Friday, December 24, 2010


June July 1988 - October 1989 - August 1992

Christmas... What a fantastic excuse to slacken off and float through the consumerist craze that has come to define this celebration (unless, of course, you prefer using your common sense rather than mindlessly throwing your money about just for the sake of being obedient to the diktats society has set). All bitterness aside, I could - at least - take advantage of the meaningless atmosphere of this all to get offered a couple fashion-related books I had been eyeing forever, among which Steven Meisel : Three Hundred and Seventeen and Counting, which pulls together all the covers the photographer has lensed for Vogue Italia from July/August 1988 up until April 2009. This book may seem too meager a mean to round up twenty one years' work (back when it was published) to some, but I personally apprehend it as an encyclopaedia not only recording Meisel's major body of work but also lifting everything it consists out of from undergoing the onslaught of time and neglect.

December 1992 - August 1993 - October 1996

The front cover is adorned with black capital letters superimposed over a plain, white bakground while the back cover provides us with a mild overview of Meisel's work ; mild, if right on :
[...] Meisel not only depicts fashion. He defines it and gives it cultural reasonance.
Way to 1) set the tone 2) sum up a two decades-long undertaking in a handful words 3) express why I admire this photographer better than I ever did. Meisel has seemingly been slagged off quite a lot recently, as well as Vogue Italia has been claimed to be going downhill. As a fan of both the photographer and publication standing in the midst of this all, you would expect me to react indignantly, but being a fan shouldn't preclude from being realistic, and fact of the matter is that I consider 2010 to be more of a down than an up for Franca Sozzani and what she's come out with.

March 1999

Nevertheless, this book helped me comprehend that the views on Steven Meisel I had been holding up until one day ago were actually incorrect. I used to think he had never been outdone because of his capability of singling out current phenomenons at the right moment and basing his photography on them, which is inaccurate. Not only does he master topical fashion photography but he also knows how to give birth to typical, though amazing, fashion photography. That is why he is unparalleled. He can swing back and forth from reality, irony or harshness to beauty, luxury and dream, and that's why I cannot pick on him for going from Water and Oil to Vision of Feminity as nonchalantly as possible. I think that's what every image-maker worthy of the name ought to be able to do : make the beauty that may not surround us on a daily basis more accessible, broaden the primary goal of fashion to more up-to-date of a function, get us to face up to reality, mock some of our current zeitgeists ; and sway between these styles in the blinking of an eye.

July 2000 - April 2002 - October 2002

However awe-inspiring and talented Steven Meisel is, here's to keeping in ming that talent is worth nothing when not left open the possibility of expressing itself and blossoming out. It is in collaboration with Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia, that Meisel has churned out fashion-forward and life-inspired concepts every month since mid-1988, and thanks to her that his visionary skills got to reach their peaks of intelligence. I've always felt Franca was unfairly left out of the cuddle in terms of public recognition, as opposed to her peers Carine Roitfeld and Anna Wintour, who relentlessly get put up on a pedestal and crowned as fashion godesses. Of course I'm not trying to play down Anna and Carine's impact on fashion, the control they had/have had over their respective publication and what they have achieved as business women but unlike Franca, they can't purport to uphold fashion as a thoughtful art and can't take pride in setting creativity above selling clothes, that's why I can't help feeling resentful when realizing how poor the recognition the latter's gained outside (and even inside) the tight fashion-lovers crowd is.

July 2003 (Supplements) - November 2003

I'm sorry to harp on this as much as I do. In real life I would tend to say being under the radar is nothing worthy of getting worked up over, but it's fashion we're talking about, and the fashion industry is miles away from real life. It's a world within which you can set forth the reputation that precedes you as a favour to make your way up. The image you cast is nearly as important as what you do, while what you do, however brilliant it may be, guarantees you neither acknowledgement nor praise. This is the realm of fashion, and this isn't lost on me. Should I necessarily swallow it down without further protest notwithstanding? Don't blame me, complaining is just organic to human nature, and making your complaints heard rises up as a safe balance between utter apathy and attempting to actually change something - both being absolutely intolerable to mankind.

August 2005 - September 2008 - March 2010

source : ; ; scanned by iluvjeisa @ tFS ; scanned by Mojopin @ tFS ; scanned by Proximity @ tFS ; scanned by Diciassette (17) @ tFS ; ;


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