Thursday, January 9, 2014

Musically Inclined! | "Atomic" by Blondie...

         AFTER THE ROLLERCOASTER of a year I had in 2013, I've entered 2014 a different guy. 2013 just broke me – a lot of things went down that made me really happy and also destroyed me: unprecedented, it broke me – and I've entered 2014 with the mindset of being on a new plane/level, clean slate and to look sharply forward because I feel that after all that this year is set to be monumentally epic. I'm very excited for the new that's to come, the past behind regardless of how much its echoes still reach me. I've been on the lookout for outstanding track pieces to mark this period of my life as I begin 2014 with their cool, relevant-to-me beats. I always remember segments of my life my the music I listened to in specific periods relating to the mood at the time. I think we all do that, but I'm abnormally nostalgic and have a crazy sharp recollection of the past. As the beginnings of 2014 unfold, I just wanna refocus exclusively on myself, rebuild myself intact, propel astronomically far- forward like never before, and enjoy myself by expressing myself fully uninhibited and without worrying about impressing others but only my high-expectations and aspirations.

New never-before-heard-by-me tracks that I've come across so far these nine days into January and that have hooked onto me have been Tom Waits' "Tom Traubert's Blues", Alanis Morissette's "21 Things I Want In a Lover (Dior remix)" (starting at 7:16), M83's "Oblivion", Chris Lake's "If You Knew (Original Mix)" feat. Nastala, and now Blondie's "Atomic"...



It's just got me movin' my head and groovin' with a smile on my face. haha. Just got me in a really fun, bright, cheeky mood for the day and where I need to be at. :) Can't help but tell myself, "Just let loose and smile, man, cuz you've got it goin' and the right deserving-person is coming for ya. haha. The past is the past and can't be helped. Just smile..."

In War,
Le Guerrier Neuf

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F&S Highlights! | Chanel Spring-Summer 2004 Ready-to-Wear...

         THIS MORNING I awoke and, as per usual, remained in bed for a little while – who the hell wants to get out of bed specially in winter anyway. I perused through CNN and read an interesting article on a recent major drug bust of methamphetamine in the village of Boshe in the province of Guangdong. A comment from a reader which really struck me was this...
"China never ceases to amaze me. I have heard of China having e-commerce village, chandeliers & lighting town, tooling machinery town, shoes village, toys towns, Christmas decorations town, etc, where the whole village or town makes the same category of products. But this meth village beats them all. I am glad the police put an end to this one. It seems like Xi's anti corruption drive is showing some results, because this meth village couldn't have existed for so long unless there was police corruption before this raid." - Daimler Altschuh
After personally now following developments in China since just as recently as 2010, I see where he is coming from with his remark. I, too, do hope progress against corruption does gain significant ground under Xi Jinping.

I also came across, through featured links from that CNN article page, on a page on fighting childhood obesity in my native U.S. state of Georgia and also an ad by Truth about a tobacco ad themed "scum" and targeting gays and homeless people. Crazy.

Well, before finally getting out of bed, I just really wanted to play my song I'm obsessed with at the mo' from Dior Spring-Summer 2004 ready-to-wear – a remix (beginning at 7:16 in the vid; seemingly only made for the Dior presentation) of Alanis Morissette's "21 Things I Want In a Lover". So I went to the YouTube vid and played the segment with the track. But then one YouTube suggestion on the righthand side caught my eye: CHANEL Spring-Summer 2004 RTW.

I had never seen a CHANEL presentation preceding Fall-Winter 2009/10 RTW (part I / part II) – that was the first ever CHANEL presentation I ever saw fully for the first time right at the time it was shown and I began trying to follow CHANEL for each presentation ever since. I had been familiarizing myself on things online since late-2008, though. Mainly through the images and CHANEL News (which has not changed much at all since then in comparison to Around that time I began familiarizing myself with things, Métiers d'Art 2008: Paris-Muscou was going on. My first Métiers d'Art to have been acquainted with and I've always looked forward to each Métiers d'Art since then as a finale highlight to my year. Fall-Winter 2009/10 RTW was then the first presentation I actually sat down and watched in the spring of 2009. I only cared for ready-to-wear at first because I was just easing myself into understanding all this "complex" (as I thought of it then) structure of collections and their purpose. It wasn't until late-2010 when I began paying attention to haute couture. The first CHANEL haute couture show for me was Fall-Winter 2010/11. Enjoyed the score and was impressed by the great golden lion (which I actually realized a few days ago was because of Coco Chanel's birth under the sign of the Leo; I'm so unexpectedly slow sometimes, LOL). But basically, I had been captivated by Karl Lagerfeld's genius for CHANEL ever since I first began familiarizing myself with the House in late-2008.

I appreciate Karl so much. He's epic. I consider him a great renaissance man. He's off his rocker with somethings, too, but what genius isn't? First-and-foremost, I flat out don't agree with his justification on the use of fur (and neither with Anna Wintour whom I also look up to as a commanding figure in the publishing world). Despite how great it can be made to look, and the craftsmanship that comes with it in fashion ateliers, the actual greater industry of fur is disgusting and barbaric. But anyway, Karl's creativity and detail is impeccable. It just awes me. Specially with what his team pulls off with haute couture and Métiers d'Art. His workmanship and train of wisdom great. It is. And take that remark from, me, a guy who reads on matters of the technical singularity, nanotech, bioengineering, terraforming, Classical civilization, linguistics, etc., just for fun. I also click with Karl on that level of always knowing you must observe and ever-learn and having an inherent penchant for being mentally and creatively involved and active in a plethora of areas and interests.

So no more ranting and on to the main matter. Okay, so I figured that, as I have seen Dior Spring-Summer 2004 RTW, I should check out how CHANEL looked at that same season, too. And so I did...

The immediate thing that I recognized was how this was not at the Grand Palais as is now signature of CHANEL Haute Couture and RTW presentations. So I want to find out now when it was that CHANEL actually began presenting at the Grand Palais. I have a feeling it was in 2005? at the top of my head considering all the collections I've come across sparingly through the years. Not sure. Will have to research. But yeah. Interesting CHANEL runway setting. And I really like that woodwork.

The next thing, the models – their faces, hair, and body language. It's different. I mean, considering this was 2004, the styling of the makeup and the hair can be comprehended as of that period. It's just remarkable how distinct it can be made out in comparison to now in the 2010s. It's crazy. The silhouettes and styling of the clothing and the shoes, too. It's all very 2004. Referencing in my head images of styles from the mid-2000s, it's all there. I love the mid-2000s. It was the best of many things in general before the coming of the Great Recession which signaled the end of an era. :/ #Nostalgic

And yeah, that body language combined with the music is also a main highlight for me. Probably the biggest. It's definitely markedly different from CHANEL today in a way. At least with this 2004 presentation, it was fun, spirited and subtly cheeky to a level I've never seen in CHANEL shows of now. Fun, amusing smiles and poses and moves for the camera and crowd, reclining and jumping onto the table playfully. The whole thing – the whole presentation – is just relaxed, fun, and, another thing, modern and vintage-esque. (Because of the music and the spirited nature, I just couldn't help but be beautifully recalled of Gilly Hicks by Abercrombie & Fitch during its 2008-2010 years of the GH I love; the GH Labor Day 2010 playlist featured a remix of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" which the original was featured in this CHANEL presentation). Apart from the music featuring Blondie, while speaking of vintage, you can't miss those cassette, vinyl disc, and Rubik's-cube-inspired inspired accessories. haha

Furthermore, just check out that play of signature CHANEL tweed. Love it. It's always great seeing how it's always reworked collection after collection. And one of the pieces which really stood out for me were the tweed trimmed coats. Really cool. Quite 2004. haha. And then that varsity jacket! Definitely have never seen that for CHANEL before.

The military-inspired necklaces are also awesome.

After watching CHANEL Spring-Summer 2004 RTW, I got into a really jubilant, spirited mood for the day. I really did! I love it. Specially because I've gotten hooked onto Blondie's awesome "Atomic" which has now officially entered my playlist of songs as soundtrack for these early days of 2014! I think this just may have become my favorite CHANEL show ever.

These two girls were defs the highlight of the show! Hell yeah!

In War,
Le Guerrier Neuf

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Musically Inclined! | "If You Knew (Original Mix)" by Chris Lake feat. Nastala...

         THE TRACK I am now obsessed with at the moment among some others this early-January 2014. So good..

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F&S Highlights! | Dior Fall-Winter 2009/2010 Ready-to-Wear...

         SINCE THE LAST days of 2013 and on into the current early days of 2014, I've had John Galliano's outstanding eccentric, theatrical, poetic, romantic aesthetic allure in my mind quite strongly again. I've loved Galliano always since Summer 2010 when I – at age 18 – first saw my first Galliano show, Dior Fall-Winter 2010/11 ready-to-wear. His influence on me in terms of romanticism has been profound and affected my personal literary work taking a new direction. I connected with the emotion of his work and made me realize that I am, above all, a deep romantic. That's what it was about me. It's why I appreciate him so much. I click with him on a high level. I've always looked up to him since then. But anyway. I've currently been studying more and more of his collections for Dior than ever before. I just really wanna submerge myself as deeply into it as I can now in 2014. It's time to do so. New collections I've come to study personally have been Dior Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2000 (the infamous "homeless" collection), Dior Spring-Summer 2002 ready-to-wear, and I've been most obsessed with Dior Spring-Summer 2004 ready-to-wear as of late (of which's remix of Alanis Morissette's "21 Things I Want In a Lover" I play on repeat everyday now on the vid; I'm so pissed off the remix from the show isn't available for download). See, what happens with me is that both the collection and the accompanying music have to both compliment perfectly to completely captivate me...

A new collection I've come to check out is Dior Fall-Winter 2009/2010 ready-to-wear. I have only ever seen in video and images the collections from the 2010s and the early 2000s so I definitely wanted to venture below the 2010 belt for a change and checked out this 2009 collection.

I've gotta say, it started dull and unappealing to me in the beginning. Not because the collection at the start was dull, just the initial track – "You Don't Know My Name (Acapella)" by Alicia Keys – was not an attention-getter in compliment with the starting pieces. Just did not match. It was like water and oil to me. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Alicia Keys as much as the next person, but it did not suit well at all. Transitioning into the remix of Taylor Swift's "Love Story" is when it began picking up and actually blending well. Then when "If You Only Knew" by Chris Lake feat. Nastala eased in with beautiful, smooth electro beats and I nodded a hell yeah. haha. Perfection. (I'm obsessed with that track now, by the way). I guess I just enjoy the modern, elegant electro-tune with the 1920s-esque looks to create together a balancing contrast in amazing anachronism. And anyone who knows me knows how much I love anachronism; it is another great aspect of Galliano's work, too, that I also appreciate. The remaining presentation was great. The collection in its entirety was great.

The rest of the songs in the presentation are "Don't Upset the Rhythm" by Noisettes and "No Stress (Club Mix)" by Laurent Fox.

Another thing to pay attention to apart from the music are the models' faces (makeup and expressions), body language, and attitude when walking for a John Galliano-designed collection presentation. There was nothing like it in high-fashion as what you would see during Galliano-era Dior and for his namesake John Galliano label. There is always one or so which stand out for me above all else. In this presentation, it was this one...

Her pale flesh; the light, soft clothing on her delicate frame; her eyes, severe nose, and cheekbones; and her hair. It's beautifully, elegantly ghostly. It also remarkably brought German filmmaker Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis (1927) to mind for some reason...

I guess because of the model's hair which looks like a helmet which I translated subconsciously to scifi which I then went with Metropolis since it was a 1920s film of which then that decade was of a note in the collection. Full circle. And now that I furthermore think about it, the model also reminds me of the character Elizabeth Shaw in Ridley Scott's Prometheus (2012), and I had initially perceived Noomi Rapace's look as one of female in classic olden scifi à la Metropolis...

Metropolis was the first feature length flick of scifi. So everything in this train of thought kinda references back to the flick. Whatever. It's just stuff in my head and what that modern, anachronistic Dior look connected with in terms of what's in my head.

The full look...

So yeah. That's the cool thing I got from this one look (#26). Very interesting. The rest of the collection was awesome. Classic, romantic, smooth '20s-esque Galliano. What I have also noted since last Summer is that Galliano very much seemingly loves the 1920s. It's rather apparent, I just had never given it much thought until Summer 2013 when I was in Roaring-Twenties-high over Baz Luhrmann's revolutionary 3D anachronistic adaptation of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) which, no joke, became my all-time favorite film even before it even premiered. See, me and John just click on a lot of things. haha. He's such a great, sublime genius in the fullness of his consciousness and heart. I cannot wait for his full-on comeback. Long live Galliano!

In War,
Le Guerrier Neuf

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Friday, June 7, 2013

F&S Highlights! | Dior 'Secret Garden 2 – Versailles' (2013)...

After having begun this week terribly with me being distraught, things have begun improving positively since Tuesday night...much to my amusement as if the universe finally decided it was done messing with me to the lowest point. Now, the latest joy to come to me this week is the release by Dior of its 2013 sequel to last summer's groundbreaking 'Secret Garden – Versailles' promotional film. You can not imagine the euphoric surprise which arose in my heart and mind when, while scrolling down my Facebook news feed, I came across a video link (previewing a screenshot of the vid in question), shared by Dior, with the accompanying words: "Exclusive: 'Secret Garden 2 – Versailles'. Watch the film now." [My "came-across" moment happened Thursday before 2:20PM EST]. My eyes just widened in a most amusing way as one would see upon a child whose gotten sight of an encore treat galore! Of course, my mouth also opened in a wide, open smile! ...And I may have looked as comical like one of those icons used on Facebook messaging, too!

My immediate response comment on the link:

" :o Last summer I fell in LOVE with the original 'Secret Garden - Versailles' so poignant with its modern romanticism. It's now what I consider THE best promo vid by a fashion retailer. And now there's a second one? Better not disappoint! "

And honestly, I was fearing tremendously that this sequel would disappoint in not meeting on par or above the levels of greatness of the original classic. But there was only one thing left to do: watch the just-released sequel and be transfixed or not:

In the first second, I had a fleeting feeling it was dull. But two seconds in, and I became enthralled by the opening eyes of Daria Strokous in a beautifully shocking new look which signaled that this was the latest 2013 evolution of the Dior romanticism as initiated and expressed by the 2012 original. Then the title appears in the courtyard of cool, soft cinematography...and Depeche Mode began to croon in lovely dark romance – "Behind The Wheel (LP Mix)" – as Daria uncovers her face from behind a "Dior"-signed hand fan..."Oh little girl..." ...then a cut to her in black in the woods...then to being in the Grand Trianon at Versailles...a drop of a flower (flora, so Dior)...then her back to black in woods, though now with interludes of quickened motion through the fog of mystery and romance in territory sublime by design of man and nature. In muted lighting all under a cloud of gray...such a beautiful atmosphere in which to showcase vibrant color of the material and heart...dark romanticism in vibrancy. A profound dream. Such a circumstance of an environment – as in the 2004 film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (which is my favorite HP film) – in which I have delighted in myself since I was a boy. Heavy clouds, cool wind, and nature...with the color of my emotions and imagination at play. Such a beautiful atmosphere. Such a beautiful dream. Such a state as I have relished in since youth. My face frowned in tearful happiness...

I will not share how many times I have replayed the video. For two reasons, really: the figure is just on the point of obsessiveness, and it is furthermore beyond my count. At the time of my first ever viewing of 'Secret Garden 2 – Versailles', the video had already amassed 3.1 million views (not that I am responsible for most of that! LOL); and it is well on track to surpass the original (short version) now dubbed 'Secret Garden – Versailles 2012'. I still recall how, in late-May 2012, I was shocked at how viral the original had gone. I had never been aware of a promotional film from a high-end fashion house to have gotten so much attention – 7+ million around a mid-week after its release! – spreading across far and wide. Such was the unprecedented allure of the original...I had never seen anything like it before! And now the sequel has arrived to make its mark on Summer 2013. Epic.

The most important thing, I feel, is that this film is THE final note of settling in the foundations of the Raf Simons era at Dior. The original 'Secret Garden - Versailles 2012' was of Dior in transition, and it was released a month after the announcement of Simons as the new creative director. The following months were of Simons familiarizing himself with the House and he then began releasing his first collection for each season (i.e. first Fall-Winter haute couture, first Spring-Summer ready-to-wear, first Spring-Summer haute couture, first Fall-Winter ready-to-wear, etc.). His last "first" was for Resort 2013. And that's it. And now the 2013 sequel is released around a month before the presentation of Fall-Winter 2013/2014 haute couture. This sequel is the finale of the first founding year of Simons at Dior. This sequel represents the new Dior and caps off the founding year for the house to venture on into its new era. The Simons Era is now firmly set from here on out...and Dior is now at a new, higher stage in continuance of romanticism but now through the lens of relevant modernity. Amazing.

Enraptured, I do hope that a full length version is released of 'Secret Garden 2' as was the case with the original 2012 one. I really hope so, and I have a feeling there is a long version coming soon, because, at 1:06 minutes, it is NOT feels as if there is genuinely more to this...there has to the story...than just that...just like its classic predecessor.

Furthermore, considering the success of the original and sequel, I also believe that Dior may likely turn this into a 'Secret Garden - Versailles' trilogy. Meaning, the final installment may be released Summer 2014. And I feel like a trilogy would be more suited because then it'd otherwise become a risk of overextending the fabric of 'Secret Garden' with all great works, it can only go so far without ruining the masterpiece with excessiveness. But if they do decide to go with a fourth installment, and even beyond, then it'd be their endeavor in light of their creative discretion. And I have full trust in Dior.

If anything more, I'd like to also note my appreciation for the return of Daria Strokous as the star of the film – and hopefully the star throughout the rest of the series wherever it'll go – and of signature Depeche Mode for the soundtrack; it's a beautiful continuum of human expression, visually and musically, bounded in emotion, as initiated in the 2012 original.

"Model Daria Strokous is the protagonist in this creepy short that asks the age old question, “What if an insane model stole your Dior bag and ran off into a haunted forest with it?" / " know this girl is batshit [crazy]." / "[And] you are left wondering WTF just happened? ...Dior happened. That's what." Take a look at the super hilarious parody GIFs by BuzzFeed Fashion (here)!

Read more of 'Secret Garden 2 – Versailles' on DIORMAG (here).

In War,
Le Guerrier Neuf

P.S. The above scene is a creative nod to the impressionist painting, Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, by Manet. Et l'Impressionnisme is among my top favorite artistic periods.So that, really, 'Secret Garden 2 – Versailles' bridges from neo-Classical, through impressionism, and into modernism in romanticism. Across space and time, insane, it is, as me in dream.

P.S. P.S. I had "Behind The Wheel (LP Mix)" by Depeche Mode on replay, in my iTunes library (because I HAD to have the song), the entire time I was composing this post. :) [thumbs up]

Written content © C.E.R., Le Guerrier Neuf. Intellectual property violations prohibited.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Photography! | Tobey Maguire for Prada Fall-Winter 2011/2012 in GQ magazine...

Wednesday night, I took it upon myself to photograph, with my personal aesthetic, spreads of Tobey Maguire for Prada as seen in the flagship American GQ magazine's September, October, and November 2011 issues. The following are the finished pieces of the night's shoot....

The photography was furthermore included in the premier guest post, which I was most humbled to compose and submit, to a most wonderful fashion & style blog, Bows & Beau-ties, founded and headed by my close friend, Aimee P. All about beautiful shirts and what they mean to me – specially this Summer 2013! – the post also ventures down an interestingly interlinking chain with Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, Sex and the City, and Prada. Make sure to read the insightful post (here)!

In War,
Le Guerrier Neuf

Written and photographic content © C.E.R., Le Guerrier Neuf. Intellectual property violations prohibited.