Juergen Teller at Grisebach

If you read my journal or follow my Instagram for a while, then you’ve surely noticed my obsession with Juergen Teller and his work. So when I discovered that his two exhibtions open at Grisebach (one of the oldest auction houses in town), I marked 12th of September right away in my calendar as a mandatory trip to Berlin. And… my dream came true. He was there with his partner, Dovile Drizyte, they both signed books and talked with guests. I even took a photo with him – just couldn’t resist that opportunity (sorry not sorry)! He was happy I came especially from Poland to attend the opening… Ok, back to the exhibitions. Grisebach presents precisely two exhibitions with the photographer: “If You Pay Attention” and “Araki Teller, Leben und Tod”. “If You Pay Attention” was completed in collaboration with Drizyte, and features a series of photographs that were taken at the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, on an adventurous, heavenly, yet life-threatening journey through Iran. Drizyte, Teller’s partner, wore a chador during a part of their trip and consequently discovered a new identity whilst following this dress code. Teller recalled how: “I didn’t just want to take tourist pictures, I wanted to put something of myself or us into the pictures of Iran, but I didn’t know what or how in the beginning. At the same time, I haven’t yet quite found a way of photographing Dovile, my girlfriend. Sometimes it is difficult with people who are very close to you. It took me years to photograph my Mother.” Next door, at Villa Grisebach, Teller presented his new book, “Araki Teller, Leben und Tod” which was made in collaboration with the Japanese photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki. “Leben und Tod” is the culmination of their joint exhibition at artspace AM, Tokyo held at the end of 2019 and is published by Steidl. This deeply personal project centres on Teller’s “Leben und Tod” (Life and Death) series, in which he reflects upon the death of his uncle and stepfather Artur. Teller juxtaposes photographs of his mother and their hometown in Bubenreuth, Bavaria with images from his journey in Bhutan with Dovile that epitomize life and fertility. Inspired by this series, Araki asked to photograph Teller’s “childhood memory objects”, items that carry special emotional significance to both him and his parents. Teller eagerly collected these personal treasures, gathering toys, a porcelain figurine, and bridges created in the family’s string instruments’ bridge-making workshop. Araki’s resulting images are haunting, yet playful, creating a spellbinding tale once paired with Teller’s original story. Here’s a mix of my favourite works, juxtaposed with Grisebach’s beautiful space.

The exhibitions are on until the 7th of November! More information is available right here.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

The 2010s: Phoebe Philo’s Céline.

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Phoebe Philo‘s Céline.

This one is no surprise to anyone who reads my journal for a longer while. Phoebe Philo’s contribution to 2010s fashion – through the medium of Céline – is exceptionally significant. Phoebe’s fashion wasn’t minimalist as many tend to sum up. It was eclectic. Intelligent. Feminist. Feminine. Intimate. Lasting. Beautiful. From all the photoshop-free Juergen Teller ad campaigns (feauturing Phoebe’s favourite women like Daria Werbowy and Joan Didion) and store interiors (they felt like home!) to the music playing during the fashion shows (Cymande’s “Dove“, Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life“, Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s “I’ll Be There For You / You’r All I Need to Get By”…) and the shockingly rare on-line shop absence for an established label like this, Philo’s Céline was the ultimate favourite of many people (including me) for different reasons. While Phoebe is still off the fashion horizon, just look at all the brands that turn to her collections for inspiration (or actually try to copy her…). Yes, yes, we’ve got Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s The Row, Christophe Lemaire and Sarah Linh Tran’s Lemaire. But I really, really, really hope that 2020 will see Phoebe Philo’s comeback. Dreams come true!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Photos by Juergen Teller and Tyrone Lebon.

Catherine by Juergen

Here’s a gem from 2015. The one and only Catherine Deneuve (wearing Louis Vuitton only) photographed by the one and only Juergen Teller. This editorial never gets old.

Publication: Purple Magazine Issue 24 Photographer: Juergen Teller Styling: Vanessa Reid

Grunge is Back. Marc Jacobs Resort 2019

When Marc Jacobs presented his now iconic collection for Perry Ellis in 1993, he was rather close to being burned at the stake. Unapologetically grunge-isnpired, the collection went down with the leading critics and editors, except for Grace Goddington, who styled that equally (at the time) risky editorial for Vogue, visibly very obsessed with Jacobs’ bold move. Perry Ellis fired the designer right away, and became what it is today – a boring, apparel-focused brand for men. Quite unsurprisingly, the ‘true’ grunge world hated Jacobs for doing this collection, too, with Courtney Love and Curt Kobain reportedly burning the pile of clothing Marc designed with them in mind. But that’s history.

We’re in 2018, and Courtney Love’s daughter – Frances Bean Cobain – is one of the faces of Marc Jacobs, the brand. Even more ironic is the fact that Coco Gordon Moore, the daughter of Kim Gordon (aka grunge godmother) wears Jacobs’ newest collection called, wait for it: Redux Grunge. For resort 2019, the designer brings back 26 looks he designed for the controversial Grunge collection, now with his tag on them. The looks, shot by Juergen Teller (who used to be Marc’s long-time collaborator for years until 2014 – now might be back doing the ad campaigns!), are a testament to the brazenness and timelessness of the designer’s vision. They are as relevant today as they were revolutionary (or even infamous) 25 years ago. Well, that’s true – if not Jacobs, grunge would die with its subculture and never arrive to the mainstream. Crotchet cardigans, a midriff cutout knit dress as seen first on Kristen McMenamy (now on her daughter, Lily McMenamy), rainbow striped beanies, Dr. Martens boots, a cropped blazer baby Kate Moss would wear down the runway, chokers… well, it’s all pretty much identical. I can’t say it looks fresh – it isn’t the collection’s intention in the first place. But somehow, I like it, I like that free-spirited feeling being revived right now, at this moment. Still, it’s such a stark contrast to Jacobs’ saccharine and dramatic spring-summer 2019 collection… that you might really have problems with realising that one person can both do both, rough and sweet.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki, feauturing different visuals by Juergen Teller.

Vogue in 2018


Adut Akech photographed by David Luraschi for Vogue US.

Catchy phrases like “you see it first here, then everywhere else”, that stereotype of a PR-turned-editor who ‘discovers’ trends via social media, all that out-dated rush after the next big thing in fashion. Vogue was precisely that for the last couple of years. The main version, the U.S.-based one, gradually slipped from a prestigious title that represented art-oriented fashion photography (like Irving Penn’s captivating spreads or Richard Avedon’s ultimate fantasies) to shallow trend reports and the emergence of mass media celebrities on the covers. Of course, note that Vogue used to be a go-to read for over-privileged, white society ladies. Thankfully it became much more ‘for everyone’ and no longer reserved for the elites. However, with that, its smart reads became a minor, few page ‘necessity’, while deep, moving and simply speaking uncommercial editorials – a rarity. With the pace of globalisation and the edition’s cross-border spread, especially hitting off at the time of the new millennium, Vogue became an advertiser-packed, irrelevant magazine that was desperate to sell its stock. With a celeb wedding covers (the Kimye one comes to my mind first) and other attention-seeking tricks.


Beyoncé by Tyler Mitchell.

But something has changed, especially in the last couple of years. Not the editor-in-chief – Anna’s still there – but the image of Vogue. Maybe Trump’s election made the people working there realise the ‘fashion bible’ can’t be stagnant? And it has to progress? Educate its readers on social matters, make minorities’ problems vocal, represent diversity through models, artists, even the stars it works with? You might not be a mega-fan of Beyoncé’s music, but you must acknowledge that the current September issue is powerful. Especially because the cover was photographed by Tyler Mitchell, a 20-something photographer of colour. After the cover came out, I was asking myself a question – why we all had to wait all that time, until 2018, to see a black photographer create not only a September issue cover, but a Vogue cover for the first time in history? This could happen long, long time ago and become an ordinary thing. Still, I’m so happy history is being made on our eyes – and this really becomes an ordinary thing from now on. But not only this year’s September issue signals Vogue’s transition into a meaningful magazine. Presence of truly talented photographers with their own visions (like Jamie Hawkesworth, David Luraschi and Bibi Cornejo Borthwick) is pleasing, just like the profound selection of cover appearances (Saoirse Ronan in August!), features on incredible individuals (the one on the Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, who pushed our depictions of black experience with her fictional family sagas, is my recent favourite) and most important, ‘cause it’s Vogue, the take on current fashion industry (you can finally read about the statement-making niche – Marine Serre, Eckhaus Latta or Pyer Moss to name a few – not just the old guard Chanels and Diors).

But you might have already known all that and felt the same feelings while going through the recent issues of Vogue.

What you might not know is that Vogue is changing internationally as well, especially in Europe. Edward Enniful’s ground-breaking appointment as the editor-in-chief of British Vogue and his debut cover (starring Adwoa Aboah) isn’t the news, but still is a memorable event from the beginning of 2018. Vogue also went through major reinvention in Ukraine and Portugal not a long time ago. The Ukrainian version used to be similar to the pretentious Russian edition, until the arrival of Julie Pelipas. This fashion editor totally changed the image of local Vogue with the very non-conforming covers and courageous styling – think Alek Wek in a yellow puffa jacket and sequined, electric blue Balenciaga boots. Or Charlotte Gainsbourg in a statuesque Saint Laurent gown. The focus of the magazine became also much more concerned with Ukrainian designers, just like the off-the-radar names from Russia and Georgia. There’s just one unclear thing about the refreshed Ukrainian Vogue – no one can really find it on the newsstands, and my friend who went to Ukraine lately couldn’t get it even at the Lviv airport. Who knows, maybe the boldness of the last issues is too edgy for the local Vogue readers and that is reflected in the small distribution.

In case of Portugal, a big change occurred as well. Portuguese Vogue completely changed direction this year, parting ways with the former company that was a rather corporate, mainstream enterprise. With Sofia Lucas as the main editor and Branislav Simoncik as photographer-in-charge (he is clearly responsible for the Portuguese editions’s overall look), the magazine is thriving and gets national (and international) recognition. Got my hands on few issues during my Portuguese vacations this spring and summer, and I must admit – it’s superb. That cover with Debra Shaw is a masterpiece, while the photo shoots are divine, sharp, witty. And very far from commercial – it’s visible that the magazine’s leadership isn’t trying hard to sell bags and perfumes, unlike the Vogue edition in Portugal’s closest neighbour – Spain.

Polish Vogue appeared on the scene in March, and the first issue met with a backlash. As a Pole, I know that born-with skepticism we all have here in Poland, so I wasn’t surprised that the wider audience would ‘hate’ that Juergen Teller cover with the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw in the background (starring Anja Rubik and Małgosia Bela, who’s the editor-at-large). Knowing Teller’s body of work, I was obsessed with his contribution: the cover (that was criticised for being ‘too tilted’, ‘unprofessional’ and scratching that post-Communist wound of the country), the leading editorial with Anja (everybody went like ‘why is she posing with potatoes and cabbage?’) and the portfolio of Poland’s most significant personas and artists, from Lech Wałęsa to Monika Brodka (the most common comments I saw on social media on these: ‘I can take the same photos with my phone’. Well…) had me wow-ed. That was all very unprecedented, especially on the Polish fashion market. After the first issue, Polish Vogue decided to go for safer photographers, like Chris Colls, but not only. We had a brilliant cover by Tim Walker, starring Adwoa Aboah. But other than covers, what’s Polish Vogue like inside? Maybe not too jaw-dropping in terms of fashions, but definitely heavy on culture. And eager to move topics other Polish magazines are too ignorant (or scared) to touch. Womanhood, professional life, politics – the features with Adwoa and Christy Turlington (who’s the September cover star) are best proof for that. Aboah spoke about her Gurls Talk initiative and later prepared an entire event in Warsaw; Christy shared her thoughts on Poland’s oppression towards female reproductive rights and mentioned her foundation, Every Mom Counts.

The latest addition to the Vogue family is the Czechoslovakia edition. If you’re wondering, Czech Republic and Slovakia are two separate countries today, but probably the owners thought it’s a right, logistical step. The first issue – September – seems to be brilliant, just looking at the cover and the visuals released on Instagram. Karolina Kurkova, the Czech supermodel, stars as Olga Havlova, the wife of Vaclav Havel (the anti-communist politician, who was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first of Czech Republic). I think it’s exciting to see how that Vogue highlights its local history, tells a story of a powerful woman in a not an overly dramatised homage, and does it so aesthetically well. Also, there are some sneak peeks of Eva Herzigova, surreally photographed by Michal Pudelka – a bright native from Slovakia.


Karolina Kurkova by Branislav Simoncik for Vogue Czechoslovakia.

So, as you can see, Vogue is changing, or rather, growing up. The word ‘Vogue’ stands for something completely else in 2018 than in, let’s say, 2008. It also does develop globally, but through locality – the new members of the family demonstrate that the best. Vogue became daring again, but not stupid. Informative, but not exhausting. And again feels relevant in the its most crucial aspect – FASHION. Who would have ever thought Ukrainian Vogue will become as important and intriguing as the French edition? At times even better, to be honest. Can’t wait to see where Vogue goes in the next couple of years – equally in USA, and in Poland.


Adut Akech photographed by David Luraschi for Vogue US.