Seeing as Ralph Lauren’s empire is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, we’re promised at least four books about the brand (including Ralph’s autobiography in 2018) on the horizon. Rizzoli has got a couple planned, including the Ralph Lauren: 50 Years of Fashion retrospective in association with WWD and a third version of the 2007 monograph, which will be expanded with more imagery and coverage of the last ten years. It’s always vaguely disheartening to see slackers getting the opportunity to get the book in a better form as penance to us keen types for buying the book earlier (the slightly bolstered paperback reprint of the Osti book gave me similarly glum feelings), but it makes sense that another big birthday justifies the remix. Now I want to see the clothing step up to bring some statement greatness that supersedes that slew of streetwear homages of those glory days, plus a decent length documentary on the company’s growth over those five decades. Expect these around September/October (when an interesting looking Fiorruci retrospective is set to drop too).
The only way to keep moving during the first murky weeks of January is to find things to look forward to. 2017 always sounded like a futuristic year to me — The Running Man was set then, 30 years ago when it seemed like an infinity away — but it’s surprisingly mundane thus far. That said, the events of 2016 seem to have put the building blocks in place for something appropriately dystopian. As ever, I’m glancing back and getting a little retrospective and the impending Ryan McGinley The Kids Were Alright, which arrives as a book and exhibition (by Rizzoli and at Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art respectively) next month. 1998 to 2003 lower Manhattan life seems to be the central subject, with McGinley in an intimate role to capture the everyday antics of that world’s key figures. Expect equal parts optimism and nihilism. Continue reading RYAN
Since its inception in 1976, BEAMS has been helping define entire dress codes. Only knowing them as serial collaborators until I visited Tokyo for the first time in the 2000s, I was staggered at just how vast their presence was in Harajuku. I don’t know if I was just being easily wowed in the humidity, but there seemed to be an entire street of BEAMS stores. Crucially, the entire product mix and presentation, from kidswear to homeware to menswear was absolutely incredible. Now, with the gift of English language accounts of Japan’s love of Americana, plus the recent POPEYE reprint, everything makes a bit more sense. Fortunately, those smedium larges and a famine when it came to XLs saved me a substantial amount of money that would have been spent on things that just about fitted but were never, ever washed because of a fear of shrinkage making me dress like I’ve had an overnight growth spurt (insert Kenneth Williams innuendo face image here). Rizzoli are putting out a book with the company called BEAMS beyond Tokyo in February next year with contributions by Sofia Coppola and Nigo. Reading the promotional text around it, the project sounds more about the company’s working and collaborative process than a straightforward history, but that sounds good to me.
Rizzoli releases The Carhartt WIP Archives in October. As someone who grew up preoccupied with duck fabric in that shade of brown and paused Yo! MTV Raps trying to work out what the brand with the ‘C’ on the path was and who the heck made those weird half zip shirts with the monkey on the pocket, it holds a very particular place in my heart. With those vivid memories of days when I believed Carhartt and Ben Davis were just very conservative-looking hip-hop brands still etched into my psyche it was an honour to get the opportunity to contribute a little something for this book. The company’s European history is very deep indeed.
After briefly being lost in the Rizzoli publishing matrix, the UNDERCOVER book has dropped at colette ahead of its wider release in a couple of weeks. Jun Takahashi’s brand has such a deep history in connecting cultures doing the streetwear to higher fashion crossover better than pretty much any other brand hoping to bridge the gap has ever done. The book doesn’t skimp on the archive images, from invites to pieces to those Last Orgy articles that helped write the Ura-Harajuku blueprint during the early 1990s.
If you’re here, I’ll be presumptuous — and not in that irksome clickbait “You won’t believe what…” way —and assume that you own something by Ari Marcopoulos. Ari is one of the greats, working with the Gucci’s new order as well as Supreme, and his documents of NYC skate culture are immortal. Continue reading ARI UP
Most things that are given a punk prefix are pretty terrible. Right now — in an era of carefully curated nihilism — brands and contemporary culture seem to be trying to poorly resurrecting a packaged version of the spirit that inspired Malcolm McLaren all those years ago. They want to be GG Allin but most seem to be coming off more like the moody kid from the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie wearing his Sid Vicious tee in the bad guys’ warehouse with the ramp and video games. Continue reading NOSTALGIA FOR ANTI-NOSTALGIA