce and Gabbana

 
 

Anne Catherine Lacroix photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadinanne, clothes by Balenciaga

 
 

Erin O’Connor photographed by Patrick Demarchelier., clothes by Calvin Klein

 
 

Natalie Portman photographed by Robert Bromann, clothes by Moschino; Cindy Crawford photographed by Mary Ellen Mark, clothes by Malo; Rita Wilson photographed by Sante D’Orazio; Milla Jovovich photographed by Cliff Watts, clothes by Tommy Hilfiger

Born to Be a Model

China Machado wearing a dress constructed of Richard Avedon’s photographs of herself

 
 

“I was born to be a model. I don’t mean that physically because, as Dick (Richard Avedon) once told me, “You’ll never make a lot of money in this industry because you’re too special”. But like models now, from an early age I was accustomed to moving a lot. I was born in Shanghai in 1929 and lived there till I was 16. We were forced out (during the Japanese occupation) and then I lived between Argentina and Peru before I came to Europe.

I fell in love with a bullfighter, Luis Miguel Dominguín, which was a very big scandal. My family didn’t speak to me for 15 years. But I don’t regret it. He was 27 and gorgeous, like Mick Jagger. In Paris I sang in a nightclub, and I met Hubert de Givenchy and started to work in his atelier. There were two types of models in the early ‘50s: photographic models and runway models, which is what I was. It was different then. I would work with a designer for three months, as they would create dresses specifically for me. It was couture. I made $100 a month, and I was the highest-paid model in Europe at the time. I had a very distinctive walk.

In September 1958, I arrived in New York. Diana Vreeland cast me in a group of fashion show, which I opened wearing a fabulous Balenciaga dress. Dick saw me, and the next thing I knew I was in his studio. I worked exclusively with Dick and Bazaar for the next three years. I stopped in 1962 because, frankly, I couldn’t give a damn. A model had so much to worry about: we had to get our own hair done and do our own makeup. I was happy to become a fashion editor at Bazaar (from 1962 to 1972).

I eat all the time. My favorite food is rice, and I eat it at least once a day. I’m always active. Perhaps that’s what keeps me in shape- I’m always moving. In 1972 I was on the cover of Bazaar, and I said the same thing: I don’t exercise, I don’t diet, and I dye my own hair. People thought I was lying. But it was true then and it’s true now.”

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent’s cotton crepe dress. Tony Duquette earrings and necklace

 
 

China Machado wearing Alexander McQueen’s silk satin dress; Tony Duquette earrings and Nicholas Varney bracelet. All Photographs by Bruce Weber

Dialogue Between Fashion and Death

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

YSL Rive Gauche nappa leather platform pump, 2010

 
 

Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane silver skull and leather necklace

 
 

Yohji Yamamoto 1995-1996 Ad campaign photographed by David Sims

 
 

Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2010 eyewear advertising

 
 

Christian Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano. Autumn-Winter 2000

 
 

Iris van Herpen Capriole Haute Couture AW11

 
 

Dsquared2 Fall 2010

 
 


Reveal The Inner Self, collection of Taiwanese designer Wei Ting Liang for her 3rd year final project, at the Ecole de la Chambre Synidcale de la Couture Parisenne

 
 

Jean Paul Gaultier, Fall Winter Couture collection 2006-2007

 
 

gaultier skeleton 2011Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show, 2011

 
 

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Fall/Winter 20011-2012

 
 

White cotton jacket printed all over with dotted grey skulls wearing light blue sunglasses by Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus, Spring-Summer 2011

 
 

Narciso Rodriguez’s sketch-books

 
 

Vans skulls slip-on shoes

 
 

Christian Audigier, French fashion designer and entrepreneur

 
 

Vivienne Westwood

 
 

GIACOMO LEOPARDI
DIALOGUE BETWEEN FASHION AND DEATH
A CHAPTER FROM OPERA OMNIA (1824)

Translated by Charles Edwardes

FASHION — Madam Death, Madam Death!

DEATH — Wait until your time comes, and then I will appear without being called by you.

FASHION — Madam Death!

DEATH — Go to the devil. I will come when you least expect me.

FASHION — As if I were not immortal!

DEATH — Immortal?

“Already has passed the thousandth year,”

since the age of immortals ended.

FASHION — Madam is as much a Petrarchist as if she were an Italian poet of the fifteenth or eighteenth century.

DEATH — I like Petrarch because he composed my triumph, and because he refers so often to me. But I must be moving.

FASHION — Stay! For the love you bear to the seven cardinal sins, stop a moment and look at me.

DEATH — Well. I am looking.

FASHION — Do you not recognise me?

DEATH — You must know that I have bad sight, and am without spectacles. The English make none to suit me; and if they did, I should not know where to put them.

FASHION — I am Fashion, your sister.

DEATH — My sister?

FASHION — Yes. Do you not remember we are both born of Decay?

DEATH — As if I, who am the chief enemy of Memory, should recollect it!

FASHION — But I do. I know also that we both equally profit by the incessant change and destruction of things here below, although you do so in one way, and I in another.

DEATH — Unless you are speaking to yourself, or to some one inside your throat, raise your voice, and pronounce your words more distinctly. If you go mumbling between your teeth with that thin spider-voice of yours, I shall never understand you; because you ought to know that my hearing serves me no better than my sight.

FASHION — Although it be contrary to custom, for in France they do not speak to be heard, yet, since we are sisters, I will speak as you wish, for we can dispense with ceremony between ourselves. I say then that our common nature and custom is to incessantly renew the world. You attack the life of man, and overthrow all people and nations from beginning to end; whereas I content myself for the most part with influencing beards, head-dresses, costumes, furniture, houses, and the like. It is true, I do some things comparable to your supreme action. I pierce ears, lips, and noses, and cause them to be torn by the ornaments I suspend from them. I impress men’s skin with hot iron stamps, under the pretence of adornment. I compress the heads of children with tight bandages and other contrivances; and make it customary for all men of a country to have heads of the same shape, as in parts of America and Asia. I torture and cripple people with small shoes. I stifle women with stays so tight, that their eyes start from their heads; and I play a thousand similar pranks. I also frequently persuade and force men of refinement to bear daily numberless fatigues and discomforts, and often real sufferings; and some even die gloriously for love of me. I will say nothing of the headaches, colds, inflammations of all kinds, fevers — daily, tertian, and quartan — which men gain by their obedience to me. They are content to shiver with cold, or melt with heat, simply because it is my will that they cover their shoulders with wool, and their breasts with cotton. In fact, they do everything in my way, regardless of their own injury.

DEATH — In truth, I believe you are my sister; the testimony of a birth certificate could scarcely make me surer of it. But standing still paralyses me, so if you can, let us run; only you must not creep, because I go at a great pace. As we proceed you can tell me what you want. If you cannot keep up with me, on account of our relationship I promise when I die to bequeath you all my clothes and effects as a New Year’s gift.

FASHION — If we ran a race together, I hardly know which of us would win. For if you run, I gallop, and standing still, which paralyses you, is death to me. So let us run, and we will chat as we go along.

DEATH — So be it then. Since your mother was mine, you ought to serve me in some way, and assist me in my business.

FASHION — I have already done so — more than you imagine. Above all, I, who annul and transform other customs unceasingly, have nowhere changed the custom of death; for this reason it has prevailed from the beginning of the world until now.

DEATH — A great miracle forsooth, that you have never done what you could not do!

FASHION — Why cannot I do it? You show how ignorant you are of the power of Fashion.

DEATH — Well, well: time enough to talk of this when you introduce the custom of not dying. But at present, I want you, like a good sister, to aid me in rendering my task more easy and expeditious than it has hitherto been.

FASHION — I have already mentioned some of my labours which are a source of profit to you. But they are trifling in comparison with those of which I will now tell you. Little by little, and especially in modern times, I have brought into disuse and discredit those exertions and exercises which promote bodily health; and have substituted numberless others which enfeeble the body in a thousand ways, and shorten life. Besides, I have introduced customs and manners, which render existence a thing more dead than alive, whether regarded from a physical or mental point of view; so that this century may be aptly termed the century of death. And whereas formerly you had no other possessions except graves and vaults, where you sowed bones and dust, which are but a barren seed, now you have fine landed properties, and people who are a sort of freehold possession of yours as soon as they are born, though not then claimed by you. And more, you, who used formerly to be hated and vituperated, are in the present day, thanks to me, valued and lauded by all men of genius. Such an one prefers you to life itself, and holds you in such high esteem that he invokes you, and looks to you as his greatest hope. But this is not all. I perceived that men had some vague idea of an after-life, which they called immortality. They imagined they lived in the memory of their fellows, and this remembrance they sought after eagerly. Of course this was in reality mere fancy, since what could it matter to them when dead, that they lived in the minds of men? As well might they dread contamination in the grave! Yet, fearing lest this chimera might be prejudicial to you, in seeming to diminish your honour and reputation, I have abolished the fashion of seeking immortality, and its concession, even when merited. So that now, whoever dies may assure himself that he is dead altogether, and that every bit of him goes into the ground, just as a little fish is swallowed, bones and all. These important things my love for you has prompted me to effect. I have also succeeded in my endeavour to increase your power on earth. I am more than ever desirous of continuing this work. Indeed, my object in seeking you to-day was to make a proposal that for the future we should not separate, but jointly might scheme and execute for the furtherance of our respective designs.

DEATH — You speak reasonably, and I am willing to do as you propose

Open Sesame!

Ali Baba (1897), Aubrey Beardsley.

 
 

This design dates from near the end of Beardsley’s short life. It is his only drawing for a proposed book of Arabian Night’s Tales, The Forty Thieves. The book was left unfinished at his death from tuberculosis in 1898.

The size and obesity of Ali Baba’s body is suggested in the most simple and minimal way. He almost seems to blend in with the background, his shape defined only by his robes and richly profuse jewellery. The decorations on the tassel seem to be based on 17th-century embroidery designs known as ‘blackwork’. Beardsley may have studied this rare form of ornament at the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A). It is typical of him to ‘quote’ historical forms in this way. He drew inspiration from many different sources, and yet his style was uniquely his own.

 
 

Ali Baba in the woods, also by Beardsley

 
 

Ali Baba (علي بابا‎) is a character from medieval Arabic literature. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (علي بابا والأربعون لصا). Like many other folk tales frequently adapted for children, the original tale is darker and more violent than the more familiar bowdlerized versions. Popular perception of Ali Baba, and the way he is treated in popular media, sometimes implies that he was the leader of the “forty thieves”; in the story he is actually an honest man whom fortune enables to take advantage of the thieves’ robberies.

Some critics believe that this story was added to One Thousand and One Nights by one of its European translators, Antoine Galland, an 18th-century French orientalist who may have heard it in oral form from a Middle Eastern story-teller from Aleppo, in modern day Syria. In any case, the first known text of the story is Galland‘s French version. Richard F. Burton included it in the supplemental volumes, rather than the main collection of stories, of his edition of the Thousand and One Nights, and seems to have thought it Greek Cypriot in origin.

Of Claws and Clothes

“Beauty should be edible, or not at all.”

Salvador Dalí

Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dalí, 1936

 
 

In 1936, Salvador Dali designed the Lobster telephone. By spring 1937, Italian fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli asked him to design a lobster as a decoration for a white organdy evening gown. And the dress was made famous when it appeared in Vogue modeled by Wallis Simpson. As an American Divorcee, Simpson gained notoriety when the Duke of Windsor chose to marry her in 1936 rather than become King of England.

The oversized lobster on this dress is strangely out of place on such a romantic and feminine gown. The odd juxtaposition between evening gown and sea creature was certainly not an accident. Many of Schiaparelli’s designs were both shocking and humorous.

 
 

 
 

Elsa Schiaparelli in her atelier

 
 

Lobster dress, in collaboration with Salvador Dali, 1937

 
 

Wallis Simpson. Photos: Cecil Beaton

 
 

Lobster, Andy Warhol, circa 1982

 
 

Isabella Blow at the American Embassy in Paris, 1998

 
 

Isabella Blow, in her lobster hat (by Erik Halley), at Julien MacDonald’s fashion show in London, 1998

 
 

Lobster Necklace by Erik Halley

 
 

Lady Gaga wearing a lobster hat designed by Philip Treacy in 2011

 
 

Lobster brooch by Tiffany and Co. which contains 200 pink sapphires and 61 spessartites in 18 karat gold. The lobster’s eyes are made from vivid emeralds and the antennae are sparkling diamonds. Summer 2009 collection.

 
 

Thom Browne Spring/Summer 2013

 
 

Tommy Hilfiger Short, Exploded Lobster Print Flat Front Short. 2013 Spring-Summer collection.

 
 

John Galliano Spring/Summer 2013 Menswear collection