Remembering Our Starman

Often is the case with your heroes, you never want to let them go. For years, I’d absolutely dreaded the possibility of David Bowie leaving us; it just could not be. Pure denial is often the safest way with your idols; foolish, yes, but safe.

10th January 2016 marks the grey, weird, sad day that everyone’s favourite starman left this mortal coil and transcended to the other side. And boy, was I unprepared. Shock, disbelief, horror, denial, all washed over me with the might of a tsunami. This couldn’t be real right? Had to be a rumour. Facebook must have been hacked. Then, like wildfire, the news spread through the media, gaining momentum as it was officially confirmed in a tweet from his son, then more credible news sources. Fuck. What on earth would we do now?

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Bowie, as an artist, human, entertainer, as my hero, was everything to me. The bastion of the strange and bawdy, the poster boy for the outsiders, he remained the constant thread that wove though my life, holding together a tapestry of beautiful times, sadness, change and occasional turmoil. His music formed the soundtrack to poignant moments in my life, his lyrics like an open love letter to all who heard them. As an awkward teen struggling with my self-identity, Bowie taught me and countless others that it was OK to be different, that it was alright to lay claim to being outside of the mainstream. It was perfectly cool to shun what society classed as normal and celebrate individuality. I was deeply intrigued by the man, the mythology and of course, his amazing music and flamboyant style. Bowie smashed through cultural barriers in a whirl of glittery, sexually-liberated flamboyance. Through characters such as Ziggy Stardust, Halloween Jack and Aladdin Sane he embodied the art of transformation, shaking conservative norms to the core and paving the way for gender fluidity and acceptance – after all, it didn’t matter if you were a boy or a girl, queer, straight, or from Mars.

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For a time I fantasised that I was somehow related to Bowie, convincing myself for a good year or two that it made perfect, absolute sense that I shared DNA with one of modern music’s greatest innovators. In Bowie, I had found a kindred spirit, as many others had, and that knowledge was divine. Among many fond memories, his performance in Perth in 2004 for the Reality Tour remains as a pinnacle; a show that will forever be emblazoned in my memory as a true life highlight. Being a few rows back in a crowd of thousands, all rising to their feet as they heard the iconic first strains of ‘Rebel Rebel’, was a surreal, astounding experience. Seeing everyone around me reduced to tears and near-hysterical screams of pure joy as we caught our first glimpse of our larger-than-life hero, is something I will never forget. The show was impeccable and I felt electrified seeing and hearing him in the flesh.

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As a makeup artist and creative type, Bowie’s art and iconic, chameleon style has filled my mind and soul with so much fire. The amazing, provocative costumes, the beautifully executed glam stage makeup, those boundary-defying music videos, that effortless individuality. Bowie’s ability to transform and stay relevant, all whilst remaining so true to himself and his art. I had so much respect and gratitude that someone out there just GOT it.

Bowie always just got it. He circled the perimeter of the mainstream, leering at it, taking bites out of it, all the while eschewing what the herd were doing and reinventing his sound and his style into something completely fresh and new. Over the decades, he has remained at the forefront, pushing the envelope, challenging the norm, blazing a trail so fucking huge and bright that it would spellbind and enlighten all that encountered his force. He filled hearts with desire and minds with a myriad of ideas and inspiration. He never stopped exploring and pioneering, reaching out to new audiences and blowing minds with his unique vision and amazing ability to engage, transgress and inspire.

He was completely one of a kind, untouchable, seemingly invincible. A hero for the downtrodden and forgotten; constantly creating such an insanely powerful connection to his fans through words, images, ideas and emotions. The ultimate chameleon who taught us it’s ok to be weird, as long as you own it. He never stopped re-inventing and creating, even up to his last masterpiece Blackstar; the final chapter of an amazing, larger-than-life existence that totally spellbound us all.

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He will always be completely inimitable, a true, multi-talented trail-blazer who created magic, wonder and awe everywhere. I feel grateful and fortunate having lived in the same lifetime as the ultimate chameleon, pioneer and renaissance man.

Let’s never let him go.

ICONICA : Iris Van Herpen

Happy Friday beloveds! What better way to spend the morning than thoroughly immersing myself in the world of one of my absolute favourite artisans of couture, the stunning and talented Iris Van Herpen.
4The talented Dutch designer has an innovative take on avant-garde fashion- taking it to the max! Iris van Herpen represents to me everything a great couture designer should: flamboyant, artistic and meticulously constructed garments that contain a myriad of elements that are, to put it simply, out-of-this-world: the stuff of dreams (or maybe a beautiful nightmare), turned into a tangible reality.
“For me fashion is an expression of art that is very close related to me and to my body. I see it as my expression of identity combined with desire, moods and cultural setting”
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Van Herpen was born in the Netherlands in the early 80s. Studying ballet at a young age started her relationship with movement and the body. While in school, her passions transformed from dance into a more tangible artistic outlet and she began to create hand-made wearable art.

The designer studied at the prominent Artez Institute of the Arts, Arnhem, and interned at Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. Their influences pervade throughout in her style and techniques. For her first few years as a designer she worked solely with her hands, shying away from even a sewing machine.

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In 2007, she started her own label and has sky-rocketed since with her truly individual and jaw-dropping style. Having shown her collections at Paris, London and Amsterdam fashion weeks, she last year won the Golden Eye Award at the Dutch Design Awards 2013 for her collection Voltage –  focusing on the body’s tangible movement and strength and exploring the ‘electricity of the body’.

She is known for her exceptional use of material and renewing forms. The avant-garde spirit of her designs combines raw and technologically-produced materials, fused with amazing, highly detailed craftsmanship and innovative techniques, such as 3D printing and plastics. The combination of quality hand-worked materials – burnt metal weaving, laser cutting and metal silk – and the sublime effect of digital technology give her unique couture a complex, sculptured effect with an astonishing visual impact.

As her work began to embrace technology at a deeper level, Van Herpen discovered she could push the boundaries of what fashion can do. She crafts an absolutely enchanting and unique world full of complexity structure and elegance. The designs seem to me to be biomorphic; infused with some sort of magical Geiger-like essence; at once flowing and organic on the other hand exacting, architectural, complex, detailed and angular.

“In all my work I try to make clear that fashion is an artistic expression, showing and wearing art”

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Here’s to the great Iris ven Herpen! I hope to see much more of your truly inspiring work over the years to come- truly amazing.

xxDS

 

ICONICA: Joseph Marr’s sugar sculpture

Sex sells and so does candy- as Australian artist Joseph Marr is eager to prove in his remarkable human-sized sculptures that are made entirely from sugar.

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Using both traditional and digital techniques, the Sydney born, Berlin-based artist uses the delicious medium in order to convey a sexually charged aura and to highlight “how we are trapped in the sticky situation and how attractive the tasty desire really is.”

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Marr’s sugar ladies give us a tasty visualization of desire and decay; a tantalising combination of both the sweet forbidden substance and stripped down sculptures.

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The translucent candy-like texture gives the naked bodies a sensual feel and its color and whimsical appeal. The alluring juxtaposition between the sugary syrup and the naked bodies represents the way that sexual relationships can be sweet and satisfying, but also turn sticky and tacky, like romance can feel in some contexts.

 

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His sweet women could also be a reflection of destruction and transformation, showing how beauty can fade (or melt) away in a blink of an eye. Marr therefore translates the concept of beauty into something that tastes super-sweet, but is not build to last.

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Marr colors his work with ingredients like cola and raspberry fruit; and has experimented with different substances for his other works, e.g. Ahoi Brause flavour (German effevescent powder) and licorice, preserved with several layers of polyurethane to make them durable. For example the 9 meter long installation ‘Together’ now embellishes the bar area at the infamous Berlin nightclub ‘Berghain’.

 

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Yum. You can view more of Joseph Marr’s delicious work on his website.

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