Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31

Halloween on a budget:
Who says you can't afford a Halloween costume this year? 

Get out there and trick or treat, guys. Note this lad's appropriately colored shoes. So little gets by me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29

Dean & Dan Caten: DSquared2

Identical twin gay brothers Dean and Dan Caten, born with the surname Catenacci, are a Canadian creative design duo who are fashion designers. They are founders and owners of the high end international fashion house DSQUARED2.

DSquared2: not your grandmother’s runway show

Now in their late forties, Dean and Dan Caten say they started out by designing denim, because they weren't allowed to wear it when they were growing up. "Our Dad, like a lot of older people, thought denim is for poor people," said Dean in an interview. The twins were in a family of nine children, raised by a single father, a welder, in Toronto. They say their success in the fashion world is probably due to that modest background. "I think sometimes the less you have, the more creative you have to become," Caten said. "It's not having the things you want in the fashion sense. We didn't have great clothes growing up, and we didn't have fashion accessible to us."

DSquared is based in Milan, Italy, and it now has moved light years beyond denim, but the twin’s collections are still tinged with Canadian themes, Dan said. "Doing a collection, we start with a theme, and that gives us a point of departure – cowboys, matadors," he said. "We're telling a story. It's like making a short film. When it comes time for the runway, we have the set, the music, the lighting – will we make it rain or snow?"

Their clothing, the denim in particular, is a favorite among musicians like Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, and Madonna, who asked the duo to create more than 150 pieces for her 2002 Drowned World Tour. The design duo did the costumes for a recent Usher world tour, as well. The brothers opened their flagship store in Milan in 2007, complete with an exclusive Champagne bar, and subsequently launched locations in Capri, Kiev, Istanbul, and Hong Kong. In 2010, they were the hosts of Launch My Line, a design competition reality show on Bravo. They have launched a signature fragrance, have designed football team uniforms and have collaborated with Fiat automobiles. In 2009 they launched Dsquared for Sirius Satellite Radio's BPM Channel, and somewhere in there I forgot to mention that they have a designer line of sunglasses. Their products may be purchased in the U.S. at high retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and at select fashion boutiques. A link to their on-line shopping site is at the end of this post.

Dean and Dan, who divide their life/work between Milan and London, create their collections in Italy: “Born in Canada, living in London, made in Italy”.

“We are the two simplest people on the face of the earth. We have come from nothing, have made something, and we’re giving back to everything that we ever came from, everything that we support.”

But I digress, gentlemen. Let's have a look at some tan lines:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25

Photographer Herbert List

Gay German photographer Herbert List (1903-1975) was the son of a prosperous family that ran a coffee brokerage business. List received a classical education in literature at the University of Heidelberg but apprenticed at his family’s coffee company, which afforded him travel to Brazil, Guatemala and Costa Rica. He began taking photographs during these business trips, and his legacy became black and white homoerotic photographs of young men.

In his earliest photographs List shot portraits of friends and composed still lifes with a Rolleiflex camera, using male models, draped fabric, and masks – along with double-exposures. He had a fascination with Surrealism and Classicism. List explained that his photos were "composed visions where my arrangements try to capture the magical essence inhabiting and animating the world of appearances.”

In 1936 List left Germany to take up photography as a profession, finding work in Paris and London. He was hired by magazines to shoot fashion photography, but he soon returned to still life imagery, producing photographs in a style he called "fotografia metafisica", which pictured dream states and fantastic scenes, using mirrors and double-exposure techniques.

During the late 1930s he traveled in Greece, where he took photographs of ancient temples, ruins, sculptures, and landscapes that were published in books and magazines. However, in 1941, during World War II, he was forced to return to Germany, but because one of his grandparents was Jewish, he was not allowed to publish or work professionally. In 1944 he was drafted into the German military, despite being homosexual and of partly Jewish ancestry. During the war he served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris allowed him to take portraits of Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miró and other international celebrities.

While working as art editor of Heute (Today) magazine he joined Magnum, a cooperative of photographers founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, among others. For whatever reason, List contributed only sparingly from 1951 until the mid 1960s.

For the next decade he concentrated his work in Italy, where he began using a 35 mm film camera and telephoto lenses. In 1960 he shot portraits of Marino Marini, Paul Bowles, W. H. Auden and Marlene Dietrich (shown). Soon thereafter he gave up photography to concentrate on drawings, recently displayed at Berlin’s gay museum (Schwules Museum, Mehringdamm 61). Although List died in Munich in the spring of 1975, his style lives on in the work of Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber, particularly.

Trivia: In 1988, Stephen Spender published The Temple, a roman à clef of his pre-war years in Germany; the novel includes a character named Joachim, who is based on Herbert List.