Tuesday, September 20, 2016

/ˈblōbak/ by Ayman Baalbaki caught me by the throat

Despite the political and economical status quo, every night you can attend at least 10 happenings in Lebanon that can actually blow your mind, and it is this energy that I try to convey, the energy that keeps us going...

I was left breathless yesterday by Ayman Baalbaki's /ˈblōbak/ at Saleh Barakat Gallery and I cannot not keep it to myself.
Only two artists of our generation made me feel this way: Marwan Sahmarani, and Ayman.
Why? Personal impression that involves no one but me: they are the most sincere and the most genuine on canvas.
We do have lots of talent, but to me it either falls in brainy conceptualizations or into the decorative category. Again my own opinion, and that's why I don't share it a lot. But Sahmarani and Baalbaki put their guts in their work and that, is indeed priceless.

When you arrive to Ayman's "Beirut Concrete" wall in the oh-so-perfect space of Barakat's gallery, your jaw drops. Our own collective memory, our history and chronic turmoil are on that one wall, depicted simply with painted concrete blocks!

The exhibition explores the irony of the blowback theme in general, "denoting the unintended, harmful consequences—to friendly populations and military forces—when a given weapon is used beyond its purpose as intended by the party supplying it". And so every piece depicts one particular event in History, the 1983 explosion of the American Embassy in Beirut, the flag burning incident in Quetta, Mea's bombing in 1968, the 1559 resolution... Those events that were a boomerang to those who provoked them, and still causing ripples today. 

But really I'd rather say no more, because I want you to get off your seat today and go see for yourselves.


Saleh Barakat Gallery
Clemenceau, Justinian Street, where the old Masrah el Madina was.
Monday-Friday 12pm-7pm | Saturdays 12pm-7pm

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

> Why Titanium SIA sang only 1 hour in BYBLOS

SIA is a millennial artist: being an introvert, she still managed to reach massive stardom at 40, hidden behind her wigs! And contrary to most of you might think, yesterday's show was not a concert or a simple live gig! SIA's show was a LIVE ART PERFORMANCE with sensational actors and dancers on stage moving their EVERY MUSCLE, FACIAL EXPRESSION and EMOTION!

SIA was telling us, throughout this #NostalgicForThePresent one hour show, the universal story of our anxious generation, paranoid about our puppet masters, with our fear of rejection and our fear of commitment.. And when we finally find the one, how our relationships morph into monstrous connections.


Now the answer to your question: Because SIA knows how much we the viewers value our live streaming, our addiction to video and everything visual, instead of simply putting live cams to transmit what was happening on stage to the LED screens left and right, SHE ACTUALLY FILMED THE WHOLE SHOW PRIOR to the real one. This way, you can have many cameras, traveling smoothly, showing you every bit of Ryan Heffington's choreography, every move, every tear, so you DO NOT MISS anything. 
Now can you imagine how difficult it is to synchronize a one hour video art with everything happening on stage, right up to the nano second?
It is practically almost impossible for more than a few minutes. Artists do it in 3-4 minute chunks like Pet Shop Boys or Stromae at Byblos before, but what SIA, the amazing 14 years old Maddie Ziegler and their fellow artists have done here is PURE ART my friends, the kind that should be in Museums...

Last but not least, I think that SIA might have had prepared an "encore", but because we the Lebanese audience are so lazy, she did not understand that we really appreciate her... For God's sake, what happened to APPLAUDING? This is how you show your respect in a concert! Is it too much physical trouble? The nanny is not here to do it for you? Ok shouting is cool too, but applause is contagious and it should be, like SIA, UNSTOPPABLE!


Monday, July 25, 2016

> New ZARA F/W 2016 campaign directly inspired by painter J W Waterhouse

Browsing through my fav blogs, I started discovering images of the new ZARA lookbook for the coming fall:

Photographer Mario Sorrenti & Stylist Francesca Burns named it the "Disco Forest", but it seems to me this is much more a Victorian Forest coming right out of the paintings of John William Waterhouse (1849-1917), from the Pre-Raphaelite movement:

Here, look again:

Same palette, same poses, same mood...

Don't get me wrong, I love being inspired by paintings or literature for my work, just like Hockney, Warhol or Wilde,
in fact sometimes I am afraid the art direction is stronger than the collections I am displaying. But what puzzled me in this particular story is that they did not mention their inspiration anywhere, not in press releases, not in articles.. unless i did not find them?

I am aware that sometimes I go far in my settings, but I do love real inspiration and story telling that invites my viewers to go the extra mile, whether they actually do it or not.

My two favorite JW Waterhouse paintings: Boreas, Lamia & the Soldier

What about you? Were you ever confronted by the importance of package v/s content? Art direction v/s fashion collection? 

Monday, June 27, 2016

> Adios Lookbooks... Hello Fashion Videos!

If like me you are a lover of all things pretty, even if you don't work in fashion, design or online marketing, you must have noticed the shift in mediums lately.
Of course "Print is NOT dead", in fact the book industry is doing quite well, and even if everyone is on kindle, many still love the touch and feel of paper.. Personally i even love the smell! However since I try to be eco-friendly I try to keep my books and magazines virtual, & I treat myself to an actual hard copy from time to time as a guilty pleasure...

But something is actually dying, hence our title today, and it is the Fashion Catalogue! 
It's a century old industry and even though we are still addicted to consumerism and fast fashion, we consume less and less catalogues. 
Why? Because Fashion Video is the new Music Clip! 
Even lookbooks are now tiny portions of moving images, as if from snapchat, just remember those Mango Cara + Kate Led screens at the beginning of the season...

Even when there is no particular story telling, the shift is here and it is beautiful eye candy! 

But when it actually tells a story, oh my, that's ART for me:

And will you look at that too:

Pure quintessence of all arts: fashion, graphics, composition, music, art direction, film direction...

The trend is also for fun, user friendly videos, where everyone can identify, like for example these videos for the brand I work for, Superga Italian sneakers:

This is the unique Man Repeller...

And here's one from our very own Lebanese bloggers, Elsa O & Bubblegum Fashion Face, for a workshop we organized together:

Fashion videos are even messing with other worlds, like cinema for example, and the great Kingsman X Mr Porter Collection
where the boutique from the film was actually a real pop up on Savile Row (I wrote about it here on Joesbox...)

Or Fashion meets Gastronomy by Mr Porter :

Of course, you have tutorials stars, like our youtuber & Leb Sweetheart Maya from Playing With Fashion,  or fashion event reports or many other styles..

In conclusion, you can do whatever you like, keep it around 1 minute, think of the details ( idea, composition, light, VO...) and the world is yours!

I leave you with an NSFW video by fashion guru Alvaro della Herran, for GQ men's fashion magazine, Spain:

Kinky isn't it? The theme is euuh, used and abused, if you permit me saying so ;-) but it is wonderfully interpreted and shows off suits quite well..

Hope u have good internet to enjoy all these,
love xx

Monday, May 2, 2016

> Old is the New Gold!

Some things simmer quietly here and there, with no particular connection, until one day they perfectly merge together into a blog post that says: write me now, write me now!! Have you ever had that feeling?
Allow me to tell you more:
A few days ago, Rana,  my designer friend, delighted me with beautiful collector gifts from the Iris Apfel x Le Bon Marché exhibition in Paris. 
Iris Apfel is a 94 years old fashionista, who refurbished the White House for 5 different presidents, and wandered around the planet for eclectic deco items and glorious personal accessories. She has a unique sense of style and a unique sense of humor. She calls herself the "Geriatric Starlet" and says that she'd rather be happy than well dressed...

Second simmering story: I am really eager for Season 2 of my favorite Netflix show to start: Grace and Frankie.
Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin are in their sixties when they find out both their husbands are sleeping together, and have been doing so for years... They have to reinvent their life at 60! Show is hilarious, actors are amazing, and writing is exceptional: Highly recommended!

Third simmering story:
Yesterday, I was lounging and browsing, enjoying my last vacay day, and I stumbled upon a post by my stylish elder friend Rebi, showing these pictures:


After some digging, I discovered they were from a blog and book named "Advanced Style" by Ari Seth Cohen, an ode to the confidence and beauty of fashionable ladies and gents who are enjoying their later years with grace and panache...
And coincidence of coincidences, Ari just published (Saturday!) his new book: "Older & Wiser", and is currently on the launching tour.

Connecting these dots together, it seems that 70 is definitely the new 40! And according to this article in my fourth casserole, we are all gonna live more than a hundred years: so if you're going to flaunt it, do it with style, or many different styles.

I leave you with this thought from Iris again: "More is More and Less is a Bore" which is the direct antithesis of my last campaign ;-D but it only applies to the over 60 !!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

> Subdued: Soon in Beirut!

If you know Subdued, you'll be thrilled to find out it's opening in very few days in Beirut!!!

And if you don't know it, here's the pitch : Subdued is a brand for teenage and 20 something girls but since we are all young at heart ;-D we're rushing to the boutiques (2 locations in Beirut) to get our hands on the accessories, backpacks, funky sweaters, lovely jewelry....

The Subdued girl has a playful and effortless style, she is a free spirit and is not afraid to speak her mind spontaneously...

With 30 to 50 new arrivals each month of bodysuits, bikinis, funny socks, ripped jeans, tons of shorts, flower dresses, (and i'm not even getting started!), AND mostly cool affordable prices, we now have a new reason to go shopping!!

Now i don't know who's most glad about this, my 2 teenage girls or me...

Oh and you should like their page now, cause there's a contest and a chance to win lots of outfits :-)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Less is More JAUNE rebranding campaign

I know I always shared sneak peeks of my work before they went public but this time, given the ultra confidentiality i could not. I waited for the shops to open and the look book to be sent!
But now we can share it with the world:-)

As you know, Rectangle Jaune has been on the market for 28 years, strong with their high end quality DNA, they shifted to a smaller name, JAUNE, in order to reach more and go global.
To embrace their new design motto "Less is more", we decided to remove the pocket label and use only the yellow threads on the second button as signature:

Fun, right?
Also we brainstormed for weeks for the best concept to explain this uplifting and came up with these films, created by myself, directed by Ghassan Koteit and produced by The Filmhouse :

And this one starring Maya from Playing With Fashion:

In a nutshell, we are saying that while we are proud of our heritage, "change is the only constant"! So we simplified our approach to be more minimalist and enhance our essential qualities, which is in the current Zeitgeist...
Above a picture from the TRENDS wardrobe: new structures and patterns, with closer cuts.

On the blue background, a picture from the ICONS classic wardrobe.

And this last one is from the ACTIVE palette, with bold colors and nautical themes.

To celebrate the new branding and to present the collections into their perfect setting, BLEU design renovated our flagship boutiques. The elegant mix of rough wood and dark steel with bright yellow convey an atmosphere of boldness & warmth, portraying perfectly the style codes of the modern gentleman.

As you see, rebranding a landmark is not an easy step and it involves every possible aspect; for instance the website Jaune.me developed by ActiveWeb follows the same "Less is More" spirit:

Which is also conveyed in the publication:

This barely sums up the works did in every field to boost this launch, but more reports and posts are coming very soon so stay tuned! ~M

Monday, March 21, 2016

Vis ta Spontaneité! McDonald's Switzerland refreshing TVC

Still trying to catch the name of agency & director but here we go:
to celebrate spring, mothers' day, my 9 years of blogging (!!),

Funny, fresh, not afraid to show the product in extreme situations, full of REAL people, people of all kinds, NOT THE PERFECT CLEAN FAMILY (that doesn't exist) EATING PERFECT PRODUCTS (that don't exist either). Coming from the country of "clean", It's so fun to see this "dirty" ad.

My husband who's a film director said : "someone got fired after this!", I think on the contrary someone got promoted :-)


Friday, February 26, 2016

#FashionFriday: Meryl Streep in 'Out of Africa'

"I had a farm in Africa once..."
This is the sentence I remember as a child when i sneaked into my mother's room while she was watching this movie on VHS.

You know I'm always inspired by fashion & film, so today I wanted to talk to you about this epic one.

"Out of Africa" is a 1985 drama movie by Sydney Pollack, based on the novel by Danish author Karen Blixen.

It tells the story of a strong woman of the early 20th century, who takes on a plantation farm in Kenya. As her husband is more of a "wanderer",  she is the one to take care of everything despite all the obstacles, meeting Denys Hatton (Robert Redford) along the adventure. 

The great performance of this amazing duo is tripled by the performance of the movie wardrobe, designed by Milena Canonero.
She did a marvelous job with the costumes, which are of a timeless style, and are still wearable today!

In fact this film inspired lots of collections in the late eighties by Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Mugler and others...

I wish i could tell you more, but that would be Spoiler Alert :-)
So what are you waiting for ? Go rent it, or download it!

Monday, January 4, 2016

> Composing a picture gallery wall

 If you look around you these days, many homes, restaurants and fancy boutiques feature a beautiful wall of pictures in their deco. 

This vintage trend is not so difficult to recreate, and gives a personal and cozy touch to your home.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you...

You can keep it simple and sleek for a fancy symmetrical look, all frames are alike of course in this case:

Or draw an imaginary line in the middle of your wall and compose over and under, still fancy but a bit more dynamic. 

Frames are alike but of different sizes:

My absolute favorites are however eclectic & whimsical walls with all sorts of frames and objects:

If you like the whimsical option but are afraid to compose, here is a pattern for example:

Let your inspiration flow, and don’t be afraid as there is no wrong or right in this. It’s all about your own taste.

Look at this last fun example, beautiful ceramic plates scattered unevenly, giving a huge effect:

Simple yet with bold character!

You can check all those picture sources and much more ideas in a pinterest board I created especially for you right here. Enjoy, and start creating...


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