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FEATU R ES 78 DANSEUR ETOILE A photographic essay by Gerard Ufferas. The Opera Ballet of Paris. Clive Barnes 60 DESIGN PHENOM Internationally acclaimed designer, Phillipe Starck shares his ideas on design. Interview. Ed Mae Cooper 45 IMAGE CONSCIOUS Katrin Thomas discusses her work, and the growing significance of fashion photography. Evan Walker

DES IG N WATC H 12 UNEXPECTED SURPRISES This month features a history of cigarette package design in pictures. Margaret Richardson 16 BRAND & REBRAND Sprite goes Sublyminal, Baltimore steps up their tourism & Payless drops Cooper. Tatianan Natske

A RT U P DATE 36 LOCAL ART New Zone Artist Collective in Eugene, OR prepares for their 15th year and counting. Liz Franczak

FAS H ION 70 FALL SHOES Michael Zimmerman 76 VERSITILITY IN FOUR DRESSES Laura Gibson

FOOD 13 CULINARY INFUSIONS Sarah Albers 14 FOOD FOR THOUGHT Raul Gold

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DANSEUR ETOILE

The Opera Ballet of Paris BY

CHRIS BARNS


July 2009

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aris Opera Ballet. 6

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I would

mi


July 2009

One of t

he thin

iss most about Paris he

was t

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Paris Opera Ballet. When nearly forty years ago I switched (overnight and a subsequent lifetime) from being a native Londoner to become an immigrant New Yorker, I knew that one of the things I would miss most about London would be Paris, and what is nowadays their tunnel-blessed proximity. What I didn’t know was that one of the things I would miss most about Paris was the Paris Opera Ballet. And this is not simply because I am a Francophile, although I am; it’s more a reflection of the important place the Paris Opera Ballet occupies in world classic dance.

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is t e l al B a er p y. n O a s p ri a m o P c ic . the t o s t s a u s t B n ay w l a fa a t o n as w t I

No,

The repertoire is not as fascinating as New York City Ballet’s, or even as individual as The Royal Ballet’s-for one thing, the Paris Opera Ballet has for centuries not had a major choreographer to call its own. Its traditions are not as securely preserved as the Royal Danes’, nor are its male dancers as strong as those of American Ballet Theatre or its women as strong as the Kirov’s.


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But

my rating of the company among the majors was pretty much the lowest of the low.

I first encountered the company on

Even a two-week immersion season

my rating of the company among the

my first trip to Paris, in 1949.I was

by the company at Covent Garden in

majors was pretty much the lowest

already not young--well, not that young.

1954 (my diaries note that I saw eighteen

of the low.

And I was alreadya sophisticated dance

ballets, mostly by Serge Lifar, spread over

aficionado (actually, over-sophisticated)

fourteen performances) did nothing to

in a succession of directors. There

and emerging dance critic (although,

make me a fan, despite the presence of

were fine dancers, but no company.

armed with industrial-strength

both the wondrous Yvette Chauvire and

I caught the occasional “event”–Helgi

binoculars, I was still paying for my

the lustrous Nina Vyroubova, two of my

Tomasson’s guest debut as Albrecht

own tickets in the farthest, cheapest

most beloved ballerinas of the twentieth

in Giselle, for example, or the revival

reaches of theaters). The company did

century. Subsequently, when in Paris

of Yuri Grigorovich’s Ivan the Terrible,

not impress me overmuch--it seemed

I would go to the company as a mild

with the marvelous Jean Guizerix (a

infinitely less interesting than the

evening relaxation. Journalistically I at

great Robbins interpreter, by the way),

various independent troupes of Roland

least made copy out of, say, John Cranko’s

Dominique Khalfouni and, also a

Petit and Boris Kochno. In fact, apart

1955 La Belle Helene (underrated, by

favorite at ABT, Michael Denard. Yet

from my first sight of Symphony in

the way) or Gene Kelly’s 1960 Gershwin

I still didn’t take Paris’s dancers as

C (with the original Paris east minus

piece Pas de Dieux (Claude Bessy was

seriously as its cooking until I had an

Tamara Toumanova) under its French

divine, but Jerry Lewis could have done

awakening in October 1977.

nom de guerre of Le Palais de cristal, and

better choreography) or Pierre Lacotte’s

with those fancy Leonor Fini designs, I

1972 adequate reconstruction of La

–promotion examinations for its

was totally underwhelmed. I stubbornly

Sylphide (not as good, I thought, as Victor

dancersapart from the etoiles and the

remained so on many later occasions.

Gsovsky’s earlier attempt for Petit), but

senior soloists--with a jury consisting

By now the troupe was involved

Every year the Paris Opera holds


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I miss

Paris–

and nowadays

the dancers as much as the city.


July 2009

of the Paris Opera administration, a delegation of dancers, and a few foreign outsiders, who in 1977 consisted of Kenneth MacMillan, Asaf Messerer, and myself. I realized that since Bessy had taken control of the ballet school some five years earlier, the standard of the younger dancers had risen. But seeing them en masse was an extraordinary experience. Bessy and her teachers had formed a troupe to reckon with--an instrument for dance. It is Rudolf Nureyev who, rightly so, is given the credit for pushing the POB into the first rank. His inspiration, with his prescient promotions and his inculcation ora sense of style but even more aspiration, was vital. But the dancers were there before Nureyev took command of the company in 1983, and they remained after his resignation in 1989. And they are there today, even though the school, to judge from its appearance in New York last year, is not currently producing dancers of the quality of Bessy’s earlier years. No real matter--the students will improve again. And the company, as I saw in Paris at the beginning of the year, catching two performances of Lacotte’s pallid restaging of Paquita at the Palais Gamier, and at the Opera Bastille a strikestruck, virtually scenery-less, revival of John Neumeier’s imaginative Sylvia (but bring back the Ashton and give it to the French!), is still that same marvelous instrument. I’ve never been much enamored of Agnes Letestu and Jose Martinez, but their alternates in the leading roles in Paquita, the glistening Clairemarie Osta and the elegant Jean-Guillaume Bart, were superb. In Sylvia, Eleonora Abbagnato, Delphine Moussin, Nicolas Le Riche, and Manuel Legris showed just that style, spirit, and sheer technique that has made today’s Paris Opera Ballet one of the wonders of the dance world. I miss Paris--and nowadays the dancers as much as the city. Senior Consulting Editor Clive Barnes, who covers dance and theater for the New York Post, has contributed to Dance Magazine since 1956.

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JANE : Red Halterneck Dress by D&G. MARIA : Camel Minidress by MAX AZRIA.


July 2009

IMAGE CONSCIOUS

Living in Fashion The Photography of Katrin Thomas

Getting Katrin Thomas to explain her own photographs is a daunting task, nonetheless, everything that she needs to say about her work is deftly woven and crisply realized.

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A

sked how she would describe her photography to the average person, she answers, “I would have to say that it is related to movies I’m creating at that particular moment.

I’ve always been inspired by the films of Godard, Antonioni and Truffaut. They are very real, yet they are not. Like the way all these directors use simple but profound language in an abstract, humorous, romantic way. In my photography, I try to explore in a similar way.” Thomas’ photography re-enacts slices of everyday life and trends, to create a poetics of glamour, misery, ambivalence, attitude, ennui, etc.


July 2009

JANE: Blue Silk Dress by Marciano, MARIA: Red Silk Dress by Western Costume Company.

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July 2009

-siecle: from punk grimace, homeboy-

white plate of food. Clearly Kate Moss, not

wannabe, Rastafarian anti-coif, to Soho

the Buddha, is the icon of faith and salvation in

pseudo-downtown art scene. Gone are

the picture: faith and self-starvation, salvation

the days when bohemia, underground,

in thinness. The charged symbolic analogies of

cutting-edge or rudeboys meant something.

sanitation and purity, anorexia and thinness,

Nowadays faking it succeeds more than

bulimia and ambivalence, fashion and body,

A 1997 photograph that she shot in

being it. A pose, a look, an attitude or a

culture and nature bear witness to the collective

Los Angeles shows two young girls–each

style can be bought or sold in a second.

psychological damage we are suffering from. As

barely twenty years old–exquisitely

In a five-minute makeover, a suburbanite

if to drive her point home, Thomas’ second

decked out in fetching single-breasted,

can be transformed from a pale young

frame freezes her subject’s evident expression of

Chanel-insipred plaid suits. Their bodies

thing into the rr girl of the moment.

mea culpa.

are criss-crossed with lemon-yellow

“Escape from reality” is no longer

and ochre chalk-bands beside a gleaming

necessary; reality has become an escape,

and irrelevant should think again. The pervasive

blue swimming pool, accentuated by the

and perception the only reality. Our life

tyranny imposed by waif–chic, epitomized by Kate

girls’ pale nude legs partially immersed

has become as real as cloning, test-tube

Moss’ well-orchestrated fashion campaigns, is

in the pool. The alluring saturation cha-

babies, breast implants, nose jobs, face-

omni-present, day and nighwwt, throughout the

racteristic of the California sun is evident

lifts, sex-changes, race-changes, spin

world; whether Buddhist, Christian or Moha-

, with its attendant aura of leisure, but

doctors, clever lawyers

mmedan, none can escape the contagion of

the ironic subtext of chic boredom und-

or sexgate. What are we left with but

fashion. The dilemma between feeding one’s self

erscored in this picture, and not least

our true picture, a silhouette whose

and possibly getting fat on the one hand, or starving

punctuated by one of the girls’ yawning,

true color is greenback? Hardcore

herself to desirable thinness on the other. This

exemplifies the care that Thomas took

capitalism commodifies everything

tragic depiction of the ambivalence of fashion and

in elucidating and, in effect, demystifying

and anything. In Puff Daddy’s words,

beauty is one you will not see soon in Vogue or

the everyday life of privileged Beverly

“It’s all about the Benjamins”.

Harper’s Bazaar: it is too real.

Hills girls. Fantasy and desire have a clear purpose in fashion: people want to look

As the popularity of fashion as a worthy cultural phenomenon grows in

Those who glibly dismiss fashion as harmless

At times, of her hand cupped, and her head bowed. Her unseen right hand could be touching

through and not at, fashion photographs. learned circles, so the role of fashion

the middle of her face. Half-emerging

They want to be entertained, amused,

photography will progress from a mere

from the toilet and half standing, the

comforted and, hopefully, live vicariously

decorative medium to a demanding

third, also a brunette, is leaning against

through glossy photographs of beautifully

one with critical framework that can

the door with both arms raised, her

posed, manicured models. But in celebra-

enable us to see beyond our glamorized

left hand at an angle, that once again,

ting these iconic, spoiled girls, Thomas

decorum. Fashion is not only contag-

covers her mouth, her nose, and an eye.

also betrays the limitations of luxury that

ious, it is also worth catching, regardless

All three girls are, to a greater of lesser

under–privileged girls–unaware– long for.

of cultural, religious or gender homo-

degree, preoccupied with their noses.

The edginess of Thomas’s photography

geneity. Perhaps playing, for instance,

This picture entertains multiple readings,

is derived not from its casualness, but

with the homogeneous trope and ste-

including the recreational use of cocaine

from its cinematic urgency, which stirs

reotype of what it means to be Asian,

by these three girls, who look as if they

the viewer while retaining a photographic

female, and probably Buddhist, Thomas

may be dancers or something similar. It

stillness that invites contemplation. The

photographed a young Asian girl in

should be borne in the mind that cocaine

urgency of the cinematic style captures

two frames. In one frame, dressed in a

is reputed to undermine the appetite for

fleeting moments. Looking at (not through) Maoesque revolutionary white suit against a Thomas’ sepia-toned portraits of impre-

background horizontally banded in green, white

ssionable young boys and girls one by one,

and black, this young girl sits leaning on a

food– a necessary evil for dancers. By realizing this “bathroom” picture without any suggestion that her subjects

we find that, a touch cruel, she catalogues white table, her back slightly bent with anxiety,

are posing, Thomas succeeds in captur-

all the pretenses of “cutting-edge” fin-de

ing an emblematic moment of decadence,

peering in enigmatic contemplation at her

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JANE : Chanel–inspared Dress with Blue and Red Check by LANVIN, Maria : Red and yellow check dress by LANVIN.


July 2009

lk-bands th lemon-yellow and ochre cha wi d sse cro sscri are s die bo Their nude accentuated by the girls’ pale ol, po ng mi im sw e blu ing am gle beside a pool. legs partially immersed in the

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guilt, shame, and the all-too-familiar insatiable consumption that characterizes the so-called Generation X. This is not a rehashed, trendy photograph of, say, heroin-chic, designed to affect a cutting-edge gesture in order to shock the bourgeoisie. Like Edouard Manet, who insisted that “We must accept our own times and paint what we see,” Thomas fully embraces her own time and photographs what she sees. The eldest of three children, Katrin Thomas was born in Bonn, Germany on January 5th 1963, at the start of a decade that was marked by anti-bourgeois values, sexual promiscuity, “free love” and unashamed drug-abuse; hence, in many ways, it created a template for the continuing moral decay of today’s Generation X. At the age of seven, she left Bonn for Frankenthal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Later she studied Visual Communications and Graphic Design at Darmstadt. In 1991 – 1992, she attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California, on a Fulbright-scholarship. For as long as she can remember, she has been a child of the arts: she was an actress for a while, and from the age of fifteen to twenty-five, she sang and studied opera. Throughout these formative years, she also studied modern dance, which explains her evident agility. Faced with her competing talents, she increasingly turned to still and motion pictures. Occasionally, fate or providence dictates that an impresario will discover a great and lasting talent. Carmen dell’ Orefice, the ageless American beauty who is still working as a fashion model at the age of sixty-seven, was discovered one day in a Manhattan cross-town bus. Iman, the enduring Somalian beauty, was discovered as a fashion model while attending college in the United States. Likewise, Katrin Thomas was “discovered”– a thorny term– as a photographer by Thomas N. Stemmle, President and Publisher of Edition Stemmle, in Photo News, a German photography magazine, when one of her photographs adorned the cover. His curiosity aroused, Stemmle determined to meet Thomas and see more of her work; impressed by what she showed him, he offered to publish her photographs– a decision based on the strength of her work rather than on her apparent lack of celebrity. But of course, Thomas had been


July 2009

Black See-Through Dress by Helmut Lang, Animal patterned pumps by Western Costume Company.

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OPPOSITE: Black top by Comme des Garcons. THIS PAGE: Black tubetop dress by Yoji Yamamoto.


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working for at least the past ten years; and like all “discovered” heroines and heroes, her discovery owed as much to the eye of the discoverer as her untapped talent. Where Thomas delves squarely into fashion photography, the obviousness with which she does so suggest deliberate parody. She portrays girls in black wigs, seated back to back against a burgundy wall; they are separated by two shoulder-high couch backs, with fake-looking bouquet– a tawdry attempt at flower arrangement– wedged exactly into the center, where the curved arms of the two couches join in an embrace. At first glance, the atmosphere of this lounge suggest sheer abandonment and luxury, but the underlying hypocrisy of glamour that Thomas captures in this photography betrays the “escape from reality” epitomized in the cult of supermodels and their wannabes. Trapped in contradictions, these girls also mirror the malaise of fashion-victimhood, suffered by millions of girls the worlds over. “I do not rely on or need beautiful models, or a photo studio, in order to create a strong picture. I’m more interested in taking an interesting picture from a seemingly uninteresting situation. It’s always important for me to not only realize beauty but also its attendant con-sequences.” For most leading fashionphotographers, Gallagher Paper– a New York City store specializing in second-hand and sought-after out

Although I’m not against the use of beautiful models, I’m confident that my vision and artistry can always suffice.

of print fashion magazines– has become a sort of Harvard. Boasting an inexhaustible collection of magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vu, Look, and some dating as far back as the 1900s– Gallagher Paper inspires “fresh” ideas in as many fashion photographers, who only have to look at and copy the past work of Cecil Beaton, Erwin Blumenfeld and others. Take Cecil Beaton and Horst, for instance: there can be no doubt as to their exceptional mastery of lighting effects, costumes, props, and celebrity subjects, a synergy that yielded superbly lasting photographs. But there is an undeniable coldness in their work. Edge and surprise in photography today can only be realized with a certain spontaneity, or at least asmartly wrought casualness. The cold, august aura of erstwhile masters like Beaton or Horst is– today, when “anything goes” –generally irrelevant and too quaint. Yet, ironically there is a great insight embodied in the ancient Chinese belief that the amateur is the

true artist; un burdened by the weight of reputation, he is open to chance, willing to take risks with nothing to lose, and hence free to constantly explore and chart new territory. True to post-modernism, with its attendant parody, irony, metafiction, ambiguity, open-ended or not-yet future, Thomas confidently seeks to imbue her photo-graphs with an ineffable freshness that is immediate, and deceptively unrehearsed. Katrin Thomas’ debt to motion pictures is manifest in a picture of six young women, scantily-clad in swimsuits with their backs to the camera, walking away from the viewer in single file towards what appears to be a freight elevator or loading dock. The girl in the foreground has her arms wrapped around her in an apparent attempt to ward off anuncomfortable draft; the second girl, a considerable distance behind, is walking with a defiant poise, while the remaining four girls seem to be in varying stages of psychological preparation for their exit. Poll after poll has shown that the average young woman’s dream job is to be a fashion model. With religion in rapid decline, faith lost with one hand is regained by the other. Today, the fashion magazine is the young woman’s bible, the fashion designer, hergod, and the fashion model, her supreme goddess. Using the fleeting nature of fashion as a trope, Katrin Thomas has summarily articulated the vernacular and pernicious ideals of beauty of today’s young girl. Throughout Katrin Tomas’ work, there abound the aura and fetching beauty


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Yellow flower patterned dress by LANVIN.


July 2009

a seemingly uninteresting situation. m fro e tur pic g stin ere int an ing tak “ I’m more interested in t also its attendant consequences.” bu uty bea e liz rea ly on t no to me It’s always important for atrin Thompson -K

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work like thomas’, which unfailingly engenders a sensation of passion, holds eternal sway. TOP Yellow Flower-patterned dress by TODD LYNN, strap heels by MARC JACOBS. Right Tube top dress and strap heels by LANVIN Next page mint-green dress by Lurex.

epitomized by the breeziness of Francoise Hardy’s voice, the disarming dissonance of Billy Holiday’s phrasing, the Dionysian wantonness of Prince or Madonna, or the savory melancholy of Tricky, say, infused with the pop irreverence of Bjork. Thomas’ grasp of her photographic composition always manages to delineate the complex and quotidian with such rare musical breadth, such artistic restraint and poetic immediacy that it is able to surprise the jaded retina of even the most hardened cognoscenti. Whilst any definition of what constitutes a masterpiece is relative, work like Thomas’, which unfailingly engenders a sensation of passion, holds eternal sway. The fuel of passion that fires and lovingly stirs Katrin Thomas’ photography will always reward us with its warmth.


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July 2009

DESIGN PHENOM

PHILLIPE S TA R C K Internationally Acclaimed designer, Phillipe Starck shares his ideas on design. Interview / Ed Mae Cooper

starck reca lls sp e n d ing his c h i ldh oo d un d e rn e ath his fathe r’s drawing boards;

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an honest and enthusiastic citizen of today’s world, he considers it his duty to share with us his subversive vision of a better world which is his alone and yet which fits up like a glove. Several years and several prototypes later, the Italians have made him responsible for their furniture, President Mitterand asked him to change life at the Elysées Palace, the Café Costes has become Le Café, he has turned the Royalton and Paramount in New York into the new classics of the hotel world and scattered Japan with architectural tours de force that have made him the leadiang exponent of expressionist architecture.

Upper left, Upper right , Down left, Virgin Galactic spaceport building designed by Phillippe Starck. Down right Starck being the building he designed.


Zbork Kartell, 2004.

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OPPOSITE Left Stairway in the renovated home OPPOSite Right The owner and his wife

He is tireless in changing the realities of our daily life, sublimating our roots and the deepest wellsprings of our being into his changes.

His respect for the environment and

in changing the realities of our daily life,

Kyoto, Barcelona - all exhibit his work

for humankind has also been recognized

sublimating our roots and the deepest

as that of a master. Prizes and awards are

in France, where he was commissioned

wellsprings of our being into his changes.

showered on him: designer of the year,

to design the Ecole Nationale Supérieure

He captures the essential spirit of the sea

Grand Prix for Industrial Design, the

des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the control

for Béneteau, turns the toothbrush into

Oscar for Design, Officier des Arts et des

tower at Bordeaux airport, and a waste

a noble object, squeezes lemons but the

Lettres, and many more.

recycling plant in Paris metropolitan area.

“ wrong “ way, and even makes our TV

Abroad, he continues to shake up

Always and everywhere, he seems to

sets more fun to be with when he brings

understand better than any other our

both the traditions and cultures of the

his “ emotional style into Thomson’s

dreams, our desires, our needs, and our

major cities around the world, with

electronic world.

responsibility to the future, as well the

the decoration of the Peninsula Hotel

He also takes time out to change our

overriding need to respect his fellow-

restaurant in Hong Kong, the Teatron

pasta, our ash-trays, lamps, toothbrushes,

citizens by making his work a political

in Mexico, the Hotel Delano in Miami,

door handles, cutlery, candlesticks,

and a civic act. Crazy, warm yet terribly

the Mondrian in Los Angeles, the Asia

kettles, knives, vases, clocks, scooters,

lucid, he draws without respite, out of

de Cuba restaurant in New York, and a

motorcycles, desks, beds, taps, baths,

necessity, driven by a sense of urgency,

whole clutch of projects under way in

toilets … in short, our whole life. A life

for himself and for others. He touches

London and elsewhere. His gift is to turn

that he finds increasingly fascinating,

us through his work, which is fine and

the object of his commission instantly

which has brought him now closer to the

intelligent indeed, but most of all touches

into a place of charm, pleasure and

human body with clothes, underwear,

us because he puts his heart into that

encounters.

shoes, glasses, watches, food, toiletries

work, creating objects that are good even

et al., still determined that his designs

before they are beautiful.

An honest and enthusiastic citizen of today’s world, he considers it his duty to

shall, as ever, respect the nature and the

share with us his subversive vision of a

future of mankind.

better world which is his alone and yet

The world’s museums are unerring.

which fits up like a glove. He is tireless

Paris, New York, Munich, London,Chicago,


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Soft Egg, Designed for Deride, 2002.


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&

LED Watch Designed for Fossil, 2002.


July 2009

What is the best moment of the day? When you make love to the person that you love.

really good chairs. there are thousands of good lamps. there are thousands of everything.

What kind of music do you listen to at the moment? Everything is good.

Do you discuss your work with other designers? Never. I am not interested in designers.

Do you listen to the radio? Bollywood radio.

Describe your ‘style’, like a good friend of yours would describe it. Freedom.

What books do you have on your bedside table? So many... I read 12 books at a time... ‘europeana’ by patrik ourednik (a brief history of the twentieth century) it is very important to read. Where do you get news from? I live like a monk, so there is no news. I read only the scientific magazines. Do you have any preferences on how women dress? Ehh... yes. I like the dress that is like a double skin. What kind of clothes do you avoid wearing? Cannot say. Do you have any pets? No. When you were a child, what did you want to be? Nothing. Where do you work on your projects? Anywhere in front of the sea. Who would you like to design something for? Nobody. there are already thousands of really,

Which of your works has given you the most satisfaction? The next. Among the most recent work is ‘collection guns’ lamps for Flos. The guns collection is nothing but a sign of the times. We get the symbols we deserve. P.S.: light, functional, affordable and elegant, with over 100 million copies officially produced to date, the kalachnikov is one of the industrial design successstories of our age. Mr kalachnikov has never received any royalties for this design. He often complains about it. Thus, I intend to pay him a commission for the sales of the model that replicates his invention. poor guy. The remainder will be donated to ‘medicins sans frontieres’, ... Can you describe an evolution in your work from your first projects to the present day? More honest. Do you design for the masses? I have been trying for 20 years now. how I make life better for my tribe.

you once said that it is your dream to make the world A better place...Is it beauty you are looking for? No, not for beauty. We have to replace beauty, which is a cultural concept, With goodness, which is a humanist concept. The beauty of intelligence? Yes. of intelligence.The elegance of intelligence and the beauty of happiness. You design shoes, eyeglasses, ...is your approach to fashion design different to that of industrial design? I have no reason with fashion but am interested to make clothes for my friends. And you have designed hotels, clubs and restaurants...Again, a different approach? It is the same thing. just the scale is different. Is there any architect or designer from past you appreciate a lot? I am not interested in architects or designers. I no longer wish to talk about design. Any advice for the young? Advice?make a job useful. What are you afraid of regarding the future? The loss of civilization.

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