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PUBLISHER Kevin Ma EDITOR IN CHIEF Kevin Wong EDITOR Vanessa Lee DESIGN Hybrid Design hybrid-design.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Mallory Chin Eddie Eng Joanna Fu Petar Kujundzic Hasse Lemola Arby Li Nicolaus Li Chihiro Sato Ben Roazen COPY EDITOR Peter Suh GUEST EDITORS Josh Davis Gavin Yeung Virgil Abloh ADVERTISING Wadnes Castelly Jamie Chan Crystal Choi Anthony Esponda Charles Gorra Kendall Hall Paul Le Fevre Victoria Morris Huan Nguyen Josh Parker Lily Richardson Jacqueline Ruggiero Tiff Shum Chad Steiner SPECIAL THANKS Winki Au Yeung Iwan Baan Lizzie Baxter Jonathan Cheung Koon Chi Chung Lewis Coffey Casey-Scott Corless Korey Downes

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Felix Forest GHOSTCURRENCY Heison Ho Neil Hugh Matt Kays Sarah Lawson Adrien Leborgne Laurie Mannes James McDonald Renee Neoh Gene Michael Oe Arisa Ogura Andrew Power Stephanie Reynolds Zainab Slemang van Rijmenant Anne-Sophie Rousseau Athiththan Selvendran Antonia Steyn Madrell Stinney Federico Tan Studio Tate Reo Tomioka Jacqui Wills Cat Wong Geoffrey Wu CONTACT magazine@hypebeast.com 12th Floor 10-16 Kwai Ting Road Kwai Chung Hong Kong +852 3563 9035 PRINTING Asia One Printing Limited In Hong Kong All Rights Reserved ISSN 977-230412500-0 13th Floor, Asia One Tower 8 Fung Yip Street Chai Wan, Hong Kong +852 2889 2320 enquiry@asiaone.com.hk HYPEBEAST.COM PUBLISHER 101 Media Lab Limited 2017 December © 2017 Hypebeast HYPEBEAST® is a registered trademark of 101 Media Lab, Ltd.

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EDITOR'S LETTER

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HIGHLIGHTS

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ARTHUR KAR

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MARK BORTHWICK

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FOSTER CHILD

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BENJAMIN EDGAR

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CHROME HEARTS

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

VIRGIL ABLOH

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FACETASM

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ADVISORY BOARD CRYSTALS

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ILSE CRAWFORD

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POETIC TERRORISM

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BRTHR

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GUIDE

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ENGINEERED GARMENTS x DR.MARTENS MONKEY BOOT

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New York-based Engineered Garments recently teamed with Dr. Martens to rework the famed footwear label’s iconic Monkey Boot. Remixing the timeless silhouette, the collaborative take utilizes Engineered Garments’ signature mismatched aesthetic to pay homage to the history of Doc Martens, modernizing the heritage classic. Available in both suede and pebbled leather, Engineered Garments lowers the traditional boot model to a 6-inch chukka height, accented by a 6-eye lace closure and asymmetric cut paneling. A smooth cowhide lining, heat-sealed treatment, air-cushioned sole unit and bold yellow Z welt-stitching round up the design of the boots. Priced at $480 USD, the Engineered Garments x Dr. Martens Monkey Boot in “Cherry” is available at select Engineered Garments stockists.

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MMTN. LIGHT. WINTER REDEFINED

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A new USA-made collection for the modern explorer, crafted in our Portland, Ore. factory from the highest-quality materials. DannerÂŽ Portland Select features our most iconic boots, such as the legendary Mountain Light. Built to withstand winter conditions from the Pacific Northwest to New York City, the collection is made to the same high standards Charles Danner established in 1932.

DANNER.COM

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Adding to his portfolio of politically-charged surrealist paintings, billboards and sculptures, American contemporary artist Ron English recently released a new exclusive vinyl toy range. Created in collaboration with APPortfolio, the collectible statement pieces are 3D expressions of English’s “POPaganda” art, which fuses mainstream cartoon figures with grim, subversive motifs and biting humor. A standout piece from the range is the “Shocking Sunflower Smiley Grin.” Limited to 20 editions per color, the yellow and black “Shocking Sunflower Smiley Grin” is a steel-reinforced floral iteration of English’s signature teethy skeleton. $510 USD at select retailers. 010

SHOCKING SUNFLOWER SMILEY GRIN ART TOY

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SAINT LAURENT x COLETTE TEES

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Saint Laurent steps in as colette’s last special residency of the year, and will continue into 2018 as the new occupant of the hallowed 8,000-square-foot space after the Parisian boutique closes its doors. In order to both celebrate and commemorate—as well as commiserate—Saint Laurent has created a range of clothing and lifestyle pieces for colette, highlights of which include a Total Black Vespa and a vinyl collection curated by Travis Scott. Pictured here, Saint Laurent x colette tees, available exclusively at colette. 012


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www.gshock.com

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©2017 CASIO AMERICA, INC.


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SACAI x UNDERCOVER

To celebrate this year’s Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week, Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER and Chitose Abe’s sacai collaborated on a collection of streetwear staples. Released during the revamped annual fashion exhibition, the collaborative range is comprised of striking graphics emblazoned on to co-branded sweaters and T-shirts, informed by both Abe’s experimental asymmetrical aesthetic and Takahashi’s signature punk-tinged design language. Available at select stockists worldwide.

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BEOPLAY E8 INTERVIEW

Upgrade Move up to a truly wireless experience, superior sound, intuitive touch controls and outstanding comfort with Beoplay E8. Cord free with Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound — Touch interface gives you control of tracks, calls and more — Genuine leather case for charging on the go — Up to 4 hours of playtime on one charge with an additional 8 hours from the case — Transparency Mode, tune into your surroundings Visit us in a Bang & Olufsen store to explore the full range of B&O PLAY products beoplay.com/findstore


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Arthur

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“With the experience of L’Art de L’Automobile and being around fashion, seeing brands going in and out, I thought the only purpose of me having a brand is to have it related to my own world.” The man whose profession—and obsession—was seemingly predestined by his family name recently further realized his lifelong passion by launching L’Art de L’Automobile KAR, the clothing line. This venture of bringing cars into fashion, for Arthur, comes out of a lifetime of experience and wealth of knowledge for the automotive world. The once-car washer, now-turned-luxury and vintage car dealer has amassed a collection of some of the most desirable automobiles ranging from a classic 1970s Aston Martin to a Ferrari 812 Superfast. He not only knows each car in his collection by heart, but also has a story for each one—whether it be a personal anecdote of how he obtained the gem, or tales of the cars in the wild. Having gotten his start at a Porsche garage at the age of 16, Arthur explains that his passion for cars began with wanting to just be around them, to washing and fixing them, to wanting to own his own, to finally wanting to buy, sell, and share the cars with other enthusiasts. Along the way he picked up a ton of stories and situations ranging from peeking at swimsuit calendars inside gas stations as a kid, to having the tires of his friend’s Mercedes G-Wagen stripped and put on bricks. It is this same fervent attitude towards car culture, and more specifically, spreading the stories and emotions related to seeing, driving and owning cars, that led Arthur down the line of fusing automotive with fashion—making it accessible to everyone in the world, novice and enthusiasts alike. His purpose: “To give people that same feeling you get as a child when you see a nice car.” On the surface level, the label looks to be a tailored exhibition of luxury cars like those filling the spaces of Arthur’s dealership, also named L’Art de L’Automobile. But Arthur is quick to divulge that instead, the designs—each car plastered on the front of the shirts, each fictional car wash emblem—

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actually has a very personal story to it. L’Art’s first collection featured an image of a single Volkswagen Golf GTI, which has since become a centerpiece for the brand’s visual. Handpicked by Arthur, the GTI personified the inaugural collection because it was his father’s car that, to him, represents the “the people’s car.” Another standout design from one of his latest collections exhibits a car he admits he’s not fond of. However, the decision to present a floating yellow Lamborghini with its butterfly doors ajar, is to communicate the universal reaction from onlookers when they first laid eyes on the novelty: “WTF, is that thing gonna fly?” The following conversation between Arthur and I took place inside his Supreme-laden loft office, atop of his multi-level garage fit for a James Bond movie—if he were heavy into streetwear. Getting to the HQ for L’Art de L’Automobile and L’Art de L’Automobile KAR takes the visitor on a visual journey up a spiraling parking lot, floor after floor; the cars, neatly parked between the lines, got increasingly impressive—and undoubtedly rarer—as we journeyed upwards. In our conversation, the 35-year-old Parisian described the parallel between producing clothes and producing cars, from the 25+ iterations of designing the car image to the wear tests he puts his prototypes through— having his team wear the shirt for six straight days. He also shared his lofty plans of producing a series of 10 collaborations across 10 different retailers in different countries—where they plan to touch on the region-specific car habits, cultures and stories. Within the conversation, Arthur also shared what his close friends Kanye West and Virgil Abloh had to say when he first shared his concept with them for L’Art de L’Automobile KAR.


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Q&A First off, how long did it take for you to build up a garage and collection like this one? It took me literally all my life, I’ve wanted it since forever. It takes all the experience I have, from the first day I started working, to 2012 when I made L’Art de L’Automobile as a company and building around it throughout my life. My experience of 20 years—I started to work at 14, and now I’m 34 turning 35. The purpose behind why I started to fix cars is because of my passion. After that, you just want to do it better—and not only to fix cars, but own them.

it made sense for me. So they really supported me for that reason. Both of them, without a single design completed, without any pictures, just purely from me explaining it to them—they said, “Why didn’t you do this before?” How do you decide which cars you want to design and premiere in your collection? Every single car I put onto a T-shirt, it’s my car—a car I’ve owned or sold. Every car has a story of what I’ve done with it. So the shirt I’m wearing now is the Lambo T-shirt. But why did I put the Lambo with its doors

Why did you decide to get into the automotive business? I want to give this feeling to people. No matter if it’s a thousand-dollar car or a million-dollar car, it’s just the feeling people have when they buy something. I want to give them a chance to feel 16 again—with your best friend, just out of school, seeing that car pass by and being like, “Whoa, one day we are going to own that car.” How did you decide it was time to create L’Art de L’Automobile KAR—a fashion brand devoted solely to car culture? One day I said to myself, “Do you have any one brand based on automobiles in your closet?” I did not. And I thought, “Cars are your most favorite thing in the world—and instead you have so many skateboarding pieces.” I didn’t have anything relating to cars in my closet, and there’s no car brand around today. That’s how I started. What did Virgil and Kanye say when you initially told them about your idea to start this brand? Like I always say, my friends are my friends—maybe they say it’s a good idea because they’re my friends, maybe they say it’s good because it’s true—but we’re talking about two people who are related in one way: they are geniuses, both of them. And from geniuses, there is never a “No.” I’ve never seen Kanye or Virgil say no. They are who they are because they trust in themselves before everyone, and they believe in people like me because they trust in passion. They understood me quickly because they also brainstorm nonstop. For them it makes sense just as much as

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open? It’s a situation everyone has been in, everywhere in the world. You see the doors open and think “What the f*ck? Is that car gonna fly?” I don’t like Lambos, but the image you have in your head with the doors open, it’s just so powerful—so we had to put it on the front with big text that says L’Art de L’Automobile, and people have responded to it. What’s your process with designing clothes?

So when I have the idea, one of my designers makes a drawing—because I don’t draw, I tried but I’m not that good. Before the drawing is finished, I mark it maybe 25 times, circling things—‘I don’t like this or that, this has to be correct; this has to be in the right place’—because of my experience with the cars. In my eyes, it needs to be as real as possible and then we put that onto the computer and begin to work around it. That’s another week spent on the design, and after this we print onto a prototype T-shirt. And my team and I wear it. Now we have six new designs we don’t show anybody, but we wear it all day to see how our eyes will react to the design,

cars, and your feelings. It’s the same feeling as buying your first pair of Jordans—my brand isn’t comparable to J’s but the feelings, they are.

if it gets old or not—we’ll know through time. And after six days, if I still love it and my team still loves it, then we start to work on it. If it’s something you will get over, I don’t want to give it up to chance to have our work be in the trash—it has to stay. It’s not like if I say “it’ll be good,” it’ll actually be good—I just want to give us the most chance for our work to stay around for a long time. So that’s how we do it. The same way you make a car. Factories build the car, the car works. Then they approve the car with the environments and crash test, safety tests, security tests,

I have my ideas set for next year. My collaborations with stores. These are related to the stores and the country which the store is based. Every collaboration has to be related to the story of the country and the cars in the country too. I’ve chosen only 10 stores because the related cars of the country are for each story. Because it will relate to the stories of the locations: the people living there will be touched by it and the situation they have with that brand of car or piece of automobile.

design tests, quality tests and then finally, they will take the car out. It’s the same with my T-shirts and my clothes. The same steps as the car world.

If it doesn’t pass my crash test, it doesn’t go out.

What do you have planned for the future?

I have so many ideas, so many things around cars to

I chose to collab with GR8 because of their uniquely made Japanese cars. We’ve all had that box of cars before. We’ve all dreamed of having those toys as kids. It’s funny because I want to do this and then I really want to go out and buy it. I want that feeling—to be the guy who made it, but also at the same time to be the guy who wants to own it—like, damn.

make the universe be more understandable, respectable,

So sometimes we’re creating things and I feel happy, but sometimes I’m like, “Damn I wish I was the guy behind the counter—going to get this.”

and also create feelings that touch a lot of people. For making the future bigger, not to sell the most possible, but to share something—my feelings and knowledge around

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A VISUAL SET BY MARK BORTHWICK

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For no island`s without her sea`s no peace is without its release no heart`s without her blood and doubt no reason to live without without love *

2017


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JACKET: NORMA KAMALI

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JACKET: NORMA KAMALI PANTS: GAP

SHOES: RAF SIMONS


SWEATER: BALENCIAGA JACKET: MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA

SKIRT: COMME DES GARÇONS SHOES: RAF SIMONS

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LONG SLEEVE SHIRT: STYLISTS OWN SHORT SLEEVE SHIRT: RAF SIMONS PANTS (OVER): STUSSY

PANTS (UNDER): MARNI SHOES: RAF SIMONS


JACKET: NORMA KAMALI PANTS: GAP

SHOES: RAF SIMONS

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JACKET (OVER): UNDERCOVER JACKET (UNDER): VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

SHORTS: STYLISTS OWN T-SHIRT, SHOES: RAF SIMONS


TURTLENECK: STYLISTS OWN SWEATER, SHOES: RAF SIMONS

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SWEATER: BALENCIAGA JACKET: MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA

SKIRT: COMMES DES GARÇONS SHOES: RAF SIMONS


TURTLENECK: STYLISTS OWN SWEATER, SHOES: RAF SIMONS

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SWEATER: RAF SIMONS SOCKS: GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY

BLANKET: COMMES DES GARÇONS


JACKET (OVER): UNDERCOVER JACKET (UNDER): VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

SHORTS: STYLISTS OWN T-SHIRT, SHOES: RAF SIMONS

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SHIRT: RAF SIMONS PANTS: GAP


LOOKS

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Othello Grey A LY S S A A L I K PA L A

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RICHARD GOODMAN

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Outside the Box WORDS

BEN ROAZEN PHOTOGRAPHY

REED SCHMIDT

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Benjamin Edgar Gott has a hard time describing what he does for a living. Sure, he has a day job working at a venture capital firm, helping ambitious startups secure funding—Gott describes it as a “Fountain of Youth, because you’re basically always surrounded by people with new ideas”—but there’s much more beyond that. His Twitter bio describes his work as a “bunch of projects that hopefully work.” “Most of the time,” Gott says, “I just say I don’t know. I tell a lot of people that I’m a designer—that’s a pretty broad stroke these days, right? You could be designing businesses; you could be designing graphics; you could be designing products.” Over the course of his career thus far, Gott has tried his hand at all three and more. His portfolio includes an objects company, Benjamin Edgar, Or Whatever, that sells everything from graphic tees to carbon fiber clothes-hangers; a blog, The Brilliance, that he co-edits with longtime friends Chuck Anderson and Virgil Abloh of Off-White™ fame. In 2008, Gott found himself confounded by a paradox of the environmental movement. “I was fascinated by how much bottled water was being consumed, even though it had come to embody everything that was wrong with how we treat our environment.” Gott realized that bottled water had become an “accepted evil,” yet people kept buying it. “Like last year alone, sales eclipsed soda, I think?” Gott wonders for a moment. Gott remembers when he first noticed production inefficiencies in a manufacturing plant, years ago. “I just looked at it and thought it could be done better.” His solution was simple enough: “What if we just shipped it flat? Ship it to our folding machines and let them fold it and fill it, all in one shot. What if we made that out of a more sustainable material—paper. It’s recyclable, and also you can grow more of it.” The packaging was simple enough: Boxed Water Is Better.

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The reaction to the product was swift and unexpected. “When Boxed Water came out, people went absolutely nuts for it,” Gott remembers. “We were on Good Morning America, like, three months after we started, when we were only stocked in eight stores.” Even now, he scoffs in disbelief. “It wasn’t useful press at the time.” When I asked him what the greatest lesson he had learned from the experience was, he notes: “It’s the job of the designer and entrepreneur, that if someone’s complaining about something but continue to buy it, then you need to rethink it.” This idea holds true for Gott’s latest project: thoughts, a lofty project that can only be described as an affordable, professional question-and-answer service. “That’s it,” he says, “That’s the most basic version. Our elevator pitch would probably be a peer-

to-peer education service that’s super affordable.” The longer pitch is best summed up on the sleeve of the company’s Internet Blue hoodie. He rattles it off by heart: “A decentralized university that exists only on the internet. No professors, only part-time adjuncts that live it. No traditional tuition—you pay only when raising your hand with a question.” The system is simple enough: Users have access to a roster of adjunct professors (expert creatives like Christina Paik, Tremaine “Denim Tears” Emory, Anwar Carrots, Jeff Staples and others). “One question costs $10.” Gott explains: “The expert that gets asked the question gets 80% of that. The $2 leftover is the money we take to keep our business running. The sales from the hoodies contribute three questions to a scholarship fund.”

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It should be noted that Gott himself never went to college. “I didn’t necessarily start th-oughts to poke at [the idea of] college or stick it to the universities,” he maintains, before explaining: “I don’t have any education beyond high school, actually. I had a mentor, though,” he pauses, then continues: “That was a huge advantage to me, but that isn’t accessible for everybody. I figured we should have micromentorships and micro-education in the form of a really affordable question.” He thinks that the idea and company will evolve over time. “But as of right now, it’s been a really fun experiment,” he concludes. And that’s exactly how Gott sees most of his ventures: experiments. “Every company is an experiment, at first. I think the companies that start off wanting to change the world tend to get too far ahead of themselves.”

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When I ask him what the greatest challenge has been across all of his experiments, Gott pauses. “I’ll give a pretty candid answer: you have to get over your own self-doubt. If you can get over that fear really quickly—and there aren’t many humans I know who possess this ability.” Gott quickly shoots off SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk and Virgil Abloh as examples. “They are quick to do things. They don’t have fear of how it’s going to be received, they just feel personally compelled to do it.” From the objects he sells under Or Whatever to the ideas and questions he’s put forward with th-oughts, it’s clear that Benjamin Edgar is conquering his own self-doubt, project after project. Here’s to hoping it works out.


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HIS TWITTER BIO DESCRIBES HIS WORK AS A "BUNCH OF PROJECTS THAT HOPEFULLY WORK." 070


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Q&A You have a lot of projects: your objects company, Or Whatever; Boxed Water; The Brilliance. What else do you have on your docket?

age difference is like five years or something like that. Keep in mind, five years in high school is a massive age difference, so when I skipped college, we kept in touch. I left home and went on to my first software development gig in 2000, while he started his design thing—No Pattern—as a side thing and definitely blew up. Instead of [using a messaging service], we used to email constantly and we joked that we should turn it into a blog. We’d go back and forth and the inside joke was to call it The Brilliance, so we called it that and launched it. This was in the very early days of blog-land, y’know? I remember doing a group interview with Highsnobiety and Kevin Ma from HYPEBEAST. We all knew each other because it was so small back then.

That´s exactly like that plotline in Silicon Valley with the New Internet.

You guys brought the blog back to life recently and you wrote that it was a sort-of "brutalist experiment," right? It´s a Web 1.0 homage.

I’ve worked at a venture capital for the past six years, helping to fund other startups. I joke that it’s the Fountain of Youth, because you’re always surrounded by people with new ideas. They’re pitching to you about how they wanna change the world, change this industry, and it keeps you young. It’s an honor to get to do that after starting your own company. It’s basically what that show Silicon Valley is based around. I just had a phone call talking to this startup that’s a new satellite communications network. It’s the coolest thing ever. This guy is trying to go up against NASA, basically.

Ha, it’s not as crazy as Erlich and all those guys, but yeah.

Yeah, it’s looked like that since ’05 when we launched it, which makes me feel quite old. I built this little CMS so we could do it ourselves. And the first time you do something, usually, you don’t do it with any style—you do it just to see if it works. When we were

How did you, Chuck and Virgil meet to form The Brilliance?

Chuck and I met when we were kids. I think our

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throwing it around and testing it out, it was all in Times New Roman, which was the standard font of the Web back then. We had an “Oh Shit!” moment, like “What if we keep it like this?”

"I JOKE THAT IT’S THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, BECAUSE YOU’RE ALWAYS SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WITH NEW IDEAS."

So we centered the text, added some margins on the side and that was it, I think. This was when web design was really over the top, so we just thought it was funny to under-design it. And it made it stick out, because people would visit and say, “Wow, this design is so shit!” But then they’d read a post and think that was good. We just stuck with it. Who were some of those mentors that helped you figure out your path?

The friend group of The Brilliance has been pretty big for me. Chuck and I have been friends for a long time. Plus, when Virgil came on—funny story. He was a reader way back in ’05-’06 and he emailed us asking to write on the site. We didn’t know who he was and this was pre-All of What He Is Now. We were getting a lot of those requests from other people, but he pinged us again. We stayed in touch and met up in New York instead of on the Internet, told him he should write for us and he came onboard. We’ve gotten really close over the years. From a design mentorship standpoint, even before he was the Virgil that everybody knows now, he was a huge inspiration for me. He’s always had good taste. 072


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CHROME HE AR TS

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“That word—collab.” One could almost hear air quotes in the gravelly baritone as it landed on the offending term; he pops the ‘b’ at the end as if to punctuate his bemusement. “It kinda didn’t exist back then, you know?” From our first moments meeting Richard Stark, it was apparent that trendy buzzwords such as “collab” hold very little weight with him. Since Chrome Hearts was founded in 1988, the label has worked with countless legendary musicians the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones, in addition to fashion mainstays such as Comme des Garçons, Gareth Pugh and Rick Owens, yet none of these projects were deemed “collabs” when they were conceived—they just happened. The thought of staring up at the notoriously elusive Chrome Hearts magnate armed with sapling-green jargon the likes of “collab”— even to describe a minor part of his work—seems, somehow, terrifyingly inadequate.

over a mass of wiry hair, and languid, powder-blue eyes like a Siamese cat. Even while sitting still and framed by wisps of incense smoke, Richard Stark exudes the perpetually-windblown ruddiness of someone who regularly faces the elements at 80 mph. Chrome Hearts owes its beginnings to his love of motorcycles (“Road bikes—Harley Davidsons, mostly,” he provided). Richard’s self-made riding gear in the form of leather chaps, pants, jackets and vests started the brand down a rock star and supermodel-studded path to become an era-defining institution at the turn of the 21st century. The label, headed by Richard and his wife Laurie Lynn Stark and more recently with their eldest daughter Jesse Jo Stark, now has 28 stores around the world—no small feat for a company that insists on staying true to their craftsmen’s beginnings, meticulously handcrafting each piece from a single factory in its birthplace of Los Angeles.

A tall, imposing figure met us that day, dressed all in black: sleeves rolled up to reveal sunburnt forearms and faded tattoos, black cap firmly tugged

As the direct result of Richard having spent most of his founding days enthusiastically marching against the grain with regards to almost everything,

“I'M NOT IN THE FASHION BUSINESS. I'M REL ATED TO IT, BUT I DON'T DO WHAT THEY WANT ME TO DO, AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO DO WHAT I'M DOING EITHER. BACK THEN, THEY JUST THOUGHT I WAS NUTS.” RICHARD STARK

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Chrome Hearts is now a veritable empire, built little by little from personal friendships and respect. The label has always possessed a certain pull for famous faces from Aerosmith to Kendrick Lamar, Kate Hudson to Rihanna. “We add collections and do collaborations with our friends, who may not have done jewelry before—but I think if you have taste, then you can make anything,” Laurie Lynn says faintly, calling from somewhere in the mountains of California. Jesse Jo’s spin on the brand sees Chrome Hearts working with younger figures such as artist Matt DiGiacomo—who created an eyewear collection along with hand-painted leather jackets and shoes for the label—and current it-girl Bella Hadid. Richard says, “It’s not like we sat around, a bunch of old people, and said, ‘What are we gonna do to stay relevant, man?’” His voice rises in pitch and he waves his hands in mimicry of himself, eyes crinkling in mirth. “It doesn’t exist. There’s no like, searching someone up, calling an amateur and then making a deal. If it’s not with each other, it won’t happen.” Jesse Jo holds the same views, yet ways of establishing connections can take on different forms for Gens Y and Z in the digital age: “Millie Bobbie Brown was wearing our Chomper frames and I love that girl, I’m a fan. So if she ever wants to come in and do something, or meet us, I’m down.” She continues, “My dad would never say that. But if she happened to sit next to him at a coffee shop and they had the same latte…” she pauses to let out a husky chuckle, “Heh-heh. Then maybe.” Being able to operate within a zone liberated of business motives and industry politics naturally comes from the monetary success Chrome Hearts has painstakingly built up for itself over the years— after all, not every label can afford to produce a solid sterling silver chair with zero concerns about selling it. Yet to build a business from the ground

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up with the creative autonomy that the Starks enjoy today is by no means a gutless endeavor; it requires a conviction that all great leaders and businessmen seem to share—the thick-skinned faith and willingness to carry on with whatever they do, regardless of voices which suggest otherwise. “I’m not in the fashion business. I’m related to it, but I don’t do what they want me to do, and they don’t have to do what I’m doing either. Back then, they just thought I was nuts,” Richard said easily. Richard Stark—along with the whole Stark family, natch—is indubitably a man of more action than words. “Without my wife, everything we do would be zero press,” he declares. “Except for our magazine, absolutely nothing.” Fortunately for us, Richard’s press-free utopia is rendered less severe in reality due to Laurie Lynn, who, besides capturing many a rising star through her lens for the label’s ad campaigns and magazine, handles most of the press in addition to her designing duties. Between the ad campaigns, Chrome Hearts Magazine (to which Richard says, “There’s no method to that— sometimes it takes a year, a year-and-a-half to make one magazine.”), the miniscule amount of press allowed in general, and the products themselves, there’s nothing else on the Chrome Hearts agenda in terms of marketing, and the Starks prefer it that way—perhaps rightfully so. How many times have we seen “Here’s a Look at Every Piece of the X Collection” on the website of yours truly, days, weeks, even months before the items are available for purchase? Or tracklists released months before the album itself? “When I was growing up, if you bought an album, you were lucky if it said anything on it. You were lucky if there was a picture. You didn’t know anything, couldn’t look it up—and it was kinda cool. Now it’s


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just all there at your fingertips,” Richard lamented. Jesse Jo naturally champions a different perspective. “It took us forever to have an Instagram,” she said stoutly, and continues, “I wanted to share a little more that’s not as accessible for some people, if they can’t visit the stores and stuff.” Even after getting her way, Jesse Jo—true to her DNA—puts very few pieces on display on the Chrome Hearts Instagram account and even fewer words to go with them. In a world where the minute details of others’ lives are worth precious hours of our own, mystique is now an oft-overlooked virtue. The process of discovering things for ourselves, it seems, is a much more rewarding act than we now give it credit for. The e-commerce world taking over our shopping habits—and wallets—may arrive unbeholden to civic duties such as being nice or fully-dressed, yet there’s something lackluster about visiting a store when it’s only to make a beeline for stuff we’ve already seen online. Despite how Chrome Hearts is stocked at high-end department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman (who offer most of their wares for online purchase), not so much as a photo appears on the Bergdorf website during a search for the label. Instead there is merely the familiar gothic font and Bergdorf ’s store address—not unlike the cryptic simplicity of Chrome Hearts’ own website. As a result, it’s almost impossible for customers to know exactly what purchase they will leave a Chrome Hearts store with. Nobody really even knows what Chrome Hearts is about—are they a furniture store? A jewelry store? A lifestyle company? The most convincing rhetoric the Starks provide about their label, is perhaps, their persistence in not having one at all. Not once during our collective 2.5 hours of conversation with the Starks were there any grandiose manifestos on what they are or do; the veracity of the label shows itself in just how little the Starks have to say for themselves. As Richard explained, “Fuckin’ label it whatever you want. I just call Chrome Hearts, ‘Chrome Hearts.’ If you have to tell somebody what you are—you aren’t.” 082


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"FUCKIN’ L ABEL IT WHATEVER YOU WANT. I JUST CALL CHROME HEARTS, ‘CHROME HEARTS.’ IF YOU HAVE TO TELL SOMEBODY WHAT YOU ARE—YOU AREN’T." RICHARD STARK

The various seasons and Fashion Weeks forming the spokes of the industry hamster wheel—which labels like Vetements are currently trying to upend via a mélange of highly-publicized stunts—have been met with blithe unconcern by Richard and Laurie Lynn ever since their company was born 29 years ago. Jesse Jo reminisces on one of her first projects—a silver stud that’s now a prominent piece of hardware throughout the label’s products—which ended up taking four years to finish: “My parents’ attention to detail is insane. Everything takes so long [to develop] it’s frustrating. Sometimes I’m just like, ‘What the fuck Dad, why can’t we just make this?’” This eagle-eyed focus mixed with the Starks’ devil-may-care attitude manifests as a cornucopia of flawlessly crafted objects ranging from chandeliers to pizza cutters. Richard says, “The press are always asking ‘why’—‘why’ did you do that? Is that what’s ‘happening’ now?” He and Jesse Jo have the same laugh. “Heh-heh. No. We just do shit, you know?” As we witness countless labels shed their skins every few seasons by way of a new creative director or slews of collaborations which seem more awkward than they do logical, it’s evident that major brands which dominated the industry a mere decade

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ago are now collectively scrambling to adapt to a new status quo. True to their founding roots, Chrome Hearts simply doesn’t worry about being fashionable or staying relevant—and this is why the label is just as important now as it was in its firebrand youth three decades ago. Their integrity, almost physically palpable in what is made, said and done, is an acute example of how we will always be drawn to people who aren’t afraid to just do their own thing. This is why the label can name both Elton John and Kanye West in the same breath when it comes to ardent collectors of Chrome Hearts pieces. In a climate where there are dozens of new products clamoring for our attention every day, some consistency—even if sometimes, it just involves consistently not giving a f*ck about what fashion industry tropes say—plays a major role in winning the loyalty of different generations, and continuing to do so over the years. “Chrome Hearts was built to be a 150-year-old company, made to do everything in the whole wide world, you know? We just haven’t been around long enough to do it all yet,” smiled Richard. “Nothing here’s made; everything’s built,” he finished, so smoothly it can almost pass for a line from some long-lost Chrome Hearts commercial—only we of course, know better.


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WORDS

PHOTOGRAPHY

KEVIN WONG

MARK BORTHWICK

ON STREET WEAR WITH VIRGIL ABLOH

I found it very difficult to approach writing this story for someone so exceedingly self-aware of his position in our current culture that delivers eloquent lectures, holds panel discussions that clearly outline his approach to design, and is able to describe his work in the context of preexisting and current culture. In plain words, Virgil is hyper-conscious of all that he is doing and why it’s effectively met with high praise.

year—the countless ways he has impacted this culture I’ve grown up on—seemed to be a task for which I felt slightly under-qualified. But on this fated Sunday morning, days before deadline, it came rushing to me. I tumbled out of the shower, grabbed my iPhone off the edge of sink, and frantically mashed away on the Notes app—all the while soaking wet, dripping still-soapy water on the bathroom tiles.

For weeks I hopped from cafe to cafe, hoping the change of scenery would inspire me, but I was stuck. Growing up an admitted “hypebeast,” attempting to comment upon Virgil’s achievements in the past

Virgil is not this design god that the world thinks he is—at least, he doesn’t think he is. He thinks he’s just a messenger in the grand scheme of things, an assistant participating within a larger movement.

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Maybe it’s because of his 3% rule: never taking a design more than 3% from its original form. He doesn’t have to—he’s fine with leaving a design the way it is and has a healthy respect for the beauty of something in its pure form. Much in the same vein, we don’t need to fit his story into some grand-notion journalistic endeavor—his story tells itself, and we’re simply taking our due turn in being the assistant.

washed Off-White™ jeans and his own Nike AF-1 collaborative sneakers throughout. As I followed him from location to location across New York City, I also observed that he was at the same time always present, but never truly there. Constantly splitting his attention between his iPhone and what was in front of him, Virgil acted—and reacted—as if teetering upon this fine line of existence. He was at once, conscious of the task/project at hand and the (very storied) players involved, but also detached from the reality of the situation. I realized this served as an advantage to Virgil and his work because he could not overanalyze the situation, and this exemplifies his entire design ethos.

With that said, let me share with you my experience with Virgil. The day I spent with him, in November, the tail end of his absolutely breakout 2017 year, was a jampacked one. It was the only day he was going to be in NYC, and the day consisted of two separate location photoshoots, a private gallery visit, a bookstore visit, and a concert, which he DJ’ed. Virgil had just arrived at JFK that morning and was scheduled to leave the following afternoon—a quick peek at his IG stories and you can catch that this may be the most traveled man in the world at the moment—with his design studio in Paris, his “home” in Chicago, and his Off-White™ flagship stores in Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York and Singapore. He travels so much, he has plans to create an installation that shows his flights just in 2017, via a red string on a map—“All you’d see is red.” We cycled through a range of different social settings, that otherwise may have begged for a change in attire, Virgil donned the same Supreme white tee,

At his Harvard lecture, he explained his “3% approach,” alongside his method of completing just 70% of his projects before moving to the next project, allowing him to work on a million projects at once. Throughout the day, I watch Virgil come in and out of engagement with photographers, stylists, PR people, gallerist, friends, myself, so on and so forth. Each time I asked Virgil a question, he’d listen, acknowledge and respond to it, while concurrently carrying on his separate conversation on WhatsApp. While this may seem to be counterintuitive to many, and borderline offensive to some, nothing can be said of Virgil’s actions because he always delivers, in every single situation—whether it be his collaborations with Jimmy Choo or his collection in conjunction with IKEA—something truly unique and yet universally praised almost always comes from it.

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After the photoshoots—which not coincidently both included him as a subject—we arrived at an abandoned, seemingly under-construction church, where, Virgil explained, he was interested in viewing an exhibit taking place on the top floor. As we stepped into each art space, a single piece was placed into individual rooms of the church; Virgil was fully immersed, observing and inquiring. Shifting from designer and producer at the photoshoots to student and active participant. Going from the chaos of a photoshoot to being shuffled through a gallery, to now casually flipping through books, we made a quick pit stop to art book store Printed Matter, in search of a specific book by Virgil’s favorite artist, David Hammond. After which, Virgil finally admitted he needed to take a break and resided back to the Mercer—his hotel of choice and the set the Uzi video he directed for “XO Tour Llif3.” The 8 a.m. to now 5 p.m. journey had me personally spent, just from observing—and until then, I’d realized, I hadn’t seen Virgil eat nor drink anything. I assumed he went for food and a nap, but who knows. Fast-forward two hours, I found myself in the green room of the New York Expo Centre, where Virgil was set to open for Travis Scott’s Halloween show. By now, I was mentally checked out, I had seen all I needed to see of Virgil’s cutthroat-paced life, until I was faced with another revelation. This one came in the form of two teenage kids. As I was walking into the back entrance of the venue, two kids show up—they must have been no more than 15. They were holding T-shirts and hoodies and trying to convince the security guard that Virgil had told them to come. I bought their story as much as the guard did. Moments later, I head back to the green room only to find Virgil had retrieved these teenagers; not only that, but eagerly introducing them to me, saying he met them on Instagram, that they’re special and need to be seen—“This is Kevin, he’s

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from HYPEBEAST, you guys need to meet. These kids are up next.” With 3% of his job done, he left and went onstage.

or Warhol. I’m no one as the first statement. Second statement is, we’re part of a generation, a movement that goes beyond the website HYPEBEAST.”

In the span of the 16 hours and five locations, and all that went on throughout that day, this was by far the most shocking, yet eye-opening and telling event that occurred. At one instance I was pulled back into why I myself was doing all of this. Virgil reminded me that the reason we needed to publish him for our 20th issue’s cover story as the seminal X-factor is because through all he’s come to accomplish—all the wildly unfathomable collaborations and the expansion into couture fashion—he comes from our culture. He comes from sneaker lineups, and comes from BAPE and Supreme. And through his work, he’s tirelessly looking to represent this culture, bringing light and legitimacy to streetwear.

As I write this on my iPhone notes as a stream of consciousness, I harken back to Virgil saying OffWhite™ is the first brand created solely on the iPhone. A brand he calls a concept more than a tangible thing. And I feel okay writing my cover story on my phone at this very moment, days before our deadline. Virgil has kicked down this professional or proverbial door of needing to be the model of perfection, of what’s expected—but because he knows what needs to be done and he knows himself, accepting of it.

At the start of this story I thought, I’ll find out once and for all, what all fashion folk and hypebeasts alike are wondering—if Virgil is a hack of a designer and artist, or if he’s a true genius that transcends what we can comprehend. But as I went through it all, following him through his day, he wasn’t this anomaly to figure out or prove for or against. He isn’t going to get placed because he’s simply doing what makes sense. He can’t be labelled an artist, designer, or a genius, and he doesn’t look to be. He simply does what makes sense to him and what he believes is doing right for the people. He isn’t an artist because he’s not necessarily doing things for himself—after all, art is selfish as they say. It’s very apparent he’s doing it for others and his eyes are fixed on the idea of the grander landscape of art and culture. He simply sees himself as a part of the streetwear community—the same community that we, and he himself grew up in. And he truly believes, having witnessed this community grow in not only in breadth but depth, that it has become a movement of its own. “I feel like I’m a descendent of anyone from Kanye West to Pharrell Williams to Basquiat

The same way guys like Basquiat or Pollock reflected on current culture and presented it back to the world, Virgil is doing the same, and in many ways doing it better by masking it from potential debate. He’s landed this concept of streetwear and our—yes, our once-niche culture into every realm, taking established brands that have stories and meaning like Nike and IKEA, and updating them to be relevant now. Connecting high and low, wearing a T-shirt and Jordans to his couture art show in Paris—and getting Naomi Campbell, Roger Federer, Kim Jones, Drake and Michael Jordan all sharing the same shoes. From my correspondences with Virgil, I learned a few things—about myself. When I asked Virgil what qualifier comes closest to what he does at this very moment, he explained—he isn’t any one thing, but simply an assistant to the ones who came before him. Virgil makes all of us treading through this cultural and creative field feel vindicated, justified—or okay with just loving what we love, doing what we do, and just being the sum of these parts rather than any one thing. Moreover, Virgil’s actions and accomplishments have made it okay for myself—a product of street culture & this “streetwear” mentality—to be accepted.

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Now, I can wear a hoody to a job interview.


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Q&A

First off, are you an artist or a designer? What do you call yourself? More than anything, I feel like Iʟm a descendant of anyone from Kanye West to Pharrell Williams to Basquiat or Warhol. I'm no one as the first statement. Second statement is, we're part of a generation, a movement that goes beyond the website HYPEBEAST. Before, we were sort of documenting these products, there was the sex shops with Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren; it was NIGO and Hiroshi crisscrossing and sharing streetwear ideas. You know I draw that line all the way back to the Renaissance, you know these art movements. Essentially I'm just an assistant to the people that came before me, trying to add to the design that goes forward for the next generation to continue. I'm not anything, I'm just a creative. There's different words or boxes to put types of creativity into, which I'm not that preoccupied with. I'm only interested in making relevant ideas. You speak extensively about your own work in lectures and discussion. Why do you find it necessary to do so? It's a design. Those lectures are systems to communicate an idea, and a lot of what I think is missing from our culture is discourse. Whether it be critical, whether it be instructional or motivating. Whether it be "here's how to actually do this, just don't be a consumer." To me, it's only better if this community of streetwear actually grows and is a foundation. So it's not me just a lone ranger exploring ideas, going out to achieve something for myself—that's not interesting to me. Only thing interesting to me is my own body of work, and work and creating, but as you said HYPEBEAST comments themselves are interesting, that sort of culture. I don't read any of them, but I can identify with that sense of critique humor and expressiveness that should dictate what the products will look like

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that are up top of those comments. It's a community, and I'm interested in that. I can see an image and already know what the comments are. To me that's a valuable design skill. I could discount it, but I don't like it; I think it's our barometer if a T-shirt is worthy of being made or not. If a sneaker is actually adding to the culture. Having your hands in both streetwear and couture, you’ve acted as this bridge between high and low. How do you see your effect on this? I want the larger fashion industry and ecosystem to not see us as this sort of fly-by-night, this sort of hyper-consumer—there's real discerning taste. There's kids in our community that know Helmut Lang collections by heart. There's kids with crazy archive collections and they also understand the camaraderie amongst themselves. They understand that true mix. My only contention was that there's no designer that manifested that. There's a lot now, which I think is great. How has coming from streetwear affected your work until now? It's me, the same 17-year-old version of myself. Skating. Listening to rap music, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses—I'm just older and I've made a profession

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out of it. On one hand, it's not work by any means. I'm just being a free-form creative, but it's my life. It's my creative expression. In your own words, how is your work impacting the culture most? My project embedded at the core, I'd say, is humanity and education. We can use design, we can use trends, we can use brands to share good ideas to share information. So, that's my main motivating factor, I just use it as proof. Yeah you can go to a job interview in a hoody, you shouldn't be hired depending on whether or not you have the right costume or the right persona. It's all about personal expression—clothes are just tools to make a collage about yourself so that people can understand what you know. I see “The Ten” as the physical embodiment of this impact—Eric Koston, Naomi Campbell—was there a strategy to this? Zero strategy, it was just my phone. I always made it a point to be friends with a varied group of people. It was just a design conversation. Make something that was valuable. A shoe is a shoe, how can you know it's going to bridge all these gaps? You know someone who is obsessed with sneakers and someone that just literally doesn't care. Crossing all


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boundaries of, “Is it streetwear? Is it high fashion? Is it for the young, the old?� For me, I'm thankful for the response, but that's what I designed. That's probably goal number one: make something that people cherish. We shouldn't be making more shoes if they're not different to me. They should have a reason for existing.

back,' but the point is to underline Nike's innovation, what's important to the brand and me as an outside designer. I can choose to exalt or put down, and the idea was to exalt it onto a level and find new space. So, in the end there wasn't any editing of my proposal, be it on the actual shoe or the Off-Campus concept.

There's been other people in the past who wanted to iterate on the Swoosh or mess with the Nike logo, but they weren't allowed to. Why do you think to Nike, you were the right person to remix all their shoes in this way? I think timing. A lot of people came before in a different era. This current era, there's a lot more freedom. Kids on Instagram are Photoshopping checks backwards. It's just cultures moving, it's been like that before now, we're not the only ones to discover this. You can go either a punk route, which is just self-serving to the artist or you can go with "good will" and I took that approach. My thing with all the edits to the Nike is just reinforcing the iconography or the principles of the brand. I was using it as a dialogue, Roger Federer hitting tennis balls in the Jordan that say his name on it, it's like—Jordan is getting kicked out of the league because it's just a style choice that's against the rules. Or Andre Agassi wearing street clothes, to me it was a conscious 'hey, I'm just turning the wheel

The idea of streetwear or street culture, what is it in your mind? It's a sort of camaraderie, it's a collective, a community. It's this sort of international community that never existed in such a cemented way. We have this thing social media that we can communicate and we are just a world of young people, no longer just a niche culture in one city of young people. Therein lies, I think, some sort of new space. A kid in Tokyo and a kid in Kansas are essentially talking to each other.

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We at HYPEBEAST see you delivering our culture somewhere, pushing it forward and breaking down walls. It feels like there will be a culmination to all this, and we want to know what you think this will be? I think we're soon to be at that cusp. I've said this before, my idea is that all Rodeo Drive is updated, Madison Avenue has a storied history of brands, but this new era and style of design has given that as a background and you get this refreshed approach


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about design and culture, and those are inside the most storied brands. I think we're a niche culture of designers and I think we're a new niche culture of artists. The more we make collectively, and support and foster that, we're going to see great works of art, great design, great collections again—if that community is fostered. One designer pushes another, one artist does an amazing show; you get this sort of synergy. What is coming up next for you? Also, what else is coming up that will be impacting the culture in the future? I've been focused on this, like streetwear might be an art movement that we just don't know. We might just be giving it the short end of the stick and called it a skate brand. That's what my work is focused on, not necessarily limiting myself to this way of thinking and having a dialogue of fashion, fashion history, but instead on how can we can make different product across all realms. I think Uber is a streetwear-type idea. To me, I often use "streetwear" as a shorthand terminology for being creative, but limited to memes. Almost readymade memes. That's how a lot of this culture started. That's why I use "streetwear" in quotes. It's not limited or degraded by this sort of youth obsession with a box logo T-shirt. It's a way of thinking. We're at the cusp of it, we're only five years deep. Obviously the start was Dog Town

Z-boys, here we have a shop, a skate shop— you can't discount all the steps that got us here. NIGO developing BAPE to be a luxury brand and Nom De Guerre Prohibit, the list goes on. That's my ambition, to sort of project that into the next 10 years. Like, “Oh wow, he came from this school of thought,” this is what he was thinking, but now we have gallery shows and X Y Z, and there's these things that came from this sort of ethos in culture.

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So in a way, streetwear is already much more in terms of a concept and a movement. Somebody just needs to take a pen and just draw a line 16 times and then it's just confidence in the movement, and then it can go further.


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Diamond in the Rough

WORDS GAVIN YEUNG INTERVIEW CHIHIRO SATO PHOTOGRAPHY KO TSUCHIYA 108


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Paris looms large in the imagination of Hiromichi Ochiai, the 39-year-old founder of Japanese streetwear label du jour FACETASM. Although his first runway show in the City of Lights only took place at the 2016 LVMH Award ceremony where he attended as a finalist, he has since shown two more times at Paris Fashion Week, following a long tradition of Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Chitose Abe, who have all capitalized on a special affinity for the old-world European capital. His own son, having just turned two, has already made the trip to Paris four to five times by Ochiai’s estimate, “Although I’m not sure if he would be able to remember, I just show him what I can as his father,” he adds. This, for better or worse, includes the increasing global recognition around Ochiai’s 10-year-old brand, which W Magazine Editorin-Chief Stefano Tonchi hailed as the next sacai for its fluency in the unconventional cutting and draping of experimental fabrics, rendered in punkinfused unisex designs. Its name refers to the many facets of a diamond, and belies Ochiai’s seemingly disjointed designs that come together to form a harmonious, if not slightly asymmetrical, whole. In comparison to his son’s transcontinental infancy, Ochiai spent a more physically grounded childhood in Tokyo, although his penchant for punk and rock ‘n’ roll music that made its way from the West naturally drew him to hotspots of these subcultures in Tokyo—record shops and underground music venues and vintage fashion stores—in neighborhoods such as Shimokitazawa and Ura-Harajuku. Ochiai would enroll in an apparel design course at the prestigious Bunka Fashion College, but after graduating in 1999 and struggling to find a role in fashion design, he settled at a textile company that handled fabric orders for the likes of UNDERCOVER and COMME des GARÇONS. Looking back, Ochiai says, the experience was invaluable for the multitude of

brands—and their respective strengths—that he was exposed to. “I used to think it may have been a longer route for me to become a designer, but now that I come to think of it, I think it was the best way for me.” While there, he would spend his free time with a crew of graffiti artists, often at a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it movie theater in Shibuya called Uplink that showed progressive indie films from the likes of arthouse auteur Gus Van Sant, a personal favorite of Ochiai’s. “In the early days of building my brand, I would always think of how to express the way he looks at the world and the atmosphere he exudes, through fashion.” After eight years, Ochiai struck out on his own and founded FACETASM in 2007. Akin to the measured tempo of Ochiai’s own start in fashion,

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"I WOULD SAY TO YOUNG DESIGNERS THAT IF YOU VENTURE INTO THE WORLD, THE BIG ARTISTS MAY COME TO YOU. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOW THINGS WORK NOW AND HOW THEY WORKED IN THE PAST IS WHAT MAKES THE NOW SO INTERESTING."

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FACETASM was no overnight success either, having largely remained a well-kept secret amongst Japanese buyers for the better part of its lifetime. The label’s first big break came when it was chosen to debut at 2012 Tokyo Fashion Week by Yuichi Yoshii, owner of influential Tokyo boutique The Contemporary Fix. In 2013, FACETASM was awarded the coveted Mainichi Grand Prix New Designer Award, and the following year, Ochiai took home the Tokyo Fashion Design Award. However, his entry onto the global fashion stage undoubtedly came when FACETASM was selected by Giorgio Armani to showcase its “Love” 2016 spring/summer collection at Milan Fashion Week in 2015, impressing the assembled fashion press with its dynamic, yet pragmatic androgynous looks. And then, in the crowning achievement of his career thus far, Ochiai was made a finalist for the prestigious LVMH Prize—the first Japanese designer to receive the honor. “That period was incredibly hectic because I was working on Armani, an overseas exhibition, and LVMH at the same time. I was glad to have been given that challenge, but the only thing I was able to eat in Italy was pizza delivery,” he reminisces with a chuckle. Interest in FACETASM has coincided with a wave of international recognition given to emerging Tokyo labels such as White Mountaineering and Sasquatchfabrix., which have seen respective collaborations with adidas and Supreme. FACETASM, meanwhile, has collaborated with the likes of Vans and the Woolmark Company. They represent a new crop of brands from the capital that straddle a space beneath the high-minded execution of the COMME des GARÇONS school and its peers, yet more conceptual than its streetwear brethren such as WTAPS and NEIGHBORHOOD. The result is luxury streetwear that blends conceptually and technically complex, yet

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"I DON’T FEEL LIKE I’M AN 'ESTABLISHED' DESIGNER YET. I'M NOT SO CONCERNED ABOUT THAT THOUGH. I FEEL LIKE I’M ON THE STARTING LINE."

wearable, designs with impeccable Japanese tailoring, and Tokyo’s unique circumstances have played no small part in its growth. “There’s the freedom to create in Tokyo,” remarks Ochiai. “There are no strong religious views or taboos in this country, and nobody says anything no matter what kind of fashion you’re into. Because of this, Tokyo is fertile ground for new values to be born.” Paris, on the other hand, provides an escape for Ochiai from the rhythms of home. He once compared the two cities to two sides of a coin— while he chooses to traverse Tokyo atop his BMX bike, when in Paris, Ochiai prefers instead to amble along its cobblestoned avenues on foot, soaking in the vibrancy of its people and architecture. Since his Parisian debut at the LVMH Awards, his collections have taken on an increasing zeal in attacking the traditional confines of gender binaries and high-low fashion—indeed, his Spring 2018 menswear show established the theme as “an unconventional harmony created by dissonance”– no doubt inspired by an injection of cultural capital from his Gallic experience. “When I was creating my collections in Tokyo, I felt like I was doing

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my job with only what was already provided,” he recounts. “Tokyo has its own interesting qualities, and you can’t deny that FACETASM exists because of Tokyo, but Paris and Tokyo are totally different places. LVMH gave me the chance to start off in Paris, and also taught me how the industry’s best do their work.” Despite rising recognition outside of Japan, Ochiai is still finding his feet amid the current tumultuous state of fashion, and as lukewarm reviews of his harmoniously dissident recent collections have shown, he has yet to hit his stride professionally. “I’m still at that stage where I wonder where my experience will take me—I don’t feel like I’m an ‘established’ designer yet. I’m not so concerned about that though. I feel like I’m on the starting line,” says the designer. For now, Ochiai remains acutely attenuated to the pulsating heart of Tokyo culture, which itself thrives on the continued assimilation and metamorphosis of external influences. “I believe FACETASM is about absorbing new things and many cultures, and taking them in to create new values. I want the people wearing my designs to be moved, even a little, no matter whether it’s positive or negative. Tokyo’s designers are good at doing this—it’s something that only we can do.”

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FROM STONES TO STITCHES PHOTOGRAPHY

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For centuries, ancient cultures have used crystals for their believed healing and protective powers; today, these mystical stones can catalyze a T-shirt line whose success stretches from the boutiques of Bergdorf Goodman to the frames of hip-hop’s biggest heavyweights. At least, that’s one part of the story behind Advisory Board Crystals—Abc. for short—a conceptual e-commerce label that sells a curated selection of crystals and crystal-infused tie-dye garments worn by the likes of Future, Migos and Jim Krantz, as well as being cosigned by industry names such as colette, Barneys and Grailed. In shorter terms, Abc. is a New Age crystal shop for the digital age that makes shirts that seemingly everyone wants to wear. But perhaps above all else, Abc. is what you’d call a millennial love story for the ages. Its first chapter began when founders Remington Guest and Heather Haber met in an Uber Pool in Los Angeles. Remington brought a lepidolite crystal on one of their first dates, and then—united under cosmic and tethering forces, shared aesthetic tastes, and a profound fascination with the interaction of art, science and “pseudoscience”—the duo made a range of trippy yet minimalist hand-dyed shirts inspired by and infused

with crystals sourced from around the world. Yet as much as Remington and Heather attribute Abc.’s beginnings to divine timing, it’s to be acknowledged that the label’s unabating success is owed to a keen awareness of today’s digital age culture and the desires and interests it encompasses—that being, the ability to engage in material life, consume the fruits of social media, whilst also being in tune with one’s spiritual existence and full emotional spectrum. This dichotomy of sorts is not only the millennial’s goldilocks medium (albeit in most cases unwittingly), but is what lies at the core of Abc.’s existence and creative intention. For one, Heather and Remington’s story of an algorithmic-match-turned-emotional-bond has much of a digital fairy tale appeal. But it’s also testimony of an information age reality that what we once referred to as six degrees of separation is now only a mere three-and-a-half degrees—a statistic carved from the cold hard data of Facebook’s strangely “intimate” social networks. Be that as it may, it’s the defining irony of "Generation Me" that in a world where we’re more closely connected than ever before—armed with an unprecedented surplus

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A. SPECIMEN #93 AZURITE MALACHITE B. SPECIMEN #3 RAINBOW AURA SPIRIT QUARTZ C. SPECIMEN #91 QUARTZ EPIDOTE D. SPECIMEN #2 CALCITE E. SPECIMEN #38 LABRADORITE F. SPECIMEN #57 ORANGE QUARTZ GEODE G. SPECIMEN #13 MALACHITE (FIBROUS)

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P. SPECIMEN #42 CHRYSOCOLLA Q. SPECIMEN #1 RAINBOW ANGEL AURA QUARTZ R. SPECIMEN #46 COBALT AURA AMETHYST CLUSTER

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H. SPECIMEN #10 GREEN PREHNITE I. SPECIMEN #56 STIBNITE J. SPECIMEN #8 OPAL AURA CITRINE K. SPECIMEN #37 PYRITE L. SPECIMEN #44 CHRYSOCOLLA M. SPECIMEN #14 TITANIUM AURA SMOKY QUARTZ N. SPECIMEN #15 BLACK TOURMALINE O. SPECIMEN #4 RAINBOW AURA AMETHYST

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of information, technological acceleration and cultural globalization—that we as individuals feel as isolated and perhaps more vulnerable than ever before. Indeed, it’s a grim reality when we face the countless studies that correlate a rise in daily screen time with a rise in adolescent depression and suicide, and the cogent psychology and social philosophies that warrant a strong causal link between the two variables. If we add to that statistical mix a surge of coddled sensitivity, an unswerving confidence in the scientific method, and a significant dip in religious subscriptions—all stereotypical traits of the millennial—you have a fiercely conflicted generation that is a composite image of disruptive self-interest 124


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and tragic self-destruction. So what happens when the truths of facts wear off for a generation who’s outgrown the fables of religion? Where do kids these days go to for a sense of escapism in an age when URL prevails over IRL? Perhaps we can take a cue from Heather and Remington’s book. It might sound like a stretch for some, but crystals seem like a fitting surrogate—if at least metaphorically—for millennial spirituality and old-school soul-searching. When all of our identities, relationships, and memories seem to hover in an intangible archive of black mirrors and light stimulations, perhaps its rocks and stones and retro T-shirts ground us with their mystical powers, whether they come as perceived or real. So if you buy

into crystals or not, it’s these analog novelties that harken back to the simpler, slower days of unverifiable beliefs, cosmic destinies, and a world of rose-tinted glasses and tie-dye shirts. So perhaps the real gist of Abc.’s crystal-infused tees and its motley mix of elements—of crossed fates, flirting with pseudoscience, material indulgence, and youthful hopefulness—is actually a very telling recipe of the complexities of being an individual in the digital age. And thanks to Advisory Board Crystals, there’s no need to wear your heart on your sleeve when you can wear it as a tee.

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Q&A Whatʼs the story behind Advisory Board Crystals? How did you two meet and how did "divine timing" come into play? The story behind Abc. is an ongoing and ever unfolding love story. We met in an Uber pool. We happened to run into each other again later that night—divine timing if there ever was. We later learned the sheer amount of overlap between our lives. We both even worked at Band of Outsiders at different times on different coasts.

Could you walk us through the process of infusing crystals into dye? It involves specific crystals charged in sunlight, chemical baths, and a soaking infusion process. Which crystal is most representative of Abc.? All of them and none of them.

How would you describe Abc.ʼs style and approach to design? There seems to be a unique “organic” element to it. It can be directly defined as conceptual. The visual aesthetic of each collection and garment choice relates back to the story we are trying to portray. Every element has a purpose. This also allows us incredible freedom as each story comes from a completely different place, in turn shifting the visual identity of each collection. One story may be best told through bold colors and dyes, while the next may be super uniform and tonal. Le Coribusier once said “the plan must rule,” and when we design, this idea reigns supreme. By necessity, DIY is omnipresent in Abc. and therefore utilitarian elements are a fixture of our style. We are fascinated by functionality and the juxtaposition of beautiful, almost delicate elements layered within that.

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Some of your graphics feature self-explanatory statements that are actually quite thoughtprovoking, such as your "Such a Pretty Planet" collection. Where do you find the inspiration for these phrases? Everywhere and nowhere. What do you think are some of the biggest issues the fashion industry faces today? The idea that everyone thinks they can do anything. The false idea of what “D. I. Y.” is. There was actually a recent panel conversation we saw where Greg Lauren made a really good point about it. There’s a difference between being a designer and completing a “D. I. Y.” project. Etsy exists, Pinterest exists, and it goes on and on... all these platforms are based on the mainstream idea of “D. I. Y.” The idea of it being this punk ethos is losing its meaning because the origin and intention is lost. Just because you can make a T-shirt does not mean you should have a brand. Just because


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you can make a painting, doesn’t mean you are an artist. The idea of intention comes into play, which is a huge point of contention for us. Were you always interested in crystals? Any interest in other forms of spirituality? We were both always into crystals for their aesthetic value, since we were kids. We remember collecting tiger eyes from museum gift shops and being drawn to these magical specimens, always. We like the dichotomy that exists between art and science when it comes to mineral/crystal specimens. We also love the idea of a “pseudoscience” and the blurring of real and not real, which we relate to the spiritual properties given to crystals. How we see it, there are three aspects to crystal specimens: the definitive physical properties, the definitive scientific properties, and the potentiality of the given spiritual properties. The combination makes crystals a really interesting point of inspiration for us. Do you think it matters if people get into new ideologies such as crystals simply because they’re popular? Usually we are bothered by people following trends and being interested in things because they have suddenly become popular, but with crystals we don’t feel this way. We think it’s because crystals did not emerge out of a subculture based on a specific set of ideals and they are not representational of any one person. They are not man made. They come from the earth, they are natural specimens that exist and innately belong to everyone. People are attracted to crystals in a pure and biological way that whether from outside influence or not, they would have been drawn to crystals in one way or another at some point in life. What other products are you guys planning on launching? The “Abc. Universe” will continue to expand and grow.

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Ilse Crawford

Reign of Repose

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WORDS GAVIN YEUNG PHOTOGRAPHY NICK CHU LIT MA

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Ilse Crawford doesn’t have a desk in her Bermondsey studio in London. Instead, she prefers to sit at a large oval dining table in an office reminiscent of a kitchen, where her designers are free to approach her with new thoughts, ideas, conversations and stories. “My work is all about people and talking —I’m not a lone genius,” she once told The Guardian. In many ways, this practice mirrors the dining table that functioned as the fulcrum of her childhood home—a sprawling house in Crookham Hill, Kent—where family and friends would gather to recount the day’s happenings. She has centered her career around recreating that feeling of home and hearth since, carving out spaces for quiet and respite from the frenzy of urban centers across the globe. Crawford, 55, is recognized as one of the most distinguished interior designers working today. Her resume includes projects for the likes of IKEA, Soho House and Aesop, yet you would be hard-pressed to find a common visual motif employed across these designs—apart, perhaps, from her prodigious use of jade green. What’s unmistakably hers, however, is a sense of ease and tranquility that pervades these spaces, slowly but surely settling on their inhabitants like a plush blanket from the moment they pass the threshold. It was at the threshold of her latest project, a VIP lounge for the newly renovated Plaza 66 luxury mall in Shanghai, that we met her to experience this transformation for ourselves. Dressed in a white blouse and shorn of makeup, her hair in a fuss-free bun, Ilse spoke in hushed tones, as if in an act of reverence for the space, peppering her speech with prolonged pauses in order to thoroughly consider

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each word before she spoke. “What is it today in this digital world; what are we actually doing in a physical place?” she began, echoing the question on the lips of every panicked retail executive. “It’s for a sensibility, it’s about a world, it’s a culture, it’s in the air; it’s around you.” With sensibilities, there is arguably no greater bellwether than Crawford. Born to a Danish artist and a British economics editor for the Sunday Times, she grew up in a household that was by no means well-off, yet afforded her a unique perspective of both the practical and romantic from an early age. The family moved from London’s bohemian Notting Hill neighborhood to a former vicarage in the county of Kent after Crawford’s mother gave birth to triplets. There, Ilse and her siblings were given the freedom to make things and to create their own environment. Meanwhile, her father instilled in her strict standards of tolerance and journalistic integrity—any opinion was allowed at the table, so long as they could be solidly justified. When she turned 18, her mother slowly succumbed to illness, during which time Ilse spent lengthy periods of time in hospital wards. It was in those sterile, soulless corridors that Ilse realized the power of environments in influencing the mood and wellbeing of individuals, resolving to use interior design to make the world a more humane place. After graduating with a degree in history from Bedford College in London, she held jobs at The Architect’s Journal and World of Interiors, before becoming the launch editor for Elle Decoration at the age of 27.


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While she ended a 14-year stint in journalism in 1998 with a move to head Donna Karan’s homewares range in New York, before founding her own design firm, Studioilse, in 2001, Crawford continues to wield her journalistic training whenever she begins a new project. “Reality is so much more interesting than fiction, basically,” she says. “I’m not a fan of coming with a concept and a massive mood board and saying ’it’ll look like this.’ It’s much more interesting to see what’s already there, because stories reveal themselves. They’re always fascinating stories.”

"I’M NOT A FAN OF COMING WITH A CONCEPT AND A MASSIVE MOODBOARD AND SAYING, 'IT’LL LOOK LIKE THIS.'"

they feel worse when they arrive than when they left. Could there be the option of healthy food or a place to have a snooze when they have a layover between planes?” The result: revelatory, spacious interiors in muted colors, ingenious floor plans, a host of natural materials, and modernist furniture to create an ineffable sense of abode within a public space. The 33,000-square-foot expanse of the businessclass lounge was rendered more manageable by a central corridor which takes travelers past the sitting area and noodle bar to increasingly more private rooms. Forgoing the often institutional, grid-like layout of furniture in traditional airport lounges, the furniture pieces are mismatched and casually arranged to evoke the domestic atmosphere of a living room. The materials, chosen to be functional and durable yet luxurious, are juxtaposed against their opposites to underline their physical properties—Asian onyx against hardwearing mohair velvet, limestone against rattan, and finishing touches of brass fixtures throughout. “We use materials and colors as a language,” Ilse explains. “We don’t impose an image but we’re interested in how they can tell a story.”

She first approaches the client with a blank slate, starting with the basic building blocks of a space: the context, the client’s ambitions, the needs of its users, and the opportunities which arise from their needs. From there, Ilse says, it’s simply a process of “getting the measure of a question” and resolving conflicting needs. The first- and business-class lounges commissioned by Cathay Pacific for Hong Kong’s airport have become somewhat of a touchstone by which she carries out her investigative method. “We had so much data and it was important,” she recalls of the research phase. “But actually, when we were in lounges watching people and talking to individuals, that’s when the bit that’s never written down came up. They were really tired, jetlagged and they hate the fact that

In Shanghai, the same language takes on a further nuance, a sensibility found in the art and publications carefully arranged around the Plaza 66 lounge which constitute what Ilse calls “the layer of life on top.” Among the curated artworks and the Kinfolk magazine subscriptions sits a hardcover edition of Crawford’s own design manifesto, A Frame for Life, which details her philosophy on the power of interiors to elevate the normal—a response to her days as a magazine editor when the industry trend was to purge too-perfect spaces of all signs of human habitation. Indeed, her work at Studioilse has done much to reverse the fixation on interiors not as some impossible standard of beauty, but as spaces that become all the more beautiful the more lived-in they are. “You can design the most

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"ILSE HAS A WAY TO SIMPLIFY A SPACE OR AN OBJECT WITHOUT DETRACTING FROM ITS FEELING OF LUXURY AND ELEGANCE."

incredible place and yet it requires people to make it a reality,” she writes in her book. “Buildings and their interiors are made to be used.” “To me, Ilse has a way to simplify a space or an object without detracting from its feeling of luxury or elegance,” says Garth Roberts, creative director of German lighting brand Kalmar Werkstätten, whose collaborative Billy TL lamp design with Crawford won the 2018 German Design Awards. In the same line of thinking, the Plaza 66 lounge is decadently restrained, nary a chandelier or fur throw, instead reveling in mismatched furniture plucked from Modernica, Santa & Cole, and Crawford’s own designs for George Smith, irreverently blending colors, patterns and lush materials. The atmosphere is quietly convivial and, as she explains, is meant to be “somewhere where you can just pull up a chair and get together in groups—so it’s loose in that sense.” This blending of work and play, public

and private lies at the heart of Ilse’s crusade against what she refers to as the “silos” of modern life. Where that will play out, she predicts, is inevitably in the public domain, as people live more and more of their lives outside of their homes, forcing public spaces to respond by becoming more fluid and homelike. Meanwhile, her job remains to “constantly question [their] use and figuring out how to translate that in a really beautiful way with architecture and interiors.” However, things occasionally get lost in translation, given the traditional ideological chasm between the schools of architecture and interior design. Whereas the latter is traditionally neglected and often tacked on as an afterthought, Studioilse’s unique approach integrates it into the architectural process from the very beginning to create a result that is seamless and holistic. “It’s mostly a good relationship,” Ilse muses with a chuckle. “Occasionally there are a few

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sparks, largely around who’s in control, but that’s life, isn’t it! That relationship is really what gives you something that feels integrated at the end.” That synergy is on full display in another Hong Kong-based project that Studioilse completed in 2013. Duddell’s, an art club and bar-restaurant in the glitzy Central district, occupies 10,000 square feet spread over two low-ceilinged floors within a concrete shell—an overbearing presence which proved to be a challenge for Ilse to counteract. She “fought back” with a vocabulary of materials that saw the entirety of the fourth floor bar and its centerpiece staircase clad in travertine—a striated, off-white marble-like stone whose rugged, mottled appearance resembled the club’s collection of 20th-century Chinese brush-and-ink paintings and resonated with Ilse’s creed of “less perfect.” Vintage dark wood furnishings, mirrored surfaces

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and wicker chairs were combined with Chinese antiques and Crawford’s own Ming-style Cartegena chair design for a space that is thoroughly modern yet distinctly Chinese in character. “I had already been inside—and loved—Duddell’s, without knowing who designed it,” recalls Hong Kong real estate scion Adriel Chan, who reached out to Ilse to design the Plaza 66 lounge. “Ilse’s designs have such an understated luxury to them. The casual elegance of her aesthetic and the honesty of her materials really echoed with my own values.” That honesty, a badge from her days as an editor, has lent her a remarkable ability to open dialogue between worlds that were once exclusive of one another. As Ilse is fond of saying, “We have two eyes, two ears and one mouth, and we should use them in that proportion.” And, if we might add in Ilse’s particular case, one oval kitchen table in Bermondsey at which she sits, receiving all who have a story to tell.


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A FA S H I O N S T O R Y

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Driely S.

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Nico Amarca AMY CHIN

GROOMING

TOM VOGEL

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There’s an iconic scene in The Matrix in which Neo, after his eyes convulse for a few seconds, learns the entire discipline of kung fu. Can you imagine the thrill of absorbing that much information—not a mere concept, but its infinite subtleties—instantaneously? Well, that’s what it’s like watching a music video by BRTHR. “If you were to stop one of our videos at any time,” Kyle Wightman explains, “there would still be a composed frame.” Wightman is one half of the Brooklyn-based directorial duo, the other half being Alex Lee. BRTHR unofficially formed in 2010, when Lee and Wightman met in the film program at New York City’s School of Visual Arts. But it isn’t a school project gone right. In many ways, the institution catalyzed a rebellion: the duo dropped out after two years. Then, they tell me, the good stuff really started. And that stuff—the music videos in India, trashing LA hotels with rappers, commissions for Facebook—is the sum of independent study and YouTube tutorials. Their highly technical, elaborately glitchy style is among the most-imitated in pop culture today. Yet, as Wightman confesses: “Program-wise, I didn’t learn anything in film school.” Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. Now 25 and 26, respectively, Lee and Wightman are riding the high of an incredibly productive 2017. They’ve just finished their first campaign for adidas Originals, which features Playboi Carti, Young Thug and 21 Savage. They recently published a commercial spot for Saint Laurent. And perhaps most impressively, they have much more in store. Sitting in Lee’s Williamsburg condo in Brooklyn, we discussed their distinctive style, staying a step ahead of imitators, and what the future of directing is— when everyone has a camera. 157


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Q&A Please introduce yourselves: who are you, and where are you originally from? AL: My name is Alex Lee. I’m 25, and from Yokohama, Japan. It’s about 30 minutes south of Tokyo. It’s a big city—very populated, but it’s more laid back. I moved to New York City in 2010. KW: My name is Kyle Wightman, I’m 26, and I grew up in Long Island. AL: We went to SVA for about two years—we were just in the same classes in the major. Kyle acted in one of my films—it’s not even really anything to talk about. It was like The Office—it was a mockumentary called The Autobiography of Jean Phillippe. KW: We spent a lot of time on it and got to know each other. It kicked off from there. What artists did you grow up watching that influence you today? AL: My favorite movie is The Matrix. It’s just so crazy what the Wachowski Brothers did for that time. KW: I watched a lot of Chris Cunningham music videos growing up. He did those “Rubber Johnny” music videos with Aphex Twin. I feel like you could watch them today and they’d still be next-level. Please tell me about the early days of BRTHR. How did you guys get your start? AL: In 2011, I went back to Japan for the summer and made a video called “Tokyo Slo-Mode.” This was during the DSLR movement—I ended up getting a Canon Rebel T3i. I think “Tokyo Slo-Mode” has like a million views on Vimeo now. After that, I started editing a lot during my second year of school. Then, I got a music video offer in Atlanta, and Kyle came on board. We shot a video for Bei Major called “Pillz.” KW: We shot “Pillz” on a Weisscam. It’s super highspeed, but it’s the most impractical camera ever. It weighs like, 80 pounds. AL: We were naive on that, but it showed our style and what we can do. The jobs just kept growing from that video. KW: When we first started, we reached out to artists whose music we like—as opposed to just getting

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pitched. Starting out like that is really important. Even now, if we hear something we really like, we’re not opposed to reaching out. We’re blessed to be in that space. AL: And we really did pay our dues. We didn’t make any money for the first two or three years—we lived with Kyle’s parents and saved money. Our first big break was a Facebook job—the whole budget was about $3 million. We were pitching against some of the biggest directors in the world, and somehow we got it. KW: We had no commercial experience, and somehow got this deal. AL: That’s when we started to realize that you can make real money. Now we’re trying to make money and do “cooler” stuff. That’s what we’re starting to do with jobs for, say, Saint Laurent, or adidas. That kind of stuff leads to bigger gigs. We’re kind of hustling again, but in the ad world.

our style. Color is very important to us. We do a lot of sound design. KW: We also work on seamlessly integrating the VFX. We like to have everything very mapped out, but at the same time kind of feel vibrant. AL: There’s a lot of symbolism. It’s just about detail. I think being from Japan, I’m quite detail-oriented. Kyle’s always been the same way. KW: If you were to stop one of our videos at any time, it would still feel purposeful and there would be a nicely composed frame. We don’t add filler. The mixed-medium format—combining highquality and mobile footage, for instance—is popular now. Do you have a particular stance on that coming from a film background? AL: We’ve been mixing those mediums for a long time, and it’s always been purposeful. We’ll start with something cinematic and surreal, then cut to VHS, because it gives it some sort of realism. KW: It’s interesting to see these artists through that VHS lens. It’s raw, it’s gritty. It’s become kind of trendy now, but we make sure it serves a purpose. AL: We’re trying to back away from it a little bit. Lately, we’ve been shooting a lot on film—which is also getting kind of trendy. KW: It’s expensive too. But we always run a few cameras to get an abundance of footage.

Your style of editing is very distinctive. How has it evolved over time? AL: When “Tokyo Slo-Mode” or “Pillz” came out, I didn’t really know there was a style to that. KW: It’s almost like we were in an experimentation phase, just trying out various effects and pushing the envelope. AL: People started telling us that we had a style. When we did Ben Kahn’s “Youth,” that’s some of our best work. That video epitomizes what we started and

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On that point, how do you share responsibility? AL: When there’s a new project, we have a powwow and write a treatment. On set, we have multiple cameras rolling—Kyle will roll one, and then we have a director of photography and a VHS person. I take the editing responsibility mostly—I end up going to sleep at 6 a.m. and miss the whole workday. So the duo thing works out really well. It’s very productive. KW: At any given moment during the day, one of us is responding to emails. AL: On this new adidas project, I did the base edits. Obviously the client comes back with notes, but you don’t really want to hand that off to another editor—it gets ruined. So Kyle took over the client edits, and while he’s editing that, I’ll work on the next project. KW: What tends to happen is that the agency will get involved and have their editor do whatever they want. But we’re the only ones that truly understand the footage. AL: Some editors will complete a music video in a week. But then, there’s no detail. I hate rough cuts, like what’s the point? I’ll color grade while I’m editing sometimes.

AL: We have some new ideas that you’ll probably see in our next video. We also use night vision. With videography being more accessible now, how do you stay ahead of the trend? KW: We watch a lot of content, to see whatvs going on. But we consume it to try to do what people haven’t done. AL: We’ve literally had people take sounds from our videos that we manipulated ourselves. Or they’ll rip actual scenes and shots. KW: Not even for no-name artists. For mainstream, big artists. AL: Our fans will tag us. It seems like we’ve got some eyes now; we always find out. It’s kinda frustrating. We don’t want to claim a style, but if people can identify our signature, that’s what’s flattering to us. KW: It also comes down to our selection process. We choose videos if we feel like we can add a different perspective to it. We can’t just take on a project just because it’s a big artist.

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KW: When there are so many elements, it’s hard to convey what the final product is going to look like. Some companies want to change things that aren’t even finished yet. But then again, if there weren’t a timeframe— you could continually tweak the work. How do you know when it’s done? AL: I’m really self-critical. I rarely think something I did is actually cool. But at film school, too many kids went easy on themselves. But quality control is all about being critical of your own work. You’ve worked with a lot of big name artists already: The Weeknd, Travis Scott, Charli XCX. How does that work, and which one was best? KW: For music videos, we pretty much come up with all of our concepts start to finish. That’s the ideal way to work for us, because we can shape it to what we want it to be. It’s cool that we’ve gotten to a place where artists trust us like that. AL: For example, an artist will say something like “I want it to be vibrant.” They’ll give us themes and imagery ideas. I think The Weeknd was the coolest to work with. He’s not a diva, he’s super collaborative and let us do our thing. KW: Same here. For an artist who’s at such a superstar level. He’s the most receptive to collaboration, has good ideas, and is just a down-to-earth guy—which is rare in this industry. AL: Travis too—his style is on-point, he has good taste. So overall, it was pretty easy working with him. Young Thug was an hour early for our adidas shoot. KW: Everyone was super panicked because of the “Wyclef Jean” music video—that was a huge talking point. But he ended up coming before everyone else. It’d be cool to do a music video for him. AL: We’re planning on working with Kali Uchis—we haven’t worked with a female artist in a long time. We’re going to have more of a narrative than before. Can we talk about the blurry line between branded content and music videos? AL: One of our best videos was a Converse collaboration with Keith Ape. Just like, a Beats Pill speaker front and center isn’t interesting. Our adidas video promotes a shoe. We try to integrate any product seamlessly, so it’s not in your face.

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KW: Those aren’t necessarily traditional ads, either. We were able to work with the agency in a way where it came out cool. AL: Rappers are rock stars now, and brands are catching up—even sports brands are catching on. The mentality is completely different. But we kind of knew this would happen. Even now with pitches, labels know how to interact with rappers and make them look good. All that will bleed into ads—so it’s actually better for us. Do you get the sense that even artists behind the lens are getting promoted similarly now? AL: Recently a brief came in where we were going to be featured. We’re not opposed to it. Not many directors are named as a collective. We are building a brand in a way. It’s not Alex and Kyle—it’s BRTHR. KW: That was pretty intentional early on. We wanted to have the mentality of a band. That’s why we came up with an identity as opposed to using our own names. AL: It’s hard to become a big director in this generation. The film industry favors experienced directors. There’s still ageism, but it’s changing. There aren’t that many directors that have a large social following now. We’re trying to create a new path. Where do you see your trajectory going in five years? KW: For us, we want our progression to feel natural. Right now, we’ll keep pushing the creativity in music videos, while elevating our commercial work. AL: We want people to care about our movie when it comes out. Let’s say Petra Collins released a movie. People are going to watch it, because she has her own fans. We want it to be like that—where it’s not just the rapper’s fans that like the video, it’s BRTHR fans that want to watch the movie. Similar to a Wes Anderson-style cult following, for instance? AL: That’s the goal. It has to be anticipated if we do our first movie. I think we can get to a point where people want to watch one in two years. But it’s all timing—that’s important and we’re not trying to rush it.

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F E AT U R E D :

S PA Z I O M A I O C C H I S U P R E M E B R O O K LY N ZEITZ MOCAA THE OLD MAN T O B Y ' S E S TAT E THE BEEKMAN

M A N H AT TA N , U S A B R O O K LY N , U S A

Every time we go from one place to another, we hope either to be met with something very familiar or very extraordinary. Our picks for this issue are a bit of both: locales which give rise to equal parts awe and familiarity, feeling a bit like we’ve come home, only better—regardless of whether we’ve been there before. 168


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M I L A N , I TA LY

C E N T R A L , H O N G KO N G

CAPE TOWN, ZA

S Y N D E Y, A U S

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VIA ACHILLE MAIOCCHI, 5 M I L A N O, M I I TA LY

Spazio Maiocchi

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In the heart of Porta Venezia lays Spazio Maiocchi, a new temple of contemporary art and design. A joint venture between Carhartt WIP and Slam Jam, the space proves to be a much-needed platform for the community in Milan to develop their individual creative voices. The 1,000-squaremeter space has already become an ultra-modern canvas where the worlds of fashion, art, and design intertwine to create an innovative and exploratory experience.Upon entering, visitors

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will be greeted by an open space flooded by natural daylight to spotlight the carefully curated works of art. Minimalist furnishings complement the whitewashed walls, which have become temporary holding spaces for the likes of New York-based artist Darja Bajagic and Japanese airbrush painter Harumi Yamaguchi. Designed and renovated by Milan- and Shanghaibased firm Andrea Caputo, the modular walls retain key architectural elements from both Carhartt WIP


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and Slam Jam such as austere concrete paired with the dark polish of zinc, providing a quintessential mecca of art on days when it isn’t transformed into a serene showroom or vibrant event space. The gallery space will serve double duty as a creative embassy for both streetwear entities, and a cross-disciplinary hub where the industry’s icons and current influencers can engage on upcoming ventures. In its early infancy, Spazio Maiocchi has helmed exhibitions with local contemporary magazine-turned-studio KALEIDOSCOPE, alongside design gallery and furniture label Puredesign.

“The space is a hub where different players interact on many projects that involve art, design, sports, food and all related lifestyle elements around our shared vision. We want to achieve a reciprocal relationship with the neighborhood and the city of Milan,” says Gabriele Casaccia, creative director of Slam Jam. With the goal to enrich and inspire, Spazio Maiocchi provides a haven of art and living to the community, welcoming them into the folds of the creative industry along the way.

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15 2 G R A N D S T B R O O K LY N , N Y USA

Supreme Brooklyn

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No one word evokes more lust in the world of streetwear than Supreme, and now its legions of diehard fans can satiate their desire at its newest storefront, bringing the global tally up to 11. Supreme Brooklyn is located in Williamsburg and cuts a decidedly different figure from the original and world-famous Lafayette Street store, thanks in large part to the skate bowl that takes up a large portion of the floor space and yet is reserved exclusively for use by friends and family of the label.

This latest store opening is a fitting development for Supreme, which has made a banner year of 2017 thanks to its widely heralded luxury collaboration with Louis Vuitton and the sale of a large stake in the business to a private equity firm – the first such move in the history of streetwear that reportedly raised Supreme’s valuation to $1 billion USD. And while some may see these business partnerships and its physical move to the traditional hipster capital of 172


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America as part of the brand’s increasing deviations from its core skater contingent, Supreme Brooklyn’s private opening party was an affirming communion of figureheads of the skate world both old and new. Presided over by founder James Jebbia, icons such as Mark Gonzalez, Eric Koston, and Jason Dill rubbed shoulders with the culture’s current movers and shakers like Angelo Baque, Heron Preston and Petra Collins.

Marking a new chapter in the label’s colorful history, the Brooklyn location comes late in Supreme’s entry onto the global fashion stage. Although its most fervent customers today—largely teens from Indianapolis to Indonesia – stand in stark contrast to the community of New York misfits from which the brand sprang in 1994, Supreme Brooklyn will be crucial in maintaining the brand’s appearance of authenticity and that everelusive element of cool that keeps them coming back. 173


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S ILO DISTRICT, S ARM ROAD V&A WATERFRONT C APE TOWN, ZA

Zeitz MOCAA

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Located in what was once the tallest building in sub-Saharan Africa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art is housed within an old industrial building in Cape Town’s newly-developed design district. Serving duty as a crumbling historic landmark before redevelopment, its current glory rivals the already-supernatural landscape which Cape Town has to offer. Spectators admiring the building from afar can see the windows of the adjoined Silo Hotel bulge like rows of scarab beetles from the top of the century-old industrial building’s concrete façade.

London-based Heatherwick Studio carved the atrium of Zeitz MOCAA from a collection of 42 tubes which comprised the silo’s interior, revealing a dizzying array of arches reminiscent of an Orwellian cathedral. The 9,500-square-meter space houses an extensive exhibit dedicated to African contemporary art and includes a rooftop sculpture garden, restaurant and bar, and reading rooms. More cultural hub than museum, Zeitz MOCAA encapsulates the essence of African contemporary art in order to present its immensely diverse history under one roof, celebrated by visitors and locals alike. 174


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37 -39 A B E R D E E N S T CENTRAL H O N G KO N G

The Old Man

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In the manner of how many good—and bad—ideas came into fruition, The Old Man was born from a drunken conversation. The bar’s ties with abject alcoholism are further solidified by the three owners’ choice of Ernest Hemingway as their mascot. A polished marble portrait of the infamous womanizer and beverage enthusiast, pieced together from leftover building materials, sits at the front of the room above several intimidatingly high-tech gadgets. The equipment, which include lab-grade installations

such as a centrifuge machine and rotary evaporator, is used to create a concise menu of nine classic cocktails infused with Southeast Asian flavors such as pandan and turmeric in a deft nod to the heritage of its owners. Designing the bar was a long and personal process which took the trio 1.5 years to complete. They happily detailed long hours spent in cafés observing loitering behavior, afterwards noting down the furniture dimensions where guests sat the longest, and described the process 178


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of going through multiple contractors before they found one that would consent to building the bar’s communal table. The tabletop is first of its kind to house a copper strip which maintains a temperature of -5 degrees Celsius, for the purpose of keeping guests’ cocktails cold over long conversations. Flawless service and quality liquor at The Old Man is a natural part of the 1,000-square-foot establishment, considering that its owners have over three decades of combined experience working at some of the most lavish places

in the city. The Old Man encourages a drinking culture which many consider to be lost to the bygone era of its namesake novelist—one where guests conversed together, at length and often. “We don’t think it’s like ‘wow, we make amazing drinks,’ or have incredible design, or play really good music—it’s not about any of that. We just want people to feel comfortable here and make friends,” a familiar sentiment which holds true for all favorite watering holes. 179


2 , 35 T U M B A L O N G B O U LVA R D E S Y D N E Y, N S W AUSTRALIA

Toby's Estate

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Australia’s love affair with artisanal third-wave coffee is no secret, and a newly opened cafe at Sydney’s Darling Square is set to become a showpiece for the best that the country has to offer. Toby’s Estate, a Wooloomooloo-founded coffee roaster, has opened its fourth physical space in the sweeping foyer of the recently completed, Wood Bagots-designed Commonwealth Bank of Australia headquarters. Melbourne design firm Studio Tate was tasked with creating a luxurious space that was congruent with the rest of the building. The result is an interior that references the opulent materials used in historic Old World treasuries of yore—cue heavy black marble walls and a patchwork of lighter colored marbles used for the flooring. Meanwhile, tables were rendered in a dark green marble, while booth seating made

of timber and upholstered in light pink velvet act as a counterpoint to the wealth of stone. Standing counters that call to mind those that were used to write cheques on can be found affixed to the back of these booths for patrons looking for a quick caffeine fix. The eponymous Toby Smith—a former lawyer who founded Toby’s Estate in 1997 after stints living in coffee communities around the world—sources the cafe’s beans primarily from his farm in Panama. The beans have become a black gold of sorts, funding the growth of the company into Asia, the Middle East and the United States, and making the vaultlike vocabulary of this latest location strangely apt, in a country where coffee has become its own type of cultural currency. 181


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123 N A S S A U S T NEW YORK, NY USA

The Beekman

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Luxury hotels are spaces that have never been found wanting for a degree of mystique, yet New York’s The Beekman delivers it in reams. Located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan’s Financial District, The Beekman is housed in a former nine-floor law office building that dates back to 1881. As one of New York’s first skyscrapers, the brick and terracotta Temple Court (as it was previously known as) was declared a landmark in 1998, yet it remained vacant and decrepit for a decade—during which time its empty

halls variously hosted a Harper’s Bazaar photoshoot and a Maison Margiela party attended by Kanye West. Finally, a developer was found in 2012, and after $350 million USD worth of renovations, The Beekman opened in 2016 to much fanfare. The 287-room hotel is centered around a jaw-droppingly ornate, balustraded atrium topped off with a pyramidal skylight that houses the reception, lobby and lounge. Due to its heritage status, the atrium’s upper levels feature perfectly preserved

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wrought-iron railings ornamented with flowers, dragons and sunburst motifs. Swedish interior designer Martin Brudnizki took on the formidable task of transforming the protected space into something redolent of the grandeur of a Victorian-era mansion. Decorated with an eclectic selection of lushly upholstered furniture from between the 1940s and 1970s and vintage Persian rugs, the lobby and lounge are flanked by frescoed walls of green to create what Brudnizki identified as the most important design element: a sense of homeliness. The

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hotel also boasts two French restaurants by celebrity chefs Keith McNally and Tom Colicchio. The weight of history that so many hotels covet, yet The Beekman unreservedly owns is what sets it in a league of its own. The hotel’s riches-to-rags-to-riches tale also serves as a wider metaphor for the fortunes of the Financial District as a whole, as it ploughs forward with an eye trained on the future and a foot firmly planted in the past.


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Directory

ADVISORY BOARD CRYSTALS ADVISORYBOARDCRYSTALS.COM

FACETASM FACETASM.JP

RON ENGLISH POPGANDA.COM

BALENCIAGA BALENCIAGA.COM

GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY GOSHARUBCHINSKIY.COM

SACAI SACAI.JP

CARHARTT WIP CARHART T.COM

L’ART DE L’AUTOMOBILE – KAR L ARTDEL AUTOMOBILESHOP.COM

SLAM JAM SL AMJAMSOCIALISM.COM

CHROME HEARTS CHROMEHEARTS.COM

MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA MAISONMARGIEL A.COM

STUSSY STUSSY.COM

COLETTE COLET TE.FR

MARNI MARNI.COM

SUPREME SUPREMENEWYORK.COM

COMMES DES GARÇONS COMME-DES-GARCONS.COM

NORMA KAMALI NORMAKAMALI.COM

UNDERCOVER UNDERCOVERISM.COM

DR. MARTENS DRMARTENS.COM

OFF-WHITE™ OFF---WHITE.COM

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD VIVIENNEWESTWOOD.COM

ENGINEERED GARMENTS ENGINEEREDGARMENTS.COM

RAF SIMONS RAFSIMONS.COM

SAINT LAURENT YSL.COM

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