Dutch Museum Faces Protest Over Exhibition on Nazi Design

A picture taken on September 8, 2019 shows a Swastika formed with red carpets by artist Ralph Posset during the opening of an exhibition entitled "Design of the Third Reich" at the Design Museum Den Bosch, in 's-Hertogenbosch, central Netherlands. - The exhibition will show the contribution of design to the development of the Nazi ideology. (ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/ Getty Images for Smithsonian.com )

A picture taken on September 8, 2019 shows a Swastika formed with red carpets by artist Ralph Posset during the opening of an exhibition entitled "Design of the Third Reich" at the Design Museum Den Bosch, in 's-Hertogenbosch, central Netherlands. - The exhibition will show the contribution of design to the development of the Nazi ideology. (ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images for Smithsonian.com)

The show focuses on how design furthered the ‘development of the evil Nazi ideology,’ but critics worry the show glorifies Nazi aesthetics.

By Brigit Katz. First published on Smithsonian.com.

Swastikas hang from the walls. Nazi propaganda films play across the gallery. Photos display the imposing choreography of Hitler’s rallies. They’re all part of a new show in the Netherlands seeking to place Nazi design under scrutiny. The exhibition at the Design Museum in Den Bosch explores how aesthetics fueled “the development of the evil Nazi ideology,” as the museum puts it. But the show, which was met with protests on its opening day, also shows the challenges of presenting Nazi iconography within a museum setting.

As Daniel Boffey of the Guardian reports, “Design of the Third Reich” includes a 1943 Volkswagen Beetle, images from the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, films by the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl and a piece by Arno Breker, reported to be Hitler’s favorite sculptor. The exhibition uses the artifacts to explore the contradictions of Nazism’s grandiose, romantic aesthetics, which sought to convey an image of prosperity and “purity” while its adherents were carrying out the most heinous of crimes.

Museum officials have taken steps to ensure that the exhibition’s artifacts are not taken out of context and glorified. Photography is prohibited in the gallery, so visitors are unable to post pictures of themselves with sensitive materials, and the museum has hired extra security to patrol the exhibition spaces, as Dutch News reports. The museum has also recruited people to monitor what is being said about the show on social media. Additionally, a spokesperson tells Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper that museum staff held a “very fruitful conversation” with members of the local Communist Youth Movement, which had requested demonstration permits before the show’s opening, to explain the purpose of the exhibition.

But that did not stop communist activists from protesting near the entrance of the museum on Sunday. The Association of Dutch Anti-Fascists has condemned the show as “provocative” and called on authorities to shut it down.

Timo de Rijk, director of the Museum of Design, is sensitive to criticisms of the new exhibition. “They are concerned that maybe we are glorifying it all,” he said of the protestors. “I would not be doing this if I thought we were, but I can understand that they are aware of that kind of evil in history.”

The museum insists that it is important to take a critical look not only at the “good side of culture,” but also its more sordid chapters. “The Nazis were masters in using design to achieve their goal, to both convince and destroy huge numbers of people,” the museum states. “If you wholeheartedly want to be able to say ... ‘[N]ever again,’ you must take time to analyse how the influencing processes worked at the time.”

Hanna Luden, director of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel in The Hague, seems to agree. She tells Stefan Dege of Deutsche Welle that the Museum of Design is walking a “tightrope act” with its displays of Nazi paraphernalia—but that ultimately, exposing the terrible, manipulating power of Third Reich propaganda is "fundamentally good."

Vogue Italia September Has Gorgeous Adut Akech + Vilma Sjölberg Covers | Farneti's Words Confuse

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Vogue Italia September Has Gorgeous Adut Akech + Vilma Sjölberg Covers | Farneti's Words Confuse

The September 2019 issue of Vogue Italia brings two covers into the world of fashion speak and imagination. "Peace" is the guiding idea of Mert & Marcus’s image of Vilma Sjölberg, while “Couture” inspires Paolo Roversi in his Adut Akech cover.

Also read the texts by Michael Cunningham for the September covers of Vogue Italia signed by Mert & Marcus and Paolo Roversi. Note that this text is taken directly from the Vogue Italia . AOC finds it a tad confusing, as international translation always struggles with s(he) pronouns in Google translator. Reality is that this issue of Vogue Italia is focused on the importance of words, adding a note of irony to this modern word editorial focus. Always looking for the good in a situation, I first attributed the excessive use of ‘he’ to Google translator.

Reading the Vogue Italia website translation of Farneti’s editor’s letter, it seems that the extensive use of ‘he’ is intended., that the male pronoun is dominant, in which case AOC is pretty pissed off. After all, the history of Rome is even worse than the fall of women’s influence and power under the Greeks. Italy put the nail in the proverbial women’s rights coffin.

‘A Portrait | The Michael Kors Mini-Documentary’ by Alison Chernick Makes YouTube Debut

Michael Kors debuts ‘A Portrait | The Michael Kors Mini-Documentary’ on YouTube’s new Fashion and Beauty Vertical

Michael Kors debuts ‘A Portrait | The Michael Kors Mini-Documentary’ on YouTube’s new Fashion and Beauty Vertical

New York documentarian director, Alison Chernick debuted her seven minute mini-film ‘A Portrait | The Michael Kors Mini-Documentary’ about the personal and professional background of designer Michael Kors on Thursday, timed with the launch of YouTube’s new fashion vertical channel.

Encouraging fashion people to smile more, Michael Kors takes us on an upbeat journey through his upbringing in Merrick, Long Island, as the “only child in a family of very, very outspoken women,” he says referring to his mother, aunt and grandmother whose “simple and sporty” style, “bohemian hippy princess” look and “over-the-top glamour,” respectively, prompted his interest in fashion. “When I said I wanted to be a designer there were hosannas around the room,” admits Kors.

Bergdorf Goodman’s fashion director-president, Dawn Mello, is credited with inspiring the launch of Kors’ own label after admiring his age 19 work in a nearby Fifth Avenue fashion boutique Lothar’s. Chernick does a superb job of capturing the grit and glam of 70s New York and the centrality of Michael Kors in that scene.

Bronwyn Cosgrave, writing for THR, reminds readers of what’s left out of the film, necessitated by its short length. Kors isn’t credited sufficiently for transforming Celine into an aspirational brand. There’s no mention of the financial struggles Michael Kors endured until Hong Kong tycoon, Silas Chou, invested in his brand in 2003. (It went public in 2011). The designers work on ‘Project Runway’ is also absent.

In a lovely coincidence with the YouTube debut of the short documentary, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a Michael Kors MICHAEL dress on George and Charlotte’s first day of school.

Beloved, Esteemed Photographer Peter Lindbergh, A True Friend to Women, Has Died at Age 74

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Legendary fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh has left his mortal body on September 3, 2019 at age 74. The announcement of his death came on Lindbergh’s Instagram Wednesday morning.

Lindbergh shot campaigns for Dior and Calvin Klein. His cinematic images in fashion publications, such as Vogue, W Magazine, Numero and more carried enormous credibility and artistry. Lindbergh photographed the Pirelli calendar twice, in 1996 and 2002.

Most recently, Lindbergh was the chief collaborator with HRH The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful on the September 2019 Forces for Change issue. The mammoth cover shoot took place over three continents and several days via video link. Lindbergh was the only man for the job. “He makes everybody feel their best,” said British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful.

If you take out the fashion and the artifice, you can then see the real person. – Peter Lindbergh

The Forces of Change issue was Lindbergh’s first cover for the magazine since September 1992. Peter Lindbergh is perhaps best known for his famous fashion world January 1990 British Vogue cover featuring supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington.

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Eco-Conscious Brit Designers Vin + Omi Ready LFW with Nettle-Fabrics from Prince Charles' Garden

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It all began with a cup of tea in spring 2018 with Prince Charles and members of the British design industry committed to putting the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion sustainability initiative into action. Attending were design duo Vin + Omi, admired by both Beyonce and Michelle Obama.

"It’s so surreal," says Omi, who talked to The Hollywood Reporter by phone from London and, like Vim, goes only by his first name. "We were invited for tea with His Royal Highness, and it was just a passing comment he made, where he suggested using nettles from his estate and turning them into clothes. It was over tea — we thought nothing of it. Then the next thing you know, we were down on his estate, collecting weeds. It went from zero to 100 very quickly!"

Prince Charles volunteered an abundance of nettles in residence at his and Camilla’s Clarence House gardens known as Highgrove Royal Gardens.

Prior to talking nettles with Prince Charles, Vin + Omi were creating clothes woven from cow parsley and discarded bottles. Their collection opened London Fashion Week’s Spring 2019 shows in September 2018. The creatives blended cow parsley with flax, creating an eco-fabric called Flaxley produced by by attendees of a Gloucestershire employment programme to create the clothes seen on the catwalk. The Guardian writes that Vin + Omi also created hybrid metal fabrics, manufactured from cans collected by homeless people on a support programme in Birmingham, and bags made from fabric derived from plastic bottles discarded from the menswear shows in July and collected, recycled and woven by London College of Fashion students.

Design duo Vin + Omi used nettles from the estate of Prince Charles to create 10 pieces of clothing, to be shown during London Fashion Week later this month.

Design duo Vin + Omi used nettles from the estate of Prince Charles to create 10 pieces of clothing, to be shown during London Fashion Week later this month.

Vin + Omi have been focused on eco fabrics since 2004 with a focus on the environment and supporting local communities. Two of their big successes have been creating an eco latex from a rubber plantation they fund in Malaysia and vegan “leather” made from the skins of chestnuts.

On the subject of longevity, Omi reminds Hollywood Reporter readers that the Prince has been committed to sustainability issues for 25 years.

"The thing we learned about working with someone with of the status of His Royal Highness is that he is really well informed," adds Omi. "You would think someone who is so high up wouldn’t necessarily have all these cares and concerns for the environment, so it's quite humbling. His team is really well informed, too, with the plants and all the properties that go with them. We widened our knowledge about what the possibilities are of working with these species of plants."

As part of the collection, Vin + Omi partnered with art supply brand Daler-Rowney. "We are reutilizing their paint plastic tubes and turning them into fabric, so we’re helping with their waste issues. Then we have our own linen, which we grow in our fields, and we’re also up-cycling denim, to stop it from going to landfills. We want to stop old garments from ending up in the incinerator,” Omi says. Biodegradable latex is part of the upcoming collection, says Omi, stressing that that Vin + Omi really aren’t fashion designers. The duo considers themselves to be sustainability-focused artists and clothes are their canvas.

."Everything has been carefully thought out," says Omi. "The amount of attention we’ve been receiving ahead of the show is quite humbling. From Nigeria, Australia, it's been really crazy. We’re expecting a really crazy, big show."

Omi says the duo plans to send pieces to Prince Charles, who has been sending them letters of encouragement, "as a gesture of thank you." A piece from the collection is also going to the Victoria and Alfred Museum. "It’s nice that they will have a piece in their archive permanently for public viewing," Omi says. "The public will be able to go and see and realize that 'Wow, this is what you can do with nature.'"

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s New Poetry Collection Brings Native Issues to the Forefront

U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s New Poetry Collection Brings Native Issues to the Forefront

Seeing Joy Harjo perform live is a transformational experience. The internationally acclaimed performer and poet of the Muscogee (Mvskoke)/Creek nation transports you by word and by sound into a womb-like environment, echoing a traditional healing ritual. The golden notes of Harjo’s alto saxophone fill the dark corners of a drab university auditorium as the audience breathes in her music.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo grew up in a home dominated by her violent white stepfather. She first expressed herself through painting before burying herself in books, art and theater as a means of survival; she was kicked out of the home at age 16. Although she never lived on a reservation nor learned her tribal language, at age 19 she officially enrolled in the Muscogee tribe and remains active today. Though she has mixed ancestry, including Muscogee, Cherokee, Irish and French nationalities, Harjo most closely identifies with her Native American ancestry. On June 19, the Library of Congress named her the United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold that position; she’ll officially take on the role next month.