Sunday, January 23, 2011

Learning outside of class: Mugler, Power Dressing, Richard Phillips, and Napoleon

Yesterday was a full day.  I had to go to a Saturday class on Teaching, but it was really the stuff I learned in between my six hour seminar where I got the best information.

Over my morning coffee I perused the NY Times and came across several awesome posts.  Formerly Thierry Mugler, Mugler has reemerged on the Fall 2011 Men's fashion circuit, with Nicola Formichetti as creative director, a man behind many other creative enterprises such as stylist for Lady Gaga and Dazed and Confused magazine.  See his super awesome blog for more.  While the new campaign features a Mugler video with song by Gaga, (and therein lies the publicity stunt of the season), I still was excited by these gaunt, real-tattooed creep-fest male models.  The feel is so goth I can't possibly write it off as simply shock value.  It fascinates me that this is another new way to sell dress pants.

Mugler at NY Times T Magazine

I also learned about this book, Power Dressing, by Robb Young about the politics of fashion within the lives of political female figures.  It sounds totally perfect for my thesis, which is all about power and fashion.

Power Dressing by Robb Young at NY Times T magazine

Also in the NY Times T magazine was an article about my one of my favorite pop figurative artists, Richard Phillips and his upcoming show at White Cube Gallery, which is made up of several paparazzi-style portraits of young celebrities with corporate-sponsored backgrounds.  You might have seen his painting as a cameo in Gossip Girl, which the article makes reference to, and the simulacrum of fame, media, and advertising.  I love how plastic they are, referencing poses specifically made to pander to fans, but also how sort of unflattering they become.  His show at White Cube opens January 28 in London.

Richard Phillips at NY Times T Magazine

When I returned home I popped in a DVD I got from Netflix on Napoleon Bonaparte from PBS.  Maybe this is not your idea of a wild Saturday night, but I was entranced by this four-hour documentary about the rise and fall of the most powerful man in Europe.  What is most fascinating about him is that he was born to a nothing-special family in Corsica, and it was his unbridled ambition that blew him to the greatest heights the Western world had ever seen.  What I found really interesting was that he often commissioned portraits after successful battles to serve as propaganda to his own greatness, and conquered Egypt merely as a promotional tactic for the eyes of the Revolution.  While he was exploitative, egotistical, and slightly mad, he serves as some sort of hero to me.  "He took the empirical crown and placed it upon his own head".  That's balls.

Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques Louis David 

Napoleon on PBS


  1. love richard phillips....those new paintings are beautiful.

  2. Serena,
    My friend Robb Young wrote Power Dressing. You should definitely read it and review it here. Tweet me @ebonigrafus if you want to interview him about the book