Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

04 FEBRUARY, 2009

Design, Life, Digital: Best of DLD 2009

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Predictability, simplicity, and why Munich is the epicenter of digital life and design.

This year’s DLD Conference just wrapped up in Munich last week, bestowing the wisdom of various Design, Life & Digital visionaries upon us mere mortals. And while some of the 20-plus talks were nauseatingly predictable (Mark Zuckerberg, we’re looking at you), we have a first-hand recommendation as to the most watch-worthy ones, thanks to a good friend who live-updated us straight from Munich.

First there’s the Telling Stories panel, dissecting the art of storytelling across a number of vehicles, from blogging to film to design. The panel featured New York Magazine icon Julia Allison, Seesmic founder Loic Le Meur, Argentinian architect-turned-filmmaker Fernando Sulichin, and industrial design’s youngest rockstar, Ora-Ïto.

Then there was the Fashion & Business discussion, featuring designer duo Marc Ecko and Xavier Court, and FOCUS Magazine correspondent Susann Remke.

But perhaps most fascinating was the discussion on Simplicity — an intense dissection of beauty and art through the prism of simplicity and understatement. The panel — comprised of social media expert Adam Bly, Mercedez-Bens Design division chief Gorden Wagener, Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett and iconic Italian architect Carlo Ratti — looked at the notion of simplicity from a variety of angles, from car design to content-sharing platforms to architecture, exposing some unsuspected universals that translate uniformly across a multitude of different disciplines.

See all the talks and panels on the DLD09 website and be your own judge.

Meanwhile, the live-streaming of TED 2009 begins in just a little while. Follow us on Twitter for exclusive real-time updates on the talks today through Saturday.

Thanks, Michal

11 NOVEMBER, 2008

Child Art for Grown-Ups

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What Superman, Tim Burton and 1,000 South Korean Children have in common.

There’s a reason why creative types often envy the imagination of a child, with its boundless freedom and its anything-is-possible vision. Some artists take that envy and turn it into creative fuel, using the whimsical world of children’s imagination as inspiration. Here are our top picks for child-centric art.

THE MONSTER ENGINE

Oh, those days when a piece of a paper and a pen or…imagine that…a crayon was all we needed to create fascinating stories and magical characters that could rival some of Hollywood’s most blockbustery output.

In The Monster Engine, NJ-based artist Dave DeVries takes those whimsical doodles and drawlings, and recreates them “realistically” with a grown-up artist’s eye.

The Monster Engine: Superman by Michael

The best part is that he only adds graphical sophistication and 3D realism to the images, without altering the child-artist’s creative vision.

This being said, some of the renditions interpret elements of the child’s drawings in peculiar ways, adding a new creative layer to the artwork. Like the fish flying out of this witch’s hand, a far stretch from the original doodle, which makes the image all the more interesting.

The Monster Engine: Witch & Fish

The Monster Engine is also available as a 48-page coffeetable book, covering the backstory of the 7-year project and featuring interviews with the children who inspired Dave’s artwork.

via shape+color

WONDERLAND

Korean artist Yeondoo Jung explores a different translation of children’s art. In his photoseries Wonderland, which you may recall from our Re:Perception issue, he takes those simple shapes and colors, and transforms them into high-impact, surrealist fashion photography.

Wonderland

The project is based on a the drawings of 5-to-7-year-old South Korean children, reconceived with live models, dramatic costumes and flamboyant colors.

Wonderland: Fox's Magic Trick

Besides the stunning art direction, we’re somehow drawn to that eerie grownup-child wold the images create, a place where wonder and magic are only limited by how we choose to perceive our subjective reality.

TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED

The creative link between the world of children and high fashion emerges once again in the December issue of Vogue UK’s with the Tales of the Unexpected editorial: a tribute to Roald Dahl’s, one of the most celebrated children’s book authors of the 20th century.

Vogue UK: Tales of the Unexpected

Starring the infamous Tim Burton and a slew of celebrity actors and musicians, the editorial recreates scenes and characters from some of Dahl’s most famous stories.

Vogue UK: Tales of the Unexpected

Shot by legendary fashion photographer Tim Walker, the spread brilliantly captures the very escapism that only high fashion can offer — an aspirational costume that outfits us for our grand dramatic performance in a staged world more beautiful and imaginative than our mundane reality.

via wickedhalo

09 SEPTEMBER, 2008

Sky Blue Sky

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Staycation takes to the sky, NASA’s gift for your next dinner party, how legends spend the summer, and what 15,000 optical fibers have to do with high fashion.

CLOUDS, CAMERA, ACTION

Summer has come and gone, and Americans are already filling their scrapbooks with photos from their 2008 staycation — you know, the stay-put vacation alternative enforced by those notorious gas prices. And while some have tried to make lemonade with it all by re-discovering and re-appreciating their home states (one has to wonder what a two-week appreciation of, say, Wisconsin entails), others have gone the other way: thinking up fun, creative stuff that can be done just as well in Manhattan as it could in the Maldives.

Case in point: Flickrer hb19’s sky play photo set, using nothing but the sky and a simple object to create clever scenes that take us back to those magical childhood days when clouds were dragons and unicorns and exotic fishes.

Our favorites: the brilliant smoking pinkie, the timely Space Needle as the Olympic torch, the subtle brush stroke, and the Luke Skywalkerish finger light sabers.

Proof for our conviction that there’s little better than the combination of free time, a camera, and human imagination.

via Photojojo

NASA 1, MAGIC 0

Before you get too enchanted with the heavenly magic of the skies, let us be the kid who told you there was no Santa Claus: NASA has finally discovered what causes the wonder that is the aurora borealis.

A year and a half after the start of the THEMIS mission (that’s Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms… what, it’s the government, they’re no catchphrase pros), a fleet of five satellites probing Earth’s magnetic field, scientists have pinned down the reason why the Northern Lights dance their magic dance: magnetic reconnection, a sudden burst of substorms, brightenings and rapid movements that occur when stressed magnetic field lines suddenly “snap” to a different shape, much like snapping open an overstretched rubber band.

This phenomenon, it turns out, is common throughout the universe and in our particular case happens about a third of the way to the moon.

So think of us next time you share this at a dinner party to boost your smart-cool factor, will ya?

COUTURE FOR THE EYE

That fascination with the summer sky seems like something Flickr amateurs share with the photographic legends of our time.

This summer, legendary duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott shot legendary model Giselle Bündchen for W Magazine‘s “Kiss The Sky” editorial, styled by the legendary Alex White. (See? We mean business with all that legends stuff.)

Besides the oddly brave use of seemingly safe color, we’re mesmerized by the enchanted play with light.

Stuff of legends, indeed.

via Fashion Nation

GEEKS FOR FASHION UNITED

Keeping with the theme of clouds, fashion and scientific geekiness, there’s a different kind of cloud extracting oohs and ahhs from its observers: the smart kids at MIT have built the Fiber Optic Cloud, a mind-blowing sculpture made of 15,000 optical fibers, each individually addressable and responsive to human interaction through hundreds of sensors.

The 13-foot cloud, constructed of carbon glass, contains over 40 miles of fiber optics and expresses context awareness — which means that when admirers interact with it through touch, it reflects emotion and behavior through sound and lightness-darkness signaling.

The cloud lives in Florence and launched as an ongoing project to rethink the fashion trade show concept on an interactive, sensory level.

We just hope it’s not nearly as moody as the divas of haute couture.

05 JUNE, 2008

Customization Gone Wild

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70% fabulous, respecting your inseam, how to add a 29th bone to your foot, and why a bear is missing an “e” but has plenty of nuts.

MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY

In this I-me-mine age, customization is already the expected norm. But what happens when it all runs rampant with made-to-order stuff offering OCD-worthy precision? Freud would sure have a field day with the anal-retentive nature of today’s consumerism, and who are we to stand in Freud’s way? Welcome to the Customization Gone Wild issue.

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Since we last featured Freddy&Ma, the design-your-own-handbag getup (named after founder siblings Anthony and Amy Pigliacampo’s childhood partners-in-crime nicknames) has branched out into more cool design-your-own stuff: plates and pillows, to be exact.

The concept is still all about rebelling against the mass-marketed fashions of today and takes a simple approach: to design your own handbag, you get to pick the bag style (tote, pouch, bowler, hobo, clutch and more), the leather trimmings (black, white, tan, brown, maroon) and one of the thousands of patterns (retro, geometric abstract, minimalist, flashy, you name it).

Then they make it for you.

Prices are based on the “canvas” you pick and range from $65 for the wallet-like metro clutch to $295 for the bowler. Or, if you’re feeling lazy and generous at the same time, just pick one of their Carry for a Cause Bags — 30% of your bag money goes towards Art Start or Crate Now, and 70% goes towards making you feel like a good person who just happens to be fabulous.

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Back in the day, you went to the tailor to get your custom-fitted suit, made from a fabric of your liking and with those buttons you inherited from your grandmother. Today, you are the tailor.

At least at MakeYourOwnJeans.com, where you get to do just that: make your own jeans. You simply submit your precise measurements and pick a denim wash. Then, these guys (who we’re pretty sure are Santa’s little helpers moonlighting those other 51 weeks of the year) stitch your unique pair together and enzyme-wash it so it’s all pre-shrunken and even-colored. The rest is between you and FedEx guy.

We dig the concept not only because the big O gave it a nod-off, and not merely because non-cookie-cutter style makes us feel special, but also because we believe everyone’s inseam is a very, very special place and should only be clad in something very, very special.

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Fact: there are 28 bones in each of your feet. Another fact: feet are ugly, especially the really bony ones. But guess what: now, you can have 29 bones and killer foot style.

We’re taking about Skins Footwear, the tech- meets-design hybrid that features a two-part shoe structure consisting of an orthopedic “bone” core and an outer collapsible “skin.” The idea is you get yourself a perfectly fitting, super comfortable bone and then pick a number of skins so you can mix up the look and keep the comfort.

These guys launched less than a year ago, and they’ve already been featured in The New York Times. (Which is almost as good a nod-off by Oprah.) Not bad for a skin-and-bones concept.

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We’re not quite sure if this next über-customizer is the result of dyslexia or pure genius, but YouBar is one “e” short of the Build-a-Bear concept: it’s a fresh-baked, handmade nutrition bar that you build yourself by picking the exact ingredients and even naming your concoction.

And you do it all online.

Here’s how it works: you choose one or two nut butter “bases,” up to 3 different protein sources, some nuts and seeds to add, throw in your choice of dried fruits and berries, add the sweetener you prefer (they even have Stevia!), stir in your favorite seasonings or a bit of chocolate, and add some grains and cereals if you’re so inclined. You can even infuse it all with a shot of vitamins, greens and/or fiber.

Many of the ingredients come in organic version and you can manipulate the proportions of all your choosings within a category (say, 1/3 soy protein + 2/3 whey protein) as well as the levels (not too sweet, extra nuts, etc.) It even calculates the bar’s nutritional value for you — talk about full control.

Then you give your Frankenfood a name and get 12 of your very own lovable, edible monsters for $40 plus shipping.

We, needless to say, absolutely love the concept — it indulges both our health-nutness and our control-freakness. And to think people settle for PowerBars.

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