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The Eye: How the World's Most Influential Creative Directors Develop Their Vision

The Eye: How the World's Most Influential Creative Directors Develop Their Vision

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The Eye: How the World's Most Influential Creative Directors Develop Their Vision

Longueur:
578 pages
4 heures
Sortie:
Oct 30, 2018
ISBN:
9781579658878
Format:
Livre

Description

They’re often behind the scenes, letting their work take center stage. But now Nathan Williams, founder and creative director of Kinfolk magazine and author of The Kinfolk TableThe Kinfolk Home, and The Kinfolk Entrepreneur—with over 250,000 copies in print combined—brings more than 90 of the most iconic and influential creative directors into the spotlight.

In The Eye, we meet fashion designers like Claire Waight Keller and Thom Browne. Editorial directors like Fabien Baron and Marie-Amélie Sauvé. Tastemakers like Grace Coddington and Linda Rodin. We learn about the books they read, the mentors who guided them, their individual techniques for achieving success. We learn how they developed their eye—and how they’ve used it to communicate visual ideas that have captured generations and will shape the future. As an entrepreneur whose own work is defined by its specific and instantly recognizable aesthetic, Nathan Williams has a unique vision of contemporary culture that will make this an invaluable book for art directors, designers, photographers, stylists, and any creative professionals seeking inspiration and advice.
Sortie:
Oct 30, 2018
ISBN:
9781579658878
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Nathan Williams is the author of The Eye, The Kinfolk Entrepreneur, The Kinfolk Home, and The Kinfolk Table and the editor in chief of Kinfolk, a lifestyle magazine published quarterly by Ouur studio. Founded in 2011, Kinfolk maintains a vibrant contributor base from Copenhagen to Cape Town and hosts hundreds of global events each year that bring the community together.

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The Eye - Nathan Williams

How The World’s Most Influential Creative Directors Develop Their Vision

______

Nathan Williams

EDITOR’S NOTE

Creativity and curiosity are shared human constants. Looking to Silicon Valley, the runways of Paris Fashion Week and many places in between, we question what else is out there and how it makes us feel to pursue it. From our politics to portfolios, the ways we express our talent and artistic purpose today are ushering in an entirely new mode of communication and nomenclature—and creative directors are the vanguard, the cultural gatekeepers across industries and trades. But what defines a creative director? Who are these trailblazers and dilettantes and how do they develop their vision? The Eye explores these questions, acting both as a showcase and a primer.

The future of creative direction is unknown, and its history is no less nebulous. Leonardo da Vinci was arguably the first creative director, the Renaissance providing a fertile ground for creative expression like never before. Fabien Baron, editorial director of Interview magazine and founder of his own design firm, even suggests some version has been around since the pyramids. Minimalism has existed since the world has existed, from a single man putting his hand on a single stone. The Egyptian pyramids. What’s more minimal than that? Baron explains. Of the Christian cross, he says: The most famous logo ever.

Creative directors, whether building the pyramids or conceptualizing a logo, deciding on the look of a handbag or directing the music video of a pop star, are the heart of any project. They establish and develop a company’s personality, perspective and reason for being. They construct the DNA for a brand, using whatever means necessary, whether it’s their childlike instincts or their robust Rolodex, external or internal stimuli. As Kris Moran, set decorator for the likes of Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, puts it: Everything relates to the project. It’s all I see, like an eagle eye looking for clues in people on the street, in cab rides, on my way home on the subway. For Andy Spade, it’s intuitive: I almost lose all sense of reality, and time disappears because I’m immersed in it so deeply and having so much fun.

Similarly, choreographer Alonzo King says dance requires you to be both in the moment and selfless. You’re not imitating, cloning or knocking something off, he explains. You have to step into the embodiment of an idea.

Whether with captions, captchas, hashtags or memes, our social selves are creating a ping-pong existence with a new generational connectivity. Says Jefferson Hack, founder of Dazed and Confused: There were no rules. We didn’t want to be prescriptive about the new generation that was coming through, which we were part of, he explains. It was about admitting to not being perfect, about saying: ‘I’m dazed and confused, and I don’t give a fuck that I haven’t got everything worked out.’ This connection culture is now not only an acceptable form of expression, but a welcome 360-degree pursuit, a new Enlightenment altogether. Todd Tourso shares this same reflective instinct: You’re really only a mirror for what your subject is at the moment, says Tourso, Beyoncé’s creative director, and your goal is to dust away all the bullshit and put a magnifying glass on what makes them special.

Today, creative directors are also building entirely new industries. To witness a runway show by Alexandre de Betak is to observe fashion at its most int­erpretive, its most ­communicative—its most groundbreaking. Producing more than one thousand shows for clients like Givenchy, Céline, John Galliano, Michael Kors, Lanvin, Miu Miu and Rodarte, the designer reinvented the form with elements like real tornados and ice sculptures.

Successful creative directors are also often networks unto themselves, pulling talent from around the globe. After working in video and production design for years, Grammy winner Melina Matsoukas tapped Solange to provide the music supervision for a new show on HBO. Discovery, diversity and disruption, says Stefano Tonchi, the creative director behind W and T magazines, are what drove his career. The editor, like so many in the pages that follow, is known for retaining a roster of creative talent that has loyally followed him over the years.

Editors like Vogue’s Diana Vreeland transcended the role of editor in chief to famed personality and cultural arbiter, whereas graphic designers like Willy Fleckhaus created editorial work with cult appeal. Today, the founders of Opening Ceremony carry on that tradition. Despite no formal training, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon were named creative directors of Kenzo in 2011. The promotion surprised many, but the move proved wildly successful. In short, all of these individuals have created something unprecedented and influential in their respective fields.

Across a mix of industries including fashion, publishing and entertainment, these creative directors possess that elusive asset, an eye for their niche and trade—and an eye for the zeitgeist before it arrives.*

They possess that elusive asset, an eye for their niche and trade—and an eye for the zeitgeist before it arrives.

MASTHEAD

Editor in Chief & Creative Director

Nathan Williams

Editor & Art Director

Molly Mandell

Design Director

Alex Hunting

Copy Editor

James Burke

Copy Editor

Jason Orlovich

Editorial Assistant

Lena Hunter

Editorial Assistant

Garett Nelson

Publication Design

Alex Hunting Studio

Writers

James Burke

Alex Frank

Natalya Frederick

Colleen Kelsey

Molly Mandell

Frankie Mathieson

David Michon

Shonquis Moreno

Sarah Moroz

Tom Morris

Billie Muraben

Jason Orlovich

David Plaisant

Natalie Rigg

Sarah Rowland

Laura Rysman

Trey Taylor

Photographers

Christian Møller Anderson

Pablo Arroyo

Paul Barbera

Fabien Baron

Alessio Bolzoni

James Bort

Julien Boudet

Claire Cottrell

Lasse Fløde

Gillian Garcia

James Gardiner

Nicolas Guerin

Eric Guillemain

Joakim Heltne

Virginia Katheeb

Billy Kidd

Andreas Larsson

Thomas Lohr

Fernando Marroquin

Craig McDean

Jacopo Moschin

Ward Ivan Rafik

Philip Sinden

Mario Sorrenti

Daniel Stjerne

Marsy Hild Thorsdottir

Zoltan Tombor

Dennis Weber

Stylists, Hair & Makeup

Jérôme André

Louisa Copperwaite

Sonia Duchaussoy

Vernon François

Aidan Keogh

Mindy Le Brock

Sabrina Lefebvre

Tsipporah Liebman

John Nollet

Celina Rodriguez

Cover Illustration

Jack Davison

CONTENTS

Fashion

Thom Browne / Vanessa Traina / Stefano Pilati / Clare Waight Keller / Dries Van Noten / Yohji Yamamoto / Bouchra Jarrar / Erdem Moralioglu / Linda Rodin / Joe & Charlie Casely-Hayford / Kris Van Assche / Carol Lim & Humberto Leon / Margaret Howell / Telfar Clemens / Garance Doré / Jonathan Anderson / Lucas Ossendrijver /

Fashion Archive

Christian Dior / Pierre Cardin / COCO CHANEL / MARY QUANT / HUBERt DE GIVENCHY / Roy Halston Frowick / Azzedine Alaïa / ALEXander mcqueen / yves saint laurent / CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA /

Reading List

PUBLISHING

STEFANO TONCHI / GRACE CODDINGTON / FRANCK DURAND/ VERONICA DITTING / JEFFERSON HACK / Imran Amed / Mirko Borsche / Ruba Abu-Nimah / Thomas Persson / Marie- Amélie Sauvé / Masoud Golsorkhi & Caroline Issa / FABIEN BARON / KUCHAR SWARA / Camilla Nickerson / KARLA MARTINEZ DE SALAS /

Publishing ARCHIVE

FRANCA SOZZANI / CARMEL SNOW / WILLY FLECKHAUS / HELEN GURLEY BROWN / ALEXANDER LIBERMAN / CIPE PINELES / BARBARA BABE PALEY / ALEXEY BRODOVITCH / DIANA VREELAND /

Reading List

ENTERTAINMENT

wayne mcgregor / KRIS MORAN / DEVonté HYNES / LERNERT engeLberts & SANDER plug / AURÉLIE DUPONT / TODD TOURSO / ALONZO KING / CHRIS DERCON / MELINA Matsoukas / Alexandre de Betak / ANDY SPADE / Stefan Sagmeister & jessica walsh / LUCA GUADAGNINO /

ENTERTAINMENT ARCHIVE

ALFRED HITCHCOCK / George Balanchine / GORDON PARKS / Rudolf Nureyev / john ford / MICHAEL CURTIZ / Akira Kurosawa / Sylvia robinson / DAVID LEAN / Merce Cunningham / Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney / Ingmar Bergman / Orson Welles / Jean Cocteau / Frank Capra / Stanley Kubrick / Peter Brook / Mikhail Baryshnikov / Quincy Jones / Martha Graham / George Martin / Jean-Luc Goddard / Edith Head / Peggy Guggenheim /

Reading List

Inventory

Credits

Acknowledgements

stefano tonchi

wayne mcgregor

Clare Waight Keller

FASHION

Opening an appointment-only store with just five suits, Browne has an entrepreneurial spirit and a personal vision that is tangible in his style. A sleek and understated authority is the essence of his brand.

THOM BROWNE

Thom Browne

A men’s suit is all but synonymous, sartorially speaking, with orthodoxy—it is the uniform of the Professional Man. At one end, it is a hallmark of power and the establishment; at the other, it is the metaphorical shackle of the white-collar rat race. Very little variation is accepted in its design. Proportion, fit, color, and materiality: all are subject to a set of unspoken traditionalist rules that are followed to an astonishing degree. There seems to be an equally precise understanding of how one should wear a suit, a subject that has inspired endless style tomes, none of which you’d expect to find on the bookshelves of Thom Browne.

The barriers to innovation in the design of men’s suits are many. Few—very few—designers might be considered innovators, and particularly few have developed a new style and truly moved the needle with it. Thom Browne is one who has. He started his eponymous brand in 2001 out of his New York apartment. Back then, he was personally handwriting the labels of each article of clothing; today, his brand spans men’s and women’s lines and ready-to-wear and couture, and under its triple-striped belt boasts successful collaborations with Moncler and Brooks Brothers, winning several prestigious American fashion awards along the way. A Thom Browne suit has much in common with other high-end tailoring: top-quality fabrics and exceptional craftsmanship, for instance. At one level, it’s just another example of classic tailoring. Yet Browne swerves to the left in cut—a play in proportion, in his words. At least for Browne’s most recognizable style, his suits have often been described as shrunken or schoolboy in the press: sleeves and trouser cuffs are cropped, and the fit is snug. The gesture is his major risk and his genius.

Aesthetic consistency is a Browne hallmark. Launched in 2011, his eyeglasses line introduced another staple, with frames that come with a certain dramatic flair and an androgynous feel.

As with most creators, Browne was driven by a desire to create something that met his own tastes—and a cropped, tight-fitting suit wasn’t on the market. Frankly, aside from Thom Browne, it still isn’t. When he first launched, Browne was asked, Why should I buy it, if it doesn’t even look like it fits you? To which he responded, I like it the way that it fits. Browne refuses to call this confidence. It’s more naiveté, he says, something that was a personal drive, and the reason the brand was given his name.

Browne’s office, in New York’s Garment District, is distinctly clutter-free and minimally designed. Some people say that they could hose down my office, he told The New York Times shortly after moving into the space in 2015. It’s that sparse.

There are a lot of suits in his past: his father was a staunch wearer of suits, and Browne himself attended a Catholic school growing up and was used to a uniform. Oddly, it’s not entirely due to those experiences that his brand is what it is today. [My father] would laugh if he ever thought I was using him as a reference, says Browne. It was more that everything was so classic and simple; the last thing that he thought about, really, was the clothing that he was wearing. And that is fundamental to Thom Browne; nothing becomes irrelevant after a season. His clothes are built to last in both design and construction.

Browne’s suits are now his uniform—and to him, there’s something very liberating about a uniform. Once upon a time, in college, it was khakis, a navy jacket and a cardigan sweater for Browne. Today, it is a gray suit with trousers that bare his ankles, or shorts. Browne philosophizes about very few things, but the idea of a uniform is one. It’s ironic, but for me, someone who adopts the idea of uniformity is someone who has a lot more interesting things to think about. They are very confident, they are very secure, and true to themselves. Of course this style is now the uniform of all those who work with Browne at his midtown Manhattan office.† Many who visit the Thom Browne headquarters comment on more than the dress of his staff, but also on the utter completeness of the aesthetic world that Browne has created for himself. Floating pieces of his furniture collection between his home, his office and his stores, Thom Browne gives each of his spaces the same treatment. On a more profound level, what underscores the impact of his designs is Browne’s skill at world creation, his ability, as he says, to let people feel his sensibility.

Browne sees his work as making classic tailoring relevant for today: how can a suit shift from a symbol of establishment to one of expression and experimentation? As when trying to fiddle with any tradition, it’s best to do it with a little of what we know—he incorporates a sensibility that is classic American, with many nods to the 1960s—but also with a little fantasy.

Wrapping a ready-to-wear collection in high-concept trappings is a technique that is commonplace in the fashion industry, with elaborate and expensive presentations on the runway. Thom Browne’s shows, however, often go to the next level in stitching together a collection’s concept and its presentation. His Autumn/Winter 2006 menswear collection saw his models take to an ice rink on skates—they didn’t all manage to stay upright—and spin around to Rachmaninoff. And this is Browne’s radicalism, subtle as it may seem: to imagine a snowboarder in quilted cashmere. Establishment, he’s saying, is now jeans and T-shirts; a good suit is radical. Thus, tailoring is introduced to a new audience (and with a bit of humor). As much as the press try to dig deep into his shows, Browne insists they remain not as intellectual as people think, Browne says, adding, I like to be entertaining and memorable and really tell the story of the collection. Inspiration comes from any number of sources, whether a fashion silhouette or a book, film or art—but only as a spark. I don’t really keep literal references. I try to remember them as much as possible and not get crippled by a reference in front of me, he explains. Sometimes a literal reference is done so well that you almost feel like, I shouldn’t be doing this, because it couldn’t be done any better. There is, however, one literal reference always close at hand: Hector Browne, Browne’s wire-haired dachshund, who has been the muse for a series of handbags, most in his likeness, which first appeared in 2016.‡

Browne’s initial sketches for a collection are almost illegible—beautiful but indecipherable. They are abstract, using lines and circles drawn by a ruler and template, almost Bauhaus and without a set of consistent symbols. Aside from cryptic captions (Monday, Thoughtful, Rosiest), they can be interpreted only once explained to his design director. They’re just to get the ball rolling: I prefer mostly going directly into making the clothes.

Browne is not trained as a designer; he was living in Los Angeles, trying to become an actor and failing at it. Often after losing out on a part, Browne was told he just didn’t look like he needed the work. When he decided to quit LA in 1997, he headed straight for New York, landing a job in an Armani showroom before being hired as a designer for Club Monaco by Ralph Lauren, who’d seen Browne in one of his own suits. New York, says Browne. It’s a cliché to say, but it’s just a city where things happen.

I like to see things differently, says the designer, and I hope that helps other people see things differently. Through his decades as a designer, Browne has been consistent in that—the cropped suit was just the beginning. He’s shown us oversized, too, and men’s dresses. Yet, despite his laser-sharp concepts, he’s not dogmatic—feel free to wear a pair of Thom Browne trousers right to your shoe.*

I don’t really keep literal references.

Hector Browne is a miniature wire-haired dachshund —a long, low, compact and muscular breed that the American Kennel Club calls spunky and easily moved to boredom, yet also intelligent, lively, courageous to the point of rashness, [and] obedient. All very much like Hector’s owner, it seems.

Presidential Power

For the 2013 presidential inauguration, Michelle Obama donned a navy dress and coat combination designed by none other than Browne himself. Browne had formerly dressed the first lady, but this ensemble carried extra weight. It was only to be worn once, after which it (along with any accompanying accessories) would be preserved by the National Archives. Unsurprisingly, the silk foulard outfit also garnered Browne extra attention. Suddenly, for example, there were many more invitation requests for his shows.

Traina says the foundational items for any wardrobe are a great pair of blue jeans, a classic white shirt, a black cashmere sweater, cigarette pants and a little black dress.

VANESSA TRAINA

Assembled Brands

It’s the small details that make the space feel like a home—letters in a drawer or well-browsed books. There’s a Poul Kjaerholm table in the dining room. In the closet, a dress by J.W. Anderson keeps company with a color-blocked Reed Krakoff sweater and a Christophe Lemaire handbag. In the living room, a Mapplethorpe photograph on consignment from a private art dealer sits above a Clam chair by Philip Arctander that relaxes into the shag of a vintage Moroccan boucherouite rug. Welcome to The Apartment.

Curated by New York–based fashion con-­sultant, stylist and creative director Vanessa Traina, it is the brick-and-mortar incarnation of luxury e-commerce website The Line. The site offers a comprehensive combination of fashion staples, furniture, housewares, beauty, books and art, and Traina has been with the company since its inception in 2013. The same year, The Apartment opened in a third-floor Soho loft, where Traina’s taut edits live in the context of a plush domestic setting. (In 2015, Traina and her partner, Morgan Wendelborn, opened an LA outpost, too.) Although residential retail is not revolutionary, The Apartment spaces elevate the showroom to a more interactive, multidimensional level, responding to the market’s craving for experience over con­sumption, stories over stuff. Like many, Traina is drawn to the notion that an object’s history can bring people together.

Having grown up in a large, close-knit family, she was quick to envision the detailed home retail concept. A San Francisco native, Traina has an austere beauty: barely made up, natural and understated. Avid readers of the fashion press know that she likes Mark Rothko, drinks Earl Grey tea with milk and honey and is a moderate overpacker. But she can be guarded, too. Traina is the daughter of romance novelist Danielle Steel, one of the best-selling authors in the world. Steel married four times and raised seven children. (Two of Traina’s sisters also work in the fashion industry.) Behind the artifice of privilege, it is a relief to discover honesty, clarity and accessibility in her work.

Traina spends the day moving between her in-house merchandising and store teams, photo studio and designers. She selects products, designs stores and works with graphic and interior designers from brand inception to runway styling. She still art directs the site as well, including editorial features called Explore the Stories, and oversees the design of an in-house line called Tenfold—cashmere throws, brass vessels, shallow horn bowls—that has all the earmarks of her lush minimalism: materially rich, but clean of line and unassuming, an emphatic understatement.

I’m an editor foremost, she says. But one could argue that her real skill is combining the building blocks of lifestyle branding into a covetable, consumable 360-degree productscape. Many artists recontextualize mediums from dance to haute couture. Traina’s vision, on the other hand, takes ordinary life (products she calls the fundamentals of daily living) and makes it extraordinary. Her medium is the everyday.

Admittedly, Traina’s everyday is privileged—European travel, boating weekends, glam parties, getaways to the Napa ranch, entire fall wardrobes ordered from Marc Jacobs

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