IMAGINE

From left: Anne (Russia) in dress and hat, Nina Ricci. Blouse, Miguel Adrover. Natasha (former Yugoslavia) in bodice, Imitation of Christ. Blouse, Prada. Petticoat, What Comes Around Goes Around. Jeans, Levi’s. Headscarf, Dolce & Gabbana. Socks, Gaultier Paris. Liliana (Mexico) in jacket, Dolce & Gabbana. Stripped jeans, Christian Dior. Hair pieces, M.S. Schmalberg. Kae (Japan) in  kimono Jean-Paul Gaultier. Dress, Salvatore Ferragamo. Aline (Japan and Brazil) in top and pants  Gaultier Paris. Audrey (France) in dress Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture. Stella (UK) in jacket Dolce & Gabbana. Tank Michael Stars. kilt, Gold Label by Vivienne Westwood. Carmen (Estonia) in dress Miu Miu. Alek (Sudan) in pants Giorgio Armani. Jewelry, Craft Caravan. Karolina (Czech Republic) in dress, Marc Jacobs.

 
 

From left: Lya (Ethiopia) in dress, Christian Dior Haute Couture.  Anouck (Belgium) in jacket and skirt, Veronique Branquinho. Madelaine (Spain) in jacket and dress, Gaultier Paris. Sharon (Israel) in caftan, Missoni. Marcelle (Brazil) in bikini Tom Ford for Gucci. Headdress, Pau Brasil. Rohini (India) in skirt OMO Norma Kamali. Rings, Chanel Haute Couture. Bracelets, Erickson Beamon. Maggie (USA) in top OMO Norma Kamali. Miniskirt, Dolce & Gabbana. Mariacarla (Italy) in dress Dolce & Gabbana. Pin, J.M. Schmalberg. Mini (Sweden) in blouse, Dolce & Gabbana. Corset, OMO Norma Kamali. Skirt, Miguel Adrover. Boots, Prada.

 
 

Fashion editorial inspired by John Lennon‘s song. Photos by Patrick Demarchelier. Harper’s Bazaar, December 2001

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The History of A Scoundrel

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (Albert Lewin, 1947) is an American drama film which stars George Sanders as a ruthless cad who uses women to rise in Parisian society. It was based on the Guy de Maupassant novel Bel Ami.

 
 

The film was the swan song of the actor Warren William due to his health continuing to deteriorate. He was unable to work for most of 1947, the year the filming of The Private Affairs of Bel Ami finished. This was the first role of Susan Douglas Rubes who had to sign a seven-year contact or else she could not act in any more films. Signing actors and actresses for seven years was a common thing for studios to do at the time. Due to restrictions imposed by the Motion Picture Production Code, certain scenes needed to be censored.

 
 

Drawing by Ferdinand Bac, engraving by G. Lemoine

 
 

Bel Ami is the second novel by French author Guy de Maupassant, published in 1885; an English translation titled Bel Ami, or, The History of a Scoundrel: A Novel, first appeared in 1903.

The story chronicles journalist Georges Duroy’s corrupt rise to power from a poor ex-Non-commissioned officer to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy mistresses.

 
 

 
 

The novel was adapted into film several times, including Bel Ami (Willi Forst, 1939). A Swedish pornographic version For Men Only (Mac Ahlberg, 1976) which had the tagline “Harry Reems‘ Last Adult Film”, and Bel Ami (Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, 2012) the drama film starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci and Colm Meaney.

In the film Bei dir war es immer so schön (Hans Wolff, 1954) Willi Forst plays a film director who together with two musicians (played by Georg Thomalla and Heinz Drache), composes the lyrics of the hit song Bel Ami, which finally he sings.

Religion as A Liberating Force

 
 

No designer draws on religious themes to quite such glorious effect as Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. Thus, it made perfect sense that Tisci came on board to guest-edit Visionaire’s 60th issue, RELIGION. Housed inside a distressed wood case lined in black Plexiglas, a book of images revealed Tisci’s world and the inspiration behind his work. Naturally, the works were loaded with symbolism, like a photo of Tisci suckling at the teat of Marina Abramovic — an image the performance artist says echoed the relationship between art and fashion. “When Riccardo was asked who I wanted to collaborate with,” Abramovic recalls, “I said the only thing I want is to collaborate with you. That was my ultimatum. I said to him, This is the situation: do you admit that fashion is inspired by art? Well I am the art, you are the fashion, now suck my tits! He’s very shy, so it took him a while to come around. But he did. During the shoot, I wanted to be in a state of mind as if I were delivering the emotions of the artist whose work is being used as inspiration—luminous yet strong. Art is giving. Art is nourishing. Art is oxygen to society. I was thinking what the title would be, and I thought of The Contract.” For Tisci, it was an opportunity to meditate on his past and present. “Visionaire was a truly important moment of reflection for me,” he says. “This collection of work celebrates inner truths, inner dialogues, and moments which words cannot quantify.”

Riccardo Tisci explores “religion as liberating force, complete with its share of saints, sinners, and supermodels.” However vaguely Tisci sees his own faith, his Visionaire is Catholic with a capital C, featuring eye-popping imagery that turns a millennium of European art on its head. Housed in an unfolding wooden case that nods to the great tradition of the altarpiece, the issue doesn’t scrimp on saints, including Carine Roitfeld, appropriately venerated in a series of haunting portraits by Karl Lagerfeld. (“Religion is anything you believe in,” the Chanel designer offers.)

The rest of the issue is an exuberant visual tribute to religious tropes. The Madonna and Child are revisited by Mario Sorrenti, and while she’s not exactly Rubenesque, there’s a certain minimalist serenity about her that beguiles. Paolo Canevari and Francesco Carrozzini canonize Franca Sozzani, complete with a Giotto-like halo, while Tisci’s house model, Lea T, is reimagined by Giovanna Battaglia and Pierpaolo Ferrari as a beautiful veiled martyr in Renaissance-style couture. The Son then comes into his own as Danko and Ana Steiner and Jared Buckheister rework the crucifixion, mounting Jesus on—or is it at—a lectern. Some of the pictures are slightly less tranquil. The shoot by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott of Lara Stone bound in ropes beside a burning cross conjures both Saint Joan and Mississippi Burning. But perhaps the most indelible image is that of Tisci suckling at the breast of Marina Abramovic, a woman who knows a thing or two about suffering for belief.