Voyager. Etro Pre-Fall 2021

For the past few seasons, I take peeks at Etro and I must admit that something good is going on there. Comparing to the pretentious dustiness I always had in mind when thinking of the Italian brand, now I’m really intrigued with its fresh, revived care-freeness. And guess what – it’s not about a new creative director, since Veronica Etro designs womenswear since 2000. “I’m a natural-born optimist, I always try to see the glass half full,” said Veronica to Vogue during a Zoom review of Etro’s pre-fall 2021 collection. Italy is still in its second lockdown with no sign that Christmas travels will be possible, but Etro nevertheless sounded positive. “When we finally get out of this – and we will get out of it sooner or later – we’ll be ready to enjoy life to the full again. To travel, to party, to meet with friends, to get our freedom back,” she said. With her hopeful disposition, Etro hasn’t been tempted in the least to propose the elevated version of the stay-at-home loungewear that many designers have turned to for their post-pandemic collections. She believes that fashion should help women to be better versions of themselves, no matter the circumstances. A need for comfort is an inevitable byproduct of our present WFH limitations; it can’t be ignored. However, she said, “Etro has always been about a natural sense of ease, so I didn’t have to change my perspective much. It’s more about celebrating the freedom we’re craving to go back to. I thought about the future, about the clothes we’ll feel good in, and how we’ll enjoy getting dressed.” The collection reads as a free-spirited round-up of the best of the label, individual pieces as imaginative and romantic as they are effortless to wear, spiced up with a dash of Etro’s haute-bohemian flair, and all worn by a community of diverse characters. Paisley-printed garden party dresses alternated with soft tailored pantsuits in plush velvet, while languid tapestry dressing gowns, richly printed kimonos, and jacquard-knitted cozy wool cardis looked versatile enough to sit comfortably in a masculine/feminine wardrobe. “Traveling is always a learning experience and I miss it terribly,” said Etro. So much so that in the look book a model carries an amusing XXXL paisley-printed shopper, big enough to hold the entire collection. A true voyager’s dream!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Support Brick-And-Mortar!

Two stores I love in Berlin: Andreas Murkudis and Sal Bazaar. Especially now, brick-and-mortar shops are having a hard time (I know it from a first-hand experience) and we should support the ones with authentic soul, a unique selection and a one-of-a-kind aura. Andreas Murkudis is my long-time go-to place (from Dries Van Noten and Yohji Yamamoto to the amazing space and beautiful art initiatives), while Sal Bazaar feels like the antidote to traditional fashion retail. This place is like an art gallery, really. Here you will find Dumitrascu, the place’s home-made label, as well as hand-picked, precious vintage and  ceramics made by local artisans. Everything is just so aligned with the owner’s taste. I know on-line is thriving and all, but REAL shops are the best. So, here’s a reminder: support them however you can!

Andreas Murkudis / Potsdammerstraße 81E

Sal Bazaar / Mulackstraße 34

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2020 Picks

I love Berlin. And I love it even more during Gallery Weekend! During this event, the city transforms into an art sponge, and really, anything can happen (another post is coming on this today…). Every year, traditionally in springtime (due to coronavirus it was postponed to September 11-13), around 50 galleries open their exhibitions by young and established artists and welcome numerous visitors. Gallery Weekend Berlin was founded back in 2005 as a private initiative by Berlin galleries and soon became one of the highlights of the international art calendar. The weekend celebrates galleries and artists within this unique format providing high-calibre exhibitions and an unparalleled experience of Berlin. Here are my three picks from yesterday, but stay in tune, as more posts are coming!

Ugo Rondinone‘s Nuns + Monks at Esther Schipper

Stones have been a presence and recurring material and symbol in Ugo Rondinone’s art. They are the subjects of the stone figures that he began with the monumental Human Nature installation at the Rockefeller Plaza in 2013 followed by Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada Desert in 2016. Both groups are the study and enjoyment of naturally formed stones as objects of beauty and contemplation, and in turn generate personal, meditative states of looking in which the boundaries between the outside world and internally visualized spaces break down. In doing so, Rondinone makes sculptures of what it means and feels like to see, whether this is understood to be a physical or metaphysical phenomenon. Nuns + Monks continue to address the dual reflection between the inner self and the natural world. Just as the external world one sees is inseparable from the internal structures of oneself, Nuns + Monks allows such layers of signification to come in and out of focus, prompting the viewer to revel in the pure sensory experience of color, form and mass while simultaneously engender in an altogether contemporary version of the sublime.

The exhibition remains on view through October 17, 2020. More here.

Richard Hawkins at Galerie Buchholz

Richard Hawkins moved out of Texas for art school in Los Angeles in 1986. Then, after a few years of writing experimental fiction, he began a career in art that would contain all of American culture in its erotic death grip. As a painter, Hawkins often swims in different directions – mining art history, as he has over the past two decades, to create surrealist, tragicomic scenes of gay cruising zones and exotic hustler bars. He also mines literature for inspiration, character cameos, and excerpts of text inserted directly onto his canvases. Hawkins new group of paintings for his 11th solo exhibition at Galerie Buchholz are brightly colored compositions that contain a constellation of subjects as varied as the celebrity hunk Nick Jonas, the boxer Canelo Alvarez, Justin Bieber, Adam Driver, but also “Death in Venice’s” Gustav von Aschenbach as played by Dirk Bogarde or Alain Delon as Baron de Charlus from “Swann in love”. Two of these paintings include snippets of poetry from the decadent Victorian writer Algernon Charles Swinburne. These new works originate out of the mindset of collage, the medium that is central to Richard Hawkins entire artists practice, but which is here emphatically transformed into painting. Hawkins’ subjects seem to dissolve in glowing, even fluorescent colors, and alongside his ensemble of reoccurring characters painterly references appear: butterflies by Odilon Redon, a dried sunflower and secreting opium.

The exhibition remains on view through October 2, 2020. More here.

Tobias Spichtig‘s Pretty Fine at Contemporary Fine Arts

In his first solo exhibition with CFA, Tobias Spichtig, Swiss artist, combines his new paintings and sculptures. Shell becomes essence, attitude becomes form, the existentialist gesture is being adjusted in the digital age. His work is generated through a vast circulation of reference, media, fashion, humor and materials. Engaging with visual culture through both traditional and experimental means, Spichtig’s conceptual narratives often use color as a means of connecting themes. His installations, sculptures, paintings, photographs and films address ever-changing notions of reality and the temporal nature of images. Also, he has recently collaborated with Demna Gvasalia on installations places at selected Balenciaga stores.

The exhibition remains on view through September 26, 2020. More here.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki, photos of Tobias Spichtig’s works via the artist’s Instagram.

Post-Confinement Berlin

Yesterday I went to my dear Berlin for the first time since the pandemy started in March, and I must say that the post-confinement crisis is real here. It was sad to see that some of my favourite restaurants and shops have completely closed down, and in general the city is quite sleepy. Hopefully good times will come back as soon as possible… Here’s a recap of my all-time Berlin places, as well as some new discoveries. Just remember to take your face ask. If you’re planning to visit the German capital anytime soon, make sure to look at my address book here for more great spots!

König Galerie

This gallery was founded by Johann König in 2002, and currently represents 40 international emerging and established artists, mostly belonging to a younger generation. The program’s focus is on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based approaches in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography and performance. In May 2015, König Galerie took up St. Agnes, a monumental former church built in the 1960s in the Brutalist style, where museum-like exhibitions take place in two different spaces, the former chapel and nave. Until the 26th of June, “Messe in St. Agnes” exhibition is happening here: over 100 works by artists such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja Kwade, Andy Warhol, Juergen Teller, Isa Genzken,  Eliza Douglas, Alex Katz and Katharina Grosse are exhibited and sold at the gallery.

Alexandrinestraße 118–121
Andreas Murkudis
Nothing compares to brick-and-mortar, especially after living the confinement life for the last few months. Andreas Murkudis is probably my favourite store in the world, and I hope places like this will survive the hard times. Get your Dries Van Noten, Cecilie Bahnsen, The Row, Loewe and Issey Miyake right here, just like niche perfume labels and gorgeous porcelain.
Potsdammerstraße 81E
Tschoban Foundation

What is still drawn today? Which architects continue to master the art of hand drawing? What place has the skilled use of pen and ink in an age of computer aided design? In the 21st century, virtually no architect seeks to persuade clients of their capacities as a designer by means of sketches or perspective views. In architectural education today, there is also less emphasis on learning the craft of drawing although the ability to convey ideas through drawing by hand remains essential in developing form and proportion. It is at this point that the Tchoban Foundation intervenes. Established in 2009 by Sergei Tchoban, himself a passionate draftsman and collector of historic architectural drawings, its extensive collection serves as a source for research on the history and nature of architectural drawing. An extensive library on the subject is accessible to experts and visitors. The overall aim of the foundation, however, is to present the imaginative and emotionally-charged world of architectural drawing to a broad public through regular exhibitions.

Christinenstraße 18a

MDC Cosmetic

MDC Cosmetic offers a range of exclusive, international cosmetics, supplies and accessories for a home spa and nutritional supplements. From Santa Maria Novella 1612 perfumes and Susanne Kaufmann bath salts to Astier de Villatte candles and Rahua cosmetics, this adorable, cozy space got you covered with all the ‘treat yourself’ kind of products. Cosmetic advice and treatments are available on request.

Knaackstraße 26

The Store x Soho House Berlin

A classic. From Bottega Veneta and vintage Irving Penn books to Balenciaga and avocado toast, this place has it all.

Torstraße 1

And for the end… flowers! I love walking around Berlin, because it’s so full of nature, wherever you go.

Loewe x Paula’s Ibiza in New Dehli

Here it is – Loewe‘s collection that traditionally wins the summer capsule competition of sunny, lounge-y resortwear. Jonathan Anderson continues his rhapsodic celebration of holiday wardrobe with a collaboration designed in partnership with legendary Balearic boutique Paula’s Ibiza. Of course, any summer vacation might be impossible for most of us this year due to the lockdown and financial struggles, but who said we can’t dream a bit and get inspired? This time around, the collection has evolved from a capsule into a fully-fledged men’s and womenswear offering, finished off with accessories including bucket bags, hats, a fragrance and, of course, those immediately recognisable technicolour sunglasses that have become one of the Spanish label’s signatures. “Ibiza has always been very dear and personal to me: it’s my deepest tie with Spain, harking back to childhood and adolescent memories,” Anderson explains. “I’ve always said that Paula’s Ibiza embodies the spirit of letting go. This collection of ecstatic abandon is part rave, part cyberdog, in acidic neons, faded olive greens, and sunrise orange.”. Back to capture the spirit of the collection once again was the extremely talented 19-year-old Gray Sorrenti, who photographed its vibrant pieces on a cast of models, dancers, stunt artists, and performers on the streets of New Delhi – the Paula’s Ibiza collection are about voyage, never about one place – before much of the world locked down. Now, the joyful, almost euphoric images offer a moment of escape: “As a positive and energising message, I believe it’s very apt for now,” concludes Anderson. Note: 40 Euros from each piece sold will be donated to educational projects supporting socially vulnerable children, following an initial gift of 500,000 Euros.

Look-book photos by Gray Sorrenti.