Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hedonism

Warriors 01


What do you see when you look at this picture? Homoeroticism? Another tired, erotic editorial? Do you see cheap objectification of the male form? The revenge of women's lib? Lust? Admiration and jealousy? Would you like to spit at it?

Warriors 02


Of course, fashionistas will tell you that the general feeling of uneasiness pictures like this bring is what makes image-making more fun and challenging. They push boundaries, besides the fact that they coincide with the burgeoning of the menswear industry.

Warriors 03


The good thing about these images is that they show beauty from another perspective, which doesn't always have to be charged with sex.

Warriors 04


While bondage has been created by men and initially exploited in images of women, I must admit that it is still quite disconcerting to see roles reversed: for the predator to become the prey, though of course this has always been the case in a world without women...

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Mind you, I do not find all of these images interesting. Some are already twice removed from "original" (if that is possible) pastiche.

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Some I am partial to.

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The equation is age-old: man = muscle = animal. The masculine should be harnessed.

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Of course, since that is too convenient, another is adopted: man = woman, therefore harness with a bodice.

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I suppose this proposes that rope isn't just for choking; you must also wear it.

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Warriors 11


This is the best image to tell you what the stylist is really up to: the bride is the groom who comes to mourn his/her own wedding = the man is the woman who refuses to see his own beauty, thus he is shackled.

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This image, on the other hand, has no point.

Warriors 13


This nearly escapes one too, but you can see that he is meant to be a horse.

Warriors 14


Bondage is real and its implications are beyond the sexual. Its psychological resonance deep and complex.

Warriors 15


That's why editorials like this can be quite disappointing when all stylists and photographers can do is reference over-used images of St. Sebastian (no matter that this one is in a shredded tank and panties).

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And are these rectangles supposed to be provocative? I understand that the magazine is circulated in Japan, which is not tolerant of such exposure, but the archaic imagery evoked is lost because of the red intrusion. Another pose? Doesn't he make you imagine a goalkeeper in Roman times?

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Though this next picture may be a portrait of a senator from the Star Wars Galactic Republic, his eyewear rather looks like something from one of Lavazza's teaspoon posters.

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Here is the complete picture of an earlier image. But why the candles?

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I love the boots.

Warriors 21


You see how the addition of the Vogue logo changes the image? Besides improving the composition, did the picture suddenly and curiously become "relevant"?

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Here's a short recap.

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Now it's time for inversion of a different kind.

Baptiste 01


Baptiste Giabiconi, Karl Largerfeld's latest male muse, needs no introduction. Here he his photographed for Purple magazine once again by the designer of Chanel — not just in dresses but also in heels, and nothing else.

Baptiste 02


This is more provocative than the first editorial, though some may say that this is certainly not original.

Baptiste 03


Except for the hair, it seems his legs were made for heels. Agree? Of course it is another thing to reconcile them with the rest of him.

Baptiste 04


Baptiste 05


All it takes are heels and some props, like a wineglass, to make you look again. And stare.

Baptiste 06


At least Karl Lagerfeld has some sense of humor necessary to keep fashion fun and fresh.

Baptiste 07


Otherwise, this would be more Gods and Monsters.

Baptiste 08


You're supposed to have been won over by now.

Baptiste 09


Light-headed enough to be prepared for this.

Baptiste 10


Or even this.

Baptiste 11


Well maybe not this, but you get the point.

Baptiste 12


Beauty is many-sided. It is equivocal.

AHP 01


Even if it is terrifying and disturbing.

The quote of course, used as a banner for this Arena Homme Plus editorial, was better stated by Arthur Rimbaud: "Life is elsewhere."

AHP 02


And it is. Given a world of pain, corruption, and violence.

AHP 03


It is easy to see these images as nothing but an excuse for blatant titillation. But it's not. Otherwise all the models would have been naked all the time.

AHP 04


Things are not what they seem. There are layers of meaning.

AHP 05


Outwardly, violence can be seen as an act of pleasure for some, a twisted form of hedonism.

AHP 06


Violence. It is always associated with men, with the male, with masculinity.

AHP 07


It is physically dictated.

AHP 08


War, the military, torture, humiliation: all inflicted by men.

AHP 09


Who have themselves kept silent about it, kept conflict in.

AHP 10


AHP 11


Sure you see an ass, and many things besides.

AHP 12


Sure you say these images are just meant to sell stuff.

AHP 13


But these images dig deep into the collective psyche, the zeitgeist.

AHP 14


Only artists can represent themes that make the clothes secondary.

AHP 15


Studs and rings and rivets may have been prevalent in various pieces of many labels, but designers have merely responded to what's been happening around.

AHP 16


The truth is still muffled and restrained in a straightjacket.

AHP 17


It is held hostage and strangled.

AHP 18


The pictures here represent recurring events. (This one reminds me of an Italian painting of the great fire in Rome.)

AHP 19


This one is more than just about lace and patterns. It is about fear and confusion.

AHP 20


The hazy prospect of peace?

AHP 21


The state as the modern-day inquisitors and crusaders out to persecute their labeled heretics.

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AHP 23


The soldier as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

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AHP 25


War has no endgame.

AHP 26


Only munitions and casualties and temporary victors.

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Past crimes cannot be buried.

AHP 29


I bet you're wondering how I'll explain this. I'm sure it's plain fancy.

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But the editorial is clever enough to turn things around: violence begins in the home, in one's bedroom.

AHP 31


AHP 32


And so did David Bowie, but this is more about the vanity of all of it.

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Good and bad, messiahs and demons.

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The Animal Farm begins in one's own barn.

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Or yard.

AHP 37


No image is as innocent as it seems.

4 comments:

thestylemarker said...

eh-em-gee! i heart this compilation! i smell testosterone! when can you have yours el bosquejo? XD

Jesse Sandoval Gomez said...

I dont think I would have ever thought of posting such editorials due to people not understanding them. however, you did a great job explaining each one perfectly. Cheers! these are great compilations indeed.

Miguel Paolo Celestial said...

Jesse: I'm glad you like the set.

Alex said...

What a fantastic post. It was worth the risk!

And Lagerfeld is a genius, it was so obvious, but that's why it works. I had bells ringing in my head: "of course! High heels!"