December 20, 2012

Beachobatics

A recently discovered photograph provides British swimwear brand Orlebar Brown 
a unique entry into the local market, writes Kate Venman. 
The notion of combining modern and nostalgic elements in design is demonstrated as Orlebar Brown enters the Australian market, offering a limited edition swim short design featuring the work of Australian photographer George Caddy [pictured]. Mr Caddy captured the tumbling, flipping, jumping and balancing ‘beachobatics’ of young men and women on Bondi Beach during the pre-war 1930s, the photographs of which are the only known record of beachobatics and laid undiscovered for a quarter of a century after his death in 1983. Adam Brown, the the label's founder, pays tribute to the late photographer in Orlebar Brown’s ‘Summer-Sault’ shorts printed with his photograph of two young men mid-back flip on the sand framed by the ocean and horizon. “The pictures by George Caddy reflect a time, moment or events on or around Bondi that seem relevant to Orlebar Brown, and hopefully Australia, too,” says Mr Brown. 
The Orlebar Brown Summer-Sault swim shorts are available 
exclusively at Harrolds Sydney & Melbourne and online

December 19, 2012

Thank You, Mr Armani

The partnering of a fashion powerhouse and art institution continues a 
contemporary form of art patronage, writes Mitchell Oakley Smith
As this issue notes, art and fashion have, it seems, a lot in common, and as traditional,
somewhat elitist hierarchies within the art world diminish, the two are crossing over in ways grander than ever before. But fashion’s interest in art isn’t limited to the commercial collaborations that have come to define the industry over the past decade. Since German brand Hugo Boss launched itsnamesake art prize in 1996 with the Guggenheim Museum, worth $100,000, fashion has assumed a position of cultural patronage to rival that of Italy’s famed House of Medici. 

What’s interesting about the plethora of awards – locally, Bulgari teamed with the Art Gallery of NSW for a three-year partnership that awards a midcareer Australian artist $80,000 in the form of a commission by the gallery and a residency in Italy, while the Furla Art Award adopts a similar approach in Italy – is the critical framework with which they are administered. That is, by the partnering gallery of independent curators as opposed to the brands themselves, adding to the awards’ cultural cache. 

Following Giorgio Armani’s three year sponsorship of the Sydney Theatre Company, a partnership that saw its then co-artistic director Cate Blanchett appear as an ambassador of sorts for the brand, the Australian office of the Italian company announced a sponsorship of the National Art School’s postgraduate exhibition. The $53,000 partnership, like Bulgari, is multilayered: in addition to a transactional donation of funds – much needed for the independent school, which is required to seek alternate income streams for nearly half of its funding – is the commission of a piece by a graduating student, as well as the selection of five artists whose work is exhibited in the brand’s stores around the country. These artists represent the specialist streams of the school, such as painting, sculpture and photography. 

Giorgio Armani has, in the past, sponsored exhibitions, including those at the Venice Biennale and Palazzo Reale, Milan, but in this case Emporio Armani, the company’s youth-focused line, bears the namesake of the sponsorship, assuming it a position of cultural sophistication and Australian-specific relevance. Anita Taylor, the school’s director, says both the school and Armani share the benefits. “Art and fashion are natural bedfellows,” Ms Taylor explained following the school’s 2012 postgraduate exhibition, co-curated by Katie Dwyer and John Di Stefano. “From an educational perspective, fine art has traditionally been seen as the most pure form of ideas, but that has a natural relationship with fashion, too – both expressions of innovation. We’re very design conscious in the 21st century and audiences are interested in creative and cultural experiences, no matter the form. This relationship [with Armani] reflects that.” 

As Ms Taylor explains, the Emporio Armani partnership is the school’s first major sponsorship, helping to underwrite its activities and support a new generation of artists by promoting their work to a much broader audience and fostering the creation of new work. “It’s critical in the future success and vibrancy of the school,” which boasts such luminaries including Margaret Olley, John Olsen and Tim Storrier.

Top: Georgia Brown, Cube Drawing, acrylic sheeting, dimensions variable, 2012.

December 18, 2012

The Holiday

Few brands manage to create clothes that embody an elegant nonchalance that men desire. Brooksfield's spring/summer collection, however, could be described as just that. With a pastel colour way of chinos, weathered button-down shirts and casual, naval-inspired pullovers, it's holiday dressing at its easiest. 

View: Anish Kapoor

Christmas has come early for Sydneysiders with today's opening of Anish Kapoor's first major retrospective in the Asia Pacific region. Comprising nearly 30 works, including the above Sky Mirror on the museum's front lawn at Circular Quay, the exhibition, which runs until April, is part of the Sydney International Art Series. MCA director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor speaks with Mitchell Oakley smith about the museum's most ambitious exhibition to date. 

MOS What made Anish Kapoor right for the MCA and Australia right now? 
EAM Kapoor is one of the world's most renowned sculptors and an opportunity for audiences in this part of the world to experience his work is long overdue. Hi recent exposure during the London Olympics, with his Orbit tower on all of our television screens, has heightened interest. 
MOS Why as an artist is he still so relevant? 
EAM Kapoor's work is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally engaging. He is one of a handful of contemporary artists who can engage an audience beyond the art world but artists are also excited about being able to see a range of his work here. 
MOS There's that wow quality, too. 
EAM The work certainly has an immediate impact. In many cases, the viewer becomes part of the work, which makes it so seductive. In the end though he is dealing with sculptural questions: making and placing objects in relation to architecture - colour, form and composition are all brought into consideration. The exhibition will show his brilliance in working with a whole range of materials, transforming the mundane into the magical. 
MOS Obviously some of the works are so big. What are the challenges in mounting a show of this scale? 
EAM Enormous! The MCA has a reputation for taking on challenges and this is definitely one of the biggest. Working closely with the artist's studio, the MCA team is testing the building with many of the works. Inevitably the selection process has had to take into account the nature of the MCA galleries but we are delighted with the range and number of works we are able to present. 
MOS Have you worked around a particular thread or theme in his work? 
EAM It's been more about placing work in response to the space, which is critical to all of Anish's installations. We wanted to give a broad overview of the range of his work, from the earliest pigment pieces to more recent installations. 
MOS Lastly, is there a particular piece you are personally excited about? 
EAM I remember so clearly the impact those pigment pieces had on me when I saw them for the first time in his studio in the early 1980s, so I am thrilled he has agreed to include them. At the other end of the scale, Memory has only been shown at the Guggenheim in Berlin and New York, so I have only seen photograpahs. It's a wonderfully mysterious work which you can never experience in its entirety. 

Top: Anish Kapoor, Sky Mirror 2006, stainless steel, courtesy the artist 
and Gladstone Gallery. Copyright the artist. Photograph: Alex Davies. 

December 17, 2012

Spring 2013: The Campaigns

This week marks the first release of many international luxury labels' spring/summer campaigns, and as always, many of them extend far beyond simple advertising pictures. Above, Burberry's Mario Testino-lensed campaign features dapper young gentleman Romeo Beckham - yes, that Beckham - alongside more established fashion names. As Christopher Bailey, the brand's chief creative officer, explains: "This season's campaign lights up with the infectious energy of an amazing young cast of old and new Burberry family. Romeo... was a joy to work with and really stole the show." Indeed. 

Meanwhile, Italian brand Prada (below) maintains its fall strategy of employing an eclectic mix of male actors, young and older, that no doubt fill many others with a 'why didn't we think of him' feeling. Lensed by David Sims and showcasing the brand's Gattaca-ish S/S'13 collection, the campaign features Dane DeHaan, Harvey Keitel, Benecio del Toro and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.




Collision

You are the man I want
Oil and acrylic paint on Calibre cotton suit

There has been so much debate in the past decade about whether fashion is art that, for the most part, it's not worth discussing one without the other. So what happens when you combine the two? We invited some of the country's leading artists to imbue ready-made fashion garments with their signature hand, the clothes becoming their canvases, so to speak. The resulting garments further blur the line between the shop floor and art gallery. 

Photography Rene Vaile | Styling Jolyon Mason | Grooming Natasha Severino

Bassike vs rags in a bag
Assorted artist's rags from recycled clothing applied with cotton thread to 
Bassike cotton long-sleeve t-shirt and drawstring shorts

Windowpane in Blue
Fluorescent spray paint on Herringbone suit

Jewel Linking Cell Cluster
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy and incralac on Yuliy Gershinsky 
paper and cotton bomber jacket and pants

James T. Naysium Springtime Tumblers Uniform, Regional Finals
Acrylic paint on Jac+Jack cotton and linen t-shirt and cotton pants

The Six Winks of Insomnia
Ink and spray paint on Vanishing Elephant cotton suit

December 16, 2012

In Conversation: Yuliy Gershinsky

Now in its fourth year, the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation's annual scholarship has become one of the country's most highly coveted prizes for emerging designers. With a band of expats flying in to Sydney for judging and the announcement of the winner this Wednesday, including co-founder Malcolm Carfrae, we took time out with 2011 TAFE Design Institute graduate Yuliy Gershinsky who could, should he be named the prize winner, be the first menswear designer to receive the six-month internship along with $25,000(AUD) in prize money. In a country with little menswear design innovation, a scholarship such as that AINYFF offers would provide Mr Gershinsky with unrivalled experience to share with us back in Australia. 

How have you spent 2012 since graduating from TAFE? 
Post graduation has been absolutely incredible. Whilst working a new collection I've been able to meet so many great people and have collaborated on projects with a couple of great contemporary Australian artists, such as Lionel Bawden through Manuscript's Collision project, and another which is yet to be announced.
Did you imagine being in this position?
I could never have guessed that I would receive such a response from my graduation collection or that I would be nominated a finalist in AINYFF. The prospect of winning this kind of scholarship is entirely mind blowing.
Do you have an ultimate goal with your label and as a designer? 
The ultimate goal is definitely to begin producing commercial collections.
What would winning the AINYFF scholarship mean to you? 
The AINYFF scholarship is one of the most incredible platforms for young designers to get serious experience within a much larger and established fashion industry. Winning the prize would give me the opportunity to be an insider and participant in the day to day goings of one of my favourite labels in New York. For me personally it would mean meeting and working with people in the fashion industry whom I respect and admire as well the chance to see the work of many of my favourite artists in person. It would also give me the chance to experience the city from which the culture has been a constant inspiration in my life and work. Professionally, this experience would be invaluable in learning the ins and outs of running a fashion company and would really give me a strong grasp as to how to run and grow a fashion business.
How would you ideally spend your time in New York? 
While i was growing up I was heavily influenced by hip hop and punk culture so going to a few shows is definitely a must.


Photography Bowen Arico (top), Georges Antoni (below) from issue 03.

December 13, 2012

Acne x Mr Porter

Just in time for the silly season, Swedish label Acne has joined forces with online retailer Mr Porter to present a 14-piece capsule collection of evening wear. "I like the tuxedo. It's a feminine uniform for men," explains Jonny Johansson, co-founder and creative director of Acne, of the choice to explore classic tuxedo shapes in wool, velvet and silk. "Let's think of a classic little black dress for men. I would use the word elegant to describe the man's tuxedo." 

December 12, 2012

Limited Edition: The Kimono Collection

Many designers look east when crafting a collection - indeed, see a story dedicated to the resulting aesthetic in our new issue - but beyond Giorgio Armani, few get the cultural collision correct. That's not the case with brisbane-based label Pistols at Dawn, the ready-to-wear arm of tailoring workshop The Cloakroom. For its summer collection, founder Andrew Byrne has employed vintage kimonos and traditional Japanese dying techniques to create a collection with greater character than that of off-the-rack suits. "Our pieces add to our customers' sense of style and we are excited to be part of their story," explains Mr Byrne. This particular manufacturing process sees yards of cotton soaked and dried 15 to 20 times, imparting a brilliant blue hue onto the fabric. The collection is available at Pistols at Dawn's Brisbane store

December 11, 2012

From the Editor

In the year since the first edition of Manuscript was published, we at its helm – well, me, given it’s a relatively modest, independent venture – have come to see the role of editor more as that of a curator. We are bound, as with an art show, by a white box (in this case tabloid-size newsprint, its page numbers the variable), and like an exhibition-maker, we take responsibility for balancing the big names with the lesser known, the historical with the contemporary, and, perhaps most importantly, engaging a viewer that is overwhelmed by options. 

But just as the curators we profile in this issue have pushed the bounds of all that an art exhibition can be – from the National Gallery of Victoria’s newly-minted director Tony Ellwood, whose work in the same role at the Queensland Art Gallery earned him an acclaimed reputation, to Joseph Allen Shea, the curator staging exhibitions in temporary, distinctly non-art locations – we hope that in having challenged the definition of a traditional men’s magazine that we can offer a different perspective on the subjects we cover. 

Art has, since our very first issue, played an important role in the Manuscript modus operandi, and yet as a fashion magazine, we’ve always tried to avoid being tokenistic about it. It’s my personal view – and, indeed, the subject of a book I’ve recently authored with art curator Alison Kubler, due for release in late 2013 – that art and fashion share much in common. Indeed, their very public collision over the past decade has brought us to a point in contemporary culture where it’s seemingly impossible to discuss one without the other. It’s this approach we adopt when crafting each issue of Manuscript

In just a few issues, we have invited some of the country’s leading practicing artists to reimagine men’s fashion on our pages, imbuing it with their own hand in the process. It’s these people – paper artist Benja Harney, illustrator Tania Mason, mixed-media artist Lisa Cooper, typographers Marty Routledge and Luca Ionescu, and graphic artist Jonathan Zawada – that, with our team of photographers and creative director Jolyon Mason, have given Manuscript its unique voice, and this issue, that roll-call continues to grow. 

In what was a madcap idea in retrospect, Mr Mason and I decided that rather than invite an artist into our studio and world, we’d take the project to them this time. So it is that we present Collision: a portfolio of one-off fashion garments uniquely personalised by the hand of some of the country’s leading mid-career male artists: Lionel Bawden, Hugh Ford, Jasper Knight, Anthony Lister, Andrew O’Brien and Michael Zavros. Captured by photographer Rene Vaile, the shoot is a very raw, uninhibited crossover of art and fashion, representative of a collapsing of traditional hierarchies within both worlds. As in every issue, our editorial arm extends far beyond flights of fancy, but we think it’s these special projects that add an additional layer of meaning and interest to menswear, framing it, so to speak, in a new light.

Until next time,

A Birthday Celebration

To celebrate the release of our fifth issue, on sale at newsagents today, and in marking one year of publishing, we last night hosted a soiree in Sydney. Guests included actors Benedict Samuel (pictured above with editor Mitchell Oakley Smith), Sean Keenan, Tim Pocock and Krew Boylan, artists Hugh Ford and Lionel Bawden (both of whom are featured in the issue) and designers Brent Wilson, Vanishing Elephant, Ksubi. Herewith, some of the action. Our thanks to Victor Churchill for what was an epic supper (below), Gentleman Jack, Bird in Hand Winery, Peroni, Santa Vittoria and Luxe Studios

















December 10, 2012

Touch Down: Garrett Leight

There is no shortage of stylish sunglasses in the Australian market, but given the typically sunny climate, there can never be too many, either. Thus, it's with enthusiasm that we welcome Californian optical brand Garrett Leight to Australian shores. Inspired by "Venice beach sunsets and southern California cool", founder Garrett Leight is the son of Oliver Peoples co-founder Larry Leight, brought up on eyewear design before launching his namesake brand in 2010. Each collection is named after Californian streets, their polarised lenses etched with the Venice postcode 90219. Having already teamed with menswear designer Mark McNairy, one of the first collections to make its way to Oz is a capsule created in collaboration with designer Thierry Lasry. Click for stockists. 

December 4, 2012

(Re)Introducing: Elwood

For most, Elwood brings to mind graphic printed tees in bright colours, worn mostly for sports. So it was with some surprise that, upon viewing the Australian brand's autumn/winter 2013 collection, there wasn't a collegiate-style, primary-coloured number to be seen. David Vial, once working in operations of the company, thought it high time for a brand evolution when he assumed the title of menswear brand manager. He speaks with us about the new direction. 
What is your role? With my team I oversee all of the menswear ranges. This encompasses colour direction, fabrication, silhouette, fit and branding. 
Why the change? Let's call it an evolution rather than a change. We are definitely not fogetting our history and successes of the past, but want to build on it more broadly. More than ever, men known a good product when they see it. We see a clear movement in menswear globally towards a sort of modern tailoring. At its simplest, you might say it is a return to an emphasis on quality, especially fabric, construction techniques, fit and attention to detail. 
How would you describe the evolved aesthetic? Our intention is to create garments with classic, functional styling with a classic Australian aesthetic. 
Who is the customer? Our guy is 25-35 and wants to feel and look good in what he wears. He looks for function, style and longevity in garments, and that's what we aim to deliver. 




December 3, 2012

Watch: Behind the Scenes at Le Specs

Summer isn't coming. It has, it seems, already arrived in Australia. Herewith, an exclusive tour backstage of eyewear company Le Specs' Todd Barry-lensed summer campaign, shot in Sydney.  

Preview: Givenchy Fall 2013

Givenchy's seasonal collections, under the creative direction of Riccardo Tisci, have the ability to incite hysteria. Mr Tisci's melding of iconoclastic graphics and traditional menswear tailoring - yes, beneath it all are simple collared shirts, suits and leatherwear - is one that has come to define the house's creative output and set a benchmark that other designers are scrambling to reach. This season's prints: Lumberjack checks, a digitally hand-painted domberman's face and the House de Givenchy stamp. Natural combination? Absolutely not, but that's the point.