Monday, August 31, 2015

fashion as art or art as fashion ... LIFE gallery

Is there fashion in art or is there art in fashion? Such is a question that has baffled and been a great source of discussion and opinion for well over a century. With their latest show, Lollipop, the LIFE Gallery and its director Nicolas Saint Gregoire explore the notion via the featured works of  Marc-Antoine Coulon, Juano Diaz,  Sandro Giordano,  Ultra Violet. Monsieur Saint Gregoire was kind enough to answer some questions and so in his own words:
Marc Antoine Coulon

Ultra Violet

Sandro Giordano

Juano Diaz

Q-The simple question is “why this show?”
A- We wanted to have a vibrant and colorful exhibition and we made a selection of artists whose work would be a good fit in a pop art show.

Q- Please give us and definition of the show’s title
A-Lollipop represents something fun, flavorful and usually full of colors, which very much corresponds to the idea we have of a pop art themed exhibition.

Q- Is this your normal format and why this show?
A-We actually really like to do both group and solo shows, for different reasons. Whereas solo exhibition allow us to emphasize on the work of just one artist, group shows give us an opportunity to put different artistic visions in perspective and create a dialogue between the artists.

So, if you want to join the conversation, you might want to visit the LIFE Gallery in NYC during the run of the Lollipop show (September3-12) and maybe you can solve the quandary of fashion and art.

P.S.    There is something about all this that brings to mind Ethel Scull. You might have to google her.

                                                                               L I F E Gallery
617 West, 27 Street
New York, NY 10001

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Jacob Jon on being a male model

Continuing on with what could be should be and might be as far as men who model; I introduce you to Jacob Jon. He is the epitome of what could happen if designers had a more realistic viewpoint when it comes to who is wearing their clothes and who can afford those clothes. Mr. Jon is one of those amazingly and blessedly “flexible” men who can be the boy next door, an urbane urban warrior, a Greek god or a gentleman with rakish matinee idol good looks. The choices lie within the vison of those who can see reality rather than with those who only see the trend or possess some flawed notion based on the “last word” of a 20 something so called stylist, editor or casting director.

One more time it must be said fashion is about clothes and selling them. Where is the fantasy or the aspiration for a fledgling lawyer, a newly minted stockbroker or a salesman who loves clothes when you show ridiculous clothes on androgynous teeny boppers?  These trendy waifish so called models look like they haven’t even started to shave. Without men who look like men, how can a significant other say “oh yeah, my honey would look so hot in that!” I hardly think that most of the clothes and their visual representation offer much aspiration/inspiration unless you are of the fashion victim or latest and greatest mentality.

BUT I digress ... as the subject here is one Jacob Jon who possesses the versatility of male models that became legends starting in the 70s and 80s. We may not recall their names but we recall those faces that were emblematic of a generation. It is my opinion, that Jacob can join these hallowed ranks. You must admit that he is this sort of Clark Kent/Superman physicality that so few effortlessly own and even fewer who are as genuine, humane and real! He is a rarity in a business of superficial and via his perseverance and his insistence, he will be the next generation that outclasses, on so many fronts,  what we are now experiencing… we will see him in the USA as a major presence.
 Blake magazine

Blake Magazine

The secret to modeling is not being perfect. What one needs is a face that people can identify in a second. You have to be given what’s needed by nature, and what’s needed is to bring something new. ….Karl Lagerfeld

Tell us about you ...  your background… your history?
I grew up in Maine a small town called Saco. Very blue collar, everyone knows each other. Great place to raise a family. My mother was a LPN and my father was a shipyard worker. They separated when I was 10 but it really didn't matter to me. With my father always on road working it wasn't like he had much influence on my life. My mother was my mom and dad; she did a great job playing both parts. 

When and why did you decide to become a model?
Brace yourself this is long one. When I was young boy my mother used to take me to the doctor’s house she worked for … business family parties kind of thing. Always lots of people and children and from what I remember it was good times. Well there was a photographer who was friend of the doctor who used to pick me out of all the kids and ask me to pose and take photos of me. Nothing dirty or creepy … I never said no nor put up any fight … I would just go and do it. I enjoyed being in front of a camera. Still today, I was impressed at such a young age how confidant I was. The universe has such an amazing way to show you signs, even in the early stages of your life. Some time after high school I was working in the Gulf of Mexico on an offshore supply vessel as a merchant marine. Basically doing the same type of stuff my father did. I thought it was the right thing to do because having money and a good job was the norm where I come from. But my mind was on being creative. I, for some reason, just knew what I truly wanted to do. The only problem was that I was overweight and working these crazy schedules 6 hours on 6 hours off. So I dedicated two hours of my 6 hours off, when most of the sailors went to bed from exhaustion to working out. I heard from one of Chief engineers that my captain, who didn't really like me, asked them looking down at me from the wheel house while I was working out, "what's that boy doing down there?" He asked, the Chief replied “working out cap" captain replied "working out?! It's over 100 degrees on deck now!" It's fair to say I was dedicated and showing the universe that I was serious. Shortly after I walked off the boat hopped into my car and drove from Maine to Miami Florida and walked into agencies and so the adventure had begun. 

What do you see as your future? Your ultimate “destination”?
My absolute goal is to be a working actor, director and movie writer. I am already writing my first film now. I am constantly thinking of ideas and scenes in my head. The only way to shut up the images/voices is to write them down. 

Who would be your wish list in terms of collaborations ... designers... magazines... where would you want to work and why?
Calvin Klein would be one of them. His clothes fit me so well that I almost feel like Italo Zucchelli personally is making them for me. Tom Ford … the man’s a fashion genius. Magazines would be GQ (America). It's the holy grail of male modeling magazines. 

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you invite and why... they can be from the present or past?
Robin Williams- the man was hilarious. I'm sure it would be a show just to sit down and listen to him while we enjoyed our meal. 
 Gandhi -good to have someone at the table to say a prayer. On a serious note I read the man’s quotes all the time for inspiration.
 Stephen Hawking- I feel I am one with the universe but there is more that I would like to know. 
 Harry Houdini- the more I learn about him and his story the more I like him. He earned everything he got, self-made man. 
 My mother -Tamara Desrochers. Like me, she would me she would appreciate this cast of company for the meal.

Who do you consider to be fashion icons or possibly your mentors? They can be models or designers or anyone you feel is involved in fashion.
Tom Ford. I read his simple tips of how to everyday present yourself. You never know who you are going to meet or who is watching. Just by simply using eye drops to whiten my eyes before castings has helped double my bookings. Clients always look you dead in the eye during castings. Thank you Tom. 

You have spent a great deal of time in the orient, can you speak to your experiences there professionally and personally?
Working in Asia has been great for me. I came from America where castings are just looking at your book and comp card. Rarely do we need to go out in front of cameras and show the clients how we move. So when I first got here, I will admit that I wasn't very good or confident out in front of the camera. After 10 castings a day where I am forced to pose for clients you can imagine how fast I learned. Now it's like breathing. I love competing against international models. It's hard being away from home. You miss your family a lot but also you miss competing against Americans.  But Asia is where the money is right now and there's a lot of work. 

If you could choose any profession other than model what it would it be and why?
Here's a curve ball, WWE sports entertainer. I grew up watching it. I know it's just entertainment however those guys are awesome. They get to be actor and athlete. I'm a nice guy but I would love to play the villain. Be someone that I'm not and antagonize the crowd. It would be great and I think I could do a good job pissing people off …. Just look out for the flying objects

So far, what has been your most exciting time/experience/job and why?
 My favorite job...I know some of you are going to roll your eyes here, but every job is my favorite. I treat every job like it’s my last. Why? Because as a model I know I'm not going to book every casting. So when I can work I give my client everything I have because I want them to rehire me. There is no better feeling than walking into a studio or job site and seeing the same client who rehires you. You know you are doing a good job. That's money in the bank for you and steady work. Clients talk and you want them to say good things

Who or what has influenced you the most in your life and career or has given you the best advice and what was it?
This may sound weird but it's the most honest answer I can give you. My bullies. From the kids growing up to the teachers, even my old basketball coach who told me I sucked. Pretty funny coming from the guy who selected me for the team. My whole life, these people told me I wasn't any good … I didn't deserve anything and I wasn't ever going to amount to anything. I even can say the agencies that have turned me down when I first started, they are my motivators. I think about all of them all the time and remind myself to never quit and to stay focused. I remember how far I have come in such a short time… Truly thankful
Best advice my great uncle turned 90 something and I asked him … you have lived a long time on this earth, any advice…  "Never turn down a free thing; there isn't a lot of free stuff in this world. Even if you don't need it, take it and say thank you. It always comes across better than not" nothing poetic about this just simple good advice. Thanks Uncle Ben. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Emil Osmanovic .. the next wave of male models

Once upon a time male models actually looked like men. Yes, of course, they were an idealized or maybe aspirational vision or possibly an impossible suggestion of what all men could or should look like.  But, they were men and not androgynous creatures who look like the kid that got picked on in grade school for being “the 98 pound weakling.”  Most of what we see on the runways and magazine pages today are  boyish boys/men who look like they are barely 18 and usually in need of a cheeseburger, a hairbrush and some Clearasil. They shatter any aspirations, preconceived notions or even standards of male “beauty” … at lack of a better word. In other words the bar has been lowered about as far as it can go.

Today and later in the week, my point will be made that there is a next/new generation of men who will hopefully populate the international runways and editorial pages and they will look like men, albeit pretty extraordinary looking men. One might equate this kind of thinking or frame of mind with when movie stars looked like movie stars rather than any young man or woman you pass on any street. No matter how you look at it, fashion is about appearances and my esthetic senses are most satisfied when I see men of this ilk who have charisma as well as looks. Maybe we can return to what was once considered to be expected or in modern parlance… the normcore!

The secret to modeling is not being perfect. What one needs is a face that people can identify in a second. You have to be given what’s needed by nature, and what’s needed is to bring something new. ….Karl Lagerfeld

Granted beauty is in the eye of the beholder but there exists some almost universals/standards and since the men who can actually afford the clothes that these models wear are rarely  almost anorexic 20 somethings who look like recovering heroin addicts… well you get the picture!
First up is Emil O , of the smoldering Mediterranean looks, who hails from Montenegro, a teeny tiny country  which boasts visuals as handsome as our subject… in his own words….

   Tell us about you.. where you grew up and maybe something of your growing up and family... 
   My name is Emil Osmanovic. I am a 25 year old model. In the European fashion industry I am know as Emil Montenegro because I am from Montenegro. I have a degree in tourism and marketing from Mediterranean tourism university. I grew up by the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, a very beautiful small country.

  When did you decide to become a model and why? Four years ago friends suggested I enter a   
   competition for “Face of Montenegro". The night before the final competition we had a photo shootings. It was at this time I realized that I am very photogenic. The next day I won the competition and decided to become a model.

  What do you see as your future? In 5 years and maybe in 10 years?
  I do not like to plan very far into future because circumstances change quickly in today's world. I think ultimately I will be a designer. Modeling is a great platform for many artistic fields. I like to design fashion which I now do a hobby.

   Who would you want to work for... designers... magazines... where would you want to work and   why?
   I have already modeled for Vivienne Westwood and Roberto Cavalli. I would also like to work for  Valentino, Chanel, Dior, Versace, Armani, and Tom Ford. My wish is to be in all the major fashion magazines, especially Vogue.

  If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you invite and why... they can be from the present or past?
  Interesting question. I would like to invite Princess Diana, Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti
  Who do you consider to be fashion icons? They can be models or designers or anyone you feel is involved in fashion.
  My fashion icons are mostly in the music and fashion industry. I like the message send to world by 
  Lady Gaga by her talent, intelligence and style. I also like Sarah Jessica Parker, Victoria Beckham... Most celebrities have a team of stylist. So I can not say who has style in their soul and who is just following the advice of stylists.

  If you could live anywhere... where would you choose and why?
  I would like to live in New York. Montenegro is a conservative country. I am inspired by the freedom and opportunities available in New York. To me, it is the fashion capital of the world. Perhaps later I would go to Los Angeles if I became involved in acting.

  If you could choose any profession other than model what it would it be and why -    
It will be design and acting. I am a very creative person. Please check my style on my Instagram profile @emilmontenegro

  So far, what has been your most exciting time/experience/job and why?
  The most exciting times for me are when I am travelings for modeling or pleasure. I loves see the beauty of other countries and learn about other cultures. In my modeling career, I thoroughly enjoyed working the two runways shows for Vivian Westwood. Her clothes are young, cool, and super creative.

  Who or what has influenced you the most in your life and career or given you the best advice?
  My mother and father are my best our friends. Only family can give us unconditional love. I always listen my heart in the end. I believe we are the creators of our own futures. We must to take our lives in our hands and to do the best we can with our abilities