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  1. by Niamh White .

    Niamh White on Abramovic and adidas

    Marina Abramovic is an artist that courts adoration and disdain simultaneously. While her current exhibition 512 Hours at the Serpentine gallery in London has received rave reviews, her recent collaboration with adidas on their All in or Nothing World Cup campaign has been the subject of some scrutiny. This and her high profile associations with celebrities like Gaga, James Franco and Jay-Z jar, for some, against the academic and critical work that she continues to amass.

    Abramovic’s artistic career spans over 40 years. She began performing in 1973 in Serbia, and over a short time became fully immersed in what was a highly political medium. Much of the performance art of the sixties and seventies developed as a reaction against a number of factors- art institutions' involvement in the Vietnam war, the commodification of art, discrimination and elitism in the gallery and museum systems, as well as widespread gender inequality. Abramovic, both individually and in her collaborative work with Ulay, contributed considerably to this movement and has continued to tirelessly expand the field where others fell away from it.

    Part of this has been to establish an archive for performance. Now the self professed 'grandmother of performance art', Abramovic has witnessed the turbulent reception and treatment of the medium throughout her career. The eighties heralded a certain amnesia that somewhat sidelined the performance art of the previous decade as an extreme reaction to an extreme time and it was largely replaced by an influx of painting and sculpture. The inevitable commercialisation of performance art took place. The editioning of documentary film and photography became the means by which these works were eventually transitioned into the market place. Theoretically, performance has also been continually re evaluated. The primacy or authenticity allocated to encountering the 'original' performance has been undermined as fallacy and the audience's original reception of the work is thought to be as mediated as any resulting footage or commentary. And so questions arise as to how to archive this medium without stagnating it. How to engage with the debate and enliven it. How to remember without assimilating into systems to which performance artists were so vehemently opposed.

    Abramovic is tackling these questions. Her performance Seven Easy Pieces at the Guggenheim in 2005 saw her re-stage key performances from the 70's including Acconci’s Seedbed, Valie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic and Joseph Beuys' How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. Each performance was revived in a different guise, finding relevance in a new time and living on through the flesh of their latest performer. The Marina Abramovic Institute is another step towards this. It is a centre in Hudson, New York that aims to be a home for long durational performance work. The artist came under fire for crowd sourcing the funding to open the museum, with the implication being that she was wealthy enough to fund it herself. But I'd challenge the mentality of this. By opening up the ownership of the institution and naming the contributors as founders, Abramovic undermines the very nature of an 'institution' and the hierarchy inherently associated with it. Her many founders feel an ownership and a belonging. They have an opportunity to engage with the space and shape the activities that are happening there. Abramovic is building a participatory and active community.

    Marina Abramovic's collaboration with adidas is the latest project to incite confusion and some derision within the art press. It is a commercial for a pair of trainers, but it's a cerebral one. The artist takes the opportunity of the World Cup- a global phenomenon that engages more of the world's population than almost any other event, and harnesses that community to introduce them to her craft. During the film, Abramovic explains the performance in a very accessible and clear voice over. She gives the context of the piece and details regarding its relevance, drawing on the parallels she finds between performance art and sport. The message is unabashedly positive, encouraging us to find strength in togetherness, commitment and perseverance. Amidst a sea of advertising that is seemingly hell bent on both overtly and subliminally bashing our self esteem into submission, this campaign is a welcome relief.

    This project and the others like it, introduce performance art to the masses and explain why it might have some application for people outside of the contemporary art sphere. This is an essential activity if the medium is to maintain the momentum it has gathered and create it's own history.

  2. by SHOWstudio .

    Industry experts round-up the best menswear of London and Milan

    Our round-up discussions our must-watch for fashion fans. The most acclaimed and celebrated fashion insiders congregate in our studio to review the shows in candid live-streamed chats. In case you missed our London and Milan round-ups, they are now available on-demand.

    Our London S/S 15 menswear round-up discussion featured Fantastic Man’s Julian Ganio, the FT’s Charlie Porter, Topman's Gordon Richardson, and Port’s David Hellqvist talking all things London menswear! The panel reviewed J.W. Anderson, Loewe, Moschino, SIBLING, and more, discussing the current function of branding as seen in Moschino and Bobby Abley’s MAN collections, the way designers create their own worlds (see Christopher Shannon’s ‘teenage bedroom’), and the function of LC:M compared with other fashion weeks. 

    Our Milan S/S 15 menswear round-up discussion had special guests The Independent’s Alexander Fury, designer Carlo Brandelli, and menswear columnist Tom Stubbs reviewing Milan brands including Versace, Prada and Armani. The gang discussed the idea of men ‘dressing sexily’, the athletic and ballet-inspired trends seen on the catwalk, and the concept of brands ‘owning’ certain colours, like Prada’s murky blues or Armani’s ‘greige’. Both panels were chaired by our own Lou Stoppard.

    Review the collections with the on-demand panels and our signature curated round-up reports! 

  3. by SHOWstudio .

    Congratulations class of 2014!

    We are proud to announce that our own Nick Knight has received a special award!

    Yesterday, Knight was honoured by the University of the Arts London with an Honorary Doctorate degree, in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of fashion photography. An Honorary Doctorate is the highest honour conferred by the university, the largest of its kind in all of Europe specialising in art, design, fashion, communication, and the performing arts. 

    ‘It occurred to me that when I first started studying, I was studying to be a doctor. And now, 40 years later, I’ve received a doctorate - it feels a bit ironic!’ Knight joked. The SHOWstudio team extends congratulations to Knight and the graduating class of 2014. 

    Congratulations graduates! 

  4. by SHOWstudio .

    Kristen McMenamy talks Mert & Marcus!

    Today, we are launching the next segment of Subjective, a series of interviews conducted by Nick Knight to unveil the history of contemporary fashion photography from the perspectives of models. This week’s interview is with Kristen McMenamy, who discusses her experiences being shot underwater, bondage-style with photography duo Mert & Marcus for LOVE magazine. 

    The picture is a murky underwater shot of McMenamy with her arms and legs tied behind her, in an authentic S&M style bondage pose. McMenamy discusses her initial discomfort, feeling claustrophobic and deep underwater without the ability to move or swim for air. ‘But I will do anything for a good picture,’ she says. When asked about the prospect of dying on a photoshoot, she laughs, saying many people in the fashion world would love it; ‘I won’t name names, but…’ 

    Watch this candid interview now, and stay tuned for more, rare Subjective interviews! 

  5. by SHOWstudio .

    Judith Clark explores Ugly through the work of Mark Cousins

    We're thrilled to have a new addition to our on-going Ugly series! Curator Judith Clark examines the ugly, beautiful and fashionable, juxtaposing her own questions on the subject with the work of cultural theorist Mark Cousins. 

    Twenty years ago, Cousins delivered a series of lectures at the Architectural Association on the theme of 'The Ugly'. Clark revisits this body of work through quotes, exploring his theories in relation to fashion. The result is an in-depth article that brings up fascinating questions around the definitions of ugliness, including its association with 'error' and that which is 'out of place', its relationship with beauty and its appearance in the discussion of genius. 

    'By making Ugly the new Fashionable, Miuccia Prada suggests that the Beautiful and the Ugly are recognizable and definable categories, and are in some sense the opposites of each other,' writes Clark. 'The Beautiful and the Ugly are aesthetic judgements based on consensus. We are always asking from whose point of view is this ugly?'

    Read the article now for a look at the philosophical concepts of 'ugly'.

  6. by SHOWstudio .

    Watch The Deep Web - a new fashion film by Nick Knight

    We are proud to launch a new fashion film by Nick Knight! The work, created to celebrate the KTZ and #BEENTRILL# clothing collaboration, explores the link between the limitless possibilities of the unconscious mind and the limitless possibilities of the deep web. In the fashion film, Knight explores the millions of layers that make up the internet and its resultant complexity. He looked to create a sense of 'things within things and layers within layers,' as a nod to the multiple portals one has to navigate and find to enter the deep web. This was explored in both the two days of filming that occurred when producing the work. On the first, BLADEE and ECCO2K of GRAVITY BOYS toyed with layers by 'live mixing' a performance directly onto their website, and on the second day, footage from the first day appeared directly on the body of model Betty Adewole via green screen paint. 

    Watch the fashion film now, and for a behind-the-scenes look, watch the live stream of the first day of the shoot!

  7. by SHOWstudio .

    Listen to the latest Fashion Mix!

    We have a new Fashion Mix! SHOWstudio invites fashion’s elite to compile a playlist of their ‘greatest hits’ to celebrate the link between music and fashion. Our mixes feature designers, models, journalists and photographers, and this week’s playlist is curated by journalist and editor of British GQ, Dylan Jones! Get a blast from the past with Bowie, The Clash and The Beach Boys. This playlist is perfect for summer weather! Turn it up.

    Take a listen now and browse through the rest of our fashionable mixes!

  8. by Marie Schuller .

    ITS Trieste 2014: Winners announced

    We are happy to announce Yasuto Kimura as the winner of the SHOWstudio prize at ITS Trieste 2014! 

    The designer who's collection comes from a Japanese cultural and historical background, challenges the conventions of business wear, redefining the working men's outfit with a sense humor and functionality. The SHOWstudio prize will enable Kimura to create a fashion film of his collection together with the SHOWstudio team and under the mentorship of Nick Knight himself. The featured garments will also be made available in the SHOWstudio Shop.

    Further winners of the contest that ended last night with the design finalists' fashion show as well as the award ceremony were Katherine Roberts-Wood who took home the prize of Collection of the Year, as well as CSM schooled Anita Hirlekar, who was awarded the Fashion Special Prize.

    RCA graduate Zoe Waters won the Diesel prize, consisting of a 6-month internship with Nicola Formichetti and his team, on top of a cash prize of no less than € 25,000.

    SHOWstudio congratulates all the winners and is looking forward to translate Kimura's creativity and talent into a fashion film.

  9. by SHOWstudio .

    SHOWstudio at ITS Trieste 2014

    For more than 10 years, International Talent Support has taken place in the beautiful Northern Italian town of Trieste. The event focuses on continuously discovering and supporting fashion and accessory designers, and has previously worked with Mark Fast, Peter Pilotto, Aitor Throup, James Long and Astrid Andersen, amongst others. Now in its 13th year, the creative platform and fashion contest directed by Barbara Franchin retruns stronger than ever, handing out cash prizes amounting to almost €100,000 to the lucky finalists, as well as a range of lucrative job opportunities.

    We are excited to be return to Trieste for a second year where our very own Marie Schuller will represent SHOWstudio on the fashion jury. Also judging the 10 fashion design finalists will be Style Bubble's Susie Lau, Marni's Consuelo Castiglioni, Floriane de Saint Pierre, and Diesel Artistic Director Nicola Formichetti who will award a €25,000 cash prize plus a 6-month internship with Diesel's Creative Team. 

    Although not present in Trieste, SHOWstudio's director Nick Knight will still be casting his vote! In addition to his jury services, Knight will award a special SHOWstudio prize to his chosen finalist; a fashion film of the winner's collection.

    Stay tuned to hear news from the event and details of the winner announcement tomorrow evening!

  10. by SHOWstudio .

    For Fa$hion's S@ke! An intriguing new panel discussion

    You may remember our editor, Lou Stoppard, posting about her trip to Helsinki, Finland. While she was there, she partook in the Aalto Arts Fashion Seminar at Aalto University, co-charing a talk titled For Fa$hion’s S@ke, which we are launching the footage of today!

    The panel had a fantastic lineup of speakers, many of whom are frequent SHOWstudio panelists as well! The discussion was co-chaired and curated by editor of A Magazine Curated By Dan Thawley, and featured LCF’s dean Frances Corner, milliner Stephen Jones, designer Lutz Huelle and sound designer Michel Gaubert, along with his partner and collaborator Ryan Aguilar. The talk was dedicated to the late Professor Louise Wilson, who was scheduled to attend but passed away just a few days before. The seminar focused on the accessibility of high fashion, the way technology and social media has revolutionalised shopping and design and the paradox of ‘affordable luxury’, amongst many other topics. 

    Watch this wonderful group of industry experts in a brilliant discussion now! 

  11. by SHOWstudio .

    See Margiela through a new lens

    We’ve got more exclusive content on our Collections page! 

    Maison Martin Margiela tapped into the creative world of Instagram! Graphic designer Adrien Brunel and filmmaker Adriano Valerio - two artists who both have a curiosity for the unconventional and an eye for the abstract - offer an unusual look behind-the-scenes at the Artisinal collection via the photo sharing app.

    Brunel captured beautiful black and white shots of the models in masks, captioning them 'The Very Fabric of Dreams', while Valerio got coloured off-centered shots, several from behind the models, to offer a different view. Be sure to check out their work on our Collections page, and don’t forget to follow Brunel and Valerio on Instagram! 

  12. by SHOWstudio .

    Margiela and Vionnet panels now on-demand!

    All of the haute couture live panel discussions are finally available on-demand, including Maison Martin Margiela and Vionnet

    The Maison Martin Margiela panel saw editor Harriet Quick, writer Bel Jacobs, and designer and lecturer Heather Sproat discussing the vintage-to-couture collection. ‘Haute couture is the purest form of fashion as art,’ said Sproat, with Jacobs adding, ‘I love the idea of taking something old and valuing it.' 

    The Vionnet panel featured couturier Deborah Milner, V&A curator Oriole Cullen, and Somerset House curator Shonagh Marshall, who sat down to discuss the idea of ‘demi-couture’ and Hussein Chalayan's role at the heritage house. Both panels were chaired by SHOWstudio’s own editor, Lou Stoppard

    Relive the collections and learn from the experts with all of our fantastic on-demand panels now! 

  13. by SHOWstudio .

    Lily Cole talks Terry Richardson!

    Today, 10 July, we are launching the next segment of Subjective, a series of interviews conducted by Nick Knight that explore the history of contemporary fashion photography as told from the subjects’ perspectives. This week’s interview is with Lily Cole, who discusses her experience being shot in the nude by Terry Richardson for The Pirelli Calendar. 

    The picture is of a nude Cole submerged underwater, shot from the naval up, with her arms crossed beneath her exposed breasts. As Knight points out, the image is ‘surprisingly romantic’ given Richardson's usual style. Cole paints a different image of Richardson than that which has been publicised recently - he has come under attack for misogyny and manipulation - saying ‘I like Terry a lot; I think he’s a sweetheart, a funny guy… he’s quite shy.' Due to a miscommunication between agent and publication, Richardson had planned to shoot Cole fully nude, something she was uncomfortable with, so the resulting image is a stripped back version of the original plan; ‘the picture felt quite safe,’ she says. 

    Watch this candid interview now, and stay tuned for more rare Subjective interviews! 

  14. by SHOWstudio .

    See resident artist Stephen Doherty's work at CAVE

    We’ve been lucky to have artist Stephen Doherty in the studio for the past few days, creating a gorgeous mural on the studio wall, which depicts different looks straight from the couture collections.

    See Doherty’s work in person at CAVE tonight, for the opening of Waiting in Now, an exhibition showcasing a new series of figures by Doherty that touch on themes of wilful distraction, wonderment, desire and restlessness. The exhibition features a collection of blue drawings made in the build up to Doherty’s S/S 15 collection. 

    Be sure to head over to CAVE to see the incredible designs in person, and in the meantime, be sure to tune in to our camera to watch Doherty finish the studio mural

  15. by SHOWstudio .

    Haute couture panels now available on-demand

    If you missed the live steams of our SchiaparelliDior, Chanel and Ulyana Sergeenko panels you can now watch them any time, anywhere with on demand footage! 

    We were thrilled to welcome a host of brilliant panelists into the studio to discuss the couture A/W 14 collections, including Judith WattJames Sherwood and Amber Butchart who unpicked Schiaparelli by Marco Zanini. The experts discussed the difficulties of reviving a heritage house, 'It's tricky to get that heritage correct without becoming cartoonish,' concluded chair Lou Stoppard.

    Lucy NorrisVerity Parker and Kerry Taylor joined Lou Stoppard to unpick Dior, musing on Raf Simons' suitability as creative director of the legendary house. 'It's a marriage made in heaven,' said Norris. Topics also ranged from the importance of a working archive to the sense of appropriateness currently seen in fashion.

    Our special guests for Chanel, Caroline CharlesHilary AlexanderGrace Woodward and Frances Corner, spoke about the modernisation of haute couture. The Ulyana Sergeenko discussion, featuring Hilary AlexanderDjurdja Bartlett and Anastasiia Fedorova, revolved around the emerging Russian fashion industry. 

    Catch up on these fascinating chats now!

  16. by SHOWstudio .

    Tune in today for our final haute couture panels

    Tune in today, 8 July, for our final live panels of the A/W 14 Couture collections!

    We begin with an in depth discussion on the Maison Martin Margiela show at 10:30 BST, with special guests including editor Harriet Quick, writer Bel Jacobs and designer and lecturer Heather Sproat.

    Then at 16:30 BST we're rounding up our haute couture conversations with a dissection of the Vionnet collection. We're welcoming V&A curator Oriole Cullen, curator Shonagh Marshall and designer Deborah Milner to the golden chairs to share their thoughts on the show. 

    Keep up with our coverage from the rest of the Couture shows over on our Collections page.

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