→ 19 Dec 13 at 4 pm
Chiaki Kuriyama photographed by Mika Ninagawa, 2004.
Chiaki Kuriyama photographed by Mika Ninagawa, 2004.
Character portraits for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, 2012.
The Red Warriors were a Paris street gang who used violent force to remove Nazis from France in the mid-late 80’s.
“Elegance Road” is a photo series by Belgian photographer Alexandre Van Enst that captures the non-conformist style and dandy attitudes of a Kinshasa-based fashion and lifestyle SAPE collective.
The African Society of Elegant People, the “SAPE” was born in the years after the independences of Congo-Brazzaville and Zaire.
Today there are two major schools of “SAPE”, respectively inspired by the French and Japanese aristocracy. They clash with high fashion brands, millimetered steps and gestures, from Paris to Kinshasa, during parades in honor of their founding masters, or simply at the Mass of Sunday.
Codified art of sham, glamor and “hast thou seen” for some, for others the SAPE is a metaphysic, a special relation with the question of being and appearance. Sassy, narcissistic and rebellious, the “sapeur” is a romantic.
“Elegance Road” showcases these heroes of modern times. In the decadent sceneries of the city of Kinshasa, from Lemba to Bandal through Ndjili, Matete and Limete, the “sapeurs” of the “War of hundred years” defy the power in place: the Leopards.
Led by the great masters such as Tshikose, Sesele and Kadhitoza, the Congolese dandies constantly reinvent themselves to shine.
In 1937, two women wore shorts out in public for the first time. They drew a huge amount of male attention and caused a car accident.
Clubbers at the Batcave, a Goth nightclub in Meard Street, Soho, London, circa 1985.
(David Montgomery/Getty Images)
An exhibition of photographs taken by well-known Indian fashion photographer Rohit Chawla was recently held at the Religare Art Gallery in the capital, Delhi. Titled “Goa Style”, the exhibition showed pictures of foreign travellers visiting the holiday destination of Goa. Mr Chawla says he met these people - whom he calls “nomads” - on the streets of Goa and photographed them at his home, standing against a white wall without any styling or unnatural posing.
He says the “nomads” he met came from countries such as the US, Easter Island, Chile, Spain and Russia. The men and women - with tattoos and body piercings - came dressed in dramatic outfits made with lace, leather, fur and feathers and immediately attracted attention.
Western photographers often come to India to look for “exotica”, so Mr Chawla says he took these pictures to show the “exotic tribe” of foreigners who descend on Goa from all over the world in the winters. Mr Chawla says everything the men and women in the photographs wear is created and made in Goa. "Their style quotient is better than the work of many of the world’s best designers," he says.
Mr Chawla said he had no problem persuading the people to pose for photographs as “Goa is such an easy-going and friendly place” where people trust each other. The photographer says some of the men he photographed could be described as the “global avatar of our own Naga sadhus” - the naked, dreadlocked Hindu holy men who were the biggest draw at the recent Kumbh Mela festival held in the northern Indian city of Allahabad. "They couldn’t tell me why they flock to Goa but many come from colder climes, so it’s not surprising that they want to enjoy the warmth of the beaches during the winter months," he says.
Originally a fashion photographer, Mr Chawla’s photos have been featured in international magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Marie Claire.
Walking the Streets of New York, 1946. Photography by Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine.
Harlem Style 1930’s via Waheed Photo Archive
The Dapper Rebels of Los Angeles, 1966
In the summer of 1965, riots broke out in the Watts neighborhood of southern Los Angeles. Over a six-day period, 34 people were killed, 1,032 injured and over 3,438 arrests were made. In 1966, LIFE magazine revisited the site of the worst riots America had ever seen in its history. The photo essay depicting the region’s ‘fearsome street gangs’ however, turned out more like a fashion shoot for dapper style…
This article is such an interesting look at the history of black fashion, quintessential “Los Angeles” style, and how we perceive early gang culture. I’m fascinated with the pride of dress shown by the “dapper rebels” and the dignity presented in their portraits and photos.
Delving into the art of visual storytelling, these highly intricate renderings are an ode to the serendipitous connection shared between people, and the back stories that lie behind every individual. While some stories are hidden, others appear as subtle cues- where a smile, a look, a stance or way of being can have their effects felt on strangers and friends around us. Here, the lovable hedgehog is used as a symbol to connect these fairytale-inspired pieces, which speaks of how we are but co-authors in each other’s lives and ever-evolving identities.
Once again, my deepest gratitude to Mad Nest and UNIFORMfor making this happen as well as my illustrator, Arlene Rieneke.
The “Unusual suspects” exhibition is held til 30 May 2013 at Mad Nest (378/380 East Coast Road), alongside the brilliant photographers at lilreddotfolks, SHENTONISTA and Sartorial Daily.