Friday, August 8, 2008

my UnVogue Informer articles

Red White and Blue Issue

American Models

I see models, everywhere. It’s almost as if they are following me, taunting me with their unbelievably long legs and increasingly young age. As fashion week rolls around, the West Village is overrun with all of these lanky youngsters; they are certainly hard to miss in a crowd. But what always strikes me most about these pretty young things is the fluid stream of French/Spanish/Russian drifting over from their conversations. It seems that American runways have become a giant melting pot for models from all over the globe, leaving the natives in what seems to be the minority. But fear not patriotic readers, for there are still a ton of up-and-comers who hail from the US of A.
Jordan Richardson was born in Norfolk, Virginia and graced the cover of our very first issue of UNVOGUE. Hailing from Colleyville, Texas, Ali Michael is another American model to watch. Besides starring in numerous Vogue editorials, Ali has made her name known for speaking out against the pressures to be thin in the fashion industry. Chanel Iman is an Atlanta, Georgia native, who appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue and has been photographed by Annie Leibowitz. Some more established American models like Bridget Hall have crossed over into Hollywood, appearing in films like The Devil Wears Prada and The Outsider. So keep your eyes peeled for these American beauties as they continue to flourish.

Dieu Ex Machina

There is a new brand in the world of luxury sportswear, and the clothes are a striking as the name. Dieu Ex Machina’s designs are clean and effortless, but capture a dark spirit. The label is the brainchild of Carissa Knapp and Thulinh France, two designers who met while studying at Parsons School of Design. They launched their line in the Gen Art Styles 2008 in New York City and plan to reintroduce the line in the fall of 2009. Both Knapp and France feel that their mission is to keep the customer in mind; they find the Dieu Ex Machina woman is moody and wild but also very fresh. The label’s lines are rather androgynous in their silhouettes, but still manage to capture a sense of femininity with their sensual fabrics and furs.

American artists

At the moment there are a plethora of young Americans dominating the arts scene. None have had their names become more synonymous with the youth of New York than Ryan McGinley. Originally a New Jersey to New York transplant, Ryan’s photography has been lauded for capturing the voice of our generation with particular focus on those who remain on the outsides of the norm. At 24 he was the youngest artist to ever have a solo show in the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2003 he was named photographer of the year by American Photo Magazine and in 2007 he received the ICP Infinity Award for best Young Photographer. His photographs often feature nudes in motion surrounded by large still spaces; his ability to capture his subjects is apparent in the New York Times Magazine Oscar Portfolio in which he shot the likes of Paul Dano and Ellen Page. Part of McGinley’s fame must be credited to his friendship with Dash Snow, another young American artist known more for his graffiti, outlandish behavior, and dominant roll in the New York social scene. The two were featured together on the cover of New York Magazine in 2007. In the upcoming year McGinley will be holding a number of solo gallery shows ranging from California to Portugal to Greece, truly spreading his vision of American youth and sub-culture all across the globe.

American dreams

The USA has been taking it hard lately. Between the war, the economy, and the President, our stock is not at its highest. Yet America has always been and still remains the land of opportunity. As natives we forget the vast opportunities that are open to us, and how lucky we are to have all that we do. Artists, writers, painters, students, teachers, parents, and children from all over the world still regard coming to America as a new chance and a new place to start a life. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the young talent that has journeyed to our shores to find success in their chosen fields. Gonzalo Garcia immigrated to California from Zaragoza, Spain after being selected by the San Franscisco Ballet School. He is now a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet. Junot Diaz moved from Santo Domingo to New Jersey when he was a child. In 2007 his first novel was published; The Brief and Wondrous life of Oscar Wao won the Pulitzer Prize as well as several other prestigious awards. Actor Dijimon Hounsou left Benin at age 13 and is now a naturalized US citizen. Hounsou has had leading roles in a variety of films, is the face of Calvin Klein underwear, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in two separate roles. These people came to American soils to achieve their goals, and we are all the more lucky that they did.

American Bands

The music of the 1960’s was heavy with political messages and societal commentary. Sadly, few bands of today harness that same passion and urgency towards making a change; it seems that the music of the millennium is more focused on money, fame, broken hearts, and sex. The Dixie Chicks are a standout among a sea of misogynistic lyrics, brainless whines, and pop beats. Attacking all facets of media and art, this country music trio has sung out their messages loud and clear. To be fair, the Chicks weren’t always this politically charged; their battles began after lead singer Natalie Maines made an anti war/anti Bush statement during a concert in London. After this incident there was a boycott of the Chicks’ music, and three years of drama surrounded their every move. In 2006 the Chicks released a documentary called Dixie Chicks: Shut up and Sing, which followed the girls through these years of abuse and accusations. The Chicks went on to win five Grammy Awards in 2007, and gained their positive public image back, now with political depth. Currently the ladies are taking a break, but still continue updating their ever-popular MySpace page with letters and discussions about government and society.

American Food

When I was studying in Australia, the question that I got asked most often was “How bad is American food?” Apparently it was assumed that I survived on white bread and processed meats, pizza slices, and the occasional gallon of soda. It took a while to convince my classmates that I came from some of the best food in the world, and that perhaps they should be questioning some of their own palate choices, such as meat pies and vegemite. When I think of American food I cannot help but spend time salivating over the Bromberg brothers’ Blue Ribbon restaurants. The brothers were originally born in New Jersey, but left the country to attend culinary school in France. In 1992 they returned home to open Blue Ribbon in New York City. Soon after seeing the immense success of the restaurant, the brothers went on to open sister eateries, including Blue Ribbon Sushi, and Blue Ribbon Bakery. Spanning throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan, these immensely popular restaurants cater to whatever urge you have; their menus stretch from wine to beer, oxtail marmalade to fried chicken. The Bromberg brothers take pride in their American background, and feel as though it contributed greatly to their techniques and therefore their success both in New York and abroad at school. While enjoying their duck sandwich and a side cheese platter, I could not agree more.

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