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Glimpses of the extravagant Surrealist Ball of 1972

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If you’re ever invited to a “surrealist ball,” my advice is definitely to go. This advice is a hundred times as pertinent if the hosts are among the wealthiest people on the planet.

On December 12, 1972, Baroness Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and her husband Guy threw a lush “Diner de Têtes Surrealistes” at the enormous Château de Ferrières, the house in which Marie-Hélène and her sisters had been raised, located outside of Paris. The Château de Ferrières had been seized by the Nazis during World War II and reminded empty for several years until Marie-Hélène and her new husband decided to reopen the property in 1959. During the 1960s the palace became one of the regular hotspots for extravagant parties in France for movie stars, fashion designers, and socialites.

The invitation, inspired by René Magritte, instructed guests to wear black tie and long gowns—the only other directive was to arrive bearing “Surrealist heads.” Adding to the perversity, the invitation was printed in reverse, such that a mirror was required to decipher it. Here it is:
 

 
The Château de Ferrières was bathed in orange by moving floodlights—the intended impression being that the palace was on fire:
 

 
Upon entering, guests encountered on the main staircase a series of footmen dressed as cats who had “fallen asleep” in a variety of staged poses. As described in the New York Times, Marie-Hélène was dressed as “a stag at the kill, with a mask of towering antlers and pear-shaped diamond ‘tears’ on her face.”

Salvador Dalí himself was there, as well as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, and Marisa Berenson. Baron Alexis de Redé wore a complex hat with multiple faces designed by Dalí.

There’s little doubt that Stanley Kubrick was aware of the Surrealist Ball and drew on it as a resource for the extended party scene in Eyes Wide Shut, which was based on Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 work Traumnovelle. During the inquisitor sequence, when Tom Cruise’s character Bill Harford is being asked to produce a password to verify his identity, the proceedings are interrupted by a naked lady wearing a mask who seeks to “redeem” Harford. There’s a lovely shot of the gathered masked guests gazing up at her that looks for all the world like the still photos taken at the Surrealist Ball.
 

The hosts, Guy de Rothschild and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild
 
So much more after the jump….....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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07.23.2018
04:33 am
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Scary monsters and crocheted creeps: The knitted brutality of Tracy Widdess
06.20.2018
08:20 am
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A knitted mask by artist Tracy Widdess.
 
In an interview included in the 2014 book Strange Material: Storytelling through Textiles, British Columbia-based artist Tracy Widdess says she began knitting nearly twenty years ago. Somewhere along the way, Widdess recalled that she found herself working with a group for a charity project charged with re-creating knitted masks from the 1970’s. After conducting some research for inspiration, Widdess came across a 1992 issue of Threads magazine and an article called “Snow Fooling” by Meg Swansen. Swansen was a protege of her mother Elizabeth Zimmermann, the founder of old-school crafting and knitting company, Schoolhouse Press. The images in the article struck a nerve with Widdess and her contribution the project would land her on the front page of the great, now sadly defunct website Regretsy. The exposure would inspire Widdess to create her own brand of sewing calling it “Brutal Knitting.”

Widdess would pursue various creative arts in school including sculpture, teaching herself to knit along the way. Soon her monsters and other strange knitted characters came to be by way of commissions—each taking 50-100 hours to complete. She is currently accepting commissions, so, if you have always thought how much better your life would be if people would just stop talking to you in public, then something wicked from Widdess is just what you need for your next walk around the block. Examples of Widdess’ wild work follow.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.20.2018
08:20 am
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‘The Shining,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and ‘Frankenstein’: Bags for Book Lovers
06.06.2018
11:00 am
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“If you go home with somebody,” John Waters once said, “and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!”

To save the bother of waiting until you get back to someone’s home before realizing they have no booklined shelves here are some neat bags that let any suitable mate, friend, or potential one-night-stand know you’ve got the literary smarts.

Since 2011, Moscow-based designers Max and Lyuba have produced a series of 129 book bags featuring covers from some well-thumbed classics like Alice in Wonderland, The Catcher in the Rye, and even J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. Each bag is handmade and sold via Max and Lyuba’s KrukuStudio boutique on Etsy.
 
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More bags for book lovers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.06.2018
11:00 am
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Kate Moss models David Bowie’s outfits
05.22.2018
01:15 pm
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Style homages to David Bowie tend to be a dicey affair, if only because Bowie himself was such a master at adopting new visual looks for himself. Bowie always seemed to follow his own radar on such matters, and his particular genius lay in concealing the effort to such a considerable extent. Attempts to mimic the same vibe necessarily come off looking labored. Having said that, when you’ve got a top model and a man who photographed one of Bowie’s own album covers involved, your chances of success are better, but even then, not assured.

Obviously, 1973 was a huge year for Bowie as an authentic groundbreaker in fashion. He spent the first half of the year touring the Ziggy Stardust material, he released Aladdin Sane—in the same stroke introducing his lightning bolt face to the world, probably his most enduring stylistic element—as well as Pinups. It was also the year he reached out to Kansai Yamamoto, who crafted some of Bowie’s most bizarre and memorable outfits, most notably the “‘Tokyo Pop’ vinyl bodysuit” and the “Asymmetric knitted bodysuit.”
 

David Bowie and Kansai Yamamoto, 1973
 
In 2003 the fashion magazine Vogue got ahold of some of Bowie’s most iconic outfits and—with Bowie’s blessing—enlisted photographer Nick Knight, the man responsible for the cover shot on Bowie’s 1993 album Black Tie White Noise, and noted supermodel Kate Moss for the assignment.

In 2016 Knight reminisced about the gig:
 

I was delighted to do it. [Moss] was the exact same size as he was, she fitted his clothes really well—more than just in terms of size. Some models would just not look right in them, you can’t imagine putting some of the clothes on Linda Evangelista or Nadja Auermann or whoever would have been on the scene at the time. So Kate had both the attitude and the physical side of it which made her perfect for it and she loved it, she was incredibly good. Her talent is bringing out the narrative that’s in the piece of clothing—that’s why she’s such a good model. She can put on that pale blue suit and suddenly bring out the same narrative that Bowie would have brought out when he wore it.

 
After the jump, Moss-as-Bowie….......
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.22.2018
01:15 pm
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Vintage sketches of Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin & more by designer Boyd Clopton


A sketch of The Jackson 5 in clothes envisioned and made for the band by designer Boyd Clopton.
 
In addition to creating unique stagewear and costumes for acts like The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, the Supremes and Aretha Franklin (among many, many others), Boyd Clopton was also a talented painter whose personal works have been known to fetch as much as twenty grand when they become available.

A resident of Venice Beach during the glorious time it was still very much a mecca for bohemian beat poets, musicians, and creatives, Clopton lived there for three decades starting sometime in 1960 when he was in his late 20s. In the early 70s, Clopton’s wildly groovy designs were being worn almost exclusively by The Jackson 5 during their live shows, television appearances, and photo shoots. Aretha Franklin was also a fan of Clopton’s duds and would make it a point to seek him out whenever she was in Los Angeles (as mentioned in a 1974 interview published in Ebony magazine). Like other designers, Clopton would sketch out his concept clothing on paper for his clients. Unfortunately, Clopton’s career was cut short by his untimely death in 1989 at the age of 55. Single articles of clothing designed by Clopton have sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars in auctions as have his sketches—many which reside in an archive maintained by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Below, some examples of Clopton’s fantastic sketches featuring his famous muses, as well as a few shots of The Jackson 5 wearing his outrageous outfits in real life. Keep it funky, now.
 

A sketch of Marlon Jackson of The Jackson 5 in one of Clopton’s designs.
 

The Jackson 5.
 

Dusty Springfield 1972.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.03.2018
12:06 pm
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The ‘Facekini’: What the fashionable Chinese wear on the beach
03.05.2018
08:27 am
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In his series of award-winning photographs documenting swimmers on the beach just outside the city Qingdao, China, photographer and movie producer Philipp Engelhorn captured an unusual (but sensible) trend for the fashionable young Chinese wear on the beach—a protective mask or facekini (脸基尼).

The facekini looks like the kind of beachwear Leigh Bowery might have designed. It is a full-head covering that protects the wearer from the damaging effects of the sun and from being stung by those giant jellyfish that lurk in the sea. The mask also stops other irritants like insects and wind-blown sand. The facekini is made of lycra or rubber and has holes for the wearer’s eyes, nose, and mouth.

German-born Engelhorn, who is the founder of independent movie company Cinereach, described the facekini as “sorta like Mexican wrestling” in the sense it’s reminiscent of those masks worn by lucha libre wrestlers. The Chinese take sun-protection very seriously and prefer not to tan when visiting the beach. These masks cost a couple of dollars though many young beach bums prefer to make their own headgear and matching bodysuit. As Engelhorn describes it:

Posing proudly in the early morning light, the swimmers at Qingdao Beach show off their protective gear. The outfits consist of bright hoods that cover their entire faces like balaclavas, while the rest of their bodies are also clad in colorful swim gear. From a full bodysuit of scarlet polka dots, à la Yayoi Kusama, to smart swim-dresses that wouldn’t look out of place at a dinner party, each swimmer displays a unique expression of their personality and fashion sense.

Zhang Shifan, a former accountant who owns a swimwear store in Qingdao, invented the “face-kini” in 2004. Since then, the facekini’s popularity with beachgoers has grown year-on-year even getting the seal of approval from glossy fashion mags and the Skin Cancer Foundation. You can buy your own funky facekini here and see more of Philipp Engelhorn’s work here.
 
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More facekinis, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.05.2018
08:27 am
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A whole bunch of flamboyant clothing worn over the years by Russell Mael of Sparks
02.20.2018
09:04 am
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Of all the acts that are featured regularly on Dangerous Minds, Sparks might be the one for whom the term “wags” is the most appropriate. For the brothers Russell and Ron Mael are nothing if not clever. For their project with Franz Ferdinand, the name they chose, “FFS,” is already clever, in that the letters usually mean “for fuck’s sake.” One of the tracks on that album is called “Collaborations Don’t Work.” Sparks’ idea of a Christmas song is called “Thank God It’s Not Christmas.”

Also quite clever is the title of their 2013 career-spanning box set, which is New Music for Amnesiacs. (Told you.) Sparks released two flavors of that title in 2013, a generous 2-CD compilation with 40 tracks called the “The Essential Collection,” but that worthy product is hardly anything next to “The Ultimate Collection,” a brain-melting box set with many extras, including 4 CDs, a hardbound 64-page “coffee table book,” “never-before-seen proof-sheet photo outtakes of the Big Beat photo session shot by renowned photographer Richard Avedon,” a laminated AAA pass, a lanyard, a sticker. a “badge,” and who knows what all.
 

 
The box set cost £99 from the Sparks website, but it’s sold out. You can get it for more than $300 on Amazon today, however.

Page 29 of features a whole bunch of crazy shit Russell used to wear on stage in the 1980s. It looks like this:
 

 
We figured the Sparks fans in the audience deserved a closer look. There are a couple doozies in there.
 

 
Get a much closer look after the jump…...
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.20.2018
09:04 am
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I was a teenage Goth, Punk, Hesher, Hip-Hop, Raver: Photographs of fashionable youth from the 1980s
02.15.2018
11:46 am
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The 1980s encapsulated in one photo.
 
If you remember the eighties, you were probably there. Big hair, bad music, and terrible fashion. Or was it so bad?

This was the decade when no one dominant musical trend dictated the terms—as say the Beatles did in the sixties or as heavy metal, prog rock or punk did in the seventies. Pop culture atomized into many different groups and subcultures. New wave, new romantics, punks, mods, goths, emos, hip-hop, rap, and eventually acid house and rave—which symbolically broke music down into euphoric repetitive beats with little reference to song, substance or subtlety.

Everything was considered equally valid, equally worthy, equally saleable, yet completely disposable.

Pop music was a teenage rite of passage; an entertainment business that vied with rudimentary computers and video games for attention. The revolution was no longer about class war it, was televised concerts to raise money to feed the world and discussions about what kind of trainers to wear. There was nothing to fight for. Affluence was king, feigned poverty was chic (ripped jeans for $100), gangster culture fashionable, and existential angst labored under a ton of makeup and hairspray. The eighties were all about dressing up and having fun which is kinda borne out by these photographs of youngsters from the decade.
 
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Does my hair look big in this?
 
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It’s all about… me.
 
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The pained look of teenage angst.
 
More teenage fashion victims (and a few fashion victors, too) after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.15.2018
11:46 am
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‘Automatic Lover’: The incredible story of outer space Euro-disco diva Dee D. Jackson
02.08.2018
09:54 pm
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A singer, writer, and producer since the mid ‘70s, Deirdre Cozier can claim an enviable résumé that begins with a stint as the Euro-disco diva who, affecting an outer-space persona and the pseudonym “Dee D. Jackson,” gave the world Cosmic Curves, which spawned the internationally successful singles “Automatic Lover” and “Meteor Man” (if the “meatier man” pun was intentional, bravo!), all before she’d even escaped her early ‘20s.

And like all amazing journeys, this one started when someone left home.

The British-born Cozier was only 19 in 1976 when she married a musician who absconded with all of their belongings after only three weeks. Justifiably livid at such an outrageous betrayal, Cozier set off to find her husband and retrieve her stuff by following the only lead she had—his association with Abi Ofarim, an Israeli musician living in Munich. Cozier graciously shared her story with Dangerous Minds:

I borrowed a little cash from a mutual friend and took off to Germany on a train and boat. I remember getting off the train in Munich with nothing but a little brown beaten up suitcase very empty purse because he took everything else. I walked into a record shop at the train station and asking them if they knew where Abi Ofarim lived—and they did! What are the chances of that, but he told me that I would probably find him working in Union Studios, which was a taxi ride out of Munich, so I spent more than half of what I had in my purse on the ride to Union Studios, and from there on my life totally changed.

When I walked into the studios the musicians and technicians were on a break and most of them were British expats—Keith Forsey, Harold Faltermyer, engineer Zeke Lund, and the bassist Gary Unwin. I kinda walked in sat down and all eyes were on me (I was also rather cute) I introduced myself, all shyness disappearing with the bat of my eyelashes, and they were all so curious as I told them my tales of woe, then next came the question of well what do you do for a living? Telling them I was a singer and song writer seemed like the right thing to say, I had written a few songs in my life and I had sung with a few bands, and I actually did play guitar and a little piano so it wasn’t exactly a huge fib, but definitely not what I thought to be my vocation in life.

Not a “huge fib,” perhaps, but blurting out that she was a singer was hugely transformative. She soon began to sing with a Turkish/German jazz band in strip clubs, and started writing music with Unwin, with whom she contrived the Dee D. Jackson alter-ego, mining that era’s vivid imaginings of futuristic fashion and sci-fi’s preoccupation with artificial/mechanical life. The collaborators landed a recording contract with Jupiter records, leading to a hit in Austria and Switzerland with the single “Man of a Man,” and so in 1978 Cosmic Curves was born, along with a persona that made for a WONDERFUL series of sexy sci-fi camp record sleeves.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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02.08.2018
09:54 pm
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The gorgeous sci-fi ladies of ‘UFO’
02.05.2018
09:20 am
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Actress Gabrielle Drake (sister of musician Nick Drake) in character as Lt. Gay Ellis from UK television show, ‘UFO.’
 
Television program UFO made its debut in 1970, in the UK and Canada. It came out a bit later in the U.S. The show was the creation of dynamic husband and wife duo, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson—who were best known for their pioneering kid-oriented “Supermarionation” shows such as Thunderbirds. The futuristic storyline for UFO takes place in the not-so-distant year of 1980, and it was honestly pretty gnarly for prime time viewing as it presents the scenario of a ragtag fleet of dying aliens coming to earth to harvest human organs in order to sustain their existence. No big deal. Among the members of the large ensemble cast were Gabrielle Drake (the sister of musician Nick Drake), Polish actor, Vladek Sheybal (who is likely best known for his portrayal of chess master Kronsteen in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love), and model/actress Shakira Baksh who would wed actor Michael Caine in 1973. The show had much in common with 1969’s Doppelgänger (AKA Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, its better known title)—the Anderson’s’ first project to use human beings—including many of the same props, sets and even actors.

UFO was an instant hit, due much in part to the special effects created by the talented Derek Meddings which took approximately a year to develop. Meddings would go on to do special effects for several James Bond films and the pyrotechnics for every live Pink Floyd show in 1975 during their Wish You Were Here tour. Another element of any successful TV show is the development and visual appeal of its cast of characters, and as I mentioned earlier, UFO‘s actors did not disappoint. Here, we are going to focus on the lovely ladies who were a part of SHADO (the acronym for Supreme Headquarters, Alien Defence Organisation) who always looked cool even in the face of an alien invasion. The most memorable characters got to wear badass purple-hued wigs and silver catsuits which made them look like go-go dancers from the future. There was also some risky looking fishnet worn by members of the cast during “underwater” sequences—a far cry from the basic turtlenecks, jumpsuits, and clerical-style jackets worn by the members of SHADO.

The show ran until 1973 and inspired a line of collectible toys and model kits based on the far-out vehicles and spaceships featured in the series, many still coveted by collectors to this day. If you had either forgotten about this television gem (which was a precursor to the Anderson’s last collaboration, Space 1999 starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain) or were unfamiliar with it until now, you are going to love the groovy images of the fictional female members of SHADO posted below. 
 

One of the lovely ladies of SHADO.
 

Actress/model Shakira Baksh/Caine.
 

Fishnet shirts are futuristic.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.05.2018
09:20 am
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