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DEPARTMENTS 39

VMAN CULTURE Our whistle-stop tour through the best in this season’s movies, books, music, and booze. Plus, Where the Wild Things Are!

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VMAN STYLE Kanye’s fashion sneakers, Russia’s it-boy designer, atelier idols, a tattooed style bible, accessories to die for, scents aplenty, Coveted Matter, and a chic peek behind-the-scenes of Yves Saint Laurent. Looking good, feeling good

FEATURES 75

DOUBLE-THIRD-PORTRAIT Ghosts. Fire. Motorcycles. Archery. Mannequins. Office furniture. What more could you ask for? Nothing BY JAMES FRANCO AND CARTER

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LONDON IS BURNING…AGAIN Four British bands on their way to becoming household names BY ALEX NEEDHAM PHOTOGRAPHY BY HEDI SLIMANE

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WHERE THE SAND MEETS THE SKY Three adventurers go on a thrill-ride through the war-torn Middle East. Plus a handy primer on the political

state of Yemen BY NATE TRAIN, JOSH WINTERS,

CHARLIE SMITH 128

PENN BADGLEY: NOT JUST ANOTHER TEEN IDOL The Gossip Girl star isn’t just a teen idol–he’s a cultural phenomenon. The TV heartthrob gets personal BY DANICA LO

FASHION 86

ACTIVE DUTY BY MARIO TESTINO

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L o o s e n u p yo u r c o L L a r . This is my first issue at the

helm of VMAN, and you will surely love the new, reinvigo-

rated magazine. There really is something for everyone. If you have a penchant for flamethrowers, ghosts, shaving cream, and archery, check out James Franco and Carter’s collaboration, “Double-Third-Portrait.” This pair produced something just for VMAN that is so demented and gorgeous. We are thrilled to put James Franco on the cover. Franco is really the epitome of VMAN—an actor, a writer, an artist—a true Renaissance man. But the excitement doesn’t stop there. We follow a couple of adventurers on a trek through the war-torn Middle

East, and gather all of the next-big-things in film, music, and beyond. And of course, we cover fashion in our own singular way. A beautiful nude woman splays in the grass for us, and we not only photograph her, but draw her, too. We corralled male supermodels into one glorious shoot. We are the first to bring you Russia’s young post-Soviet new wave designer, and we made a former marine do pushups for fashion. We also rounded up all of the must-have Fall and Winter clothes you need to purchase to rejuvenate our economy and look supercool. Over and out. WILLIaM Van MeTer SuIT AnD TIE caLVIn kLeIn coLLecTIon ShIRT Gap RIng eddIe BorGo TIE BAR BurBerry

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Film musiC PriNT WilD THiNGs 39


The Young IdealIsT

TOM STURRIDGE IS In TRaInInG TO bE a vERy DIffEREnT kInD Of HOllywOOD HEavywEIGHT

“My ideal for this article,” Tom Sturridge says, “is if it never mentions I’m an actor.” The young actor (whoops!) smirks and finishes off his second pint of Guinness. He would rather talk about anything besides his career. Tom Sturridge is at the Fat Badger, a cozy pub located down the road from his Notting Hill flat. The brilliant sun, a rarity for London, beams in through the windows overlooking Portobello Road as Sturridge tugs at the black 40

cap covering his mop of dark hair before launching into a rejection of what he sees as society’s fixation on fleeting innocence and its attendant nervous preoccupation with youthful achievement. “There is this bizarre obsession at the moment with being precocious,” he says, seemingly unaware that, at 23, his own experience proves that youth and wisdom aren’t mutually exclusive. Sturridge first garnered attention as Annette Bening’s son in Being Julia. He then appeared opposite Toni Collette in 2006’s Like Minds, his last role before this month’s The Boat That Rocked. The riotous comedy is set on a ’60s radio ship moored off the northern Atlantic coast of the

United Kingdom and also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and January Jones. Sturridge plays a rebellious teenager sent by his mother into the guidance of his godfather, captain of the eponymous ship. To work with such heavyweights as a fledgling actor is daunting but also the best acting school imaginable. “Just to be among that group of people, working with them, it’s incredible,” Sturridge enthuses. “You do feel like you’re doing a proper job.” And for an avowed fan of Van Morrison and the Kinks, the filming was a fine opportunity to revisit a legendary decade in rock and roll. “I think the easiest way to get an idea of a period in time


gROOmINg TALIA SHOBROOk (THe WALL gROup) pHOTO ASSISTANT eRROL RAINeY ReTOuCHINg gLOSS

film

is to listen to its most eloquent people sing about it,” he says. “So to learn about the ’60s, I just listened extensively to albums.” But while acting may be in his blood—his parents met during the filming of the beloved miniseries Brideshead Revisited—Sturridge’s interests keep him far removed from his fellow press-hungry cohorts in young Hollywood. He spent several months between his last two films staying with his aunt in Botswana. “It’s the only place on earth where you feel human,” Sturridge explains. “You feel that being a human being isn’t being the dominant species. It’s such a beautiful feeling.” Sturridge lights up when discussing Chilean author Roberto

Bolaño, whose massive 2666 is his current obsession. “I want him to be my friend!” he exclaims excitedly. I want to lift him from the grave.” And the little time he did spend in Los Angeles last year, he spent volunteering at a phone bank for the Obama campaign. With all these passions, Sturridge can sound at times like every other young idealist trying to make his mark on the world, but his wide-ranging interests have less the air of dilettantism than of insatiable curiosity. “You just have to surround yourself with the greatest minds of our time,” he advises, four rounds and two and a half hours into the interview, referring to the milieu that led to the creation of The Paris Review. “The most interesting stuff

is going on now and the stuff that will be remembered is happening now. You just have to find it and be a part of it.” Sturridge pauses and adds, “Or instigate it.” No doubt Tom Sturridge will be an instigator. Jonathan Shia TOm STuRRIdge IN NeW YORk CITY, JuLY 2009 PhotograPhy adam Whitehead Styling Sally lyndley JACkeT Comme deS garçonS homme PluS SHIRT gaP T-SHIRT a.in.t JeANS uniqlo HAT BurBerry ProrSum


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While many of his peers can be found shamelessly

flouncing around L.A. hot spots or lining up for photo ops at every fragrance launch, nightclub opening, or movie premiere, 20-year-old actor Max Thieriot is often a hard man to find. “I just spent four days on a houseboat with no cell phone and no computer. It was great,” he says. “Now I’m sitting at an airport realizing that I have about nine thousand messages to deal with. Still, it was worth it to have a few days of peace.” In addition to being relatively nonhungry for the spotlight, Thieriot is part of an even rarer breed–a child actor successfully transitioning into adult movie star. He got his start in family fare like Catch that Kid and The Pacifier, but Thieriot is gracefully moving on to more adult projects. This fall he stars alongside Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in Atom Egoyan’s Chloe as well as giving a blood-soaked turn in Wes Craven’s upcoming hair-raiser 25/8. Thieriot remembers shooting the horror film with awe: “I would be covered in sticky fake blood and jumping into a freezing river. Pretty amazing.” Everyone knows that the transition into adulthood—either behind or in front of a camera—is never an easy one, but for Thieriot the growing pains have been worth it. “It’s definitely an odd time,” he says, laughing. “I just bought my own ranch in northern California, but if I shave my face I look 16. Unshaven, I look 22, which I can’t complain about, but I don’t want to be stuck playing high school characters forever. These days, I’m just happy when I’m not the youngest person on the set.” T. COLE RACHEL MAx THIErIoT IN LoS ANgELES, JUNE 2009 PHOTOgRAPHy PAuL JAsmin VEST ANd PANTS BAnd Of OuTsidERs SHIrT AdidAs sLvR

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XXX INFORMANT KENI STYLES IS a porN STar/ frEEdom fIghTEr

Rising porn star Keni Styles is an industry anomaly: he’s Thai, straight, and doesn’t have a mustache. For seven

years he was in the British Army—which, as it turns out, was a nurturing environment to perfect the art of being filmed copulating with strangers. In the past two years, the 28-year-old My Hairy Cream Pie 5 star has gone from being typecast as the token ninja assassin to, simply, the hot stud. VICTORIA DESILVERIO how did you transition from the military to porn? I was a fitness instructor in the army, and the wives I’d 44

train started to invite me to swinger parties, which led to escorting in the cuckolding scene – fucking women in front of their husbands. In retrospect, there couldn’t have been a better porn school. So when I left the army, that’s what I did. I was good at it. do you feel like you’re the rosa parks of pornography— paving the way for more asian male porn stars? Only the American market makes a big deal about the Asian thing. In Europe, ethnic grouping isn’t so strict. There are a lot of Asian dudes out there and, at the moment, there isn’t anyone in porn they can relate to. In that sense, I’m proud of myself. But I’d prefer someone to say, “Keni Styles really gets into his scenes” instead of “He’s that Asian dude.”

Ever venture into gay porn? No. The gayest thing I ever did was when a gay-targeted Web site asked me to jerk off to the camera for very good money. I stipulated no bending over or pulling my ass cheeks apart. does performing ever get tiresome? Sometimes you have to dig deep with your perversions. You have to stay so focused! That in and of itself is tiring. But at the end of the day, you have to be professional and keep your dick hard. I’m not in it because it’s a job. I just love fucking. STAY up TO dATE WITH KENI’S cOmINgS ANd gOINgS ON HIS BlOg KENISTYlESBlOg.THumBlOggER.cOm


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remember my name! the classic movie Fame is reborn

Back in the dark ages of the early 1980s—before Americans were hooked up to an unrelenting IV drip of American Idol and

America’s Got Talent—an entire generation had their dreamchasing fires ignited by watching Fame. Alan Parker’s 1980 film (and the long-running TV show that followed) spawned one of the most iconic theme songs and captured the imagination of anyone who ever harbored fantasies of wowing the universe from a brightly lit stage. Nearly three decades later, the concept of fame has evolved into a radically different thing, but the quest to live forever and learn how to fly (high!) is largely the same.

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Twenty-four-year-old director and former music video choreographer Kevin Tancharoen’s Fame update eschews the urban grittiness of the 1980 original in favor of a more stylized, music-video approach. The visual aesthetic may have evolved to Britney Spears proportions, but the delicious teen angst remains. The film features an all new cast of young hopefuls chasing their dreams (and each other) at a performing arts high school in New York City. Encouraged by a staff of tough but well-meaning teachers (played this time around by the likes of Bebe Neuwirth, Megan Mullally, and Kelsey Grammer), hopes are dashed, hearts are broken, and a few showbiz dreams are ultimately realized. For some of the young actors, the drama was a weird mirror to their

own lives. In the case of 21-year-old Asher Book, being cast was particularly sweet and surreal. “We filmed the movie in the same New York City performing arts school that I attended,” says Book. “The school was pretty much just like you would imagine it would be—lots of singing and dancing, plus they didn’t care if you had to leave in the middle of the day to audition for a commercial. It’s still school though. You still have to learn math and there aren’t people doing spontaneous musical numbers all over the place.” T. COLe raCHeL PHOTOgraPHy DOug IngLIsH sTyLIng saLLy LynDLey

From leFt to right: Paul iacono wears Jacket, shirt, bow tie burberry PrOrsum Pants DIOr HOmme glasses vintage collins Pennie wears Jacket D&g shirt and bow tie DOLCe & gabbana Pants guCCI hat COrPus asher book wears Jacket DIOr HOmme t-shirt marC JaCObs Pants DIOr HOmme scarF burberry PrOrsum walter Perez wears Jacket DIOr HOmme shirt DsquareD Pants DOLCe & gabbana Paul mcgill wears henley marC JaCObs Pants HeLmuT Lang hat vintage

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music

New RomaNtics The peaceful haven of AIR’s new recording studio hovers amid the chaos of Paris’s bustling Belleville quarter. “It’s like working in a bubble,” says jean-Benoît Dunckel, the slighter of the French duo. The space exudes a zenlike charm not dissimilar to the pair themselves and their sixth album, Love 2. Beyond the bucolic synth-scapes we’ve come to expect from AIR, Love 2 breathes something warmer into the mix. Love 2 uses tropical percussion, horns, and xylophones to wash the patented AIR sound with a decidedly romantic vibe. After a number of collaborations (past guest stars have included Beck and jarvis cocker), AIR ventured to the 48

studio alone for this record, single handedly supplying the vocals. This record again features the often perplexing lyrical content and vocal effects of predecessors such as Talkie Walkie or the seminal Moon Safari. “We’re not English, but we write in English,” redhead Nicolas Godin explains. “We say something in a way that a native person wouldn’t. People can then interpret it as they want.” That’s if they can decipher the accent that’s as thick as it was in the “Sexy Boy” days. And in these English-is-a-second-language riddles, one can find why Love 2 really stands out from the rest of AIR’s impressive oeuvre. “Music is influenced by what you’re experiencing in life,” says Dunckel. “Love dictates the kind of music we make.”

“I used to be with a cold woman,” explains Godin. “Now I’m with someone much warmer, so the album is all about this ‘chaleur.’” Dunckel counters his partner by extolling the virtues of his present familial bliss, and then adds, proudly, “So many people have told me that they’ve gotten it on listening to Moon Safari!” Doubtless, plenty will do the same with Love 2. Nathalie FRaseR FRoM LEFT: jEAN-BENoîT DuNckEL AND NIcoLAS GoDIN IN PARIS, juLy 2009 photogRaphy alaN claRke styliNg lotta VolkoVa adam jEAN-BENoîT WEARS T-ShIRT AND PANTS dioR homme NIcoLAS WEARS ShIRT AND PANTS a.p.c.

GRooMING kARIN BIGLER PhoTo ASSISTANTS RhyS ThoRPE AND jASMIN ToMIc STyLIST ASSISTANT ANELoR T

AIR’s new Album Love 2 IncItes you to mAke pAssIonAte amour


Alan Vega’s self-titled first LP (1980)

Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s Press Color (1979)

Cristina’s album Sleep It Off (1984), designed by Jean-Paul Goude

A TO ZE

NEW YORK IN THE EARLY EIGHTIES WAS A CRAZY PLACE. THANKS TO ZE RECORDS, SO WAS THE CITY’S SOUND TRACK “Gritty” is a nice word for New York in 1979. Folks smoked in bars, did more than that in back rooms, bought coffee and occasionally drugs at the corner deli, and didn’t dare sit on beach chairs in the middle of Times Square unless they wanted to get hit by a Checker cab. Reagan and AIDS were just around the bend. Yet it was still a mecca, a melting pot for misfits, and it was the only time and place that could have given rise to ZE Records. Taking a look at the track listing of ZE 30, the new compilation commemorating the birth of the long-gone label, the widely divergent musicality of the artists is striking. But similarity never held ZE together. Rather, it was always the top to bottom weirdness of the roster: the no-wave synths of Alan Vega, the white freak funk of Was (Not Was), the twisted disco of Cristina, the jazz-punk of James Chance

(aka James White), and the minimalist crooning of Lizzy Mercier Descloux. “Our artists had something that others did not. We were looking for individuality, singularity,” says Frenchman Michel Esteban, who cofounded the label with Michael Zilkha (hence the initials ZE) in 1979—two years earlier the pair had been introduced by none other than the Velvet Underground’s John Cale. The New York of Cale, Warhol, Scorsese, and blaxploitation films fascinated Esteban. “ZE was New York,” he says. “It had the energy, and the mixture of all cultures. I was French, Michael was raised in London with a Lebanese background. That’s what makes New York so great. All these immigrants, all proud to be New Yorkers.” Once called the “most fashionable” record label in the world by British magazine The Face, ZE had style to spare. There was Vega’s dark swagger, Mercier Descloux’s hair, August Darnell’s suits. But the real star was Zilkha’s wife, Cristina Monet, who, her own glamour aside, recruited Jean-Paul Goude to design the cover for her 1984 release,

Sleep It Off. Goude would go on to use the same slice

technique on the iconic cover of Grace Jones’s Slave to the Rhythm. ZE shut down in 1986, but were it around today, one could imagine it being a natural home to such New York eccentrics as Antony and the Johnsons, Hercules and Love Affair, the Scissor Sisters, and Suckers; as well as avant-garde pop artists like Ariel Pink and Ponytail; and the dance punk of the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem. In fact, while ZE had something wackier and more halfbroken-in-a-good-way about it, DFA Records might be the closest 21 st-century New York has come to that kind of creative eccentricity. But you can’t turn back the clock, nor would Michel Esteban want to. Living in Brazil now, he’s not much for nostalgia but says he hopes that amid all the new music that’s out there today, ZE 30 might stand out just a little, and that perhaps some 15-year-old kid somewhere might find inspiration in the sound of a very specific place and time that to him represented “Freedom.” JOhn nOrris 49


muSiC

meloDy man

CHRIS GARNEAU IS NEW YORK’S NEXT GREAT TROUBADOR. HE CAN AlSO plAY THE HEll OUT OF A WURlITZER

When it comes to indie pianists, there are sensitive guys and there are really sensitive guys. And then there is Chris Garneau. His elegiac compositions and hushed tones offer reassurance, catharsis, and frequent moments of inspiring beauty. His voice is a fragile, quavering instrument. On his second full-length, El Radio, he infuses songs like “Fireflies” and “Hometown Girls” with a simultaneous sense of dread and expectation of salvation. Consider lines like “Hometown girls always have fun on the holidays/sometimes girls, they run away/from the fields, the fields where their sheets were burned.” Garneau was born outside of Boston, but was raised on the outskirts of Paris. As a teenager, he returned with his family to the States—suburban New Jersey, actually. A brief stint at Berklee College of Music followed before Garneau immigrated to artist-magnet Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2001. But it took a while to settle into being an artist. “I wasn’t working in music at all for the first four-and-a-half years that I lived in New York,” Garneau says. “I was doing nothing except drinking and working in shitty restaurants. I didn’t like it, but you know how in Israel everyone joins the army? I think everyone here should work in a restaurant, just to figure out what’s going on from the other side of the table.” By 2005, music had become his focus, and he recorded his first album, Music for Tourists. In 2006, members of Xiu Xiu helped to get it released. In terms of musicality, if the first album was the Bowery Ballroom, El Radio is Carnegie Hall. It marks an evolution of spirit, as well—a more refined drawing on of the visceral emotions that inspire him. As Garneau puts it, “It comes from being alive.” Jonathan Durbin CHrIS GArNeAu IN NeW YOrk, MAY 2009 PhotograPhy Johan SanDberg JACket ANd HArNeSS truSSarDi 1911 SHIrt Calvin klein ColleCtion tIe Polo ralPh lauren GlOveS l aCraSia

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print/music

urban nostalgia A pAeAn to A city thAt no longer exists “In the ’80s there was crack everywhere. It was just blocks of zombies. Even downtown, which is now like fashion city, there would be piles and piles of vials.” Photographer Sue Kwon is reminiscing about her New York. In her striking collection Street Level, Kwon lovingly documents energy and life amid the decay, finding beauty, pathos, and pride in the people she shoots. The biggest character of all, though, is the city itself. Decrepit, stately, and loaded with backstory, New York looms large as the center of the universe. The book is broken down into sections: Times Square, Coney Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Little Italy, the Bronx, and Chinatown. The photos, which Kwon began taking as a teenager, weren’t shot to be compiled but they form a seamless narrative nonetheless. “I would pack gum, eyeliner, a camera, and a light meter in my bag when I would leave every day,” she says. Today’s financial climate lends Street Level added currency. In disinfected landscapes of luxury towers, many condos are now empty, the buildings unfinished. This could only mean richer subjects for Kwon to photograph. “Yesterday, I saw this woman with a shower cap on her head instead of an umbrella because it was raining,” Kwon says excitedly. “There are pockets of intrinsic beauty, but it’s not as readily available—it doesn’t permeate you in the same way. It’s sad to say, but when it was run-down, it was rich visually. It was like candy!” William van meter photography sue KWon

the gift that Keeps giving hAppy electronic birthdAy, WArp records!

The seminal techno label Warp celebrates its twentieth year of mind-fuck dance-floor

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ImAgE COURTESy WARp RECORDS

fodder with a deluxe box set. Warp20 is comprised of a double CD overview compiled by fans and label cofounder Steve Beckett. The “best-of” features tracks by benchmark members of the Warp stable including Boards of Canada and LFO. It’s the rest of the package that makes Warp20 a must-have, however, for any dance music aficionado. Two discs are devoted to artists covering Warp tracks from the English label’s history—an interesting avenue for techno to say the least. The covers are split into two discs featuring atmospheric reinterpretations and aural attacks. Standouts include Born Ruffians’s hypnotic/scary Aphex Twin medley. But that ain’t all. A triple 10” vinyl features unheard tracks from Warp’s vaults, including Broadcast’s stellar cover of former Velvet Underground chanteuse Nico’s “Sixty/Forty.” Rounding out the impressive package is a full-color catalogue showing off the trippy album art to every single release the label has put out in its two-decade history. Warp20 is a completist’s Rosetta Stone of the story of modern dance music. Wvm


ProP styling sara WacKsman Production assistant Brendan BilKo

dRink

liBaTionS: Brown Leaves, Browner BourBon Bourbon is the perfect drink to bridge the gap between summer and winter. With over a hundred bourbons on the market, navigating your way through the bounty of Kentucky can be tricky. But it doesn’t need to be. Here are five artisanal bourbons you need to know and why.

Photography Spencer Higgins Text Jason Rowan

Buffalo TRace

BaSil Hayden’S

BulleiT

Muscular, caramel finish; per fect for drinking straight.

A great date bourbon: pretty, delicate, but potent as hell.

Smoky, perfect counterpoint to the sweetness of a whisky sour.

knoB cReek Hot, masculine, and complex.

(rı)1 A honey-flavored bourbon for long, leisurely drinking sessions; almost too perfect for shots.

WHiSky SToneS Melting ice need never water down your drink again. Nothing says tough like drinking a glass of gravel. www.teroforma.com

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PAUL DANO UNLeAshes his iNNer mONster iN Where The Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are is, of course, Spike Jonze’s top-secret, forever-in-the-making

film version of the iconic children’s book. Jonze eschews computer-generated characters (which always look fake anyway) for puppetry with magical results. Such luminaries as James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, and Catherine O’Hara supply the voices. Paul Dano, who masterfully played the boy preacher in There Will Be Blood, spoke to VMAN about his character who’s pictured sitting with Max, the boy protagonist: “The goatlike Wild Thing is my character. His name is Alexander and he’s sort of a teenage Wild Thing. He has some similarities to Max [played by Max Records]. They don’t get along the whole time, they have some kidlike jealousies. The Wild Things are a strange juxtaposition of animal and kidlike instincts. That’s how I feel half the time. We are adults, but we still have those animal urges that actually relate to being a child.” wi lliam van meter Where the Wild Things Are is out October 2009 from Warner Bros. Pictures

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PHOTO COuRTeSy WARneR BROS. PICTuReS

Primal instinct


film


Looking good feeLing good

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Photo assistant Karl leitz retouching rWrtouching

KANYE wALKS Kanye West taKes on Louis Vuitton in a neW Line of cLassy, hip-hop infused KicKs Photography Anthony Cotsifas Styling Linda Heiss sneaKers LouiS VuittoN KANYE wESt CoLLAborAtioN


the czar’s new clothes The loST boyS of MoScow’S DARK STReeTS inSpiRe DeSiGneR GoShA RubchinSKy’S DAnGeRouS-looKinG fAShion

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times. The collection, like the venue, perfectly triangulated the tensions between historic Orthodox Russia, remnant Soviet grayness, and the innate capitalism of fashion. Add to that a penchant for hard, heavy-metal jewelry and perfectly-cast models with chiseled cheek bones (one of which had been gashed in a recent street fight), and an idealized study in post-Soviet, brutal beauty emerges. That beauty is the heart of the message Rubchinsky aims to deliver. “I am inspired by street kids, and I am creating for them,” he says. Clothes just happen to be the medium. The boys, between 16 and 18-years-old, and hence born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have witnessed only traces of the communist era, and yet that past colors their every experience. Rubchinsky’s ideas draw from how these kids live and what goes on in their heads.

GROOMInG FUSAkO PHOTO ASSISTAnT JASOn FOSCO STylIST ASSISTAnT AnelOR T

If there were no Gosha Rubchinsky, mother Russia would have to invent him. Bearded and brooding, he looks like a cross between the hero of some lost Tolstoy masterpiece and a modern Muscovite skater kid. He loves his country. He makes his clothes in Russia, shows them in Russia, and sells them in Russia—and has little interest in expanding to other countries. At 25, he is the bad-boy darling of Russian fashion. And in Putin’s Russia, only a bad boy will do. The aggressive Fall collection—sinister graphic prints, fake-fur jackets, knitted hats, knuckle-baring gloves, and scarves reminiscent of those worn by brassbound soccer fanatics—showed this past April (during Cycles and Seasons, an alternative to Moscow’s two competing fashion weeks) at the Old Believers church on the outskirts of the city. As with most houses of worship, the former church had become a gymnasium during Soviet

Gosha Rubchinsky, S/S 2009


Left: Rubchinsky on the cover of Afisha, February 2009 Below: Gosha Rubchinsky, F/W 2009

That can be a messy proposition. Their heads are filled with a wild blend of religion, cults, philosophies, and radicalism, all peppered with youthful agony. Take the 18-yearold “model” named Zakhar. At any given moment he talks religion, education reform, and Moscow’s multiethnicity. In his “spare time” he hangs himself by hooks temporarily pierced through the flesh of his back, just to “see how far he can push himself.” He is the leader of a radical skinhead antifascist group (they beat up the fascists). If the older generation is skeptical and cynical, Rubchinsky’s muses are passionate—painfully so sometimes—about the ideas they have for their futures. “They were born together with the country we live in now,” Rubchinsky says. “They are of the same age. These kids have all the chances to start something new. They are the hope generation.”

Of course, it bears pointing out that Gosha Rubchinsky belongs to this generation himself. AnnA DyulgerovA GOsHA RubcHInsky (OppOsITe pAGe, uppeR lefT) In pARIs, June 2009 PhotogrAPhy tetsuhAru KubotA styling lottA volKovA ADAm T-sHIRT Lotta VoLkoVa pAnTs YVes saint LauRent RubIcHInsky’s Muses In MOscOw, 2008-2009 PhotogrAPhy goshA rubchinsKy spRInG lOOkbOOk And afisha pHOTOGRApHy kIRIll sAvcHenkOv fAll RunwAy pHOTOGRApHy vIcTOR bOykO


idea guys Clothes make the man. sometimes it’s the other way around. Four designers share the muses oF masCulinity that inspired their Fall 2009 ColleCtions

“I was intrigued by this picture of a man wrapped up in pieces of foam. It made me begin to think about how I could find a way to use this material—but in a more sleek and power ful way. I wanted the collection to look very masculine and strong, with key pieces that would act as a protective shell.”

–italo Zucchelli, calvin klein collection for men

“The man that inspired my men’s collection this Fall was actually taken from Raymond Chandler’s Pickup on Noon Street. The hero is this strong, really masculine, superconfident man with these big defined shoulders. This man has a starlike, iconic Hollywood feel to him—like one of those actors from the ’20s and ’30s who wears a jacket with serious lapels and belted trousers over slim hips.”

– donatella versace, versace

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“The source of inspiration for the collection was the Ziegfeld Follies and the mood of the musicals from that era. Needless to say, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are the per fect muses: they were masculine, yet gentle and elegant. They were just immaculate, whether in a per fectly tailored smoking or in wide-leg chinos with a shir t.”

–dean and dan caten, dsquared

“Behind this harmonious and chic outer appearance, Ivan has a feverish, animalistic side. Order and disorder come together in him.”

– kris van assche, dior homme Ivan In buenos aIres photography Zoe Cassavetes


maceration is perfectly natural. Belvedere’s distinctive maceration technique involves soaking pure fruit in our luxury vodka. treat yourself to the world’s superior, most natural, flavored vodka. Belvedere black raspberry. it’s hard to resist what’s natural.


eye oF the needle Body art meets fashion in Sang Bleu

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with the occasional landscape spliced in. Sang Bleu’s readership is as eclectic as its creator and content. “People in fashion and the tattoo culture have an interest for art,” Buechi explains. “They know these things can work together.” William Van meter MaxIMe BueChI In ParIS, june 2009 PhotograPhy Bruno StauB Styling lotta VolkoVa adam neCklaCe Cartier haT STYlIST’S own www.SangBleu.CoM

STYlIST aSSISTanT anelor T

Maxime Buechi vividly remembers the first time he gave someone a tattoo. “It’s like your whole world becomes a few millimeters small and everything disappears around you. You focus on the needle and disappear into it.” Buechi had found his calling. “It was an adrenaline rush,” he recalls. “You cannot make a mistake. There is a dimension that you never get in any other art. The subject will have it their whole life.” Buechi, 30, is equally passionate about Sang Bleu, the tattoo and style magazine he has published for the last two years.

Sang Bleu is far from being a traditional tattoo magazine. Buechi attended art school and developed an equal penchant for hardcore graffiti, contemporary art, and fashion. Concluding his studies, he worked in the design department at fashion magazines before beginning an apprenticeship at a tattoo parlor in his native Switzerland. Sang Bleu incorporates all of Buechi’s diverse interests. The result is something beautiful and chic that appeals to both the tattoo connoisseur and style arbiter. Shot mostly in black and white, each issue comes out at random intervals in differing sizes. Styled photo shoots are paired against stark illustrations and raw photography,


maceration is all about technique. Belvedere works with top french artisans who macerate, or soak, real fruit in our luxury vodka to unleash pure taste. treat yourself to the world’s superior, most natural, flavored vodka. Belvedere black raspberry. it’s hard to resist what’s natural.


The besT waTches need noT be secondhand Maybe it’s Ralph Lauren’s hectic schedule coupled with the designer’s reputation for punc-

tuality that prompted his most recent venture: a luxury timepiece collection. The watches are a collaboration with Richemont, which means the craftsmanship is unparalleled. Ralph’s son, David Lauren, hosted a party at the Avenue Montaigne shop during the haute couture shows–an appropriate debut for such top-of-the-line watches. At the fête, the younger Lauren revealed that the new niche in the Polo kingdom is one of his dad’s most personal. “My father has been an avid collector of antique timepieces for years now,” he explained, pointing to the watch he was wearing, which was based on a flat-faced 1920s antique in his father’s collection. “It’s a passion for him.” Trendy accessories come and go, these are instant heirlooms. Derek BlasBerg PhotograPhy shu akashi LefT: LARge WhITe goLD fuLL PAvÉ DIAMonD STIRRuP MoDeL Above: 18K WhITe goLD WoRLD TIMe SPoRTIng MoDeL

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PhoTo ASSISTAnTS ShoheI ShojI AnD DAve ngo PRoDucTIon ALAn Woo

Forget Digital


maceration should never be rushed. Belvedere’s distinctive maceration technique involves slowly soaking pure fruit in our luxury vodka. treat yourself to the world’s superior, most natural, flavored vodka. Belvedere black raspberry. taking your time is half the fun.


giorgio ArmAni nylon logo briefcase, $965

D&g velvet lace-ups, $445

Adding some color to your briefcAse And shoes sure brightens up the cubicle Photography Pascal Aulagner 66

SAlvAtore FerrAgAmo velvet loafers, $495

vAlextrA leather briefcase, $3,250


photo assistant michael k. rogers location noho studios/Jack bradshaw

dUnHill facet wood leather briefcase, $2,895

Cesare PaCiotti suede loafers, $420

ermeneGildo ZeGna snakeskin briefcase, $11,095

HUGo metallic calfskin lace-ups, $375

dolCe & Gabbana satin loafers, $550


The Campana BroThers Go nuTs In LaCosTe’s LoGo warehouse

Certainly, the most striking of the Campana brothers’ four exclusive designs for Lacoste is the polo entirely handcrafted out of three thousand individual crocodile logos. “We are going to make the Lacoste logo extinct!” laughs Fernando Campana, the even more gregarious of the two Brazilian designer brothers, whose work has been featured at MoMA. Only twelve of the all-logo shirts will be created, with larger, yet still limited, editions of the more staid designs on sale, too. Lacoste holds a special place for the artist/designer brothers, 68

and it was a welcome first foray into fashion for the pair. “It was an object of desire during our childhood,” Humberto Campana says of the company’s shirts. “We had to ask our richer friends and relatives to bring them back from abroad.” Members of the crocodillian order hold an important role in the brothers’ shared imagination. They grew up next to the river Jacaré (which means alligator in Portuguese). The reptiles later resurfaced as their famous Alligator Chair made entirely of stuffed toys (a version was purchased by Philippe Lacoste). Another shirt the brothers designed features a seemingly random cluster of the river predator. In actuality, it

is a much more personal statement. “The shape of the logos reflects the fluvial islands where the crocodiles live,” Fernando explains, “and the liana vines that grow in the rain forest.” The Brazilian focus is essential to them, and both the super limited polo (which takes three weeks to complete) and the limited edition are manufactured with Coopa-Roca, an organization providing employment for women in the Rio favelas. NAthAlie FrAser PhotogrAPhy shu AkAshi POLO CAmPANAs + lACoste meN’s suPer limited editioN Polo

PHOTO AssIsTAnTs sHOHeI sHOJI And dAve ngO PROduCTIOn ALAn WOO

CroC AttACk!


Fall's must-have Fragrances explore the many Facets oF masculinity and scent. check out other colognes on vman.com Photography Magnus Unnar styling Jay Massacret Text Danica lo

Suave like a blackand-white film star, D&G’s Le Bateleur features cardamom, coriander, and cedar. L’Amoureux charms with woody musk undertones and a dash of pink pepper.

scenTs abiliTy Givenchy Play intense smells as sleek and modern as its iPod-esque packaging. LeATher PAnTS Givenchy by RiccaRDo Tisci

GroominG ryoji imaizumi (marek & associates) models josh Gray (dna), roy Pratt (request), todd hudson (Wilhelmina), thomas smith (ford ny) Photo assistant joi kjartansson

T-ShirT D&G

cK Free’s unique blend of anise, absinthe, tobacco, coffee, patchouli, and wood is for the man who has everything but gave it all up for a good pair of jeans and the open road. ShirT And SuiT calvin Klein collecTion

vicToRinox’s Swiss unlimited’s white fir and absinthe make it delightfully Alp-y. Ahhh-outdoorsy!

ShirT And PAnTS vicToRinox GLASSeS Ray-ban

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LEATHER FOR YOUR LAP Now that laptops have been around for almost twenty years, it’s about time you stopped carrying yours in a plastic grocery bag. WaNt LEs EssENtIaLs is a young luxury leather-goods maker for men, and each of its handcrafted bags doubles as a laptop case. Better late than never.

SCENT OF SUCSEX

For the last few years, tom Ford ’s ads have been putting fragrances in just about every anatomical spot imaginable. And we admit, they’ve looked pretty good. This Fall he’s doing it again, nestling four musky unisex scents into a velvety box. No, not what you’re thinking. This box is of the limited-edition, beautiful wood grain variety. But it’s still pretty hot.

LATA’ PLAYA

NIKE pretty much invented the limited edition collaboration. What began as partnerships with sports stars in the ’80s reached its fashion zenith in the ’00s with shoes designed by everyone from Comme des Garçons to Kanye West. Newest on the roster: artist Para and London streetwear-meets-high-fashion designer Cassette Playa, whose jacket is pictured here.

ART wATCH

For the last two decades sWatCh has been wrapping minimalist design around our wrists. Now, they’re amping up the art. a variety of pop-inspired collaborators are contributing to a new line of colorful timepieces, perfect for those who like to wear their art on their sleeve.

NAVAJO STITCH

Native american stylings have been a part of the culture for centuries. France’s aPrIL 77 is keeping up the tradition by bringing Navajo prints to high fashion. slip on these embroidered jeans, and you’re ready for a late night powwow.

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SHARP DRESSER

What switzerland’s army lacks in numbers it makes up for in fashion sense. VICtorINox , the company that branded swiss army–style 180 years ago, commemorates it with a collection of 125 special edition classic white shirts with military detailing. these include the General, the officer, and the Commander—so pick your rank, soldier!


Photography Junichi Ito Text Jacob Brown and Steven Chaiken

COLE HAAND LUKE Bringing back the name of a long-lost cofounder of the company, the new Cole rooD & Haan line resurrects a bit of roaring-twenties cool with a selection of wingtips, brogues, and dress boots in a variety of vintage-looking (yet simultaneously modern) leathers. These aren’t your grandpa’s kicks.

WANNA BE YOUR NUMBER 1 Dior Homme ’s new DH-1 line of bags fulfills a guy’s longing for sleek design and capital F fashion while placating his fear of, well, lookin’ like he’s carrying a purse. made in soft, black leather, they nonetheless maintain an appealing, hard-edged architectural quality. Whether it’s the backpack pictured here, slung over a shoulder, or the briefcase gripped tightly on a walk across cobblestoned european streets, it’s time to try one on for size.

REST ON ONE’S LAURELS oi! FreD PerrY might not have been the first brand with whom you’d

ProP styling AngelA CAmPos sPeCiAl thAnks Akihiko tAgAyAsu

expect raF SimonS to partner up for a foray into sportswear, but the collaboration has produced a slew of instant cult-favorite pieces. no surprise, the colorways favor black, with the occasional black, and black. But the laurel logo takes on gargantuan proportions in textured, fresh-from-the-mint metallics. Just be sure to button up that top button.

BAUBLES OF THE NIGHT Take a walk on the dark side. Twilight and True Blood have brought vampire chic to the forefront, a boon to new York’s gothiest son, roBerT Geller . These dangly, beaded pieces from the designer’s accessories line look great on a bared neck. So great that you may want to add a bit of silver and garlic to ward off any unwanted attention.


AN EARLY SPRING A behind-the-scenes photo-essAy of stefAno pilAti’s yves sAint lAurent spring/summer 2010 collection, from the first fittings to the AcclAimed show Photography Schohaja true mastery is found in the fit

the perfect complexion through brushstrokes

shine ’em till you see your own reflection

excitement just before the big moment

the show is prefaced by Melinda, a short film by samuel benchetrit about a boy who sneaks into a stranger’s hotel room

first looks in formation


Ash Stymest, lost in thought

Aaron De Mey makes the magic happen

Sometimes to dress is not as simple as it looks

The electric culmination of so much hard work


60 THOMPSON SOHO

6 COLUMBUS COLUMBUS CIRCLE

GILD HALL WALL STREET

THOMPSON LOWER EAST SIDE

SMYTH TRIBECA

ROOSEVELT HOLLYWOOD

THOMPSON BEVERLY HILLS

DONOVAN HOUSE WASHINGTON DC


fall 2009 willing to completely obscure themself in an art project. in franco, Carter found both the perfect subject and collaborator. on the surface, the pairing is unlikely, but it was a creative match. “it was an attempt to fuse things that Carter and i have been working on independently,” franco explains. “There are a lot of motifs in Carter’s work—mannequin heads, telephones, shaving cream, and hair.” Not to mention franco himself. and the result of this disparate combo? “we have this very strange poetic mess!” Carter says. here we present “Double-Third-Portrait,” written, conceived by, and starring Carter and James franco. for more check out an exclusive film of the shoot on vman.com. WIllIaM VaN METER

franco wears suit, shirt, shoes guccI

Yes. ThaT is a flameThrower. and, yes, James franco is incinerating a motorcycle with that flamethrower. The “movie star” mantle is too limited for James franco. he requires a multi-hyphenate to fully define his various creative endeavors. Besides finishing up graduate school and preparing the upcoming release of his first short story collection, he has busied himself with a variety of art projects with Carter. which brings us to “Double-Third-Portrait,” their latest collaboration, exclusively comissioned for VMAN. “i find it interesting to erase his façade,” Carter explains of his unlikely muse and subject, “to erase ‘James franco.’ That is where the foam stuff and ghosts comes in.” Carter would be hard-pressed to find another well-known actor

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franco wears suit and shirt Gucci


top right: Shirt ralPh lauren blaCk label

Double-ThirD-PorTraiT Photography James Franco and Carter Double-third-portrait, two figures and a third. To begin at the front with white foam and fabric. The dialing of a telephone. Spirit floating in and around a room, an area, a space. A fake place, a false room, a decoration. A backdrop. An abstraction. A Location. 1965, 1972, 1974, 1988, The telephone was dialed and the dialer was waiting for a response. A stack of items on a desk, a pile of rocks, and a pile of sticks. Drying off surfaces with white towels. A ghost, a doppelganger, a disguise. An iced-over counterpart. An intruder, a falsification.

Motorcycles We went riding. This was the best day I’d had in years. When I’m in the office, I think about these times. Other times I get cold flashes, And the phone feels like I’m curling weights. In 1988 I made a friend, Carl. He had a mustache. Sometimes, in the office I think I’m Carl. This was the best day. The riding day, Like being nothing. Carl told me, you can be whatever you want.

The 1st telephone rang and then the 2nd telephone rang. I love being nothing.

Curator Dominic sidhu styling Parinaz mogadassi grooming AShley JAvier Set deSign Andy hArmAn pyrotechnicS BohdAn BuShell (J&m SpeciAl eFFectS) imAging ServiceS And red cAmerA impAct digitAl, induStriAl color production AShley herSon (prodn/Art + commerce)

A figure in a landscape betwixt disguise and transformation. Evolving and devolving, before and after. Double vision. Secondary. Peripheral. Masculine Feminine. A disembodied voice, a stand-in, a phantom, the ringing of a telephone. Another one. Facial hair. Somebody else's hand, somebody else's leg, somebody else's ear.

In 1975 I was nothing. In 1984 I was six. In 88 I met Carl. In 2009 I grew a mustache. I think they’re coming back.

The disguise is placed just below the nose and above the lips and on the chin. The hair is permed and then straightened and then doused and then dried and then combed and then placed. Rocks, sticks, land, interior spaces with telephones that ring. 1975, 1942, 1958, 1983 and then, 1984.

If I cut my mustache And left the hair on the office floor, And grew it again, and cut It. And again,

CarTer

James FranCo

till the end, I’d have an office full of hair.


Top row: franco wears suiT Dries van noten shirT Dolce & Gabbana BoTTom righT: carTer wears suiT and shirT PraDa


top right: franco wears suit and shirt Dolce & Gabbana Bottom right: shirt ralPh lauren black label middle left: shirt burberry Prorsum pants Dolce & Gabbana switchBlade swiss army


Bottom right: shirt PraDa Black pen Dunhill orange wallet louis vuiTTon


Top lefT: panTs and shoe Prada Top righT: leaTher jackeT NYC MotorCYCle FederatioN BoTTom lefT: BooTs NYC MotorCYCle FederatioN


Top lefT: franco wears JackeT Calvin Klein ColleCtion TurTleneck SiSley Top righT: carTer wears JackeT Calvin Klein ColleCtion


Bottom right: franco wears suit and shirt Gucci


Manicure TaTyana MoloT (arTisTs by nexT) Tailor claudia de sausa GrooMinG assisTanT Hiro yoneMoTo liGHTinG b2Pro locaTion Jewel sTreeT sTudios arcHery equiPMenT lancasTer arcHery

lead arcHers Joe McGlyn derrick davis courTesy of Proline arcHery ranGe MoTorcycle sTunTs deTH killers MoTorcycle club Jenn JoHnson, JonaTHan russel, al cHrisTod, GreG MininG

sPecial THanks sTeve kalalian, vince JoliveTTe, roberT crivello, Glenn Marukunas, rocky luTen


active duty

By mario testino

How camo can you go? make your country proud in Head-to-toe camouflage—tHe most daring fasHion statement of tHe season, seen Here on ex-marine mike derr

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dog tag david yurman VESt FRoM iCEBErG army navy


jacket Marc Jacobs watch swatch Scarf from iceberg arMy navy


jaCkEt raLPh Lauren PurPLe LaBeL PaNtS victorinoX UNdERwEaR BJÖrn BorG


dog tag david yurman PaNtS Junya watanaBe BootS John varvatos watCh swatch


jacket and pants marc jacobs LOnG UndeRWeaR UNIQLo Watch swatch


Pants Junya Watanabe Belt Polo RalPh lauRen Watch sWatch Model Mike derr (Ford nY) GrooMinG Mike viGGue For orlo salon Photo assistants alex Franco and roMan harPer retouchinG r&d


gLaSSES ray-Ban hat FRoM iceBerG army navy FRagRaNCE d&G MaSCULINE


Necklace DaviD Yurman

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ON skiN, Dolce & Gabbana Perfect fiNish POwder fOuNdatiON


shirt calvin Klein collection Necklace (wOrN as bracelet) DaviD Yurman


Fragrance D&G 18 La Lune Makeup Maki ryoke (TiM Howard ManageMenT) Hair JiMMy pauL ModeL ana cLaudia MicHeLs (supreMe) pHoTo assisTanT nick d’eMiLio sTyLisT assisTanT eMiLy eisen digiTaL TecHnician rose JeroMe producTion saraH Frick sMiTH producTion assisTanT Toby bannisTer reToucHing gLoss


london is burning Bromance Breeds a soulful Beat the Big Pink The Big Pink’s two prime movers, Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze, used to run a label called Hate Channel, but their new band is all about love. The lyrics, written by Cordell but sung by Furze, are romantic, and the title of their recently released debut is A Brief History of Love. Their musical mixture of scuffed up beats, distortion, and soulful melodies is swoon-inducing. The new backup singer is even named Valentine. Then there’s the bromance between Cordell and Furze, who met at a party in London on New Year’s Eve, 1999, and bonded on the eight-hour walk home. “We’re like brothers,” says Cordell. “Over the last year we’ve spent maybe three days apart. It’s a bit like Paul and Linda McCartney.” In 2006, Cordell launched Merok Records, which put out early singles by bands like the Teenagers and Crystal Castles. 100

Furze’s interest in Cordell’s label led to them forming the band.

The Big Pink’s debut single, “Too Young To Love,” was launched late last year with a gig in East London attended by luminaries ranging from Mark Ronson to the Klaxons (whose single “Atlantis to Interzone” originally came out on Merok) and an NME photo shoot in which Furze posed naked. Since then, there’s been considerable hype, not to mention intrigue over the band’s homoerotic cover art. “It was just something we were playing around with,” Cordell responds. But the music more than matches the buzz. The Big Pink’s next single, “Velvet,” mixed by U2/Nine Inch Nails producer Alan Moulder, starts off with a chugging, Cowboy Junkiesstyle cool but ends in emotional devastation. “We see ourselves as a soul band,” Cordell explains. “We don’t get it out in a morbid or gothic way, we get it out in a confessional way. Just like Joe Tex or Sam Cooke.” PICTUREd: MILO CORdELL


…again

a fresh Burst of energY has come oVer the u.k. rock scene. sound familiar? then You alreadY know to Brace Yourself for a wild ride

the Young new stud of PoP esser Proudly describing himself as “Pop/Pop/Pop” on his

MySpace page, Ben Esser is a classically British pop star: clever, eccentric, and inventive. He sings lyrics like “Love can be draining like internal bleeding”; wears Wham!-style espadrilles and a pearl-laden jacket made for him by stylist Judy Blame; and sports a coife so buoyant it would turn Morrissey pea green. Age 24, he’s from the English county of Essex, home of his heroes Blur (though Esser also loves ELO). His music is a homespun blend of rubbery hip-hop and guitar rock, akin to Brian Eno in his ’70s incarnation but accurately described (by NME) as “playschool pirate pop.” Esser describes the songs on his debut, Braveface, which came out over the summer, as sharing the “theme of trying to be simple pop songs.” That disparate quality is not a surprise, coming as it does from a musician who has variously played with a cover band

Photography Hedi slimane Text alex needham special thanks Marian Paterson

that played Beatles songs to drunk holiday audiences. “Christmas day is rough as fuck,” he shudders. “There are always massive fights between these guys who have been drinking all day, their kids are running riot—it’s carnage.” Esser spent a poverty-stricken year at music college and had to pawn his guitars. Since then, Esser, backed by a band including his younger brother on drums, has supported the Kaiser Chiefs on its arena tour, remixed peers like frYars and the Young Fathers, and gotten two striking tattoos, hand symbols on either side of his neck with the words “good” and “bad” underneath. He’s also about to work with Cee-Lo from Gnarls Barkley, but has his eye on another collaboration with a certain fellow Essex boy. His label has just signed Blur’s Graham Coxon. “I might try and work with him,” Esser says. “I’m going to get them to put it in his contract.” If damon Albarn isn’t nervous, he ought to be. PICTUREd: BEN ESSER


the king of PoP ain’t a Bad role model romance Jamie Lovatt is the 19-year-old peroxide and lace-wearing frontman of R O M A N C E (the spaces are mandatory “because there’s a lovely band in America who like to send us messages complaining about the fact we’ve got the same name as them, to which our answer is, Fuck you.”) He’s originally from one of the Channel Islands, and has been performing and dressing extravagantly since he was a Michael Jacksonobsessed 5-year-old. “I was picked on at a very young age,” he remembers. “But instead of saying ‘Maybe you should try and be more normal?’ my parents encouraged me.” He starred in musicals from the age of 7, started a band at 16, and now juggles university with the demands of R O M A N C E. The band formed when drummer david Woods came to cover Lovatt’s club night for his fanzine; bassist Joseph Eakins was recruited in October, just three weeks before R O M A N C E’s first gig. Influenced by groups like Bauhaus,

Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Southern death Cult, the band’s performance style is as uncompromising as its monumental and chilly sound, which is topped off by Lovatt’s steely, androgynous vocals. “Onstage, I come across quite violent and angry,” he says, “and sexual in a way. If someone’s paying to come and see my band live, I’ll put on a show and a half. I’ve come offstage covered in blood countless times.” The band has just self-released an EP called O N E in a limited edition of one hundred copies, with lavish handmade packaging. The artwork involves a lot of inverted crosses. “We’re not Satanists,” clarifies Lovatt, “david’s mum works in a church.” The group’s next step is to embark on a first tour with bands Ulterior and White Rose Movement. “To me, being in a band is about being able to go into a different city every day of your life and perform for people who want to see you,” says Lovatt. “To touch people with what you’re doing.” PICTUREd FROM LEFT: JAMIE LOVATT ANd dAVId WOOdS


‘cause a little criminalitY goes a long waY o. children Christened after a song by Nick Cave’s old band, the Birthday

Party, O. Children rose from the ashes of the more confrontationally named Bono Must die—which was adored by fans like

Peaches Geldof but not so popular with the U2 frontman. “It was a lot of fun until we got served with a subpoena and were told ‘You’re going to lose your houses,’” booms gravel-voiced singer Tobias, who stands considerably taller than Bono at 6’7” (the other members are French guitarist Gauthier, drummer Sleath, and bassist Harry). “We got loads of threats, especially from places like Mexico and Italy. We’d have people saying, ‘You’re just trendy hipsters who fill yourself with drugs and hate Bono—if you could do half the things Bono does you’d be better people for it.’ Which is probably true.” While Bono Must die wasn’t exactly taken seriously, O. Children’s blend of ’80s gothic rock and shimmering electronic pop is a much more heavyweight proposition, with lyrical themes based, says 20-year-old Tobias, on “family,

lust, and religion. I get Bible bashed by my mum and dad every day of my life.” However, the first song they wrote was less lofty; called “Ace Breasts,” it’s “a party song and also a celebration of the feminine form.” Originally from Miami, Tobias’s family moved to the U.K. when he was 7. He got thrown out of three schools. “The third was because I never turned up,” he explains. “The second was an accidental fire that had nothing to do with me, and the first happened when I was 11 and we broke into the headmaster’s house and stole his booze. We thought that if we took a little bit from each bottle nobody would notice, but that just meant that we mixed our drinks and there was a lot of vomit.” Tobias spent four days in prison last year after a mysterious altercation with the transport police. Such scrapes now behind him, the immediate future will see a single called “dead disco dancer.” Tobias has modest aims for his group.“We’re going to conquer East London first. We’ve got a long way to go.” PICTUREd: TOBIAS O’KANdI


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WHERE THE SAND MEETS THE SKY THREE FRIENDS RACE ACROSS ONE OF THE MIDDLE EAST’S MOST DANGEROUS STRIPS OF DESERT TO DELIVER ARCHITECTURAL PLANS. ALONG THE WAY THEY NAVIGATE MILITARY BORDER CHECKS, ARMED REBEL CONTINGENTS, AND THE VARIOUS SUBTLETIES OF TRIBAL POLITICS. FOR THESE GUYS, IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE Photography Josh Winters, Charlie Smith, Nate Train Text Nate Train and Charlie Smith

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We are driving as fast as we can. Pushing our silver Land

Rover to the edge. The engine whines, but doesn’t overheat. Not even close. We pull farther ahead of our military escort. Speed is our concern, safety theirs. The temperature outside is approaching 114 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no air conditioning and heat blasts through the open windows into our faces. We are drenched. We set off three days ago from our office in a Dubai highrise. The city is about glitzy real estate, beautiful women, and luxury cars, until you scratch the surface. Dubai’s ports receive the containers of America’s discarded electronics destined to become roadside bombs. Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s political elite make the city their real home, and accomplish more power brokering there than in Islamabad or Kabul. There are no local politics in Dubai. The ruler owns the land, makes the laws, and pays his constituents to acquiesce to his will. A shining beacon of capitalism, Dubai is the world’s most progressive dictatorship—and we’re there to do business. Josh Winters spends his free time studying Indian Ocean trade routes and Islamic terrorist movements. Charlie Smith is a writer. Nate Train, who parties at the Italian embassy in Baghdad and at Torino Express in Beirut, mixes politics and recreation seamlessly. Our architectural firm, Blackwool, started in Los Angeles. Between graduate Arabic language

classes, we outfitted nightclubs and a few homes for the Hollywood set. Now, our advanced degrees in Islamic studies, Middle Eastern politics, and linguistics help us win clients. Blackwool’s main contract for the summer was to redesign the headquarters of a Yemeni maritime security company in the capital, Sana’a. The firm protects ships from modern-day Red Sea pirates who have found that it pays handsomely to hold up shipping vessels—oil tankers and ocean liners traversing the Suez. As shipping costs spike, the world’s navies are trying to patrol Somali and Yemeni waters. But our clients think that a private firm offering smart prevention and crisis negotiation would be more successful. So far, they are right, and their office is expanding to handle the growth. The point of this trip is to bring our architectural plans and models from Dubai through Oman and Yemen to Sana’a. We left Dubai late, driving towards the Indian Ocean. Our first stop was Muscat, the capital of Oman. This is a country where oil wealth and a sharp-looking Sultan have built an enviable infrastructure and a sizable middle class. The port city is no stranger to luxury, with a couple of the world’s finest hotels. But it’s too laid-back and rule-abiding for good clubs. Partyers here rage in private. We’d been invited to a luxury catamaran anchored half a mile offshore, but arrived too late to be ferried out. Instead, we slept for a few hours before

pushing south to the border. The desert was hot but placid. A twelve hour, uneventful haul brought us right up to the gate

that leads you out of the Sultanate and into Yemen. Upon our arrival, the Omani border guard declined to let us pass. Yemen was too dangerous for us, he said, and forcefully suggested we spend the night at a nearby beach village. The town, Dalqut, was old but with new construction popping up everywhere; a future Omani resort spot. Strangely enough, save for one or two Omanis cruising around, the town seemed populated mostly by Bangladeshis. Such modern labor colonies are a common occurrence in the region, examples of centuries-old trade immigration around the rim of the Indian Ocean. Academics debate whether or not the sea represents a true force in anthropology, cultural change, migrations, and the like. For instance, Marxist theorists say the 18 th-century slave trade from East Africa to India was all about haves vs. have-nots, others consider it a diaspora with a multiplicity of motives facilitated by the Indian Ocean. But for Dalqut, at least, the sea was all that mattered. In the morning, we discovered that whatever “appropriate” paperwork was needed to leave Oman, we didn’t have. The guard on duty that morning, Lt. Salim Ali al-Hooti, explained it to us. “Rules are rules,” he said. After a phone call to a friend in Sana’a, we were able to have a Yemeni Army general,


Nate and Charles outside Dubai, discussing the adventure ahead

the one in charge of Yemen’s border province, call the

Omani border guard. The general vouched for our safety in Yemen. But in Oman, as the lieutenant told us once again, “Rules are rules.” So we made another call, and ten minutes later the Yemeni ambassador to Oman called the border guard. We had Yemen’s diplomatic approval to enter. Still not enough. Two hours later, it was the Omani ambassador to Yemen who rang and cracked some heads. Now, it seemed the rules were meant to be broken. Our passports stamped, we were on our way, leaving the lieutenant and his “rules” behind. As we drove the 200 yards across the border into Yemen, the skies seemed to light up with sunshine. We were assigned a Yemeni escort whose truck had a .50 caliber cannon mounted in the bed, and set off, tearing through Yemen’s eastern tropical forest and on to the sand dune

coast. We received new escorts at every checkpoint. Each time, the new guards made small talk. They were usually enamored of our Land Rover. They also politely probed us. Why were Americans being escorted through Yemen? Why did we want to be there in the first place? Yemenis know their country has a reputation. Foreigners are a commodity. A kidnapped tourist is the most effective application for a new government-funded water well in your tribe’s hometown. The contingents of Yemeni Army regulars assigned to us were the government’s insurance against whatever tribal sheikh might like to make us his obligatory guests. The Yemeni coast speeds by. The farther south we head, the more intense the politics become. At one gas station, the gold Ray-Ban–wearing owner triumphantly welcomes us to the “People’s Democratic Republic of South Yemen.”

Our guards grow visibly nervous. Yemen’s southern seces-

sion movement is growing rapidly. Outside the capital, the sole face of the central government is the Yemeni Army and police. Underpaid and spread thin, they’re meant to remind tribesmen that there’s a government to answer to. But usually tribesmen answer to nothing. Not to say the urge for rebellion is universal. That night we stop to repair our vehicle’s electrical system and meet a few locals. One is eager to converse in Spanish. As a youth, he was sent to Cuba for six years to study veterinary medicine. Back then, southern Yemen was an independent Soviet satellite. Without spelling it out in so many words, he makes clear his belief that without backing from a world power, separatist movements tend not to get very far. History certainly supports his point of view. Land Rover fixed, we roll into the ancient fishing port of


Qishn, yemen. charles filling her up before the road turns inland. she is a beautiful beast

Yemen’s white-hot Political cauldron A sAgging economy, A spike in tribAl conflict, And the return of Al-QAedA mAke for An explosive mix

mechanical problems in hostile territory. sounds come from the hills. guns are out

sayhut, yemen. the town’s police chief inquires about the security situation ahead

nishtun, yemen. charles has a pensive moment with a wild camel

Josh and nate on the road, yemen. our escorts have forced us to stop. We have no idea why

Al Mukalla and stop for the night. We find a restaurant and partake of the local cuisine: grilled fish, richly spiced. there

It is energizing to feel that what you own in Yemen, you own

is talk of unrest, but no one is offering any explanations. so we simply watch as riot police file out onto the streets. It is shaping up to be a long and anxious evening. We will leave early for sana’a and arrive in time for a housewarming party in the old City. the host’s house is over six hundred years old—probably built in century-long stages—but he has recently restored it. Five stories high and leaning to one side, its lines are not straight. But now it has cool bathrooms and furniture by Philippe starck. the guest list is to be a who’s who of Yemeni businessmen. our friends feel the government is an obstacle to progress. But business adapts. the lack of regulation and government protection in Yemen means commerce is a question of survival of the fittest: a pure form of capitalism.

Interior estimates there are sixty million guns in the country, or three guns for every person. Protecting your financial interests in Yemen can be quite straightforward. Ready for this evening to begin, we pull up to our last military checkpoint and pick up a new set of escorts. their commanding officer ambles over to the window. last night three of nine recently gone-missing aid workers were found dead, he tells us. We know Yemenis rarely kidnap to kill. We say we’re pushing on. the officer smiles, waves his hand at the escort’s land Cruiser, and yells, “Yallah!” We pull away slowly. If the stereo were working, we would be listening to “disconnected” by Face to Face. We are hot and death is always a possibility. But we don’t care—just as long as the drive to work is exciting.

The reactive ingredients are stirring. People say Al-Qaeda may be returning to Yemen, Osama bin Laden’s homeland. As their presence grows, they will co-opt local dissident causes by committing brutal acts of terror against outposts of the West. At least, that’s what the analysts and spooks say. Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is more concerned with tribal rebellion. Having made his presidential career by deftly balancing competing tribes, Abdullah Saleh is struggling to quash the Al-Houthi tribe’s renewed fight for regional autonomy in the nor thwest. Both sides appeal to sectarian indignation. The government accuses the rebels of alignment with regional Shi’a powers (i.e. Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran) and the rebels call the president an American-Saudi puppet. As the Al-Houthi fighters find success, Abdullah Saleh finds himself facing a rebellion that other Yemeni tribes could replicate—and that could lead to his worst nightmare, an eventual unraveling of the delicately stitched Yemeni state. In the south of Yemen, secession is on minds and lips. A former British protectorate and then a Soviet satellite, southern Yemen was an independent country until only ten years ago. The region’s leaders are calling for south Yemen’s oil revenues to stay in the south. Suppression by baton and fire hose—the government’s response—has only fueled the riotous fervor of southern street demonstrators. They are promising Abdullah Saleh that 2009, his thir tieth year as president, will be one to remember. Yemen is a poor country. After last year’s sixty percent spike in food prices, more than for ty percent of Yemenis live under the pover ty line, according to World Bank statisticians. He who has the money calls the shots, and Yemen’s war economy is growing. Tribal leaders traffic weapons and drugs across borders. Government officials amass large private supplies of military hardware. Military officers tax local businesses for protection. Pirates hijack boats and launder money in Yemeni por ts. It’s brisk business for some and risky business for most. Through it all, the Yemeni State grows weaker. As told to Jacob brown

as long as you can protect it. the Yemeni Ministry of the

yemeni Army regulars


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PENN BADGLEY: NOT jusT ANOTHER TEEN iDOL Photography David Armstrong styling Benjamin sturgill Text Danica Lo

PENN BADGLEY’S LifE iS ENtwiNED with hiS Gossip Girl chArActEr—mAYBE Not for much LoNGEr “I’m not just a teen star idol. I’m not just that.” Penn Badgley is lounging in a wicker chair on the second floor of the elegant Bowery Hotel. He’s simply dressed in well-worn, faded black trousers and a white Hanes that wasn’t intended to be the muscle shirt it’s become, revealingly stretched over his broad shoulders and biceps. It’s a humid Sunday afternoon, and Penn has just finished a threehour photo session—not an unusual way to spend a Sunday for a “teen star idol.” For those homeschooled without a TV or raised by wolves in a forest, 22-year-old Badgley is the unlikely nerd-hunk–dark horse breakout star of the CW’s Gossip Girl, a cultural phenomenon of a soap opera aimed at teens that has sucked in all other age groups. He plays private school scholarship student Dan Humphrey, the earnest workingclass foil to the show’s more conniving brats. “They brought me on to be the awkward sort of confident nerd,” Badgley explains. “In the beginning, they wrote to my ability to stutter very well—it’s a comedic kind of thing.” Badgley thinks that his character on the show has developed, though. “I have a certain ease that permeates all that is Dan Humphrey,” Badgley says. Gossip Girl has garnered an unprecedented level of attention since its debut. It took Penn awhile to get used to the hysterical screaming that is now the sound track to his life. “You know what’s fucked up?” Penn asks and then answers himself. “You barely have to be famous for people to scream when they see you.” The show is such a sensation not only for its highly sexualized plotlines and scandalizing half-naked “OMFG” ad campaigns, but also because of the oddly symmetrical real-life personal affairs of its cast members. “If you look at the lives we’re leading on the show and the lives we’re leading offscreen, I mean, they’re very fucking similar,” Badgley agrees. “But it’s not weird. It doesn’t feel incestuous.” In real life he’s dating blondie Blake Lively, who happens to play one of his love interests on the show. His relationship with Lively, which was solidified in the public’s eye when photogenic images of them cavorting in the sea came to light, is off-limits and Badgley won’t discuss it directly. The boundary between fantasy and reality is further blurred by the padded and protected New York City bubble-lives into which the transplanted L.A. actors have been thrust. “In certain circles we’re treated like royalty,” Badgley elucidates. “We’re treated like the Kennedys. We’re never going to be able to separate New York City from Gossip Girl and vice versa.” The show’s verisimilitude has spawned identity confusion in the media, where interviews with Badgley read more like Q&As with the fictional Humphrey. “I’ve always tried to distance myself from the character,” Badgley says. “You don’t want people to think of you as this one guy.” 129


hAir FerNANDO tOrreNt (L’AteLier) GrOOMiNG CLAire BAiLeY (L’AteLier)

SWeAter VicTORiNOx


“You barelY have to be famous for people to scream when theY see You.” –penn badgleY This dichotomy is something Badgley struggles with himself. The only child of a contractor and interior designer, Badgley was nurtured and groomed for greatness, coming of age in the thick of ’90s child actor subculture— “this really awful place,” he calls it—in deepest, darkest Los Angeles. “I was a very shy kid when I first came into this business,” Badgley remembers. “I started doing theater when I was 9. I auditioned for The Music Man and played Winthrop, the main little kid with the lisp.” At 13, he acted in his first film, 2001’s The Fluffer, where he played the young ingénue who grows up to be, what else, a fluffer in the gay porn industry. At first glance, he thought The Fluffer was going to be about a dolphin and the film would be something of a Free Willy-style outing. Not exactly. “I read it and was, like, ‘Uh, mom, you might want to read this and see what a fluffer is,’” Badgley recalls. “I was going to pass, but my agent at the time said it was good to be in a controversial film.” He landed a handful of small roles on soap operas (The Young and the Restless) and sitcoms (including Will & Grace and What I Like About You) before being cast as the sensitive and overanalytical scholarship student on Gossip Girl. Badgley makes his first motion picture foray since becoming a household word in next month’s The Stepfather, a remake of the ’80s thriller which was based on the true story of John List, a New Jersey man who murdered his family, then moved to a different town, remarried, and worked as an accountant for nearly twenty years before being captured after appearing on America’s Most Wanted. “One of the first things Penn said was, ‘I’m not Dan Humphrey, I’m not Dan Humphrey,’” says Stepfather director Nelson McCormick. “He made that a mantra that he kept saying to himself over and over. I think it was an important thing for him to separate in his mind because, at one point, he was flying back and forth, having to switch gears from our guy to the guy in Gossip Girl.” Badgley’s the first in the GG cast with a major motion picture stemming from the small-screen success (Lively starred in the epic The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies before joining Gossip Girl). Like Dan Humphrey, Badgley is more comfortable with himself. He feels like he is in his element working in films. “At the end of Stepfather, it gets pretty physical for my character,” he says. “I was doing a lot of stunts and it was fun, bringing your physicality into a role is a whole new arena I’d like to explore.” As for his regular gig, there will be a lot for fans to look forward to in the new season—notably, a transition to collegiate life. “Dan can go anywhere now,” Badgley says excitedly. “He’s been the good guy long enough that I think he could go anywhere.” So could Penn Badgley.

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mounT hood, oregon Photography kT Auleta styling samuel drira

Hair Tomo Jida (Jed rooT) GroominG ayami nisHimura (Jed rooT) model CHrisTian Brylle (Ford ny) PHoTo assisTanT Jerome CorPuz sTylisT assisTanT saraH Jossel diGiTal TeCHniCian sCoTT miCHael Fenn ProduCTion KyoKo FuKuda and JessiCa HaFFord reTouCHinG dTouCH nyC

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GroominG romina mereu model Julian wenKe (models 1) loCaTion manaGer alexander HaidinGer sPeCial THanKs Tom wallmann

Julian wears all CloTHinG kris vAn AssChe


GroominG ryoji imaizumi (marek and associates) model mikus lasmanis (request)

mikus wears coat and pants Y-3 Boots model’s own

Central Park, new York CitY Photography Seiji Fujimori Styling Yuki James

25˚F/-4˚C


BasTiaan wears all CloTHinG BurBerry Prorsum

GroominG sandra Govers model BasTiaan ninaBer (Tony Jones manaGemenT) ProduCTion marK niedermann

12˚F/-11˚C

JungfrauJoch, swiTZerland Photography Paul Berends styling roel schagen


Hair Holli SmitH (Community nyC) GroominG Will lemon (art Department) moDel Jamie JeWitt (Vny) proDuCtion Jaymie WiSneSki (CreatiVe exCHanGe aGenCy) retouCHinG la Boutique

Jamie WearS JaCket anD Coat DioR HoMMe lonG unDerWear StyliSt’S oWn

Hunter Mountain, new York Photography Randall Mesdon Styling James Valeri

28˚F/-2˚C


on Hair, BuMBle and BuMBle brilliantine StYlinG creme

28˚F/-2˚C

New York citY Photography Carlotta Manaigo Styling James Valeri

Hair Franco Gobbi (art Department) GroominG Sil bruiniSma (Walter ScHupFer) moDel ollie eDWarDS (VnY)

ollie WearS leatHer SHirt anD pantS Z Zegna belt IStante necklace StYliSt’S oWn


model adrien Brunier (Bananas)

adrien wears CoaT, Jeans, sCarF diesel on sKin, l’oréAl Hydra-Power inviGoraTinG moisTurizer

avoriaZ, france Photography giovanni Zaccagnini

9˚F/-13˚C


FIRST SIGNS OF SpRING Here’s a quick backstage preview of spring/summer 2010. cHeck out more looks on vman.com courtesy of pHotograpHer andrew burmeister. we’ll see you soon

DOLCE & GABBANA

DOLCE & GABBANA

DOLCE & GABBANA

DOLCE & GABBANA

144

GIVENCHY BY rICCArDO tIsCI

GIVENCHY BY rICCArDO tIsCI DOLCE & GABBANA

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VMAN 15  

James Franco is the epitome of VMAN: a true Renaissance man

VMAN 15  

James Franco is the epitome of VMAN: a true Renaissance man