A little backstory: When Mr Valentino or his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti ask you to do something, you do it. Whether it’s an invitation for an intimate Valentine’s dinner in New York or a snowy gala at Mr Valentino’s villa outside Paris, you go. So when I was asked to work on a new special feature for the fashion icon’s online museum, I happily did what I was told. Our first candidate for the Mr Blasberg Questionnaire, which is an exclusive to the museum’s website, is Hugh Jackman, the burly and beautiful leading man. What did we find out in the Aussie’s answers? He’s a devoted father and husband, he doesn’t look good in capri pants and he wants to die naked. See more of his responses below, and be sure to check out Valentino’s online museum.
Who do you think is the most stylish woman in the world? My wife, Deborra-Lee Furness.
And the most stylish man? Tom Ford.
If there’s one person’s closet you would like to raid, who’s would it be and what would you take? Tom Ford. His dark suit and white shirt: classic and simple, but when he is in it, it leaps out.
Do you have a biggest fashion regret? The ¾ pants some shop owner convinced me to wear to my first film premiere. It looked good on the model, but I couldn’t pull off the Turkish designers look. I got a few laughs, though!
Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to wear, but have had never had the courage or opportunity? Nope.
When a friend is dressed terribly and asks how they look, do you tell the truth? Hmmm. There are maybe 4 people on the planet I would be completely honest with.
Is there a fashion era that you wish would comeback? The 50’s. I did a production of Sunset Boulevard and loved all the fashion for that.
Do you have a favorite Mr. Valentino moment? Meeting him the first time. He was so open, passionate and direct. I love unbridled creativity and he oozes it.
Have you taken a tour of the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum? What did you think? I have. It is stylish, surprising and definitive.
What is your favorite ensemble in the museum? I love the sea of Valentino Red dresses. That is something you can’t see anywhere else.
To tan or not to tan: That is the question? As an Aussie, I am now against it for my kids. But to be honest I still indulge. The feeling of lying on a beach and the sun drying the seawater is one of my favorite things.
What is your favorite color? The color of the ocean. I am a complete water baby.
What is your favorite scent? The smell of baked bread.
Newspapers, magazines or blogs? All three.
What is the greatest piece of fashion advice that you’ve ever received, and from whom did you receive it? From the author Herbert Ypma: If you haven’t worn it for an entire season, get rid of it.
Who would you like to play you in a film about your life? Ha! I can’t believe I am talking myself out of a job! But probably Ryan Reynolds. I would be a hell of a lot funnier in the film than in real life. But no offense to Ryan: I wouldn’t be seeing it.
If you were not doing what you are doing professionally now, what do you think you would be doing? I would host a TV show.
What do you love to do? Eat. Eat. Eat.
What do you hate to do? Photo shoots.
If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be? My head. It looks too small on my shoulders.
Where and when are you happiest? Always with my family. I come from a large family so wherever they are. But if it can be in Byron Bay in Australia or on the ski slopes – that takes it to another level.
What would you say is your most marked characteristic? Versatility.
What would those who know you well say is your most marked characteristic? I’m bad at saying no.
What would you say is your largest character flaw? The above.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date? My family. My marriage and my kids.
Where are you most inspired? I am a meditator and have been for 20 years. After meditation is when ideas flow for me. Or when I travel.
If you could go back in time and speak to your teenage self, what would you tell him or her? Your legs won’t always be skinny, don’t worry about it.
Do you believe in love at first sight, and if so, have you experienced it? Yes, I have, but not since I was a teenager. Maybe as adults we lose that ability to give ourselves completely on first meeting.
It has been said that when we die we can’t take anything with us; but if you could take just one thing, what would it be? My family.
And more importantly, when you die, what would you like to be wearing? I’d like to die peacefully while skinny dipping or in my sleep. Since I wear clothes to neither places, I may be meeting St. Peter in my birthday suit.
Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice was never my favorite play. With Shylock going on and on about “”Hath not a Jew eyes?” Too controversial. Give me a tragic love story any day. (That reminds me: How can we make sure that Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby is more like Romeo + Juliet and less like Australia? But I digress.) While it may not be my favorite play, Venice is without a doubt one of my favorite cities. The history, the sinking, the drama. The only thing I don’t like is the tourists, which I know is outrageously hypocritical since I am one.
I’ve been to Venice a fair share of times: Off the top of my head I can remember coming for a school trip in high school, for a Chanel show with Karl Lagerfeld and for two Venice Bienale’s. And oh, once for the Venice Film Festival, which my friend, Interview editor Christopher Bollen, made the world’s most embarrassing film of our Venetian adventures. (You can watch it here. But be warned. It’s amazing.) Every time I come I fall in love with it all over again.
This most recent trip was with the fine folks at Louis Vuitton. As an avid reader of this blog will attest, I’m a fan of Louis Vuitton’s entertaining capacities. In the past few years, I’ve gone with the French luxury label to Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Rome, and all of the adventures are chronicled on MrBlasberg.com. This excursion was just as wonderful. The first night was a religious experience. Literally. We had a private tour of the cathedral in the Piazza San Marco, with it’s gilded domes. We sat on the floor and they warmed the lights so that the gilded glow bounced off the centuries old mosaics like fire flies. I’m not the most religious man, and I’m certainly not a Catholic. But I would go to mass every day if I lived in Venice. We had a fabulous tour guide who kept us well informed on the history of the church, and a little bit of spicy gossip. Did you know that some scholars believe that it’s not the body of Mark in the tomb, but of Alexander the Great?
The new Louis Vuitton store is outrageous. In a city where most shops are the size of postage stamps, this one is four floors of shiny, delicious retail space. On the last night, they hosted a dinner for in the royal halls of Princess Sissi, which were covered in brocaded satin and centuries old murals from Grand Masters. As an American who is used to traveling abroad and feeling like our nation’s history is dwarfed by Europe, I felt infantile in these lush surroundings.
Some of my favorite people were on this trip too, like Dianna Agron. So sweet, so pretty. Even as a red head. Ha! Clemence Posey is divine too. Even though she’s French. Ha, ha! The Italians too were in full force, like Coco Brandolini, Anna Dello Russo, Luisa Orsini and Antonine Peduzzi. And I met new friends, like the dreamy and gregarious Englishman Christian Cooke and some nutter English girl called Bip, a handsome local Italiano called Mattia and my friend Dree’s punk and pretty little sister Langley Hemingway. We drank red wine, ate fish and went on a vodka-searching mission over bridges and under buildings to find outrageously adorable holes in the walls. It’s sad to leave Venice, but the good part of leaving that place is knowing that you’ll come back.
Captions, from top: Sunset on the Grand Canal; Dianna and Christian, a lovely couple if there ever was one; Micole, Anna and Candela in their Vuitton finest; a sweet canal; Mattia, Christian and me; Coco in San Marco; Clemence at the Hotel Bauer; me and Antonine getting frisky; the spot where Peggy Guggenheim, who founded such a wonderful museum in Venice, was laid to rest, next to her 14 doggies; the gilded ceiling of the Cathedral; Langley and Luisa in the Sissi Apartments; Vivi Courtin Clarins reading up in the new Vuitton store; the chicest transportation; the one and only Bip; Lizzy, Alexia and Delfina staying dry on a freak rain shower; the story of Genesis told in gold in the foyer of the Cathedral; Dianna and Maggie; Piazza San Marco at sunrise.
I’ve been a very lucky pal of Dita von Teese this week. First, I saw her perform her infamous feathers and birdcage routine in Sao Paulo. And while we were down there, she said she was doing a surprise appearance a few days later in Brooklyn. Intrigued, I said I’d go. I showed up at the Musical Hall of Williamsburg to discover she was making an expected cameo at a Mika concert. That Mika. So cute and talented. An added thrill? It was the first time that Dita has ever incorporated her voice into a performance. (Burlesque is all about the body, darling.) Mika’s suggestion on Dita’s performance: She leave the Michigan in her voice because, well, you can’t hate a girl with a body like this if she has a voice like that. So, behold Ms. von Teese coming out and taking off as an added visual for Mika’s hit song, Big Girls.
I’ll be honest: I own one Patti Smith record. It’s not been listened too very often and I bought it because I was too embarrassed that I didn’t already have one. However, while I’m not the biggest fan of her music (what? I have the musical tastes of a spoiled teenage girl, and I’ve made peace with that), I can without hesitation say that I think she is one of the smartest, most admirable and most inspirational artists that New York City has ever molded. Have you read her book, Just Kids? I have. Twice. (And you should too. In fact, if you haven’t read it, open a new browswer window and order it online this second. You will be feel things and miss a time you never knew and weep for people long gone.) I stumbled upon this Youtube video of Smith at the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art last summer, and it stopped me in my tracks. She is a living legend, and like a good legend, she extoils the virtues of her life to a spellbound audience. She is funny, like when she explains that all artists should want their art to be widely experienced. “It’s importance to be embraced by the people. People think, ‘You’re a punk rocker, you don’t want to have a hit record?’ Fuck you.” She recounts good advice, like when William Burroughs told her when she had no money that a reputation is more important than a bank account. “Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Protect your work and if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.” She observes how times are different now for artist then when she was sharing a room in the Chelsea Hotel with Robert Mapplethorpe. “It’s a time of the people. Technology has democratized self expression.” But, most of all, she’s a punk rock bad ass who – and this is what I find so wonderful – genuinely cares about the happiness of other people and the inspiration of creation. “Life is really difficult,” she says. “It’s a rollercoaster ride. It’s never going to be perfect. But it’s all worth it. Believe me.” The video is six minutes, which I know feels like an eternity in online video terms. But they’re worth it.
It was an invitation that too good to refuse: South American footwear star Alexandre Birman asked if I’d like to spend a weekend in Brazil with Fergie, Dita von Teese and Kate Moss in support of the AIDS research foundation amFAR. The fact that the invitation came through when it was hailing, literally, in New York City and that amFAR is one of those organizations that I truly, completely believe in only intensified my response. Yes, yes, YES! Get me out of here.
Alexandre and his team didn’t disappoint: There was all you can eat meat products, rivers of caipirinhas and more genetically superior, aesthetically pleasing Brazilians than my eyes could handle. (My only regret was that Birman’s heels didn’t go up to a size 44. I would have looked major in the strappy stilettos that Karolina is rocking in the above photo, no?) The night of amFAR was particularly fabulous too. Who doesn’t love a Sharon Stone spotting in a red Cavalli dress with a neckline that goes down to her navel? A pregnant and glowing Fergie was surprised by her husband, the forever handsome Josh Duhamel, and broke into song when she received inspiration award. Wow, that girl has some pipes. And Dita von Teese did an updated version of her famous birdcage routine where she stripped out of her sequence, did a feather dance and then ended up dousing herself in water as she spun around inside a gilded cage. Kate was into that one.
As I was packing up my stuff on my last day in Sao Paulo, which was after a particularly festive evening, I was left with one last cultural question: Did Brazilians invent caipirinhas solely to torture us gringos? I had a hangover so bad I was sort of worried I had had a stroke and didn’t know. But oh, it was worth it.
Captions, from top: Giving Karolina a last minute pedicure in the ladies room at the Fasano; Fergie and Donata at amFAR; Kate and Archie; Doug and Gilberto at the Biennale; Lea T; Isabeli in Louis Vuitton; Dani, Alexia and Fernanda outside the Fasano; Dita on stage; a Tom Sachs work at the Ropac gallery at the Biennale; Josh Wood and his friends; Alexandre Birman and Linda Fargo; Karolina and Terron Schaefer from Saks; Fran and Andrea; Doug in an Olafur Eliasson installation; Bruno and Dudi; me and Dita; Kate Moss is the boss
Well, we’re in the homestretch of James Franco’s A Beautiful Odyssey, his short film collaboration with 7 For All Mankind Jeans. In this last phase, we get to decide if the beautiful bride, played by Elise Crombez, goes with her happy hubby-to-be or falls for a former flame. (Get in on the action, and vote here!)
When I spoke with James about this project, he surprised me with something: His appreciation for the fashion community. I always assumed it was an unwritten code for serious actors, even if they have appeared on soap operas as part of a weird art project, to act blasé when it came to the fashion industry. Even the ones that makes millions of dollars hocking fashions or perfumes often act like it’s a nuisance to have their picture taken and sit at fashion shows. But not James. “I love working with fashion people,” he smiles. “And they get really excited about these shoots too. It’s not like a normal fashion shoot where you just stand in one place and pose or hold a purse or something. They just get a chance to perform, and I like to have that dialogue and collaboration with them.” Although, let’s be honest: Who wouldn’t like a little acting advice from Mr. Franco? “The feedback I get back from models is that they love it, and that they’ve been dying to do something like this for awhile. And in most cases, they have fun embodying a character, which means I love working with them too.”
So, how did Elise do playing the part of the bride? Franco said he loved working with her, and loved shooting both endings for the film. “With what I shot there’s material for her to go with either. We shot the bride and groom being happy and being sad,” he laughs. But, what would James himself want? “I don’t think any outcome is that sinister, if you end up with someone you love.” But then he cracks a devlish grin and adds: “Now if they included my marriage of hell, it would be a little spicier.”
Get involved in the odyssey on the 7 For All Mankind’s Facebook page.
I’ve made no secret of my fondness for London: I went there on a year abroad in college, I fell in love for the first time there, I started my career in fashion there. And I’ve been looking for excuses to go back there ever since! Luckily, I haven’t had to look too far. This week, I had a whole slew of reasons to stick in Great Britain.
First, the recently opened ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Whether you’re a fan of Bowie’s music or his fashion or neither of those things but want to see a rad show, check this one out. The show starts with his first attempts in music, which was seemingly conservative compared to the glammed up, makeup-loving, gender-bending fashion icon that he turned into. The guided headsets are timed to each room, so you can hear his music and his own voice as you travel through the corridors and see the Kansai Yamamoto jumpsuits that are now so notorious, as well as ensembles from designers like Alexander McQueen and collaborative performance pieces from artists like Klaus Nomi. (If you don’t know any of these names, start Google’ing.) I never knew he only met Warhol once, and wasn’t a fan.
I saw the Bowie show with my buddies Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, who are the wiz kids behind Proenza Schouler. They were in London for, among other commitments, a dinner with Net-A-Porter, which was another excuse for me to see my favorite fashion impresario Natalie Massenet. I can’t remember what we had for dinner, and I only have a few memories of the conversations I had with my table mates (skydiving was a hot topic, oddly enough) because Massenet kept me stocked with margaritas all night. It was swell to see the boys, who are so well respected in New York, being lauded in the British capital.
And finally, as with all my favorite Shakespeare plays, this trip overseas ended with a happy wedding. Rachel Chandler and Tom Guinness got hitched in the Cotwswolds over a weekend celebration that I’m still recovering from. (If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Brits know how to party.) There was a rehearsal dinner in the pub that Tom frequented as a kid, a shaman ceremony, and then a dinner and dance party at a friend’s country house that was as mystical and magical as I could have imagined. I often find that weddings nowadays have come clinical photo ops organized by overzealous wedding planners, void of spontaneity and energy. Not the case here: Me and a slew of pals from all parts of the world descended on the Cotswolds for a weekend that was touching and drunken, special and serene. Lots of love and congratulations to the newest Mr and Mrs Guinness.
Captions, from top: The newest Mr. and Mrs. Guinness having a first kiss on the dance floor; the entirely memorable Kansai Yamamoto jumpsuit from the Bowie exhibit at the V&A; Freida Pinto at the Proenza Schoulder dinner; Lazaro, Natalie and Jack at dinner; the entrance to my hotel in the Cotswolds; my dinner mate at the wedding, Georgia May Jagger; the most wonderful shade of green in the moss of a wall in the Cotswolds; Mark and Josephine at the wedding; Fabiola and Jason at the reception; my long last travel companion, Jacquetta Wheeler, at the Proenza dinner; Sophia and Panos, two Greeks of Grief; Lazaro in the gfitshop at the Bowie exhibit; Tom and Rachel cutting their cake; Waris and Haider Ackermann, the latter of whom designed the bride’s dress; Lily and the groom; Mary and her leopard print jumpsuit; my favorite street in the Cotswolds, even if it was empty; Allegra, Cassie, Jo, Rachel, Sophia and myself: Wedding warriors; Fabiola and Rachel planting a kiss on Julien; me and the groom having a pint at the local pub after the rehearsal dinner
I have never felt as popular as I did walking out of the Burberry show this season. Seated across the runway from me was Douglas Booth, the former face of Burberry and a devastatingly handsome chap I had met a few times through mutual friends, who I had interviewed for the cover of the current issue of VMAN. After the show he came over to say hi and gave me a little bro-hug, which piqued the interest of every single one of my female friends. Not that I blame them: The guy is handsome, suave and a total gentleman.
In the post-fashion show milieu, we got seperated — he being the future movie star that he is was asked for photographers, me being a lowly fashion editor was asked to get out of the way — but we bumped back into each other outside. And as soon as he said goodbye, everyone started asking when they could see more of him. The good news is very soon. He will next be in the cinemas as Shakespeare’s lovestruck lead in Romeo & Juliet, opposite Hailee Steinfeld, and he just wrapped production on Darren Aronofsky’s anticipated biblical epic Noah with a cast that includes Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. In addition to myself and the various other women (and men) at the fashion show, Booth cast a spell on photographer Bruce Weber recently, who shot him for the cover of VMAN. Check out some of Bruce’s pictures and my full article with Booth from VMAN below.
The lack of new leading men in Hollywood is no secret to anyone. Whether or not this is the result of a studio system that’s stingy with second chances or a cultural phenomenon of guys just not striving to steal the silver screen anymore, one thing is inarguably clear: Hollywood is densely populated with handsome men who don’t say much. A spin around any upscale hotel lobby, Equinox, or trendy organic juice enema bar can tell you so. But what separates actual actors from the pretty boys isn’t a desire to rebel against their attractiveness or to lean upon it too heavily, but rather to make it a nonissue. Think about the greatest performers of recent generations: Johnny Depp’s early breakout role was portraying a deathly pale, scissor-fingered living doll who horrified suburbia. Leonardo DiCaprio has Oscar nominations for playing a mentally ill kid in a messed up family (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and a quirky millionaire who bottles his own urine (The Aviator), not for being the golden-haired heartthrob on a big boat that sank in 1912. Good looks are obviously gold, but in this business if they’re your sole skill you might as well see if that juice bar is hiring.
So it’s a relief that Douglas Booth, whose career began as a ridiculously good-looking male model, looks haggard when we meet for a drink at a hotel in downtown New York. He looks biblically haggard, in fact. Booth is wrapping up Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s epic retelling of the good book’s animal-coupling ark tale. Booth is sporting a scruffy, weathered face and gross, ratted hair extensions that are pulled back with a dime-store elastic headband. He’s just taken off a baseball cap that earlier today fell off his head and was run over by a truck. But what’s really impressive is that his seat is facing a mirror and he only falls into a narcissistic stare twice.
“It very quickly isn’t flattering to be known only for the way you look,” Booth says. “It’s just uninteresting if that’s all people want to talk about. I don’t necessarily want to hear about my talent or my greatness as an actor. You can say I’m shit, if you think so. But make it about something I do.” Ironically, he finds comfort in the unglamorous confines of a character. “The grittier, the dirtier, the worse I can look, the happier I am. It takes the pressure off.”
It’s Booth’s nonchalant handsomeness that first brought him to the attention of the fashion world. “He understands fashion and always looks effortless and impeccable, whether he’s in sharp tailoring, evening tux, or jeans and a T-shirt,” says Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, who cast Booth when the to-be was 16 for a series of international campaigns, “he’s a dude!”
The actress Emma Watson, who starred in Booth’s initial Burberry campaign and was reunited with him on the set of Noah, where he plays her husband, goes further to explain that he’s a dude with gravitas. “There’s something old-mannish about Doug, which he had even then. He knows who he is. He doesn’t get intimidated, doesn’t hold back, and is generally fearless,” she says. Yet she will readily admit that even when they met five years ago, her first reaction was that he was pure eye candy. “We met when he was 15 and I remember looking at him and thinking he was offensively attractive. And it’s just gotten worse since then.”
Booth grew up in London, but a childhood diagnosis of dyslexia made it clear from an early age he’d be better suited to the arts. He started playing the trumpet–“I figured if I couldn’t be an academic I’d be a famous musician”–but gave that up when his friends started picking up guitars and forming rock bands. “Coincidentally, I was cast in a play at the same time, and it all went from there.” He scored his first major role at 16 in From Time to Time, a BBC biography of Christopher Isherwood written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
What brought him to the attention of the casting director was his next role, as Boy George in the 2010 British TV seriesWorried About The Boy. “That was my first lead experience, and it was sink or swim. Fuck it up and my career would be over before it even started. I knew I had to take it seriously and commit 100 percent.” Committing to the part of Boy George was colorful and bonding stuff: the role called for five hours of makeup a day, and costumes varied from vinyl bodysuits to silk kimonos to dominatrix nuns. “Even to this day, when someone says something derogatory about Boy George, it still upsets and offends me. Part of me will always be quite attached to him.”
In 2011, he scored a part opposite Ray Winston and Gillian Anderson in the BBC’s Great Expectations miniseries, which was followed by 2012’s campy American tween film LOL, opposite Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore. Booth originally had to be forced into even meeting with that film’s director by his agents but he was ultimately glad he did because it felt like he’d crammed the last two years of high school, which he’d missed, into those three months of filming.
His next role was as literature’s most famous lovelorn teenager: Romeo, in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which hits theaters later this year, opposite Hailee Steinfeld. Booth describes the film as having “the beauty and romanticism of Zeffirelli’s 1968 version with the energy of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version,” the latter of which starred the aforementioned DiCaprio. It was initially an intimidating casting process, but Booth got his head around it when he realized his inexperience in the world of Shakespeare was a benefit. “I figured, Fuck it, they’re choosing me because I can bring something fresh to it. Something in-the-moment and real, which is the spirit of Romeo, isn’t it?” The film that he is wrapping up when we meet is Noah. “It’s the epic telling of the story of Noah’s ark,” Booth explains, adding, “but because it’s an Aronofsky film, it’s dark and twisted too.” It’s a boldfaced production: Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly play Noah and his wife, Watson is Booth’s wife, and Logan Lerman his brother. He jokes that this film has been the most grueling yet, and his first exposure to Method acting. The past few weeks of production have been slammed because Hurricane Sandy wrecked the set, a true-to-life-size ark, and many of the crew’s homes were affected by the devastation. (Yes, the irony that a hurricane destroying the set of a movie depicting a biblical flood was not lost on the cast and crew.) “On the last shot of the day I fell asleep in bed,” Booth says of his work the day before, when he was in bed with Watson, who just had to act her way through her first childbirth scene. “I was meant to wake up, so suddenly I hear Darren screaming, ‘Douglas! Douglas! Are you really asleep?’ I told him I was just doing some Method acting.” Booth flashes a smile, which even through extensions and untamed stubble could convince anyone of anything. “I hope he bought it.”
For more from VMAN’s spectacular spring fashion issue, pick up an issue at a stand near you. Or check out our site: VMAN.com
Hard to believe it’s already time for another best dressed list. But, hey, time flies when you’re judging what everyone is wearing! In the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I first talk about one of my oldest friend’s in New York City: Natalia Vodianova. The legendary supermodel, mother and founder of the Naked Heart Foundation was one of the first fashion folks I met when I was still in college, and we got into all sorts of shenanigans. We were reunited at the couture shows in January, and I was under her spell all over again. Speaking of French magic, something else I discussed this month was Marc Jacobs’ memorable, unmistakable checkboard prints from his spring Louis Vuitton collection. The LV show takes place on the last day of fashion month, after we’ve sludged through New York, London, Milan and all of Paris — but it never disappoints. This sentiment wasn’t mine alone as the checks from that show spanned all four corners of the club, and I thought Kirsten Dunst, Kerry Washington and Jessica Alba looked particularly smashing in versions of his designs. And last but not least, something else I noticed this month was how many of my favorite fashionable females were having a white winter. Elle Fanning and Rihanna both were feeling virginal in the winter months, and so did Taylor Swift, the serial dating songstress who wore a plunging white gown on the red carpet recently. Summer is coming, and it looks like it’s going to be a white hot one. You have been warned, boy banders!
PS. I’m working on next month’s column now, so leave any favorite fashionable moments in the comments! And to read my weekly Mr. Blasberg’s Best Dressed list, go to www.harpersbazaar.com/bestdressed
It’s time for the second installment of James Franco’s collaboration with Seven For All Mankind, an interactive experience that lets we viewers decide what happens in the a love triangle of three really hot people wearing the company’s denim. (Have no idea what I’m talking about? Click here to check out the first chapter and hear James tell me why he liked the Choose Your Own Adventures book series when he was a wee boy here.)
I’m not a new fan of Franco’s. We’ve had him on the cover of VMAN twice, and I’ve made pilgrimages to see his artwork on a whole spectrum of platforms, from the Venice Bienale on the sinking city in Italy to a basement in Terence Koh’s now defunct gallery space on far, far east Canal Street in New York. (The one he showed in Koh’s gallery was my favorite for a variety of reasons. I can’t really get into it here, but remind me another time and I’ll tell you all about it.) And here I find myself a fan yet again. Not just because it stars Elise Crombez, one of my favorite models from my early fashion days, and Sean Avery, a current partner in crime. And not just because we, the audience, gets to participate in the final outcome of their fictional romance. No, the reason I find myself applauding Franco again is because he’s taken a jeans campaign and made it something interesting.
Specifically, I’m talking about the work of William Blake, a Romantic era poet who wasn’t even yet born when denim became the fabric of our lives. Only a twisted guy like James would be commissioned to do a sexy viral video about jeans and be inspired by a guy who wrote long, lyrical love poems about the changing of the seasons. “I like bringing these other references, both high and low,” James tells me, adding that one reason he was drawn to Blake is because it was a more enlightened and intellectual concept of sensuality. “Focusing on someone like Blake, or on poetry in general, takes me away from the impulse to just make something sexy. That’s often everyone’s solution nowadays: Just make it sexier. But when you have these other references, it pulls it in unexpected directions.” Was he ever worried that mixing a long dead romantic poet with a contemporary priced jeans line would seem jarring? Nope. “It’s not like were pulling down William Blake, it can only elevate our material. And inspire it.”
But back to the video: Who does James want to see the bride-to-be hook up with? He’s keeping his cards close and won’t tell me. Though, I must say that it sounds like he had a little more fun planning the more devlish version of the marriages of heaven and hell. “I went and shot my own wedding of hell. I’m not sure that will make it in there,” he laughs, adding he used Kenneth Anger as the priest. Want to see the king of twisted underground cinema (Don’t know Anger? Google him now. My copy of Hollywood Babylon is one of my prized possessions) officiate a darker romance? Well, start voting!
Do you believe in happy endings? Get involved in the odyssey by clicking here and going to the 7 For All Mankind’s Facebook page.