Looking for Confidence

“…There’s nothing to gain when there’s nothing to be lost
There’s nothing to gain if you stay behind and count the cost
Make the decision that you can be who you can be
You can be
Tasting the fruit come to the Liberty Tree…”

Excerpt from Shaking the Tree

Composed by Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’Dour

 

Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats was released in 1990 as Peter Gabriel’s first “greatest hits” album, including songs from his first solo album Peter Gabriel (I or Car) (1977), through Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ (1989). It was remastered with most of Gabriel’s catalogue in 2002

 

The original photo session was at the late Robert Mapplethorpe’s New York loft studio in 1986. He spent some time getting to know Peter and during the session got him talking about many subjects on which he was passionate.

Mapplethorpe explained that he felt his subjects revealed more of themselves when talking about things they loved. At a time when many portrait artists were looking for vulnerability, Mapplethorpe was looking for confidence.

Peter really enjoyed getting to know Mapplethorpe and found him smart, funny and charming – “Robert Mapplethorpe is one of the great photographers. I was really happy with the results. I had this idea to do some with my eyes shut, so you have one which is on the front with eyes shut and then others with eyes open” Peter Gabriel.

The photo selected for the album cover was initially used for the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

 

 

Rolling Stone Magazine cover, January 29, 1987

 

To listen to the song Shaking the Tree, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

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Here Comes the Sun

Time Magazine cover. December 10, 2001

 
 

George Harrison. Photo by Mark Seliger, Los Angeles, 1992

 
 

“Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Little darling
It’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling
It feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Little darling
The smiles returning to the faces
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes (five times)
Little darling
I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling
It seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And i say
It’s alright
Here comes the sun (du du du du)
Here comes the sun
It’s alright
It’s alright”

 
 

Here Comes the Sun is a song written by George Harrison from The Beatles‘ 1969 album Abbey Road.

This is one of Harrison’s best-known Beatles contributions alongside Something and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The year 1969 was difficult for Harrison: he had quit the band temporarily, he was arrested for marijuana possession, and he had his tonsils removed.

Harrison stated in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine:

Here Comes the Sun was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that.’ Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton‘s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote Here Comes the Sun.”

 
 

Handwritten lyrics to Here Comes The Sun by George Harrison

 
 

As Clapton states in his autobiography, the house in question is known as “Hurtwood.” When interviewed in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Clapton said he believed the month was April. Data from two meteorological stations in the London area show that April 1969 set a record for sunlight hours for the 1960s. The Greenwich station recorded 189 hours for April, a high that was not beaten until 1984. The Greenwich data also show that February and March were much colder than the norm for the 1960s, which would account for Harrison’s reference to a “long, cold, lonely winter.”

The song was covered by Peter Tosh in 1970 and released as a single, though was not widely available until its inclusion on Can’t Blame the Youth in 2004. In 1971, Harrison performed the song during The Concert for Bangladesh. Also in 1971, Nina Simone recorded Here Comes the Sun as the title track to her cover album released that year. American folk singer Richie Havens saw his 1971 version reach No. 16 in the U.S. The most successful UK cover was by Steve Harley, who reached number 10 with the song in 1976. Naya Rivera and Demi Lovato performed the song, as Santana Lopez and Dani respectively, in Glee ’​s fifth season episode Tina in the Sky with Diamonds. Their duet version appears on the album Glee Sings the Beatles.

To listen to this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

The Weight of Epitaph

Rolling Stone. Issue No. 683,  June 2, 1994

 
 

In a special edition to remember his life and legacy, Rolling Stone put a close-up photo of Kurt Cobain staring at the camera on its June 4, 1994 cover. That photo, shown at right, was taken at the Park Trades Center in Kalamazoo (Michigan) on Oct. 27, 1993, according to Rolling Stone and Kalamazoo Gazette archives.

“On good days, Kurt was talkative and eager to play,” says former Nirvana publicist Jim Merlis. “On bad days, no one could make you feel so uncomfortable without saying a word.” October 27th, 1993, was a good day. Nirvana were in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ten days into a U.S. tour promoting In Utero, and Kurt Cobain was excited about that night’s show; two of his favorite bands, the Meat Puppets and the Boredoms, were joining the bill.

And Cobain’s daughter, one-year-old Frances Bean, was in the entourage. She had been shuttling between Nirvana gigs and a studio in Atlanta where her mother, Courtney Love, was recording Hole’s Live Through This. “Just the sight of Frances could change his whole attitude,” Merlis says of Cobain, who was in such a buoyant mood that afternoon he happily sailed through a long Rolling Stone cover session with Mark Seliger.

 
 

Rolling Stone No. 628, April 1992

 
 

Seliger had already shot Cobain on a bad day, for a 1992 cover story about Nirvana’s manic overnight stardom. “Kurt was very resistant,” Seliger recalls. “He didn’t want to be publicized. He didn’t want anything but to be true to his fans and to the music.” To emphasize his discontent, Cobain wore a T-shirt with the now-famous homemade inscription corporate magazines still suck. Twenty months later, in Kalamazoo, Cobain was ready to laugh at the irony of Nirvana’s superstardom. “We arranged to have Brooks Brothers suits as a response to their success,” says Seliger. “Kurt thought it was really funny. He loved it.” Cobain also posed in a female cheerleader’s outfit, complete with pompoms.

But before taking those photos, Seliger also quickly shot individual frames of each band member. And in this commanding close-up of Cobain’s steady, wary gaze, he caught the insecurity, frustration and mistrust that still gnawed at the Nirvana frontman. Two days earlier, in Chicago, Cobain had spoken frankly of his teenage rock & roll dreams and his ongoing war with fame. “I never wanted to sing,” he told Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke. “I just wanted to play rhythm guitar — hide in the back and just play.” But when the big time hit him, in the fall of 1991, he said, “It was so fast and explosive. I didn’t know how to deal with it. If there was a Rock Star 101 course, I would have liked to take it. It might have helped me.” Still, he insisted, life was good and getting better: “I just hope I don’t become so blissful I become boring. I think I’ll always be neurotic enough to do something weird.”

Six months later, on April 8th, 1994, Cobain was found dead, from a self-inflicted gunshot, in a room above the garage at his Seattle home, and Seliger’s portrait, first published with Fricke’s interview, carried the weight of epitaph, on the cover of Rolling Stone‘s special issue commemorating Cobain’s life, music and tragic death.

 
 

 Caption: “Originally an inside opener for Rolling Stone cover story of Nirvana in conjunction with the release of “In Utero”, my first Polaroid (with negative) was by far the most emotional and revealing of his spirit. Two months later Kurt died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head. This photograph became the memorial R.S. Cover”

 
 

When We Cease To Be Curious

“Commonplaces never become tiresome. It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative. We find that it is not a new scene which is needed, but a new viewpoint.”

Norman Rockwell

 
 

The Discovery, Norman Rockwell. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, December 29, 1956

Rockwell painted more than 30 Christmas themed covers for the Post in the course of his career and more than 70 of his most famous works address Christmas themes

Became a Habit

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.”

Mark Twain

 
 

The Saturday Evening Post, November 26, 1921 – Illustration by Joseph C. Leyendecker

Flower Bouquet For Head

Vogue cover illustrated by Salvador Dalí, June, 1939

 
 

Ivy Nicholson photographed by Louise Dahl-Wolfe

 
 

Harper’s Bazaar, April 1958 issue

 
 

Harper’s Bazaar UK, April 1965 issue

 
 

Page from Harper’s Bazaar USA, April 1965. Photo by Richard Avedon

 
 

Elle Fanning photographed by Will Cotton

 
 

New York magazine, February 2013

Tilda Swinton’s Surreal Fashion Fantasy

Tim Walker and actress Tilda Swinton created a series of phantasmagorias inspired by artists Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, and other muses and collaborators of English eccentric, poet, and surrealist collector Edward James.

 
 

Cover of W magazine. Modern Beauty issue. May 2013

 
 

Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci dress; Cornelia James gloves

 
 

Vera Wang Collection dress; Vicki Beamon lips and fingertips; Cornelia James gloves

 
 

Acne Studios gown

 
 

Maison Martin Margiela dress and gloves

 
 

 Rick Owens jacket and dress

 
 

 Ann Demeulemeester dress; Cornelia James gloves

 
 

Balmain jacket; Max Mara jacket; Swinton’s own Olivier Saillard gloves

 
 

Rochas dress; National Theatre Costume Hire underskirt; Cornelia James gloves; Céline pumps

 
 

Angels the Costumiers cape; Gucci gown; Vicki Beamon mask; Cornelia James gloves

 
 

Azzedine Alaïa top, skirt, and shoes; Emilio Cavallini bodysuit; Alexander McQueen headpiece

 
 

 Louis Vuitton dress and shoes; Cornelia James gloves; Emilio Cavallini tights

 
 

 Haider Ackermann shirt and trousers

 
 

Mary Katrantzou dress; Cornelia James gloves

 
 

Giorgio Armani blouse, skirt, and pants; Haider Ackermann dress; Ann Demeulemeester top; Cornelia James gloves; Prada gaiters and socks

 
 

Francesco Scognamiglio dress

Ruth Ansel And a Man on a Women’s World

“I chose Bazaar because I liked it much better than Vogue– graphically, it was more sophisticated. I called cold and asked to talk to an editor. It turned out there was an opening in the art department, and Marvin Israel, the director, took a big chance on me. He wanted somebody that didn’t have to unlearn graphic design clichés. Bea Feitler, his protégé and star pupil from Parsons, had been hired a month earlier. My first few months were a disaster.”

“In 1962 Marvin was fired, and Bea and I became the art directors. We were pioneers in a way– not only were we young women but we were working as graphic design partners. Then in 1971, a new editor came in to make Bazaar more newsy and we were both fired– almost simultaneously.”

Ruth Ansel

 
 

When Ruth Ansel put Steve McQueen, photographed by Richard Avedon (also the guest editor), on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1965, it was the first time a male appeared on the cover of a women’s fashion magazine.

 
 

At first look there are obvious reasons to love this February, 1965 cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine: Steve McQueen of course, and the amazing photography of the legendary Richard Avedon. But there is another visionary manifested here, not often spoken of, especially back when this was on the newsstand: Ruth Ansel, a female pioneer in the world of graphic design.

An interesting footnote: 22 year old Ali MacGraw (pre-McQueen days) worked under Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar until she was finally convinced by a bevy of photographers to get out from behind the camera and strike a pose. And the rest is history, as they say…

“Point to an iconic magazine cover of the last 40 years, and chances are it was designed by Ruth Ansel. Since 1961, when she talked her way into the art department at Harper’s Bazaar, Ansel has defined the look of some of America’s visually influential publications. In the 1960s, her work for Bazaar captured a transitional moment in fashion and society. In the 1970s, she became the first female art director of The New York Times Magazine and in the 1980s she created the look of Vanity Fair.”

Carol Kino

 
 

Model Jean Shrimpton & actor Steve McQueen

A Statement About the Transience of Life and Fashion

“Visionaire first featured the designs of Lee Alexander McQueen in 1996 and since that time, he has been a continuous inspiration and a presence in Visionaire. McQueen’s special commissions are among our most treasured contributions. His daring designs and challenging ideas of fashion have consistently excited and provoked us.”

Stephen Gan, Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos

Magazine’s founders

 
 

Visionaire 58 SPIRIT, a limited-edition of 1500 numbered copies

 
 

Protected in a modernly-chic white box, the tri-annual fashion and art publication Visionaire has released its tribute to the life and work of late fashion designer and icon Lee Alexander McQueen. The issue includes a collection of photographs by Nick Knight, Lady Gaga, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti and more, each printed on a piece of pulp paper embedded with wildflower seeds that will actually blossom if you plant them, water them and give them enough sun. However, with its striking images and homage to a true fashion legacy, we don’t intend to plant the pages anytime soon. Plus, the case features a metalized brocade detail from the designer’s final collection. All in all, a very romantic collector’s piece.

Several years before issue 58 came to be (2003), Alexander “Lee” McQueen came to the Visionaire office to discuss collaborating on an issue that ultimately never happened. One day, the staff was discussing a potential issue printed on seeded paper, and the next day, news came that McQueen, one of the most brilliant creative minds of our time, had passed away. The team took this as a sign and dedicated SPIRIT to him. The issue set out to commemorate McQueen’s life and career by publishing the imagery that had defined it.

 
 

Alexander McQueen by Steven Klein

 
 

Illustration by François Berthoud

 
 

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for Visionaire 29 WOMAN

 
 

Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for Visionaire 26 FANTASY

 
 

Horst Diekgerdes and Camille Bidault Waddington for Visionaire 25 VISIONARY

 
 

Alexander McQueen and Phil Pointer for Visionaire 24 LIGHT

 
 

Nick Knight for Visionaire 20 COMME DES GARÇONS

 
 

Steven Klein for Visionaire 18 FASHION SPECIAL

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

The Most-Sought-After Title of the Nineties

Linda Evangelista. Art Direction: Fabien Baron. Photo by Patrick Demarchelier. It was the first issue from Liz Tilberis at Harper’s Bazaar. September 1992

 
 

Sex and design, not that long ago, were total strangers—at least in magazines. You could have sex and fashion, as Helmut Newton had memorably proved in Vogue, and you could have fashion and design, as Alexey Brodovitch, Harper’s Bazaar’s legendary art director from 1934 to 1958, had shown. But Fabien Baron’s remarkable 1992 redesign of Bazaar, under editor Liz Tilberis, brought them together under one elegant, sensuous roof. Baron also introduced art-world and European photographers (Mario Testino, David Sims, Cindy Sherman, Craig McDean, Mario Sorrenti, Raymond Meier, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin) to the fashion world for the first time, permanently altering our perception of what a fashion photographer does.

Baron grew up in Paris, the son of a magazine art director. He came to New York at 23; his first magazine job was at GQ, in 1982, where Bruce Weber was making his name. By the late eighties, he was multitasking prodigiously, producing Barneys’ famous ads with Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell, and working on Franca Sozzani’s Italian Vogue and Ingrid Sischy’s Interview, all at the same time. By 1992, when he landed at Bazaar, he was a ubiquitous design star.

And a new kind of star at that: a “creative director,” which in short order became the most-sought-after (and then clichéd) title of the nineties. “I was the first person to have that title,” he says. “I didn’t want to be just the art director!”

Obsessive Cropping Brought to Layouts

Alexei Brodovitch‘s signature use of white space, his innovation of Bazaar‘s iconic Didot logo, and the cinematic quality that his obsessive cropping brought to layouts (not even the work of Man Ray and Henri Cartier-Bresson was safe from his busy scissors) compelled Truman Capote to write, “What Dom Pérignon was to champagne … so [Brodovitch] has been to … photographic design and editorial layout.”

 
 

The game-changing cover of “Harper’s Bazaar”, featuring Machado as first non caucasian cover model, February 1959. Photo: Richard Avedon. Art direction by Alexey Brodovitch

 
 

Harper’s Bazaar UK. February 2013. Cover star: Anne Hathaway. Photography: David Slijper