As we near the year 2014, “cyber” is kind of a hilarious word. It tends to conjure visions of Web 1.0—like the bulky hardware and earnest yearnings for virtual reality in this classic, mid-’90s Aerosmith video. (Hey, if it lets you make out with Alicia Silverstone on a moving motorcycle, who’s arguing? Wait—is this where Kanye got the idea for that new video?)
Anyway, while the terminology may be antiquated, the application—Cyber Monday—is nothing to laugh at. Keep reading to see our Editor’s Picks for you, as well as the Silverstone on your list (with December upon us, it’s time to start thinking Christmas gifts, gentlemen).
Our third and final installment of Polaroid people-watching at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas, as seen through the analog lens of acclaimed music blog Gorilla vs. Bear—presented by Topman and Nordstrom Men’s Shop.
Despite the fact that original Polaroid film is no longer in production, instant photography is far from a forgotten art. In the past few months alone, we’ve paid homage to French photographer Guy Bourdin’s vintage fashion Polaroids, talked to Band of Outsiders founder Scott Sternberg about Polaroid’ing famous comediennes, and seen impeccable instant-film festival coverage by our friends at music blog Gorilla vs. Bear.
We’ve been meaning to tell you about Rag & Bone’s DIY Project for some time now. As the New York brand’s website states, it’s “Where our favorite girls get into our jeans. No stylist, no hair and make-up, no lighting. Just a girl and her camera. And Rag & Bone.” One news outlet described it as an excuse for gorgeous models to take glorified selfies. And what’s wrong with that? Not a damn thing, in our book.
The newest set of photos features model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, who rose to sudden fame recently after appearing in the music video for ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke. And although the video—even the “edited” version—is too racy for your discerning eyes, good readers (this seems to be a theme lately), we can sleep well tonight knowing that we’ve shared Ratajkowski’s tastefully alluring Rag & Bone photos with you. Happy Friday.
It would seem that the phenomenon of reality TV cannibalizing music-video stations has relieved a great deal of pressure on musicians to make their clips primetime-ready. In other words, we won’t be posting Rihanna’s latest, self-described “explicit” video on this particular, mostly family-friendly blog.
We will, however, note our admiration for the tattooed chanteuse’s new cover for British GQ, in collaboration with artist Damien Hirst. Not because we’re devoted reptile lovers, but because—in a Halloween market flooded with quote-unquote “sexy” costumes for the female species (sexy nurse! sexy maid! sexy lunch lady! examined in essay form by one of our favorite lady bloggers, Man Repeller Leandra Medine, here)—Rihanna’s alluring Medusa motif achieves a rare feat: It’s actually kind of scary.
We wish you luck convincing your better half that this would make the perfect foil to your frightened Indiana Jones rig while taking the kids out trick-or-treating Thursday night. In the meantime, see Rihanna’s Instagram feed for outtakes from the shoot. (Just don’t make eye contact.)
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Editor’s Picks to increase your Halloween fright factor:
French singer, songwriter, poet, composer, artist, actor and director Serge Gainsbourg was kind of like the Kanye West of his time—you know, a creative genius. A jack of many trades. A genre-hopping musician, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes. His lyrics utilized styles of wordplay that would make most rappers (and even self-described word-nerd copy editors—we checked) scratch their heads. (Mondegreen? Spoonerism? Check Gainsbourg’s Wikipedia page for definitions.)
Gainsbourg also managed to sweep some of the best-known bombshells of the 1960s and ’70s off their feet. Check out his 1968 ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ duet with then-ladyfriend Brigitte Bardot above, for example. The song is based on a poem entitled The Trail’s End, written by Bonnie Parker herself just weeks before her Depression-era crime spree with Clyde Barrow came to a grisly end. Gainsbourg’s apparent fascination with American culture is interesting—especially as we find ourselves paying homage to all things French, with our limited-time French Fling Pop-In Shop. (And, as Monsieur West is zealously requesting croissants and collab’ing with minimalist French label A.P.C.)
Below, find some favorite photos of Gainsbourg and guests—all via the essential repository for all things vintage and jaw-dropping: The Impossible Cool.
Perhaps he was not classically handsome. And legend has it that he passed out drunk after taking Jane Birkin to some questionable venues on their first date. But what Gainsbourg lacked in other areas, he made up for in his keen ability to wear a suit like he was born in it. Check out those fitted shoulders, wide lapels, and devil-may-care shirt collar.
Brigitte Bardot, Gainsbourg’s partner in crime in the song above, cleaned up pretty nice, too.
…But who wore it best? Invented in England, perfected by the French—Gainsbourg makes a trench coat look almost as good as Bardot. Note his expert use of accessories: gloves, smoke, icy stare.
Not a bad run: After breaking up with Bardot, Gainsbourg rebounded with English singer/actress Jane Birkin—but’s that’s a whole other story. Here, he rocks the “jacket-as-cape” look about 40 years before the current crop of street-style stars attempted it.
Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin (1928–1991), a protegé of surrealist Man Ray, is widely credited with changing the face of fashion photography.
Utterly subverting the chipper sales pitches that dominated 1950s advertising, Bourdin’s work was moody, mysterious, alluring, aloof. The scenarios he concocted invariably raised more questions than the fleeting moments he froze could answer. And while we may never understand the exact pathos the troubled artist was trying to decipher (as one collaborator suggested, “What Guy did was conduct his own psychoanalysis [in the pages of] Vogue”)—studying 98 of his rare Polaroid test-shots at length in your living room can’t hurt.
Buy the book below, as part of our French Fling Pop-In Shop—and dive deeper into Bourdin’s infamously strange life at Vogue.com.
You can talk Star Wars and Scarface for days—but are you fluent in French New Wave? For a primer on the genre that will score you more conversation points with girls (or guys) who wear glasses, check out our previous post on the topic—and to rep your favorite Jean-Luc Godard film wherever you go, pick up the Vivre Sa Viesnapback seen above.
It’s one of three custom New Era hats brought in exclusively for our French Fling Pop-In Shop. The title of the 1962 film translates directly as To Live Her Life, but it was released to American audiences as My Life to Live—an aptly self-assured headwear sentiment whether you’re lightening the vibe at a cheese tasting or out-classing your friends in a game of pick-up basketball.
We’ll gloss over the seedy details of the film’s plot line (no spoilers!), but do check out the classic jukebox scene in the clip above—and keep watching until the end, for a pick-up line that would never work in a million years. Unless, maybe, you’re French. Or wearing a great hat. But still, we don’t recommend it.
To purchase a top-of-the-line edition of Vivre Sa Vie on DVD or Blu-Ray—and for more in-depth film reviews, essays, and photo galleries than you can shake a baguette at—visit The Criterion Collection.
Growing up in Aberdeen, Washington, in the 1970s left Gabe Johnson with memories of girlfriends who smelled like bubblegum and vodka, a penchant for explosives, a taste for illicit cartoons—and a zealous sense of nostalgia for America. The “real” America, as he puts it; and specifically, the mom-and-pop treasures that dot the highways and byways of this great nation, in the form of watering holes, record stores, auto shops, and other legendary landmarks that locals hold dear.
The latest undertaking of Johnson’s company, Horses Cut Shop, involves sharing the stories of those local haunts via T-shirts—the sale of which benefits the small businesses themselves.
Shop a few of our favorite shirts at the bottom of this article. First though, join us as we trace the history and influences of Horses Cut Shop, in the words of “Professional Boat Rocker” Gabe Johnson himself:
Origin Story. “Horses Cut Shop was started as unincorporated meeting spot for artists, riffraff, musicians and people who wished to create their own ‘reality,’ if only for one day or night at a time. The world wasn’t giving me what I wanted in terms of community, so in 2009 I decided to create the conditions that would.” [Watch a video about Gabe and said meeting spot that we made last Christmas.]
Smells Like Home. “Horses Cut Shop, as an entity, was styled after the American Fraternal Orders (Moose Lodge, Elks Lodge, Eagles Club, Knights of Columbus, etc.), and the ’70s summers of my youth in Aberdeen. The Cut Shop was a fortified compound in upper Fremont [in Seattle] that smelled like smoky burnouts, farm animals, whiskey, gas, mayhem and the ever-present dangerous machine. (This Flickr link provides photographic evidence of three years spent just under the radar of Seattle’s Finest.)”
A New Hope. “The Cut Shop experience was anchored by a monthly Sunday Brunch that we managed to pull regularly, on a volunteer basis, without fail for three years before the shop closed due to sale of the property by the owner. Ultimately, money was needed to continue the experiment in another location and in a new way. Hence the foray into the T-shirt business. The sale of T-shirts that celebrate and support ‘real’ America, an America that’s hanging on by a thread, seemed in-line with my ultimate goal of preserving and shaping the kind of world I want to live in. The T-shirt business is a vehicle for storytelling and simply a cover for my illicit love affair with America and the riffraff that makes her hum.”
Core Beliefs. “I believe beauty and knowledge can be found in the soul of inanimate objects. I tend to worship things that were built for use, community and to outlast the maker. In this sense, a wrench is like a record store and an old tavern is like a worn-in pair of boots. These objects—these places—are constructed with deliberate intention; they’re the embodiment of the American Dream and the products of our country’s worship of self expression and individualism. I want to acknowledge them and celebrate the creators/makers behind the name and logo.”
- I was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, along with four generations of my family.
- My favorite place to be is either lost and/or in some type of trouble.
- I’ve been arrested and charged with “Mayhem” twice.
- I believe that if you’re respectful of the differences in disposition and avoid harming others, there are no rules and everything is permitted.
- I believe the America I love peaked during the summer of 1979. Specifically, the evening of July 26th, 1979.
- The slow death of my hometown (Aberdeen, WA) has had the greatest affect on me as person.
- I may or may not have founded The Comstock Commission in 2008.
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Under the Influence. Gabe’s influences include, but are not limited to:
Men of Substance.“The Bandit (Burt Reynolds’ character in Smokey and the Bandit), Hunter Stockton Thompson, Jack Tripper (Three’s Company character) and Steve McQueen.”
Wild Women. “Jane Birkin, The Runaways, Lynda Carter, Nancy Sinatra.”
Miscellaneous: “That poster of Farrah Fawcett, girls that roller skate, Evel Knievel, being put in/let out of handcuffs, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, skinned knees, cherry bombs. As is probably evident by now, I left my heart in the Aberdeen of the ’70s.” [See Gabe's Tumblr for further odds, ends and vintage awesomeness.]
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Made from America. A few of our favorite Horses Cut Shop shirts (which double as a checklist for your next road trip). All are made in the USA and benefit the independent businesses that emblazon them.