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August 12, 2020

Fashion Phoenix

The fashion industry is, in itself, a cannibal. Each season it must destroy it’s young in order to be born again. But this year, the challenge is even greater – how to generate the drama and fantasy necessary to spark lust and desire in a time of no tomorrows? Pierpaolo Piccioli, the designer behind Valentino, collaborated with Nick Knight to create a piece of video that stops hearts and drops jaws as it dramatically plumbs the rawness of where we are now. Glitchy, rough, ethereal and on fire, it speaks to the power of imagination to envision a more powerful future. The dresses — in tulle, chiffon, organza and taffeta; ruffled, feathered, fecund with blooms — have been dramatically elongated to create a sense of lift and pull the eye upward. The models appear like warrior angels, the phoenix rising from the ashes, fashion reborn. Watch it (please!! – so good!) and believe.

Hope Blooms Eternal

There is comfort food, and then, there are pink tortillas! Many gourmets say we eat with our eyes, and right now, absurd might be the flavor I would choose for every meal. April Valencia, a Los Angeles based textile designer, decided to use her experience with natural dyes to make her cheerful tortillas as a means of connecting with others during the lock down. Feeding both people and a need to feel good, her hope is to inspire a well-fed city to support and care for each other. #imnotsmilingyoursmiling!

Bad Ass Bakery

Who knew Oreos would be the trendy treat of the decade? After their epic collab with Supreme last year, the cutting-edge cookie is arm and arm with another heat maker – this time in China. Perfect Diary, a Gen Z beauty fave, just dropped a new offering featuring cushion compacts imprinted with that distinctive Oreo pattern, along with two limited edition cookie flavors. Scrumptious to look at, and no doubt ravishing on as well, this marks the second runway moment for a not-so-basic brand. Damn, what next Oreo, a new pair of Yeezy’s?

Peep Show

OK fine, new Yeezys! As part of a barrage of tweets this week, Kanye shared a look at a new concept sneaker, most likely part of Steph Curry’s line with Adidas. Incredibly conceptual and envelope-pushing, the D. Rose has fired the imagination of sneakerheads and super fans everywhere. The stripped back style feeds our hunger to keep it clean and sleek right now – but no word yet on when. #waitingforthedrop

Solitary Soundtracks

We are all living in a bit of an echo chamber right now, hearing the same thoughts, falling into the same patterns… turning ever inward. Nina Keith’s latest album plays with these emotions using sounds she recorded and created alone, to reflect that feeling of not knowing. “There is a groundlessness inherent to death that has been necessary for me to stay in touch with being a trans person, sort of feeling like a vessel between two different bodies,” she says, “I don’t need to land anywhere.” The music is haunting, compelling, and yet strangely and satisfyingly static. It reflects where we are right now – without needing to take us anywhere at all.

You are Stardust

No – really!! Says Science!! (not just your mom). A first year graduate student at Northwestern led a study into the aftereffects of a supernova first detected in 2005. He and his team have determined that the explosion, and ones like it, were responsible for the high abundance of calcium in the Universe, including all the calcium on Earth including your bones. Recent X-ray technology allowed them to study the impact and inform their findings, leading to a treasure trove of learning and discovery about earth, and about us. It seems we were all indeed born to shine.

Unbox Me!

Anyone else feel particularly hideous about the small Potemkin village they could create at this point from all the Amazon boxes washing up on their doors? Although I know we all recycle, it still feels overwhelmingly wasteful. Cue Deezen and Samsung first ‘out-of-the-box’ competition, which solicited re-use ideas from designers around the world. Abigail Whitelow’s winning modular shelving and storage system is not only sleek and stylish but bang on point for all of us recreating our household configurations right now. Well done, Samsung!

Baby Burning Man

Many a movie has been based off the trope of kids running the show – usually with far better results than the one with adults in charge. (Can I get an Amen?) But this concept is actually a very real part of the civic system in cities around the world. Munich, for example, hosts an annual event where children from across the country come together to run their own metropolis. Their city, Mini-Munich, lives for three weeks, from late July to mid-August, and becomes pretty much whatever the kids want. It’s a delicious mix of banal urban bureaucracy and unhindered make-believe. This year, despite the pandemic, the summer program is alive and well, if a bit different, with parents and leaders thinking the benefits of the immersion outweighing the potential dangers. Imagine a future powered by people who have practiced!

Beyond the Pail

Most of us have developed a keen respect for the art of function over the past few months. Where once we craved full-on bells and whistles (with maybe a slide of glitter), now we fully get what Marie Kondo was talking about. Simplicity speaks loudest. This story, published by CNN, focuses on the skill, philosophy and history of function at its most elegant. Shuji Nakagawa, a third generation craftsman, creates “ki-oke” – traditional Japanese cypress buckets shaped by time-intensive methods that go back 700 years. Smooth, tactile, and redolent from fragrant wood, they elevate the every-day to an art form, like a still life meditation.


@beautypapersmag Dedicated to the culture and art of beauty, in all of its strange and wonderful forms…
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