WINTER 2017/18 PEACOCK
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A magazine celebrating the vibrancy of youth culture in Paris Editor-in-Chief Stuart Edwards
Deputy Editor Hedvig Werner
Artistic Director Sabrina Scholkowski
Photography Director Jackie Wegwerth
Marketing Lillian Wagner Alice Preat
Staff Writers Alice Preat Alison Thomas Anabel Bachour Anastasija Baiko Elizabeth Nguyen Son Gigie Branglidor Hedvig Werner Henry Nam Hardwick Isabel Guigui Jackie Wegwerth Katerina McGrath Laurence Hewitt Oliver Edward Ross Henry Sara Moskowitz Sophia Foerster Teresa Segovia XĂŠnia Dutoit
Photographers Indie Jansons Jackie Wegwerth Katerina McGrath Nicolas Nemtala Ranvier Villamil
Illustrators Sophia Foerster Maddy Brookes
Editorial Advisor Marc Feustel
Winter 2017-18 | Vol. 7.1
10 The Beautiful Struggle Albums born in a dark place
22 Blast from the Past Fashion trends that keep coming back by Jackie Wegwerth
by Oliver Edward Ross Henry
7 Letter from the Editor
8 Handshakes of the Year The power of a gesture by Hedvig Werner
14 Ugly Art The conflict between beauty and ugly by Sophia Foerster
18 A New Light How cinema is showing our reality by Laurence Hewitt
25 Whatâ€™s Gucci? The luxury game is changing by Alison Thomas
38 GenderBenders Blurring the barriers between menswear and womenswear by Sara Moskowitz
Road to Recovery
Do You Look Good Enough for Paris?
Healing from a dangerous disorder
How the fashion capital of the world changes you by Katerina McGrath
by XĂŠnia Dutoit
68 No Animals Harmed in the Making of This Mascara
46 Are Parisâ€™s Lights Going Out?
The rise in crueltyfree beauty products
by Liz Nguyen Son
A place for artists to chill
Spots to catch some green among the gray
by Oliver Edward Ross Henry
Not So Common Scents
by Gigie Branglidor
Five new things about perfume
Reflections on the transformation of the Parisian spirit
by Isabel Guigui
52 Artivism Creativity in the midst of conflict by Alice Preat
58 Past Present How people find comfort in bygone eras by Henry Nam Hardwick
Beauty Across the Globe
by Anastasija Baiko
How different cultures wear makeup
Chicago: The Spirit of a City
by Anabel Bachour
by Jackie Wegwerth
The New Curator How curating has escaped the art world by Teresa Segovia
Letter from the Editor
Anyone who has spent 30 seconds at a newsstand has seen the typical beauty magazine. A freshfaced, smiling girl plastered on the cover, makeup and hair tips abound—maybe even a few pieces on how to spice up your sex life. Arguably, these publications are the most popular still being consumed in print. I was therefore questioning how this popular treatment of the concept of beauty coincided with my desire for this issue to focus on beauty—the world certainly doesn’t need another Cosmopolitan knock-off. But beauty is not just a white woman’s luscious hair, perfectly plumped lips and successfullyreached g-spot. Beauty is so much more, for so many more people—and it is this interpretation that is lacking in popular culture. For this issue, we attempted to consider more profound interpretations of beauty in our world. Where does beauty play into a world as complicated and painful as today’s? Does it even continue to exist in the face of so much ugly? These days, it can feel like the world is going to shit; but hasn’t that always been the case? Hasn’t there always been something to keep someone up at night? Something to protest? Something to meet with outrage? Quite frankly, you could argue that we have it much better than ever before. Rather than turning our back entirely on the many problems that surround us, we can instead focus on finding beauty where you may least expect it. Not just “Beauty-with-a-capital-B;” beauty that is something more. You can see how beauty manifests amid censorship, displacement and war, as Alice Preat shows us. You can see how beauty changes over time—in the city around us, as Isabel Guigui muses, or in ourselves, with Katerina McGrath. You can see how once-exclusive icons of beauty have become popularized with Alison Thomas. You can see how beauty rises from the ruins with Oliver Edward Ross Henry, how it looked both then and now with Jackie Wegwerth, and how different it looks around the world with Anabel Bachour. While we justifiably spend most of our days consuming, analyzing and lamenting the current political climate until the cows come home, I hope you, dear reader, can take a moment away from that, and consider the nuances of beauty that are more important today than ever. Thank you for reading, Stuart Edwards
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THE SHAKE - OFF
The first prize for the most talked about handshake of 2017 goes to President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump. At their very first meeting on May 25 in Brussels, ahead of a NATO summit, they engaged in an unusually resolute handshake in which Macron barely let go of Trump’s hand; at least, not without a proper fight. An encounter made up of straight faces, clenched jaws, incredibly firm grips, and protruding white knuckles was an obvious power play by Macron, as he later revealed in an interview with Journal du Dimanche, “My handshake with him—it wasn’t innocent.” Jayson Harsin, Professor of Political Communication at The American University of Paris, notes, “Trump wants to perform [with] strength and domination, as he understands those ideas and signs. Macron’s shake was strategic for French and American audiences.” A caveman rhetoric signaling a “man against man” situation, this handshake made it clear that in Macron, Trump has met his match.
Handshakes of the Year The power of a gesture BY HEDVIG WERNER ILLUSTRATED BY SOPHIA FOERSTER
As a splendid Monday in May 2017 came to a close, President Trump, who happened to be on an official state visit to Israel, stood up excitedly from his chair. Trump had most likely requested his usual lunch of two quarter pounders, one large fries and a diet coke (everything in moderation), so when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was awaiting the President’s handshake, Trump’s mind was already parked right at the McDonald’s Drive Through. The Egg McMuffins that he presumably consumed for breakfast had not satiated the bloated belly of President Cheeto, so Secret Service was doubtless sent out on a quest to locate the nearest burger. Netanyahu, who had just stood up to prepare for the photo op, had his eyes fixed on the corpulent man’s tiny hands. However, after catching on to Trump’s daydream, he sneakily pretended to tenderly stroke Trump’s plump arm instead. But, a sudden change in courage took place when Netanyahu suddenly uttered, “No handshake?” Trump nonchalantly turned around when notified of the gaffe by his peers, so Netanyahu finally received what had long been at the top of his wish list: a handshake.
THE 88 - YE AR GREETING
During his historic visit to Cuba in 2016, the sorely missed commander-in-chief Obama anticipated a regular procedural handshake. Following a press conference, Obama tried his luck at shaking hands with Raúl Castro, but the Cuban leader wasn’t comfortable with that idea. With stark eyes perusing the audience and a firm handling of Obama’s slim but somewhat protruding right bicep, Castro stopped the welcoming, outstretched hand of Obama from reaching his. Instead, he hoisted Obama’s arm like a flagpole and let his hand dangle flaccidly. At first glance, this might simply look like a victory symbol for the rekindled relation between the two nations, but an alternative analysis could suggest that Castro is, in fact, a germophobe, and he had some concern in regards to Obama’s bathroom habits. Seeing as Obama is accustomed to Republicans in the Senate regularly testing his patience in similarly ridiculous ways, he didn’t throw in the towel. He grabbed hold of Castro’s wrist, in the hope of finally locking hands, but Castro made sure to clasp his hand so that his palm never truly met that of Obama’s.
photo-op often marks the beginning or the end of an official rendez-vous between political figures who join hands to assure the world of peaceful relations—a sign of cordiality between nations. It may seem like a handshake is a rather simple act, but there are implications if performed incorrectly considering the power hierarchies or cultural peculiarities at work.
On a state visit to China in August 2015, Zimbabwean then-President Robert Mugabe entered the press hall at a snail’s pace and slowly directed himself toward Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. After what felt like an eternity, they shook hands. However, Li chose to grasp the dictator’s hand in a fashion similar to a claw crane seizing a teddy bear. What should have been a shake ended up more like a light pinch. A respectful gesture from the dictator, due to, according to Harsin, “the power relations in the context, where news reports said China was one of Mugabe’s last possible allies. China was in the position of power,” therefore possibly justifying a more subdued handshake. Additionally, in Introducing Language and Intercultural Communication, professor of applied linguistics Jane Jackson writes, “In some Asian countries, handshakes tend to be less firm than in North America and Northern Europe,” which could also explain this unusual meeting of hands.
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The Beautiful Struggle Albums born in a dark place BY OLIVER EDWARD ROSS HENRY
Nir va na In Utero In Utero was the third and final album put out by Nirvana before lead singer Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994. Released on tape and vinyl in 1993, it didn’t take long to reach number one on the Billboard 200 list. This album is divided between gentle lyrics with smooth guitar licks and hard grunge with painful screams. In these forty-one minutes, Cobain is able to express all of the troubles that were consuming his life, whether that was the public eye, depression, romance or drug use. Just by the choice of album title one can see the deep pain and troubles Cobain was going through around these times. The term means “in the uterus” or “before birth”. This title hints at C o b a i n ’ s constant struggle with being alive. Cobain’s other album title idea was I Hate Myself and I Want to Die, which was rejected due to concern about lawsuits. Titles on the album such as “Dumb”, “All Apologies”, and “Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip” all immediately evoke the depressive emotions that Cobain was feeling during these years. The peak of Cobain’s depression stemmed from his toxic relationship with singer Courtney Love. The two young celebrities started dating in 1991 and bonded over a mutual affinity for heroin. A song that beautifully represents this toxic relationship is “All Apologies”. There are many interpretations for this track, but most see it as an apology to Love and his daughter Francis. Lyrics like “Find my nest of salt, Everything is my fault, I’ll take all the blame, Aqua seafoam shame”. He acknowledges the neglect he shows his family, while distracted with drug addiction. This song is one of Nirvana’s most calm song on the album, evoking sadness and regret rather than angst. Cobains addictions led him to overdose in 1993, only to be saved by Love as she injected him with naloxone, a drug known to stop overdoses. No less than a year later, while hospitalized for bronchitis, Cobain overdosed again by ingesting a mixture of champagne and prescription pills. Cobain’s friends and family had grown concerned considering this second overdose and attempted suicide. Friends, coworkers and bandmates convinced Cobain to enter a detox facility. However, his stay at the facility was short-lived, escaping the facility and catching a plane back to Seattle the same day. Less than a week later Cobain was found dead at his home with a heroin needle in his arm and a bullet in his head. He was 27.
© RICHARD WEEDON/IDOLS
hen creating art, it is always important to project personality, story and emotions into it. Music is no exception; it always seems like music is able to provoke emotions nothing else can. There is always “that one song” that sends shivers down your spine, the song you listen to when you want to cry, or the song that will cheer you up. Through this medium, the listener can identify, in their own way, not only with how the musician was feeling, but also with millions of people around the world listening to that artist. We have selected four albums that rose to the top of the Billboard 200 list, which came from a place of darkness project resounding strength and beauty.
© CLASSICAL ALBUM SUNDAYS
© PINK FLOYD ARCHIVE
The Wall In 1979, Pink Floyd released their 11th studio album, The Wall. This album had incredible critical success, becoming Pink Floyd’s third album to make it to number one on the Billboard 200 list. The Wall was created due to the band’s frustration with their audiences becoming too drunk and rowdy, seeing their concerts as a party rather than art. Pink Floyd wanted to create an album to inspire an attentive, appreciative audience. To really make this album different, lead singer and bassist Roger Waters came up with the idea to turn the album into a rock opera, based mostly on his life. The Wall is more of a story and work of art than an album—it captivated audiences and was even made into a movie. The story of this rock opera revolves around the character of Pink. His story begins with the opening song, “In the Flesh,” a 3-minute buildup of loud organ solos and guitar riffs. Near the end of the track, the clashes of the drummers cymbals grow into the sounds of machine guns and crashing planes. These sounds of war at the beginning of the album signify the death of Pink’s father, who, like Waters’s father, was killed in World War II. The Wall in question metaphorically represents the Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War and post-World War II Europe. The sounds of war and a fatherless childhood are consistent themes throughout the album. The songs to follow paint a scene of a young Pink growing up in the United States in the years after World War II. In addition to his already painful life, Pink’s mother, though well intentioned, is overprotective of her son. Pink, who already detests going to school, feels smothered. He hates that there are people telling him when to wake up, what to say, what to do, and what to think. “We don’t need your education,” one of the most iconic lines from this album, is Pink’s way of stating that he does want to be another gear in the system. He begins to build a wall to isolate himself from the rest of the world, made up of the traumas he’s experienced in his young life Like Waters himself, Pink grows up and becomes a rockstar, but even after reaching fame, Pink’s life is plagued with misery in the forms of betrayal, violence, and drug use. The last brick of Pink’s wall of isolation is laid when his marriage falls apart. On the second disc of the album, the mood switches as Pink’s wall has been completed and he is now completely isolated from the world. The album continues with Pink’s mental psychosis and a theatrical judgement of Pink’s mental state in the song “The Trial,” followed by a crowd continually chanting “tear down the wall” as Pink attempts to let people back into his life. This was the case for Waters, as after The Wall, and Pink Floyd’s impending break up, he remained in the spotlight, touring and continuing to make music.
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To Pimp a Butterfly Kendrick Lamar has become the most popular and powerful rapper of this generation. His music is not only enjoyable, but its socially conscious theme asks questions about our contemporary society in a way that is too rare in hip-hop today. To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar’s third studio album, embraces a personal and political theme, speaking of depression and institutionalized racism in his hometown of Compton. This album was extremely unconventional, as the instrumentals range from vintage jazz, hip-hop, to acid jazz and more, encompassing the history of African-American music. This album received high critical acclaim in an era of great racial divide, topping the Billboard 200, and winning rap album of the year in the 2016 Grammy’s Lamar has certainly found a large following and solidified his celebrity status, but with these glories came great trauma. In To Pimp a Butterfly, he speaks about his newfound fame and all the troubles that came from it—from guilt to depression and suicide. While on tour after the release of his second album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, three of Lamar’s close friends in Compton were murdered. As a result, Lamar experienced survivor’s guilt for having made it out of the dangers and problems of his home town. Lamar expresses these emotions in To Pimp a Butterfly through the song “u.” In an aggressive tone Lamar shouts, “Where was the influence you speak of? You preached in front of 100,000 but never reached her. I fuckin’ tell you, you fuckin’ failure—you ain’t no leader! I never liked you, forever despise you—I don’t need you!.” Harsh words spoken in a self-critique—one can truly hear the pain, as well as understand the blame Lamar put himself through for leaving his city. This anger and self-doubt are apprehended on the second to last song of the album “i.” In this poetic claim of self-love, Lamar chants, “I love myself” expressing a more healthy view of life. This optimism is also heard in the song “Alright,” with its hook “We gon’ be alright.” Lamar states that he began to face his problems and look at the world in a new light after traveling to Africa. He realized that as grave as his problems were, there are other people even with more severe problems. The album concludes with the song “Mortal Man,” a 9-minute song, poem and interview, in which he talks about his influences, including Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King. As the song ends, Lamar recites a full poem that has been attached to the end of each song. Lamar finished off this poem with an ending unheard on any of the previous fifteen tracks. “MADE ME WANNA GO BACK TO THE CITY AND TELL THE HOMIES WHAT I LEARNED THE WORD WAS RESPECT JUST BECAUSE YOU WORE A DIFFERENT GANG COLOR THAN MINES DOESN’T MEAN I CAN’T RESPECT YOU AS A BLACK MAN FORGETTING ALL THE PAIN AND HURT WE CAUSED EACH OTHER IN THESE STREETS IF I RESPECT YOU, WE UNIFY AND STOP THE ENEMY FROM KILLING US BUT I DON’T KNOW, I’M NO MORTAL MAN, MAYBE I’M JUST ANOTHER NI**A”
So what does it really mean to pimp a butterfly? As it cocoons and evolves into its new form, the butterfly is able recreate itself, and imagine possibilities that the caterpillar never could. “The butterfly represents the talent, the thoughtfulness, and the beauty within the caterpillar, ” says Lamar. For him, that evolution was the day he returned to Compton. While Lamar was experiencing life outside of Compton, he metamorphosed relinquishing his past, learning lessons that he was able to bring back to his city in hopes of inspiring peace.
© BATISTE SAFONT
Dav id Bow ie
© MAX BRAUN
Blackstar David Bowie, a name that will forever be engraved in the memory of music. A career lasting over 50 years and 25 albums, Bowie got his start in the early 1960’s producing an artist style of music that had never been seen before. Bowie had major struggles throughout his life ranging from drug addiction to sexual identity. Many of his albums and songs evoke the emotions of his woes, but in Blackstar, Bowie explores issues which he had never explored before. In 2015, David Bowie began recording what would be known as his last album, (Blackstar). Bowie knew that he was aging and wanted to do something different and special for this album. Therefore he hired New York jazz musician Donny McCaslin and his band to play as a studio band. This album consists of low tempo jazz with smooth saxophone, all supporting Bowie ageless voice, making causing it to shoot up the charts to number 1 of the Billboard 200. The album release coincide with Bowie’s 69th birthday. Two days later, Bowie died of liver cancer. Not only was Bowie recording this album in secret, but he was also hiding the fact that he had liver cancer. Bowie found out about his cancer before starting to record the album, being aware that his condition was dire he wanted to go out with a bang. Thus beginning to record he kept his illness a complete secret. When asked about his death, McCaslin said that he had no idea about Bowies condition, and that throughout their recordings he looked well and healthy. This album’s title, (Blackstar) can be interpreted in different ways. In scientific terms a blackstar is a phase of transition after the death of a star where spacetime ceases to exist. Though the blackstar is dead, its energy will continue to be released into space. This interpretation validates Bowies entire career. Though he knew death was imminent he acknowledges the impact he has made on musical history. Step from the astronomical field to the medical field and the term blackstar has a completely different meaning. In a medical sense the term blackstar refers to a organ or tissue that has been infected with cancer, an obvious reference to Bowies liver cancer. The track “Blackstar” has more to say in the respect of the album title. One of Bowie’s main influences, Elvis Presley had an unreleased song titled “Blackstar”. In this song Presley sings, “And when a man sees his black star, He knows his time, his time has come”. Bowie takes the theme of these lyrics and adapts it to the title of this song and album. This is Bowie’s way of saying that he has seen his blackstar, and wishes to bestow one more gift to the world. In Bowies version of “Blackstar”, he eerily sings about Elvis, “Something happened on the day he died, Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside, Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar”. Rising to fame in the same decade as Elvis’s premature death, Bowie felt it his responsibility to step up and take Elvis’s place, becoming and artist leading counter cultural movements and individuality. Now that Bowie has since seen his blackstar, this album searches someone to inherit the Blackstar’s throne. Bowie has inspired a generation of artists and musicians, by making his music and life into a performance. Many contemporary artists attempt to emulate Bowie’s style, his truly unique personality and incredible musical talents are irreplicable.
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Ugly Art The conflict between beauty and ugly
BY SOPHIA FOERSTER
LUIGI LA FERLA
rt is a universal act, but also a reflection of society as a whole: defining how we see beauty in the world and shaping our own visions. In the magazine Philosophy Now, art philosopher Catherine Bosley says, “‘Art’ is where we make meaning beyond language. Art consists in the making of meaning through intelligent agency, eliciting an aesthetic response. It’s a means of communication where language is not sufficient to explain or describe its content. Art can render visible and known what was previously unspoken.” Psychologist Harry Beckwith comments on this in his article on whether people like new things. He writes, “Thomas Kuhn makes a related point in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, where he concluded that science doesn’t progress steadily because scientists, like all of us, lock into paradigms; they heed the rules they’ve heard for years. For a breakthrough to happen, that generation must be replaced by a new one that challenges this old orthodoxy and sees—and helps cause—a paradigm shift. Only when that new idea finally becomes familiar will a generation adopt it.” The first reaction to something you can’t understand is most often rejection. But can art be inherently ugly? Historically art has always been about beauty, but contemporary art is trying to change that. The obsession with beauty in art began with the romantic era of the late 18th century. The main objective of romantic artists was to create something inherently and formulaically beautiful: beauty was the end goal. Writer Michael Sebastian says in his article about contemporary art and cultural degeneracy that, “at first glance, these do not seem to be bad values, but they set the stage for future degeneration. With originality, artists begin to feel the need to be completely unique. Each artist must represent a complete break with everything that came before him as well as his contemporaries. Introducing the emotion of the artist will eventually become making the art all about the artist’s feelings.” In the second half of the 19th century, realism emerged to oppose romanticism and aimed to portray “real” and contemporary people and scenes; the polar opposite to the extravagance of romantic paintings. Art movements change over time as artists attempt to become more and more “unique.” Toward the end of the romantic era, German philosopher Karl Rosenkranz published the book Aesthetics of Ugliness in 1853. His ideas exposed
the standards of art as painting anything experimental as essentially “not real art.” Shortly after Rosenkranz published his works, modern art movements arose in the 1870s. In this era, traditions are thrown aside in favor of discovery and experimentation to oppose beauty standards despite society considering it “ugly.” However, slowly this push in aesthetics began to redefine how society sees beauty within the world of art. Colors became vibrant and artists became fearless with the messages they portrayed. In the late 20th century, post-modernistic visions emerged to contradict modernism, and take experimentation even further. In the words of the writer Charlie Fox, “ugly art reflects an ugly time.” Modernism and post-modernism both began during times of war, focusing on exposing the ugliness of their times. Many artists use this aspect of reality to evoke strong emotional responses through grotesque images or brutal realities such as death and illness, using what Stephen Hicks describes as the “‘Isn’t that disgusting’ strategy.” The art critic Jonathan Jones states that “ugly” (in this context, “truthful”) art is “therapeutic” and that painting the “face bears the marks of inner suffering in a graphic way.” In the 1920s, a German art movement called New Objectivity also emerged as a reaction against expressionism,
a movement in art made to express emotion. New Objectivity fought the romanticism and idealism of expressionism because of its impact on societal opinion. Its purpose was to steer away from fantasizing about an ideal world, and therefore, turn viewers toward action and engagement of the public. Fox explains that, “What exactly is deemed ugly, of course, remains in the eye of the beholder.” Fox also says, “but what
Art has always been significant, probing the same issues about the human condition that all forms of cultural life probe. Stephen Hicks unifies ugly painting is its defiance of the obviously attractive, familiar or ‘lifelike.’ It serves as a reminder that art isn’t a branch of mortuary science, providing faithful replication of lost beauties.” Can ugly art be beautiful in its own grotesque truth? American artist James Purpura, who plays with color to change reality in his contemporary works, agrees with this, as
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he said that he thinks art can be ugly, but there can be beauty in ugliness. Talking about Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters,” as an example, he says: “these people are not pretty. It’s not a pretty scene but it’s beautiful… beauty speaks for itself.” His definition essentially being that art is a self-defining entity. Italian artist Luigi La Ferla is like many contemporary artists who fight against beauty standards. On the topic of beauty, he says, “it is not the first thing that is important… even in ugliness, there is beauty.” His definition ultimately being that beauty is not one solid complex, but rather something that can be seen in everything. The most challenging thing for artists is to avoid these past beauty standards set by the greats and evolve into unique views. Purpura emphasized that art needs to make the viewer think—regardless of its aesthetic appeal. He says, “If I can stare at a painting and think, ‘how the hell did you do that?’… For me, that’s magic.” French contemporary artist Florence Mabillat states that he considers beauty a binary concept and not a good thing in itself. “I don’t see anything interesting in binary thought. I think life is much more complex” he says. Mabillat defines beauty as trying to fit life into a box, whereas life cannot be so neatly categorized. These artists are trying to create their individual unique visions. Their art is a reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly in life. But why try to categorize art as good or bad? Ugly or beautiful? One individually cannot say for certain that one artist is better than another, as art has no objective methods of evaluation. Artist and art philosopher Michael Dunn asserts that “changing tastes over time also indicate that beauty isn’t universal” and that “the arts is a subjective area of knowledge.
This means that views on what is good art and bad art vary from individual to individual.” Art is a form of communication, and viewers tend to focus on defining art rather than engaging with it. The message remains for the audience to interpret, whether they see it as ugly or beautiful—or both.
Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision. Salvador Dali
LUIGI LA FERLA LUIGI LA FERLA
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he Academy Awards seldom gets things right. They tend to award self-aggrandizing films about Hollywood and tales about how gosh darn great the good ol’ days were. Films like Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Crash (2005), both of which depict older white people “fixing” racism, or The Artist (2011), a frankly empty film that only aggrandizes Hollywood, won best picture over the likes of Do the Right Thing (1989) and Brokeback Mountain (2005), two honest looks at tough subjects. Success in old Hollywood was defined by one thing: money. Artistic integrity was second to the box office; it’s only with time that we have recognized the truly special films. More societally introspective films such as Blade Runner (1982), Fight Club (1999) and Citizen Kane (1941) were huge box office failures. However, the bottom line of what Hollywood treated as important has slowly been fading, mostly thanks to the digital distribution of films; audiences can now decide themselves what films stay relevant thanks to the ever-expanding web. We’re no longer in the era of a movie playing for two years in a cinema, with another three to five before it’s on TV—now, every movie can be found almost anywhere, anytime. According to a study by the Creative Artists Agency, the average opening box office revenue for a film considered to have a “diverse” cast stands at $31 million compared to $12 million for a non-diverse cast. Take Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), whose three leads are Daisy Ridley, and the franchise’s first black and Hispanic leads, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. The movie is the highest grossing film of all time in the US. Now, look at another modern blockbuster, The Hangover (2009), the highest grossing movie that doesn’t have any major female or minority characters; this film sits at number 88 on the all-time list in the US. It’s clear from the data that audiences increasingly want to see reality reflected on screen. Films that accurately reflect the makeup of society make more money and generate more discussion The audience want a film that speaks to issues, a way to express their emotions on screen and to feel validated and empowered. This represents a break with the age-old idea of escaping through film; films used to involve being whisked off to a magical land where a no-nosed man tries to kill a scarred high schooler. Today, films represent a means to gain comfort in today’s world by seeing our reality through Hollywood’s rose-tinted glasses. Some have a natural beauty to them: films about love, films about inner strength, and films about unity, for example. Some films use their platform to tackle political issues and try to incite change or raise awareness, because, whether we like it or not, politics is everywhere. One film with a hidden beauty is the violent stab-a-thon Logan (2017). In a scene, the central villain, Donald, chases Mexican children to stop them from
crossing a border. The parallels between this scene and social issues today are clear; this type of obvious political allegory about current tension in America is something that is rarely found in superhero movies. The fate of Donald is death at the hands of the young, diverse group of children whose future he wanted to crush due to a deep hatred of all things different. It’s a beauty not in the framing of the shot, but in the perception of public thought. All Logan needed to be was a movie where good triumphs—but it ended up being more than that. Instead, the film takes aim at an issue which affects the audience. At the end, the heroes won and the villainous Donald was stopped. Who would’ve thought a movie about two old men slowly dying in quite a depressing fashion could be so fundamentally imbued with the beauty of understanding, and the message that, while times are trying, we will overcome. Moonlight (2016), the tale of a gay black man, Chiron, throughout three stages of his life, took home the Oscar for Best Picture. This was, simply, a triumph, a seismic shift in the film industry. Moonlight became the first film to win Best Picture with an all-black cast and the first featuring a homosexual relationship. With this film and its subsequent critical celebration, Hollywood embraced a previously non-represented truth of our society by celebrating a film that finds the tender moments and deep beauty in struggle. Kyle Buchanan of Vulture said “Moonlight, however, is a movie about today that couldn’t and wouldn’t have been made 60 years ago,” when African-American actors like Sidney Poitier were still struggling to get respect in the industry. Even on the rare occasion that a black actor starred in a film—as Poitier in In the Heat of the Night (1967), for example—he was still overlooked Poitier wasn’t nominated for Best Actor for that film, his white co-star was and won. Carol (2015) revolves around the emergence of a romance between Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in 1950s America. Carol and Moonlight both speak to similar issues about living in a society which forces people to repress their true feelings or be persecuted, and they both tackle them with a grace and tenderness rarely seen in cinema. Carol was by no means a commercial success, but films of this size rarely are, and often rely on the Oscars to boost their box office. The film’s success comes from being unique in its approach to its story and characters. Carol’s secret weapon is treating its core romance as sex-neutral; yes, their lesbianism is a key part of the movie, but the emotional content of scenes between characters Carol and Therese could be between any combination of gender. Emotion is the great unifier. Carol takes emotions every human has felt and uses them to help the audience understand the films characters in a deeper way, even if they can’t relate on the surface. It’s for that reason that the Moonlight win was a true statement to the film industry: today’s true successes are no longer simply whitewashed action films or stale love stories. Only two years ago, all 20 acting nominees at the Oscars were white, resulting in the “#OscarsSoWhite” hashtag backlash on twitter.
The avoidance of the “other” in Hollywood is long-standing; it is often said that members only vote for films that represent them. Shallowly, one can assume that the push for more diverse representation has come from an increased diversity in the academy itself. Until last year, the Academy was made up of 94 percent white people, 77 percent of which are men with an average age of 63. Data is unavailable for the most recent award ceremony, but there is information on the newly invited. According to Variety, 39 percent of the invitees were women, with seven branches—such as Actors and Directors—inviting more women than men. Since 2015 (the year Carol, Creed, Straight Outta Compton and Beasts of No Nation were all overlooked) there has been a 331 percent increase in the number of non-white invitees. Most importantly, in Moonlight and Carol, there is no stereotyping. The films don’t change what they are for the sake of understanding—Carol isn’t some generic Lauren Bacall femme fatale, she’s an actual character. Chiron isn’t just another “hard man” gangster, he’s a deeply complex human whose external actions don’t define him internally. They stick to reality and don’t hold back. While both films endings are open to interpretation, they still both end in a very similar vain. In Moonlight, Chiron comes to terms with his homosexuality and is comforted by Kevin, the only man to have ever been intimate with him. Carol ends not with a grand gesture, but an intimate moment—Carol’s simple smile does so much more than seeing a generic lead run through an airport to stop the woman he loves from getting on the plane. Despite all the over the top moments, 2016’s La La Land also contains a pure moment of brutal honesty—the two leads, lovers throughout the film, accept their diverging paths. The audience has just spent the best part of two hours being invested in their love for it to slip away at the last moment, for reality to step in and remind them that sometimes happiness has to be abandoned to find something even more beautiful. While this all can seem like standard fare for a romance, it breaks the mold by not indulging itself in its own story. La La Land never shows a grand romantic gesture for the sake of pandering—these moments instead depict a raw realness. As representation in the industry continues to expand, even its most mainstream genres are starting to see a more realistic treatment. This summer brought us a long-awaited change to the superhero genre. Unlike Carol and Moonlight, or even fellow superhero Logan, Wonder Woman doesn’t tackle issues or race, sexuality or age. It goes for something much simpler: the idea that women too deserve a place front and center in big movies, and that female directors should be given equal resources as their male counterparts. Hollywood has a long standing fear of female-led films. Yes, films such as Elektra (2005), Catwoman (2004) and Supergirl (1984) exist, but they are terrible films and not exactly paragons of female representation (Catwoman literally fights an evil cosmetics company). The general sentiment has been that the target audience of superhero films is just young males, while Disney princesses are supposedly the only types of films that make money for young girls. Wonder Woman’s director Patty Jenkins said of this issue that, “the genre became synonymous with young men, and so I think there was a concern that they wouldn’t
be as interested in a female lead.” She adds, “for many years, I was asking the question you’re all asking: Why is no one making this movie?” Wonder Woman ending up being the 20th highest grossing movie of all time in America and the fifth highest grossing superhero movie of all time. While quality certainly helps the case of Wonder Woman, it is impossible to look past what the film means in the purest sense. This story of an empowered woman as a beacon of hope in the trenches of World War I spoke to audiences in a way that loudly screams for more diverse story telling. “When you don’t expect to see yourself as the hero, you don’t easily forget what it looks like,” Angela Watercutter of Wired said of Wonder Woman. The superhero genre is finally changing, and as it is on average the highest grossing genre, it’s a sure-fire way to incite further change in mid-level movies. The real question is: where do we go from here? Recent releases such as Ladybird, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut featuring an honest look at high-school life for young women, Call Me by Your Name, Luca Guadagnino’s look at sexuality and religion, and The Big Sick, based on the real like experience of a Pakistani man dealing with American culture and his own identity, show a positive continuing trend towards films tackling difficult subjects in an honest way. Today, films that connect with audiences are those that actually attempt to do so—films that show you that you are not alone, that your struggles are known and there are voices who will tell your story. All the messages of these films are the same: in the darkest times, we can still find beauty in our lives and the crumbling world around us. Moving forward, we can hope for newer outlooks, for Hollywood to embrace newfound diversity and celebrate beauty found in other cultures. Indiewire’s David Ehrlich said about this year’s Cannes Film Festival “empathy isn’t always easy… but what’s the point of going to the movies if not to restore and deepen our understanding.” In the end, we search for beauty in the dark to comfort us, to ensure that no matter how tough it gets we can always find something beautiful to cling to. As you sit in a dark room, the moment comes where the projector flickers on and light bursts in—and suddenly, everything will be ok.
Love is light — the cinema is made of light. Juliette Binoche
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ashion is fleeting. But, like all things we love, daring styles come back to us, earning a permanent place in our closets in ways that prove they were meant to be. However, while this makes sense for timeless staples like the little black dress, it’s surprising to see some of the more daring fashion statements continuously make their way back onto the runway, into the stores and onto the streets.
c r o p to p
The perfect partner of the high-waisted pant had its debut in the Victorian era as a cropped rendition of a peasant blouse. The top has made several appearances since this puffed, flowy original. Today, we recognize it as the crop top, but this piece has taken many different shapes over the decades. In the 1940s, the style mixed with a menswear influence and took the form of button-down shirts with large, puffy sleeves that would be paired with high-waisted pants. It carried over into the 50s, where the crop top adopted a more playful look, losing the sleeves and gaining the structure of a halter top. It took yet another new form in the 1990s with the crop-top t-shirts that were paired with low-waisted pants for the first time. Many of the 90s looks have carried over directly into today’s closets with little change. Because of its versatility, it will continue to occupy a hanger in everyone’s closets for many seasons to come.
B last< & past
Fashion trends that keep coming back WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY JACKIE WEGWERTH
c h o ke r n e c kla c e
Going back even further in history, we can look at the ruff times, a style that relates closely to today’s choker trend. Made famous by Queen Elizabeth I, the ruff became a popular neckpiece during the mid-16th and 17th centuries. At the time, the style was unisex. Though more voluminous than we can recognize in today’s fashion world, it’s easy to draw the link from the ruff to the present-day choker. We’ve seen the choker play with size, shape, and volume in recent years—from a simple black band to thick, bejeweled pieces. Though it’s unlikely they will ever reach the volume of Queen Elizabeth’s, neck accessories are in. We’ve seen ascots, scarves, and statement necklaces abound. But with the growing width of the most recent chokers in the stores, neck accessories are tending more and more toward this past style.
b o dy p a d d i n g
Those from the Elizabethan era were also fans of “bombasting,” a practice where one’s sleeves and pants were padded to make the features appear larger. Though the areas to accentuate are not the same today, body padding is still a popular pursuit. Today, Instagram-famous bras promising the perfect cleavage and pants designed to lift the posterior are taking the place of bombasting. At the time, wide arms and legs were the ideal body of the nobles partaking in the bombasting trend, just as a curvy figure has been made popular by celebrities like the Kardashians today. There is always going to be a beauty standard that people feel pressured to emulate, so it’s easy to assume that this practice won’t be out of style any time soon. However, as the ideal of beauty is constantly evolving, it’s hard to pinpoint which part of their bodies, our grandchildren will be padding.
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th e r o m p e r
While the female romper has been a style mainstay for several years, a similar combination piece for men is not nearly as common. However, the male romper captivated the attention of many on social media in 2017, as a totally unprecedented trend. Surprisingly, this trend is far from new. It made a large splash as a beachwear piece in the 1890s before it washed ashore this year. While occasionally seen on the streets, the male romper today is treated somewhat as a joke a joke, but at the time, it was the go-to option for men at the beach. Given its rocky revival this summer, it’s unlikely the male romper will rise again just yet. However, if given time to ripen, it may just end up on the runway at a Spring/Summer Fashion Week a few years down the line.
©LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
he moral of the story: save your clothes and your money. The styles that are “so last season” are simultaneously “so seven seasons from now.” Style is changing at a rapid rate, but as trends are cyclical, certain pieces will keep making their way back into mainstream fashion. Maybe you aren’t stuck in outdated clothes. Maybe you’re just ahead on the fashion trend revival.
Whatâ€™s Gucci? The luxury game is changing
BY ALISON THOMAS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACKIE WEGWERTH
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he air was alive with the gleam of countless glittery boots reflecting in the sun. Women (and the occasional man) milled about in exquisite ensembles that cost more than my car, while professional photographers and stray Snapchatters alike scrambled to take their pictures. It was Paris Fashion Week, and I was standing outside the Chanel show at Palais Royal in hopes of filling out a portrait of the typical luxury consumer. I was fascinated with the interactions that surrounded me and overwhelmed by the countless stories I was witnessing. I was also in the wrong place. The typical luxury consumer, it turns out, is more likely to be found at a Starbucks than a Chanel show. Sure, the elite— those select few celebrities, VIPs and socialites who are lucky enough to snag a seat at a top fashion show—participate in the luxury industry, but when it comes to the bulk of purchases, their contribution is minimal. In short, Kanye may be about to go Gucci in a luxury store, but it’s your ramen-eating roommate saving up for that velvet bag who drives the market. Yet, since its genesis, luxury has been intertwined with exclusivity. There’s a fairytale many of us are familiar with that goes something like this: there is a prince who cannot seem to find a suitable wife. One dark and stormy night, a young woman claiming to be a princess arrives at his castle, seeking shelter. The prince’s mother tests this claim to royalty by placing a single pea beneath a lofty stack of mattresses for the woman to sleep on, on the basis that a true princess would notice even the slightest infringement to her comfort. The young
woman endures a sleepless night. The prince rejoices. They marry. The end. Despite its outlandish premise, there’s an underlying and enduring truth in “The Princess and the Pea.” The ability to identify and participate in the minute particularities in the world of luxury—whether you’re assessing mattress quality or shopping for a new pair of Louboutins—is a symbol of the elite. Modern consumers strive to prove that they are purveyors of taste and knowledge; to establish themselves as “in the know,” or otherwise solidify their social status. What better way to do this than by possessing the latest, greatest, and most elusive items on the market? Whether they realize it or not, many consumers are drawn just as much—if not more—to the “it” status of an item as they are to the item itself. In many circles, “luxury” is synonymous with taste. The rise of shiny logos and ubiquitous shapes means the deeply discerning eye is not necessarily a requirement any longer. Rather, being fashionable is as easy as knowing what’s in and what isn’t. For a long time, the luxury good has been powerful simply by virtue of its symbolic value. These storied items have the ability to shape how we present ourselves to the world and how the world receives us. In fact, as of 2017, over 50 percent of luxury consumers have bought an item for the message it sends, according to a poll conducted by Deloitte. For some, this sort of conspicuous consumption—buying items simply to display status—is deeply rooted in personal identity. Because of the aspirational world they represent, luxury goods allow customers to define and redefine themselves in the eyes of society. “Our concept of self is in a constant state of regeneration,” explains psychologist Peter Noel Murray. “Because luxury products have the power to change the consumer’s perception of who they are by altering the self, they deliver desired emotional end-benefits, including self-esteem and hedonic feelings such as satisfaction and power.” But for others, buying luxury feels more like an obligation, rooted more in societal expectation than any personal desire. Janet Carr has over a decade of experience in the luxury industry, having worked as a marketing consultant for brands ranging from the mid-range Coach to the small but high-end leather goods company Ghurkha, but she definitely doesn’t consider herself a luxury person. However, this selfdescribed value-seeker recently spent $2,000 on a Celine bag for the primary purpose of establishing credibility amongst her colleagues. She explains this choice by saying, “If you don’t look good, if you don’t carry a designer bag, they’re not going to take you seriously.” Carr isn’t alone. For many, owning luxury can feel like a prerequisite to success in life, whether you’re conducting interviews or just trying to get service in a store. As the masses begin to recognize the value luxury has when it comes to defining who we are, the fashion houses also are starting to redefine their priorities—at the expense of “true luxury.” For a long time, the upper-class allure of exclusivity has been enough to drive luxury sales, but things are starting to change. As a result, companies have lately begun to shift their focus toward the masses, producing larger quantities, targeting broader demographics, and setting up shop everywhere but the moon (a fact you’re probably familiar with if you’ve ever strolled through an airport). This phenomenon, which analysts call the “democratization of luxury,” has seen the likes of Louis Vuitton and Dior evolve from small houses into major players in an estimated €250 billion industry. Thanks to an increase in affluence of the middle-class, the advent of the internet, and the 21st century corporate structures, middlemarket consumers are trading up for these mainstay “it” pieces, and the old rules of luxury are being thrown out the window.
But therein lies a great paradox of the traditional luxury market: as more people buy into the luxury world, the less exclusive, and therefore less powerful, it becomes. Companies are caught between the need to commercialize in order to survive and the need to retain the image of exclusivity to remain relevant to the consumer. Companies such as Hermès have approached this issue by making it extremely hard to buy some of their products— most notably the iconic Birkin bag. Danielle, a young woman studying at the American University of Paris (AUP) recalls having to visit two different Hermès stores, and being turned away multiple times, before she finally got put on a waitlist for the elusive bag. Madeleine Czigler, a fashion professor at the AUP with extensive experience in the industry, points to sales caps, a phenomenon that has been in action since the ‘80s, when luxury first began being mass produced, as an additional means of controlling luxury goods. She recalls, “I used to be approached by Japanese tourists who would give me 500 francs to go into Vuitton and buy them 5 purses.” But, ultimately, luxury companies are losing this battle. According to a report from Bain & Company, a global management consultancy firm, the market for luxury is going
to become even larger and more diverse over the next few decades, eventually reaching an estimated 500 million people by 2030. While the Birkin bag will probably never be mainstream, the majority of luxury goods are on a path to accessibility and ubiquity—if they haven’t already gotten there today. The advent of the internet also poses a significant issue for companies that still rely on exclusivity. Marc Bain at Quartz magazine explains that, “for any company premised on keeping its highend goods restricted to a select few and its brand image tightly controlled, e-commerce presents a conundrum. Can luxury reside just clicks away from fast fashion without losing some of its sheen? It’s a clash between exclusivity and inclusivity.” Notably, companies like Hermès and Chanel have refused to participate in the online market for precisely these reasons. But this phenomenon doesn’t necessarily have to mean the destruction of the luxury market. It is simply changing the rules, emphasizing new values and transforming the landscape of luxury. This “new luxury” is less about the physical and more about the experience involved. “One fundamental aspect of all branding that still holds true is the consumer desire to be part of something,” explains Damien Madden, a writer for the
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people buy into â??Asthemore luxury world, the less
exclusive, and therefore less powerful, it becomes.
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online publication Luxury Society. “Yet, rather than being part of some exclusive club, with entry obtained via purchasing one of these luxury products, they’re now more interested in being part of a community. There’s great appeal in joining a group united by a common bond (in this case, a brand) to share similar ideals and aspirations.” So how do brands shift away from the long-touted idea of exclusivity into the new age of communal, experiential luxury? Embracing the internet is a good place to start. Though most luxury purchases still happen in store, Bain, in collaboration with Farfetch, an online platform for luxury retail, released a study claiming that 70 percent of luxury purchases are influenced by the internet in some way. This is hardly surprising; take a peek at your Instagram or Snapchat and you’re bound to find some trace of the luxury world. The internet is not only reducing gaps in consumer information. Through apps, blogs, and digital campaigns, it is adding a new level to the luxury experience, connecting buyers to a brand in a way that might not have been possible before. For better or for worse, the advent of celebrity culture, largely made possible by the digital age, has also played an integral role in shaping the luxury consumer. “It’s about keeping up with the Kardashians,” was one student’s simple reply when asked why young people are spending their money on luxury goods. The influence of s c re e n s i re n s o n consumer behavior has been evident since the days of Grace Kelly, but now Instagram muses and vlog queens have been thrown into the mix. They reach a broader, younger and more diverse audience, connecting with consumers on a deeper, and apparently more authentic, level. Brands are also seeking to involve the new consumer in other, sometimes more direct, ways. Gucci, for example, has a “shadow committee” composed entirely of people under 30, tasked with providing feedback on products and marketing processes. As one of the most touted brands of 2017, it’s no secret that such efforts to form a cohesive brand culture that engages the millennial consumer—not the fur-clad middle-aged shopper of yore—have played in Gucci’s favor. We are in the midst of a fundamental philosophical shift when it comes to the meaning of luxury. For many, it is still about exclusivity, but with each new video campaign and airport store, we are moving further and further away from that. In this day and age, the luxury consumer—specifically the new, young, consumer—looks both to specific brands fabled for their “luxury,” but also for that brand to be more than a sum of its parts.
This “new luxury” is less about the physical and more about the experience involved.
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Do You Look Good
Enough for Paris? WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY KATERINA MCGRATH
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aris is widely considered the fashion capital of the world. People dream of coming to this beautiful city and making it big in the fashion world, hitting the streets with their own personal sense of style, and feeling a sense of total artistic freedom—ultimate self-expression that feels too good to be true. Unfortunately, many find quickly that Paris, in fact, has its own dress code, and Parisians make sure that anyone who steps outside of it knows that they are doing so. But what really is the Parisian fashion archetype? Clothilde Morin is a 21-year-old student at The American University of Paris (AUP) who was born and raised in the Paris area. As a seasoned Parisian, she describes the mentality of her fellow citizens, saying “99 percent of Parisians don’t care about fashion ‘with a capital F,’” that is, to say, the trends that characterize fashion. “Parisians don’t really follow trends at all; we focus more on the way that we are wearing something. It’s always very elegant.” For women, a normal outfit consists of “a pant, a pullover or jacket, and a scarf. It is always very simple.” Men often “have less choices. Usually it is a three or two-piece suit with a shirt underneath, or a jean with a shirtand a t-shirt for a more casual look. They dress almost always how they dress for work.” Not many cultures fit into these strict style regulations—especially for an American, who comes to Paris used to the anything-goes nature of the daily sartorial culture of their homeland. Therefore, the first few months are often accompanied by a sense of isolation. It is obviously difficult to feel like an outsider in a new home, as Parisians tend to make it obvious that newcomers are not a part of their city. This sartorial persecution can be truly painful the first time it is experienced. This style crisis is difficult for all, especially when one associates style with a sense of identity. Although the way in which these experiences influence each new arrival’s fashion sense is unique, everyone is emotionally affected by it. Direct comments and stares from passers-by are one of the common forms of judgement. 21-year-old American student Rachael Creger, from Charleston, South Carolina, opened up about how this rejection manifested itself during her first couple months in Paris. She remembers wearing, “a plaid miniskirt with platform sandals and a sweater,” while she was going out to
a movie with a friend. “Not only did I get a bevy of unsolicited, inappropriate comments from men, but many heavy stares from Parisian women for having my legs exposed.” These comments and stares go deeper than male perversion, as they extend to women’s obvious disapproval. As trivial as they might sound, snarky comments and stares have a huge impact on how people feel about themselves. “It made me feel really bad, really upset. I didn’t think it was fair for them to infringe on my state of mind like that,” explains Creger. Unfortunately, the reactions can get more extreme with the clothes. Victoria Suds, a 23-year-old from New York City, describes how difficult it can be to express an interest in niche fashion in Paris; that is, fashion that is a bit subversive. Reflecting on her alternative style, she says, “I normally don’t think of myself as a freak,” adding, “I have a lot of friends very deep in the fetish world or the techno/house world which I dabble in and enjoy, but here I really feel like a freak.” She has an array of techno and fetish attire, but simply “just wearing a [BDSM] collar will get me the weirdest reactions and comments.” She describes one of the worst reactions she had gotten from an outfit, when she was at a French house party. “Someone approached me, friendly at first, asking me about the collars I wear, whether I’ve ever had BDSM experiences, if that’s part of my life at all.” She was happy to respond, explaining that she was simply “looking for love, truly.” His response was one of disgust, saying that she “shouldn’t being wearing things ‘like that’ if I’m looking for love.” It was an “awful experience,” to say the least. For this reason, she thinks that Paris has left a bigger impression on her than “any other city.” As soon as she began to travel across Europe, specifically to Berlin and London, she began to “feel more comfortable in my differences.” For those who are less interested in the fashion world, experiences of alienation derive simply from their own observations and comparisons. Ellis Carter, a 20-year-old Texan who has spent two years in Paris, confessed that, “watching people with extremely chic clothing makes me feel a little out of place—like I shouldn’t be wearing the clothes that I wear.” In defense of her fellow Parisians, Morin explains that they don’t even realize that they care about dressing well or how others dress; “It’s really just the culture, the fact that you live in Paris, where Coco Chanel said, ‘Fashion is something in the air.’ That something in the air is luxury, creativity, and elegance.” In the face of this energy, should new habitants of Paris adapt to these fashion norms and let go of who
they are? Or should they risk negative reactions as soon as they step outside of their apartments? As fashion provides a vehicle for expressing identity, it is important to stick to one’s true self, keeping in mind that adapting to your surroundings (to an extent) is also healthy. Different people have different ways of dealing with social pressures. The lesson to be learned is one of the utmost impor- tance—no matter what you wear when you leave the house, it should be a reflection of who you are. Parisians go by their own code to reflect this, possibly paralleling the elegance stereotypical of their homeland. Morin says, “When we dress like shit, it doesn’t look like shit. It’s going to be the simplest outfit we have, but it will still look elegant,” Morin clarifies. If you are someone who feels more comfortable in your situations by adapting to them, consider delving into the chic and serious style of the Parisians. After three years in the city, Creger has spent a lot of time walking around Paris. Her solution to feeling comfortable was to adapt her style to her surroundings. She shared, “I definitely conformed to something more acceptable for Paris.” Specifically, Paris brought out “a level of androgyny in the way I dress,” she disclosed. “It’s a lot less sweet.” However, her adaptation has not filled Creger with a sense of having sacrificed her self-expression. She has embraced the development of her style, explaining that “it’s not something that I do with an internal protest.” She has found a way to wear balance Parisian fashion with “the pieces that make me feel like the fullest version of myself,” which she claims has made all the difference in her comfort in the city. For Creger, a sense of approval from Parisians, “can be really rewarding when you need a bit of a boost,” as long as she stills feels herself. For some, adaptation is a way to assimilate into a new culture, and can be a positive experience. However, appreciating style, and dressing well for yourself, doesn’t require such a heavy interest in, and analysis of, fashion. Feeling underdressed in Paris is common, but those who are not interested in delving into the fashion world experience this on a far greater scale. If there is one way to feel better
about dressing casually in Paris, it is to stop comparing oneself to the stellar fashionistas of Paris. Wearing something that you like should make you feel good, as opposed to dressing based on others’ expectations. Carter exemplifies this perfectly, sharing, “Button-down shirts with collars and nice patterns make me feel nice. Oh, and you can’t forget the crazy socks. That is who I am.” Although he experiences feeling underdressed through his observation of Parisian fashion, he realizes that his style is something that reflects himself well enough already, and therefore, he doesn’t feel the need to conform to the fashion norms in Paris. “I’m not very confident in the way I dress,” he explains, “but I enjoy the way that I dress.” Carter has expanded upon his interest and knowledge of the fashion world after living in Paris, but leaves the fashion to those who really care what others think. “I personally feel fine walking around in Paris,” he says. Carter is an example of someone who can enjoy fashion from afar, but does not feel the need to assimilate. Practicality and simplicity rule his wardrobe, aside from the occasional night out when he would like to look fancy. But even then, his interpretation of “fancy” is unique to him, and he dresses fancy to make himself feel good.This acceptance of self without considering what is fashionable leads to less pressure for some. Conversely, some people truly feel themselves the most when they stand out in a crowd. What can be learned from this is that not all negative attention has to be a negative experience—what is offensive to one person is genius to another. Often, there is a parallel between true self-expression and self-confidence; developing personal style leads to the ultimate confidence boost, as described by Suds. She shares, “the amount of shit I’ve gotten from wearing certain things in certain places has really increased my self-love. I’ve had to defend the things I wear, and through that I understand why I wear what I wear. My understanding of that has made me feel really confident.” Suds, unlike many people who receive negative reactions, finds a sense of liberation in feeling different. She believes
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that adapting to these fashion norms would sacrifice her sense of identity. “I guess living in Paris has made me more experimental and has made me want to go out in a really daring outfit because I know I won’t see very many people in it,” Suds explains. Furthermore, “when I do see people in a really creative outfit or exploring their fashion sense or their sexuality and presenting it to the world, I feel so comfortable.” Of course, the high-fashion world encourages conformity, establishing a standard for style that is ultimately defined by other people. These standards can increase discomfort in Paris, encouraging people to follow the current trends and never be behind the fashion curve. For Carter, Creger, and Suds, these “high-class” definitions of fashion fall short of what it truly means to express yourself through style. “Fashion to me is wanting to make yourself feel pretty. It’s also letting yourself be possessed by the concerns of what other people think looks pretty. It’s hard to differentiate that,” Carter explains. It is difficult to not succumb to the desire of a skinny body adorned with the trendiest clothes on the market, but when people choose to define fashion according to their own unique comfort and style, these often-unreachable standards of high-fashion slip into the margins. A sense of identity is lost when fashion becomes about showing off money or the newest trends. “For me, fashion is about having fun with the things that are going on inside of you,” Creger explains. Especially when she isn’t in the best state of mind, she stressed that she can “still wear something that I like and it gives me a sense of pride.” Suds stresses that for her, fashion is “an opportunity for me to celebrate my body, my sexuality, and my creativity.” Creativity is key in understanding our own personal styles, while conformity tends to constrict our true self-expression. Loving your body is facilitated by loving what you think looks good on your body. This self-love that blossoms from loving what one wears is a truly powerful experience for men and women alike. People change over time, no matter where they are in the world or where they come from. Paris tends to chew newcomers up and spit them out as very different people. No matter where you are from, you are “inevitably going to be influenced by the fashion in whatever country we are in,” confesses Morin, “You will be changed forever.” But she stresses that Paris is very different from any other city, because “You will not be able to keep wearing the clothes that you originally brought here.” Truly being shaped by Paris results in a subconscious style evolution, even for the people originally uninterested in changing their style. Often, realizations
of change do not become apparent until clothes build up in the back of the closet, never to be worn again. Louisa Crawford, an American who left Paris after four years at AUP, recalls how Paris got her into the fashion world. Crawford moved from Paris to New York after graduation last semester, but she says that “Paris ultimately caused me to dress differently.” Before she came to Paris, she “never really paid any attention to fashion,” and she remained uninterested until her third year at AUP. “I spent a lot of time with people who were in the fashion industry or who were interested in it,” which led her to open her eyes to fashion and eventually “get involved in it as well.” From those who assimilate, to those who embrace and choose to defend their own styles, we are all left with a different sense of self after Paris. This expressive, confident self that derives from development of personal style leaves Parisians shocked, yet ultimately in awe of those who dare to be different.
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Blurring the barriers between menswear and womenswear BY SARA MOSKOWITZ
ext time you’re in a major cosmopolitan city, look around at women and men are wearing. You might be surprised by what you see. Men and women have started blurring the line of gender-specific clothing in everyday looks. You may see women in tracksuits and sneakers with shapeless oversized graphic hoodies, while men may be wearing scarves and leather boots, perhaps even skirts. The rise of gender-bending is undeniable, and it’s happening throughout cities all over the world. No, this isn’t about gender identity or fluidity; it’s about breaking down the norms in fashion as a mean of expressing oneself. Men are finally being considered beautiful, and women can wear men’s pieces without being coined a “tomboy.” Androgyny is in, and rigid norms are out. From the 1970s to the 1990s, men in feminine clothing were essentially celebrities that were considered “different” such as Prince, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain or Mick Jagger. However, until very recently, a man in female apparel was regarded taboo. That is, it wasn’t entirely adopted by the general population as quickly as women in menswear were. Ten years ago, men would never consider wearing dresses or handbags on a regular basis—it took the popularization of mainstream celebrities sporting womenswear for it to become more ingrained and accepted in society. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that a wide range of male celebrities would adopt the trend of wearing feminine pieces and designers would, in turn, create clothing that would enable them to do so. Today, we see that Pharrell Williams’s street style can range from a traditional jeans and t-shirt look to a pink duster coat or Chanel tweed blazer paired with pearls. Jared Leto can show up at a Chanel show in pink Chanel suede boots and gold sequin leggings. Kanye West can perform a concert in a colorful Céline tunic or a knee-length skirt. Similarly, over the past decade, women have adopted male styles: Hillary Clinton and Victoria Beckham have redefined the power of the pantsuit as womenswear. Kim Kardashian West in her husband’s tour merchandise has shown a new era of women wearing their significant other’s clothes as their own. At the Grammy Awards in 2015, Rihanna went from wearing a princess pink ballgown to rocking a black tailored suit, proving that women can be beautiful in anything. Of course, before, there were predecessors, such as Diane Keaton, who sported a matching suit to that of her male counterpart, Woody Allen, in the film Annie Hall. Also, there was Madonna, who wore full tuxedo on the red carpet or Margaret Thatcher who redefined
the pantsuit as the first female prime minister of England. These public figures paved the way for designers to blur the lines of feminine and masculine fashion. Now, however, this increasingly liberal approach to gender expression has trickled from the rich and the famous to the general population. Fashion has always been a reflection of the politics of the current generation. Millennials put the notion of freedom on a pedestal; the current generation wants to showcase the ability to choose their clothes. Tommy Tomova, a 21-yearold student blogger and fashion influencer from Bulgaria, notices that today’s society has moved away from conventional gender-specific trends. She calls this non-traditional liberated way of dressing, “democratic.” To Tomova, fashion is a statement of politics— it’s not just about the power of the feminist movement, but it’s about the creation of a whole society that is accepting of breaking gender norms. She adds, “I think it’s time for people to stop saying ‘you should dress more like a woman,’ or, ‘isn’t that color too feminine for a man?’ Fashion should stop being defined by cultural and gender norms because it is a personal choice.” She goes on to describe her look: “Fusing masculine and feminine motifs, and playing with androgyny is something I do a lot. Some of my clothing choices do not subscribe to the conventional rules of how female or male should dress. It’s about being feminine and masculine at the same time.” Tomova’s comments are spot-on, as the New York Times wrote in 2015, “responding to a shift in mood, progressive © INDIE JANSONS
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merchants like Acne, Vince and Rag & Bone display men’s and women’s clothes in proximity, some occasionally mixing them on the racks.” These brands see the importance of blending the lines of gendered clothing. This shift in mood is the way politics shape the fashion industry. The labels that want to do well tailor their designs to reflect buyers. Tomova is a huge fan of the oversized cotton graphics trend, a very masculine, boxy silhouette, “We, modern women, are all about exaggerated proportions. Stealing hoodies from our boyfriend’s closet, and if we can go to the club in the same outfit we left the house at seven in the morning, even better, give me more of that.” Recently, in clubs like Parisian hotspot Le Hobo, women wear men’s sweatshirts with knee high-boots instead of dresses. Tomova adds, “For me, it’s incredibly liberating that fashion trends are becoming less and less gender specific because I have the freedom to choose what to wear. I don’t have to worry about someone stopping me on the street to ask me why I am wearing a man’s hoodie.” Ranvier Villamil, 17-year-old student from Chicago, explained that gender-bending, for him, started when he could not find styles suitable for his desired aesthetic, “I started genderbending when I noticed men’s clothing did not feel comfortable on me. I feel like It brings me joy to have endless styles to choose from in the women’s department.” Often, you can find Villamil in stilettos, tailored pants, and a full-face of make-up. His daily look changes yet, often, a vibrant color accompanies his street-style, along with a hand-bag, of course. In this Spring 2017 collection, Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele, dressed his men in flowing floral and women in structured suits. Floral has been one of the most surprising trends in menswear. Notably, Michele combined his menswear and womenswear shows, rather than separate them. He described his second menswear show as, “full of beauty.” With florals, bright colors, handbags, lace, and jewelry, Michele believes in redefining masculinity into something that was once considered to be strictly feminine.
Acne Studios, a brand originating from Stockholm, Sweden, whose acronym stands for “Ambitions to Create Novel Expressions,” is a brand that formed alongside the rise of androgynous fashion. A quick glance at their collection and it’s difficult to tell what is intended for men and what is intended for women. These blurred lines are only becoming more and more prominent within the fashion industry, as these brands are the future of fashion. Arafat Adekunle, a student at The American University of Paris is the creator of Infamous Vie, a “labelless” brand in Paris which has been gender-bending for a while. “Labelless” is a massive trend in gender-bending and refers to clothes lacking labels for men and women, therefore leaving the choice to the discretion of the buyer. When asked where he got his inspiration for a labelless fashion line, he responded, “It’s from way back when I was a kid, I would wear my sister’s skinny jeans because they weren’t doing it for men yet.” Adekunle has created this brand to represent the shift from specific to non-specific gender trends. He says he gender-bends because, “Some female pieces attract me more than men’s, because of the cuts or the texture.” Another “girly” mainstay that has made its way into men’s wardrobes is the all-pervasive handbag. Adekunle’s Instagram features him sporting a black, patent leather women’s Yves Saint Laurent tote. Men are starting to realize that handbags aren’t exclusively for women and he proves that men are no longer restricted to backpacks or briefcases. Even athletes like David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo have regularly been seen sporting Louis Vuitton handbags. Both Tomova and Adekunle have described the rise of menswear in women’s sections and vice-versa as a revolution in the fashion industry. Adekunle noted that department stores have noticed the same need for “gender-bending” in everyday streetwear, and have latched onto the trend. Ken Downing, creative director of Neiman Marcus, believes this trend to be of great value. He says, “What we’re seeing now is a seismic shift in fashion, a widening acceptance of a style with no
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boundaries; one that reflects the way young people dress.” Downing is right—millennials don’t want to be defined and confined to gender norms. On this point, Tomova says, “We don’t believe in norms and fashion codes, we create them. And the established rules? We are here to break them.” These new trends have redefined what it means to be beautiful, as men in feminine wear or women in masculine wear can be equally stunning. Contrary to what one may assume, Tomova claims she feels even more comfortable in more masculine clothing, saying, “during this past Paris Fashion Week—the only things I wore were vintage Adidas oversized jackets, Adidas x Gosha Rubchinskiy tracksuits, and oversized hoodies from Colette. It was so empowering to have the freedom of movement that this type of clothing gives you. I would not trade them for any fancy dress which shapes to your body.” Villamil similarly found great comfort in tighter women’s clothing, stating, “As a man, when I wear women’s clothing, there’s a feeling of comfort. It brings me joy since there are endless styles to choose from.” He also raised the irony in fashion in regards to real-life gender-bending, “It’s very mind-aching when you can buy identical clothing items such as sweatshirts yet the men’s
items are much more expensive then women’s. It makes no sense at all!” Today, we live in a society where everything’s game. It’s become fun to experiment with rule-breaking, especially in fashion. Millennials have created a society where people can be whoever they want, and for better or worse, they question authority and rewrite the rules to suit their lives. Even when politics seem to shift in a more conservative direction, millennials continue to vote liberal. They don’t want to be defined by the government, by their peers, or by the fashion industry. For major labels, they are the consumers who control the industry, which is why their political views can be seen so clearly in their style. In luxury designer stores, men are leafing through the women’s silk scarves to find an accent that will make them more beautiful. Zara’s men’s section is filled with women trying to curate the perfect masculine outfit for their night out. Millennials have overcome the preconceived notion that only women can be beautiful because men and women are now redefining beauty by taking what society once controlled and individually reconstructing that in terms of what they think is beautiful and reflective of them.
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Road to Recovery Healing from a dangerous disorder
BY XENIA DUTOIT ILLUSTRATIONS BY SOPHIA FOERSTER
tkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers… you probably have heard of all these trendy diets and the numerous “success stories” of people losing loads of weight. From Jennifer Anniston to Taylor Swift, almost all public figures have dieted at some point. Perhaps this is why, despite numerous accounts of dieting being next to useless—many simply gain the weight back—the market for the weight loss industry was $66 billion in 2016 alone. Losing and then gaining weight over and over again may ultimately contribute to a cycle of restricting, purging, bingeing or excessive exercise, symptoms that can characterize an eating disorder. This disturbing societal norm has its consequences. Behind the glamorous, skinny women and muscular men on the covers of fitness magazines, a 2007 national survey estimates that 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their lives. Every 62 minutes, at least one person dies as a direct result of an eating disorder; the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders. An eating disorder is a serious mental illness that has psychological consequences, are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape.
The most common forms of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa (a serious mental illness in which a person does not eat, or eats too little, often resulting in dangerous weight loss), bulimia nervosa (episodes of binge eating and purging), and binge eating disorder (recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food to the point of discomfort which may be followed by compensatory measure). Sabrina Palumbo and Elisa Oras, two women who suffered and recovered from heavy eating disorder during their teens, shed light on how one can develop an eating disorder, and share their paths to recovery. People’s reasons for starting to diet are complex and manifold, but can quickly turn into a nightmare. “I started a diet at 17 to have better athletic performances; I wanted to have a career in athletics. I went down the spiral and suffered two and a half
years of restrictive anorexia before going into bulimia,” says Palumbo, who fully recovered from an anorexia/binge eating disorder. For Elisa Oras, who recovered from a history of bulimia, orthorexia, and depression, issues with food started because she had acne, which she thought she could resolve by changing her diet. This push for healthier eating—and therefore, healthier skin—escalated slowly toward overeating, bingeing and purging. Often, an innocuous idea can lead to these barriers to wellbeing—simply, improper or obsessive dieting runs the risk of causing an eating disorder. The science of dieting is unfortunately quite conducive to this: 95 percent of normal dieters regain their lost weight, not necessarily due to a lack of willpower, but because our bodies were designed to fight weight loss. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 35 percent of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting, and 20 to 25 percent of those individuals develop partial or full eating disorders. When dieters terminate their diet efforts, regardless of “over” or “normal” eating, the bounce back from the low metabolism that results from a diet causes the weight that was lost to come back. Focusing on one’s perceived ideal of their body, instead of the body’s natural tendency for a healthy weight, then becomes compulsive and can lead to eating disorders. Developing an eating disorder is a very insidious process. According to Oras, “an eating disorder is about dieting, disordered eating,
[and]extreme obsession with food and your body. It involves physical restriction, but also the mental side of it. Do you have guilt? Anxiety? Do you feel like you don’t deserve to eat unless you compensate? Are you afraid of gaining weight? How often do you tell yourself that tomorrow, you need to restrict?” “This attitude is messed up”, she adds, “even if it is not in the form of purging or being crazy underweight.” Palumbo stressed that, despite the link to dieting, eating disorders can be the result of deeper, more complex issues, saying “I would describe my food disorder as anything but just a simple problematic relationship to food. Eating disorders don’t come by chance: they are complex and multifactorial diseases (biological, psychological, environmental). It is important to have a multidisciplinary approach if we want to have an impact on all the factors and have a real chance at recovery.” The negative impact of dieting on mental and physical health has been known since the release of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment conducted by Dr. Ancel Keys in November 1944 where 36 men were underfed for six months at 1570 calories a day, which is less than the number of calories regularly prescribed by diets for the average male. The men experienced loss of strength, feeling cold, constant fatigue, fewer bowel movements, and a drop in their heart rate. They lost interest in politics, world events, sex and romance, and became fixated on food. Food fixation is when you are so concerned with your next snack or meal that the idea of getting up renders you unable to move or even to think of anything but food. It mostly comes from pleasure centers in the brain. Like addictive drugs, sugar, fat, salt and highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine. As Palumbo reports, the usual way to heal someone with an eating disorder is to create more rules around food, such as force-feeding them with a specific number of calories and trying to fit them in a weight range that may or may not be natural to them. Palumbo’s testimony is instructive on this matter. She says, “the most striking example is that of my long compulsory treatment where the care consisted in locking myself in a room and force-feeding me by tube.
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I felt like a goose being stuffed. At no time was it explained to me that it was for the purpose of saving me, getting me out of the red zone, finding enough energy for my brain to work properly and so that I could be receptive to therapeutic work and so on.” Patients have to keep controlling their intake to make sure they don’t gain or lose past this random weight, often based on a low body mass index (BMI), which only perpetuates the eating disorder behaviors, as Oras reports. She shares, “I was talking to this woman who was in recovery; she was so anxious, she was scared of gaining more weight. People who recover on low calories, low BMI, always feel restricted, and mentally never come out of this and are back to their eating disorder,” says Oras. “The system is clearly not working.” As Palumbo mentioned, “It is obvious that the weight (BMI) is only one indicator among others in terms of healing and that focusing solely on it is a mistake. It is important to have a multidisciplinary approach to the disease if we want to act on the various factors and allow true healing.” As the scientific world starts to realize that diets don’t work, alternative approaches to recovery are developed, such as “intuitive eating,” which is about listening to one’s hunger, fullness and cravings. Then, the body can find the set weight that is healthiest, and is maintained easily, without any scale, counting or restricting. “Intuitive eating is an adaptive and flexible form of eating characterized by a strong connection with internal physiological hunger and satiety cues,” explains Tracy Tylka, a professor of
psychology at Ohio State University. No foods are forbidden, choose foods that taste good and make you feel good, and avoid emotional eating. However, it is impossible to eat intuitively right away after a period of restriction. There needs to be a recovery phase; it seems to be normal for someone who is getting out of a hypocaloric diet to eat more than usual for a while, before getting back to a normal way of eating. As Oras says, “Just as my body knows intuitively how much to breathe, I’m going to be gasping for air and hyperventilating if I spend two minutes under water. This is the same with caloric restriction. Once your body knows that food is and always will be abundant, it will begin to restore itself. The metabolism will speed up and you will recover your normal hunger cues.” One important thing about recovery is that you have to go fully into it and eat completely without restriction. “We see everywhere in the media that it is normal to restrict food, but it is actually unnatural. The danger an of eating disorder is that it starts super slowly,” warns Oras. People usually don’t want to recover because they don’t consider their problem extreme enough, and are enjoying some aspects of it. “Often, people
don’t wake up until it’s too late. They waste years and years of their lives feeling guilty and not good enough, thinking there is no other way to eat but to control their intake. Actually, our bodies have all the cues internally. When people are fully recovered, they can eat when hungry, stop when full, and never obsess about weight nor foods.” An important aspect to this intuitive recovery is a positive, realistic body image. Intuitive eating starts in the head: there is a link between mental programming, thoughts, feelings, actions and results. It is important to give up the diet mindset, and the wish to be a certain body shape. “It is not enough if you are eating as much as you want, but you are still beating yourself up about food,” says Oras. “Beauty comes from your happiness, you radiate it.” Exercise (feel your body), relax (concentrate on your soul instead of your body), and develop relationships. It will help you realize that others can accept you the way you are.
Are Parisâ€™s Lights Going Out? Reflections on the transformation of the Parisian spirit BY ISABEL GUIGUI PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACKIE WEGWERTH
f you know your epithets halfway, you will have learned that the Eternal City is Rome and the City That Never Sleeps is New York. But where does that leave the City of Light? Its origins date back over two millennia, but the golden age has long seen its end: rumor has it the light of Paris has been put out. You might have heard it from the would-be cultural savant, or the earthier backpacker now recommending the lesser-known “must-see” cities of Europe. But if you are up and about the city, you have most likely heard it from the Parisians themselves. Of course, if you have spent any time in the right company, you will also have noticed that the French love to complain. The topics of distress may concern the dismal commute on line 13 or the proliferation of foreign chains in the city, but another popularly cited subject of conversation is the simple, bitter statement: “Paris is az-been.” So, it is that the seat of the nation whose language was once the tongue of international diplomacy, the long-established epicenter of fictitious, journalistic and philosophical writing, the pied-à-terre of the world’s boldest artists, the birthplace of the classic fashion icons and the origin of many a timeless record is now widely referenced as a shadow of its past self.
Near Notre Dame
Perhaps trouble’s brewing
But in “Paname” everything gets worked out A few rays From the summer sky The accordion Of a sailor Hope is blossoming In the Parisian sky
No doubt Paname, (a moniker for the city born from the hot trend of Panama hats at the turn of the 20th century), remains one of the most important and influential cities in the world. From its continued hegemony in the realms of fashion and arts to its hosting of thousands upon thousands of concerts, music festivals, conferences and conventions annually, Paris continues to be a point of interest on the global stage. But today it is no longer the focal point. When we hear that Paris is dead, this woeful chant, this despairingly re-appropriated refrain of helplessness blues, the sad melody is less a critique of the current political or social state than it is a mourning cry for the past. Nostalgia grips the citizens of la Ville Lumière, who see in today’s tourist spots a ghoulish mockery of what once was; a poor replica of falsified feelings as opposed to the authentic, gritty, seedy, beautiful madness. Edith Piaf, the legendary sparrow, sang “Paroles Sous le
Ciel de Paris” with candor of the chaos but with great pride in her home, too, capturing the spirit of time’s past. Etymology can provide a fascinating insight into peoples and their places. In French, the word bordel, which literally means whorehouse, can be used to express chaos. The city about which Piaf croons so lovingly, as she describes how the Seine’s reassuring whispers lull the homeless and the beggars to sleep, was so fabled and fabulous precisely because of its chaos. Her juxtaposition of the evocative image of tramps sleeping by the river with the depiction of the soldier playing accordion summarizes exactly the inherent appeal of Paris to many romantic souls: the scores of drunks and prostitutes do not diminish the beauty of the metropolis—they belong to it. Many expatriates, too, recognized the seductive nature of this poignant, edgy city. Henry Miller, an American writer residing in Paris, drew heavily from his personal experiences in the city for the infamous novel Tropic of Cancer. In fact, upon its publication in 1934, the book was banned in the United States for some thirty years due to its explicitly graphic sexual content. However, the introspective story of a foreigner in Paris ultimately surpasses its decadent façade by painting from the crudest images the portrait of a city in perpetual motion and upheaval, constantly colliding and creating and destroying. While a lot of the sentimental scenes in which the narrator expresses his love for Paris spotlight the fierce personas of the prostitutes he frequented—their personalities representative of a city often characterized as a fickle woman—the essence of Miller’s narrative of the city moves beyond his character’s private feuds and follies to the larger view of a man of no state in a city of no bounds.
Beneath the Parisian sky A joyous river flows That lulls the tramps And beggars to sleep Beneath the Parisian sky God’s birds Come from around the world To chat among themselves
The unshackled Paris of yesteryear is praised in many forms of art. From Piaf’s odes to Miller’s raunchy storytelling, the city stood for life in free form, undefined by limits imposed by law or society. In films like the 2017 release Nos Années Folles, we are made to understand that desire, as opposed to decency, drove the actions of citizens of the metropolis. Other depictions of the belle époque similarly frame this period of prosperity as the pinnacle of life according to the paramount French principle of joie de vivre. In the wistful retrospective Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s endearing ode to the era, the city’s great players drink, smoke, write, argue, inspire and pile into cars to whirl through the streets in search of beauty and meaning. It is only human to romanticize the past, but even beyond those larger than life characters, we are still left with an impression
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A bar on the Quai d’Orsay.
of a Paris of souls wandering freely, engaging in illicit affairs, and slinking through the night to catch live music at all hours. Today, the city is far more restricted. Those who try to earn a living busking in the metro are required to have a license to do so. The free souls making music for their pleasure down on the quais by Notre-Dame find that even away from the surrounding residential areas, the police are called to control them. Those planning to have some friends over in the comfort of their own apartments are expected by social convention to leave a note in the building lobby or elevator addressed to their neighbors informing them of the planned festivities. Even established music venues are coming under fire; legislation passed in August 2017 demands that music halls lower their volume ceilings by 3 units, from 105 to 102 decibels. Given the relatively early closing hours of the public transport system and the majority of bars—many a night out essentially is required to end by 2 a.m.—it becomes clearer to see why Paris is far behind other European cities in the sector of nightlife. Ludovic Michelon, a 37-year-old born-and-raised Parisian, explains why, these days, certain citizens claim Paris is dead. Michelon, from Levallois, a town on the outskirts of the city, taught violin in a conservatory and then worked in marketing for L’Oréal before he took the leap two years ago and opened a brasserie in the 15th arrondissement. His restaurant, Le Petit Gorille, has had great success and has been praised by many in the neighborhood as the place the district needed, as the 15th
is known to be a tamer, more familial part of Paris. With good music at times carrying the ambiance on the terrace and within to heightened temperatures, this success has also made it the target of certain scrutiny, such as from the crêperie across the street who disfavor the competition and one or two high-strung neighbors who live upstairs. Michelon argues, “Paris is dead because these days everything is regulated. Before, people smoked indoors, bars and music venues were open all night, people could drive drunk!” (He concedes that certain regulations are definitely for the best). “Now, we have to get a permit if we have a private event that we know will make a lot of noise. Only the restaurants that have a specific license can stay open beyond two in the morning— the police have threatened to drive by and check that we have closed at that time—and another special license is required for bars and restaurants to sell alcohol ‘to go.’ Today we are obliged to come up with something like la nuit blanche and celebrate the occurrence of bars and museums staying open late once a year. Before, it was like that every night! Today you have as many barbershops and beauty salons as in yesteryear you had jazz clubs.” Michelon mused that the change is a result of an exodus of the creative class, saying, “Paris used to be populated by artists and laborers. The gentrification that has remodeled the city over the past decades has driven up prices and driven out the lower classes. Paris is still a thriving city, but it is dead by comparison
The Seine River.
with its old self, when every day was a party and every night people were out and about.” Maguy Merran, who has lived in the city without interruption since the age of ten—for the past half-century—is not convinced of the Paris est morte mantra, and chooses to view the matter another way. During her childhood, she lived in the north, toward Barbès, later in the 2nd arrondissement and, for the past twentythree years, in the 11th, having worked as an administrator in a communications agency and now managing a guest room. Seeing the city grow and morph over the past five decades has made Merran a keen observer of the evolution of the metropolis. She contends that the city “is becoming more and more rich. It is losing its character as a capital of activities.” Identifying integrally the move of many businesses and even seats of corporations to the outskirts, the larger cosmopolitan zone beyond the borders of the périphérique, as well as the continual departure of artisans from the inner city, Merran laments, “Paris has lost its artisanal character and is turned increasingly toward the trade and tourism sectors. And as the cost of living rises, necessarily it filters the people who live here.” After a few moments, she confides, “Today there is no way I would have the means for the apartment I live in now, which I bought twenty years ago.” Merran remains unpersuaded that her city is “dead.” Rather, she argues, the city considered within its traditional limits is no longer what it once was. She explains, “Today, when we speak
God knows, when spring comes
to Paris the humblest mortal alive
must feel that he dwells in paradise.... [It is] the intimacy with which his eye rests upon the scene. It [is] his
Paris. A man does not need to be rich, nor even a citizen, to feel this way about Paris.... It is that which distinguishes the Parisian from all other metropolitan souls. Henry Miller
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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, “At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance”
of the city, we must consider le Grand Paris.” The project to enlarge the scope of the city comprises the inclusion of major suburbs (such as Créteil and Boulogne-Billancourt) in the city limits, the extension of existing metro lines and the addition of new routes, and sweeping increases to access of resources and opportunities for all citizens in the Parisian metropole. “Look, Paris in and of itself is small for a capital. Of course, people will move out to the banlieue; they have no choice. Behind them, they leave a city that is becoming artificial, geared toward the rich and the tourist industry. Not only businesses but also universities are being moved out, which yields a city that is becoming more and more homogenous, with fewer and fewer working-class neighborhoods.” Perhaps the brutality of the claim that “Paris is dead” is simply a hyperbolic reaction. As citizens recognize the changing contours of their city, the exaggerated nature of this assertion acts as a coping mechanism, permitting them to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of old Paris, to wallow in nostalgia and find comfort in sharing futile wishes of what will never again be. The days where jazz made the town jump and diverse characters populated the inner-city neighborhoods are gone. We must realize the new face of Paris, as the wild mutations subside and the development of the metropole instead marches forward. The city we know and love today remains powerful nevertheless. An iconic name, a setting so familiar from countless paintings, novels and films, still the home of some of the world’s greatest institutions, and again the point of
departure for myriad collaborations in arts, fashion, gastronomy and music, Paris proves its staying power. Although the city retains much of its influence from the centuries before, today we are obliged to accept that the changes that are in motion will fundamentally transform how we perceive Paris. The character of the rambunctious, diverse Ville Lumière may have passed, but if we wish to maintain the grandeur of the city we must turn our attention to new projects, the efforts to create le Grand Paris, and let bygones be bygones.
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Artivism Creativity in the midst of conflict BY ALICE PREAT
veryone deals with pain and adversity in their own ways, but for many art is an essential outlet. In Western cities like Paris, art is available to us at all times, in all forms: almost anyone can be a spectator—or take part in—comedy shows, visual arts exhibitions, open mic nights, jams, poetry nights, or performance art shows. If you’re looking, you will be able to find it. In the Western world today, artists and creators have close to absolute freedom in the act of making their art, and sharing it. There are endless reasons and motivations for creating and joining artistic communities or movements; from alleviating pain, to making an argument, provoking thought or creating connections between people. Historically, art has been a great means to share the human experience, and has now become a pillar of many societies in the developed world. Though there are still taboos and social conflicts in developed countries, the situation is different in countries that are going through crises or conflicts, whether social or political. In these places, where there is less freedom and stability, but also much more repression and censorship, art and its subcultures take on different meanings, and face more challenging fights. In South Sudan, a small group of creatives based in Juba, including Meen Mabior, a young political activist, have taken it upon themselves to create Ana Taban, which they describe as “a campaign and a movement to support the tired people of South Sudan.” The country, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been suffering through civil war since 2013, and because the South Sudanese people have been victims of ethnic violence, many people have been internally displaced. Additionally, with the collapse of the economy and the country officially declaring famine, the country received the highest score on the Fragile States Index in 2017. Though a number of peace agreements have been signed since the start of the war, they are constantly being violated, with violent outbursts still very much present. According to Mabior, the country is
extremely polarized, and the people have been stripped of their agency and rights. In Juba Arabic, the phrase “Ana Taban” means “I am tired.” The group of South Sudanese activists and artists expresses their fundamental values upon which the movement was founded as solidarity, courage, integrity, citizenship, non-violence and political neutrality. Ana Taban was created in 2016 in response to the war plaguing the country. Through street theater, graffiti, sculpture, music and poetry, and traditional dance, the campaign aims to provoke public discussions of current events and how they affect the ordinary South Sudanese citizen. In an interview with the Guardian, Ana Taban said, “we are tired of war and all the suffering that comes with it. We are tired of just sitting by and seeing our country burn. We are tired of having a country with vast natural resources yet a crashing economy. We are tired of the fact that we have a beautiful cultural diversity that is destroyed by tribal animosity.” With their movement, AnaTaban wants to create a platform for the regular South Sudanese citizens to voice their thoughts and feelings, create a community, and raise awareness on the issues affecting them all deeply. The first project that Ana Taban took on was one of reconciliation. The group attempted to restore community after the signing of the peace agreement in 2015 by going around Juba and recruiting people to join the initiative. They trained people to be leaders in the community, in order to work with a polarized, hopeless population. The collective primarily used art to impart a sense of togetherness. The group said, “We went around Juba and started doing public events. We would go to the neighborhoods, and we would do poetry or spoken word, we would do music, or theater, and comedy, and then we would have an interactive session and ask the audience what they actually want, and how they want the country to reconcile.” As part of this reconciliation project, the group distributed white handkerchiefs around the city on the day of the peace agreement signing with the message, “we are sorry for what we have done to each other,” in an effort to
Alireza Shojaian, “The Perfect Moment”
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“emphasize that idea that actually we are also the perpetrators of this war, and let’s say what we have done to each other,” as Mabior explains. Unfortunately, he shares that no real change occurred after the peace agreement, with violent outbursts still happening around the country. This prompted the collective to start a campaign called BloodShedFree2017 to promote peace and stop hostilities. Through their multiple campaigns, and many free events (sometimes attended by as many as 5,000 people), Ana Taban is fighting to make the country a better place, where all can live in peace and harmony. When asked about his personal motivations, Mabior says, “Generations of people have been born in war, and
the important thing is restoring hope in people who have been in war for generations and who have lost hope. We want to show them that we can have a brighter future.” Mabior emphasizes that art is a great way to bring about change in the way people feel and think about the current situation, as “it is a universal language, and you don’t need to say much to convey what you want to say—it has that power, and captures that emotion.” In giving people a space to speak up, in a country where there is essentially no freedom of expression, Ana Taban is starting a conversation, showing people that they are the ones who should be talking. In a place like Juba, art takes on a very different meaning than in Paris. There, it is used as a means to engage people in very serious and sometimes challenging conversations, and gives power to the people so that they can finally reach peace. Beyond conflict zones themselves, in many places it is still very difficult and sometimes dangerous to express ideas that have not yet been accepted by society. Though not currently in the midst of conflict, Lebanon, which borders Syria and Israel, has seen its fair share of conflicts and crises since the end of the French occupation in 1943. Between the 1975-1990 Civil War and Syrian and Israeli occupations, jihadist terrorist attacks until as recently as 2011, and its close proximity to the Syrian Civil War, the country has experienced decades of conflict. While Lebanon is one of the more free Middle-Eastern countries when it comes to basic human rights such as freedom of speech and expression, repression is still very much present, especially for artists with somewhat controversial work. The
The important thing is restoring hope in people who have been in war for generations and who have lost hope. We want to show them that we can have a brighter future. have grown up in war. Now that we have our country, we need a vision for how we really want to manage that country. If we have a vision of a country in peace and how we want to manage it, why don’t we do it? Personally I feel like I have a responsibility to do my part in fixing this country.” By using art in their movement, AnaTaban is helping many cope with the current situation in South Sudan. “At the moment
The Poetry Pot, Beirut
Virtual Museum of Censorship, an online database created by MARCH, an NGO based in Lebanon, contains lists of works of art that have been censored since the 1940s: films, books, music, visual arts, TV, press, events and theater— all for political or religious reasons. Ranging from sexually explicit content to heavy metal, Israel, and more recently “LGBTQ art and events,” censorship and repression still reign strong in Lebanon. Underground movements and collectives promoting and facilitating artistic ways of expression have started growing faster for nearly a decade, according to two art collective founders based in Beirut, Lebanon. Dayna Ash founded a collective called “Haven for Artists,” an NGO in Beirut, six years ago. She describes the group’s role as facilitating and showcasing artists both in the Middle East and internationally, “by creating non-confrontational spaces that are accepting and open.” The collective hosts and organizes large events and exhibitions—from 5 to 12 each year—to try and create cultural networks and bridges between the Middle East, Europe and the Western
world in general. Ash says, “Sooner or later, we’ll be able to expose people to different cultures by integrating them to different cultures instead of giving them textbooks.” With their initiative, Haven attempts to advance the Middle East and Lebanon in the art world so that artists and people can have the same amounts of freedom to express themselves. Through their space, community and projects like the “International Exchange Program,” Haven encourages artists to work together to share ideas, thoughts and living spaces in order to create an entirely free and collaborative space. So far, the collective has 27 international artists, and from 280 to 500 artists from all over the Middle East. Haven’s latest event, Radical, was a ten-day event hosting drag queens and visual and performance artists from Iran, Pakistan, London and Bangladesh. The event, held at the French Institute in Beirut, was, as Ash explains: “about bringing freedom of speech in all its forms, and a radical form of it.” In “Radical,” which she curated, they made sure there would be absolutely no censorship. She shares, “Every single meeting we
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had, I would say ‘go further, do what you have to do in order to express yourself!’ because no matter how much artists believe they are free, there’s always censorship, or a structure that condemns them for whatever it is that’s not accepted by society.” According to her, it’s about finding loopholes and making sure to be smart about how they present their events, such as making sure that unless one actually attended the event, they would not know that Haven is breaking so many laws. When organizing Radical, the first event advocating for freedom of sexuality in Lebanon—which, according to Ash, is the greatest taboo
Having been on the spoken word scene for over five years, and following the desire to grow the performance arts community in Lebanon, Majd created the platform as a daughter project to previously existing collectives. He explains, “We do not have a higher purpose, a political struggle, an absolute belief, but we believe and support those who do.” He has accomplished this goal, as artists from Palestine, Jordan, Syria and other neighboring countries now a part of the community. He says, “Currently, two of those countries are at war, which makes expression not only impossible, but even physical presence dangerous. As artists, the constant need for a platform to create, experience, and share is necessary wherever we go—and The Poetry Pot serves exactly that.” Though he emphasizes that there is always room to grow, he seems confident movements like Haven for Artists are reaching more and more people, while giving a free space for creation and expression to whomever wants it, including those who cannot exercise their freedom to express themselves at home. Majd shares, “we once had a Syrian poet perform a cynical poem about his relationship with his current Lebanese neighbor, which then evolved into a dark humored critique of the relationships between the Lebanese and the Syrians. We had another half-Syrian, half-Palestinian artist perform an apology for her hometown in Palestine because she felt the urge to fight for Syria. In those two examples, the crowd was able to connect deeply to the art, as it hits home for anyone who identifies as an Arab.” Majd says the results are heartwarming: “People say things like ‘I never thought I would share what I did’, or ‘I never thought there would be a genuine group of people waiting for me to share what I have to say and making me feel safe enough.’ The feedback is concentrated around that feeling of community and mutual love.” According to Maysan Nasser, an AUP graduate and spoken word poet from Syria currently living in Lebanon, The Poetry Pot and Haven are the two most prominent artistic and expression platforms in Beirut. She says, “These platforms of expression play important roles in giving the people a cathartic space to speak and share. They offer many people a sense of belonging in an increasingly alienating world.” Though these platforms and movements can seem quite similar to those we have in cities like Paris, rich with international exhibitions, alternative performance shows, or spoken word in dimly-lit bars—where the possibility of artistic expression and sharing can sometimes have virtually no effect—these artistic movements can serve a different purpose in diffcult contexts. Clear results might be difficult to quantify, but it seems certain that hosting a drag show defying Lebanese laws, opening stages to artists who face danger in expressing themselves in their home countries, or organizing events in attempts to give back hope and agency to a people afflicted by famine and war serves a very meaningful purpose, and possibly carries a different meaning.
These platforms of expression are very important and play important roles in giving people a cathartic space to speak and share.
of all—at the French Institute, they were protected by the French embassy, as it is technically French soil. “It’s just about how you can play the law rather than letting the law break you down.” Haven isn’t the only Lebanese-based artistic endeavor subverting the taboos surrounding queer art. Painter Alireza Shojaian creates emotional, realistic works featuring the male form and homosexual themes that represent immense strides in giving a voice to the oppressed. After spending a few years at university in Teheran, the Iranian-born artist relocated to Beirut to make his art and share its message freely. Of his decision, he says, “For me, it’s about freedom. It’s about finally being able to share what I made not knowing if I would ever be able to show.” In Lebanon, despite there still being some repression, Shojaian has found his place as an artist to not only express himself, but to support his fellow citizens. He says, “I receive messages from people back in Iran who tell me: ‘you talk, we are voiceless here.’ I also receive comments from young people in Lebanon who tell me: ‘we are happy that you are doing your art, we are happy to have you in Lebanon and to have you here in Beirut’, and that’s the best thing I can receive.” Shojaian considers that he has a responsibility as an artist, to make change by starting conversations about the way we think and behave about certain social issues, but also to preserve the countless stories of repression, oppression, and injustice for the future. “I’m talking about human suffering, and it’s not just a personal story, it’s about all people like me, and it doesn’t matter if you are in Beirut or in Teheran, everywhere is the same story. It’s not about freedom or government, it’s about how people think about it, and what society does to it.” Majd Shidiac, founder of spoken word poetry collective The Poetry Pot, had this idea in mind when creating his platform: “In Lebanon, we’re kind of in the middle of everything, and a victim to proxy wars as well, which is affecting our own politics and social struggles, and that has really pushed us to write about all of these things.” Founded in 2016, the Poetry Pot serves as a platform and community open to all who want to share and express themselves.
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The 57Poetry Pot, Beirut
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Past Present How people find comfort in bygone eras BY HENRY NAM HARDWICK
heltered under a neon glow that cuts through the night sits a jazz club just outside Notre-Dame. Through a nondescript bar and down a flight of stairs is a dimly lit labyrinth made of stone adorned with Medieval markings. In this hidden place, couples swing in time surrounded by a sea of onlookers tapping in tune to the weeping melody of a blasting horn leading a full orchestra. While sight and sound tell of ages past, reality hits, and it’s just another Saturday night at Le Caveau de la Huchette, where they’ve been doing the exact same thing for the last 70 years. As one of the City of Light’s many portals to yesteryear, it’s not a tale of a forlorn past, but a living present. With patrons rocking Perfectos at the dance hall and tour guides roaming the city in gypsy-chic, Paris’s newest masquerade is in plain sight with these old souls living in the modern age. If anything, being with the old breed is as simple as following in their footsteps. At Caveau de la Huchette, the self-proclaimed “Temple du Swing”
the ‘40s never really ended. Hosting a jazz orchestra every night since 1946, it’s no surprise that the hangout was used as a backdrop for the award-winning film La La Land. While pinstripes are all you’ll see in the dazzling glow of the red stage lights, the reality is that here, modern-day jazz hounds and flappers rub shoulders with those wearing t-shirts and jeans. With nobody really able to tell who’s who under the anonymous veil of that glimmering light, it’s no surprise when the man singing scat on stage moments ago starts swinging with a beautiful woman to the rhythm of Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel. Unlike its walls, nothing’s set in stone at Le Caveau, such liveliness is what keeps bringing a certain Newark jazz vocalist back to Paris every chance he gets. Dwight West’s the kind of fellow to heartily greet every guest at the door—a time-honored manner that carries over to his pursuit for “the good side of the universal message known as jazz.” As they are always sure to kickstart their European tours in Paris, his band, the Spirit of Life Ensemble, never misses a
This is where the soul ❝ of man never dies. stop at their beloved Huchette, where he says, “the nostalgic atmosphere allows me to sing my heart out.” West explains that Europe’s known within his circles as where “jazz artists relocate for the acceptance of their talents.” As the glory days of the Jazz Age are long gone, he confided that audiences don’t often call for encores in the States, but Parisians are sure to have him “jump off the band stand dancing with the audience between the band solos.” For West and his disciples, the “Temple,” as they call Le Caveau, is where they can find solace in a tradition of ages past. By channeling the soul of music where it still holds as “the only true American art form,” jazz lovers from all over come down that ancient staircase for living sound. Pointing out that the universality of music expands to both the “good and bad,” Dwight wages a crusade for the soul of live music in the age of streaming Spotify’s Global Top 50 to any of your devices at any given moment. The tradition in the air is exactly what sets Le Caveau de la Huchette apart from anywhere else in the world. While modern man has discovered the abandoned train station jazz club, these four walls are just like grandpa’s Old Spice—the essence of a real man; a civilized man. While the door may be the only thing separating a time capsule from a street full of kebab shops, this divisiveness breeds inclusiveness. Each night, a different band will walk
Balajo open mic
through the doors, and each night, somebody new is bound to drop in too. Strategically placed in the center of Paris at one of its busiest tourist hubs, Le Caveau offers itself as a sanctuary for all who pass under its shining light and through its hallowed halls. From regulars and students to tourists and guests, it’s a nightly tradition, come one and all. The Caveau is not alone. The dive bars and dance clubs of Bastille that are still alive and well make way for Balajo, a dance hall that has been a mainstay in the city since 1936. Hosting a variety of weekly dance events, every Wednesday night is a chance to jump and jive at “Fifties Sound,” a self-described “Soirée Rock’N Roll.” For the regulars, this isn’t just the sounds of Dixie, but the foundation of a lifestyle in motion. A man in patchwork jeans and enough pomade in his hair to be the envy of every Elvis on Fremont Street quoted Sun Records founder Sam Phillips on the reason he comes by every week, “This is where the soul of man never dies.” That’s the rockabillies for ya—they move as fast and reckless as Jerry Lee Lewis’s voice ringing over the speakers with “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain.” While flamboyant pastels drape the haven under a scarlet glow that shimmers on the cityscape decor like a mod’s wet dream, it’s hard to tell if you’re in the city of Paris or the “Born to Hand Jive” scene from the musical Grease. Just before a break in the live band, the twang of Memphis rock turned into New Orleans blues. With the songs constantly switching between English and French, whatever couldn’t be sung along with was made up for in swinging hips and bopping heads. That’s what makes the scene so keen. It’s men slicking their hair back, and women pinning theirs. Men in bowling shirts and cowboy hats stand side by side with women in sundresses and circle skirts. A dolly twirling around the room shared on the event, “I live for Wednesdays. They make me feel alive.” That’s why everybody from accountants to waitresses make the scene every hump day. While an Italian knit makes somebody look like an oddball out on the street, it’s stranger not to have one on this dance floor. In a city trying to keep up with the modern world, it’s truly something to see people let loose of their image and inhibitions—whether it be in costume or plainclothes. Far from an American invasion, this phenomenon is natural for Paris, a historical metropolis where the medieval and modern stand side-by-side. Proudly flaunting its glory days, it’s no surprise that the Belle Époque tradition hasn’t been put out in the City of Light.
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The local lawyer and tour guide, Edith de Belleville, doesn’t just appreciate this history, but believes that she “belongs in the past.” Self-describing her style as “somewhere between ‘20s and ‘50s,” her persona is inspired by singer Edith Piaf, but her mentality’s inspired by the muse Kiki de Belleville and poet Gérard de Nerval. De Belleville believes it’s all a matter of the soul. Claiming that “sometimes you have a reminiscence of the past, and a feeling that it is familiar,” it’s not simply a matter of déjà vu, but metempsychosis, a Greek philosophy based on reincarnation that was itself resurrected during the Romantic period. De Belleville’s life revolves around two fundamental concepts: La Parisienne and Aesthetique. Rather than try to live in the past, she tries to live the past itself. She claims she has no use for technology like iPhones, instead preferring a simpler life of journals and cocktail napkins. While she is the first to admit that her analogue lifestyle is the most likely culprit as to why she “might not have as many clients” as she’d like, what she can’t find in the secular world is made up for in how she fits right in with her fellow historians and writers at “The Literary Café,” as she calls her usual hangout, the Café de Flore. In all honesty, the popularity of the Flore wasn’t because the café had stood the test of time as an ideal workspace, but because it offered itself a channel to the past. Inspired by the Roaring Twenties, de Belleville found it to be the perfect setting in her journey of bridging the gap of time to “the place where modern art was created.” Citing one such pinnacle of nostalgia as being the Picasso Primitif exhibit at Musée du Quai Branly, Edith’s own guided tours revolving around the femme fatale also provide an undeniable truth—the present provides an unparalleled platform to the past.
As Peter Allen once sang, “Everything Old is New Again.” For the Parisians of yesteryear, time periods aren’t dividing lines, but rather the bookmarks of one continuous story. Living off the idea of “improvise, adapt, overcome,” the past can be lived from the greatest of spectacles to the lowliest of accessories, and from an hour or two during the work week to a lifetime devotion. From music clubs to historic cafés, the past is open to one and all, and rather than being stuck in real-time, one can cherry-pick what they want out of the basket of life.
Left & Right: The Spirit of Life Ensemble at Caveau de la Huchette
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Les Frigos A place for artists to chill BY OLIVER EDWARD ROSS HENRY PHOTOGRAPHY BY NICOLAS NEMTALA
aris has long been famed as a city of the arts. In the renovated train station known today as the Musée d’Orsay, there are Monets, Van Goghs, Gauguins and countless works by other great artists. Not only are there paintings, but Paris has music, architecture, theater, and everything else involving creative invention. Embodying the modern creative ideology is the artistic compound Les Frigos. Les Frigos, located at 19, rue des Frigos, is an artistic office space and housing located in Paris’s 13th arrondissement between the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Périphérique, where artists of all genres work and live. Though the walls are currently carpeted with street art and graffiti, in the years following World War I, this building once served as a massive railway refrigerator depot, refrigerating foods that would later be distributed all over France. The building began to lose its purpose in the 1960s due to the rise in the international trade market and began to deteriorate. Despite the building’s rundown demeanor and lack of infrastructure, SNCF, the building’s owner, allowed artists to occupy the rooms of the abandoned building. Painters, writers, musicians and creators of all sorts flooded the rooms of Les Frigos. As the years continued, a more diverse array of creative professionals occupying the building. Sculptors, actors and even Le Cim, a jazz academy, made their way into the space, and through the years, the broken down fridge began to turn into a professional creative complex. In 2003, the French government bought Les Frigos from SNCF, allowing the artists to pay rent directly to them instead of a landlord. The early years of this creative complex called for major renovations; new window installations, reinforced concrete, new electrical wiring and new plumbing. The artists and artisans embraced the restoration
and covered every accessible surface with art in the process. Marianne Chanel, a painter who has had her office in Les Frigos since the 1980s, remembers these times with great joy. She recalls an aroma of freedom, away from institution as the inhabitants of Les Frigos broke down walls and windows themselves in effort to improve their new community. Though the beautiful, creative ideology of Les Frigos has not changed, many other aspects of the studio have. Originally, the buildings in the area were far more industrial than the rest of the cliché Hausmannian architecture due to its proximity to the outskirts. In fact, this location was so close to the edge of Paris that, in the 1980s, there was no metro to conveniently take one to the area. As a result, artists who wanted to be close to Les Frigos filled the 13th arrondissement. Today, public transportation and modern buildings flood the streets. Several universities, such as Université Paris Diderot, emerged in the surrounding areas, crowding the one-way streets. In what has become a very modern quarter of Paris, Les Frigos still stands out beautifully, its rugged demeanor confidently displayed for all to see. In the 1980s, most of the inhabitants of Les Frigos were in their late 20s and early 30s and many of them have stayed to this day. Alongside these older artists, Les Frigos continues to take in new, young talents creating a diverse range of ages than ever before. Pascal Margat, an artist famous for his satirical paintings of world leaders with animal bodies, has called Les Frigos home since the 1980s. Brushing aside the change in sprit in the neighborhood, Margat says that the biggest change is that the parties were a lot better in the 80s. As a complex, Les Frigos is a slice of freedom away from the rest of the world, where the creators can take inspiration from all the various artists in the building. The diversity of those that share the space allows painters to collaborate with photographers,
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dancers to collaborate with musicians, or sculptors to collaborate with glassblowers. This close coordination is also convenient when trying to promote a show, gallery or concert, as each individual artist can advertise for their peers’ work. Marianne Chanel is one of these collaborators; many of her paintings are collaborations with the photographers surrounding her in which she distorts the image with her art and adds abstraction. One of her standout collaborative works is a photograph of a rhinoceros that she edits with pastels—a work that was made possible by Les Frigos comradely energy. Music is always heard in the halls of the space. It is often coming from an artist’s office as they muse over their work, or the jazz school Le Cim. Some of the music can’t be heard because it is muffled by the soundproof walls of recording studios. It is in these specialized studios where the UMJ musical collective can be found. UMJ, which stands for the Union des Musiciens de Jazz, records in Les Frigos’s studios, where they also play studio sessions for their neighbors and the public. Also, if you listen carefully, music can be heard from a small basement deep in Les Frigos. Like so many others, this ancient Parisian basement has been converted into a small concert venue. Les Voûtes, as it is called, allows anyone to perform who is experimenting with performance and creativity. This is frequently music, theater, and films, but can range to seminars and exhibitions of new technologies. Though the offices are normally exclusive to its tenants and workers, there are a few possible ways to visit. Each Spring, usually in May, Les Frigos holds Les Portes Ouvertes. During this open house, musical events and art exhibits take place all over the building for a whole weekend. If you desire a more private setting, there are also private tours. During these tours, a resident of Les Frigos shows you around the complex, where you can meet countless artists and view numerous works of all different mediums. This colorful night is concluded with a plethora of wine and a beautiful meal cooked at La Table d’Hôtes,
a restaurant on the third floor of the building. This tour and dinner costs 65€ a head, but is definitely worth it. If you’re wondering about a tour of Les Frigos, or just curious about some of the artists, the website www. les-frigos.com has a list of artists and collectives who don’t mind their public information disclosed. While Les Frigos constantly displays free art all over its walls, organized art and gallery shows are held just down the street at L’Aiguillage Galerie. This gallery frequently holds exhibitions that have come directly from the artists Les Frigos. Past events include exhibitions on iconic cow paintings, “Like a Woman” themed street art, and a combination photography/painting exposition on bridges. When it isn’t active, the gallery doubles as an athletics studio offering tango dancing and yoga classes. Some aspects of Les Frigos might seem a little rundown; to many untrained eyes, it simply looks like a squat, but in it, there is true, unique beauty. Each day, walls become canvases as painters project their emotions into the building. New music is being made, recorded, and played live. Chefs are coming up with new concoctions and having their neighbors test them out. The workers of the Les Frigos live and work their whole life, practicing, perfecting and sharing what they love most, their art. What could be more beautiful than that?
Beauty Across the Globe How different cultures wear makeup BY ANABEL BACHOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACKIE WEGWERTH
osmetics mean different things to everyone. Some might think of it merely as a way to conceal unwanted flaws, while others think of it as an art, or a passion. Even though makeup is just another product we use in our daily routine, it possesses a long history which dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Throughout time, and still today, the concept of beauty differs depending on perception, culture and, naturally, personal taste. However, cosmetics have always had a deep-rooted significance in society, and have at times been part of social rituals.
MIDDLE E AST
In Middle Eastern and North African cultures, or what we commonly refer to as the Arab culture, the look is all about enhancing the eyes. This translates into using a lot of kohl, mascara and black liner. The signature look is a simple line drawn on the upper lash line with liquid eyeliner to make the eyes appear larger, as well as using an eye pencil line along the waterline to darken the eyes. Back in the day, kohl, a black powder similar to charcoal, was used to create the traditional Arabic look. It was a common belief that by shading the eyes, it would ward off evil spirits and improve sight. Furthermore, kohl was thought to protect the eyes from infection. In Ancient Egypt, cosmetics were an integral part of daily life. Traders exchanged makeup often, especially in the upper classes. In tombs, cosmetic palettes were found buried with the deceased as grave goods, which further emphasizes the idea that cosmetics were not only used for aesthetic purposes but also for magical and religious reasons. Lower class citizens even wore kohl, which highlights the importance of their religious beliefs. Additionally, all sexes and ages wore it: men, women, and even sometimes children. Today, people from all sorts of ethnical backgrounds sport the Arabic eyeliner, as it has become an international look.
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Indian culture also emphasizes the importance of eye makeup. Even though modern Indian makeup is like any other daily look, the traditional Indian look still persists for special occasions. It consists of kohl, referred to as eyeliner today, henna, and the bindi. However, the bindi is now seen more as a fashion statement rather than a religious necessity. Indians applied kohl (or kajal) along the waterline and on the eyelashes regardless of gender or age, hoping it would strengthen and protect the eyes. henna also played an important role in Indian culture. Even though henna, in modern times, appears on a daily basis, it was, and still is, used more traditionally in marriage rituals due to its association with luck. At weddings and special occasions, women would wear mehndi, which is a form of body art from Ancient India. It is a decorative design crafted on a person’s body, likely on the hands and feet, using a paste created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant. Ancient in origin, Mehndi is still a popular form of body art among women in India, Africa and the Middle East. As for the bindi, it is a red dot applied between the eyebrows and is known as the third eye or chakra. It is red because it is the color of love and honor. Indians believed it to be the center of a person’s spiritual power since it is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. Furthermore, it is considered to be the dot or point at which creation begins. In ancient times, the bindi was used to augment Indian beauty and spiritual vitality.
Mexican beauty is more about enhancing the natural glow. Nonetheless, there are a few details which make their looks particular to them. For instance, Mexicans tend to have warmer undertones to their skin, and they base their signature look on that fact. A bronzed skin is a distinct feature of Mexican beauty, in addition to excellent contouring to show off their cheekbones. Lips and eyes are also outstanding traits—bright eyes with long bold lashes, a look that only requires an eye pencil and mascara. Trace thin eyeliner on the upper eyelids to enlarge the eyes, and apply mascara onto the upper and lower lashes. Additionally, volume in both lips forms the signature Latina look. Let’s not forget the thick, well-shaped eyebrows that are achieved though various personalized techniques, shaped as “sisters, not twins.” Mascara and lipstick (particularly bold colors such as red or fuchsia) are the most popular cosmetics items in Latin culture. Whether Latinas wear make-up or not, taking good care of their skin is of the utmost importance; this explains the radiant skin which is admired around the world. The BuzzFeed video 100 Years of Mexican Beauty explains that the makeup look hasn’t changed much since the 1940s. Thick, defined eyebrows, long lashes, blushed cheeks and full lips characterize the Mexican beauty look.
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The beauty routine of the Japanese culture, is very different from that of Arab and Latina cultures. The modern Japanese look consists of free fashion—“you like it, you wear it.” The gyaru look is very popular, which is a Japanese transliteration of the English word gal, with a name originating in the 1970s jean brand “Gurls.” Typically, heavily bleached or dyed hair (mostly shades ranging from dark brown to blonde), decorative nails, and dramatic makeup characterize the gyaru look. The makeup typically consists of dark eyeliner and very bold and thick fake eyelashes used with the intention of making the eyes seem larger, as well as contouring the face to create a slimming effect. However, Japanese makeup wasn’t always this free. In fact, Japanese women were very strict when it came to cosmetics, a specific look which still lives on until this day. However, now it is used as a cultural phenomenon for visitors, whereas in the past it was traditionally used on a daily basis. Geishas are the traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses, and their makeup is the traditional Japanese makeup look. To achieve the traditional look, Japanese women shaved their eyebrows and painted their faces with rice powder to obtain the desired white look. Women would then repaint their eyebrows with a black pencil, and the lips with red powder to contour. This white paint was used because, during the Heian period, the Japanese were influenced by Chinese trends, one of which was the white face. The Chinese mainly used to paint their faces white because they thought it looked better in the light, especially if they were performing for nobles. Nevertheless, white skin was important for it was regarded as the essence of a beautiful woman. As an old Japanese saying had it, “a light skin conceals seven defects.” Nowadays, the geisha look is not used as often. Due to globalization and westernization, geishas mostly exists mainly in touristic areas.
Despite the fact that a French woman founded makeup giant Sephora, the French are not very into makeup—for them, it’s all about skin care. French makeup today is perhaps the most simple of European cosmetics; it primarily depends on natural beauty, and that explains why the French tend to pay more attention to facial care. They use makeup, but it is mainly applied to smooth out uneven facial coloring and provide a natural glow. It consists of some light concealer to hide the dark circles, a little blush to give a soft look, and some mascara to augment the eyes’ size. During the Renaissance, men and women used to paint their faces white or bleed themselves to make the skin seem paler. They would use red and white lead make-up and powder, which caused the eyes to swell and become inflamed, attacked the enamel of the teeth, and changed the texture of the skin, causing it to blacken. Thus, people, not considering the adverse health side effects, used to paint their faces with white paint or use white powder in order to look more aristocratic. Back then, pale skin meant that a person did not have to perform hard labor and was therefore wealthy enough to lead a life without work. Long after, it shifted to the opposite, as tanned skin meant that someone was wealthy enough to afford trips to hot places. The tanning trend allegedly began after Coco Chanel caught too much sun on a Mediterranean cruise.
owadays, we use makeup on a daily basis, but without knowing how it all began. Makeup hasn’t always been about aesthetics; it is a medicine in some cultures, a belief, a ritual and can even be attached to religion. There is a magnitude of cultural aspects to makeup yet to be discovered, which makes it an everevolving and engaging practice. Makeup looks can differ from one culture to another, from one time to another, yet it is always a tool to reflect beauty and delicacy in a person. As the poet Khalil Gibran notes, “Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.” W 17-1 8
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No Animals Harmed in the Making of This Mascara The rise in cruelty-free beauty products
BY LIZ NGUYEN SON ILLUSTRATED BY MADDY BROOKES
ver time, we have seen various cosmetic trends and beauty standards come and go. Today, there has been a huge shift in the beauty industry toward cruelty-free and, to a certain extent, vegan beauty products. We have seen this in the ever-evolving legislations worldwide against animal testing, supporting the cruelty-free movement. As for veganism, Google Trends noticed the highest interest in veganism ever recorded in August 2017, based on searches for the word “vegan.” Additionally, according to a study done by the Vegetarian Resource Group in 2012, the percentage of people who identify as vegan doubled between 2009 and 2012. While some may follow the trend because it is fashionable, or some may genuinely believe that products that don’t include any animal-derived products can be better for you, a growing number of people are choosing their beauty products based on ethical considerations. What exactly is the difference between cruelty-free and vegan products? Sara Puhto, a vegan and fitness influencer who goes by @saggysara on Instagram, explains, “Cruelty-free means products that are not tested on animals, whereas vegan products are those which do not contain animal by-products. However, many people argue that a product should not be defined as “cruelty-free” without being completely vegan, as vegans believe that cruelty goes into using animal by-products.” In 2004, the European Union banned animal-testing on finished cosmetic products and eventually, in 2009, on their ingredients too. In March 2013, a final ban was imposed on all cosmetic pro duc t s te s te d on animals even those that were tested on outside of Europe. Many countries followed in the EU’s footsteps, such as Norway,
Israel and India, but the United States are still far behind the rest of the world on these types of legislations. What do we know about animal-testing? Suzi Sheler, the founder and editor of crueltyfreekitty.com, has created a Cruelty 101 page with all the important information on animal testing, the difference between cruelty-free and vegan products, and a guide on how to identify cruelty-free cosmetics brands. She provides a variety of sources and studies, which is what makes her a favorite go-to for information amongst most cruelty-free supporters. “Animal testing for drugs and cosmetics exists because governments needed to establish whether or not a product or ingredient is safe for public health before allowing it on the market,” discloses Sheller. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the cosmetics industry mostly tests on rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs. Their website includes a chart of the purpose of the testing and what these innocent animals endure. Sadly, more often than not, these animals die from these experiments; however, before they die, they live torturous lives withstanding blistering ulcers, seizures, paralysis, bleeding from their mouths and noses, being mated, being force-fed, scaling and blindness. Some of these animals are even delibrately killed just so their organs can be examined. The worst part of it all? Animal abuse laws do not apply to laboratory animals. Contrary to popular belief, these experiments hold very little, if any, scientific value, because humans and animals are genetically very different. Puhto also reveals, “I decided to switch to cruelty-free/vegan beauty products because I saw videos of how animals get tested on and it absolutely disgusted me. I couldn’t stand the sight of what these animals had to go through just [so] humans [can have] beauty products. Today, science has evolved so much there is absolutely no need for animals in the process of testing a product or ingredient’s safety. Makeup aficionados may remember the colossal scandal caused by colorful makeup brand, Lime Crime, when the legitimacy of their vegan claims was questioned. Quite a few beauty vloggers took to YouTube and popular blogging website Tumblr to express their sentiments toward the brand and Doe Deere, the company’s CEO. Lime Crime eventually reformulated all of their products and now claim to have been fully cruelty-free
The quality of crueltyfree makeup is so good nowadays that you’re not sacrificing anything.
and vegan since 2012. Since then, we have seen many brands and governments, turn away from animal-testing. Teri Miyahira, a green YouTuber based in Los Angeles, tells us, “I think the shift toward green (natural, vegan, cruelty-free) is thanks to the general wellness movement going on. So not just with beauty, but with food, fitness, ethical fashion,and eco living in general. The public is finally waking up to the issues.” There is no denying that the cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle has grown in popularity recently; the evolution was pushed by many, like Miyahira, who believed strongly in the cause— even when it was not so convenient to support. “I switched to green beauty about 10 years ago when it wasn’t as popular or mainstream, so products were difficult to find back then. Not many physical stores other than Whole Foods carried natural/vegan/cruelty-free products,” she explains. She also believes this is not a craze that will come and go as many other fads have, which is what has allowed for so much progress in the cosmetics industry. She adds, “Green beauty goes with a healthy lifestyle, and as we’ve progressed away from processed and synthetic goods, wellness is now at the forefront and only getting bigger. Trends change year to year, but green products have only gained momentum over the last decade.” Supnik notes, “I think with consumerism in general, people are starting to care more about what goes into the products they’re buying—they are more likely to purchase a product if they know a backstory. Especially with beauty currently, because self-care and self-help [are] important in 2017.” Other beauty fanatics agree with Supnik. Stephanie Lange is an Australian makeup artist and YouTuber from Sydney who counts over 1.1 million subscribers and is now based in Galway, Ireland. Lange says, “The internet is opening up people’s eyes to an otherwise hidden industry. Once people see the reality of animal testing, it is very difficult to support. I believe that as people become more educated on cruelty-free cosmetics, more and more companies will have to change their methods of cosmetic testing. I don’t believe that empathy for animals is a trend, but a responsibility.” Despite consumer trends virtually demanding cruelty-free makeup, some businesses are still more concerned about the bottom line than the impact their products make. In June 2017, runway favorite NARS announced a business move that made waves among their animal-loving customers: they decided to start selling in China, which requires animal testing, by law, on all cosmetic products manufactured
overseas. Many NARS consumers took to Twitter with their disappointment with the hashtag “#BoycottNARS.” Puhto explains, “I feel it is a massive step backwards for their brand. It is disappointing that they chose money over animal’s lives. A [beauty] product is not worth the life of an innocent animal.” Despite all the uproar, NARS did very little to appease their angry opponents, aside from a vague statement on Instagram post stating they were “proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world,” and that they “feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region.” A peculiar case in this industry is United Kingdom-based brand The Body Shop, which has always been very conscious of animal rights as well as labor rights. In the summer 2017, they launched a global campaign to end animal testing. They have always marketed themselves as 100 percent crueltyfree and often vegan as well. What is curious about The Body Shop however, is that they were bought by L’Oréal a little over a decade ago, which is infamous for its animal-cruelty. L’Oréal is based in Paris, where it is illegal to test finished cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals. While they have made many public efforts to deny or find solutions to these denunciations, their website’s frequently asked questions section states that if the data in the safety dossier of the ingredient provided by the supplier was generated by means of animal testing “after March 2013, but was for a usage other than cosmetics, then L’Oréal can retain the ingredient.” Supporters of the cruelty-free cause have differing opinions on whether or not consumers should continue to purchase from The Body Shop. Puhto says, “I would [still shop at The Body Shop], just because they are still cruelty-free and should be supported for that rather than boycotted for the choices of the company that bought them.” Lange also discloses that she will continue to shop there, and expands, saying “Whilst their parent company isn’t cruelty-free, I believe that consumers can vote with their money. When you purchase products from a cruelty-free brand, it shows their parent company that there is money to be made in crueltyfree cosmetics, which in turn will hopefully encourage them to stop animal testing completely.” Miyahira’s stance on animal testing is firmer, however, as she truly believes that, “at the end of the day, we don’t know if a product is tested when brands are
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owned by animal testing parent companies. Conflicting morals and so-called practices within the same company is what causes the distrust for me.” A company that has followed this trend from the beginning is Glossier, an “internet-born beauty start up” that was only established 3 years ago that has since taken the world by storm. Consumers and influencers alike have resonated with the brand, which was founded by Emily Weiss as a brand she “thought of as a friend.” Glossier is trusted by its consumers, unlike NARS and The Body Shop, thanks to its conscious practices. The brand does not test on animals, nor do their suppliers; they have also stated that they do not sell to the Chinese market. Supnik became a representative for the “cult cosmetics company” in October, but reveals that she would not have agreed to become a representative for the Instagram-favorite brand if they were not a certified crueltyfree brand. She says, “I think all of these things add up to make the brand who they are. I know they’re authentic in their beliefs and advocate their products 100 percent. They go out of their way to make sure the customer knows that.” Despite the monumental increase in cruelty-free and vegan influencers over the last decade, many, particularly on YouTube, have yet to make the switch. Miyahira believes, “I think it’s thanks to the heavy marketing budgets by the large corporations, who have the funds to pay for large advertising campaigns and to also pay for sponsorships to influencers. Unfortunately, money still equates power. Going vegan and cruelty-free is much more expensive to produce than conventional products, so it comes down to profit for those large beauty conglomerates. Therefore, the influencers (and public in general) believe the marketing campaigns that these products are ‘the best.’ Influencers accept payment for sponsored content from the animal-testing conglomerates, since they have to make a living too. It’s a big media cycle. And this isn’t just for influencers—it’s also for large mainstream media companies as well, as its in their best interest to feature products from their advertisers who are usually unfortunately animal-testing beauty brands.” Cruelty-free and vegan consumers are unfortunately frequently mocked by those who don’t understand their beliefs and lifestyle, often based
I realized then that there is no point in buying products tested on animals, when there are cruelty-free products available that are just as good. on false assumptions. Miyahira reveals, “The most common misconception is that we are judgmental of others who are not in the green, vegan and cruelty-free space. I think our job as influencers is to educate and inspire others to join us in this wellness movement. Outsiders can feel intimidated due to the overwhelming amount of information, and the fear of being judged by the ‘insiders,’ but that’s simply not the case.” Puhto agrees, “I think because it seems like a lot of effort to search for and let go of your favorite non-cruelty-free/non-vegan products and find cruelty-free/vegan ones you love. Also, the vegan community is viewed as being harsh and judgmental; therefore, many big social media influencers may fear this vegan policing, or their non-vegan followers feeling irritated by the vegan products due to the stereotype of harsh vegans.” On a different note, Lange observes, “I think the misconception would be that you are somehow sacrificing your beauty regime by using only cruelty-free products, as people believe that cruelty-free products must not be as good. In fact, the quality of cruelty-free makeup is so good nowadays, that you’re not sacrificing anything!” Misconceptions like these are keeping cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics from truly taking over. Consumers will have to keep an open mind about cruelty-free and vegan movements, as well as the people who support them, in order for crueltyfree and vegan cosmetics to fully and truly thrive. As long as there’s still a demand for non-cruelty-free and non-vegan products, there will always be a supply.
Tips for newbies ♦ “It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Transitioning to green beauty and lifestyle in general is a very slow and gradual transition. It costs time and money to transition, so start with one category of your life (like beauty products), instead of trying to green your entire home. From there, use up or eliminate 1 product and replace with a green product alternative. And over time, by making more conscious purchasing decisions, you will have cleaned your routine!” ♦ “With the growing popularity of beauty and self-care, it’s important to make advancements in this industry specifically. We can all do our part to support these positive and non-harmful companies!” ♦ “It may seem overwhelming and saddening to switch products but take it step by step. Next time you’re out shopping, even choosing one cruelty-free product over something that isn’t cruelty-free will help. You don’t need to instantly boycott all the brands that test on animals, take it at a pace that you feel comfortable with.” ♦ “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. As you learn which products are and aren’t cruelty-free, you will inevitably make mistakes. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The most important thing is that you’re trying to do the right thing, and it will get easier.” ♦ “Some companies can still be certified by the Leaping Bunny or PETA without displaying these logos on their packaging. This is because companies have to pay an extra fee in order to be able to display the cruelty-free symbol on their products. Roughly less than half of the companies found on the Leaping Bunny and PETA’s lists sport the logo, so remember to check the databases above even if you don’t see a logo.” ♦ “If the logo on the packaging is not the Leaping Bunny’s, PETA’s, or from Choose Cruelty-Free, the logo is a fake. If the packaging displays one of these logos but you can’t find the company in the organization’s database, it’s also a fake.”
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Not So Common Scents Five new things about perfume
BY ANASTASIJA BAIKO ILLUSTRATED BY SOPHIA FOERSTER
TOM FORD : THE TOUCH THAT LASTS ON THE BODY...
THE WEAPON IN YOUR BAG
With the jet set society ever expanding, the perfume industry has been considerate regarding airport security and the whole hustle of fitting all the necessities into bags. Perfume brand Serge Lutens is one of the problem solvers, creating a line specifically for travel sprays, called “Le Vaporisateur Tout Noir.” He calls his line the “purse weapon,” as each perfume is a compact product that holds your favorite scent but in the form of a travel spray—also known as an atomizer. It is easy to carry, and there should be no trouble passing through airport security as everything is measured to fit the liquid guidelines. Also, it’s easily refillable, so no need to dispose of the bottle.
Instead of applying a scent to the usual places on the body such as the wrists and neck, Tom Ford has created body sprays. Although primarily known as a fashion designer, Ford has become increasingly known as a perfumer as well. His various scents are recognized internationally and have become statement pieces in their own right. The body sprays play the same role as perfumes, but the smell is much more understated. Therefore, these sprays play well with the whole body, cooperating with one’s natural body odor, unlike the classic Tom Ford perfumes, which are known for their signature strong smells. Like a normal perfume or a scented body cream, Tom Ford’s body sprays provide the luxury of a pleasant smell, but with an incredibly simple application.
MORESQUE : A MERGING OF ART AND CULTURE True perfume, with the highest concentration of oils relative to additives, is the most expensive version of any fragrance. Moresque, a niche perfumery brand, is a prime example of a high-end perfume. It beautifully aligns the Italian design’s fineness and taste with the art of Arabic perfumery. There is a lot of attention dedicated to the design, with each bottle connoting a specific place and scent. As with all luxurious perfumes, it consists of top, heart, and base notes that are released one-by-one throughout the day from the moment that it is applied. It is a long-lasting perfume, as 20-40 percent of the perfume is made of pure aromatic essences. Spraying just a tiny amount directly to the pulse spots—that is, the insides of the wrists, behind the ears and along the neck—will be enough, as the perfume’s bouquet is intense and long-lasting.
erfume is the personal signature of an individual. As Coco Chanel once put it, “Perfume heralds a woman’s arrival and prolongs her departure.” Perfume doesn’t just contribute to self-care and allure; it is a crucial product which represents the individual, leaving a lasting impression for others, as it is said that smell is the strongest sense associated with a memory. As traditional perfumes can sometimes get a bit tired or cumbersome, here are five innovations in the perfume world.
AND INSIDE THE BAG AS WELL...
It is one thing to simply smell good—but another to keep your belongings smelling fresh and flowery. Tom Ford released a bag vaporizer, created to bring your belongings to life by accentuating them with scent. Ford crafted a line of bag vaporizers with appropriate smells that are not too intense, but beautiful and long-lasting. When you open your bag, you don’t want to breathe in the stench of whatever you’ve been carrying, especially not used gym clothing. So, it’s clear that this line is the savior of gym goers and lunch packers everywhere.
THE SCENTS MADE FOR SUMMER
What translates to “toilet water” sounds much more sophisticated in French: eau de toilette. This type of fragrance, known as the fragrance of summer due to its lighter presence, contains up to 5-15 percent aromatic essence with the top notes being the most dominant. As soon as it starts to evaporate from the body, the scent fades pretty quickly, making the product desirable for summer months due to the refreshing and light nature of the scents. Due to its versatility and range of notes, there is toilet water for everyone.
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A city without people is a garden without flowers. The flowers of a garden add beauty as they bloom, just as people do in their cities. The people have
the power to give character to a place and define it. Through these shots, I chose to explore inhabitants of a city with the use of analog photography.
This technique elongates the process and makes it more personal, giving me the time to fully grasp who these people were and how they contributed to the image of the city at large. The city of Chicago has it all.
Chicago: The Spirit of a City BY JACKIE WEGWERTH
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Paris Parcs Parc Georges Brassens The scenic park, named in honor of singer and poet Georges Brassens, seems more like a theme park than a garden. It may be a little harder to find complete silence here, but the view is worth it. The most popular area appears to be around the romantic clock tower, where little kids tend to run around the grand fountain, so if you are looking for tranquility, it’s best to seek other corners. Perhaps purchase a cup of hot cocoa to fend off the cold and explore the quiet bits of the park. 2 place Jacques Marette, 75015
Jardin Atlantique This rooftop getaway, located in the 15th, isn’t visible from street level as it’s built on top of the railway Gare Montparnasse. Despite being spacious, it may not be the easiest to access, but when you do discover a way in, it’s a beautiful area to clear your head (or at least in between trains). It isn’t the most picturesque on the list, but it is more about the experience of the trek. The atmosphere is true to the name as you are whisked into a sea of gardens which are each supposedly meant to represent different themes in nature. The serene environment makes it a universe of its own, giving it a unique quality especially in the center of Paris, where it can get extremely crowded. 1 place des 5 Martyrs du Lycée Buffon, 75015
Spots to catch some green among the gray BY GIGIE BRANGLIDOR
Jardin des Grands Explorateurs Tucked away beside the famous Jardin du Luxembourg, is the Garden of the Grand Explorers. It has the layout of an outdoor museum with a refined attention to detail down to the last bush. It certainly didn’t feel the most “tranquille” to simply lie around (especially when the cold sets in), but it sure makes for a great Instagram backdrop. Once again the name seems to fit the historical ambiance it has going on flawlessly, and the small space makes for a pleasant lunch hour walk with a cup of hot chamomile tea at hand. 17 avenue de l’Observatoire, 75006
Square Carré Louvis The smallest of the selection is Carré Louvois, which is literally a square. Surprisingly, it’s not crowded, despite being visible from the street. There are many apartment buildings and restaurants surrounding the park, so people are most likely indoors which works to your benefit. Set in a beautifully tranquil environment, right next to the Bibliothèque Nationale, it is a little sanctuary in the midst of bustling Paris. A visit at night could potentially be magical, as it’s the perfect place to meet with someone special. Find a bench, cuddle up and warm each other as the temperature drops. 69bis rue de Richelieu, 75002
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Jardin des Rosiers
A real refuge of peace which could be mistaken for someone’s back garden, as it cuts you off from the daily crowds. It puts other “hidden parks” to shame even though it’s on quite a busy street. Le Jardin des Rosiers-Joseph Migneret embodies the idea of a secret garden in central Paris with a historically picturesque setting. On further inspection, you might even come to realize it’s larger than you first expected. It is well-kept with a small vegetable garden and an old, majestic fig tree; genuinely charming, peaceful, and clean in the proximity of the restaurant quarter. Grab a seat on one of the benches and enjoy some warm food, as some of the best falafel spots are in the area. It is somewhere you want to visit throughout the changing seasons because every season will most definitely translate into the spirit of the atmosphere. Rue des Rosiers, 75004
Jardin Catherine-Labouré At first glance, it looks to be the most underwhelming of parks, but don’t let it fool you. It doesn’t have the perfectly groomed scenery of most Parisian gardens, but the real beauty lies in the untamed authenticity of its nature. The charm of this park is the gorgeous pergola, the sprawling of vines that seem to create a sort of sheltered passageway straight out of a dream. You become enrobed in the peaceful greenery in a space that looks so rural yet is smack in the middle of the city. In such a small area, there is so much to see. 29 rue de Babylone, 75007
The New Curator How curating has escaped the art world
n a quaint candlelit Serbian restaurant in downtown Vienna, around glasses of wine and boxes of cigarettes, ten emerging curators discuss the specifics of their imminent exhibition. It is almost as if you have walked into a 1940s movie, only something feels different—it is a table with nine women and a single man. Ten different nationalities, all of them carefully discussing the fine details with which they plan to curate their first exhibition. They have been admitted to Blockfrei, an artistic institution that describes itself as “an independent cultural organization which embodies the concept of mobility of artists and cultural professionals.” As part of the program, participants visit artist studios, meet institutional and freelance curators, and analyze museums and art collections, eventually culminating in the opportunity to curate a group exhibition in a gallery space. For most, the word curator belongs to the art world. It is commonly understood as a person in a cultural institution who is entrusted with preserving historically significant material and safekeeping the heritage that comes with it. According to An Anti-Glossary of Photography and Visual Culture, “the term has an intriguing link with the religious term curate, from the Medieval Latin curatus, somebody who assists a priest and is responsible for the care (of souls).”
BY TERESA SEGOVIA However, it appears the role of the curator, as well as the use of the word, has evolved with time. People refer to themselves as curators or use the phrase “curated by” to describe jobs such as a store manager, website designer, DJ, or blogger, among many others. What do you imagine when you hear the word curator? Is it someone in a museum basement with dusty works of art? A glamorous art connoisseur and gallerist surrounded by chic contemporary art collectors holding a glass of champagne? Or a hipster making a playlist on his SoundCloud for an underground bar? Language evolves with time—if “curator” first meant an assistant to a priest, then a position in the art world, and now, basically anyone with access to an Instagram profile—the changing usage seems to mirror the world at specific moments. The display of certain materials clearly entails a narrative, and with this comes the connection with the quotidian use of the word today. Today, organizing and consuming content is something we all take part in even in our daily lives, mostly due to social media; anyone can make a collection of songs, artwork, or even articles for publication. The commotion around the word could be frowned upon, encouraged, ignored or simply considered a sign of the times—as a reflection of the society we currently live in. Many “true” curators aren’t too happy with the proliferation A Blockfrei show
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A Blockfrei show
of the word in poplar culture. According to Jelena Kaludjerovic, co-director of Blockfrei, the word curator should not be used lightly. In fact, when speaking to her, she actively shied away from the term curator and referred to herself as a cultural director. For Kaludjerovic, “The word curator is overused, and when someone says ‘I am a curator,’ I want to distance myself from that, because I still somehow conceive the word as someone who is an art curator—someone who is curating art exhibitions.” The word bears prestige, so it’s no wonder that a generation with easy access to virtual reality has chosen to appropriate it. Interestingly enough, some of the participants of the program did not necessarily share Kaludjerovic’s sentiment toward the use of the word. Pedro de Melo, a participant from Brazil, noted that labeling jobs such as DJs as curators was not wrong, as they are organizing a sequence of songs—which is art in itself. Lucia Galvez Chico from México, on the other hand, held a firm stance that the word curator should only be used for art-related subjects, saying, “Curating is abut a discourse, it’s a message that you want to convey to the public. It’s about finding interesting links between artists and artworks. You find this link through lots and lots of research, which is how you justify your curation— there is a whole academic background to it; otherwise, curation is superficial and banal. The term curator should only deal with art-related subjects, and anything else needs another word.” Many people within the art world desire to retain the cachet related to their work, and people with jobs unrelated to the art world who refer to themselves as curators likely desire to share
the same type of esteem. If we were to rank the professions that involve “curation” on levels of prestige, surely there would be outrage from those art curators who look down on what they consider pseudo-intellectuals and glorified DJs. In the same sense, the appellation of these professions is simply feeding egos and giving a chic connotation to an activity. As the AntiGlossary of Photography and Visual Culture asks, “Why all this bitterness around this term and profession? We suspect that, as curating art exhibitions is quite a wonderful occupation, it may provoke the envy of a whole tribe of art-people—wannabe
Every single person with an active social media account “curates” their content according to how they want people to ultimately perceive them. curators—who haven’t quite made it into the profession yet.” With the proliferation of the internet, anyone with access to social media has a platform to share what they find. Perhaps that’s why the idea of curation has become so democratized— the evolution of the word could be considered to be a sign of the times and defined by generations. They create a specific sequence in order to construct the perception of others. If once the curator depicted a distinct moment in time through art, the evolution of the use of the word, as well as the role, captures our society in a digital age.
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